I’m back from France! Photos will, of course, come later, but here’s some initial thoughts:
- The best thing about this vacation was not the France, but the Liam. Getting to spend all day with the little guy for 10 whole days was just about the best thing ever. It makes me sad that I now have to go back to work all day, and I just want to spend more time with him
- You’d think you could get enough of old, red-bricked buildings, but I can’t. I love all the old villages and buildings and churches and chapels and cathedrals and castles.
- Liam is learning to talk! While on vacation, he said to me in the bath, “Kitty says ‘meow'” (We’d been teaching him animal sounds). Ok. what he said sounded more like ‘Ki-ee thee mow!” (like Ow!, not oh!) But I know what he was saying. Plus, he now says it all the time when he sees a cat.
- Man that was a gorgeous house we were staying in.
- My French is terrible, compared to what it once was. I can understand everything, but I can’t remember any vocabulary, and even more curiously, I can remember how to conjugate the passé simple, but not any other past tense. Clearly, I’m a lit. student (you only use the PS in literary modes).
- I really like Steve & Ayumu. I knew that before, but travelling with friends can be dicey, but they were great. And were incredibly patient with us and the Liam Factor.
- I need new sandals
- I need more sport tanktops if I’m going to be anywhere that hot for any length of time
- I have a strong preference for rural France compared to urban France
More when I’ve recovered from the post-vacation deluge here!
So the wife, the boy and I are off to France for 2 weeks, meeting up with Steve (He Who Hosts this Site) and his wife, amongst other unsavory characters. I have no idea if I’ll have an internet connection, so if not, see you in 2 weeks!
Following Kottke’s idea of making the list a meme, here’s my list of cities for 2005. It’s woefully short, as we didn’t really travel last year:
- Vancouver, BC
- Oslo, Norway
- Lexington, KY
- Sechelt, BC
The Oslo & Lexington trips book-ended the year, with the trip to the Sunshine Coast (declaration: We weren’t actually in Sechelt, that’s just the closest town with a name, I believe.)
Despite not having any actual travel prospects at this point, I hope to make my 2006 list at least slightly longer.
We’ve arrived in Kentucky. For the most part, all of our fears about Liam travelling were fruitless – he was totally a star traveller. Only one real incident of squawking, not even crying, all day. And there was all sorts of lining up! In Vancouver, the line-ups were plentiful: 1 long line to check in, 1 long line to clear customs 1 short line to go through security, 1 medium line to board the plane. Getting on the plane was fun, what with me carrying 3 large carry-on bags (mine, Leah’s and Liam’s diaper bag), and Leah carrying Liam. But, we managed to keep him entertained, and he had about a 45-minute nap on the first flight which was great. I figured that the wait in Chicago wouldn’t be so much fun – Liam normally only tolerates so much time spent in the stroller, particularly if he’s not moving. But again, he surprised me. He was definitely fussier, but it didn’t take much to entertain him, and after we gobbled down some food, and I walked to the end of the concourse and back, it was time for our next flight – a much shorter flight, on a much smaller plane. Liam squirmed a bit during takeoff, but he eventually fell asleep on my lap during the flight – again, withou any real fussing. What a star!
So now we’re staying with my sister, in her beautiful old house. Their living room/dining room is probably larger than the the apartments of each an every one of my friends. And the kitchen! I’m not normally a huge. “Oh look at that kitchen!” type of person, but it’s totally the type of ktichen you only see on TV or in magazines. Real people don’t have ktichens this nice, do they?
So, in a little over 24 hours, Leah, Liam and I will be getting on a plane to visit my family at my sister’s place, in Kentucky. I’m quite excited to be going. It’ll be nice to see my family, sure, but you know what I’m most excited about? I get to hang out with Liam all week! This is extra exciting because for the past two weeks, I’ve been a total absentee parent (which is also why there’s been no posts). I’ve been at work all day and all night, so I’ve barely seen the little dude. Given my already reasonably high level of guilt for simply being at work and away from him every day, it’s not been so good for me.
Unfortunately, several thousand miles and 2 plane trips seperate ourselves from my sister. Which means that we have to take Liam on a plane. I’ll admit now, I’ve always been one of those people who’ve cringed when parents with babies or kids get on planes. I don’t, as a general rule, particularly like babies or kids (I think kids are worse tho – they run and scream and screech and kick) (I do, as you’ve probably guessed, quite like my own kid). I’m hopeful that Liam, who’s a pretty chill baby, will be a pretty chill flyer (flier?). But I fear the worst, of course. I’m imagining four uninterrupted hours of screaming until we land in Chicago, followed by another hour of screaming as we take the next leg to Kentucky. Did I mention that we have a 3-hour layover in Chicago? Right around nap-time! What fun that will be, eh?
The last set of photos from my trip to Norway are all taken within Vigelands Parken, an urban park and statue-garden.
Gustav Vigelands was a scupltor of some renown. The Norwegian government commissioned him to create some statues for a park. He was given a place to live, a stipend, and left to his work. The creation of the park took the majority of his life, and indeed, the last of the statues were not finished and placed until after his death. The bronzes of the park were completed solo by him, but the members of his atelier worked on the granites with him. All statues were designed by him.
My mum has done an extensive study of the park, with photos of all the statues in various lighting from various times of year, and also know the stories behind them, but this’ll give you (hopefully) a decent sruvey of them. Vigelands 101, if you will.
Have a look!
So during our Tenure in Norway, we also made it over to København (Copenhagen), an overnight boat-trip away in Denmark.
Pictures of our excursion are now available.
Copenhagen, despite many similarities, felt quite different from Oslo. First and foremost, it is at least twice the size, and so all the changes that come from being larger are there: Copenhagen was older, dirtier, more cosmopolitan, more suspect, more lively, just more. Were it not for the horrendous fact that everyone smokes, and smokes everywhere (inside restaurants and cafés too), I’d definitely like it more. Now, I know that smoking inside is common in Europe, but I’m so spoiled by the smoking ban here, that when suddenly faced with it, it’s really awful.
Anyone going anywhere near Copenhagen should definitely make an effort to see the city itself. It has so much to offer – I wish we had slightly more time there, so we could have better explored it, rather than kindof running through it, which is what we did.
I’m now back in Vancouver, after a wonderful, relaxing trip to Norway (and Denmark). Photos of the trip (I’ll have some more in different albums for Denmark & Vigeland Park soon) have been uploaded for you to peruse, should you so wish. Many thoughts, memories & ideas about the trip can be found within the photo captions, but here’s som random notes about Norway:
- Norway is very expensive.
- Oslo has excellent transit – Vancouver could learn alot from how well the system runs
- The standard of living, predictably, was very high
- Norwegian girls are hot! Norwegian boys are pretty good looking too.
- I’m not a big fan of cruise ships, I’ve decided.
- Norway is very good to its artists, and clearly supports public art.
- Oslo is neat & clean, Bergen is cosmopolitan.
- It doesn’t matter if you speak Norwegian – you can probably read most things anyway because words are similar, and everyone you speak to will speak english nearly perfectly.
So tomorrow, I’m going to go to Københaven (Copenhagen) for a day or 2. Does anyone out there have any recommendations on things to check out, etc, while in the city? I won’t have a car (we’re taking the overnight ferry from Oslo each way), so I won’t want to leave the center, or go to anything not accessibly by transit, but everything else is game…
If you’ve any suggestions, please put them in the comments, or just email me.
In a few short hours, Leah and I are off to Norway, for a 10-day visit with my Mum, who’s currently on sabbatical there. Not that posts have been that regular of late, but expect a short absence followed by a raft of photos, etc.
Have a good week, everyone!