Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Conversation


C: Really? This one?
L: Yes! It's lovely!
C: Isn't it a bit big?
L: But it's lovely!
C: I don't know…
L: Lovely.
C:
C: Sigh.

And that is the story of how C & L bought a Christmas tree from a jolly old geezer in Columbia Flower Market, and how C had a real tree for the first time in his life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coming Soon - Berlin

But check these out in the meantime!

Photos on Facebook

Sunday, November 23, 2008

London Fog

Woke up early the other day and found a city of fog and mystery.


click for full image

Monday, November 17, 2008

48 Hours in Stockholm


See more photos here!

We flew into Sweden on Friday morning and landed in the tiny little airport of Skavsta in the middle of nowhere. It was like landing in the interior of BC - trees and trees and fresh crisp air. Got through customs and hopped on the bus that took us to Stockholm.

Skavsta's a looong way to Stockholm. Seriously. Thank God we had a sandwich. One hour and twenty minutes of cold wet weather and trees and a napping boyfriend later, we arrived at Stockholm's central train station. The couple in front of us on the bus (who, having been happily reunited, made out most of the bus ride) seemed to know where they were headed so we followed surreptitiously and eventually found the Tunnelbana (Stockholm's subway system).

Our hotel, the Clarion Stockholm, was on the island of Sodermalm and perfectly situated near lots of transit. It might also have been one of the cool hotels mentioned on certain cool websites and guidebooks. There was art everywhere - 59 works from 18 contemporary Swedish artists. The elevators had little sparkly lights in the ceiling. The bathroom had a shower room. It was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. The breakfast buffet, which was substantial, had smoked reindeer and pancakes.

After quick check-in, we were off to explore Stockholm. The one thing I wanted to do was to visit the Saluhall - Stockholm's gorgeous ode to food, rather like Borough Market (but inside and more atmospheric). It was beautiful, cosy and filled with stunning foodstuffs. All sorts of fashionable people were buying their groceries. We had a quick coffee and wandered out and around in the cold in Ostermalm, checking out beautiful stores and spying on people through their windows. Surprisingly, no one seemed to have IKEA lamp shades. We got a bit lost but found our way back to the Saluhall and grabbed some open faced sandwiches to munch on. Factoring in the exchange rates (Swedish Kronor to British Pounds to Canadian dollars), they may have been the most expensive sandwiches ever. One was smoked salmon and the other was shrimp, both served on the seediest, densest bread. Absolutely delicious with a spritz of lemon.

Cold and a bit wet, we went back to the hotel and then headed out in search of a restaurant I had heard of. We found ourselves in a residential area and decided that where ever the restaurant was, we weren't there so we had better start looking for another option.

Anyone who's ever had the pleasure of traveling with me will know that I have trouble choosing a restaurant and have certain standards and criteria. We wandered around for some time and ended up finding a warm, cosy restaurant that was full of people. Five minutes later, we were seated and the (really sweet) server brought us menus in English and Swedish. We ordered and spent the time waiting for our meal by translating the menu. This proved useful as we looked very smart for the remainder of the trip while we translated egg, ham, cheese, and various types and cuts of meat.

Dinner was delicious. C had beef tenderloin and mushrooms in a rich, creamy veal gravy with potato gratin. I had butter fired arctic char on a warm potato salad with wilted greens.

Afterwards we wandered, full and happy back to the hotel where we laughed at bad MTV reality TV and went to sleep.

Saturday morning (after the smoked reindeer), we caught a bus which did not take us in the direction I thought it would so we ended up going for a nice long walk along the water with a beautiful view of Stockholm. Then we headed up to the State library and observatory to look around. Had a great coffee (Stockholm does coffee really well) in a little cafe (Aside: many of the cafes keep piles of blankets near the windows, ostensibly so people can sit and look out without freezing. How thoughtful!).

Wandered some more, saw pretty things and interesting buildings and decided we should head back to the hotel to meet up with Sarah et al. But. It had been HOURS since our breakfast. We were hungry. What would we do??

So we stopped at one of the (many) street stalls and had a Tunnbrodsrulle. What's that, you ask? A Tunnbrodsrulle is a flat bread wrap with mashed potatoes and a hot dog. With relish. Oh god. Who knew? It was so good. And not just in a "oh dirty street food" good. This was awesome. And also a little funny.

We picked Sarah and the birthday retinue up from their hostel down the street (how convenient was that!?) and headed into town. We found a cute and cosy little bar with a warm upstairs and soft pillows. The feeling of being cold and then going inside somewhere warm is wonderful. You forget when you don't live in place with proper cold. Anyways, after a few drinks and some chatting, we headed towards the restaurant I had picked out - Pelikan. Naturally it was busy so we had drinks in the bar before sitting down in a beautiful room for beautiful food. I had roast elk. C had meatballs that were WAY better than IKEAs. Lovely, and most important Sarah was happy. Honestly, I had been more than a little stressed about finding a suitable birthday restaurant in a city I didn't know.

After dinner we headed to a club and danced to 90s retro dance music for a few hours before packing it in and heading back to the hotel's ever-so-comfy bed.

Sunday was raining. Not pouring, but wet and cold. We wandered up through Sodermalm to Gamla Stan, Stockholm's Old City. With the cold, we decided to visit the city's museum. It was much like many other museums of royalty - though the Royal Apartments are still used and Nobel prize winners celebrate there, which is pretty cool. We were just finishing up in the museum when we heard the cannons go off and rushed outside to witness the changing of the guard. And, it started to snow. Not the piddling British kind of snow that melts the moment it hits the pavement. Swedish snow. Big wet globs of gorgeous white snow. Delightful.


But once the guards were done and the snow had stopped, we were all really cold and really wet so we went in search of food. We ended up in a small (and cosy! sensing a theme?) restaurant called Adolfini Kok and had elk meatballs and rack of lamb while drinking wine and being warm and it was great.

Still cold, but at least full, we made our way through the winding streets of the old city, popping in and out of shops and looking for somewhere warm to drink hot chocolate. We found one, drank our fill and then headed back to the hotel to grab our stuff to start the (ridiculously) long journey home to London.

Stockholm was great. A beautiful city, polite, nice people, great food. The Christmas lights and trees were up and that, combined with the cold, made me feel hugged. Reminded me of Canada home in a way that was good but not homesick.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Venezia


More photos here.

Although London is undisputedly one of the greatest cities in the world, occasionally it can become a bit wearing. Which is exactly why L and I escaped to Venice this past weekend.

L and I have both traveled through Italy extensively, but I'd never made it to Venice, and as such, L insisted that we go. We flew in late on a Thursday evening, caught a bus into the city, and then hopped on a vaporetto (water bus) to the general vicinity of our hotel. Having arrived very late at night, our food options were limited, but we were lucky enough to find a pizzeria that reopened their kitchen for us. Dinner ended up being delicious, proper Italian, thin crust pizza in Piazza San Marco.

Our second day started perfectly: cappucini and cornetti, taken at the bar. It's one of the things I love the most about Italy – that breakfast is a simple, quick and yet delicious affair. The rest of the day was lovely as well – we wandered the streets of the city, taking the long way around, backtracking whenever we hit the canal and finally ended up having Prosecco on the canal's edge.


We actually avoided all of the museums and churches, with the above being the only exception. With just a weekend in the city, we thought it prudent to focus on the city itself. And really, how many paintings of Madonna and Child can one tourist stomach? In my case, it's very, very few.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of lovely meals, walking through Venice's narrow streets late into the night, and drinking wine at possibly inappropriately early hours. Other highlights included stumbling upon a community junk sale, a trip to the island of Murano (famous for its glass) and listening to the various ensembles of classical musicians trying to outdo each other in Piazza San Marco.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Different Route


Londoners seem to talk about a number of things while they make tea in the morning, but the morning commute (or "journey" as it's known here) is probably the most popular topic.

The other morning, my journey came to an abrupt end when the bus I was traveling on stopped its service prematurely. Not too far from my usual stop, I decided to walk to work. In doing so, I found myself behind Liverpool Street station and discovered, amongst other things, a water garden, a statue of a dying horse, and this oversized chess board.

Apologies for the poor photo – this was shot on my phone.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bigger on the Inside

Every morning on my way to work, I walk by this Police Call Box and invariably think of my brothers. Nerds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Bit of India…Well, NY

The other weekend, Leah and I found ourselves on the High Street, having spent a chunk of the morning searching for various kitchen implements.

Realizing that our options for a lunch other than sandwiches were considerably limited, we consulted Time Out and discovered that one of the best parts of New York City had just come to London.


The Kati Roll Company. A magical place where £6 gets you two brilliant Indian rolls stuffed with delicious, spicy goodness. Leah and I first tried the Kati Roll Company in NYC, as their shop was directly opposite where we were staying. In our five day stay in NY, I think we ate there two or possible three times…


One of the best parts of the Kati Roll Company is their decor. The entire restaurant is painted a vibrant orange and the walls are adorned with vintage Bollywood posters. Some of them are particularly brilliant: Bollywood versions of Hollywood blockbusters. This location had a poster for The Matrix but Leah wouldn't let me take a photo of it, given that there was a family eating at the table underneath it. Anyway, the posters, paired with the fact that the entire clientele were Indian expats, really helped create a unique and almost surreal experience.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

tuesday

Chris & Leah went out.
They ate frogs legs.
They did not taste like chicken.

The End.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Greenwich

Chris and I took a holiday in London this week. There had been grandiose plans to get out of the city but then work, life and friends got in the way. Which really wasn't so bad. So we stayed in town and did Outside-Our-Everyday-London Things.

We started off at Borough Market, just in time for the lunch rush. The place was hoping, ridiculous line ups for chorizo sandwiches and people spilling out of the pubs. We started at Monmouth's for second-best-in-London coffee. I went to get a pastry but they seemed blah, so I went next door while Chris waited in line. Next door is a popular pastry dessert type place. I was supposed to be getting something breakfasty to go with our coffee. I chose a big piece of apple pie. It was delicious. People would be happier if they started their days with apple pie, rather than, say, bran flakes.

We wandered. Found excruciatingly expensive prosciutto and a giant wheels of cheese. We were going to leave but stopped for a quick paella with chorizo. Yes, that same one.

Then we started down to the Thames, caught a boat and sped off to Greenwich. Very cool to see the city from a different angle.


Disembarked at Greenwich and wandered around, had some sparkly water in the shade and walked up the hill to the observatory. Every time I walk up a hill I think of Peru and instantly wish I had poles.






We looked around. Laughed at the giant line up of people waiting to get their picture taken straddling the prime meridian. I pointed out the laser to C. (We had been to Greenwich previously in search of the laser but I couldn't find it and then we went home- it was silly. After a long day we go all the way to Greenwich to see the laser and I can't find it. Nice.)



Hopped back on the boat to London Bridge and started home, via the Carpenter's Arms, our newly found Local.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day

The first Canada Day that L and I have spent away from home. And, to be honest, it made us miss home quite a bit. Thankfully, both of our homes were represented: Alberta sponsored the day's celebrations (bison burgers and Sleeman's Honey Brown Ale anyone?), and Ontario had a small pavilion.

Honestly though, the best part of the Ontario pavilion was the fact that you could buy an authentic Tim Horton's glazed donut for the princely sum of £0.89. Delicious.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Since 1952...

While wandering around London the other day, I found myself in front of the theatre which holds the distinction of housing London's longest running play.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Robot Dad

Funniest Moment of Giant's Causeway - for your viewing pleasure!

Balloon Swords

So Chris and I went to Brighton a few weeks ago, as mentioned below. We both got pulled up onto the stage to be part of Pedro the Angry Clown's show. It was a riot. And a really nice guy took a bunch of photos and sent them to us! I've posted them on Facebook (just easier that way) but you non-Facebooks can see them here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stonehenge


Chris and Leah go to Stonehenge. I didn't think it would be as awing as it was. Perfect gorgeous day for it, followed by a wander through Old Sarum.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brighton


Chris and Leah go to Brighton to watch their friend Mike Wood catch a cabbage on his head. Check it out.

We were also part of a show. Pedro the Angry Clown pulled me, then Chris up on stage. It was mortifying and fabulous, all at the same time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hilarity in the West End

Just a quick (and highly illicit) phone-snap of the set of Spamalot from the uppermost balcony.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Natural History Museum


One slow Friday I ditched out of work early and met Chris in Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum. The building is gorgeous, the exhibits are neat and Chris is a bit of a nerd...

Afterwards we met Craig for dinner and he and Chris went to see Public Enemy while I went to hang out with Craig's wife.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rachael Comes to London


My lovely friend Rachael came to visit us in London. You can't tell by Chris' face, but we actually had a good time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fields of Yellow

Last week I had to head north of London on the train twice, once to Leeds and once to Cambridge.

On the train, early in the morning I went by fields starting to flower. It looked like canola. Not quite the vast never ending fields that you see in Alberta, but yellow and friendly and it made me think of home.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Olympic Torch, Takedown

L and I were lucky enough to receive tickets to the finale of the Olympic Torch Relay, which took place today, just outside of the O2 dome in North Greenwich.

It was fantastic to be at the event and see the runner light the Olympic cauldron. (Apologies for the first skewed image, but I was shooting blindly over the crowd)







Of course, there was a certain amount of controversy as well. Protesters for Tibet were scattered throughout the crowd and as soon as the cauldron was lit, a couple rushed the stage, despite the formidable police presence.



The police were fast to respond. The guy barely made it over the barricade before he was pushed back, and taken down, right in front of me.



Protests quelled, the Chinese Olympic representatives then lit a lantern to carry the flame to its next destination: Paris. These two were obviously Red Army: stiff backs, exact, synchronized, deliberate movements and military precision.





The lantern exists as the only Olympic flame and will be used to light the torch in Paris. As such, the London cauldron was extinguished at the end of the ceremony.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Sunday

It was gorgeous this morning- sunny, blue sky- a welcome break from the grey wet London weather we've had all week. So we went for a walk to Victoria Park and wandered over to the lake (pond) and watched the ducks and dogs before we sat down outside the pavilion and ate a fantastic brunch.


Lavender




I have wanted a lavender plant for a very long time and a few weeks ago I picked one up at the Columbia Flower Market.

It grew.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

When Chickens Attack

We stopped by Hackney City Farm and got (awesome) homemade gelato on our way home from Broadway Market.

This is London.

And these are chickens.

(And some ducks.)



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Snow

It snowed in London today.

For about two minutes.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Long-Lost, Endangered...





* Not actually Jackalopes. Still, giant, strange, rabbity-things darting about in the mists of Machu Picchu? It's an honest mistake.