Seaside, Denmark. September 23-26

Seeing as the weather in Europe is usually amazing in September, I thought it would be a great idea to travel to the seaside for a few days to enjoy the sunshine and the beach.  Whenever we were asked where we were heading after Copenhagen, we would stumble and stutter a bit, then say “in the North, T-i-s-v-i-l-d-e-l-e-j-e…” the Danes would look excited and say, “Oh, you are going to (something incomprehensible), it’s beautiful there”.

Beautiful it was. Warm it was not! We stayed at a beautiful old house that has been made into a small boutique hotel.

It was cool and very windy, we were even in a HAIRricane (as my brother-in-law Cal called it after seeing the photo below). At one point my hair was actually standing straight up!

617412DA-3162-455C-AACC-DE8C7D09CC7F

We didn’t let the weather keep us inside, and when the wind died down it was actually quite nice. We enjoyed sitting on our terrace, watching the waves, toddling in neighbouring town, and walking in the forest.

The forest had a lot of twisty trees that reminded us of the forest where my aunt and uncle used to live. A year ago when we visited my Uncle Al, in his late 80’s, he straddled a bent tree and said it was a horse. Bevan re-created that moment – with a little bit more of the Calgary Stampede Spirit.

Next up – Berlin…… but first a few pics of Tvisled..Tivislee…Téjele….of the Northern seaside area!

 

Things I learned

1. Don’t eat mushrooms or anything else you happen to find lying around the forest floor.

2. My hair can stand straight up on end without seeing a ghost.

3. Europe isn’t always hot in September.

4. How to pronounce T-i-s-i…..okay, haven’t quite mastered that yet.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Copenhagen, Denmark Sept.18-23, 2018

After having a solid 6 hours or so of sleep on the plane we arrived in Copenhagen at  8:30 in the morning feeling ready to start exploring the city.  We were impressed with the airport and how fast it was to get a driver to our hotel. After quickly checking in, we headed towards the center of the city, which  just happens to be the shopping district. We stopped half way at an indoor/outdoor market.  The market had a great selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, take away,  food kiosks and of course beautiful Smørrebrød (hard to say, but easy to eat) which are fancy open face sandwiches.

60D2F207-E871-4BA6-9734-9AD60E645C30

We saw the food truck of “Hija de Sanchez” a Mexican place highlighted on a tv show – we vowed to come back when we had more of an appetite. We enjoyed walking along the streets and were impressed with how many people commute by bicycle (approx. 75% of workers) We checked out Illum Bolighus department store and the Royal Copenhagen China store/museum; it is always interesting to see other countries’ fashion and home accessories.

1F985436-79F6-4C0E-A14D-06A1C0E95DA4

We took a quick nap and then had our first meal at “Host” – we were seated in a room that they called the “sweathearts’ garden”. We noticed our table had a flag of Denmark on it, as well as one other table. Our waitress told us that it is customary to put a flag on the table of people who were there celebrating an anniversary or birthday. (Happy 18th Anniversary to Us! Bevan deserves a medal.)

8006868c-203a-43bf-98a4-f06b01cf1f62.jpeg

We had a wonderful meal – a great introduction to Nordic cuisine – our favorite course being ‘blue mussel soup with celiarac root’ – wish I was able to describle the taste because it was one of the most scrumptious soups I have ever tried – and like nothing I have experienced before.

Being in the center of cycling we thought it only fit to do a bike tour, and opted for the 4 hour neighbourhood tour offered by “Be Copenhagen”. We were lucky to have our guide almost to ourselves – there was one other couple from Victoria with us. Seeing the different neighbourhoods was very interesting and it was an experience to bike on the busiest commuting cycling street in the world during rush hour. Many of the locals have bikes with carts in the front that hold their children, groceries, dogs, etc.

The following day we decided to put Bevan’s newly achieved “personal watercraft operator’s license” to good use and rent a boat. We spent two hours on the open waters of the Baltic Sea / canals of Copenhagen. Seeing the buildings and monuments from the perspective of the water was completely different. We were lucky to have had sun as the forecast was for rain.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The black building in the photo montage above is a new library called “the Black Diamond” because when the sun is shining the side of the building sparkles from the reflection of the water.

The food here has been amazing – our most memorable meal was at a place called Marv & Ben – some of the most creative and tasty food that we have enjoyed in years. There was an older lady at the table across from me and it was apparent that she was enjoying herself as much as we were. She was dancing in her chair, drank the leftover sauce from the halibut dish, and even licked one of the plates. She giggled like a child when she realized we had caught her. Her enthusiasm definitely added to the joy of our evening, and we were lucky to be blown a kiss as we left.  Again, photos don’t do justice —- but you can appreciate the creativity.

We didn’t do much else in Copenhagen – our last day was rainy – so we seeked shelter in the stores…..enjoyed more food, wine, snacks, and appreciated the beauty of Copenhagen. True to ourselves, we didn’t visit any museums or castles…..but did walk through the King’s garden.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The people of Copenhagen outshone the food, architecture and weather! Everyone we encountered were very friendly and positive. When we asked sales people, hotel staff, etc how they were, they replied, “Great – I am here at work”. We hope to bring some of their positive attitudes home with us.

What I learned:

1) Danish people are very happy and positive people. Their smiles go a long way to make you feel very welcomed.

2) I can cycle on a busy street without causing too much chaos. (I almost had a head on collision with another lady but her experience with tourists and her cat-like reflexes on her bike were to both of our advantage).

3) I still enjoy being in a place where I don’t understand the language.

4) The Danish design is a little bit (too) spartan. A well placed hook or shelf could really improve a room’s functionality.

5) I learned that I really like bread!!! The pumpernickel, brown and even white bread here is very flavorful- and the butter rivals the French.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

India: Part 4

JAISLAMER – ROHET

We head a little bit off the so called “beaten track” on this leg of the trip. We head further North to Jaislamer, the home of forts made from sandstone that glow golden during sunset. By this time we are getting a little tired of seeing forts but we are enjoying the look of fear on Dave’s face as we get closer and closer to the Pakistan border.

Our hotel is only a couple of years old but has been built to resemble a fort. It has a wonderful inner courtyard and our guide has ensured we get the two best rooms.
p1050885 p1050915

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rooms took up the entire back upper floor, and were two stories, including a private dining room and a dipping pool. (our two suites are the left and right of the little dome!)

The staff were very attentive and set us a beautiful table after a folkloric show at the hotel. We had a surprise menu that was absolutely delicious.

img_8487

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we visited Gadi Sagar Lake, a man made lake, the Jaisalmer Fort, toured the old city and the  “havelies” – the mansions of the wealthy traders who grew rich on the trade passing through the desert. The absolute highlight of the day was heading further north, into the desert on camel!!! I had purchased camel riding shoes with bells and I was excited to wear them and listen to them jingle as we bounced along. I must say, I am petrified of horse back riding so I was feeling a quite a bit of angst. I was the first one up though and felt quite elated! (the fear returned as we started moving!!!)

p1060382

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After approximately 40 minutes of bouncing along the desert ,we watched the sunset and enjoyed the company of our “camel jockeys”. They clearly love the camels and take good care of them. Alli, who lead my camel named Michael Jackson, loved Bevan’s jacket and petted it as I was petting the camels! I was thinking of offering it to him (yes ME offering BEVAN’s jacket to Alli- but I have learned my lesson after giving Bevan’s watch to our safari guide in Africa and then not being able to replace it when we got back home!) We all loved our camel ride although we all were a bit sore somewhere in the “saddle region!”

p1060368

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p1060247

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p1060308

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p1060344

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_8513

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following morning, after being force-fed several different Indian breakfasts in the beautiful courtyard, we headed off to Rohet, where we stayed in a Wilderness Camp that was made when Madonna visited Rohet but wanted to stay closer to where she was riding horses. Apparently Bevan and I stayed in her actual tent. I figure if Madonna can “rough it”, so can I.  Again, we were taken care of like royalty. We had an amazing meal followed by a campfire. We were all reflecting on how being in the second most populated country in the world, and we were the only people (other than our “caregivers”) to be seen.

p1060394

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We felt very spoiled and privileged. In the morning we had a Jeep Safari around the countryside and visited a Bishnoi tribal village. The tribes are considered the first environmentalists of the world and have been protecting the flora and fauna for the past 550 years.

p1060432

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw some local crafts and local men participating in an opium ceremony. Apparently, our guide tells us, that opium does not affect the brain, but only gives energy. (hmmmmm!)

p1060489

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few months ago, opium was banned by the government, so they were not using opium. (by the looks of things, they have used it quite a bit before! They did not have much affect and we did not really feel welcome.) This was my least favourite thing of the trip.

Back in the Van - not a hardship at all!

Back in the Van – not a hardship at all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We next had a 4 hour drive to Udaipur, stopping on the way to visit a huge Jain temple built in 1439. The drive to Udaipur was really pretty – more lush, hilly and I was excited to see more monkeys! Some even jumped onto our van!!!

UDAIPUR

We stayed at the Lake Palace Udaipur, the summer home/palace of the Royal Family – whose main palace is across the lake. (nothing like “getting away!”) The hotel also was the site where one of the James Bond movies were filmed. Upon arrival there was a folkloric dancer and we were showered in rose petals. This time it was lighter out and I was able to enjoy it!

p1060599

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed a lake tour at sunset and the next day had more sight seeing tours. Dave and I skipped the City Palace tour and I think Bevan and Kim had wished they had too. We visited a Hindu priest who “paints on water”- he even let me give it a try! Obviously he hasn’t heard what a klutz I can be! Thankfully I did not disgrace the religious water painting or my friends!

p1060617

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a beautiful supper at the Lake Palace – and the guys played chess in the lobby. James Bond is definitely not the most handsome man that has stayed at this hotel – I think Dave and Bevan win this prize.

img_0005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Udaipur we flew back to Delhi and had an amazing supper at “Indian Accent” the best rated restaurant in India. It was an amazing end to our trip. Kim and Dave left to the airport after supper and Bevan and I had one more day in Delhi. Our eyes were burning from the pollution and we could not see the sun on our last day. The smog is terrible. We cancelled our sight seeing and stayed in our suite all day long except to venture downstairs for meals. Perhaps were just missing our travel companions.

Things I learned:

-Delhi has horrific traffic and pollution that made my eyes burn. I don’t know if I could tolerate the pollution in larger centres in China – so I may have saved lots of money by going on this trip.

-Men and Women are segregated in many line ups, especially if security is involved. Women are not allowed in temples during “that time of the month” and some are segregated at home as well. We would often see men sitting around the town/city squares having tea, but the women, if there, were busy with errands.

-there are many stores that are to “help women” -women make the items, get the money, etc….but we would only see men in the stores themselves. hmmm.

-although India is one of the dirtiest countries, if not the dirtiest,  I have been to, it still has a lot of beauty, colour, light and amazing people. Oh, and great food. Terrific food. MMMMMM. (I gained 7 pounds!)

-I was most amazed at the lack of culture shock I experienced. The only time I had discomfort was seeing extremely crippled (and I use this term purposefully) navigating the crowded streets on their belly or some type of skate board, if they were lucky. As a physio in a previous life, it was hard to even conceive how these poor individuals became so flexed and disabled. (?purposeful damage to growth plates/ tendons?)

-The edited version of the blog can look well spaced and fine – until it is posted!

-I also learned that Christmas doesn’t wait for you to be ready for it!!!

Next stop – Calgary and Christmas!!!!

Categories: Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

India Part 3

JODHPUR

After a wonderful nights sleep we headed to Jodhpur- 6 hours away.

Half way there we stopped in a small village for lunch. We walked approximately a km through the village to reach our lunch spot, which was an old mansion converted to a small hotel with a large courtyard.(which I think would be a more appropriate retirement spot for those looking for the Marigold experience).

The locals – young and old-waved, said hello, and showed general interest in the foreigners traipsing through their village.

image2

image2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image3

image3

When we arrived in Jodhpur we were transferred from our van into several tuk-tuks as the lanes were too narrow and winding for our van. We all felt like we were somewhere foreign. There was a more Muslim influence and a different energy to the streets.

We turned off the bustling alley onto our hotel property – a quiet sanctuary and courtyard. There were tiny round orangey-red lights in the ground that made the path to reception. The architecture at the RAAS hotel is very striking and we had views of the hillside fort – from the roof top terraces, from our personal inner court yard terraces and even from our bathtubs!!!

Our tour of the fort and city was a little too ‘history and fact laden’ (for my liking) and I felt like I was back in grade 8 social studies class trying not to fall asleep as the teacher monotonously droned on, and on!

We then went to a flea market – locally referred to as the “wash and cry market”( because when you get your item home and wash away the dust you cry in disappointment!) The sari area sells used saris- many coming off bodies taken for cremation.

Everything you can imagine was sold at the market – bracelets, millet, kitchen wares, clothes, spice, toys… the list goes on. And if you didn’t find what you were looking for, you could always enjoy a shave.

Just as we were leaving the wash and cry market Bevan received “luck” from a pigeon!

We were then led into a textile wholesale store. We were told it was wholesale, that we could not buy, we were just being shown the most beautiful and luxurious textiles made in India. We were told that top fashion houses around the world – Hermes, Brunello Cucinelli, Donna Karen etc have some of their items made here. After showing us 20 different items they went in reverse giving us local prices, the European and American inflated prices, asking which ones we wanted and showing us samples in a variety of colours. So much for it only being wholesale. Apparently Brad Pitt bought 120 scarves – I think the salesman was challenging us to do better.

Bevan and I had instant memories of being back in Morocco at a carpet store. Dave said anytime they ask you to sit down they are going to try to get you to buy something! He was right. And “don’t sit down!”, became a phrase Kim and I would hear muttered as we entered many more stores to come! ( in retrospect it was very good advice, although ‘run!’ may have worked better). I did not buy very much. Kim did. But I did see one man on the street who bought slightly more than Kim.

fullsizerender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed several hours at our resort and played Parcheesi, an Indian board game.

In the evening we were treated to a private show of the Bhopas . Typically the 14th century history takes 8 nights to tell but thankfully we had a condensed version. We were lucky to experience this private show as there are currently only 25 families who still know and practice this folkloric art that is nearing extinction. The two young brothers had such beautiful smiles as they played their instruments, danced and sang.They had a real passion for their art. The mother, we only could assume, enjoyed it too-but as custom has it, women cover their face with a scarf as they sing, so it was hard to tell.

There was a horrendous stench on the street coming home as some running water was releasing layers of urine, dried cow dung (yes, dung, not tongue) and who knows what else. I was afraid I was going to toss my cookies so abandoned my worries about offending the locals and covered my faced with a balled up scarf. It saved my life I am sure! Looking back I should have just sang so nobody would be offended.

Jodhpur is known as the blue city as many of the homes are painted blue.

There is a much higher percentage of Muslims here than other areas we have been. The call to prayer was so loud (approx 5 am) that we were sure it was coming from our bedroom closet. I understand the history and use of the call but in centres where the majority are not Muslim it does not seem very respectful to the neighbours. By the second morning I found myself feeling very irritated at the morning call to prayer and think it should be renamed the ‘call to arms’. Perhaps stopping this practice could stop all the wars in this part of the world. Our one guide felt that if borders were removed, the Hindus and Muslims would have nothing to fight over. Could world peace be this easy?

Things I learned:
-purdy much everything is for sale in India
-if you ask a store owner for a very specific item they happily tell you they have it and then bring you something completely different
-Hindus are reincarnated 8.4 million times! (Not all human lives, can be bugs, birds, etc) That is a lot of lives. The Jain branch believes it is 84 times
– the Jain’s are strict vegetarians and do not want to harm even a flea- they don’t even ‘kill’ root vegetables

Categories: Travel | Leave a comment

India Part 2

INDIA – Part 2

JAIPUR
We had a 4 hour drive from Rathambore to Jaipur. The countryside was very interesting. The highways seem to lack any organization, planning or rules! All the transport trucks are decorated and have painted signs, such as ‘honk horn’. The fronts of the trucks and tractors are decorated with Pom-poms and tinsel. The only things more bedazzled are wedding cars.

When we (surprisingly) safely arrived to our hotel in Jaipur we met our new tour guide, VJ. He took us on a tour of the Old City. Jaipur used to be yellow but when The Prince of Wales visited the king ordered the city be painted pink. Each of the streets in the center have 365 stores. We walked through some of the back alleys lined we cubby hole sized shops. They were higher than they were wide and one tiny store may have 6 workers. The sari shops were full as it is wedding season here. Wedding parties all shop together and buy their saris from the same store. The father of the bride and other male members of he family are there as well.
img_8594

The colours and scents of the street food were vibrant. One food vender that had his kitchen on his bicycle, was cooking up something that looked healthy and smelled amazing. He offered me a free bite but our guide told him it would make me sick.

This man must be participating in Movember!

The next day we started out early to avoid the crowds. We started at the square were some of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was filmed. VJ knows the owner of the actual hotel where the film was shot. The film was a financial help helped as the hotel owner admits his hotel is run down and not a good place to stay.

We went to a very interesting observatory and marvelled at the brilliance of ancient scholars. Our guide told us our astrological signs are close together so that is why we get along so well.
img_8593

We followed this with a tour of the city palace. Our tour company had arranged access for us into the private area of the palace. I thought this was a line but we left the swarm of tourists behind and entered the living quarters. We actually saw the father of the prince and sat on some cushions in one of the more casual meeting rooms.

img_8595

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had told our guide that we would be interested in seeing his palm reader. Palm reading and horoscopes are a very important part of life here and play a huge role in all kinds of decisions – such as who you can marry and in which year. The palm reader was bang on with our personalities. He told us our lucky numbers and lucky stones and gems.

We then headed to a beautiful home of a family who has built a small inn – but rarely has guests. The lady of the house gave us a cooking demonstration and Dave and Bevan tried their hands at making chapatis. ( pita-like bread filled with spice and potato). Dave’s was quite similar to our host’s but Bevan’s was much more artistic-heavier on the flour and butter…. and there was a lot of chapati debris on the counter. I must admit that his was very tasty.

After filling ourselves with our home made lunch we toured a hill side fort and palace.

Afterwards we headed to the countryside to an elephant reserve. We were all happy and relieved to see they were healthy and treated well. Each elephant gives only 2 rides a day. We rode up top the elephants while sipping wine. We chose white wine seeing that the ride was quite bumpy.

At the end of the ride we found ourselves at a beautiful clearing with a campfire and lanterns. We were served cocktails and then a beautiful dinner under a thatched roof tent. We gazed at the stars and thanked them for our luck to be able to experience things like this.

The day was not over – we headed to a gem store to try to fulfill our palm readers advice and wear our lucky stones. It was quite a set up and I have never seen so many jewels in one place.

Things I learned:
-we arrived to JAIPUR, not Judaipur ( which I made up by combining with Jodhpur- our next stop)
– everything can be bedazzled in colourful paint, tinsel and mirror ( including cow horns)
-our van can stop within 1/16 of an inch after squealing tires to avoid semi that decided to come to a complete stop in the fast lane (and did I mention most of these vehicles lack brake lights)
-I will not be sending any of my beautiful and aged relatives to live at the Best Exotic Marigold hotel

Categories: Travel | 1 Comment

India – Part 1

India – Part 1- November 19- 27, 2016

Bevan, trying to prove that I booked our drive to the airport an hour early, looked up our flight only to find that the Flight to San Fran was cancelled! We spent the next hour and a half trying to find alternate routing that would get us to our First Class seats from San direct to Delhi ( thank u Aeroplan) After exhausting all options, we found alternate flights through Toronto. We stayed 5 hours at the airport and had a beautiful meal at the new Marriott- food and service was amazing. Our host, of Indian decent, was excited for us and said that people love or hate India. Nothing in between. This turned out to be a great hiccough bc after a red eye flight to TO we surprised Claire and Davis at 7 am! We spent a really wonderful day with the kids – visiting, playing basketball and a compliment game. Yves made us a beautiful dinner and then took us back to TO. It was a perfect day other than we miss Shanda who was getting a much needed vacation herself.
Another bonus was now we were on the exact flight as Kim and Dave- our travel partners.

After 14 hours we arrived to an orderly, quiet airport in Delhi. We were transferred to a very modern and beautiful hotel close by. We had to go through security to enter – something we have learned is quite common in India.

I was still waiting for the much anticipated culture shock and the swarm of humanity but the airport in Varanasi was relatively quiet as well. Our transportation was a modern bus/van that seats approximately 12. I looked out the front window and at first thought it was a movie screen playing the bus scene from Best Marigold Hotel. There was a large bus heading straight for us and with the 2 road lanes and 40 lanes of buses,cars, cattle, pedestrians, and tuck-tucks a head on collision was certain and imminent. When I realized we weren’t dead, I realized our driver was magical so I have not been worried since.

Varanasi,to Hindus, is like Bethlehem to Christians. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It looks like it hadn’t been cleaned since shortly after it was developed.

Our guide, quite a religious man, escorted us that evening down to the Ganges, or as Bevan has renamed, the River of Liquid People. Among Hindus, it is ‘the’ place to have your ashes thrown into. Bathing in this magical river is said to erase one of all their sins. Our trip down to the Ganges was by rickshaw and then by foot. There were thousands of people making this pilgrimage and for every person there was a sound of a horn blasting. I had difficulty crossing the street and experience mild – super mild culture shock- mainly due to some people walking barefoot. Keep in mind that holly cows wander freely. At the waterfront their were many priests ringing bells and burning incense.

There are crematoriums along the river banks that have been burning for thousands of years without stopping. Only males attend the cremation, the main griever wears white. After the burn, the main griever throws the remaining large bones ( ie pelvis or femur) into the Ganges. We felt awkward observing from our little boat but we’re assured that the locals did not mind and found it an honour for others to be interested in their culture.

In the morning we witnessed the bathing rituals and were surprised that there were so few people. Perhaps, like many world religions, the number of followers is on the decline?

AGRA- home of the Taj Mahal

After an overly friendly pat down at airport security and a short flight, we arrived in Agra. Our hotel was heavenly and only 600 m from the Taj Mahal.

(View from our terrace)

Our new guide, whom Kim aptly renamed Billy Crystal, due to his looks and sense of humour, guided us to the Taj to watch the sunset. We were to get there n the morning again an hour before the gates opened so we could have a quiet viewing. After yet another security pat down and a literal RUN to the Taj – we entered a tourist free Taj! We could hear the wind circling in the dome and our whispers circle the room. We got an up close view of the very detailed marble inlays. Incredible! Then the masses descended! I must admit that I could easily have skipped seeing the Taj Mahal but we all agree that it far exceeded our expectations.

RATHAMBORE

The 4 of us thought that we could not travel in India without trying the train. Dave had told our agent that we would take the train if we had assistance with our bags. Well, they delivered – literally and figuratively!!! We took the ‘first class train’ and our luggage took a private air conditioned van!

It was dark when we arrived to our next hotel. We walked through a beautiful carved door into a courtyard with fountain and musicians greeting us. All of a sudden I was flapping my arms and swatting at a swarm of moths… which actually turned out to be a rose petal shower. It was lost on me but the other 3 were alert enough to enjoy.

In the am we headed out on our safari. We saw monkeys, deer, wild boar, mongoose and birds – and then we were lucky enough to have a brief spotting of a male tiger.

Kim and I enjoyed a ‘spice talk’ with a young and enthusiastic chef. One spice, we could not figure out. We had never heard the word. Kim politely asked if the was an English name, to which he answered, ‘mam, that is the English word’. We had a great discussion about spice and food. I asked what his favourite dish was – it was something cooked in cow ‘dung’. Of course I couldn’t let that go as I thought I was not hearing correctly. After being told ” yes mam, cow dung” and me asking cow “tongue” and being told ” no mam, cow dung” , I finally clarified by asking ” cow poo?”
To be answered ” yes mam!” He then went on to suggest a Indian tasting platter for my meal that evening. He was so enthusiastic that I agreed. He then told me the price and I agreed having no idea what he had said or what the exchange was. Kim and I were fairly certain it was either $90 or $900!!!

The following morning we saw a tiger in the distance almost immediately. Later we saw a female tiger lying at the side of the path. She was calling to her cubs. After 15 minutes her 3 cubs arrived and we followed them around and watched them have a brief nap on the path. We were extremely lucky as it is rare to see a cub and even more rare to see 3 as it is uncommon for a tiger to have that many “tigletts”- as Dave calls them.

We arrived back to our hotel to be met by the 30 year old Director of Client Relations- who is 1000 pounds overweight.

On safari a branch gave me a few scratches on my neck. The staff who were surprised and happy to hear that we had a cub sighting didn’t know to believe me or not when I told them that they were from a tiger cub.

We had a leisurely breakfast and said a sad farewell to our wonderful hotel and their staff who treated us like royalty.

.
Things I have learned
– people in India pronounce Frizzell correctly more often than Canadians.
-chaotic streets seem to work as nobody owns the lane or road ( like we do in N America)
-the most important part of any rickshaw or vehicle of any type is a horn
-Indian security frisks are probably more thorough than a mammogram
-Indians, like most other people on the planet, do not get my sense of humour.
-some of the highways here are almost as bumpy as the Trans Canada between Regina and Winnipeg

Next up – Judaipur – where Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was filmed

Sent from my iPad

Categories: Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New York, New York. September 24-28, 2014.

New York – always wonderful – always something new to see and do. This time – we stayed in the Lower East End. I liked it – but think I am more of a Soho or Midtown girl. The first night a procession of  approximately 20 police cars, 3 ambulances, 6 black suburbans, 5 fire trucks – and  the presidential limousine passed by us. Obama was in town for the summit meetings. I was hoping that the limo would  stop and Obama and Michelle would join us for supper…then Michelle would invite me to spend the next day shopping with her….but sadly this didn’t happen.

However, when Bevan, Sabri, John and I  were shopping in Soho the next day, we were in a men’s store and this tall, dark, handsome man was trying on a very elegant, cashmere winter dress coat. He was eyeing himself up and down in the mirror with great admiration. I admit – it looked great – other than his summer flip flops. So of course, I made some “helpful” comment to him about foot wear to go with his coat and we started to chat. As I was walking away to find my shopping pals, I hear “Bevan?” coming from this tall, dark stranger! Apparently the young man used to be one of Bevan’s residents. Small world.

We decided to go to one play – I think it was called “It’s Only a  Play”. It had one of my favourite actors in it; Nathan Lane  (Also in the play were Mathew Broderick and Megan Mullally). The play was okay, although I must admit that I enjoyed watching Nathan Lane more than I enjoyed the actual play itself. He is such a wonderful character actor. At intermission, we found a quiet corner near the front of the venue. Sarah Jessica Parker walked right by us – wearing jeans, and of course high heels. Boy is she ever tiny.

Great Friends at the Russian Tea Room.

Great Friends at the Russian Tea Room.

After the play we went to the iconic Russian Tea Room – with friends Sabri, John, Kim and Dave. We had so much fun – lots of laughs. We were practically the only people in the entire place – we felt like the Russian mob was going to come in at any time and start shooting up the place. (I watch too much tv). We acted appropriately for the Russian tea room: we drank champagne and vodka,  and ate caviar and beef stroganoff. We also were able to comment on our friends debut of his newly purchased monocle. Yes, monocle.

Another surprise – I was talked into riding the subway several times. The photo of me is on our first ride. It was not crowded and I only had mild anxiety. The other times were more crowded – I felt very anxious – subways smell, are crowded, and full of weirdos. I always say – they are kept underground for a reason. We are not subterranean for a reason people!

I'm more stressed than I look.

I’m more stressed than I look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things I learned:

1) My friend looks like “Mr. Peanut” when he wears a monocle.

2) I won’t die if I ride a subway (yet).

3) My Calgary friends are just as fun  in NYC as they are in Calgary.

Categories: Travel | 1 Comment

British Columbia Road Trip. August 16- September 1, 2014.

Keeping a surprise, especially from Bevan, is very hard work for me. I was really put to the test this past summer. I ordered a car for Bevan as a surprise. It was supposed to be here in June, then July, then for sure at the beginning of August. Thinking that the car would be here for August, I had convinced Bevan that we should drive vs fly to BC as I knew he would want to take his new car. I was dying as the delivery date kept being delayed. We were leaving on Saturday morning and the car finally arrived on Thursday! I picked the car up on Friday and couldn’t wait for Bevan to come home. I strategically parked my SUV so that it blocked both entrances to the garage. I waited and waited in the garage for him. I heard his car pull up – I was sure that the surprise would be ruined as I thought he would be able to hear my heart beating as he approached the door! As he came into the garage he could see something out of the corner of his eye. “What the hell is going on here???” was about all he could manage to say for a few minutes. I was so excited that I pulled the surprise off!! We drove to Bragg Creek for supper and then came home and finished getting ready for the road trip. In the morning, I could hear some odd noise coming from the garage….it was Bevan – in the garage- vacuuming the floor mats!! (it gets worse – he was doing so in his underwear!) I told him if he was going to be a freak with the car that I would return it. He has been a lot better since! I think I have even seen it dirty a few times.

"Surprise!" (He may have been more surprised if I had cleaned the garage!)

“Surprise!” (He may have been more surprised if I had cleaned the garage!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The road trip was a lot of fun. We couldn’t drive too crazy as the engine break-in period states not to drive for prolonged periods over 160km/hr for the first 2000km.

Our first stop was Rockwater Secret Cove Resort  on the Sunshine Coast. We met our friends Sabri and John there. The resort was great – we stayed in “tents” over looking the water. (tents have indoor plumbing, including a jacuzzi tub) We enjoyed hiking, canoeing and exploring local restaurants.

Our Tent

Our Tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boys will be boys.

Boys will be boys.

IMG_2813

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After “camping” Bevan and I went to Whistler. I was surprised at how busy it was in the summer but Whistler is also a famous biking destination. We hiked, rode the Peak to Peak Gondola, and did a Vodka tasting – in an ice room.

We spent the last portion of our trip on Vancouver Island – visiting 2 sets of friends. We had such a great time seeing where they live, visiting, playing tennis, drinking wine, eating great food – but really the highlight was visiting our dear friends in their homes. We were sad when they left Calgary behind, but really cannot blame them at all. Vancouver Island is amazing.

Ice Room Vodka tasting in Whistler.

Ice Room Vodka tasting in Whistler.

What I learned:

1) Vodka is gross – even award winning vodkas – even while wearing a trendy parka.

2) I can still surprise my husband.

3) It is fun to drive 180km/hr on newly paved, super quiet BC highways.

4) I want to live on Vancouver Island!

Categories: Travel | 1 Comment

Camping near Caroline, AB, July 4-6, 2014.

Camping is not for wimps.

I am known to be a little wimpy when it comes to leaving the comforts of home at night – during the day – I am fine with getting a little dirty or uncomfy – but I like a clean bathroom, warm shower, jacuzzi tub, and pillow top mattress. Well, I camped at my friend Kella’s property near Caroline this weekend and had a fantastic time!

Kella’s property is approximately an hour and 20  minutes from the north end of Calgary. It is a beautiful drive – often one does not appreciate the beauty in their backyard, for instance while driving out there I know I would have asked Kella to stop a few times to take photos if we were travelling through a foreign land. There were beautiful fields of yellow (canola), a row of silver quonsets, camel coloured cows with their babies, tiny town with its ol’ western pub and pick up trucks. Very familiar and very foreign!

Cute little country church

Cute little country church

photo 2

Country Roads……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a bit of lawn care, we had a BBQ, glass of wine (yes, only glass), bonfire and good conversation. The weather was perfect. The mosquitos were annoying, but otherwise things were perfect. (other than the outhouse….which is an eco compost toilet that to my pleasant surprise/shock  did not stink at all…..until the next day after 4 more people came).

 

 

Things I learned or rediscovered:

1) I like riding a tractor mower – it is fun!

Toot Toot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Just because the wine has a picture of a cute ladybug doesn’t mean it will be a yummy, smooth, full body wine….especially at $20. (sorry for bringing such crap Kella)….however, drinking less made trips to the outhouse less frequent!

3) Do not sit too close to the fire with your flip-flops – they will melt!!!

4) Kella’s camper-trailer-house thingy is quite spacious.Not an inch of space is wasted. It made me realize that you really don’t need very much room to live in. My house seemed enormous when I got home. Maybe too big?? But hey – in a small place where would I put the 5 indoor toilets???

5) No matter how great an outhouse is – it is kept outdoors for a reason.

 

 

Categories: Travel | 1 Comment

Carmel Valley, California. June 18-22

Carmel….never disappoints. How could a place that sounds so much like caramel?? I’m often nervous to revisit a place I loved but this trip made me fall in love with this area of California even more.

We had wonderful weather – that perfect summer weather – sunny, warm, with a mild breeze so you are comfy – know what I mean? Well, if you live in Canada you probably do not.

We spent a lot of time outdoors, walking,hiking and playing tennis. We even had outdoor pedicures complete with a glass of chardonnay and a cheese plate! We had supper at the #1 top rated restaurant at the hotel we were staying at (Bernardus Lodge) which was lovely, but we probably enjoyed our meal at Baja Catina more! Maybe we are enjoying “the simple life” more these days.

Carmel-by-the-sea is a picturesque  little town with great shops and bistros. The town is even more quaint with many buildings that look like they are out of fairytales. Carmel-by-the-sea is always cooler and foggier than Carmel Valley – a 10 minute drive away.

Thatched Roof Store Lobo National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last time in Carmel we saw a man who I have named “Fernado Ferrari”. He is a man in his 60’s who was hanging out on main street listening to music being played from his Ferrari. He was sporting a bright red Ferrari jumpsuit, red Ferrari baseball hat, red Ferrari runners, and I am guessing he had red Ferrari undies on too. Apparently he just hangs out there – looking cool. I was hoping he would be there this time so I could get a photo of him, but no such luck. Something to look forward to in the future.

While we were en route to Carmel, we found out that our dear friends Juli and Brent were near San Francisco visiting family. We were able to skip our Monterey to San Fran flight and drive to San Fran – enabling us to spend a few hours with our friends and their family. We had such a great visit and were so disappointed when we had to leave at 3:30 to catch our flight. We should have stayed, because after hours and hours of our flight being delayed, it was cancelled. We ended up taking a flight to Houston after midnight, then flying to Calgary. Our 3 hour flight ended up taking us 19 hours! We were annoyed – not only by United’s terrible customer service and disorganization, but for missing out precious time with our friends.

It was a great time, despite the travel delays!

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.