youonlylivetwice

Making my dreams come true! Let's see how many countries I can see in a year or until I run out of money!
  • Day301

    Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

    July 1, 2017 in Canada

    Fabulous day of fun in the sun at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody celebrating this great country's 150 birthday. Music, beer, food trucks, great conversation and plenty of delicious eye candy. The great Canadian way where you can talk to anyone and be engaged. Lots of laughing with Elena and Michele. Tomorrow meeting with my boy Julien and his girl Kayleigh and then to see my dear friend Jude and more long weekend activities. Glad to be home to catch this weekend.Read more

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  • Day300

    A long and winding road...

    June 30, 2017 in Canada

    Four thirty and I'm up. Make my way back to terminal 3. I was lucky enough last night to check in and book a seat at the back of the plane with no one sitting beside me. I'm praying it will end up that way because I am so exhausted. All I can think of now is how in nine months of travelling I had no problems or issues until my trip home. Maybe I wasn't supposed to leave yet or maybe there's another reason. I go through security with a breeze, water up and peruse the shops. The time flys by and I'm boarding now. I have lucked out and my whole row is empty. I can lie down and sleep. The flight is quick, great attendants, good food, and a super soft landing. Going through customs is super easy and only two questions and I'm waived on. As I exit I am so thrilled to see two familiar and happy faces waiting for me-Anka and Maros. So great to have my feet back on Canadian soil!Read more

  • Day299

    Outbound - 9 months

    June 29, 2017 in the United Kingdom

    Well I spent the last few days saying my goodbyes to family. I learned a lot of history about my lineage through my godmother. I'm going to miss our long 5 hour chats. This was truly a trip through history and time. I have so much knowledge in my head now and so many things to remember, especially when I'm old and can't remember what I did 5 minutes ago. I'm grateful to have had this incredible journey. Natalia dropped me off at the airport at 5:15 this morning. The flight to London Stansted was a bit turbulent for about half an hour. Made my way through customs easily on my EU passport and bought my ticket for the bus to Heathrow airport where I leave for Vancouver at 17:20. Check in at Heathrow doesn't happen. I'm informed that I can't take the London portion of my flight home in Finnair because I didn't board in Vienna so the rest of my ticket is automatically cancelled. I try to cancel my ticket to get a portion of a refund but the agent tells me that it's under two hours to departure and that they can't refund anything. I'm sick to my stomach and I can feel tears in my eyes. I ask about another flight home with BA and they tell me the earliest flight is tomorrow and costs £1500, almost $2800. I spend the next few hours talking to other airlines to find a cheap flight and just want to get home. I talk to Air Canada and they tell me to check on line for better rates. Heathrow wifi iPads go into technical update mode and don't work. Then I try with my phone and my phone goes into update mode but won't recognize my phone because it's off airplane mode and I'm in Europe-now no iPhone access. OMG what next? I find a pat phone to try and call Anka in Canada to tell her not to come to the airport to pick me up because of the change. Bingo number 3-the operator now tells me their telephone system at Heathrow is having technical difficulties and I can't make my call back to Canada. This is unbelievable I am so screwed! I take a deep breath, grab some dinner and a couple of beers and reorganize my thought process. I go back to Air Canada counter and the agent finds me a better price in a return ticket for the 10am flight out. This costs me £1100-about $1800. No choice now but I really have to get home. I'm told I can't overnight in Terminal 2 but need to go to T3. Make my way over and find my bench. I also find the Internet stations and manage to quickly send a message to Anka and Olli about my new reservations and Olli to call Anka and let her know not to be there for pickup today. Hoping my messages gets through as the system kicks me out if gmail. At this point I am so done with England! Head to get some sleep along with 8 other people. Twelve thirty I am woken up by the police asking where I'm travelling to and I tell them. I'm allowed to go back to sleep.Read more

  • Day294

    Wedding day

    June 24, 2017 in Slovakia

    What a cooker today, 35 degrees. My first experience at a family wedding in Slovakia. Started off at a municipal hall where each wedding couple has a slotted 1/2 hour time to get hitched. There are no personalized wedding vows just simple name changes of the bride and groom. A groomsman walks around with a bottle of Slivovica offering guests shots before the wedding. After the wedding the bride receives flowers and we are off to Cilizko to the reception at the hotel Kormoran. We wait outside and the waiter brings a shot for the bride and groom and then breaks a plate (for good luck). The from sweeps the broken plate into the dustpan the bride is holding. The grooms friends stomp through the plate so they have to sweep again. This happens three times. We make our way up to the reception hall where it's even hotter as the air con is not working and toast the bride and groom with prosecco. Dinner includes pate, chicken soup (I am now feeling the sweat drip down my back) pork(I pawn mine off to my uncle) with roasted potatoes. Martina, my cousin Zdenko's girlfriend makes the most incredible cake ever. So damn good! It's now 23:00hrs, I'm overheated and a little too much Diplomatico and it's time to check out. I catch a ride with Lubos the driver and we have a great talk as he drops me off; forever checking on Domenik in the back to make sure he is still with us.Read more

  • Day287

    Fitness time

    June 17, 2017 in Slovakia

    It's been great hanging with my cousin again. We've been going to the gym everyday and taking long bike rides. The weather has been hot. My funds have pretty well dried up and so I spent a couple hours the other day finding flights back home. I'll be flying to London Stanstead on the 29th and then from there transferring to Hearthrow with a Finnair flight to Vancouver. It will be exactly nine months of travelling. It's been a great ride and I have the jitters about returning home already. I'm sure I'll have some sort of sadness but an incredible amount of memories too. I finally found a beautiful green linen dress for my second cousins wedding on the 24th and my sandals are coming in from Dubai through Natalka's friend. I still have to buy a gift and I've decided on a Himalayan Salt lamp. It's big to give money here but I want to leave a memory of me behind.Read more

  • Day280

    Where to next?

    June 10, 2017 in Slovakia

    Well my intention was to go Ceske Budovice today but by the time I got to Katowice from Wroclaw and found out the train was 7.5 hours (had to double back and go through Prague) I decided not too. My decision was to go back to the homeland for my final two weeks. I really loved Wroclaw. After having problems with my credit card at the train station, I caught a train to Zilina and once there caught a train to Blava. I had to withdraw money from the debit machine which I don't like to do because of the crappy exchange rate. I spent the train trip in the restaurant train having dinner and enjoying the ride away from all the travelling kids. I booked into a botel in town for the night because I wanted to spend the day in the city tomorrow. It's going to be hot here for the next three days. I'm going to sit in the river bank and read my book tomorrow.Read more

  • Day279

    Wrapping up in Wroclaw

    June 9, 2017 in Poland

    Well so much for the hidden jewel. I wanted to book an extra night and the nice girl at reception said the town is booked for the weekend. Wow. The temperature hit 27 today and I had to hide out from 13:00-15:00 hours. Smokin hot. I did leave early in the morning for four hours and walked the different islands, caught the locals market and then the old square. One of the islands is called cathedral island and is solely churches. It has beautiful gardens and is the only island with gas lanterns where a man lights the lanterns every night at dusk. I browsed through some local galleries and the artists are really inspiring here. Dinner was at Kurna Chata where I had mushroom and cabbage perogies. They were deep fried and much different than the one's I had in Warsaw. So yummy and each region has a different way of preparing them. My total meal with a beer came to $7.50. Such a great value in Poland. I was in the lookout for gnomes today and was thrilled finding some cute interesting ones. A stage was being set up for the folk festival featuring groups for all over Poland and the Ukraine. Watching the dancers was beautiful.Read more

  • Day278

    Wonderful Wroclaw, Poland

    June 8, 2017 in Poland

    Back in the most beautiful country in Europe. I never made it to Wroclaw my first time in Poland but I'm sure glad I made it here now. It's so magical. A little known fact about Wroclaw is that it's home to a population of ancient gnomes. They all have their own names, professions and stories and there are more that 320 in the city. In the 80's an anti communist performing group staged a demonstration dressed up as gnomes ran around the city in warm underwear protesting. The city is a hidden jewel and I'm so glad that there aren't many tourists so far. I got in at 17:00 and wandered for two hours. The nice guy at the hostel gave me a tip on a good local place to eat. I found it but they only took cash and I hadn't exchanged money yet. The Odra River runs all around the town and there are three bridges and five islands. Apparently it's known as the second Venice in Europe; except for the rancid smell of the canals. Wroclaw is also a huge vegan and beer city and very proud of it. It was formerly a Czech and then German city. A lot o famous people lived here, one in particular was the infamous Red Baron ( Charles Scultz composed his books about him). This place has great vibe. I looked at real estate and a three bedroom apartment in the old town is $79k. Hmm, got me thinking.Read more

  • Day277

    Berlin - a place for history buffs

    June 7, 2017 in Germany

    After lunch I went to Potsdamer Platz which is a modern shopping district. Huge skyscrapers and cars everywhere. I have been sneezing a lot today and I think it's the pollution. There is a lot of dust here and my eyes are full of it. I walked to the Brandenburger gate (which is famous since the wall came down) the Reistag (Parliament buildings) which is open to the public and has a viewing platform and......there is a massive lineup. I make my to Bundestag and then onward to the 17 of June Strasse to the Victory Column. There's a huge rain cloud and it starts to pour, no umbrella so I duck under a huge tree and wait for it to pass. Once I get to the Victory column I go underground to get to the other side. It is remarkable. The reliefs are made with melted down cannons from the 1800's and looking closely at it I see bullet holes, with a lodged bullet, from WWII. I walk back because my feet are really starting to hurt now and find the Jewish museums, one built by Germany and one by Israel, right across the street from each other. Both are patrolled by the Police. I buy my metro ticket for tomorrow because I know I'm not going to want to trek to the bus in the morning.Read more

  • Day277

    Twenty one kilometres of walking today and two blisters. I saw almost all the sights, albeit the museums, and Alexanderplatz. Started with Checkpoint Charlie, which was the American zone and then headed for the Berlin Wall, which there is only about one km standing and has all sorts of graffiti art all over it. It was incredibly high and I can't believe people actually got over it. The river separated the west and the east, so if you were lucky enough to get over the wall you had to swim the river to get to the other side. There were eight checkpoints in all. Lots of people lost their lives. It had a really weird feeling when I was at these places, almost like de ja vu. I can't say I agreed with the whole system but as I look around today and see the changes it wasn't all that bad. Photos of the east were displayed all over town and the east was super clean back then. The ex commie cities are so dirty now and people don't work but stand around looking into nothingness. I came back to the hostel for lunch and to rest my feet for an hour.Read more

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