Friday, November 30, 2012

Walking frenzy in Vancouver

Well home eleven days and off on another adventure again.  Just as I like it!  Actually the morning after I arrived home from St Louis I woke up feeling like razor blades were going crazy in my throat.  Not good.  Luckily I had a day at home to relax and struggled off to work for the remaining three days of that week.  I spent the weekend relaxing instead of doing the fun stuff I had planned.  It was all worth it though as I felt pretty good for my weekend in energy level was a bit down but I felt okay. 

I had to work on Friday so took an evening flight out.  I had planned to take the bus to work and then walk over to the airport as it's just across the (busy) road from the airport.  However Mother Nature had other plans and I ended up bumming a ride across the highway from someone at work.  The flights were good and I arrived into Vancouver on time.  I took the wonderful Skytrain from the airport to the Vancouver City Centre stop and walked five blocks to the Y hotel. I honestly can't recommend this place enough - very clean and modern and reasonable.  I had cheaped out and went for the shared bath down the hall but only ever encountered another person in there twice the whole weekend. (and caused a bit of excitement one time as the person hadn't put the latch on so it indicated "vacant" - I unlocked the door to much screeching!!)  Next time (as in previous visits) I would opt for the bathroom between rooms that you only share with one other person.  But I was feeling a bit 'guilty' about this trip so opted for the cheap room!

Saturday dawned and I walked down to White Spot for some breakfast.  I had the bacon and egg sandwich with these red smashed potatoes - hard to describe but they were good....check it out..

I called Verni from White Spot and we met up at the Running Room about 10 a.m.  Off we went for a 5 km walk in Stanley Park and the seawall.  Normally I do the 10km seawall walk but I wanted to baby my feet a bit and I had five walks to do that weekend to finish up a walking program.  (I am a walking geek amongst my other sins)   Here are some of the sights along the way...

Thunderbird totem pole

Totem poles - they have a much nicer setting now with a pond
 so the "rif raf' can't get in and do any damage

Seawall - as you can see it was wet from the day before but the sun soon came out.

Lumberman's Arch

Connie and Verni by replica of Asian ship

Me and the "lady looking for her glasses".
 After the walk we stopped at JJ Beans and had a coffee then signed in for the downtown 5 km walk and off we went.  We had a late lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory in GasTown (original settlement of Vancouver).  I had tortellini that came with bread, soup and ice cream for dessert.  (burp!)   Here are some photos along this walk...

Canada Place

In remembrance..

Statue of Gassy Jack
 We then carried on through downtown to a camera shop so I could have my Nikon looked at.  It was locking up and I was forced to use my point and shoot for the photos above.  The fellow reset the camera and I left hoping for the best.  Stopped off at the Pacific Centre mall where I made a quick trip to Bath and Body Works and fled in horror.  Too many people in that mall.  I did see some pretty Xmas tree displays though..

I decided to walk on a bridge to get a picture of a Paul McCartney sign and heard music playing.  I then realized it was Paul himself and it was a rehearsal. Screech!  It was a bit muffled but you could still hear the words if you knew what they were.   I started getting cold so decided to carry on to the movie theatre - I had wanted to see "Lincoln" and it was playing at the International Village cinema called "Tinsel Town" which was just a ten minute walk.  I was able to see it for free with my Scene card and it was fairly enjoyable.  A bit different than what I expected but of course now being an Abe groupie I had to see it!  I walked back to the hotel and Paul was still playing!!!  So I strolled over to a nearby coffee shop and got a latte to keep me warm and a pastry (supper) and sat on a bench outside BC Place and enjoyed an informal concert of "Don't Let the Sun Catch you Crying" (that's not his!), "C Moon" "Midnight Special", and others.  When the music finally stopped I crossed the street back to the hotel.  What a very special experience!!!  A very nice way to end the day. 

Last day in St Louis

Well I awoke with sore feet and hips but a smile on my face...we fought with the coffee maker (so much for the Hilton - talk about a crap coffee maker) and endured our "gooey butter cake".  Hey just because we were staying at the Hilton doesn't mean we could afford their expensive brekky!  We checked out of the hotel and left our luggage in storage and off we went to the Delmar Loop.

This is supposed to be one of the "top ten streets" in America.  Okay...the St Louis walk of fame was there so it was neat to see the different people who were from St Louis...Chuck Berry of course, Phyllis Diller, Buddy Epsen, Vincent Price, Charles Lindbergh to name a few.  We had to pose by the statue of Chuck Berry of course!!!

My dogs were barking pretty badly this morning I must admit but it was all for a good cause!!!  I tottered along bitching a little bit but Pat was patient with me!  Then we went for lunch at the Blueberry Hill cafe.   The meal was so so - the "steak sandwich" was not a steak like we thought but a Philly steak sandwich.  And they forgot Pat's peppers and onions (which were an extra charge) and she had to wait a while.  But the pop memorabilia and pictures of celebrities (including Paul!) that had been there were fun to see.  As long as you aren't going for a gourmet meal experience I'd recommend it as a fun place to eat or have a drink.

Back to the metro and Pat and I parted ways - she to the Museum of History (envy!!  oh well next time!) and me back to the hotel to get my gear and head off to the airport.

Flew back via Minneapolis on Delta and everything was fine.  Except for the bug I picked up on the plane...but we won't talk about that....all in all what a FAB-U-LOUS trip!!!  I enjoyed everything.  Highlights?  Sir Casper and Sir Paul of course!!!!  And maybe Sir Abe too!!!! 

Weekend in St Louis Day three

Day three dawned with rain and rain it did...all day long....Pat still didn't have her ticket to see Paul so after breakfast we stayed in the room while she cruised the 'net and I relaxed.  We then checked out about noon and headed downtown.  We headed to the Hilton Hotel on Olive St.  Getting to and from the airport after the concert would just be too difficult so we wanted a place downtown.  The Hilton was once a bank - the Merchant Lacrede National Bank built in 1888.  How cool is that.  And check this out...yep the hotel shop and business centre are in old vaults!!! 

I don't normally stay in Hiltons and I must say as per usual the lobbies are elegant and the rooms are just okay but it was still a treat to stay in one.   We walked over to the Scottrade arena where Pat stayed and waited inline at the box office and I walked back to the hotel trying to find a restaurant on the way.  I did find a gourmet type grocery store - the kind I love and I picked up a few snackies including a butter cake which is a local speciality.  (we had it for brekky the next morning..shudder...way too sweet and rich!)   Back to the room to relax.  Pat came in later and managed to find a ticket online.  We then headed over to the grocery store where we had grilled sandwiches and then walked in the rain to the arena.

I was on the sixth row on the right side - I prefer the lower side right of the stage - my favourite place to be.  The concert was amazing as per usual.  What Paul concert isn't.  I have seen plenty and they are all special and amazing.  He really gives 1000% and while I bitch about the cost of the ticket (every time!) it is worth every damn penny. What can I say I will be a Macca fan until the day I die.  I plan another post about "Paul and me".  And to those who say I am a stalker I say "f*ck off"!  Trust me I am not.  What was my favourite?  Let's see:  "Live and Let Die", "Band on the Run", "Jet", "Sing the Changes" well it goes on and on.  During the 'slow' songs I would sit down and rest.  As luck would have it the people in the first five rows did not stand so I had a clear view with standing and dancing.  Everyone behind me was up and no, it wasn't because I was in the way.  I don't get people who go to a concert and want to sit.  Go to the damn symphony then!  (and at certain symphonies I've been known to boogy as well) You are at a rock concert people!  If I am paying $250 plus for a concert ticket I plan to stand and boogy.  I can sit and listen to the music at home.  And trust me the performers want you to stand and dance too.  I had losers beside me - one lady I am sure was off the Amish farm...yikes.  No expression whatsoever - I thought of all the fans who would have loved to have been in their seats.  On the other side a man and his son - the son was the fan obviously.  Once in a while the dad would lower himself to clap.  (loser!) Behind me was another story...they were wild.  Let's just say at the end of the show I had sore hips, sore feet and sore knees but I was very very happy!!!  Pat was sitting close by so we were able to hook up quickly after the concert and jabbered and laughed and blubbered to each other the whole way home.  It was Pat's birthday so I was thrilled for her that she got to see him on her birthday and he sang "Birthday"!!!  WHAT A NIGHT!!! I am thrilled to death that I have this pleasure in my life and have made so many friends because of Paul and the Beatles and have led such an interesting and extraordinary life. (if I say so myself!) All because of the man below...THANK YOU PAUL!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vancouver, you are a mover and a groover, Vancouver!

The above quote by Paul McCartney!  I will tell more details later but just a quickie to say Vancouver was an absolutely awesome weekend.  Lots of great walks and get togethers with walking friends and a very long time friend, some good meals,GREAT (very unexpected) weather and above all PAUL!!!  The concert was amazing as it always is.  Hard to believe this time yesterday I was sitting on a log looking at the ocean...oh well. 

7 weeks from today I will hit the road again!!!

Will post more on St Louis and my weekend in Vancouver when I catch my breath - hopefully this weekend.

In the meantime back to the real world and off to work I go....

Thursday, November 22, 2012

One more sleep and on the road again!

Off to Vancouver tomorrow evening....that certainly came up quickly but then again it was only 11 days between trips!!!  I staggered off to work and then rested at home the rest of the time with this stupid cold and 'touch of flu'.  I think I am okay now....she says hopefully. 

I am doing carry on for the trip out...the trip back? do plan a Bath and Body Works raid, a trip to Murchies tea and a visit to Purdy's chocolates let alone what other places I might get to. My wheelie carry on is pretty full already sad to say.  Despite all the traveling I am still far from the world's best packer.

No netbook this time so my backpack is much lighter however that means no blogging so will have to write up all my shenanigans when I get back. 

It looks to be a busy fun filled weekend - albeit a rainy day...oh well beats being up to my a** in snow here at home. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend in St Louis - day two

I forgot to mention that the breakfast buffet at the Best Western Airport Plaza was pretty good with scrambled eggs, sausages, biscuits, bagels, toast, yogurt, juice, pastries, etc. and set us up past lunch time anyway.   This morning after breakfast we once again got the free shuttle (though we gave him a tip) to the metrolink station.  This time our destination was downtown St. Louis and the Arch!  We had to wait in line for a little while to get through security and I chuckled to myself remembering how I was pretty well the only one visiting in February 08.  Of course this was right after a snow/ice storm!!!   We asked for the package of trip to the top of the Arch/Riverboat cruise which was on special for $20 - well we got it for $17.  No complaints!!!  Seniors rate?   I'll take it!!!  We were able to get into the line for the 11:30 elevator so off we went. 630 feet to the top - it's the tallest monument in the U.S.  The trams were small and very claustrophobic.  Last time I was in one by myself which was even freakier.  Anyway we made it up in one piece and here is what we saw..

This was the viewing area of the arch.

Downtown St Louis

View towards the Mississippi and on the other side Illinois

Another view

Busch Stadium

After we took another tram down off we went to explore the museum in the visitors centre.  It was a quick look as we had a boat to catch but that was okay for me anyway as I had spent a long while in here in 08.
We then got our boat, the Becky Thacher for a one hour cruise on the Mississippi.  I have always wanted to take a paddlewheel steamer on the Mississippi so another thing ticked off the bucket list. (although definitely will do it when I go New Orleans again someday)  What a lovely day it was.  I wore capris and a short sleeve t-shirt and was warm even on the water.  Lovely!!! 

The boat landing with the Arch.

View from the Mighty Mississippi

Getting ready to dock.

Our boat is on the right. 

When we got off the boat we wandered along the waterfront trying to find the Lewis and Clark statue - we had seen it from the water and I had also visited it in 08...finally we found it.  Some kids were climbing all over it so we kindly asked them if they could move for a few minutes and not only did they do that but one of them kindly put our little stuffed critters in Seaman's mouth for a photo op.  I'm sure he thought we were a couple of crazy old ladies but hey better to be crazy than boring!

Lewis and Clark and their dog Seaman.

Seaman, don't eat Monty!!! 
We walked around Lacredes Landing looking at possible dinner places and picked one out - me boring Pat with saying "I think I ate here" and "I walked along here".  I stayed at the Econo Lodge in the area in 08 and used to walk through Lacrede Landing to get the metro train... We then took the metrolink to Illinois just because it was there.  BORING.   The train went through some dodgy areas and all the stops were obviously just places to park your car and take the train with not much sign of life.   So we went back to Lacredes Landing which is the first settlement of St Louis complete with cobbestones.   I treated Pat to a birthday dinner so we had St Louis style ribs which weren't the best I've had but were okay - the highlight was the spicy mac and cheese side dish and yes sweet potato fries.  Yes I had those as my side dishes because I was on holidays...a real carbo load but it was good.  Drinks were on order as well. 

Then back on the metro to the airport where we got picked up by the hotel again.  The reason we stayed at the airport?  Much more reasonable rates!!! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend in St Louis - day one!

  I think I left you with me waiting in the hotel room for Pat to arrive...well she did and earlier than I expected and off we went to Forest Park.   We were able to get a shuttle right to the airport metro station which was great.  We got off at the Forest Park stop and past the History museum which sadly I never did get to see.  We walked over to the Grand Basin which was spectacular...

This is the art museum that overlooks the basin - we didn't darken it's doorstep.  Too nice a day to be inside!
This was all very impressive but next on the list was the zoo.  Finding the zoo was a bit of a pain - we kept getting different directions but we finally found it.  That park needs some signs - seriously..I have never been in a park with so few signs.

The St Louis Zoo was free and funded by donations.  It was a great zoo with a lot of different animals with huge enclosures as well as clean and well kept.  We won't talk about the cost of food there - we shared my energy bar and I drank out of the water fountain.  Three dollars for a bottle of water, I don't think so!!!

Here are some of the critters we saw.......

As we all know I adore meerkats - have loved them way before they were 'disneyfied".  Unfortunately I did not get many good shots this time around despite having a zoom lens....

The zoo had a wonderful penguin area.  This shot was taken at the outdoor pool whereas there was a colder area indoors.  This is where I saw my first display of penguin porn - shocking!!!

The closest I have ever been to a puffin - they are so darn cute. 

A red panda - I swear we turned into red panda stalkers. (and penguin and puffin stalkers too!)

They have a new area called Sea Lion Sound which was just built this year and it's awesome.  You walk under the tank so that seals and sea lions are swimming over you.  Really a cool experience and freaky at times as it looks like they are going to come flying through the glass at you!!!  Could have spent hours there!
Difficult to take photos though so there aren't any.  If you are in St Louis I would definitely recommend a trip to Forest Park and the zoo. 

After the zoo we finally found our way back to the metro station.  That is one huge park!!!!

By this time poor Pat was starving as she had been up since about 3:00 a.m.   I had wanted to do a Bath and Body Works run and knew it was at the Galleria Mall from my last trip to St Louis in 08.  So off we went and had supper at Five Guys burgers.  I had never been there before and we were both in ecstasy over their hamburgers.  Wow!!!  I think we were both so hungry they tasted twice as good as usual.   After I got a couple of bottles of what I wanted (I wanted more but my poor suitcase could only hold so much!) we were off back to the airport.   The metro is very slick and we used it a lot - got day passes for $7.50 which was good value as the trip to the airport was $4.00.  We had to go to the airport terminal to be picked up by the shuttle - they would not pick us up at the metro station but that was okay.   A very full first day in St Louis!!! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Photo of the Week

Well I've been neglecting this since I've been on vacation.  Today is a flashback to my trip to Hay River in the North West Territories.  Nancy Makepeace, president of the club in Hay River invited me up to visit so I took the bus from Edmonton with my friend Eilleen.  Back in 1973 I lived in Hay River for three months and worked for CN Telecommunications as a telephone operator.  Quite the experience....It was fun to revisit the old haunts 36 years later.  Nancy and Tom took me to see the old telephone office (closed a long time ago) , the apartment where I lived and the Old Town as well as two waterfalls (one pictured below) in Enterprise. 

Louise Falls

Great Slave Lake

Sunset over Great Slave Lake

Dump..I mean apartment building...where I used to live.  Party central!

Lovely fall colours on a walk

Friday, November 16, 2012

Back to the real world

Yes back to the real world with a bang.  I arrived to snow and ice but surprisingly not as cold as I had feared so that was a positive.  The negative?  I became ill the day after I arrived home.  I am just grateful I did not get sick on my holiday but oh boy I hate feeling ill.  I have dragged myself into work three mornings but am looking forward to relaxing this weekend and feeling better for heading to (rain, rain, rainy) Vancouver next weekend.  I had plans that are slowly getting cancelled...but I really do need to get my hair cut tomorrow and I really wanted to see Santa and his (real) reindeer tomorrow.  :(   We shall see....

I will update the blog with my St Louis trip as well as more photos when I feel up to it - hopefully later this weekend. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Having a great time - have just been too tired by the time we get back to the room and the wifi here is slow.  I will post more this portion of the trip when I get home complete with pictures.  Yesterday we went up the arch - much more crowded than when I was there after the snowstorm of 08!!!  Then we did a paddlewheel steamer cruise on the Mississippi. Got a deal for both for $17.  Lovely weather in the mid 70's - had short sleeves (and capris)even on the boat.  Celebrated Pat's birthday at Lacrede's Landing with St Louis style ribs and margaritas!!! 

The day before we visited Forest Park and walked (and walked!) around the park and went to the zoo and saw the meerkats, penguins, puffins, etc.  Was great!!! 

This morning we are going to head off to the Hilton and dump our stuff then do a bit of exploring - cloudy but warm out there but rain later.

Will elaborate more with pictures when I get home but rest assured I am having fun!!!  NOT lookign forward to going back to snow and cold. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

St Louis watch out!

Well arrived  here last night safe and sound.

After I stopped at the library yesterday in Jefferson City I carried on past the state prison musuem which unfortunately was closed - they do tours.  The ghoul in me would enjoy that.  A couple of high profile prisoners were there:  James Earl Ray, Sonny Liston, Pretty Boy Floyd and more.  I guess I could have gone by the side and seen where the gas chamber had been but I declined.

I carried on...up and down and up and down...sheesh.  The people who live in Jeff City (so it's called) must be in good shape!!!  I rewarded myself at Central Dairy with a double scoop of ice cream.  Man oh man for three dollars I got a bloody PINT of ice cream!!!  I never would have ordered two if I'd known it was that much but I got it finished!  It was good but not the best I've had - cherry vanilla and chocolate/nut go very well together by the way!!! 

Back to the hotel to rest for a bit then dragged my luggage up and down to the downtown area.  You don't want to know what I was saying!!!  Definitely not lady like language.  I stopped at Cafe Roma for a soup and a pumpkin chai latte.  Then headed down to the Amtrak station.  Everything was bang on time and in fact we got into St Louis early.  

As I was leaving the station I could see a metro train leaving but that was okay - I was opposite the Scottrade Centre and there was a huge sign saying "Welcome back Paul McCartney" and I shrieked out loud - I AM GOING TO SEE HIM!!!  Now that I am here it seems real.  And yes I know I've seen him a million times but it never gets old.  Paul and I both do..but the thrill never does. :) 

The metro trip took about half an hour and called the shuttle and they were there in ten minutes. 

So am just relaxing and working on stuff - Pat is due at the hotel in about two hours and the birthday fun begins.  Yes she is finally going to see Paul on her birthday. 

Next up adding pictures....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hilly Jefferson City

Hello from Jefferson City library.  I popped in here to take a bit of a rest - the hills here are killers - it is constantly up and down.  And guess who forgot her Aleve/Ibuprofin cocktail this morning?  Yep. Normally I would have my backpack with me so no problem as it's always in there but being as I had to check out I could not fathom lugging my netbook, etc. with me so it's all back at the hotel.  I just had lunch at a cafe downtown (beef dip in case anyone is interested)  and was looking in the shops.  Lots of independent stores which I love.  I treated myself to a pendant and a pair of earrings at an artisan shop of "nothing but made in Missouri" things.  It was crazy as I had asked him where a good place to eat was and then he asked me where I was from. When I said Saskatchewan, Canada. he said "Moose Jaw"!  Turns out he spent the night there once.  He said he couldn't remember exactly when he was there but he remembers the fields of yellow so I told him "canola" and he said "and no trees!!!"  I love interactions like this. 

The State Capital is beautiful on the outside - stunning actually and it helps that the sky is perfectly blue and sunny.  The inside of the building...not so much.  It is a very confusing building to put it mildly.  Kind of strange as this one had no security and I was wandering around with all the state employees.  Taking elevators and avoiding stairs gets you in all sorts of interesting places.  I toured the Missouri State museum in the state capital which was okay - sure wouldn't have wanted to pay for it.  There was a huge sculpture dedicated to Lewis and Clark along with their dog and guides at the side of the building and also a mini Statue of Liberty! 

The walk took me past the Governer's mansion which was open for tours but was just not in the mood.  It is an attractive building though. 

Next up will be a walk past the (now closed) jail and then through a neighbourhood to a green space that goes UNDER the highway.  Yay.  I have to cross a highway on a light (with a pedestrian green light) by the hotel and was half way across and realized a car was not stopping.  So I hopped backwards - he finally stopped but it scared the you know what out of me. I will have to do that intersection again when I walk to the railway station tonight.  I will have an ice cream at Capitol Dairy which is so famous it even features as a must see in the tourist guide book. (and not an advert)   I am afraid I won't be able to do the whole walk due to my knees but I will try.  I am seeing the best part anyway and that's the main thing. 

I will relax at the hotel a bit before working my way back to the railway station tonight - probably stopping off for a light meal on the way. 

I think I could manage the walk if it wasn't for the hills but they are constant and relentless - when you are a prairie chicken it's difficult!!!  Especially when you have arthritic knees and were such an airhead you forgot your meds!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It was quite a busy day today.  The breakfast this morning was much better - scrambled eggs with ham in, hashbrowns, bagels, etc.  The coffee even tasted better!!!  

Check out time was noon so I was able to leave my stuff in the room and off I went to explore places I had missed yesterday.  The sun did show itself for a little bit and no rain so that was a bonus.  My first stop was the Old State House - beautiful on the outside and inside...

I then took a short tour of Lincoln's former law offices which overlooked the state house and heard some great anecdotes.  Apparently his former law partner said Abe used to use his top hat as a briefcase - put the papers in and on top of his head at the end of the day.  When he got home with three boys, a dog and various cats about the place papers invariably went missing and they were constantly asking clients to resubmit paperwork!!!!  We also got to hear about post offices in the days before stamps....very interesting...

Then it was on to the State Capital to get the picture of Abe Lincoln in front of the capital that I somehow had missed yesterday....

I then stopped and had a cappucino before heading back to the hotel to check out and get a lift to the Amtrak station.  The train was running about 40 minutes late but made up time and I was only 20 minutes late getting into St Louis so lots of time to get my connection to Jefferson City. 

I started walking from the train station in Jefferson City but somehow lost my google map - had instructions but when not all streets are marked it makes it a challenge.  I saw a fellow with luggage ahead of me so called out to him and he walked with me most of the way as his hotel was just a couple of blocks from mine.  The State Capital looked dazzling all lit up so that got me excited and he told me it's beautiful inside. (he used to live here)   I checked in and headed over for a meal at a restaurant the gal at the front desk recommended.  I had a salad - it had greens, feta cheese, cranberries, cherry tomatoes, croutons with balsamic vinegar dressing.   With pita bites on the side. Yes...I was craving something healthy.  Shocking isn't it.

On the way back in I got the walk box and pulled out what I though were two different walks but turned out to be two of the same!!!  I will get the box again at breakfast and sign in and make sure I get a different walk.  I am not sure which one I want to do.  It would be nice to combine the two if possible as I would like to see as much of Jefferson City as I can.  However my own version as not up to doing a 20 km walk!!! This is a "one night stand" - I am off to St Louis tomorrow evening on the 7:10 p.m. train.  That will be my last stop before heading home on Monday. 

It is supposed to be about 60 F tomorrow.  Yippee!!! 

It's over!

Yay it's over and it went the right way - good for America!!!  They are looking forward instead of backwards.   I hope Romney slithers back into the crack in the wall he came from - won't miss seeing that smirk that's for sure.   Bet he's not smirking today!!! :)

No rain right now so may walk around the downtown core a bit later this morning.  Am thinking of trying to find a decent breakfast place or at least someplace to pick up something for lunch for the train.   I leave at 12:50 and change trains at 3 for Jefferson City.   I get into Jefferson City at about 6:30 if all goes well.

My this is a busy city for trains - they seem to be going through nonstop.  Am hoping that this morning's walk around Springfield will change my mind about it - walking through rainy deserted streets isn't the best way to get a good impression of a place. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Awesome Abe

Today was a busy day being a Lincoln groupie.  After a so-so complimentary breakfast here I started off on the 11 km walk.  First stop was the Lincoln tomb.  Well actually there were three - the first one where he was emtombed for a couple of months then buried with his sons and then finally the huge tomb where he is interred with his wife and three sons. (geeze louise poor guy - glad I am being cremated!!!)  Very sad as he and his wife had four sons and lost three of them  - two in childhood and then one as a young adult (the last one after Lincoln had died).  His wife Mary went mad with grief. 

People rub his nose for luck - so I did too!!  

I made a quick stop at the State Capital but you weren't allowed to wander around without a tour and I didn't have time.  I must admit I am starting to get burnt out with state capitals - oh well only one more to go!!!   This one wasn't one of the better ones. 

I then carried on to the historical district.  I have to say the city was very quiet - turns out it was a state holiday due to the election today.  I stopped and visited Lincoln's house where he lived for about 15 years until he went to the White House.  He and his wife sold their furniture, stored a bit and rented it out - fully intending to return once his terms as president were over.  Well we know how that ended....His son sold the house to the government for a dollar on the condition that everyone would be allowed to see it for free.  Anyway I throughly enjoyed the guided tour of his home  and also learnt more about this complex man.  I also visited the exhibits in the house opposite.  They have made the surrounding blocks into an historic site which was great.  All the houses are restored on the outside and are office space for the government inside.

 At that point it started raining.  Fairly heavily.  So I scurried along to grab a quick soup for lunch to warm up and then on to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum which was great.  I spent close to three hours there and enjoyed every minute.  I am not the type to look at things in display cases - I get bored quickly.  This museum had a couple of great films and the displays were eye catching and interesting.  Definitely recommended. 

I had an early dinner and tried a horseshoe which is a local specialty - I also saw it in Ohio.  Basically the meat of your choice covered with french fries and loaded with a cheese sauce.  Once in a lifetime is enough....another 911 meal.  Healthy eating when I get home....oh brussel sprouts I hear you calling me....

An early night with the TV and doing some laundry- there are machines a few steps from my room so beats washing stuff out in the sink. 

Off to Jefferson City tomorrow!!! 

Gotta love insomnia-NOT

Well for about a week now I have been having the type of insomnia where you wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.  I have no problem falling asleep - in fact as soon as my head touches the pillow I am out but then I wake up - usually to use the bathroom - and that's it.  So here I sit.

However I am going to use it to my advantage today and have an early start on the 11 km walk.  I am really anxious to explore the Lincoln musuem so want as much time there as possible and I believe it closes at 5. 

Today is election day here in the U.S. and I am way too involved...I blame Facebook!!!  Of course I think Mitt Romney should win.....ha ha...are you kidding me?  Just checking to see if you are awake.  I am rooting for Obama.  I am absolutely mystified that people even take Romney seriously to be honest.

Stay tuned for more political ranting...and religious ranting too.  If you are a conservative hard assed (as in no one but christians are gonna get to heaven)  christian you had better monitor my posts carefully as you might not like what you see!!  :)  I am getting ready to blow - and if Romney gets in watch out.  Hey I know it's not my country but I don't want another war nor women's rights to be turned back thirty years (I am very pro choice and proud that I am independent in my thinking and not brain washed by religion), gay rights to be taken away, etc.  And that's what will happen to my American friends and lots more.   Hopefully sanity will prevail today. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

A warm welcome in the home of Lincoln

Just a short post as it's been a long day.  After a big breakfast at Waffle House I got the bus to Chicago.  The Megabus was on time which worked out well as I had a connection to make.  It is funny to see the reaction of motorists as we cruise by as megabus uses double decker busses  Not a common sight on North American highways!!! 

I got the Amtrak and it was a good journey.  When I left the station here in Springfield I wasn't sure which way to proceed to my hotel so I asked a fellow who was putting luggage in his car with his family.  They couldn't figure out where the hotel would be but their son knew.  They offered me a lift so I took it - so kind of them.  It was about a mile.  I found out when I got here that there is a shuttle that would have picked me up.  So I will use it when I leave at noon on Wednesday. 

I was registered at a different hotel but changed as this is where the walk starts and thought it woudl be handier plus it's a few dollars cheaper.  It all helps!!! 

It is a nice hotel and I must admit it is a lovely indulgence after five nights of air bnb homes. 

My "smalls" are washed and I am sitting in my king sized bed watching TV - another guilty pleasure I missed for five nights!! (Tabitha never invited me to watch TV with them - she and her boyfriend spent hours in front of the TV with their laptops but more on that in another post) 

Breakfast here is provided and I was given a bunch of coupons for local restaurants so I shall peruse them and see what looks good.

The wifi connection here is slow so there might not be any pictures until I get home.

Looking forward to the 10km walk tomorrow and exploring the Abraham Lincoln museum in the afternoon. (when rain is expected) 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goodbye Columbus!!!

Isn't that the name of a movie with Ali McGraw?  Hmmm...anyway my last day in Columbus.  It's been good but Columbus didn't grab me like Indianapolis did...I can't see me coming back but then again they do have a highly regarded marathon....never say never.  Oh how I have learned that!!!

My foot and knees let me know this morning that another walk was definitely not on.  Okay by me.  I did go to the start point of the walk and get both copies of the walk and see if I could possibly combine them but thought "nah...".  It was a cool dull day today.  I did follow a bit of the route around downtown a bit.  I met a rather strange fellow in front of the State Capital and he said "who are you voting for".  I said 'I can't vote, I'm Canadian".  He said "you are not" and I said "am so".  He then said "well Canada is only about four hours away"  - like that would make me be able to vote. :)  I said "well my part of Canada is further" so he said "Winnipeg" (which kind of impressed me actually)  I said no "Regina, Saskatchewan" and listened to him try to say it.  I then said "but if I could vote I'd vote for Obama" and he smiled and gave me the peace sign.  I love meeting characters like that.  Then I walked over to the Veterans Hall where they had the international festival.  It was 7 dollars to get in and it was okay...the entertainment was pretty good.  They sold ethnic food so I had a small piece of baklava for a dollar and that was it.  I did buy one item as a gift but that was it.  There were a lot of vendors hawking their wares that's for sure and others trying to collect for charity.  I felt bad refusing but I support my own charities at home.  I saw some young East Indian dancers and then a belly dancing club got on stage.  Most of the ladies were plus sizes and I must admit my first reaction was "well I don't look that bad at least" and then I was just amazed by their happiness and self confidence.  Awesome.  We women should celebrate our bodies the way they are and be happy as we are.  Some people behind me were snickering and I felt like saying "you get up there in front of an audience then".  I've heard belly dancing is really good exercise but the thought of me in a belly dancing costume...well it ain't a pretty thought but like I say some of those ladies were 250 to 300 plus pounds and just glowed with happiness.   Hmmmm....

Here is a view from outside the arena back towards downtown with Harleys in the foreground...

I walked across the road to COSI which is the Centre of Science and Industry - a Science Centre.  It also had 3D films which is what I went for - I was able to purchase just a film ticket so saw "Meerkats" which was just adorable.  I enjoyed every minute of it - I adore meerkats!!!  They have a matriach who runs the show and she is the only one allowed to get knocked up.  She banished one of her daughters who got pregnant by her brother (and they don't even live in Kentucky) - it had a happy ending as all the stress made Miss Bean (yes the film makers gave them names but don't worry they didn't do that thing making them talk - man I hate that) lose her babies so she appeared back in the fold with her family and all was forgiven.  I love happy endings!!! 

From there I walked a few blocks to get a bus to the Short North area again.  I looked in the shops and got another gift then on to Jeni's ice cream AGAIN...oh man it is so good.  It's made from all natural ingredients.  I once again split my order and had Poached Pear Reisling Sorbet and Spiced Pumpkin.  Oh my...

Of course this was dessert first so then I had to have dinner.  I finally made it to Surly Girl Saloon which Tabitha had recommended.   I had a Salty Wench drink which was vodka and pink grapefruit juice - it was the special - and it was pretty good.  Tabitha had recommend the Surly Girl pizza so I had it and OH MY GOD one of the best pizzas I've ever had.  Gorgonza, red onions, cranberries, pecans, three cheeses and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  The combination of salt and sweet...oh my my my.  Feast your was to die for. 

The Surly Girl saloon was really decorated for Hallowe'en. 

Above is the house I am staying at.  No one is home right now - not even the cats are bugging me.  Usually Domino and Jack come in to snoop around and sit on my lap.  Or twirl around my legs which I really really hate.

Tomorrow morning I take the megabus to Chicago and then the train to Springfield.  I have 45 minutes between bus and train and I have a feeling I will miss the train as I have found out Megabus tends to run will let me off right by the Amtrak station in Chicago so we shall see.  I will arrive into Springfield either late or very late so no blog posts tomorrow night!! 

Tuesday will see me doing the 10km walk and visiting the Lincoln musuem and in the evening rooting for Obama.  I am getting way too involved in this election and it's not even my country!!!

Bopping around Budapest - The Old Town of Buda

F riends had raved about Budapest and having read quite a bit about it I knew it was on my "to visit" list. And I knew it was goi...