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There and Back Again

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Goodbye to Graz [Jun. 14th, 2006|12:22 pm]
There and Back Again

Well we are sitting here at the hotel because it is hot out and we don't feel like running to the bahnhof (like 50m away) to catch the 12.21 to Vienna, so we are waiting for an hour or so. At some point we will likely grab some food for lunch or what have you but right now I am just happy to not be carting my luggage around.

It rained yesterday which was a bit of a bummer but you can't really expect 18 days of perfect weather in Europe and I had already had 10 perfect days in a row so I was due for a downpour really. Brandon and I went to a local Buschenschank that I had actually been to before with my parents; we went with Anna and her boyfriend and it was very tasty of course. Mmm fresh home made grape juice and cheese and bread etc.

Monday we went out pubbing with the majority of my old class from GIBS which was a good time. I think the list of people who didn't recognize me was probably longer than the list of people who did but that's to be expected what with the short and very blonde hair. Funny how much some people have changed and how much others have stayed the same. Food was good; drinks were good; company was good so I have no complaints.

Now I'm off to see if I can't scrounge up some of the pictures Hallie uploaded to our photobucket account so I can regal you all with my adorable facial features. Til then!

ETA: Hallie has uploaded some pictures to a photobucket account for those who are interested: http://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i251/riddermark_esq/
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Update from Graz [Jun. 11th, 2006|11:05 pm]
There and Back Again

Hello from the hotel daniel, graz. Please forgive me if this is less than coherent and if i accidentallz use a z instead of a y or whatever as this is a common problem for me and German keyboards who have the letters in the wrong places and I am, as you all know, a layz shit. Ha.

Got in quite late today and had a shower before we walked around. Our hotel is odd and our shower has a glass wall that looks into the room (or i guess the room has a glass wall that looks into the shower?). Either way this is a bit strange and makes me feel a bit like a whale in an aquarium but whatever, it is clean and nice and we have been to Flann's for guinness (brandon), vodka orange (me) and football (everyone).

Holland was more than wonderful but more about that later when I am less tired and brandon is less ready to kill me for "telling people you don't even know what you're doing" (I think the implication is "as if they care"; he clearly overestimates the number of people who read this thing).

Goodnight from Graz!
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Hullo! [Jun. 5th, 2006|10:26 pm]
There and Back Again

This is Hallie, hijacking Kaitie's journal. Because I can. She is so amazing, words cannot begin to describe how excited I am to be here with her. We have had the most action packed couple of days imaginable, and I am seriously sleep deprived. But I wouldn't change any of it for the world, except perhaps to add more hours to the day!

Meeting Kaitie on Saturday was...unnerving! Not because she's scary, because she's not at all, but meeting someone you've never met before, someone you have been chatting to for years and who you consider one of your best friends is always going to be a bit nervy. But things worked out excellently. I was at Heathrow for AGES before Kait showed up, and was terrified that I'd missed her, but I knew exactly who she was when she walked out of arrivals (my biggest fear was that I wouldn't recognise her. i don't have much of a memory for faces. And then it was REALLY surreal. I mean, I wanted to hug her, but what if she wasn't a touchy feely person? So, in fact, we hugged for the first time today! LOL! My friend Stuart hugged Kaitie before me. That is weird. Especially as I am an incredibly tactile person. Anyway, after the surrealness that is meeting a typeface, we took the Stanstead Express to London, and had a manic sight seeing tour. I actually suck as a tour guide because I have no sense of direction, and my map reading ability is...non-existent. But we survived and saw lots of wonderful things. Not Buckingham Palace, though - we're going to do that tomorrow.

Today has been wonderful too (except between 9 and 12, when I had an exam. Not so cool.) We did Cambridge sightseeing, and it was really good fun. Especially because if I wasn't a student here Kait wouldn't have got to see most of the places we photographed as they are 'no entry to visitors'. There are some perks to being a member of the university after all!

Had a fab time this evening - Kait met my other half, Andrew, and we had a photo shoot. I'll leave the posting of photographs to her, but suffice to say I am really happy to have the privilege of meeting her.

Absolutely shattered, so signing off to allow K to update herself!


PS - I chose the icon. For the record, I am not trying to be Brendan in any way shape or form. So get your minds out of the gutter.
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God save the Queen! [Jun. 5th, 2006|10:12 am]
There and Back Again

[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |Cambridge - Hallie's set!]
[mood |bouncybouncy]
[music |Wicked soundtrack]

... and other fun British songs! Hello from (currently cloudy) Trinity College!

So here's what's up. Saturday I landed at Stansted airport about forty minutes late and was met by the lovely hallie2985, who by the way is thankfully not a forty-year-old man. After a moment of slightly surreal inner squeeing, we were off to London! We managed to sneak in peaks of Tower Bridge/Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the parliament buildings, and city hall before I started falling asleep on my feet. Then it was off to our hotel, where I (re)discovered the joy of Stephen Frye on QI and also in Wilde which was on the telly. Yes, Alina, Orlando Bloom as a rent boy. Sadly, the both of us were too tired to watch the thing so after a moment of gratuitous OB-lust we turned it off and went to sleep, surprisingly quickly considering my body thought it was 6 PM.

Up super early the next morning as was supposed to catch 9:00 coach (not 'bus'!!!) to Stonehenge and Bath. This is a sort of long story involving me booking a trip to Stonehenge while I was completely shattered (=exhausted) and forgetting to book two seats instead of one. Anyway we had to change lines like three times before we realized the tube was shut down between where we were and where we needed to be (we realized this at, like, ten to nine). So we jumped out and grabbed a taxi and sped off to Earl's Court underground station, where the coach was still waiting.

...Unfortunately, it had been overbooked, so they offered us a free tour to Rochester and Leeds, which is near where Hallie lives when she's not at school, so off we went and rescheduled our Stonehenge tour to Tuesday (I still must call and check if they booked Hallie a ticket as well, and purchase her ticket if they haven't). In Rochester it was the Dickens Festival! I know, how cool is that. I know yarn_demon may actually be jealous! Or not, I don't actually know if Andrea likes Dickens, but. (NB: Do you know how long it took me to find the " key on this damn thing?) Leeds Castle was having a Food and Wine festival but since we stayed in Rochester with Hallie's parents/sisters/aunt/cousins for a bit we didn't get to experience that; then her father drove us to Leeds to meet our coach (because we'd left our luggage on it).

Then I got to experience the full horror of the British rail system, but not after wandering about hopelessly looking for Buckingham Palace. Remember that at this time Hallie and I each had about five hundred thousand pounds worth of things to carry and several large blisters apiece. Eventually we gave up as we're going back to London tomorrow. Anyway, the British rail system - we got on at King's Cross for Cambridge, and were about a half an hour into the journey before we stopped. Then our driver came on the PA and announced that we'd stopped because the train in front of us was experiencing technical problems and we had to wait for it to clear the track. So we waited half an hour and then the driver came back on again, announcing that we'd be returning to London and that alternative transportation would be provided. So we turned around and started back to London, and then ten minutes later he came on again and said that we would be going to Lexworth or something, and from there we could catch the next train to Cambridge! Anyway a 45 minute trip took us just over three hours to complete. Then we had dinner from the local greasy spoon (Gardenia's, aka Gardi's), "a Greek place masquerading as a chippy", as Hallie called it. It was greasy and delicious.

And NOW, I am sitting in Hallie's "set" typing this as she writes an exam. I am afraid to go out because I will get lost. The reason? Someone apparently forgot to tell me that "Hallie goes to Cambridge" actually means "Hallie lives in a castle". Am I the only one who didn't clue in? This morning I had breakfast in a mini Great Hall!! (Not the Great Hall, which is anyway actually at Oxford, but tell that to a Cambridge student!!)

I was going to go on MSN to see if anyone wanted to chat at me and then I realized it was still five thirty in the morning, so I suppose you'll all have to make due with this. Pictures forthcoming, possibly soon if Hallie's USB cable will fit my camera, otherwise you'll have to wait.

1GB is totally not going to be enough memory. Luckily we can put photos on CD at Boots the Chemist (aka drugstore)!

P.S. leave me your addresses if you'd like a postcard, as I totally forgot to bring any written down.
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There and Back Again Lane [May. 29th, 2006|02:42 pm]
There and Back Again

[Current Location |Work]
[mood |crappyburning]
[music |Matchbox 20 - Unwelll]

Hello and welcome to There and Back Again Lane, merrymeerkat's journal for travel and photographs.

The tour kicks off on Friday, June 2nd, when I depart Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ) for London Stansted (STN). From there I will meet up with hallie2985, who will be my lovely host and tour guide as well as official British to Canadian translator. After a day in London, we're off to Stonehenge and Bath, followed by Cambridge.

On the 7th, I fly STN - DUS, where I will meet up with my slothful boyfriend and train it to Empel to meet my great uncle and other various and sundry relatives. We will then spend a few days in Holland before departing the 11th for Graz via Vienna.

Graz is the home of a few friends of mine that I made while I was there attending the Graz International Bilingual School, so the 12th is the day of a bit of a class reunion, then a typical Styrian meal is scheduled for the 13th. Hopefully there will also be some time while we are there to visit my old neighbours.

On the 14th we depart again for Vienna, where I will meet up with another ex-classmate for ice cream or similar. There should also be enough time to check out a tourist trap or two- perhaps the butterfly house, the parliament buildings, or Schoenbrunn palace.

Then, off to Paris on the 16th for some real authentic European smog, baguettes, and overpriced museums. If all goes as planned I'll be back at home in Ontario sometime in the morning of June 20th.
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