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Showing posts from September, 2009

Berlin in B Flat

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The Irish are like salmon, they must return to their birthplace. In the case of the O Dowd sisters, it was to an Irish pub. They had to watch the all-Ireland match between Kerry and Cork, with Kerry winning.

If Berlin is the wall art/graffiti capital of the world, our IKEA outfitted apartment was located in the epicentre. Friedrachstain and Berlin makes like anything and everything goes. While New York may never sleep, Berliners never stop. A wonderful edginess saturates the city. I äm sure there are sanitized sections, but Singapore this aint. The renowned German know-how and tightly systemized world may be history as hip, cutting edge designs, fashions and homes shoulder up broken down rails and urban blight.

Highlights include Berliner Dom, Brandenburger Gates, Gendarmarkt, St Helwig and the Jewish Museum, the latter of which is heavily guarded, as is the Synagogue.



Other find was B Flat, a small jazz club way too avant garde for our Diana Krall-like diet, but worth every penny. The q…

Scottish delights

So its hard to image a more beautiful city than Edinburgh. Somehow they've managed to by and large preserve the relics of a tragic and heroic history around every corner.You won't see so much stone and fine craftsmanship anywhere...and we've been to Peru. And somehow the turbulence of its heroes, villains, myths and legends are imbued in a national psyche that remains defiant to the English and globalism. Hurray to the Scots. So come. Do check out the Royal Mile and its warren of cobblestoned alleys, nooks and crannies. But it's the walks, the finely preserved architecture, the cathedrals that may not be laiden with tourist parapharnelia that stand out. And these are everywhere. Okay, we were here off season, and August sees half of Europe here, but the highlands and the off beaten track hoods and walks are no less impressive. And the homebrew, my God--thanks to Mike, I tasted real beer--real flavour. Kinda like discovering chocolate as a four yr old. No way we got to do ev…

Haggis today, haggis tomorrow, haggis Everyday!!!

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To all those who dared us to eat haggis, who tried to invoke the fear
of grey animal matter with oats....phooey to you all.
Haggis rocks. Beef, lamb, with gravy, without, with mash tatters and turnip, with oatcakes,....you name it's serious yummy!! Think meat pie without the pastry, or sausage without the casing but a whole lot tastier
Other Scottish delights. The people are chill, as is the weather though Trish and I like to think we brought joy and out of season sunshine to Edinburgh. The locals dont' have the frenetic pace of Londoners, even with hordes of tourists along Edinburghs's Royal Mile and in the central highlands. History is alive, the architecture has held up remarkably, from the imposing Edinburgh Castle, to the awe inspiring stained glass and stonework of St Giles Cathedral, to the surround sound Georgian, Victorian architecture, to the mish mash influences of Roman, Celt, Picts, Norse, Viking, French, Catholic, Protestant, Calvinism, and more, even the hated…

Bonnie Scotland

Trish has always always wanted to go to Scotland.
And now with her great buddy Deanna there, and my writing compadre Alette and her hub Mike and their poodle in Edinburgh, there was no reason not to go.
We arrived at Mike and Alette's huge Edinburgh flat (2.5 x value of our Ottawa home, 14ft ceilings, 1000 sq ft, heritage area---wait, everything is heritage in Edinburgh) and immediately set out on a lovely walk with their poodle, Japhur. We strolled along a river in Stockbridge though the worker colonies of the old mill, passing by the ancient St. Bernards Well, with its round 1789 temple (think leafy brook riddled with old ruins tucked away in urban enclave).
The next day Alette took us on a magical mystery 2hour hike through an ancient wood snaking alongside the North Esk river.This well worn path is as old as the Inca Trail yet without a soul in sight, far more tranqui. It snaked towards the keep of Rosslyn Castle and on to the enigmatic Rosslyn Chapel. All you Da Vinci Code dev…

London Calling

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London Calling(click on pix above for more shots)

For our first overseas post, I was tempted to saturate this blog with pix and descriptions of London's many historical landmarks, it's stunning architecture, and vibrant hoods. But for us the most meaningful part of this portion of our travel was being with Stan, Trish's dad; and then visiting Flo and John.
John is Trish's uncle and Stan's older bro by 11 years. Stan (daddio) is nearing 82. Flo and John courted in the mid 30's until war broke out, then they quickly became legal and married. Do the math--that's 70yrs. After the war ended, they bought the walk up flat that they now occupy. It's smaller than our double garage and would fit right into a Coronation St set. It's faded wallpaper peels away with memories and stories.
Stan and John's bantering about old times was more entertaining and rich than any theatre. Two showmen with full memory, razor sharp wit and genuine sincerity belonging to a…

The Itinerary

Our Itinerary is roughly laid out below. We only have up to our flights to China booked, the rest has purposely been left open, so that we can meander, be spontanous and have the flexability to fall in love with a place and stay for awhile.

September
London: touring the city with Stan (Trish’s Dad)
Scotland: to visit Allette, Mike and Deanna
Berlin: meeting the notorious Irish sisters, Mary and Una, to party
China

October
China

November
Vietnam
Cambodia

December
Lao
Thailand

January
Thailand
India (if time permits) and or Malaysia if Tom and family are stationed there.
Back home to Ottawa

February
South America and Antarctica – Wayne goes solo

The Bon Voyage Party

Thank you to all of you who came to our bon voyage party to wish us well on our great adventure.

Wayne is still recovering from the tequilla shots ;)

Preparations

As any cook knows, it takes hours and days to prepare a good meal and seconds to eat it. The same goes for travel. We have been planning for this trip for 3 years.. and now that it is a matter of weeks away, we are frantically researching, packing and taking care of last minute details.

Prep ain’t cheap:
Shots: measles to Japanese encephalitis $1000 each
Meds: malaria pills to Tamiflu, $1000 each
Visas: China $80, Vietnam $120 each, etc.
Gear : packs, quick dry underwear etc.

The Blog

Nowadays laptops are required equipment for most travellers. We don’t get that. For us travelling is escapist, it is our birdie at COSTCO, ROGERS and all the other evil empires. So why do so many explore the world, then esconce themselves behind a screen?

Besides, who wants to read the minutae of a pair of self-indulgent DINKS. But aside from the many requests, there are two worthy reasons for blogging. For starters as one ages, two things begin to lose their potency and stamina. The first can be cured by a blue pill with uplifting results. The second is albeit less important, but is irreversable---memory loss. Someday we may forget who we are, but we will always have a journal and pix of the death trap we boarded to a remote village in Lao, or us puking our guts out. So we will try and write an occational post to let you know that we are still allive and what we have been up.
MTnoise URL – The Trish and Wayne Brand Name

MTnoise – whats up with that in the blog address?
It is the name of…