Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

I’ve been baaaad…

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I fully set out on this trip mid-July convinced that I’d be blogging daily; if not posting with that frequency, then at least writing entries. As you may or may not have noticed, I wrote an entry for the day we traveled and then promptly fell off the face of the Earth. I feel kinda bad for promising shenanigans and not delivering, but then again, I was too busy enjoying the glories this continent has to offer. I took tons of photos, ate obscene amounts of food, and as I sit here in Zagreb, the city I hope to move back to in the future, I realize how great this trip really was. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you spend 80% of your time on the go, but it’s a fair tradeoff for all the ground that you cover!

A Pass in the Dolomites

Sometimes, I feel that going to Europe yearly will somehow lessen its charms and its beauty, but it’s quite the opposite. The more I return, the more there is to explore; the more thoroughly I can experience everything. After a while, you become less of a green tourist and learn your way around and how the locals behave; cities like Venezia and Makarska become familiar and comfortable. Landmarks, road signs, highway stretches and rest stops are no longer new; they’re inside jokes, distance markers, the next available bite to eat.

View from our apartment in Makarska

My brother will ask to stop at a particular bakery because he knows the burek there is baked right about the time we’re out, my mother, a cafe with just the perfect cappuccino. My dad will sit on that bench because the internet signal is strongest there and I will casually herd my family towards the gelateria with the hazelnuttiest nocciola. Grey areas on maps slowly gain colour and tie to associations. This is truly where my heart lies, and where I feel that I’m home.

Sunrise in Germany

Tomorrow, we are driving to München, where we will stay one night, and fly out the following morning. When I return, there will be things aplenty to do, but I will post a rehash of all the excellent adventures, day-by-day, with photos! It will be nice to get back to my normal routine, though, as fun as global adventuring is…I’ve missed my goons, volleyball & the gym and food that doesn’t make me obese (I know, I know).

In any case, I should get off to bed and relax a bit, though I know I’ll end up watching the Germany vs. Brazil game on the telly…ich liebe die Mannschaft!

Bis später!
-V

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Halo! Heute bin ich endlich in Deutschland! Mein Flug war sehr bequem und kurz, aber es gefällt mir auf Grund noch einmal sein. This is the first update of many, a story now told from the Vaterland! Here’s how the Eurotrip 2011 kicked off:

First Leg:

Ottawa > Montreal
Distance: 165 km

July 16th

Tree, cow, field, tree, field, field, cow. Repeat for two hours, plus I passed out for most of it, anyway.

Montreal > München
Distance: 6134 km

July 17th

The flight itself was fairly uneventful, save for the unusually high incidence of morbidly obese passengers that wished to get by me while I was trying to sleep. This led to an unsuccessful naptime, which subsequently led to sleep-deprived insanity upon touching down. The level of functionality, pre-nap, was bordering on the negative, but I’m mostly back on Earth now. The in-flight entertainment was legit; I watched The Eagle to crack up at Tanning Chatum, or whatever his name is, but I ended up enjoying it. Beastly, on the other hand, was the offspring of a badly-done Disney teenybopper movie and a child with an etch-a-sketch. Alex Pettyfer should stick to the profession of his that doesn’t involve speaking; go back to modelling, please.

I spent the entire flight practicing my German with the stewards and stewardesses, and much to my delight, they spoke it back to me! Usually, if you’re struggling terribly with a language, they’ll switch to your mother tongue (or whatever is closest to it) to put you out of your misery. I think my accent’s gotten better, in any case. I know it’s far from the Bavarian accent that I’ve been hearing around here, but daaaaang, I’ve got Northern Germany nailed, sucka! Not that I’m proud and/or excited, or anything.

Being in Germany for the first time in my life is absolutely mind-blowing, though. After having been obsessed with the country, its athletes (Deutschland über alles!), and language for years, finally arriving here is nearly surreal. I’m really glad to be able to experience München, even though we’re only here for two nights on this leg, and one night on the final leg of the Eurotrip. We’re heading to the BMW factory tomorrow, and if there is one thing I love more than the German football team, it’s BMWs. Actually, no. I love them almost as much as I do die Mannschaft, but anyway. My excitement level is really high.

This is what awaited us at the baggage claim.

I will write again tomorrow with tales of exactly how difficult it is for a 22-year-old to stop from squeeing at luxury vehicles. Sometimes, I worry about my sanity.

Hope all is well back home…

Bis später!
-V

Adios for now, Ottawa!

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I’ve finalized all my packing, and tomorrow, my family is departing on our trip to Europe. Though I haven’t really been doing anything significant outside of bureaucratic treasure-hunting, this vacation will be a really nice opportunity to properly relax; if you know me at all, you know that I find it nearly impossible to unwind until I’m taken out of Ottawa (or if I’m in a coma). For those interested, our itinerary is as follows:

...film festival & shenanigans with the cousin to follow.


Eurotrip 2011: “Who lets me out of the house?!”

Montreal, Canada
EPICALLY BORING FLIGHT
München, Germany**
Innsbruck, Austria
Cortina d’Ampezzo (Dolomites), Italy**
Venezia, Italy
Zagreb, Croatia

…here is where my family & I separate (I am joining my cousin – and partner in TSD crime – on a crazy 5-day stint)…

Motovun & Istra, Croatia**
Makarska, Croatia

…and I rejoin them here (boo)…

Sarajevo, Bosnia
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Makarska, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
München, Germany

TOTAL KILOMETRES TRAVELED BY PLANE (APPROX.): 12,267
TOTAL KM BY CAR (APPROX): 2,600

I intend on trying to get online with updates and pictures as often as I can, but we don’t always have decent internet access, and – let’s be honest – I will probably be out frolicking (read: eating) in awesome and/or new places! The cities I’ve denoted with a ** indicate that this will be my first time visiting, and therefore, a totally new place to lay waste to. Er, explore, rather. Or something. I encourage comments, no matter how inane, because spending nearly every waking moment for nearly a month with my family can make me miss people my age. Just sayin’. I love y’all, I really do.

Before I go and try to get myself to actually sleep, here are some completely unrelated, yet wonderful, words:

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

Bis später!
-V

Home Base: Acquired!

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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C & I officially have a place to live! We spent all of Sunday wandering around our target neighbourhood, calling landlords and visiting places, but nothing quite clicked with both of us. So, on Monday, when she called me up to come see a place with her, I was preparing for another expensive letdown. Wrong. I am pretty sure that the moment I walked in, I was sold on the place. It’s the most adorable apartment, featuring exposed brick (!), really nice wall colours, a roomy kitchen, two sweet bedrooms with closets and A WASHER & DRYER. So much yes. Also, laminate flooring in every room save the kitchen and bathroom. Awesome. In any case, the lease is signed and I am so excited that I will have a place of my own come September! The Sexual Tiger Den officially has a base, and conveniently enough, is a half-basement sort of deal, making it a legit den. Yes, yes, and yes! That worry is now crossed off my list, and the only things I have left to think about this summer are working out, enjoying Europe, and hanging out with people. Well, and packing, but Imma ignore that until I get back from the mothercontinent. Life is good!

Bis später!
-V

Every single year, my family embarks on a Eurotrip that inevitably results in terrible puns, absurd amounts of local cuisine, walking, laughter, a plethora of borders crossed and a lot of hours logged in the car. The radio stations change, but there are always certain songs that end up playing dozens of times, no matter where we are. A few years back, we decided to start predicting what songs would be drilled into our heads by the end of the trip, and for the most part, our family guesses are accurate. These heard-ad-nauseam songs become inside jokes, and regardless of how terrible they are (as is often the case), we all start singing and dancing along. My family’s insane, and I love them.

Last summer, we were serenaded by Stereo Love & Alejandro…this year, who knows? With that said, I bring to you…

PREDICTIONS FOR “WHO LETS ME OUT OF THE HOUSE?!”…EUROTRIP 2011
At least two of these songs are going to be melting our brain matter as we drive from Germany to the Croatian coast and back…

1. Alexandra Stan – Mr. Saxobeat

2. Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory

3. Enrique Iglesias – Tonight, I’m Loving You OR Dirty Dancer

4. Jennifer Lopez – On the Floor

My ears are going to be bleeding, and I cannot wait. Eighteen days til takeoff…

Bis später!
-V

I went to bed late on Saturday, so I decided that yesterday would be a beautiful, lazy Sunday. I turned off my alarm, slept in, forewent the gym in favour of sitting around in the living room with my family. By the time I rolled out of bed, at 8:30, my parents had found a great deal online and booked our annual family vacay tickets! I was hell-bent on traveling on my own this year, but an all-inclusive vacay for zero dollars won over actually paying for things. The added bonus is that I get to plan out our itinerary for our first & last stop: München, Germany! We’ll also be visiting the Dolomites, Makarska, Zagreb & Sarajevo, but my responsibility lies only in Deutschland-related planning.

Current list of places to visit:
1. BMW Museum

I think this stop is pretty self-explanatory to anybody that knows me at all. I’ve been borderline obsessed with BMWs cars ever since I can remember, so visiting this museum is probably going to give me a heart attack of pleasure.

2. Hirschgarten

What is this magical place? ANSWER: It is a beer garden. In a forest. With deer. It seats 8000. Germany brings me so much joy, and I have yet to properly visit it (hanging out in its airports doesn’t really count). Beer. Forest. Deer. Seriously!

3. Peterskirche

The architecture in Bavaria is pretty extraordinary, so I felt that visiting the oldest church in München would be a great idea. Plus, it is gorgeous!

4. Marienplatz

Another beautiful European square that I can’t wait to visit and explore. Again, it’s architecturally epic, and despite the fact that a lot of this area was damaged during WWII, it’s been rebuilt and it still looks like it did back in the 1800s. Drool.

I fully intend on adding another place or two to this list (Viktualienmarkt, anyone?), but the fact is that we won’t be staying that long, and we can only fit so much. Ah well. Plus, I am to eat everything in my vicinity; Würste, Leberkässemmeln, Bretzeln, etc., etc.

I CANNOT WAIT TIL JULY.

As far as the rest of my Sunday was concerned, I had the most ab-intensive Bellywood class I’ve had yet, which was epically fun, and after that, I ran straight to coaching. I’ve been replacing one of the other coaches for a few weeks now, so the girls know and like me, which makes everything a ton easier. Plus, extra money! Whoo! My lazy Sunday turned into something a touch less lazy, but it was still badawesome.

Bis später!
V

P.S. I am so not in the mood to spend 7.5 hours on campus today…kill me.