Video Tours

Prague Around Christmas Time!

Looking out at Wenceslas Square, Prague

Looking out at Wenceslas Square, Prague

Now in the last post I told you that we were heading towards home but I want to tell you about some places we visited before we left the Netherlands.

Arriving at the airport in Prague.

Arriving at the airport in Prague.

Around Christmas time we met a friend of ours in his birthplace of Prague, Czech Republic and had a really nice time.

Wenceslas Square, Prague

Wenceslas Square, Prague

Matt and I took off on a walk about of the city two of the afternoons we were there. Although it was really cold (and wet and snowy on one of the days) we had fun looking at all the sites.

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Charles Bridge, Prague

The first place we headed to was the Charles Bridge where six years before Matt and I got engaged. We wanted to take another picture there to commemorate the date again.

Returning to the scene of the crime LOL!

Returning to the scene of the crime LOL!

At this spot on the bridge is a gold cross that people traditionally put their hands on and make a wish. The story of this spot is that back in 1393 John of Nepomuk, who is now a saint, was thrown off the bridge to his death because he would not divulge the contents of the king’s wife’s confessions to the king.

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This spot commorates John of Nepomuk.

Legend has it now that anyone who touches this spot and makes a wish will have that wish granted by the saint. Thus the reason that Matt and I were engaged here and returned to make another wish this time.

Locks on the bridge

Locks on the bridge

Also, many people put locks on this spot. We’ve seen this phenomenon all over the world in different historical spots. Apparently this is a custom called Love Locks where lovers write their names on a lock, attach it to a bridge and throw the key in the water symbolizing that they will never leave each other. Had I known what this was all about I might have brought a lock too but alas I didn’t.

I have this fascination with birds on statues...it cracks me up!

I have this fascination with birds on statues…it cracks me up!

If you only see one thing in Prague than the Charles Bridge should definitely be it in my opinion. It is covered in beautiful statues and on nice days (and even rainy, cold days) you’ll see all sorts of artists selling their pictures, artwork and jewelry among other things.

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Me with more examples of the statues on Charles Bridge, Prague

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Even on rainy days there is a sizable crowd on the Charles Bridge leading to Prague Castle.

Next we headed to the Old Town Square to see the Prague Astronomical Clock. This clock, also known as Prague Orloj, is an medieval clock that was first installed in 1410 is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working.

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Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, Prague

Check out the video of it doing it’s thing at the  top of the hour:

Some of the beautiful buildings in Old Town Square, Prague

Some of the beautiful buildings in Old Town Square, Prague

Pre-Christmas crowds in Old Town Square, Prague

Pre-Christmas crowds in Old Town Square, Prague

You see some characters when you travel the world...Prague was no different!

You see some characters when you travel the world…Prague was no different!

Next Matt and I took a bike tour of Prague in order (we thought) to see the city faster and be warmer after all someone else was peddling and we got a nice blanket. It was a faster way of seeing the city but by the end of the tour we were still freezing.

On the tour we went through the Jewish Quarter of Prague and came across the memorial to Franz Kafka. Kafka was one of Prague’s famous writers who always seemed to mention the city in many of his stories. This statue was created by Jaroslav Rona and erected on Dusni Street fairly recently. (Click here to read more about the work)

Memorial to Franz Kafka in the Jewish Quarter, Prague

Memorial to Franz Kafka in the Jewish Quarter, Prague

As we continued our tour of the city we came across several sculptures that left us scratching our heads. This picture below is of one of those such sculptures. If anyone has any insight on this one please leave a comment to fill us all in on it. I didn’t find out who the sculptor was so it makes it harder to find anything on it.

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Strange babies with zippers on their faces crawling around? But why?

The yellow penguins below apparently rise up when they open the locks to let boats go through but we didn’t get to witness the rise of the penguins.

What city doesn't have yellow penguins?

What city doesn’t have yellow penguins?

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Muzeum stop in the Metro. I just really liked the way it looked.

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Some of the subway escalators are REALLY high!

While in Prague we both also got an opportunity to play our first ever poker tourney. I didn’t do great but it was a fun experience and one must celebrate with some local brew afterwards of course!

My first WSOP Poker Tourney!

My first WPT Poker Tourney!

The night before we left Matt and I had a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Potrefena Husa.

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Potrefena Husa restaurant, Prague, CZ

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New Year’s was around the corner so Na zdraví

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Our UF companion, Gordon Gecko, had a bit to drink too!

And such ended our beautiful extended weekend in Prague.

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Categories: Czech Republic, Czech Republic, Prague, Prague | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Day 2: The Blizzard Tour

At points visibility was really low!

At points visibility was really low!

Because we couldn’t get in all the canal cruises in on Day 1 we headed back to Amsterdam the next day despite the fact that it was snowing like heck most of the day. It actually made the day a bit more fun and adventurous especially because the Dutch railroad is NOT known for it’s dependability when it snows. In the back of our minds we thought there might be the possibility that we would have to find a bus to get home or a hotel to stay in overnight. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary and we were able to get home via the railroad.

Matt ready to take on day 2!

Matt ready to take on day 2!

This duck, however, thinks we're crazy!

This duck, however, thinks we’re crazy!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure without a picture of us! 🙂

Neither rain nor snow nor...oh wait that's not our motto!

Neither rain nor snow nor…oh wait that’s not our motto!

I didn’t take a lot of pictures this day because the snow was coming down pretty thick most of the day. It was fun but it was hard getting great pictures…

The visibility was like this on and off all day.

The visibility was like this on and off all day.

The next couple of shots are of a replica of the famous Dutch ship called The Amsterdam. It was an 18th Century cargo ship of the Dutch East India Company. If you would like to know all about this beautiful ship CLICK HERE.

Beautiful Dutch Ship

Beautiful Dutch Ship

Beautiful Dutch Ship 2

Beautiful Dutch Ship 2

Dutch flagging flying high!

Dutch flagging flying high!

Right next to this lovely ship you’ll find the National Maritime Museum also known as Het Scheepvaartmuseum!

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam

Just in case you weren’t convinced about how cold it was, here are some icy canal photos. For more of a real experience put on the theme to Titanic and you’ll be hearing exactly what I was hearing (well, in my head at least…In reality I was hearing scraping ice on the side of the boat too…) while on the boat.

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Does that seagull look pissed to you? He’s at least moderately grumpy due to the whole ice thing…

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You can’t really tell from the photo but this ice is fairly thick.

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Ice covered boats, Amsterdam

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I think some of these boats have seen better days!

Here is some raw footage of our icy Amsterdam Canal cruise. Being I am so behind on my travel blogs I didn’t take any extra time to edit out and only pick the key moments but I think you’ll still enjoy watching this.

Matt in Amsterdam City Center in the snow!!!

Matt in Amsterdam City Center in the snow!!!

A very cold me in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station on way back to Alphen.

A very cold me in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station on way back to Alphen.

Amsterdam Centraal Station is housed in a really beautiful old and ornate building. Simply gorgeous. Check out this quick little video I made of the building and the area around it. It was impossible to get that big building in one photo and do it justice but the video does a really good job of it.

Well that’s all for our Amsterdam travels. Just a few more Netherlands post and we’re off to the next destination. Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Day 1: The Sunshine Tour

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One of the many boats along the canal that fascinated me! This one is so romantic!

Right before we left Holland (maybe 5 days before) we decided that you can’t go to the Netherlands and not do an Amsterdam canal cruise. So despite the fact that it was really cold and the canals were freezing, we headed to Amsterdam to experience the waterways for ourselves.

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You can see by the above picture that the canals were all freezing and because of that there was only 2 of the 3 or 4 canal routes open. It was a really cool experience however if you’ve never heard the sound of ice scraping the side of the boat I can tell you that it is a little disconcerting. I just could not get the theme from the Titanic out of my head during both days of canal tours.

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Holland has some really nice architecture that you can’t see anywhere else in the world and seeing it from the canals is absolutely incredible!

Canals, bicycles, and seagulls...it must be Amsterdam!

Canals, bicycles, and seagulls…it must be Amsterdam!

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One thing I’ve learned from traveling is that you’re never too far from a Hard Rock Cafe and their ‘Save The Planet’ logo! Makes me smile every time!

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Some more beautiful architecture coming up…

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The detail on these buildings are stunning!

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It’s like a mini White House! I want to live here!

I can picture myself sunning in that wonderful sun room in this next house…

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Sun room and everything…

Me looking pretty damn cold...I was!

Me looking pretty damn cold…I was!

I think this next picture shows I was pretty justified in shivering….

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

I love the splashes of color that the boats add to the cold, icy landscape in these next few pictures!

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Most of the buildings in the city have family crests on top from days gone by. There were no numbers on the houses (and mostly there still aren’t) because the houses were identified by the crests and the buildings had names.

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This one has the crest on the door too!

And this next picture shows you how you move into one of these buildings. Due to the fact that in Amsterdam they build up and the buildings are tall and skinny the stairs are tall and skinny too making it impossible in most cases to move furniture in in the traditional way. Everything goes up and in the windows!

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In this next picture you’ll see that at the top of most of these buildings are hooks that were (and still are to some extent) used to load things up and into the building.

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Tommy Hilfiger knows how to get things directly shipped in to them…

Tommy Hilfiger, Amsterdam

Tommy Hilfiger, Amsterdam

Beautiful canal views!

Beautiful canal views!

Beautiful ornate bridge, Amsterdam

Beautiful ornate bridge, Amsterdam

And lots of house boats lined the canals. Almost tempts you to want to rent one for a bit and see how it is.

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We really loved these buildings on the canals with the green and red shutters.

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Accents of red and green brighten up the cold, grey day.

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Very cool clock tower coming up…

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And more very large house boats on the canals…

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What’s more Dutch than bicycles…everywhere!

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Imagine living on the canal like that? Amazing!

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Then there’s the famous Grasshopper! It has everything from a steak house on the top floor, a sports bar on the middle floor and a coffee shop on the bottom floor that serves that green stuff that Amsterdam is known for (thus the name ‘Grasshopper’). Behind this building begins the Red Light District of which I have no photos (you are strictly not allowed to and there are people watching that you don’t…even if you don’t see them).

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Schipol Airport's famous 'I amsterdam' sign at night in the snow.

Schipol Airport’s famous ‘I Amsterdam’ sign at night in the snow.

And here is a picture of Matt and I as we start out on our canal cruise…

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Here are two videos I took of the canal tours. Nothing Oscar winning but still has some really cool bits. I hope you enjoy! Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where we return the next day during on and off blizzard conditions to take the other canal tour!

 

Categories: Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Snowy Day In Alphen Aan Den Rijn, Netherlands

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

After leaving Florida and heading to the Netherlands I was looking forward to some winter weather and in early January we got some. We went to bed with flurries and woke up to a winter wonderland so, of course, Matt and I had to go out and explore especially because this was his first real winter. Here are some pictures from that day.

Do you see the cat?

Do you see the cat?

I bet you do now! 🙂

Our neighbor's cat was intrigued with this white floaty stuff!

Our neighbor’s cat was intrigued with this white floaty stuff!

No school day for these kids...

No snow day for the kids at this school…

The view through our little Christmas tree...

The view through our little Christmas tree…

New mode of transportation...the sled!

New mode of transportation…the sled!

The school where the kids came from...

Where are the kids? It’s SNOWING!!

Snowball fight!!!

Snowball fight!!!

I was impressed with the teachers at this school. These kids get to play outside in the school yard every day but this day because it was snowing, they came out earlier and were brought out to the playground behind our building to have a snowball fight!

I call this one...snowfall on plant thing! :-)

I call this one…snowfall on plant thing! 🙂

So now after seeing how fearless the children were in dealing with the snow…Matt and I ventured out on our walk in the winter wonderland too!

Canals are starting to freeze...yes those are duck footprints!

Canals are starting to freeze…yes those are duck footprints!

And then we found out where the ducks went…the other side wasn’t quite as frozen…YET!

A bit of unfrozen canal for the birdies!

A bit of unfrozen canal for the birdies!

Pretty winter canal scene

Pretty winter canal scene

Matt is ready to experience a walk in the snow!

Matt is ready to experience a walk in the snow!

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This it the park where I used to see my little cat friend…this cold day he wasn’t there! Smart kitty! 🙂

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Get ready for this one…I call this photo ‘Snow on rock wall’…pretty clever, ehh?

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I guess because the town is fairly easy to get around in they felt the need to add some confusion…hey, it worked!

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‘Snow on…I don’t know what this is…but there’s snow on it’!

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I really liked these condos and the park that was a part of it!

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Snow and red condos!

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This little guy seemed so lonely there…but I thought it was pretty.

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I couldn’t decide which picture I liked best so you got them both.

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These guys seem determined to wait it out right there…on the ice!

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They hardly seemed bothered by the cold!

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These swans and ducks found one of the rare places where the water wasn’t frozen!

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Ducks on ice!

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Bridge over frozen waters…

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Nice homes on the park…

Bridge in Europapark!

Bridge in Europapark!

Can you hear the snowy silence?

Can you hear the snowy silence?

More sleds as transport...this is what they use when they can't ride their bikes because of the snow.

More sleds as transport…this is what they use when they can’t ride their bikes because of the snow.

A cow sign in the middle of town???

A cow sign in the middle of town???

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Well lookie there…a cow…

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The rest of the herd…we walked right by them and they barely looked at us. Must be used to the foot traffic on that little trail.

More snow and glad to be in the warm apartment.

More snow and glad to be back in the warm apartment.

Parents picking up their kids from school with sleds rather than the usual bikes.

Parents picking up their kids from school with sleds rather than the usual bikes.

It's coming down again!

It’s coming down again!

Categories: Alphen aan den Rijn, Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, Netherlands, Video Tours | 4 Comments

New Year’s Eve In The Netherlands

Fireworks Outside Our Window

Fireworks Outside Our Window

When I arrived here at the end of October I kept hearing what seemed like explosions throughout the town at strange times of the day. Matt didn’t know what they were and said he’d been hearing them all along. We came up with theories that it could be a transformer blowing or maybe something to do with the windmills that are located down the street and various other situations that we felt might produce a noise like that.

We even asked our landlord’s dad who told us he hadn’t been hearing anything but maybe it was fireworks. He stated that they’re not legal in the Netherlands with the exception of about 3 days, December 31 – January 2, but he said sometimes people try to get away with it at other times. B-I-N-G-O! After that we were looking to see who it was every time we heard a loud boom and eventually our persistence paid off. Teenagers!

They roamed around the neighborhood looking all innocent (actually they looked like they were up to something but they thought they looked innocent) and they would discreetly light  something, throw it, and run like hell. Now as clever as they thought they were they would always backtrack to the same area, usually laughing, but if they saw you looking at them they would slink off like they knew nothing.

The Neighborhood Comes Alive!

The Neighborhood Comes Alive!

Anyway, long story short (probably too late for that actually…but I digress) New Year’s Eve morning at 8 a.m. we are awoken but what sounds like a mortar round. Are we being invaded again? After all that’s not unknown in Europe and certainly the Netherlands has had their share of invasions. No! Apparently because it’s New Year’s Eve Day it’s legal and bands of teenagers with backpacks full of fireworks are roaming the streets seeing who can make the loudest explosion! Oh joy! It’s going to be a long day!

By 8 p.m. the firework explosions had been consistent for 12-hours and the novelty was worn off. There were no ‘pretty’ fireworks all day, just the loud bangs of your basic explosives, and I stated that there better be some pretty fireworks at midnight or this whole display of affection for fireworks will have been for naught. Don’t disappoint me Dutch people! Show me what you’ve really got!

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First of all, I should say tell you our town is so quiet that you hardly see anyone during the day except when they are taking their kids to school (the school yard is across the street from our apartment) or picking them up. At night, it’s like a ghost town with the exception of those few wandering teens that really should be home.

But New Year’s Eve at 11:59 p.m. it began! It was amazing! Like clockwork the town all came out of their homes and started lighting off fireworks, the booming kind and much to my delight lots of the ‘pretty’ kind too! This wasn’t the fireworks show of some organized state agency. This was private citizens who had apparently been buying and saving up for New Year’s for some time and the effort was fantastic!

We were delighted by the neighborhood display and figured that it would last a half hour at most because after all these were private citizens. How long could they possibly sustain this massive display? Well let me tell you that growing up on Long Island I remember the greatest fireworks displays were done by the Grimaldi’s. They usually were the ones doing the shows over the Harbor in New York City on July 4th and New Year’s Eve but even their shows only lasted about a half hour or so.

Kind of looks like an Angel to me! What do you think?

Kind of looks like an Angel to me! What do you think?

The show here lasted until about 2:30 – 3:00 a.m. pretty much full tilt! I found myself smiling and laughing like a kid because it was just so awesome and unexpected. Over the last few years in the States fireworks displays have been really measly and unimpressive so I just figured it was like that everywhere. I was wrong. Matt and I have already discussed the possibility of coming back to the Netherlands sometime in the future to experience New Year’s Eve by taking a canal tour in Amsterdam during the fireworks. I can only imagine that would be insanely beautiful!

Well without yammering on any more here is a video of our neighborhood letting loose on New Year’s Eve. There’s even an unconfirmed UFO sighting in there so make sure you watch the whole thing. 🙂 I hope you all enjoy it. We certainly did!

Categories: Alphen aan den Rijn, Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, Netherlands, New Year's In New Places, Video Tours | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Barb’s Famous Fish And Chips And More…

Beautiful Architecture!

Today we set out on another beautifully sunny day in Victoria, B.C. to see the city on foot (which is really the only way to do it) and enjoy the beautiful weather. We left our friend’s condo and head across the bridge to the city center taking some pictures on the way.

Talk about strength…check this little one out!

Down by the harbor we found that there was a protest going on at the Parliament building (I guess more of the Wall Street protests spreading everywhere) but there’ll be more photos of that later on in this blog.

The Empress Hotel in all it’s spendor, Victoria, B.C.

The Empress Hotel was beautiful in the sunshine with the red vines crawling up it and then we decided that it was a little too warm for the clothes we were wearing and caught a water taxi to take us across Victoria Harbor back to the condo to change. When you come to Victoria you really have to take the water taxis even if it’s just to take the complete circuit of the harbor. So much of Victoria is about being on the water – the water taxis, the seaplane strip that is the harbor, the fishermen that go out every day to supply the city with fresh caught, wild salmon, haddock, etc, etc. to go to Victoria and not experience that life would be a shame.

Check out the video of our water taxi ride and the seaplane that was right next to us:

If you notice in that video we’re on the water taxi and have to slow down for a seaplane to get to the terminal in the harbor. Our friend informed us that Victoria Harbor Airport is the third largest airport in Canada and the biggest seaplane airport anywhere. They take that very seriously here. This harbor is alive with action from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. when seaplanes, ferries to Port Washington, Seattle, and Vancouver come in and out, as well as kayakers, fishermen, whale watchers and more take to the harbor to have a look.

Barb’s Place, Fisherman’s Wharf

After we changed into more appropriate clothing for the glorious weather we were having we decided to once again take the water taxi but this time from the dock in back of the condo across to Fisherman’s Wharf to finally taste the famous fish and chips from Barb’s Place.

Now due to the fact that both Matt and I have gained a bit more weight lately than we’d like to admit we abstained from having the ‘chips’ with our ‘fish’. I know it’s blasphemous but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Instead we opted for a nice green salad with it.

Barb’s Famous Fish and…errr…Salad?

This place is on Fisherman’s Wharf and it’s an area where people live in floating houses. It’s like a little tiny (really tiny) village in itself. Seagulls are flying overhead and the occasional seal can be seen next to the docks hoping for some left overs to come his or her way. We didn’t see any seals today but I overheard someone say that there was one there just a few minutes before.

Our meal was very flaky, moist, and greasy just like you hope your fish and chips will be. I still think I’ve had better than this in Victoria the last time we were here at a pub that I can’t remember the name of (but I do remember how to get back there) so I might have to revisit that place and do a comparison.

After our nice leisurely meal dockside we decided to walk along the docks and see what else there was to see. Our friend, Jurg, had told us about a coffee shop here that he said was really good and gave us a frequent customer card to take advantage of so, of course, I had to oblige and check them out. 🙂

Chilly after our nice lunch on the docks, a coffee was in order!

I went in and ordered a nice, hot, decaf Carmel Latte with soy milk and it was heavenly.

It was a nice little place too and the staff was friendly and had a great sense of humor as well. The apparently have performers there from time to time and the atmosphere was really relaxing. It seemed to be a great place to chill out and enjoy your coffee and scone.

I think I may just have to visit this coffee house a few more times while I am here. I LIKED it!

Armed with our hot, delicious caramel lattes Matt and I set out to see the city and walk all the way home.

Floating homes on Fisherman’s Wharf

You see, Fisherman’s Wharf is directly across the water from where we are staying. The only way to get back there is to take the water taxi or walk all the way around. We opted for the walk all the way around option because of the aforementioned weight that we need to lose and the fact that it’s a beautiful city and a beautiful day.

I have a fascination with the floating houses here. I think it’s really cool but I don’t think I would be able to live in one. I think the constant rocking might really mess up my already messed up ear. Heck, I start rocking when I am on land. I can’t imagine what it would be like if that was a regular thing with my house! Geez!

Nautical Delights!

Solar Powered Trash Compactor

Some of the boats here are gorgeous as well. As we walked along the waterside trail we found things that I’ve never seen before like have you ever seen a solar powered trash compactor? Well, I can now officially say that I have. Quite a great idea too in my opinion!

In town we noticed that the few protesters mentioned earlier had apparently recruited some of their friends and were marching down the main thorough fare to the Parliament building.

Protestors in Victoria, BC – Oct. 15th, 2011

More Protestors, Victoria BC – Oct. 15th, 2011

Police had a few roads blocked off for their safety and all in all it was a peaceful protest.

I can’t say that I completely GET what all these protesters are trying to accomplish but I will give them an A for doing something…what that is exactly I am not sure but it’s something I guess.

We gawked with the rest of the tourists and snapped photos and video reading the signs that they carried. Some I have to admit didn’t make much sense really but I am not really into politics so maybe I just don’t get it. I am okay with that so no need to teach me a history lesson or give me any political opinions here. It’s my blog and I am just saying what went through my mind in my own space. It’s all good. I am all about peace and I was glad that everyone was allowed to express themselves freely, safely, and without violence.

We continued our leisurely walk back to our friend’s condo with a brief stop off at the local Stop & Save to gather some groceries for some recipes I want to make for all of us this coming week.

Upon arrival back to the condo we decided that we probably should work out in the gym BEFORE we got too comfortable.

So down to the gym we went and put in a nice hour long workout complete with some weight lifting.

Having completed a great day of exercise and fresh air I decided to make some granola tonight which was a request from our host. His supply was running low and his wife was out of town. So here’s a picture of the finished granola.

Crunchy, Vanilla-Cranberry Granola

Well after that day there was nothing left to do but make dinner, pour a glass of wine, and watch several episodes of the fourth season of Boston Legal! Ah…what a nice day!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Victoria!

Categories: Canada, Canada, Challenges Insights and More, Food and Other Stuff, Recycling and the Energy Crisis, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC, Video Tours | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do I Have The Kinks Song Victoria In My Head Again?

Our View Of Victoria Harbor in British Columbia

Well that’s easy, because I find myself in Victoria, B.C. again thanks to a good friend of ours who lives there. His wife was away and he wanted company so he sent Matt and I tickets to come visit him again. A very nice surprise indeed.

Our journey there was an interesting one too. Having only found out about the journey to Victoria four days prior Matt and I found ourselves at Miami Airport VERY, VERY early in the morning only to find out that our flight to Victoria (you know, the ONLY flight to Victoria that only involved one stop in Seattle and only flew ONCE a day AND caused us to have to get up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport in time…yeah, that flight) was cancelled due to a sick crew member. Later they decided to fly a special flight for us at 7 p.m. So we got to peruse Miami Airport for about 11 hours but I digress.

Short of that the rest of the trip was good. Because the flight had so few people on it (most had rescheduled for the next day or had taken other airlines to get where they were going) we all got a whole row of seats on the plane to ourselves. I actually for the first time got to sleep on the flight because I could actually lay down. Oh it was wonderful! Other amenities we received for our troubles were a free glass of wine (I got two…Matt doesn’t really drink…it also helped the aforementioned sleeping on the plane bit too), a free sandwich (if you were a meat eater but still a good gesture), and free use of the portable Digiplayer with all the movies, games, music videos, etc plus they had to put us up in a hotel in Seattle being our arrival came at a time where no planes were flying to Victoria until the morning.

Here’s a video of our flight from Seattle to Victoria, B.C.:

And here’s a video of us landing at Victoria International Airport:

Once we arrived in Victoria we were greeted by our friend, Jurg, and we proceeded to make us a nice homemade dinner of pasta, wine, and appetizers.

A Canoe!

Outside The Canoe Club, Victoria B.C.

Home Brewed At The Canoe Club

Where all the magic happens!

Quinoa and Chickpea Veggie Burger with Butternut Squash Soup

The next day was our first full day in Victoria and we headed to the Canoe Club for lunch where I had a really great Quinoa and Chickpea veggie burger and a bowl of Butternut Squash soup. I washed it all down with a Canoe Club in house made Ale that was wonderful.

Wild Caught Local Sockeye Salmon!

In the evening we all strolled back into town for a wonderful meal at Nautical Nellie’s where I indulged in my first piece of Wild Sockeye Salmon in over a year. I am totally vegetarian but make certain exceptions (such as certain fish mostly…I am not interested in other meat things) when traveling in order to experience the local foods. This salmon was local and wild caught in British Columbia and it was the best salmon I believe I’ve ever had. Matt and Jurg had surf and turf.

Next up is a visit to one of the ‘famous’ local places to eat called Barb’s. They are known for their fish and chips and I’ve heard they are the best in Victoria. I’ll report back soon.

Categories: Canada, Canada, Food and Other Stuff, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC, Video Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Great Question To Ask When You’re Traveling!

I came across this great video today on http://www.wimp.com, if you haven’t checked this site out it’s always got something interesting there to grab your attention. Today I found this video and I think it’s a brilliant thing to ask people when you’re traveling because it gives you an insight to the culture of the place you’re visiting.

In this video the person with the video camera is asking the question ‘What are you listening to?’ Simple question right? But how much could we learn about a culture by just asking this one question of everyone you meet? How many new sounds and artists could you discover by asking this question everywhere you travel?

I, myself, am a musician and I always listen to what is playing on the radio or in shops when I am traveling but I’ve never thought to just ask people this question. I think it’s wonderful. Imagine how much more you’ll remember that trip when you’ve created a playlist for your whole vacation. Imagine pairing that music now with all those pictures and stories you have from your travels. Imagine how much more meaningful and powerful that vacation has just become from one little question, ‘what are you listening to?’ I think I am going to start asking that of people when I travel. How about you?

Here’s the video: ‘London: What Song Are You Listening To?’

UPDATE: June 22, 2011

Here’s a follow up video called ‘Toronto: What Song Are You Listening To?

Categories: England, London, Video Tours | Leave a comment

It’s Nearly Summer and There’s Babies Everywhere!

Beach, South Florida – May 2011

So I was realizing that I never write about things that happen around where I live and I was wondering why I wasn’t doing that. Isn’t where I live (Florida…vacation capital of the U.S.) a viable destination that could be included in my travel blog? Of course it is!

So although I’ve promised you more about my recent travel to Victoria, BC (which I loved by the way) I am going to take the liberty to divert to my home happenings today.

You see here in South Florida it’s already nearing what most of the country would consider a hot summer but let me tell you that by South Florida standards this is spring and in the spring time everything is having babies and it’s so fun to watch.

We’ve had little baby rabbits and squirrels and mocking birds and, most recently, a nest full of ospreys being born. We’re having a thrill watching the ospreys learn to fly and catch their own fish and just learning to let go of the security of mommy and daddy osprey.

But just the other afternoon I was delighted to see a new family of Sandhill Cranes come visit our backyard, mommy, daddy, and two little Sandhill Crane babies. Inspired by that and the beauty of it all I made a little video of their visit with us. I hope you like it.

Categories: Florida, Florida, Stuart, United States, Video Tours | 1 Comment

James Blunt and Victoria Get It On!

James Blunt Performing at The Royal Theatre in Victoria BC - May 9, 2011

We had a great time in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada last week and I’ll write about all that in upcoming blogs but the highlight of the trip (besides seeing friends, of course) was being surprised by said friends with tickets to see James Blunt in concert at the Royal Theatre right there in Victoria.

The concert was incredible and the venue couldn’t have been better. It was a nice little intimate theatre where the acoustics were fantastic and James freely walked in the back door through the crowd to the stage. He also did a complete walk around the theatre during the show as well which was a nice surprise to everyone.

His soulful, emotional presentation of his songs was incredible and no one can deny his musical abilities as well as his great sense of humor. The majority of the time he was trying to coax the entire audience out of their clothes. Eventually he continued to try and ‘woo’ us all out of them. I think several audience members were quite willing to take him up on it but no one (to my knowledge anyway) actually did.

Here is a partial video that I took of James singing his song ‘Billy’ from his first album called ‘Back To Bedlam’. I only recorded part of the song and then stopped. Why? I really don’t know. I think I got so enthralled with the concert that I just stopped but here’s a bit of footage of it anyway for your entertainment.

Overall it was a fantastic performance by a talented musician/songwriter/singer and I would highly recommend everyone check James Blunt out the next time he performs in your town…or do like I did and go on vacation and see him there. It definitely makes a vacation that much more special when you combine it with a great musical performance.

Come back again soon to read my further adventures in Victoria, BC, Canada…

Categories: Canada, Canada, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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