celiajohnston

One day I'll figure it out as I'm travelling the world
  • Day70

    Day 70: Iceland & Home!

    August 29, 2017 in Iceland

    Today was our travel day home!

    In between our flights, we had an eight hour layover in Iceland so we went to the Blue Lagoon. What a good choice. It was so nice and a great way to finish off our trip, alongside silica mud face masks, steam baths and hot geothermal water.

    In all, what a crazy, wonderful, exhausting, amazing (the list goes on) 10 weeks that this has been. What a journey! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity explore Europe.

    Time to plan the next trip!
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  • Day69

    Day 69: Paris, France

    August 28, 2017 in France

    Can't believe that it's our last official full day in Europe! It's bittersweet.

    I think Paris knew that it's cold back in Montreal so it wanted to say goodbye to us with the hottest day ever. Zoe had a headache so I went adventuring on my own for a few hours. Had the most amazing hot chocolate at Angelina's (thanks Marni) and walked down Champs Élysées again.

    When Zoe felt better, we went shopping for a bit and back to Champs Élysées for a third time and then for nice dinner at a French restaurant. Now we're all packed up and ready to wake up at 3:45 am tomorrow to make our way home. :)Read more

  • Day68

    Day 68: Paris, France

    August 27, 2017 in France

    This morning we woke up and made our breakfast of cereal, yoghurt and banana. Trying to finish up the last of our food before heading out.

    After breakfast, we made our way to the Louvre and spent about 2 hours there to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Hermaphroditos Asleep, the Victory of Samotrace, Great Sphinx of Tanis, the Wedding Feast at Cana, and more. Apparently, if you spend 60 seconds looking at each item in the Louvre, for a steady 8 hours, it would take you 75 days to see everything in there.

    So after seeing the main things we wanted to see, we headed out towards les Jardins de Luxembourg (not before eating a macaroon which was amazing and making our way to a bakery to buy a fresh baguette and Boursin cheese). Our little picnic was really nice, but everyone else there put our picnic to shame with their spreads. The weather was gorgeous though and the gardens were nicer than what I remember them to be.

    After a nap and some relaxing in the gardens, we headed over towards the catacombs. The wait was an hour and a half so we opted to head back to shower before heading out to dinner and to our Moulin Rouge show (which was honestly amazing). I've never seen anything like it and I'm so happy we went. Even though it was at 11pm-1am and we are old grannies with colds.
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  • Day67

    Day 67: Paris, France

    August 26, 2017 in France

    This morning we woke up and went for breakfast at a cafe near the Eiffel Tower. We got attacked by a persistent bee and had three people attempting to kill it for us.

    After we walked over to the Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars. The top of the tower was closed temporarily so we decided to go back at another time so then we headed over to the Arc de Triomphe and took of a walk on Champs-Élysées (not before taking a few pictures of the Eiffel Tower of course). We then stopped in Zara for quite a while and I saw the coolest Sephora store (I've been in many because of Zoe and this one was certainly really cool).

    When we got to Place de la Concorde, we jumped on the metro to head back. After having cold weather for the past few weeks, we are not used to the humidity and we were really excited to shower. After our showers, we went for the most amazing Indian food and finally just got back at 11:30 pm. Now off to bed to get up early tomorrow for the Louvre.
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  • Day66

    Day 66: Brussels, Belgium

    August 25, 2017 in Belgium

    Today was our travel day to Paris, but we scheduled a five hour stop in Brussels so we could see the city (and try one of their waffles). Brussels is half French/half German so we finally started to understand the language!

    After we ate our waffle (which was delicious), we walked over to the Grand Place and ended up getting into a free walking tour. We saw Mannekin Pis which is apparently the 2nd most popular statue in the world (I will have to check). It is a little boy peeing into a fountain that is 700 years old (but not really as it was stolen 7 times and replaced). We also saw the old church which is a church in a church in a church. They've added to it and refurbished it over the years so the oldest part of the church is in the centre.

    Brussels is also home to the most comic book artists (more than Japan). It's home (or was) to the creators of the Smurfs, Asterix and Obelix, and TinTin. On our tour, we also saw the Queen's and King's galleries. After the galleries, we had a break so Zoë and I opted for Belgian hot chocolates and fries. BEST fries I've ever eaten hands down. We also wanted to get some chocolate from the store and ended up taking too long so we lost our tour guide, but on our twenty minute hunt to find him (which we didn't), we saw the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Mont des Arts gardens, and the Royal Palace of Brussels.

    Brussels is actually a really nice city and I'd love to see more of Belgium one day. Apparently, the north part of Brussels is Dutch speaking whereas the South part is French. Never a dull moment with history in Europe. It's actually a joke here that Canadian history is incredibly uneventful and boring.

    When we got to Paris, we walked over to our hotel and we have such a view of the Eiffel Tower! (Not from our actual room, but when we walk to our hotel). When we walked back at night from supper, it was gorgeous. I can't wait to walk around the city tomorrow.
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  • Day65

    Day 65: Amsterdam, Netherlands

    August 24, 2017 in the Netherlands

    This morning we went to breakfast with one of our roomies and it was pretty good. I had "traditional American pancakes", but their take on traditional American was funny. The pancakes were pretty small. Have they actually visited America and seen their portion sizes? They were really good though.

    After breakfast we rented bikes and made our way to the countryside. It was really nice and we hung out for a bit and enjoyed the quiet in Twiske park. It's such a change from the city and I took the opportunity to read my book.

    When we were heading back, we went to go see the horses and ended up speaking to a nice Dutch lady for about an hour. She let us in to hang out with the horses for a bit, but the pony kept trying to eat me. Her horse was gorgeous though (it's kept with about 5 other horses/ponies) and it was really interesting to hear her stories. We also made quite a few dog friends.

    After we biked to the city, we went in a few stores and then brought our bikes back to our hostel. We then grabbed dinner and went to a show. When we were walking back for the night, there were numerous guys stripping down and jumping in the canal. Amsterdam is a very interesting city.

    We were rushing back to catch what we thought was the last ferry at midnight, but when we realized we wouldn't make it, we took our time. Turns out the 24 written on the board means 24 hours a day and not midnight so we were lucky. If not, we would have had to walk across a bridge (or Uber it) which would have taken an hour instead of the 5 minutes it usually takes.

    P.s. I had a bad hair day today.
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  • Day64

    Day 64: Amsterdam, Netherlands

    August 23, 2017 in the Netherlands

    We slept in a bit and grabbed some breakfast. Our ticket for the Anne Frank House was at 11:30 so we took our time heading over. It was really worth waiting till the next day because we spent two hours there. It's just so hard to hear that they almost made it to the end of the war, but were killed within weeks of liberation. Only Anne's father survived out of the eight that were in hiding. This is also only one family out of millions who faced the same fate. I certainly recommend anyone who visits Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House and Museum.

    After Anne Frank, we stopped and I had a Dutch pancake with nutella and banana. It was as delicious as everyone said it would be (however it highly resembles a crepe). After we walked around a bit and went into a cheese shop, bought some cheese and a fresh baguette and made our way to sit in Voldelpark before our 5:00 pm entrance time at the Van Gogh Museum.

    We spent a while at the museum and saw a lot of his famous paintings, drawings and letters. He did an average of one painting a day after cutting off his ear until the day he died. We also saw a few Monet paintings which was neat and a few other artists' work as well. It was interesting seeing the original paintings that I learned of during my five years of art classes in high school.

    After the museum, we headed back and had a late dinner at the hostel. I've gained a new found appreciation for tomatoes in Caesar salads.

    P.s. I'm on the "s".
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  • Day63

    Day 63: Amsterdam, Netherlands

    August 22, 2017 in the Netherlands

    Crazy to think there's officially only one week left!

    Today we saw a lot. We did the free walking tour from our hostel and started in Dam Square. We made our way to the Red Light District (certainly an experience), saw the smallest house in Amsterdam, J. Biebs' new place that he bought for 25 million euro, the first ever condom shop, and the smallest stock exchange (for the wealthiest country at one point). Apparently Amsterdam held 45% of the world's wealth at some point in the past.

    We also saw the most crooked house that makes the leaning tower of Pisa look like nothing. Also, the houses generally lean forward as they attached pulleys to pull things up to the third floor so it wouldn't smash the windows. Houses in Amsterdam as generally thin as in the past, residents had to pay taxes on the width of their houses so they tried to make them thin. If you had a wide house, it was known that you were wealthy. We also stopped by a cheese shop and had samples and saw workers in the canal taking out the bikes that drunk people usually throw in during the night. Apparently it's a very common thing for a person to throw a bike in the canal.

    For the evening, we bought tickets to the Red Light District tour, which turned out to be pretty interesting too. There is a kindergarten right in the middle of the district where the kids walk up "Big Mommas Alley" everyday on the way to school. This Alley is said to be popular if you wish to be in the company of a large African American woman for as long as you pay for.

    There's also a church right in the middle. As it was very common for sailors to live in Amsterdam, they would be gone two months at a time and would "sin" the night before they left. As the church wouldn't be open as early as they left the next day, they allowed the sailors to go in and pay for their sins in advance. They could go in before they sinned, pay a fee and let the church know that they plan to sin and apparently that would make it ok.

    After the tour, we tried to go to the Anne Frank house for the second time. He told us they just released a few tickets for 11:30 the next day if we wanted to buy them (they are usually sold out two months in advance) so we were lucky to get some as we would have only had half an hour inside.

    After that, we headed back to our hostel and sat by the canal for a bit.
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  • Day62

    Day 62: Travel day to Amsterdam

    August 21, 2017 in the Netherlands

    No French Toast this morning. It was a sad morning.

    We took the tram to catch our 10:30 am train to Amsterdam and arrived at 7 pm as our train was delayed two hours. It was a good train ride though and we met a nice girl from New York City who studied in Berlin for two months. She joined us for supper when we got to Amsterdam.

    After we checked into our hostel, we took a walk by the canal and it's honestly gorgeous at night and the houses/architectural style are really nice too. The canal is also lit up and we've seen a least 500 bikes since the 4 hours we've been here. We also tried to get into the Anne Frank house, but we missed the cutoff point by 8 minutes.

    *No pictures since it's a travel day, but I took one of the central station in Berlin. Central stations are our hang outs every few days.
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  • Day61

    Day 61: Berlin, Germany

    August 20, 2017 in Germany

    Today we woke up and went for French Toast (what a surprise). I'm going to try and recreate it when I get home so we shall see how that goes.

    After we ate, we caught up with our roommate, Angie, and we headed to the Flea Market (Flohmarkt) at Mauerpark. It was so big that it took us more than three hours to walk the whole thing. We found a lot of cool things. I wish I would have taken pictures. We then took a break at a cafe and headed to the DDR Museum. It's an interactive history museum which was cool and then Zoë and I tried to recreate some statues.

    During the day (thanks to Instagram) we also touched base with a girl we met from Munich so she met us for supper and we went to the Rose Garden after where we met our friend, Edward (the dog). His name is German and I couldn't remember it, so Edward it was (no relation to my Uncle).
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