North America, Europe · 17 Days · 53 Moments · August 2017

Adventures. Europe. University Student.

26 August 2017

Landed in Toronto! Thanks for reading this Journi. I had fun writing it. Lots of great memories!
Back in Canada :) YUL (Montréal). Their airport is pretty decent actually. The descent was a bit strange but we're alright so that's all good. No on-oard entertainment on Air Canada Rouge fleet. Have to download the app in advance. Didn't read the fine print. Not sure why but the water fountains were a very welcomed sight. Maybe cause it means I don't need to fill up my bottle in washrooms anymore... Now just waiting to board for the flight to Toronto. Intra-canada flight. Customs officer said "your passport got wet a bit eh". Had to explain that I sweat a lot :/
Chill morning. Just packed, went to the supermarket to buy my favourite french biscuits then for a coffee in the Vieux Port. If I ever come again I should try to go watch a comedy show. They have L'Espace Kev Adams. Shuttle to the airport was straightforward. 25min from the main station. Now I'm just waiting at the gate to board while enjoying my last baguette.
Last night was not so quiet. One British lad came back super drunk. Thankfully his friend was there to help him get back and go to bed. That was a first for me since I managed stay away from all this drama during university. I was not worried, three other french girls were giggling and the Brazilian girl below me stayed quiet. The drunk guy then started barfing in the bathroom, making his friend super embarrassed. In the morning, it was another first to see someone hang over as he started having some loud hiccups.

25 August 2017

Started my trip in acity with a port and I'm ending it with another city with a port. Marseille is bigger than expected. Did not do too much sight seeing. Just to the viewpoint and to the beach after dinner. Feeling ready to go back. I even feel like running when I see runners in the road, a feeling that I haven't had until now. Looking forward to going back to training with UTM too. And go to work of course. Dinner was alright. Had oysters and the bouillabaisse but I wouldn't recommend the restaurant. Tomorrow will be pretty relax. Not sure if I'll do too much sight seeing. Just enjoy the warmth (and sweatiness?). Low of 7 in Waterloo tomorrow.
Flixbus. At Nice airport for a 30min stop, eating overpriced airport food because there is still 6h on the road. What did I like the most so far? The Otterfing/Birkarrspitze trip is tough to beat but this Cinque Terre trip came close to being the highlight of this Europe journey. Feels good to be back in a land where I can read and understand all the signs on the road. Still enjoying the warmth. Took a nap in the bus so I missed the border crossing. Lots of toll gates here. Slowly going back into work mode. Looks like work starts at 0745 on Monday.

24 August 2017

Part 2. Had another gelato at Vernazza. This village feels more like a fort. Then hiked to the next village, Corniglia. This was less hard and also less busy than the Monteresso-Vernazza one. Also less scenic. It was so warm that so many people were hiking bare chested or in their bikini. At Corniglia we saw somebody selling basil gelato, drizzled with olive oil... Did not dare to try it. But I had mango and honey gelato. That was a pretty good combination. The last two trails were closed due to landslides. So we took the train to the next village, Manarola. Decided to skip the last village to go back to Levanto. It is a different experience when you hike into the village, compared to just taking the train. Back at Levanto we went for a swim, then dinner. Had my tiramisu :) I'd definitely recommend Levanto. Not too far from Cinque Terre park and less tourists. Very nice atmosphere at night. However it also seems that tourism is catching up to here too.
Part 1. Nice hike, with a different scenery this time: the sea and colourful houses. We also had the added option of having gelato everytime we stopped in a village. We bought a day pass that allowed unlimited entry to the park and use of the trains. We took the train to Monterosso, the most northern village. As a "warm up" we went up to St Antonio chapel. Then we had foccacia with pesto and gelato. Then we started heading south. The trails were not that hard actually. People of different fitness levels were doing it, even kids. I kinda felt bad for those doing it in sandals or flipflops though. You need at least running shoes for those. The gradient can be fairly steep but the trail has stairs all the way. Now I kinda understand Max. Once you've done harder hikes, you can feel more confident going down less technical ones. So I was going faster than others in general. We hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza. About 1.5h.
Time to scare another friend with my profuse sweating :) The climb to the abandoned St Antonio chapel was not bad. Still a climb; nothing too hard but still a climb. I was still in "Serwuss" mode, still having to think twice before saying "Bonjourno" :) I also caught myself wondering what's the elevation. Elevation + distance is what you need I think

23 August 2017

Very relaxed afternoon at the beach. I was worried that I would get another episode from the Georgian bay but the water was much warmer than expected. A guy next to me was getting massaged by an Asian woman. Afterwards I asked how it worked. €35 for 1h. Said he's been doing this since 6-7 years. Turned out he's German and lives about 6min from Otterfing. He likes coming down to the beach here and enjoys the more relaxed culture of the Italians. After I finally met with Yashna! So much to talk about and so much to catch up. It's been 2years? Went for pasta with seafood and local white wine. Looks like they take a higher cover charge here (16 instead of 13 in Florence). Atmosphere at night is pretty fun here. They even have a small concert in the park and many couples were dancing. Or you can walk along the beach, looking at the lights on the hills. I like it here. Not so much touristy.
Beach mode. Flipflops, swimsuit and beach towel are on. It feels a bit strange not to "have to visit something". I went to have Focaccia for lunch, then a gelato (delicious dark chocolate and coffee). Walked around. Looks like the attraction in this village is mostly the beach. So I guess that's what I'll be doing till Yashna comes tonight. Relax, chill and enjoy the sun since tomorrow is the 'hiking' day. Apparently it is in the low 20s in Waterloo right now...
Arrived in Levanto (Cinque Terre). Very relaxed feel here. Of course the weather is marvellous. The train came out of the tunnel and I caught a glimpse of the sea. It's the kind of scenery that generates an irrepressible "Oh" in amazement. The water is blue like the Georgian Bay. Except that this is a sea. With real beaches :P Of course the villages are crowded with tourists. Shouldn't be surprised by now. And french tourists. Of course. The hostel is actually pretty big. Sign outside says fully booked. I am enjoying the view from the terrace while the room is being cleaned. Not too warm. Not too cold. Loving the last few days of vacation.

22 August 2017

Surprisingly I was able to get into that Galleria without too long of a wait (45min instead of the expected 2h). I went later, around 1615. I thought initially that it would close at 1850 but luckily tonight they close later, 2130. So I pretty much spent 4hours there. It was indeed fascinating, learning more about Italian paintings throughout the centuries. Also saw the works of Botticelli, Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. There was actually some really beautiful paintings and sculptures. During my co-op term I will definitely read more about those stories I've heard regarding greek mythology. Fascinating. Learned that they call the virgin Mary "Madonna", that artists can combine a scene (birth of Jesus or annunciation) with a different setting (aristocratic setting) or even include their self portrait in it. Late dinner right now: pizza. Then head to the hostel to get ready for an early train ride tomorrow.
I am writing while overlooking on Florence, from one of the hills. Beautiful weather. Another thing that can be appreciated from this city is that it has kept the old feel of it. No tall glass buildings with huge window panels. Just the 'original' feel. Since my legs were feeling better, I decided to do some more climbing :P I was intrigued by the hills I saw on the south side of the river. After being disappointed that every site on the map had a paid entry, I hit a very peaceful road. It felt refreshing to hear only the birds and my footsteps on the cobblestone. Felt very blessed to be able to enjoy this setting in this great weather. I definitely prefer the countryside to the busy city down there.
I'm understanding more and more why people are charmed by this city. You can just walk around and somehow stumble on something that catches your attention. Or you can also stumble upon a massive crowd of tourists lining up and wonder what they are lining up for. The Galleria degli Uffizi, along with the Reichstag, was something I should have planned to go before, while prepping for my trip. It makes you feel that you're missing out on an opportunity to become more cultured or increase your knowledge. Learning to appreciate the marble cathedrals and the buildings with big entrance doors giving into the inner courtyard. The supermarkets in the city are interesting in their layout since they do not let you skip aisles but instead force you to walk in each of them. Lots of frenchies here too. They have so much vacation Now I'm enjoying a delicious panini. They let you try the different cheeses and meat. All very very good. Will finish off with a gelato then head for south of the river.

21 August 2017

Florence's food is really fabulous. I cannot recall the last time I had such amazing pasta. However, I must say that the architecture does not impress me as much as the Bavarian buildings or even the ones in Berlin and Strasbourg. It is very simple, almost shabby too I would say. From time to time some buildings would catch my eye though. There are so many tourists! Asian, Caucasian, African, Middle Eastern... It's a bit too many tourists for my liking actually. Was also really nice to meet my aunt and my cousin for brunch and gelato. Great time catching up. Looking forward to some more sightseeing tomorrow. And gelato :D

20 August 2017

0520 Flixbus. Arrived in Florence. 30min earlier than scheduled. I got 6h of sleep, give or take. It was not a bad ride, not the best either, with the frequent stops. I figured that the plan at this time of the day should be to stay at the station until the hostel opens but nothing was opened yet. Thankfully the Mcdonalds opened at 0530. Sneaked in the toilet before the person usually collecting money came. I will definitely not miss those paid toilets when I'm back in Canada... "Brioche" here means "croissant" to us. So I got a greasy Nutella croissant instead of a Nutella brioche... 1h to kill. I'll do some reading.
Photo courtesy of Max. Actually sad to leave Munich, or more precisely Otterfing. Saying goodbye to Florian this afternoon already left me with a bit of that feeling you have when good times are over. Now I am headed to Florence but honestly, had my vacation ended here, I would have been perfectly happy. This past weekend was pretty amazing with wonderful people, memories and landscapes. Really enjoyed getting to know Max and Christina, had some fun and interesting conversations with them. Loved to have got the local side of Munich. Really appreciated to have felt welcomed in their midst (even among Max's and Florian's bromance :P ) Max definitely got me charmed by the Alps. I'll definitely be back again for more hikes, or skiing?
Max and Florian now call me "Kimmi". I suppose that it follows Maxi and Florri, as they call each other. I tell myself that it's more like "Kimi" (as in Kimi Raikonnen) than the girly "Kimmie" :P Today was a very chill day. Enjoyed a nice book, a last German breakfast and I was happy to eat the Schweinhaxe. A German lady on our table smiled at me when it arrived, with the same kind of smile and nodding I got at the Viktualienmarkt two years ago. It was pretty delicious and filling. And it was in a nice Bavarian restaurant.

19 August 2017

Plans changed due to the weather but it ended up being a nice day. The bus trip allowed me to see some beautiful landscapes, two lakes in particular with a fascinating blue-green colour. Felt car sick while going on the side of the mountains though. We also got to visit the old town of Bad Tölz (accent on the "z'), which is where Max was born. Interesting fact that Max told me was that in the town of Mitterwald (one of our stops), the buses were less frequent during the week than during the weekend. In the evening we had a wonderful dinner with Max and Christina (Max's girlfriend). Really fun conversations and good food. I really enjoyed their company. Very good times. Lots of joking and good conversations.
Because of the rain, we had to change our plans. We were going to do another 12h hike in a similar terrain but given the wetness, it would have been unsafe. So we decided to catch a cab from the bottom of the hill to the closest town. And just like that, the journey in the Alps was over. Felt strange not to get to hike today and looking at the route the cab took, it would've been walkable. Long (2.5h) but walkable. The short walk we had down the hill was another different experience with the rain and the crossing the flowing river. Again thankful for my boots though the mesh's waterproofness seems to have some limitations. Now we are trying to get bus connections back to the car, which seems to be difficult. "Welcome to the Alps, where hiking is easier than going by bus" said Florian :D

18 August 2017

Part 2. Going down was another beast in itself. Did not imagine it like that. Thought of how safe the cleft of the solid rock feels compared to the unstable gravel. So grateful for my hiking boots. They were pretty beaten up today but they served me well. Going down the gravel and rocks was challenging. Did some rock climbing too. I think that my boots size probably increased by 0.25. We went completely down to the bottom of the valley. Looking back always gave amazement, contemplating the route we took. A relief to finally reach the bushy area instead of going down the gravel. The hike really tested our resilience. Everytime I thought that it will finally be flat around the corner, it was not. It was nice seeing the source of the Isar river. To our dismay it was another 2h to the cottage. Non-stop climb. Probably the roughest part mentally. Tried to dig in the triathlete's mental strength. Now we are at the cottage. Glad to have dinner. And a shower.
Part 1. Alright that was the craziest and toughest thing I have done. Tougher than my half ironman I believe. George's hikes are a joke compared to that. Total time: 11h20. Yesterday when I looked at those mountains I did not realise that we would be going up and down them like that. So after the pause we started the heavy climb. A bit of ropes as it was quite steep. And then we started going above the tree line, where there are only rocks. Really felt like the wilderness there. Thought of Jesus' 40 days in the desert. It was basically non-stop climbing. Working the glutes and the quads. At some point I felt like a monkey since I was basically on all fours, holding on to the rocks and doing actual rock climbing. Stopped once, about 200m in elevation to go. My legs were quite heavy right after. The peak was amazing though. We were higher than any other peaks around us and that felt pretty awesome. Had lunch by the emergency shelter before we started going down, storm approaching.
Pause before starting the 1000m climb. We probably did less than half of the distance for the day but did it in 2h instead of the predicted 2.5h. Learning to let my momentum bring me downhill instead of stopping myself, which seems to be easier on the knees. Also taking it slowly. Slow burn. To make sure I last long enough. The cows here look like the Milka ones. Not like in Canada. And they don't smell bad, unlike the ones in Canada.
Guten Morgen! Night was ok. Had trouble sleeping and there was one instance when a group was pretty loud, and a woman on the other side shouted so loud and swore at them, shocking me and making my heart pound. Then everything went quiet. Pretty warm this morning, as was last night. The view is stunning. First thing that came to my mind was "Higher than the mountains that I face...your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me" :')

17 August 2017

People keep telling us how ambitious tomorrow will be. And looks like it might start raining in the afternoon. It will be tough, but I'll take the challenge. Talking to other people is also interesting, learning the lingo and how things are done with altitude acclimatisation and cottages and hikes. I wonder if people close to mountainous areas have better knees than the average people...
I was not too sure what to expect but it is certainly beautiful. The physical effort is definitely significant, uphill as well as downhill. After warming up, your body gets a bit more used to the effort. You eventually learn to walk lighter (at least try to), instead of stomping the ground, look more ahead so as not to strain the neck and keep the back straight. I have also decided to adopt the strategy of making small steps with small grade increases instead of large steps with large grade increase. It requires more endurance but is less taxing on the muscle and power, similar to high vs low cadence on the bike. The view is just marvellous. Thought of David, the shepherds and the various references to the mountains and animals of the mountains in the Bible. The cottage was a welcomed sight. Quite cosy. Was surprised by the sleeping arrangements but the food is very good. Plan is to go to bed early tonight and wake up at 6 tomorrow. Will have around 9-12h of hiking ahead.

16 August 2017

Max went through what we should expect for the next 3 days. Toughest will be Day 2 with a 2000m climb. We will reach the highest peak in the area. 24k or so. Then we will have to decide if we want to do the same thing again the next day, same elevation approx and about same distance. Looks like it might rain a bit on the last day but they says you never know in the Alps. This is going to be exciting. Part of me is worried about my fitness ability to tackle that but triathlon should help no? Logisticswise I am not worried. Two experienced guys with me, should be fine.
Arrived in München. Flight was interesting. First time that I took an intraland flight. Of course they don't check the passport. And of course they don't show how to use the life jackets during the safety demonstrations. Seems also like you feel the turbulences way more, maybe because it is a smaller aircraft? The lady next to me was obviously stressed. The airports are also much smaller. You go directly to your gate, then do a clearance there. Smoking is so prevalent here. They sell cigarettes openly in supermarkets and there are even advertisements for cigarettes! Arrived at Max's place safely.
Interesting note on that German saying above the imperial balcony at the Berlin Cathedral: "Set your hope on the grace you will receive at the revelation of Jesus Christ". The way they built it was that the imperial balcony was very imposing and the emperor, together with his family, was clearly above the people. However, that inscription also indicated that, though the emperor was set above the people, Jesus is clearly above the emperor.
Drizzle today: perfect for staying inside. Checked out early to go to the Reichstag (parliament). Disappointed that I did not get to go in the building, but, rather only in the dome. Next time will have to book in advance. The dome is still impressive, they even have a cogen plant. The mirrors on the cone reflect natural light to the plenary room (?), where the deputies meet. Next I went to visit the Berlin Dom (cathedral but actually a Protestant cathedral). Was interesting to learn about the reformation and how this Dom was part of the history of Berlin. Was going to go to the DRR museum but it was way too full. Plus the rain stopped so I figured I would just stay in a cafe to chill. Eating out when visiting a city is very hit and miss. The owner did not appreciate me using his power outlet and clearly told me so ("you should ask me before using it"). I suppose if Germans have a problem with you they will tell you. So much for chilling in a cafe...

15 August 2017

...but tasted sour. Apfelschorle was good though. I liked the restaurant. Probably wouldn't take the same food though. The pizza seemed popular. And beer of course. Don't know if I mentioned but food is cheap here. $19 for all this. My breakfast and lunch are usually around $7, including coffee, sandwich and a pastry. After dinner I went for a walk in the park, strolling and enjoying the warm weather, before the mosquitoes started attacking me. They bite you even though you're walking fast! Back to the hostel now to let my feet rest. Reichstag tomorrow morning.
Café am Neuen See. Last thing I visited for the day was the Victory Column. That was Berlin's way of asserting itself as one of the big European's capital. "The monument to commemorate our victories will be promoted as desired by our pride" I wanted to have a more fancy dinner since the last few meals haven't been that extraordinary. The setting of that "café" was certainly extraordinary, next to the river . Lots of bikes and tables, as in a typical German market. Self-service to get your food. I went with 'Bäckkartoffeln mit Quarz', without knowing much about it except that it was baked potato. I also got Apfelschorle (apple juice with sparkling water) and a piece of cake. I was a bit surprised to see the rich-looking white sauce next to my potato. I thought I was cream or mayonaise. I still could not place the taste until I remembered that Josiah's family eats mashed potatoes with yoghurt. That was it :) I still could not place the cake though. It looked like carrots...or peach.
I've heard of how biking is an integral part of life in Europe but it's now that I really see it (at least since I started the trip). People are on bikes everywhere. And the infrastructure is there for them. Wider sidewalks with a separate bike lane (yes on the sidewalk). Cyclists could be riding on the right side of the road, then use the pedestrian crossing at the lights to turn left. So no lane change required. However I have also been jaywalking a fair bit, since Florian introduced me to it :P Seems to be normal here. Don't like the fact that dogs are not kept on a leash here. Even the big ones. Another thing, the Potsdamer Platz is where the 3 sections of old West Germany met. I like how restaurants don't indirectly push you to leave after your meal but instead let you chat. However I don't like how people just smoke everywhere. Everywhere.
Letting my feet rest and using the WiFi (Wlan). After signing up for the Reichstag visit tomorrow, I headed towards the Brandenburg Tor. Used to be a gate to inspect people passing through. The larger gate at the center was used for carriages. I'm not very artsy so the Jewish Memorial was "interesting". What I felt (:P) was how big the memorial was, maybe indicating how massive the destruction was? As a kid I would've loved to play in that "labyrinth". Had lunch at the Mall of Berlin (check out the slide which goes from 3rd to ground floor). Then some more sightseeing. Learnt that West Germany was divided. Checkpoints were erected to control the flow of people. Checkpoint Charlie stands for checkpoint C (there were A and B too). Now I'm at the Topographie of Terror. I liked that exhibit. Not only does it have a piece of the wall, it retraces history from the Weimar Republic to Hitler's rise, WW2 and cold war. Quite complicated history here.
The Reichstag (Parliament) is definitely impressive. I haven't been that close to the White House but this is probably the most impressive governmental building I have seen. However, apparently you need to book in advance to visit it. So I'm just standing in line (it's been maybe 1h) to book it. Today is full. Will try for tomorrow. Meanwhile, I've been reading about the Bundestag and how it works a bit. Booked for 0845 tomorrow. Had trouble changing cash this morning. The machines to buy the metro tickets accept bills only up to 10Eur. 3 different stores did not want to change my 20Eur bill. Not sure why.

14 August 2017

Walked a lot today. Weather was perfect, warm and slightly sweating Back to the hostel, feet super tired. Packed day but also very chill as I was taking my time strolling. Thanks to the day pass, I headed towards the attractions in the east side. The most beautiful sight was definitely the Berlin Dom (cathedral). Was nice just to relax outside. Then headed to Decathlon! Very excited about that. It did not disappoint. Bought towels. Tried the Currywurst at the Alexanderplatz. People were lounging in chairs or drinking beer under umbrellas. Then I went to the Berlin wall. I did not realise that it was bigger than a "wall", 2 walls actually. They put a lot of effort into it. I still have a lot of questions about that though. Laid on the grass, planning my route, enjoying the sun. For dinner I tried the Döner, which is a Turkish kebab. Spicy sauce. Pretty good. To note: free washrooms are hard to find and water fountains are non-existent. Lots of french people here
Arrived at the Hostel alright. Not too hard to find it. Going for lunch now
Hamburg to Berlin. First solo leg of my trip. Shout-out to Florian. Thanks for showing me the different facets of Hamburg. Enjoyed discovering it and catching up with you. I'm grateful for being able to stay at your place. See you soon! Strange that there is no WiFi at the main station...

13 August 2017

Florian redeemed the impression that the city made on me. So far it had not been that impressive given the shabby parts that we visited. But this afternoon was nicer as we took the StadtRad to explore the city. (Part of the ride is on Strava). The trail around the lake was nice, though busy and I had to use my biking skills to dodge pedestrians and go in tight spots, which I haven't done since I last mountain biked. It was amusing to see the people agglomerating to cross the bridge. The Nikolaikirche was quite a sight since it is a world war memorial, reminding people of the damage the war caused. The tower of the church made me think of a skeleton, a burnt skeleton. We also got to see my fellow triathletes as they took on the Ironman Hamburg. I was happy to cheer them on. Finally, at dusk we headed to the top of the St Michael church to admire the city and the sunset.
Still a bit jet lagged, had trouble falling asleep. Had to wake up early to make it to the Fishmarkt and to church. Since we were cutting it close, Florian decided to take the rental bikes (that you can rent for free). I like that concept. We bought the Fishbrötchen (fish buns) for breakfast. I was not expecting it to be raw fish so that was interesting. Then we biked to church. Seems like this was a Lutheran church. Protestant theology with rituals closer to the catholic rituals. I took the time to pray and read my Bible while the service was going on in German. Then we walked back to the apartment while taking a stroll through the harbour and town. Florian showed me the street where the G20 protests happened. Note the staircase where the stones were shaped to allow wheelchairs and stroller through. #germanengineering And we had brunch with the delicious German bread. And I got creamed honey! ;D

12 August 2017

Neindorf. Baltic Sea. Nice beach town. Mini hike through the trails, along the cliff (nothing like George's hike along the cliff at Tobermory though :P ) Overcast and rainy weather drove all the locals away so it was fairly quiet. Had a late lunch on the pier, the good German bread with coffee in a fancy coffee cup. Saw a group of guys looking like Harley Davidson guys except that they were on low bicycles with skull stickers. Interesting fact: Kaffee creme does not mean coffee with cream. It's basically long espresso. And Milchkafee has A LOT of milk.
Driving is another interesting way to discover a country. Observing how people drive and their habits. Autobahn: that was indeed pretty cool. No speed limit but somehow everybody is smart enough to know that at some point they should limit themselves. Like Florian said, it's a matter of behaviour: liberating the (passing) lane, not passing on the right and knowing your limits. I understand how the "no speed limit" can work. Basically as long as everybody follows the rules, it allows for that to happen. Also interesting that if you change lanes from the left, you have priority over the one changing from the right. Because you are trying to slow down and the other person is trying to speed up. We hit some construction on the way. Glad to hear that Florian adopts the zipper merging technique. His logic is that it doesn't make sense for people to merge at several places at once. Another interesting note: at some speed your engine needs to warm up to accelerate further.
Breakfast prepared by Florian. Slept for 12h O.o Florian woke me saying "just checking if you're still alive, it is 1pm". Couldn't believe I slept that long. Heavy sleep for sure. Hopefully I can go to sleep at a normal time tonight. Ate the real German bread. I have to say that I actually like it. It's very heavy, lots of grains. Very filling but very good. It does not have the strong taste of the Pumpernickel which I don't like. Makes you realise how refined the "whole grain" bread in North America is. Today I get to go on the AUTOBAHN as we are headed to the countryside! For what's left of the day :/ that's why I don't like sleeping till late...

11 August 2017

Germans' relationship with beer and alcohol is different for sure. It goes from casual: wanting to drink cold beer just because, to not so casual (at least not what I'm used to): drinking beer while walking to the metro, and finally the extreme: people drinking the stronger stuff on the street, from the bottle. All this seems normal here. Also interesting how people choose public transport over car. Though Florian offered to drive to the restaurant, the two Lauras insisted on using the metro. We ended up having a nice walk. Food wise, we had Spätzle, a special kind of pasta/noodle. I had it with meatloaf, others with cheese or lentils. Restaurant: zum Späztle. It was quite salty and the salad dressing quite sour. But I like the Späztle. Also discovered that an Ironman is happening this weekend! The finish line is right by the city hall. Oh and apparently it is rude to start drinking without saying cheers or pröst here.
Done showering, enjoying a cup of coffee while Florian is catching up on some work. Cosy apartment. No elevators, you have to go up the stairs. Florian says that the building is more than 100 years old. Impressive. Made me think of John Straube's lecture on Durable Buildings at RDH. The vent in the toilet made me laugh hard (see picture). Basically, you open the inner window, then use a handle to open the window to the exterior. Water meters are also found next to pretty much all the main fixtures.. Gotta remember: more than 100 years old... Oh and they have a radio in the toilet that turns on based on motion sensor 😂 From what I understood, Florian's roommate, Laura has a friend called Laura who is visiting her. And Laura's boyfriend will be around too. So a decent number of people in the apartment. Else the plans for the day have not been established yet but a nap at some point wouldn't be bad.
Waiting for Florian to come. Overcast here. Feels like 16 Weather Network says...hmmm. 🤔🤔 Not as cold as I thought it would be but still not close to the heat wave I was expecting Back to seeing Peugeots and Citroëns and of course, German cars :D
Landed in Hamburg. 20min delay due to slow boarding. Safety demonstration on Eurowings was entertaining. Quite make-shift way of doing it but the air hostesses actually brought the actual items to show us. The plane sounds different... Different experience from the usual planes that do longer hauls to Mauritius. Very basic sandwich with meat. Bouche ventre pour un petit creux. And water in carton?
LHR to HAM (1h35) Ah, EW stands for Eurowings. Already starting to hear German around me. Exciting. Boarding the plane. Napped for only 15min. 0330 EST. Semi-awake state right now
LHR 2h15 transit Made it safely to Heathrow. Time: 0130 EST, managed to get about 2h of sleep, forcing myself to fall asleep instead of watching movies. Poor collection anyway so I watched How To Train A Dragon and Hally Met Sally (recommendation from Pather, back in the HSC days). For now will just be settling by the gate and try to catch some more sleep.

10 August 2017

YYZ to LHR Final goodbye and boarding the plane. Apparently the aerosol limit is 100ml, not 500g, contrary to what I read on CATSA website... My sunscreen got thrown out. Wasn't much left but still sad for the waste.
Packed and ready to go (pack the apartment). All my clothes did fit in those packing cubes and I did not use all the 44L space in the hiking bag (this means that I will get to bring more french biscuits back :P ). Will also be carrying a daypack separately. Yay to packing light!