Saturday, December 10, 2005
My new Dell Inspiron 6000 is on the way! I have to put myself into debt to get it, but it's done now so who cares. I didn't want to get a $700 laptop that I'd be dissapointed with, so I went a little further and got something that is equivalent to my old laptop....but a few upgrades (mostly just the ram and the hard drive). The estimated arrival date (on my doorstep) is Dec 20th...so I'll have a new laptop for Christmas! And....at least I can have the satisfaction of getting Airmiles for the purchase that I made. Maybe I can use the points to get some gift certificates for Coast Mountain or something.
I'm excited about making a video of my Shuswap houseboating adventures in the summer. I've been working on it a bit and it's turning out pretty good. I've been making the video in high definition widescreen...so it should look pretty amazing on my projector! I picked a Fatboy Slim song to go in the background...and it is turning out nicely.
Anyways, that's just a quick update. I'm not in the mood for typing a whole lot...this keyboard sucks and the spacebar doesn't work very well. When I'm typing it sounds like I'm using an old typewritter....everyone in the house can hear me!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
My laptop has died.
It's unrepairable. Dell doesn't make the parts anymore.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Tomorrow is going to be a good time. I don't have any classes, so I'm off to Camp Morice with Jane, Andy, and Berta for most of the day. I hope it's nice weather. It will be good to be out there and to bring Jackie some calendars. That's right! The Camp Morice calendars are done! If you want one send me an email or go to the website and order one. We'll even ship it to you if you're too lazy.
Anyways, that's enough for now (start slow and taper off...and all that stuff).
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
But, the excitement comes at the end of the day. We came to the exit of the cave and looked to see that it was snowing like crazy. We were thinking…it 3:30…we’ve got lots of time. We’ll start to get out (a 30 foot climb), and then start down the mountain right away. But, once we started down the mountain we realized that it was going to take a lot longer. Let me tell you…snow covered, wet, and cold rocks are not that easy to climb down on. We got to the car at about 5:30 and headed to town thinking that we’d be back by 7:30 (only about 1.5 hrs late). So we were driving down the 39km road (going about 60km/hr). After about 19km I started to feel my car really pulling to the right. I knew what it was right away…a flat tire. 20km from a highway or paved road. So, luckily, I had the little donut tire for a spare….but there is a problem with that…you can only go 80km/hr at maximum. After the slooooowwww driving on the dirt road we got to the paved road and started home. Most of the paved road was free of traffic until we got to the highway. On the highway, there were a bunch of vehicles flying past us the whole way…probably a little annoyed that we were going 80 when they were all wanting to go 110 or faster. At one point a black Jimmy pulled up behind me and was flashing his highbeams, swerving back and forth on the road, and honking his horn. I was thinking, “Who is this A$$hole? And why doesn’t he just pass me?” After a few seconds he passes me and there are people waving their arms and making gestures in the window as they pass. He pulls right in front of me and starts slamming on the brakes, putting on his signal (to pull over right), and waiving his arm out the window. By now, just about anyone would be thinking “what is going on and what is this guys problem?”, but I knew better. I told Rachael to roll down the window so I could give them an earful as we drove by…I knew there was something familiar about that black Jimmy, and now looking into the window I could see that it’s my new cousin Marcio, his friend Chris, and my dad in the vehicle. They’d been looking for us for a while…they were worried because we were more than 3 hours late from when we said we might be home. I learned later that one of the vehicles that had passed us earlier had my brother, Tim, Jonathan, and Nolan in it…they were also looking for us. Anyways, I pulled over and talked to my dad for a minute and told him things were fine but we were just late. So we continued on home and had a nice warm shower to clean off the excessive amounts of dirt that had accumulated on our bodies.
Not a bad story hey?
It was cool to see that so many people cared about us and were worried about us. Thanks everyone.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I didn't say because I wasn't sure if I was going to pass and I didn't want a bunch of people calling me asking how I did and then I would have to tell them that I failed. After all, I did only take 4 hours worth of lessons when the driving school thought I should take 11. But, who cares now!
That's right...if you haven't already guessed...I got my license! That's right...my class 2...umhuh! I'm so happy to have it over with. It was a big stress for me and I'm so happy that I passed. I feel like patting myself on the back and saying "Andrew, you have what it takes!...Well done!" It's a great feeling to be able to follow through on something when you decide that it's important.
Anyways, that is my big triumph for today. I'm excited about the new Lost episode which is playing on TV as we speak (or as I type), but I'm not watching it because I am at work right now. I'll have to watch it later in the week.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Well, just when you think you’ve got things under control…the whole world falls apart in front of your eyes. I’ve put my head down and been running hard all week and I just can‘t seem to get ahead. Even when I finish assignments in record time, I still can’t get it all done. It’s been pretty frustrating. And now, here I am sitting at a desk at the end of a long week, and what am I doing?…I’m working. I’d like to think that soon it will be over, that soon I will have some free time and soon I will have a regular job with regular hours….but I don’t think it will happen. I have the uncanny ability to fill every moment of free time up with something. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Anyways, I can at least look at things on a brighter side for right now. I’m sitting at work getting paid $10/hr to do nothing but wait for people to return equipment. This weekend will be a lot of fun…my cousin Saveria is getting married and a whole bunch of family is in town…it’s going to be one big party.
I’m going to go now because I’ve nothing interesting to say…maybe I’ll think of something later and add another post.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
School has started and I’ve already handed in an 8 page report on my observations at PGSS during the first week of high school. Don’t let the number of pages make you think that I put a lot of work in…my only real strength is that I can type really fast and I got good at writing my thoughts from my trip to Europe. My observation report was just a whole lot of things I noticed and then a quick story or reflection on what it meant to me. It’s was exactly what they wanted though.
It seems like I always take on too much. I’m getting my bus license, making a video for the hospital, going to school, working three nights a week, going to youth group, going to young adults group, and trying to stay in touch with friends who do not live in PG. Last week was crazy for me…I felt like everything was out of control and that I was just stuck on the ride. It’s kinda like those stupid ‘virtual adventure’ rides that you can go on…I hate those things mostly because I get so sick on them. You get inside, sit down, strap yourself in, and the attendant closes the door and you hear a big thud as the door is locked. And then you’re trapped for the duration of the ride. Some weeks feel like that for me. But, this week was a bit different. On Thursday I stayed home for most of the day and just sat at my computer or in a chair and read some books, replied to some emails and printed off some homework. It was a very relaxing day. Jane came over to borrow my internet connection for a while (so that she could download some Stargate episodes). It was interesting…we sat across the table from one another while working on various things and we didn’t say more than a few words to each other, but looking back I enjoyed having her company even though we didn’t really say anything….I don’t know…maybe it’s a guy thing. At any rate, I’m going to have to try and fit one of those ‘catch-up’ days into my schedule every week…it was very therapeutic.
The coming weeks should be pretty fun. I have some assignments for class that might be a bit interesting, but mostly I’m excited about making up a series of lessons for a unit in math 12 called Combinatorics. I’m hoping that I can find some good examples and real world applications of Combinatorics so that I can make my classes a little bit more interesting. I was thinking about why I want to work so hard at making it interesting…it’s not because I want to outdo the teacher that I’m taking over for…it’s because I want to outdo myself. Last February when I was teaching at Kelly Road I had a bunch of cool stories and real world applications that seemed to really help me to get the students to buy into what I was teaching…they actually though what I was teaching them might be useful. Anyways, I hope to give it my all for this unit and see what happens.
Well, that’s about enough for this post…I have turned over a new leaf and I plan to post a bit more often. My motto ‘Start slow and taper off ‘ is taking a back seat to my new motto ‘ Go BIG or go home ‘
Adios for now,
PS: Here is the answer to a math question...keep in mind that the answer does not nessesarily reflect my views.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I just finished the WYD video, so I thought I'd post it for everyone to see. Pete got a preview of it the other day and he gave it the thumbs up. Speaking of Pete, man that guy is awesome at making flash animations. His photoweb is super cool!
Anyways, here is the link to the WYD Video
(I recommend that you right click and choose ‘Save Target As…’ and save it to your computer before playing it – it’s over 90MB so it might take a little while to download)
Monday, September 05, 2005
The quality isn't very high because I wanted to keep the file size small, but I have a high quality version on my laptop.
Enjoy and crank up the sound!
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Anyways, just thought I'd post a short comment on my last adventure before school starts. The video that I'm making should be pretty funny...I'll be sure to post a link to it as soon as I get it done.
Bye for now,
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Well, naturlich (of course) I’m home now and well rested. It’s nice to be home and sleeping in my own bed, but it’s also very sad that the adventure is over. I am having a hard time motivating myself to get ready to go back to school next week. I’m not looking forward to it. But, I guess I should just enjoy the remaining few days that I still have and be happy that I made so many friends and had so many good experiences. I have absolutely no regrets about the entire trip (except for the fact that I got on the plane to come home). I realized on the plane ride home that I could have stayed in Europe until about Christmas if I decided to take a year off before finishing getting my education degree. But, there is a part of me that wants to get it done. I hate having loose ends, and not finishing my degree on time would be a huge loose end. Anyways, I’m here now and will be ready to put in one more year of classes until I can finally get the piece of paper that I will have paid over $10,000 for.
I weighed myself when I came back and sadly I lost 2 pounds. To most people that would be a great thing…to lose weight, but I honestly wanted to gain a bit of weight while I was gone. I was hoping that all the trekking with my 80 pounds of luggage would have helped my bulk up a bit…and I definitely ate as much as I could. Oh, well…I guess there’s always next time.
That’s right! There will be a next time…and by then who knows…maybe I’ll have some new gadget that will let me post pictures and text without a laptop. I can see myself having a cool gadget like that around this time next year.
Anyways, I’ll leave it at that for now. There is talk of one more adventure before the school year starts…We’ll see how things shape up.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
I was just sitting here typing emails and looking for songs on the net when a Turkish family came and sat near me. After a few minutes of them discussing amongst themselves, they asked me where I was from. After a few minutes the were offering me food and telling me a bit about Turkey (the Turkish pizza that they had was really good). I remembered that I still had a postcard of the Canadian Rockies, so I pulled it out and gave it to them. I also showed them a few picture from world youth day because I told them I was here for it. The next thing I know we are exchanging emails and they leave for their flight. The seemed like really nice people. It was pretty cool.
When they left, they each grabbed a push cart with a bunch of bags on it, and the dad accidently took mine (without looking at which cart he was pushing). They all laughed pretty hard when I said "Hey....that's mine..."
Anyways, in the afternoon I got a chance to go shopping for a bit and look (yet again) for the Spanish patch. I still didn't find one. At 2:15 we went down to the outdoor pool to go for a swim. Wow was that ever refreshing...they must have had that pool at the perfect temperature for a 34 C day. I dove in head first swam for a bit and then dried off in the sun in about 5 minutes. It was great. After that we went out for supper to a nice little restaurant. There was a meal for two which had a huge selection of things to share. Paella, Chorizo, Blood sussage, stuffed peppers, eggs potatoes and peppers, and a whole bunch of other things that I can't remember. The bad thing was that Peter is alergic to potatoes and about half of the stuff had potatoes in it...he got stuck eating a bunch of bread. And on top of that, the Paella must have been cooked next to some potatoes because Peter didn't feel very well after eating it.
After that we jumped in the car and started on the winedy road to Malaga. The road to get there is actually pretty good. The highway has 3 or 4 lanes and the speed limit is 100-120km/hr...the only problem is that there are toll booths every 25km or so; some cost more than others, but I guess it's the price you pay for being able to get somewhere fast. When we arrived at the airport I quickly found the line where I could check my bags and then said my goodbyes to Pete and Bob. I won't be seeing Pete until Christmas because he is going to Toronto to do his Masters degree. He decided it would be easier if he went from Spain straight to Toronto and then just had the rest of his stuff shipped on the bus.
My plane to leave Spain was a bit delayed, but it didn't matter that much to me since I don't have anywhere to go once I get to Cologne. When we drove into Malaga it was 37'C and when I landed in Cologne it was 10'C. It took me a few seconds to adjust.Now I'm just waiting in the airport...I might make a phone call or two, check my email, post this message, and try to download some of the music from World Youth Day.
The Quest continues....
Thursday, August 25, 2005
This is the last group photo that we took before the 4 of us left Marienfield leaving the rest of the crew behind.
This is a shot of one of the streets near where we are staying. I took the picture from the terrace that is on the roof.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Jenn was nice enough to get me a coffee in the morning...and I'll tell you that is not an easy thing to do when there are a million people who also want coffee. I was very thankful even though the coffee was only warm because they were making it so fast. The coffee was really nice.
After the coffee it was time to pack up our stuff and get ready to leave. Only Peter, Rachael, Elizabeth, and myself had to leave early...the rest of the crew were staying there until the mass was over. We said our goodbye to everyone and put on our packs. Then it was time for a group picture, so we took them off again. The people sitting on the field behind us were getting a bit annoyed because we were blocking their view to the screen. With our packs on, I think the four of us could have blocked out half the sky for those people. Anyways, as we left I noticed Jenn had a few tears in her eye...I think she really missed all of us PG people. The four of us decided to walk to the very back of the field and watch most of the mass from there so that we could be ahead of the other million people who would be leaving during the afternoon after mass. It was about 1.5 km just to walk to the back of the field from where we were. When we got there we dropped our packs, sat down, and had a bite to eat while we watched the start of the mass. Yes, I know...eating in mass is not allowed...but I think God had no problem making an exception this time. We stayed until the homily was over and then decided to leave. The homily was about coming to worship Him. The theme of world youth day was based on a passage from the bible where the wise men travelled a great distance to bring Him gifts. The Pope talked a lot about getting out there and using our energy and youth to change the world. He talked about not getting caught up with the politics of the church. I can't remember too much because I was so tired. I can remember thinking that his message was a message of empowerment...the same empowerment that Pope John Paul II would have gave. I have two thumbs up for Frank who gave me a radio with hand crank for a gift for being a groomsmen at his wedding. The radio has a hand crank on it so that you can charge it up whenever you want...you just have wind it up. It also has a big speaker on the front so that lots of people can listen. All the people I was with enjoyed hearing the mass in English (translated over the radio) and the radio really came in handy.
Anyways, it's a good thing we left when we did, because I heard later that most people had a 2 hr wait for the shuttle bus to the train station, and then who knows how long of a wait at the train station. We, on the other hand, had to walk about 3 more kilometers until we got to the shuttle bus which took us to the outskirts of Bonn. From there, we took a train to Bonn and then took a bus to the Cologne airport. We managed to get to the Cologne airport in record time...the busses and trains were mostly empty (the big rush had not started). Our plane to Madrid took off at 5:30pm and arrived at 7:50pm. You would think that we had travelled enough for one day, but we still had to get to Ronda which is a smaller town near Malaga. Madrid is in the north and middle of the country and Malaga is in the far south, so there was quite the distance to travel. The lady at the info booth at the airport said that the best way would be to go by train so that we could get a direct route there. She directed us to the train booking booth nearby and we went and booked our seats (only 33.50 euro's for an 11 hr train ride...not really that bad). We decided to just take an overnight train because otherwise we'd have to pay for a hotel and then waste a day on the train. So then we had the task of getting ourselves to the train station from the airport (it's about 9pm now). We were directed to the metro (subway) where we could hop on for 1 euro and take it right to the train station. While on the tram, we noticed something on the map between where we were coming up to and where we needed to be. The message said something about construction and servicio speciale. Luckily there was a young lady on the bus who was reading Harry Potter (in English), so we asked her about it and she told us that they were fixing the track and had a free bus that would take us the rest of the way to the train station. So we managed to find the bus and get on it and we arrived at the train station about 1 hour early (about 10pm). We had a bite to eat again...filled up our water bottles and had a washroom break. When the train arrived we loaded up our stuff and fell asleep. Before I fell asleep I set my alarm clock so that we wouldn't miss our stop. By the way, the alarm clock is also a feature on the radio that Frank gave me...that thing came in pretty handy.
Suffice it to say that today was a marrathon and a half. We took busses, trams, trains, and planes all in one day. I'll leave our arrival in Ronda for another post.
Adios mi Amigos,
Comment for the picture: You can see the big white dome where the Pope said mass from in the distance. The entire thing was huge and at night it lit up different colours when music was playing.
Monday, August 22, 2005
We got up at around 7am to have breakfast with the family before leaving. They had prepared a huge German breakfast for us and everyone was up and waiting to say goodbye. Coffee, tea, rye bread, jam, cheese, a hard boiled egg, buns, and orange juice. After eating and chatting a bit about what was going to happen over the next few days, we packed up our stuff and said our goodbyes. We walked to the church (only about 2 min walk) just in time for the farewell mass to start. Most of the mass was said in German, with the homily said in english. Let me tell you, it is weird listening to a mass in another language. At the end of the mass, the priest is talking, making anouncements and wrapping up the mass, and all of a sudden half of the congregation starts laughting because he just cracked a joke...but we weren't in on it; it's just weird. Ross: you know how we were saying that Catholics sound like The Borg when they are saying the Our Father...? Well Germans sound like it even more! I wish I had the guts to pull out my pocket pc and record it.
Anyways, after mass we gathered up our stuff and took a bus to the Wuppetal Hauptbahnhof (train station) where we would catch a train to the town where our pilgramage started. The train ride was long, I was tired, and to be honnest, the Americans in the same car as us were really annoying. It was hilarious when Andrea was talking to one of them and asked if they would like to have a Canada pin; the guy said "yes, yes, I'd love one", then Andrea replied, "Well...I don't think so!" I was just really funny...she shut him down big time. Even the other Americans were laughing. Of course, we still gave them some pins.
When the train arrived at its location to drop us off (about 2.5 hours later), we grabbed our bags and started our 6.5 km pilgramage to Marienfield where we would have a vigil that night, sleep in the field, and go to World Youth Day mass the next day. Peter, Rachael, Elizabeth, and myself were carrying ALL of our stuff because we had to leave for the airport the next day and didn't have time to go back to get our stuff. I think Pete and I had it the worst, but the girls also had a rough time. This is where I my strength was tested; my pack was the heaviest weighing in at about 85 pounds, and Pete just behind me with about 77 pounds. Let me tell you, it was a marathon! Pete and I were really hurting. It was the longest 6.5 km that I've ever walked.
When we arrived at the field and went to our designated area where we were to sit, we found that the entire section was full. Therefore, we had to move to the 'visitor' location where no one would be until the next day. There was a huge screen with a live video feed that we got to watch, so it was as if we were right up front. The good thing was that there was plenty of room for us to set up our tents; tents, by the way, are not allowed in the main 'pilgrims' area in order to fit more people per section. We were the rebelious Canadians whome everyone was jealous of during the night when it got cold and damp. We had a little tent city going on in the middle of 30,000 people on their foamies (just in our block). We were pretty decked out with all our camping gear from MEC.
After we were set up, we had some time to go and trade our Canadian paraphanalia. I decided that I wanted an Italian hat, and I figured that since there were over 100,000 Italians at world youth day, I'd have no problem getting one. It was actually pretty hard...they either didn't want to give it up, or wanted everything I had for trade. But, eventually I found someone who was willing to trade it for my t-shirt. I also got a chance to talk with some people from Switzerland who didn't speak English, but knew french. It was pretty cool to have a conversation with them and be able to understand them. In the end about 4 of us managed to get our hands on the Italian hats.
The vigil started late in the night and didn't finish until about 11pm. Most of us were pretty tired, so we sat around for a bit and told a few stories and then went to bed. I told a scary story called "The Viper". If I haven't told it to you before, let me know. We were all pretty beat though, so it was a relief to go to our tents and crash.
I'll go and find some pictures soon and post them. I'm sure I have a few good ones and I'm due for posting some of them.
Coming home this Saturday,
Sunday, August 21, 2005
We did, however, get to meet our friends from Lohr at the hofgarten in Bonn. They were all very excited to see us, and we were excited to see them. It's too bad we didn't have more time to visit with them that day.
By the end of the day we were thinking of staying for the stations of the cross which were to start at 7:30, but once we got there they told us that it would last about 2 hours and we'd have to walk 5km for the whole procession. If we stayed in Bonn until 9:30 and then tried to go back to Wuppetal, we'd have to go through Koln and it would probably take quite a few hours to actually get to bed, so we decided to leave right away. Its a good thing we did because the next day would prove to be very long and the extra rest was great.
That's all that I can remember about that day...sorry it's not quite so descriptive.
PS thanks for all the comments and stories. They help me to feel at home again.
Friday, August 19, 2005
We got up early and had breakfast with Martin and got to meet one of his sons Christian. Later we went to morning prayer (all spoken in German...) and then went to catecesis: songs, a talk from one of the bishops from USA, questions and answers for the bishop, and a regular catholic mass (with good music). It was pretty good. I liked the bishops talk...he mixed life stories with a couple key concepts from the bible and was good at keeping your attention. After that, we had lunch and ice cream. Speaking of ice cream...I must tell you that I have become addicted to ice cream along with 3 other people. We are in an ice cream club where we go for ice cream as often as is possible an we take turns paying the bill. Ya...we eat a lot of ice cream. Anyways, we took the train to Cologne again and found a nice spot on the Rhein to wade into the water and cool off; it was pretty hot today. Later, around 6pm, the Pope came to Cologne via a boat on the Rhein. He came to be part of a liturgy of the word in the Cathedral (Dom). We weren't interested in coming home at midnight, so we decided to leave after seeing the Pope. I have two things I'd like to explain: 1. the reason the youth are here in Cologne Germany, and 2. the crazyness of train stations.
1: We are not here to see the Pope. The Pope is here and we will get to see him, but we have not purposefully come to see him. There is a lot of stuff in the news about youth only coming to see the Pope and idolizing him and all that garbage. We are here to build in our faith with other youth from around the world; We are here to see the German people and the land they live in; We are here to make friends and grow as a person the way God intends us to.
2: The train stations are crazy. We broke up into groups of 3 or 4 so that we could better navigate the train station, but everyone is packed in there tighter than sardines; you can't get anywhere. I could raise both feet off the ground and not move an inch. The big problem is that everyone only knows of 1 entrance to the station, even though there are 2 or more. Once we got to our platform, we noticed another entrance which was about 400m away, but had 3 or 4 people walking in or out of it. Something for us to consider tomorrow. We made to to our train about 5 minutes early and managed to get some good seats on the way back. The entire trip from Cologne to our billets house in Wuppetal took 1.5 hours...it took us 3 hours the night before.
We got to eat a bit with our host family and the kids finally got to ask us some questions about Canada. It was a good visit and we still managed to get to bed before 11pm. Hopefully the extra sleep will help.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Anyways, we caught another train later on and made it back about 11:30pm...it took about twice as long as it should have. By now, we are feeling bad that we haven't been able to spend very much time with our host family and their 4 kids. They have all been excited to see us and talk to us and ask questions. So, we made a promise to get up early the next day and have breakfast with them...and then try and be home early to visit in the evening.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
After the mass the festivities began. Everyone got to get a taste of German music and culture along with some music from other cultures. We didn't stay until the end though, because we wanted to try and get back by a desent time. Or so we thought. The trains were packed! I'm not talking shoulder to shoulder packed...I'm talking chest to chest packed. There was no room to move at all. Hopefully things get better as the week progresses. Anwyas, it took quite a while to get back to our billits...we didn't really get to their house until midnight.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
At around 2:45pm we left for town to wait for our bus which would take us to Dusseldorf. After an hour the bus still hadn't arrived, so we returned to our host families to have coffee and wait for the call to say that the bus would be on its way. This was good for Pete and I because we still needed to get a picture of us and our billets...and of course it was good because I got to consume more coffee. Our billets seemed excited to have us come back and stay with them for a little bit longer. The moment we pulled into the driveway, Tereasa took off for the kitchen to get the coffee going and water boiling for tea, and Christoph dissappeared for a few seconds and returned witha couple of patio umbrella's to shade us from the sun while sipping tea or coffee on their back terrace.
At 5:30 we got a call that the bus would be in town in about 15 minutes, so we finished our drinks and went back to the meeting place. The bus arrived shortly and we all began to say our goodbye's. Everyone was sad to leave. When we got on the bus all the families lined up on both sides of the street to wave at us and say goodbye. There were a few host mothers that were very sad to see us go...I saw them sheding a few tears. It made me feel sad that we might not see them again. They treated us like family and we love them for it. Even typing that makes me feel happy and sad at the same time.
Anyways, enough mushy stuff. We left Lohr and didn't arrive in Wuppertal (an area near Dusseldorf) until midnight. My last post was written on the bus ride which is why it is kindof scatterbrained and choppy...it was a bit hard to concentrate.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Today was a huge day. A lot went on. We had to be at the train station at 7:30am to catch a train to Wertzburg (not spelled correctly) where there was a huge day planned for all those who are going to World Youth Day next week. People from all over the world were billeted in the Wertzburg diocese, so there was a ton of people there. I've got some pictures and an few video clips as well. Hopefully I will have time later. Anyways, there was worship in the morning followed by a full Catholic mass with a giant band. It was a pretty good time. After the mass we got a free lunch and had time to do stuff at the park (where the mass was) or head into town to see some of the churches, castles, or royalty mansions. We went into town and visited a very large cathedral with the biggest pipe organ I've ever seen. Then we stopped at the Residenz which is a huge mansion where royalty would entertain guests. I have some pictures of the outside, but there were no pictures allowed inside. Later, after eating supper we walked to a castle on top of a hill which had a view of the whole city. That evening, there was a concert by a band called "Wykiki Beach Bombers". They were pretty good, but half of their songs were in German, so I don't really know what the words were. We had to take the train back the same night (tonight...about a half hour before writing this).
Anyways, I have some good pictures and a few good video clips that I might be able to post tomorrow.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
We just found out that Pete's bag has been found and will arrive in Lohr tomorrow (Thursday). This is great new for Pete who has been wearing the same clothes for 3 days now. We had a funny feeling when we left his bag with the guy at the oversize luggage department...Bastardo...Stupido...Buono deniente.
Today was a really fun day...we got up really early thought (5am). I actually contemplated calling since it would only be 8pm in BC, but we were in a hurry to meet with the World Youth Day group who was arriving at 6am. We jumped on the shuttle bus and headed to the airport and waited for everyone to arrive. As usual, Peter and I had our camera's out and were snapping pictures the moment they came through those sliding doors...I fact, Morgan's first words were "Ahhh" while trying to hide behind her baggage trolly. Everyone was happy and surprised to see us. From there, we went to the regional train station (attached to the airport) and borded a train to travel to Lohr. While waiting for the train I looked around at everyone who had just made the 12 hour flight and found a lot of white and green faces. Everyone was pretty tired and hungry.
The first part of the train ride was a bit of an experience...we were 20 people and there were only sparce one person seats in each car. Some of the others mistakenly walked into the 1st class car and ended up getting yelled at by on of the train employees...once he found out they didn't speak Germany he politely asked them to move to the next car. Lucky for us, the train stopped at the end of the line after 15 minutes where we had to change trains for the last 1.5 hours of the ride. It was lucky because we changed trains and had time to get organized and get a good position (on the platform...it was 9 by the way...not 9 and 3/4 Jane). So when our train arrived, we all jumped on and got a good spot. Almost everyone dosed off for a bit during the ride except for Pete and I. Later on when talking to Pete, we decided to pretend that we were just as tired as everyone else so that we could have a nap in the afternoon and relax when we got to our billets house.
When we arrived in Lohr our billets took us to their house to drop off our bags, and then took us to the church nearby where everyone was meeting for a free lunch. We had chili and I made sure I had just as much as Peter just to make sure that he wouldn't be farting more than me. Speaking of farting, the German word for exit is "Ausfart" which literally means to let out...so you can see where we might have got the word fart from.
After lunch we returned to our billets house, had a nap, and had coffee and snacks at around 4pm. While eating, Christoph was telling us a bit about what he does and happened to mention that he had a small sailboat. When we told him that we were interested in it and had never been sailing he suggested that we go sailing on the Main for a while...hense the last post with the picture. It was lots of fund and I got a few video clips that I'll hopefully be able to post later.
Later that night they took us on a walk through the town and to a restaurant for a drink and to visit with some of our hosts. The young adults surprisingly speak very good English. They learn it in school just like we learn French in Canada, only they are much more interested in learning it and seem to be excited to be able to practice speaking it.
Finally, after all that, we came back to our billets house and had a martini before bed. I decided to type this post up before I went to bed since I had a 2 hour nap this afternoon.
I'm going to head off to bed now. I will hopefully be able to post this in the morning...I detected a wireless signal in the area, but can't connect to it from the room we are staying in. Hopefully I can get a better signal outside.
I have some pictures of Italy that I still want to post and I will hopefully get around to posting some video clips.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
So we are in Lohr now at our billets...it is really nice here and the family that we are staying at is great. We met Ben last night and found a nice hotel to stay at that cost less than the hostel we stayed at in Cologne...and get this...it was a 4 star hotel. Too bad we didn´t have more time to stay there and enjoy it.
Anyways, Peter and I got to go sailing today with Christoph our host. It was lots of fun and we really enjoyed the sun. It´s actually a bit cold here, but since we´ve been here the weather has been getting better and bettter.
OK, time to go for now...I will type more later and post when I get the chance.
Andrew and Peter
Monday, August 08, 2005
We had a good time tonight chatting with a couple guys at the youth hostel bar...one guy from Holland and one from Austria. The both spoke very good english.
Pete's bag got lost during transit from Milan, so we're working on getting it back before we leave for Frankfurt...but we're not sure how easy it will be. A real pain in the A** thought.
Anyways, I should sleep. Not too many hours left before I have to wake up.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
First, after seeing the mass time for one of the churches, we grabbed a bite to eat (some fruit) and stopped in a coffee bar where I got a double espresso. Bam! I was wired for the whole day and drank the double in about 4 mouthfuls.
Second, a story about the hotel: we took about an hour and a half looking for a place to stay last night, but had lots of trouble. The youth hostel (which was more like a 2 star hotel) was full, and there were 5 other one star hotels near it that were full also. We managed to find a 2 star hotel for 70 eu for Pete and I. The hotel was awesome and exceptionally clean and new (considering what it looked like on the outside – old and fading). I was glad that we got to stay there…a room with air conditioning as a treat. Although, I actually like the hot nights because there is no real need for sheets. Anyways, the hotel was really nice and we took a bunk load of mints each time we left and came back to the hotel (at least 30 eu worth, so we actually only paid 40 eu for the room).
Third, the train station baggage locker: when we got to the station we realized that Pete had two small bags to leave and I had one large bag. I still had quite a bit of room in the top of my bag (my giant hiking backpack), so we decided to strap my sleeping bag to the outside and try to put on of Pete’s bags into the top of mine. When all was said and done, the lid on my pack covered almost all of Pete’s bag and only the “McKinley” logo was showing. Now, I must tell you that my pack looked huge…gigantic...enormous, not to mention the fact that it now weighed about 80 pounds. They still took it and only counted it as one bag though. Saved us about 4.50 eu which was enough to buy us a couple of beers later that afternoon. Anyways, the funniest thing was when we came back to pick it up and the guy trying to carry it to us was having a lot of trouble…after about a minute he decided to bring it to the closest counter and just make us come to him.
Later, we ran off to mass and then to find the Statue of David. There was a map that we had that showed the statue on the other side of the river in Florence, so we decided to walk there. It was a couple of km away, so we walked a bit fast through the area’s we’d already seen and then took our time through the rest. By the time we got to the location on the map, we were about 150m above the city in “Piaza di Michelangelo” and got some good pictures of the city. But, by then we realized that the map was misleading and the real statue of David was not anywhere near our location. By chance, we caught up with the Aussie from the day before and found out his name was Scott. Scott was on his way to look for the statue, so he decided to come with us. We re-checked the map and found a legend that mentioned that the Statue of David was in the “Alla casa di Accadamia”, so I fired up the GPS and set the location. Two minutes later we had a detailed map of how to get there and a list of sites to see on the way. In particular, there was a giant cathedral that was really cool to see. So back a couple of km to the statue. There was a small lineup so I decided to wait and pay the 8 eu to get in. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures inside, so I didn’t get any good shots. Suffice it to say that the statue was pretty amazing…more amazing than you would think…and then some. I thought it was pretty cool anyways. There was also a hundred paintings and a whole lot of sculptures of women posing and the faces of nobles. It was definitely worth the 8 eu.
After that, we walked back to the train station (another couple km), got our bags, and only had to wait 15 minutes to board a train to Milan. Which is where I am typing this right now.
I’ve written a lot, so hopefully this makes up for the few days where I was missing. For now, I’m off to read a book while speeding down the railway on a high speed train.
I should have some pictures to post soon.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Anyways, today we left the Cinque Terre and headed to Pisa to see the tower. I'm surprised...many people have told me that there isn't much of anything to see other than the tower, but I found the city really nice. I really enjoyed it. Maybe it's because it was smoking hot and I could drink beer in public...I don't know. We actually met up with an Australian who was doing the same as us and asked if he could tag along. He was a pretty cool guy...and it wasn't till after we said goodby to him that we realized that we didn't know his name. So after that we hoped on the train and went to Florence (aren't you jealous Flo..?). The ride was only about an hour and 20 minutes which was great for me to rest and see the country side. Florence is a great town...there are a lot of tourists here and a lot of stores and restaurante's. We're planning on touring around Florence for the day tomorrow and then heading back to Milan for a couple days before we go back to Germany (see our schedule below). Since we'll be in Milan, I should have a wireless connection to post more pictures and check my email.
Anyways, here is the post I wrote yesterday:
What an amazing place. The Cinque Terre are very beautiful villages. Monterrosso is the biggest, next is Vernaza which is very beautiful, after that Corniglia where we rented a villa, then Manarola which had good swimming and cheap places to eat good food, and finally there is Riomaggiore where I didn't spend much time but really enjoyed the hike from there to Manarola. There are foot trails between each village, but trains also go through to each one. We bought a pass for the trains, buses, and hiking trails for 20eu and it was totally worth it. It lasts for 7 days and I've already gotten more than twice what it's worth out of it.
http://www.corniglia.com the city we stayed in.
Here is my new cell number +39 3463 1871 96
39 is the country code (for Italy)...so I would imagine you can call me using that number while I'm in Italy, but when I'm in germany I think you'll have to use 49. I'm not quite sure abou the dialing though...you might have to dial 1 039 3463 1871 96 when dialing from Canada, but who knows. Here, if I want to make a call to Germany from my cell I have to dial 00 49 ....(the number). I'm pretty sure that 0 is the international call prefix just like 1 is for North America, which is why I think you will have to dial 1 before the 039. If you have a cell phone, try and send me a text message and if I reply then you'll know that you got the number correct and can then make a regular call. Keep in mind that I am 9 hours ahead, so If it's after 1:30pm in BC, I might be asleep here.
I just called mom and had to call her by dialing 00 1 250 ...
Pete had something to say about grapes... click below http://web.unbc.ca/~johnsona/grapes.wmv
I have a bunch of pictures that I'll be posting right after this message.
Ciao ma familia e amici!
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I don't have any pictures right now...it's been dark and raining, so I haven't bothered taking any. I'm posting this at 11:09pm, but it's actually 2:09 pm back in BC. For people like Tyler who are having trouble doing the math...that is a 9 hour time difference.
Mom, I got to ask for "una stanza con una vista della città"... it was pretty great. I haven't been listening to the tapes very much, but I'm picking up on a lot of words.
Anyways, I have jet lag and I'm exhausted, so I'm off to bed. For anyone still at work, have a good day.
Staying at Jim and Joan's was a great time. They are really great people. I'll have to keep in touch. I managed to fix their computer while I was there, so I feel like I helped them out a bit too. My computer skills never fail me!!!!!!
Anyways, I only have a few minutes left to read my emails. I'll steal an internet connection at some point in Italy and add another post.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
So I'm just sitting here in the Vancouver airport after spending a great day with my aunt and cousins. My plane just pulled up to the gate and is getting ready to unload a bizilion people that came from London.
<-- Here's a picture
Anyways, I'm getting pretty excited even though I'm just starting an 11 hour plane ride that will probably not be that comfortable.
I imagine I'll be able to post less and less as time goes on, so I thought I'd make a post right away before I loose my steam...
"Start slow and taper off..." is my motto.
OK I'm going to go the gate now and try to get a window seat...my elbows are up...I've got my shoulder down...
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Anyways, I just had to make that observation. I'll probably post some more later, but that's it for now.
che cosa è l'importanza?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
- PG to Vancouver Sunday July 31st 9:35-10:42am
- Vancouver to Cologne Sunday July 31st 8:35pm – Monday Aug 1st 5:35pm
- Cologne to Milan Malpensa Tuesday Aug 2nd 17:50-19:15
- Milan Malpensa to Cologne Monday Aug 8th 19:50-21:10
- Cologne to Madrid Aug 21st 17:30-19:55
- Malaga to Cologne Aug 26th 21:50-00:35
- Cologne to Vancouver Aug 27th 11:35am – London 1:50pm – Vancouver 3:15pm
- Vancouver to PG Aug 27th 17:35 – 18:40
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Only 8 days until I go...I'm getting butterflies in my stomach just typing that.
buon per niente