Wednesday, 11 June 2014

June 11 2014 The End of Our Journey

It's just our luck that whenever we need to take a metro, speed train, or airplane something or someone is on stike. When we had to get to Marsielle the Train was on strike, we managed to get there with our bikes and camping gear, but we did leave a couple days early just to be certain we would make our appointment.  When we had to get to Paris to meet Hugh. The trains were on strike and we had to sneak onto an early train because our train had been cancelled. When we went to Italy the tracks had been washed into the sea buy the rain storms.

We did have some challenges getting to our hotel from the airport on our trip back to Paris from Manchester. There were no attendants to give advice or sell the exact ticket we wanted so we ended probably paying the most possible to get from point A to point B. Everyone else was jumping over the barriers because they knew there wasn't  anyone checking tickets. We are not quite that bold.

Leaving Paris all the taxis were on strike an so were the regional trains RER and the TGV. So getting to the airport was a difficult task for everyone. We on the other hand continue to be blessed with friends like our undercover taxi driver Matheu whom we met the day we arrived in Paris back in July 2013. He is one of the most reliable taxi drivers we know who wants to work and does it no matter what. He provided his services several times during our stay around Paris. As luck would have it the freeways to the airport were blocked on the other side of the road so we made it to the airport just on time.

The Air Canada flights back home went very smooth with customs and luggage. We collected our bikes and the rest of the luggage in Montreal and rechecked without any problems. We made it all the way to Calgary with all our luggage too.

Arriving home:
Ahh! Home Sweet Home. It was great to embrace Hugh who greeted us at the airport. Our dog looking terrific and wagged her tail when she saw us. A few minutes after our re-encounter, she loved us just the same. 
Flowers and bread were brought to us by our neighbour friends and their smiles made us feel ever so welcomed. Thank you friends.

This trip was filled with many adventures and it certainly tested our strength, patience, and ability to communicate in a language other than English. It gave us the opportunity to embrace other cultures and understand modern times that are shaped from past history. We had our challenges on the road but nothing that we could not embrace.

We want to say Thanks a Million to our family and friends who supported us during our absence whether by shoveling the snow, provinding care to our dog, praying for our safety and sending many words of encouragement which meant a lot to us. Many thanks to all our blog followers. We are also thankful for all the help and advice and hospitality we received from all our friends we visited from north to south of Europe and in between, the new friends we made and all the strangers who gave great directions on the road when we were a bit lost.  To all of you, Thank You.

We start to empty out the contents of our storage box in Paris, there is no way it  is all going to fit inside our luggage.

Just half of it barely fits inside our hotel room!

It was raining cats and dogs along with a memorable lightning show.

Just our luck the food store by our hotel is closed for the duration of our visit.

Good thing we have rain gear.

There is the rest of our luggage, they moved us to a larger room. Al almost died under the rain so takes his coat and hat off and has a tantrum.

Once you find the hotel the storage place is not far away.

There, we made it to the airport with six pieces of luggage.

Last view of the bicycles in Paris airport.

Almost home :)

There is still a lot of renovations at the Calgary airport.

Waiting for our luggage and feeling so lagged, that we can see a moose made of suitcases.

Yeah! Got all our luggage, paid our taxes and going home.

Thanks Hugh for picking us up, we sure can use a truck.

Has it been that long? The promised tunnel under the airport runway is completed. 

Hoping to win her love again with a treat and a toy. I succeded! She still loves us.

Our friend and neighbour Erin welcomed us with beautiful flowers. It was great to see her family.


Back at home, sweet home. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Back to York June 4, 2014

We took the train back to York since wanted to see a bit more of this pretty town. We stayed in a different hotel Lady Anne Middleton's. The hotel is in six historic buildings in Skeldergate that date back to the 1600s. One of the buildings served as a refuge for the widows of York, another used to be a saw mill and a hospital. Most of the original walls are still standing and reinforced today. The garden was a beautiful sight.

As we have kept our anual passes for the York Minster, we went on a guided tour while a scottish wedding was being celebrated. Guided tours help uncover the history behind all the little details that one is not aware of and it makes the visit more interesting.

The Yorkshire Museum owned by the philosopher society next to the ruins of St Mary's abbey. A very interesting museum to see. The philosopher society was originally a group of people who studied all of the sciences and today they still sponsor speaking engagments in the city by all kinds of experts.

This house used to be a refuge for widows from York back in the day.

Arriving at Lady Anne Middleton's Hotel, but Al is not too sure for he confirms with his google maps.

Entrance of the hotel.

We were greeted by a nice squirrel who poses for us.

A great Jazz Band came one evening to play for tphe hotel guests and boy! Could they ever play and sing! There were six of them and the lobby was packed.

By the canal in York 1/2 block from our place.

This gentleman is a Gost Hunter and he is waiting for his evening group of tourist. He will take them to different parts of the old town in search of lost souls for only £6 each.

A famous street with ancient houses and cool boutiques and restaurants. The shambles.

Well, it is a nice city. 

Sample of architecture.

This stain glass is a small part of the big panel and according to our guide, the artist, after he had completed the required picture and he had space left on the panel, he could fill in whatever he liked.
This corner shows two monkey doctors treating a patient and one holds a urine sample for diagnosis.

The bottom part represents a bunch of monkeys as scientist, doctors, kings and in a parade.

York Minster Abbey.

The Scottish wedding.

One of the keys of the abbey that symbolizes Jesus going into heaven.

This key had some modifications by Queen Victoria during her reign. The original one was of Mary and  Baby Jesus being breast fed. Queen Victoria did not find such image acceptable in the church, so since then, the new key portrays Mary feeding Baby Jesus with a bottle. There are many keys in the abbey and without a guide, one could not appreciate such little but important details.

(Yoly) I finally learned where the romans had settled in the old world. Apparently, they did not make it to Edinburgh and their last stop was at the Adrians Wall, north of York.

Beautiful findings at St Mary's abbey at the Yorkshire Museum.

Old but impoetant figures at the museum.

Our favorite squirrel possed onece more for us before we left York.

Manchester, June, 8, 2014.

The highlight of Manchester was meeting our friends next door neighbours Ray, Mary and Kate in New Mills. It was good to see the smiling faces of our friends. Mary grew up in New Mills and showed us around to a boat show on the canal and very economical pub. So we drank beer and ate crisps. We tried to catch up on the events but we only had a couple hours and there are more than a couple hours of stories. We look forward to hearing more about their trips to Mexico and suffering through the longest winter ever. We have a few stories of our own to tell as well. 

Al was just geting over a cold and catching a new one to replace it, so even if Manchester was the nicest town on the planet, he wouldn't have found much to like about it. While we were there, the Parklife 2014 festival was on, featuring Snoop Dog and a whole bunch of bands We had never heard of before. It rained but it didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the concert goers. The standard attire for concert was  rubber boots, raincoats and little else. In some cases very little else. It was odd to see so many dressed in that fashion walking through the train station and the center of town to get to the concert venue. Even odder was their apperance on the way home a day and a half later, tired, covered in mud, hung over and still dressed for success.

Somehow, we manage to miss the bicycle race in the nude, a yearly event that attracts a big crowd. We saw pictures  in the news paper the next day. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, otherwise, we would have witnessed and taken some photos of the event.

Manchester was the heart of the industrial revolution because coal was made cheap by the canals that were developed to service the city. The price of coal droped by half when the canals were opened so manufacturing took off. Being the heart of that particular revolution didn't really leave a legacy of outstanding architecture, but there were some interesting examples and the big factories from back in the day are cool in thier own way.  

At one of the best and largest library in Europe. The John Rylands Library.

The architecture is amaizing.

The library made us feel like we were in a big church. Instead of saints, the statues were famous philosophers and the stained glass portrays images of famous masters.

The library is istill in use, one can research, study, read or simply take a complete tour of the place.

This is St Mary's Cathedral

Inside of St Mary's Cathedral.

This window glass is red and the shadows behind it are trees. From the distance, it looked like flames.

Glad we made it to Coronation Street. Too bad the big corporations have taken over.

Cool glass building.

China Town Arch

Nice building for the Fire Station.

A canal in New Mills, Derbyshire 

It was a community of long boats selling all sort of nice trinkets.
One can not lean on the boat.

The little sign says "Warning Mind the gap"

The sale continues.

A dog for sale or this dog is selling herbs, or garding the boat. 

This train was pleasing all the little kids.

Even adults have their picture taken.
Al and Ray

There were several birds of pray on display.

This birds are trained and put on a good show around the country during festivals like this one.

Hangin out with our friends.

The end of the line of long boats.

We had the time to smell exquisit roses during our walk and enjoyed every minute of our visit.

Their first beers at the pub and our last beers at the pub. 

After our walk, we stopped at the pub by the canal.

Oh, we had to leave New Mills.

So long, our friends.

A view from our hotel.