Home Sweet Home

Well… not quite yet but one more night in Paris (disregard the infamous pun) and then I will be HOME SWEET HOME! This 3 week trip has taught me a few things:

A) I am a true homebody (I will tend to miss home if I am gone far too long)

B) Two weeks is often enough for any vacation of mine

C) I can actually survive, cook and care for myself if push comes to shove (or if left to Camille)

I had a great time in Europe (Vilvoorde, Gent, Amsterdam and of course Paris) but it has made me realize that I am a true character of where I come from and my routine, my surroundings and my comfort zones are proof that I could never live anywhere else but where I reside right now.

I am glad I did what I had been wanting to do and what Cam and I have been planning for since time and being here with her and experiencing the time of our lives has been a blast and something I will always remember!

 

Au Revoir Paris!

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It’s a Small World Afterall!

WE WENT TO DISNEYLAND, PARIS!!!

For someone (me) who’s never been to Disneyland before, I think it’s pretty amazing that I can now say I’ve only been to the Disneyland in Paris (lol)! It was sooo much fun! Camille and I were able to go on every ride our hearts desired, including the heartstopping Hollywood Tower of Terror which Camille from the very beginning adamantly claimed she was not going on due to her ever-growing fear of heights! Guess what, she went on it (lol) but mainly because I tricked her and told her to just wait in line with me until I get to the front and then she could leave but lo and behold, we got to the front and unfortunately for her, there was no escape route (lol)! Nonetheless, in my heart of hearts, I truly believe she had a great time even if her head was buried in the crevace of my armpit the whole time (lol). I’m so proud of her! But then she did get me back by making me go to the Haunted House which scared the freaking shite out of me! I know, you all are probably thinking, no way she did it but yessir I did (lol). It was all in good fun and even though some of the rides were so dizzying that it made me sick, it still was all part of the fun (think I’m getting old).

The highlight of the day was buying our children- Minnie Mouse and Dumbo (lol). We were contemplating all day which character we each should buy and as soon as I saw my Dumbo and as soon as I showed Cam her Minnie Mouse, we knew they were the ones (lol). We took them everywhere and even took pictures of just them in the park (lol, yes we are nerds).

Also, the second highlight of the day was us TOTALLY pigging out on buckets of popcorn and cotton candy. We discovered we loved the combination of cotton candy and salty popcorn so much that we pigged out like we had not eaten in centuries (lol) and regretfully, although we don’t have any pictures of such an incident (us pigging out like we’d never seen food), I am sure some tourist got a huge laugh from seeing us savagely attacking those buckets that maybe they took a picture and someday, as embarrassing as it will be, it will end up on the world wide web and everything will be okay again (lol).

Dasvidanya Amsterdam!

Of all the places I’ve had the privilege to visit so far, I would have to say Amsterdam was one of my top favourites (not that there are many). I had such a great time in Amsterdam seeing the sights, visiting the Anne Frank House and Heineken brewery, meeting new people and just general all around partying/shopping!

One of the first things you notice in Amsterdam is that everyone is there to have a good time and everyone is relaxed and non-judgmental. The culture is very open and inviting; you can do no wrong if you stick to the major etiquettes (like no taking pictures in the Redlight District).

The ancient buildings and landmarks in Amsterdam are unique and amazing. I must say one of my bias reasons for enjoying Amsterdam so much is the fact that there are COWS everywhere from shop windows next to dildos to cow t-shirts and clogs (lol). It’s amazing; I have tons of pictures of course!

The Anne Frank Huis was by far one of my favourite things I did in Amsterdam and probably the best museum I’ve been to. As a child, it was one of my favourite books and I felt like I was able to meet her, somehow, by visiting the museum. I got to see who the author of the beloved diary was. The museum really allows you to get to know her and her family through pictures, background history, video clips of their closest friends and family and her diary scrawls on the walls. Stepping into her room (the rooms and house have been preserved just as they were then, minus furniture) was very real, very haunting and very emotional because you were able to grasp a sense of who she was and how bubbly she used to be as a little girl. The walls were covered in magazine cut outs just as we would do today; her and Margot’s writing on the wall- how many more inches they each grew every few weeks. It was just a humbling experience that I think was completely worth the entire trip and anyone who ever visits Amsterdam and has ever had the chance to read the book, should definitely go visit it. Her story, her words and her diary continue to inspire us all and I feel extremely lucky that I was able to go see it.

The Heineken brewery was my second favourite event in Amsterdam! We all thought we were going to go on this dinky tour of how beer is made and its history but it was all that and MORE! First of all, it was more so a museum that you can freely roam as opposed to being stuck in a group of tourists asking all kinds of questions and being held back. Cam and I took tons of pictures (more so me lol) of all the background info and history of Heineken which is pretty cool actually. My favourite part was tasting the beer of course and we even have a hilarious video of Cam “making beer” and us doing a tasting. At the end of the tour we bought some souvenirs and had a funny fateful “encounter”.

Partying in Amsterdam was one thing that truly surprised me. Let me explain- when you think of Amsterdam, you think of rowdy tourists and drunken Irish/Dutch men singing on the streets about how much they love marijuana lol. But nope, in Amsterdam, the streets past 3am grow very quiet (and I feel we were in the centre of partytown) and everything slowly begins to shut down by 2am. It was truly an eye-opener for Cam and I mainly because we were out from 4am to 5am after partying hoping to find some action (other parties) and found that the streets were completely bare, save for a crazy man and some dude on a bike. However, even though the streets past 3am were less livelier than we expected (even downtown Toronto, I feel, never truly closes down), we still managed to enjoy ourselves by meeting new people and finding great bars/clubs. We predrank at Hunter’s Cafe, smoked at the infamous chain, The Bulldog Cafe and danced our troubles away at Paradiseo and Escape.

Redlight District- it was everything I thought it would be. Redlights, tiny cobble stone streets, tourists and of course the barely-dressed girls. For the most part, it was great to see because it is so different from what we are used to in North America. It isn’t as lewd as we think it is for the most part. I feel it is mainly a tourist area as well as a main local attraction. People from all backgrounds and ages were there to take in the culture and of course see the sights! It is normal for them and we tried to seem as normal as possible being there.

Last but not least, when in Amsterdam see a sex show. I am reluctant to go into too much detail but I must say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Again, just like the Redlight District, the ‘auditorium’ was full of people of various different backgrounds and ages (18+ of course), some of which I was very surprised to see. Cam and I really thought of it much more as an artistic expression of the human body than two people engaging in sexual intercourse and other sexual acts lol. We started to give each performer checkmarks for different qualifications. For instance if one of the female performers was a great dancer or even funny, she got a CHECK and if a male performer was pleasantly engaging the audience, he also got a CHECK! It’s something to remember and to look back and have a chuckle about- nothing to be taken too seriously here.

Great fun! Amsterdam is a must-see if you ever have the opportunity to (not just the partying but the tourist attractions are enthralling)!

When in Gent…

The past weekend was amazing- we did a mad European road trip to Belgium and Amsterdam. We had such a great time (sooo much to write- another Amsterdam blog to follow). The drive was less eventful than I thought it would be (I thought we’d see mountains and greeneraries but it was much the same as any other road trip spanning 5 hours (that includes switching cars, getting lost and stopping for washroom/food breaks).

Finally arriving in the small town of Vilvoorde, Belgium, we were pooped to say the least but as we were only staying for barely one night, we definitely wanted to take in as many things as possible. Our gracious host, Alvie, took us to another small town in Belgium called Gent and there, we partied at one of the biggest festivals I’ve ever been to. It seemed like everyone in Europe was there at the Gent Festival! The food, sights, drinks and music were amazing and there were people everywhere! At first when we arrived in Gent, the streets and trams were bare and quiet but after about 15 minutes of walking into the downtown core, we found that EVERYONE was laughing, drinking and rocking out to a good time! The festival was packed and unlike any other I’ve been to mainly because it was at night and lasted til the wee hours of the morning (5am!) and the food was of course different but AMAZING (I’m always craving their street-meat and yummy fries) and of course the surrounding scenary (the canals and buildings were lit up with coloured lights and bright with festivities). Many pictures were taken so look for them as soon as I post them!

J’aime Paris: part trois

Tonight on our street some crazy men (after dark) started screaming at some dude across the way and kicked in his door a couple times (we stay on the 6th floor and hear/see everything). We were able to catch some of the action on video and managed to capture all the neighbours from across and below checking from their own windows/terraces. Then all of a sudden some mid to elderly lady one level below across from us starts screaming something about “Le Chinois” in French but it didn’t sound like a very non-racist comment (the men screaming were Chinois) lol. That was the highlight of the day- a hoot and a riot! Mainly because its not something we, in Toronto, would experience much of living in condos, high-rises and houses in the burbs.

Yesterday night was a blast as partying in Paris always is! We all started pre-drinking at our apartment and then headed out on the town to the Saint Michel area (rather club/party district). We ended up meeting a couple friends by the Saint Michel fountain and club-hopped our way from a gay bar (bra’s hung all over the ceiling and naked bar tenders in only thongs) to a salsa club. We had so much fun and literally got everyone in the club to dance that the waiters brought us to the front and gave us sparklers!

Drunken Success!