One Year Ago Today…

…I lost my friend, my comic relief, my dad. This past year has been the hardest of my life with uncontrollable emotional outbursts and continual flashbacks, but I’m learning to cope. I’m learning that memories last a lifetime. I’m learning that these strange nuisances and occurrences are messages from you. I’m learning to live each day to its fullest and to love unconditionally. I’m learning that your inherited stubbornness can be used for the betterment. I’m learning to sing out loud and not care if it’s in tune or not. I’m learning to laugh everyday because it truly is the best medicine. I’m learning that if you watch Jeopardy every night you’ll get more than one answer correct. I’m learning that an ice cold Coors in a frosty mug can actually taste okay. I’m learning that beans really are a magical fruit. I’m learning that the beach truly is the best place to be. I’m learning to embrace my unique or rather quirkiness. I’m learning to be a forever kid. I’m learning to shoot for the stars. I’m learning that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and believe in yourself. I’m learning to tell those important to you that you love and care about them everyday. I’m learning that although you aren’t here in body, you’ll forever be here in spirit. I’m learning that I will never forget you, but that your memories and attributes will continue to live on through others. On today especially Dad, I’ll remember you. I love you forever and always! 

At 10:47am Ontario time, and 4:37pm France time, Daniel and I found a little café in Lyon to do a cheers to Dad. It was a bittersweet moment, but as the sun shone brightly upon us, I knew it was Dad shining his pearly whites through and cheersing us back. 

Thanks for watching over me Dad, for keeping me safe, and for loving me unconditionally. I can only hope that when I have my own children, they’ll always know how much I love them, just as I knew with you! 


When Nice Gives you Rain…go to Monaco!

This morning we awoke to another gloomy forecast for Nice. Rain, rain, and more rain. After seeing the main sites of the city yesterday, we made a last minute decision to venture into the country of Monaco! We took a quick 30 minute walk to the train station and 20 minutes later arrived in Monaco!

Upon exiting the train station we followed the signs to Jardins Exotiques, which we discovered is a beautiful terraced garden feature succulents and flora unique to Monaco. The gardens also provided spectacular views of Vieux Monaco, and within it contained a cave full of stalagmites and stalitites. 

After our tour of the cave, we took the bus to Vieux Monaco. The gorgeous narrow streets were filled with vendors and had endless pathways to get lost within. Along the way, we stopped at the cathedral, the aquarium, and Oceanographic Museum.  This museum was filled of fascinating history and was extravagant in it’s building architecture. 

Next, we visit the King’s Palace, and then ended our visit at the Monte Carlo Casino. Now, I’m not sure how much you know about Monaco, but saying this country is wealthy is probably an understatement. Everyone drove Mercedes, BMW’s, and of course your fancy Bentley’s and Mazzerati’s. The casino itself was elegant on so many levels, and the rich feeling you felt around there was overwhelming. 

Although we debated putting our money on black, instead we headed back to the train station and into Nice. We went for an amazing final local dinner before heading back to our place and getting our things organized. Tomorrow…Lyon!

Top City to Visit 2017

Bordeaux has topped the best city to visit in 2017, and I couldn’t agree more! What a remarkable introduction to France and a simply gorgeous city and more than one way. 

On Friday, we planned to get up early to explore all that Bordeaux had to offer, but an alarm malfunction, and a late sleep in, set our day off later than planned. We grabbed a quick espresso and pain de chocolate, and began our on foot journey to visit all the sites that made Bordeaux a UNESCO heritage site. We visited thirteen different sites like cathedrals, Grosse Cloche, and Tour Pey Berland, just to name a few. 

After site seeing, we hopped on the tram and headed to La Cité du Vin, which is a wine museum. Upon checkin, you’re given a headset in your language and an iPhone looking device that guides you through the museum, giving you the history, culture, facts, and interactive exhibits to engage the senses. The session concludes with your choice of a glass of wine. 

Our evening concluded with a delicious local dinner, strolling the streets, and getting packed for our next stop: Nice. 

Bordeaux: Port of the Moon

Longest shopping strip in Europe, France’s oldest museums with World War II displays, highest number of preserved historical buildings outside of Paris, and the world’s major wine industry… I must be talking about Bordeaux!

We boarded the train from San Sebastián for our three hour journey into France. Easily navigable, we stopped for a quick and delicious coffee, before checking in at our latest and greatest Air B&B in Old Town. We received the ever most important food recommendations, before heading out for a quick orientation of the town and some yummy eats. Strolling through the streets, every block looked different, yet equally as stunning in architecture. Cobblestone streets, limited vehicles, and lively squares surround each block. 

After aimless wandering, we stopped for oysters and a glass of local white wine, both of which exceeded any prior expectations we may have had. We continued on for some ice cream, more street wandering, and then a lovely dinner.  Dinner was concluded with THE BEST creme brûlée I think I’ve ever. I anticipate that this will reappear in my dreams! 

One thing that continues to arise in my mind is the quality of the food here: both in Spain and France. It’s been four years since I’ve eaten any form of refined sugar, dairy, or wheat, primarily due to the digestion issues that I had with it. However, since being here I’ve eaten (literally) everything and anything I’ve wanted and there have been no issues. What’s wrong with our Canadian food? Perhaps that’s a whole other topic for discussion. 

Tomorrow brings a site-seeing filled day and more delicious eats! I can’t wait!

Me Encanta San Sebastián 

A full day in San Sebastián meant that we would explore all that this beautiful city had to offer. After a much needed sleep in, we started our morning off with a coffee, sandwich, and treat, and then began our walk along the boardwalk of La Concha. The sun was shining, and was the perfect weather for strolling along the beach. 

Once we arrived at the end, we checked out some wind combs and relaxed along the rocks before beginning our ascend to Monte Igueldo. Here, is the most spectacular view of La Concha and town of San Sebastián. 

After spending some time taking in the view and enjoying a coffee, we headed back into town to visit the cathedral del buen pastor. This is a stunning church with beautiful stain glasses windows! 

We continued back into Old Town, strolling through the main cities park, to visit the infamous statue of Jesus. It was a decent hike on bumpy cobblestone, and also offered a beautiful view of San Sebastián. 

In the evening, and after a built up appetite, we checked out Bar Nestor for dinner. We ordered their tomatoes, peppers, and steak! The server brings two steak choices out to you, where you select your cut, and then wait in much anticipation for it to be cooked. It was the perfect way to end our stay! Tomorrow we venture to France! 

Adios Barcelona

After a much needed and rewarding sleep, we woke up to a beautiful breakfast provided by our air B&B host: pastries, bananas, and coffee. Once we ate, we said our goodbyes and headed off to explore a little more of Barcelona before going to the airport. We had a tasty coffee on route, went to a few plazas, and the Arc de Triomfe. 

Around 2pm, we took the bus back to the airport to get ready for the next leg of our trip, San Sebastián.  Within an hour, we could see the water, lush green hills, and the sun shining brightly. We took the bus into town, checked into our pension, with the beautiful view, and went to get ourselves acquainted with our new setting. 

We strolled the endless cobble stone streets of old town, watched the sun set along the water, had the most amazing gelato (I of course got the limon!), and then headed off to find some tasty and highly recommended pintxos.   

We walked by several places until deciding upon Atari. The bar was lined with gorgeous, artesian sandwiches. You choose the ones you want to try, share away, and then pay by an honour system. Our six pintxos and two delicious glasses of rioja cost €17! Well worth every penny!

We explored a few more pintxos places throughout the night before heading home. 

Viva España

Eagerly, we arrived to the Calgary airport, bags packed and ready for our much anticipated European getaway. We booked this trip spring 2016, because of the amazing flight sale, so needless to say, the anticipation  was long and coming.

After a long 8 hour flight, we landed in Amsterdam. Exhausted and barely functioning, we had plans to explore the town, but on no sleep and midnight our time, we decided to rent a room instead. Yotel in the aiport, transformed us in time to almost Star Trekesque pods. It was a bizarre but much needed experience. Four hours and €70 later, we awoke ready for our next flight to Barcelona!

Although I wouldn’t recommend Transavia Air, the flight was relatively pleasant. Upon arrival, we hopped on the Eurobus which cost €5.90 and dropped us right at the start of Las Ramblas. We wheeled our way through, checked into our incredible Air B&B, and set out to explore the town. Fantastic sights, friendly people, and of course amazing food and wine! We’re off to a good start!