Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nuremberg Adventure

So I decided to edit up a little bit of my adventures in Nuremberg with Bastian. Needless to say, my life is awesome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tough Going

So my return to Dubrovnik had been relatively uneventful. Aside from the cooler than average weather, my time here has been productive. Everyone is working well together, great friendships all around and even more friendships being started. It's been great being back and I've started to fall back into the rhythm of things. I've met some seriously amazing people this week. It was a really amazing week. Then I got the phone call from home.

One of my aunts was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. I had found out last week... but then bad news came that things had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. She was hospitalized indefinitely and put immediately into palliative care. Suddenly my summer plans seem a bit haywire. My extended family on both sides of the family are pretty tight. This comes as a major blow. As a kid growing up, this was the aunt and uncle who would become our guardian should anything happen to my parents. She helped me practice my french growing up as a child. She put up with us running around her house, sliding down the stairs, playing with all the toys and causing a ruckus ourselves... and eventually with her grandkids. It is a very tight family bond. It's better to see somebody alive and get to tell them everything you've always wanted to say than to have to live with it all inside while attending a funeral. It's time to go be with family so at 3 am yesterday I booked a ticket home. Hoping desperately that I'll make it in time to see her. Tough going. Anyways so I'll be in Vancouver until the 6th of June. Unexpected yes. Sometimes life has a funny way of dropping a wrench into your plans. But there's a lesson to be learned in each of life's problems. Everything happens for a reason. Time to go learn the next lesson and spend time with those I hold dear.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Air Canada sucks.

So once again I left for Europe. Usually my trips back and forth between the two continents have been extremely pleasant. Sleep on the plane, wake up in a new land. No jet lag. Sweet. This time the travel gods had other plans as my return ticket to Munich had a two hour stopover in Lester B. Pearson International... aka Toronto. The first half of my flight from vancouver to toronto was smooth. 5.5 hours in a plane. I watched mission impossible. Blah.

Landing in Toronto was also smooth enough. My luggage was going to pass through so I could wander the hallways of the airport while I killed time for the next three hours. I stood by the glass windows and watched the airport traffic come and go... admiring all the massively expensive airplanes all ready at a moments notice to whisk their hundreds of passengers off to some foreign exotic land. Then I notice the clouds. Dark dark heavy rain looking clouds. Seemingly bearing down on the airport. "Hmmmmm kinda looks like a thunderstorm is headed this way." Man I could not have been anymore correct. As I sat and waited for my flight, I noticed the skies darken, the lightning begin and the rain start to fall. Hard. Needless to say it was a full blown thunderstorm headed straight for the airport. I watched as the time ticked. Our boarding time came and went... many passengers looking extremely confused. Then the announcement. All airport traffic had been delayed due to the thunderstorm stalling over the airport. I watched as the clock ticked... in the end we were delayed 2.5 hours at the boarding gate. Next we all piled onto the plane. Then the fog rolled in.

Toronto covered in night fog.

The airport during the thunderstorm

Little did I know that tarmac staff are not allowed to work in a thunderstorm. So they kindly left all our bags out in the pouring rain for 2.5 hours as the flight sat delayed. Completely uncovered, our bags were getting soaked with little care given about the fact we were going to be delayed a while. Once we were on the flight, more waiting began. The plane still needed to be refueled, baggage loaded and catering delivered.The fog thickened and we could barely see the terminal. I figured we were screwed and would be delayed even further. I watched a full movie on board the plane as we waiting.. even more. Finally around 11pm central time, we finally unlocked from the gate and were on our way. I could barely feel my ass from sitting so long. Only nine more hours to go. Time for a gravol and a nap.

Fortunately that was the most difficult part of my trip. I arrived in Munich without issue. Waited 20 minutes for my bag at the carousel after clearing customs. My good buddy Bastian was waiting to take my Nuremberg for the weekend. Little did I realize he drove two hours out to grab me! But the trip out to Nuremberg would be well worth the effort. Nuremberg was the momemtum building/staging grounds for the Nazi party in the 30's/40's. Plenty of world history to check out in this place. Bastian's father works for Playmobile. He is one of the head toy designers so I was given a whirlwind tour of Playmobile Land. An all access pass to all the coolest playmobile stuff in the world. I also found out Bastians girlfriend Sara worked at the Nuremberg Zoo called the "Tiergarten". At some point we were going to go check out the animals as it was one of the largest zoo's in the world. Sweet. I didn't expect anything when I arrived. I enjoy seeing old friends, experiencing their culture, seeing where they're from. That's the reason why I travel. Little did I know that the having locals show you around was the way to do things in Nuremberg. I was about to have a visit that I would never forget.

Nuremberg by night.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Chapter Begins

So once again I have decided to throw real life by the wayside and depart once again for Europe. When I returned to Vancouver in January, I had no idea what was in store for me. Four months later, I can safely say I loved being back home. Now that is a rare thing for me to say. For those of you who've hung out with me in the last few years, I know that you've put up with a large amount of grumbling and moaning about this fine city. And to a degree, yes it's all true. But I learned to look past it, realize the city life may not be for me and enjoy the surroundings to their maximum. I spent nearly every weekend getting up to an adventure. I had no shortage of good people to join me as I explored Victoria, Cortes Island, the local Vancouver mountains, GVRD beaches, bike paths and even new eateries and cafes. It was a heck of a time being back. And then I decided to give it all up again for the open road.

Now Vancouver is far from perfect. Here are my complaints. Vancouver is an independent city. We like to think of ourselves way out left on the west coast. The only problem is we might be a little too independent and refuse to acknowledge those around us withing out daily lives. All too often to find myself walking around the city, wandering the streets and smiling at passers by. More than ever have I noticed how unfriendly peoples outward faces are. Locked in a frown, or at best a look of "why the hell are you smiling at me?" the citizens of this city need to learn to lighten up and enjoy a little bit of social interaction. No man is an island. Open up a little, smile and spread the love. If everyone in this city smiled, no matter how grey the weather this city would shine like no other.

And of course my other gripe is the price. I know it's beautiful, but it's expensive. Prohibitively so. Maybe another reason I am skipping town.

So I'm sitting here relaxing at Pearson Airport in Toronto. The clouds have started moving in and there's a risk of thunder showers. But that bothers me none. I am on a journey. The final destination is unknown, but it's a personal trip to discover whether or not Vancouver is my home. There is so much more of the world to see and I'm not getting any younger.

A note to old friends, new friends, family and co-workers. I'll miss you guys. You've made Vancouver a magical place for me again. There is now a hope that the west coast will be my home one day. I don't feel like I'm running away. I'm only going on vacation... to a bit of a sunnier destination. Hopefully that also means that I will be breathing new life into this blog while I am away. More photos, more videos and more vicarious adventures.

Stay Tuned!