Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Montreal and the Good Life Part 2

On Friday evening, we braved the blizzard conditions to get ourselves to Montreal. We drove with my parents in their Subaru which has snow tires and all wheel drive. We were feeling pretty snug. Reuben drove. He's a great driver. Confident when he needs to be and cautious when he needs to be. This first picture is the view from our hotel room. You can see some of Montreal's older architecture. Our hotel had elevator access to a mall which was below and beside it. On Saturday, my mom and I stayed inside all day. We did some shopping, we got our nails done and basically relaxed. My dad and Reuben walked outside to the Mac Store to buy a computer. They said the temperatures were frightful. In the evening, we went to St. Hubert's for dinner. We could also access the restaurant from our hotel without going outside. We had a fantastic meal and then relaxed with dessert in the hotel bar. Just as we were about to turn out the lights my aunt and uncle arrived so we went down to the bar to keep them company while they had a snack. They had driven up from Boston that evening along with my cousin, Corrine and her boyfriend, Adam. See below.

The next morning, we took the Metro to church which is held in the YWCA downtown. We walked about a kilometre in the most howling wind I've ever walked in. It must have been -30 or more with the windchill and I was wearing a skirt and no hat. Ugh ... it was awful! But worth it as we got to see my cousins! And Amanda's new little one, Jacob. The service was in French so we didn't catch much. We decided to head home right after the luncheon around 2pm. Thankfully, Adam drove us back to our hotel as by now the snow was swirling around. Our drive home was nicer because it was during the day but just as treacherous as Friday night. We saw three cars rolled over in the ditch. God's Hand was upon us for sure.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Montreal and the Good Life

In order of things I'm looking forward to this weekend.

Good Food.
Luxury hotel at a discount price.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Our First Christmas Tree

In Daylight
In Nightlight
ps. The tree is standing in front of (behind?) our new bay window! We also got our big bedroom window replaced (in the front of the house) and we already feel the decrease in draftiness.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Spain Day 11

at the Madrid-Barajas airportCatalabrian mountain range, northern Spain
I won't write a post about our trip home because it will be too exhausting to read. It was exhausting enough just doing it. We were awake (really hard to sleep on the plane) for 22 hrs. There was major turbulence over Labrador but other than that, it was fine. Oh and one of our bags stayed in Amsterdam a few extra days; unfortunately, it didn't pick up any souvenir dropjes while there:) But we did! They are so much fresher.

In summary, we had an amazing trip and are so thankful that we were able to go to Spain. We recommend it to anyone wishing for a great cultural experience!

Next on the agenda:
a) visiting Smithers and Seattle
b) visiting Holland and British Isles

I think that's the plan anyway, right Reuben?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A post about Santa

I just read this blog post and thought you might be interested. I couldn't link to the specific post but just to the blog in general. It's written on Dec 1. It's written by a woman struggling with whether to tell her daughter that Santa isn't real. It's written from a Christian perspective and is incredibly beautiful. Take a look.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spain Day 10

Our last day in Spain was spent fairly leisurely. We got up around 9am and had a nice breakfast including the ever popular cafe con leche. Reuben decided to try bacon and eggs this time but they forgot it and it got cold. After that we decided to try and find a Vespa dealership so after some confusion we were walking down the street that we were pretty sure it was on and all of a sudden I looked up and there it was! So, we went in, the place was crowded with bikes and the salesman understood English and Reuben bought a Tucano Urbano cover for his Vespa. Basically, it wraps around the front of the Vespa and covers his lap so he doesn't have to wear rain gear on those wet and cool days.

Then we walked over to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza stopping at some souvenir shops along the way and Reuben went in. I had no desire to walk around another art museum so I went to Starbucks and tried a new flavoured coffee that they were advertising (not worth the calories) and then just wandered around for an hour.

After we met up again, we walked to the El Retiro park in the center of the city. It reminded us a lot of the gardens of Versailles in Paris, France. It had a huge man made lake in the center with rowboats which we didn't have time to try out. Then we walked toward the Crystal Palace which Reuben had spotted on the map. It was part of an interactive art exhibit put on by the Reine de Sofia Museum(which we saw on our first day in Madrid). It was really cool! As you can tell from the picture. To experience the art you were meant to take off your shoes and walk over the grooved marble floor which had a bit of water on it. Reuben said it was really cold! I didn't feel like hassling with taking off my shoes but I'm glad one of us did it.

Then we walked down towards a book market that was in the guidebook. Of course, since it was 2:30pm, they were all closing up but we browsed a bit and finally got brave enough to ask one of them if they had any English books. So this person brought out a whole stack of books most were on dieting, managing your life, self-help books but there was one kids fantasy book near the bottom that I bought because I needed something to read on the flight home. It was pretty good and I'm glad I have it as a memory from Spain.
Then we headed back to near our hotel and met up with Tim again. We walked towards the Royal Palace and actually went in the garden. It was pretty neat.

After this we did some more walking around and got lost in Chinatown which turned into this ghetto area. It was kind of scary but we quickly made our way out and ended up back where we started. Oops! So then we went in search of our friends' recommendation of 100 Monteditos; monteditos is Spanish for little sandwiches. We found a place that Tim said he used to go to a lot. It was really cool. They had about 75 different sandwiches to choose from and you write down what you want and then bring it up to the counter, pay for it and then go and get it when they call your number. We sat there for a couple of hours while we waited for Esther to join us.

And then after that, we went to an Irish pub just because. We had Guiness and just sat and chatted. It was a really nice way to end our time in Spain. We walked back to our hotel and then packed and set our alarm for really early the next morning.