Friday, February 19, 2010

Zoom! Well that went by fast!

Yes, sadly I'm home already. I totally failed to keep posting as faithfully as I did on my last trip, but we were so busy I barely had time to breathe!

So, in summary: IT WAS AWESOME! XD

It turns out my camera card is an unusual size - I couldn't upload anything to my laptop. Now that I'm home I've been able to get them online via Chris's PC. So, here are a few highlights:

This is St. Mark's Square, as seen from the gondola ride Chris and I finally decided to take.


Here is one of the MANY costumes we saw at throughout the week. The costumes ranged from simple, halloween-type getups (angel wings and teddy bear suits) to really, really elaborate period designs. This is by far not the most elaborate one we saw, if that gives you any indication of the kind of outfits people had created for this event.

Orange Costume

And another:


This is a picture of one of the chandeliers at the Teatro la Grande Fenice. We were going to go see a performance of The Barber of Seville, but we didn't get our tickets in time - every single night was sold out! This is the picture I took from the lobby, where the ticket booths were. Can you imagine how gorgeous it must be inside the theater itself?


Me, with my hair dyed pink for the trip (Great colour, Nina! Thanks so much!):


Some Venetian architecture:


A Venetian bar:


Venetian candy:


Venetian cuisine:


Venetian toilets:


X) I never did get used to those. Even our shower was totally, unnecessarily complicated!

I have many more pictures to post, but not today. I'm still pretty jetlagged and have lots of unpacking to do.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

What little faith I had in weather forecasting has been completely and permanently eroded. All the predictions I saw before I came indicated partly cloudy skies and +0 temperatures for most of the trip. I was fine with that. Then we got here and it was just miserable - cloudy, windy, raining and cold. My mother-in-law, Jan, found a weather site that said the week would get even wetter and colder, culminating in snow flurries. I was, to say the least, bummed about that.

BUT, on our first full day in (Thursday), not only did the weather *not* get worse, it actually got better. It didn't rain at all, and we saw the sun peeking through the clouds in the early evening. Yesterday and today have been completely sunny and warm. It's lovely!

So I have no idea what to expect weather-wise for the rest of the week. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it got colder, so I'm just trying to enjoy each sunny day as it comes.

In other news, there are SO MANY PEOPLE here. Lots in costume too. It's a very well attended city-wide party. And I've never seen so much open booze in my life! People just wander around with bottles of wine or beer in their hands at all hours of the day and night. It's... interesting, though not quite the bacchanalia it sounds like. Many of the tourists are young and boisterous, but there are plenty of older folks too. It balances out, which is probably for the best.

The food so far has been absolutely divine. Nom, nom, nom.....

Pictures coming soon, I promise. ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Arrival: tired but safe

Success! We are now here in Venice. The flight across the Atlantic went well, but weather conditions held us up in Munich for over an hour. Interrupted sleep had made me pretty groggy by that point though, so I dozed through most of it.

Onboard entertainment has improved from what I remember. Also plane food. And since when were drinks on Air Canada free? \0/

SO. We are here. The apartment is lovely, but the weather SUCKS. Oh Venice, you were so warm just a few days ago. Why the cold shoulder now? :( I guess we'll have to stick to indoor activities for now (we won't be bored for lack of those), but I was really looking forward to just walking around and exploring the city. We can still do that, we'll just need tuques and long underwear.

Even though jet lag now has us in its nasty grip, I'm not terribly concerned. Things tend to close early around here anyways, so if we go to bed early we're not missing anything. It's been a long day and I'm going to sleep very well.

On a positive note, we went out and ate at the first restaurant we saw, and the food was SO GOOD. The fact that such good food was so easy to find (and so reasonably priced) bodes well for us, methinks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Venice Round 2

Well, we liked Venice so much we decided to go again. This time for Carnival 2010. It won't be quite as warm as last time, but there'll be plenty to do.

The cab is on its way... here we go!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Home Wooooo!!

Hey folks! Sorry it's been such a long time since last posting. :( I've been meaning to post some more pictures, but since the upload process is such a pain in the patoot I've just been putting the whole thing off.

So we're home now: we flew back from London on Tuesday. The flight was uneventful - seats as uncomfortable as ever and a surprisingly hassle-free experience at both airports. Here I thought I would have to pay duty, but I could have spent five times as much as I did! Rats. I knew I should have researched that earlier.

We've imported some kind of British cold, but we didn't bother to declare it. The authorities probably turn a blind eye to cold-smuggling, judging from the amount of coughing we heard on the plane. My sinuses hurt. *is sick*

The night before we left we decided to splurge on some theatre tickets, or, well, seek out the half-price booths anyways. We shirked Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables to see Avenue Q. It was muppet-a-licious. I love it when the icons of my childhood are twisted into perverted adult versions of themselves. No really, no sarcasm. Must be some kind of post-Gen X thing.

Also the Haagen Dazs in Leicester Square serves up the best ice cream I can remember having in recent memory. Mmmmm.

So that was our trip - thanks everybody!! I'll get around to posting those pictures sooner or later. There are still lots from Paris and a few from Amsterdam, but I didn't take so many in London.

Barb still wants to see the naked wrestling statue. I'll think about it. ;)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Traditional Thanksgiving Pasties

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

It looks like Chris might have a cold, so after taking a short walk around Hyde Park we holed up in our hotel room and had take-away for supper. On Lauren's advice I had a pasty, which was, as she swore it would be, quite, quite good.

I might be fighting off whatever Chris has, since I've been pretty tired all day - in fact I'll probably be heading in for a nap soon. I guess we've moved past the 'exciting' part of our vacation into the 'relaxing' part.

I miss Timmie and Furrball. :(

We've heard there is a giant Haagen Daaz at Leicester Square (also courtesy of Lauren, our friendly neighborhood guide to London), so I think that's where we're headed tomorrow. Also will scarf more pasties.

Mmmmm, naptime here I come.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Culinary Adventures

One of the things we appreciated about Amsterdam was that, unlike Paris or Venice, it had a very wide variety of ethnic foods to choose from. In Paris there was an abundance of French food, and in Venice there was Italian, but in Amsterdam we could find Argentinian, Brazillian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Ethiopian, French, Italian, and American all in the same neighborhood. In fact Dutch restaurants were outnumbered.

Sadly, we didn't sample very much of the local foodstuffs. At the first Dutch restaurant we tried, Chris ordered what he thought were meatballs and got fishballs. . .or something (we never did quite figure out what was in them but it was gooey and not at all appetizing). At the second I ordered a salad and was shocked and a little horrified that it came with a *whole* round of goat cheese on top of it. There was more goat cheese than lettuce. When I mixed it thoroughly it was actually kind of good, but Chris was still traumatized by the fishballs so we thought we'd try something something closer to home next.

I didn't know this but Argentinian food seems to consist mostly of steak. We're used to British-style steakhouses in Toronto, but in Amsterdam the only steakhouses around were Argentinian and Brazilian. We went for the latter. I had the rib special and Chris had the steak. They came with fries and iceburg lettuce salad - pretty standard stuff, sadly. Feeling just a bit guilty about the un-adventurousness of the meal, I ordered a traditional Brazillian drink. I don't remember what the name of it was, but it had at least two 'C's and an 'X', and seemed to consist mostly of lime. Also it came with a buff, naked, plastic man-shaped drink stir which was very amusing.

The night before we left Chris and I got up the courage to try Indonesian food, since neither of us have ever seen an Indonesian restaurant anywhere else (that we've noticed). After that we understood why there was one on every block in Amsterdam - man, that food is GOOD! Kind of like Thai, except a bit less spicy. Chris got some kind of chicken dish and I had goat meat, both with a different coconut milk-based sauce. I thought goat meat would be gamier somehow, but it was really quite tender and yummy. The sauces were delicous and they came with some very nice noodles and jasmine rice. I really, really have to learn how to cook with coconut milk because I don't think I've ever had a meal cooked in that stuff that I didn't like.

My posts seem to be lagging further and further behind, but there's really so much to do here that I haven't had much time to sit down and update these past few days. So far in London we've seen:

-Big Ben
-Westminster Abbey
-The London Eye (although we didn't go up)
-Piccadilly Circus
-The London Aquarium
-Walworth Road (thriftshop crawl yay!)
-James Park
-Green Park
-Buckingham Palace

Also we went to see two movies (Children of Men and Little Miss Sunshine), because we both realized we were going through some pretty serious movie-withdrawal.

The weather kind of turned bad yesterday and it's not looking good today either, but we're both itching to go to Hyde Park (horse rides whee!). There's also a graphics design fair on tomorrow near Wagamama's and the conveyor-belt Japanese restaurant. I think we might forego the theatre shows because they're just so darn expensive.

But, yeah, lots to do here. Woot!