Category Archives: Travel Stories

A cheesy day in Alkmaar, Netherlands

April, 2015

I woke up this morning at about 6:30am because the early bird catches the cheese! I rolled out of bed, grabbed an orange and a granola bar, put on clothes and head out the door. I met Rebecka, Line, Tine, and Fanny at Centraal station at 7:30. Phew it was early. It’s my own fault, it was my idea to meet this early. We caught the train and in no time, we arrived in Alkmaar! We were here to partake in the infamous Alkmaar cheese market. We wandered from the train station to the main square. On the way, we found ourselves caught up in a cluster of old people getting off a bus. They were slow moving and seemed to be creaking as they walked. We were able to outrun this gaggle of geezers and we reached the square. It was empty. I felt silly. First of all, I forced my friends to wake up SO early, and second, we dipped and ducked through that hoard of octogenarians like our lives depended on it, only to find there was no reason to rush. Line, Tine, and Fanny decided to go for a coffee, and Rebecka (bless her) and I stood in the front row, waiting for the show to begin.

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It did and I couldn’t stop giggling. We were introduced to the Cheese Father, but I couldn’t figure out why he was called the Cheese Father, or what his significance was other than his orange top hat and silver cane. The 13kg wheels of gouda cheese were loaded onto cheese boards and run from the stacks to the weigh house, then back to the wagons. There were people walking around tasting, examining, and buying the cheese. img_4063

It was such a silly, hilarious event. Rebecka and I were even able to hold a wheel of cheese! We didn’t last for the entire show, because the tourists behind us were becoming very aggressive. One man kept using my shoulder to steady his camera. The woman next to me took around 300 photos. I was being pushed into the gate like I was at a rock concert. We snuck out of the crowd.

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We went to the cheese museum next, so we could have a free piece of cheese, and learn a bit more about the cheese processes. After all the cheese-centric activities, the only thing missing was beer. We sat on a patio boat outside the beer museum, and enjoyed a nice, cold beer.

Today was brought to you by cheese! I just wrote “cheese” 13 times…14 if you include this sentence.

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Taking in a Sex Show in Amsterdam

April, 2015

Kelsey and I decided to do what every British ‘Lad’ does when they come to Amsterdam on a Monday night— go to the Red Light District! We wandered around the streets, in all their Monday night glory, which could be confused for Friday or Saturday night glory, honestly. It was very busy! We were enthralled by the prostitutes in their windows. They were beautiful!! I don’t know what I expected. I thought maybe Monday’s prostitutes wouldn’t be as good as Friday’s? At any rate, I was an uncomfortable, prudish Canadian, and awkwardly smiled at each when I accidentally made eye contact after they tapped on the glass, coaxing me to look. We were surrounded by men, mostly British, mostly drunk.

After a lap of the main two streets, we decided to take the leap! We walked into the Moulin Rouge, paid our entry, and were ushered up the stairs. We jumped at the opportunity, to sit in the very front row! We took our seats, ordered our drinks, and eagerly awaited the show to start. Please note, that words used in the rest of this story include, ‘breasts,’ ‘vagina,’ ‘sex,’ and ‘cum’. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

The first lady of the evening was dressed in a sexy milkmaid outfit, and brought a banana out with her. She came down from the stage to choose volunteers from the audience, but not before she took Kelsey’s hands, put them on her breasts, and shimmied. Kelsey exclaimed, “they’re real!” The stripper said, “I’m saving for silicone!” and laughed. She brought up four audience members. They were all so embarrassed. It was great! She danced a little, took off her clothes, and then slapped each of the ‘volunteers’ in the face with her tits. It was amazing. I didn’t even know breasts could do that! She peeled her banana, took a chunk off and held it in her mouth. One of the guys had to eat it! She put the next piece in between her breasts. The next piece, she put on her stomach. The last piece was still in the peel, and she put it in her vagina. The faces of the guys on stage were as red as cheeks could be. She would be my favourite of the evening. The next woman lit a candle and balanced it in her vagina as she somersaulted and rolled all over the stage. The next kept a ribbon bundled up inside her and had an audience member hold one end as she danced around the stage and on the pole, and the ribbon unraveled.

Then it was time for the main event. The woman walked out wearing a cape, devil horns, and she carried a giant book. Then the man came out wearing a mask and a cape. She undressed, then he undressed, then they had sex. You know what, it was actually quite boring! The woman made not one facial expression. At all. It was robotic, forced, and very anti-climactic. Literally. Not that a cum shot would have made the show any less exciting, but it would have been a less uncomfortable way to end the show. I am glad we did it, because ‘when in Rome’, but I don’t think I would see a sex show again. Unless it was the banana girl, she was highly entertaining.

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Photo by @seattletoshanghaiandbackagain

Hungover at a Waterfall near Vancouver

July, 2016

Today was a totally beautiful day. Madison and Sarah picked me up to whisk me away for a forest adventure. I was hungover, yes, but itching for a nature day. We made it to Tim Horton’s just in the nick of time before they stopped serving breakfast, for a hangover hash brown sandwich and a few cups of coffee. We hopped back in the car and were on the way to the forest. I was one happy camper.

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We arrived and began our ‘quick’ walk to the waterfall. I say ‘quick’ because I am sure it was, but the heat, the hash brown sandwich, and the hangover, were not a solid combination for a walk in the woods. The shade from the trees was so welcoming. We walked to the end of the path and found a beautiful waterfall. Oh God, that rushing water made me thirsty AF. How I just wanted to be in that water. It was so clear, and a beautiful shade of green, and just so enticing! There was a deep, clear pool above the waterfall, and it looked perfect for a swim, but the water was flowing quickly, no scratch that, it was straight up rushing, so we decided we wouldn’t swim above it. Instead, we walked back down the path and found a secluded spot in the sun across the river.

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Madison and I, scoping out the perfect spot

We walked through the water, set up our towels in the sun, and put on our swimmers. Then, it was into the water, the glacial water, the ice cold, glacial water. Let’s call it ‘fresh’. It was so, damn fresh! We all shrieked and giggled as we waded in. Sarah and Madison were far braver than I, and just dove under the water right away. There I stood, ice water up to my belly button, nipples ready to cut glass, shivering, like a wimp, for ages. I couldn’t bring myself to do it! That is until Sarah handed me her GoPro and told me to dive… Anything for Instagram, AMIRITE?!

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We spent the rest of the day eating, chatting, and sunning ourselves. It was glorious! We filled our floaty boat with air and while Sarah napped, Madison and I went for a quick float down the creek. We hopped in the floaty boat and just laughed the whole way around the bend. I was nervous I might pee because I was laughing so hard, but I didn’t! We clambered out of the boat and the sky had turned the exact opposite colour— from blue to black— and we could see lightning in the distance over one of the mountains. It was ominous to say the least. We packed up our stuff with such speed and crossed back over the river to the path.

We reached the other side of the water, and it began to rain!!! Now, I don’t always use three exclamation points, but when I do it’s when I am talking about extreme weather. It was POURING. Within seconds, my clothes were soaked right through to my skin. I used my deflated floaty boat over my head and backpack in an attempt to keep dry. It didn’t work. Not one bit. We hiked back out through the forest, sloshing through puddles and laughing at our luck. We may have been totally and absolutely drenched, but we were laughing. Back in the car, and back to the city. The best hangover day ever.

The Perfect Weekend in Canmore

Saturday, November 28

Today, Joslyn and I head out into the mountains for an adventure. We started in Goat Pond which is my favourite place near Canmore. As we drove up the side of the mountain, Joslyn was so surprised by the cars driving the other way. Some of them were spotless. She commented on how clean they all were, and I joked that maybe there was a mountain car wash at the top of the mountain. How very Canadian… We parked and went for a quick walk around the pond. It was beautiful. The most beautiful, clear, blue-skied day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

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We drove on along the road towards Spray Lakes. I haven’t ever driven past Goat Pond before, so I was excited to be exploring. Up the road, we saw a gathering of vehicles. “I bet there’s wildlife over there!” I exclaimed! Joslyn joked, “wouldn’t it be crazy if it was a moose?”

It was.

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It was a god damn mother moose and her calf! As we drove up, we saw clearly that these two moose were licking the salt off the car parked on the side of the road. It was AMAZING! We pulled over to the other side of the road and were taking pictures frantically, giddy, giggling, and screaming with excitement. We wept. I was so happy to be seeing my first ever moose. What a time to be alive. The mother moose kept looking over at us, curious perhaps. She looked up, then went back to licking then looked up again, then went back to licking. Then she began walking towards our car. Oh. My. God. Is she going to jump on top of the car and into the sun roof and attack us? No, in fact, she was just craving that mineral and began licking our car! A moose car wash! There IS a car wash at the top of the mountain! We sat in the car, laughing our heads off, crying tears of joy. I saw a moose! Happy first moose, Beth. The moose and calf walked into the forest and disappeared. We smiled and we waved goodbye.

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We arrived back at our cabin, physically and emotionally exhausted. After Joslyn had a nap, and I had a giant bubble bath— I know, I am royalty— we finished our night off in Banff at the Grizzly House for a fondue frenzy! We cooked our beautiful chunks of meat and wiped the garlic butter splatter off our wine glasses. Our dessert course came and we quickly finished the fruit and cookies for dipping. A few drips of chocolate remained on my plate and without the slightest hesitation, I lifted the plate up and cleaned it off with my tongue. I said to Joslyn, “do you think boys are trying to pick us up right now?” as I licked chocolate off my plate.

What a day we had in the mountains today!

Blue sky? Check.

Mountains? Check.

Moose? Check.

A bubble bath fit for a queen? Check.

A fondue extravaganza? Check.

Red wine with my girlfriend? Check.

Methinks this was the perfect day.

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New Years Eve in Sydney, Australia

December 31, 2013

Sydney, Australia

I found my way to Darling Harbour, and stopped in the King’s Brewhouse to meet up with my buddy Rob for an ice cold pint. He works this evening, so I am spending New Years on my own, but we made plans to meet up later. After midnight, I would come back to Darling Harbour, find wifi, and we would meet up.

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I left the bar and began my wander over to the Sydney Opera House. Finding out there were 2.6 million people already lining the entirety of Sydney Harbour should have been the first clue: that was the last time I would see Rob today. I shuffled past millions (literally) of people, and found myself in the centre of a parking lot, turned picnic area. Over the loudspeaker I heard an announcement telling us that the section we were in was now at capacity, and nobody else is allowed in. I began to scope the area. My plan was to find an empty space among the throngs, and just sit myself down next to some nice looking people. The criteria was easy; youngish. And then I found them! Three young ladies, indiscreetly drinking wine, sitting next to a big empty space, on the other side of which, were three handsome and very tanned young men, doing an even worse job of concealing their wine! I asked the girls if I could join them, and they allowed it. We began chatting. The men on my other side realized we were all backpackers and joined our conversation. Our group was so wonderful. Two ladies from Sweden, one from Spain, a Dutch guy, two boys from France, and a Canadian!

40 minutes to go…

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We all had alcohol in our bags and were all doing a laughable job of concealing it. We continued to drink and get to know each other. The conversation we had was entertaining to say the least. Someone would say something that was super witty and funny, but nobody would really laugh. So, they would have to explain what they meant. It was lovely. The five different first languages, the noise from the millions (literally) of people around us, and the irresponsible amount of wine we had all drunk up to this point, didn’t really help the conversations.

25 minutes to go…

I went to a stand nearby and bought a few light up toys. They were light up swords, and were exactly what our wine-saturated group needed. There was a little boy nearby our blanket, who was also wielding a light up sword. I challenged him to a duel. We combatted our swords like proper knights, and when he sliced my side with his light, I made a huge scene as I died. The people around us cheered and laughed. The two French guys grabbed their swords and attacked with a vengeance. The little boy sliced them, and they too, acted out excessive death scenes. The crowd around us went wild. The boy bowed, sheathed his blade, and walked back to his mom.

10 minutes to go…

The noise around us grew. The once empty spaces in the crowd had now filled up, people were almost yelling to hear each other, and I could hear a lot more drunken singing in the distance. The loudspeakers began to play music. All of a sudden, the crowd joined in the countdown, 10…9…8…7…6… I looked around at my new friends, drunkenly counting down, swaying back and forth, faces to the sky…5…4…3…2… My face began to hurt from smiling so much. Tears of joy began to well up in my eyes…1… Oh. My. God. The fireworks lit up the sky. Everywhere were fireworks. Everywhere. I looked on in amazement, and childlike joy. There were seven different points from which the fireworks were being lit. In front of me was a full 180 degrees of colour and explosions and magic. I couldn’t believe the beauty. I looked on with wonder. As the blasts echoed off the buildings behind us, and around the Harbour, the crowd burst into song. There I was, in the midst of 2.6 million people singing Auld Lang Syne.

Happy New Years, world!

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Enjoying Some Natural Hot Springs

Any Calgarian will tell you, one of the best parts about living in this city, is our backyard— the Rocky Mountains. Whether you are an extreme, outdoorsy, winter adventurer, or a sitting in the lodge by the fireplace, hot chocolate with Bailey’s drinker, we can all agree, there is something damn magical about those Rockies. One glorious weekend in December, three of my most fabulous friends and I drove out to spend some time in Radium, B.C., in and around those devilishly handsome mountains.

On Friday night, we had big plans to go to Radium Hot Springs. We were having a few drinks, ate a delicious dinner, and as you do with fantastic company, chatted around the table for a while. Tyler used his phone to look up the opening hours of the facility. It closed in 45 minutes! Ay Carumba!!! We scrambled to get all of our things ready, changed into our swimmers, and ran out the door. We arrived, ran to the door, and discovered it was locked. Turns out, the pools stop entrance thirty minutes before close. Damn. Defeated, we walked back to the car. In the parking lot, there was a big sign, one of those signs with the face cut out. After taking one ridiculous picture of my face through the sign— which turned me into a mountain cat saying, “I like underpasses”— we piled back in the car and head back home.

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The next morning we ate bacon and eggs for breakfast. Perfect. We piled back in the car and head to Invermere. It was here, we would treat ourselves to a delicious Kicking Horse cup of coffee. We continued our drive past the lake, and to Lussier Hot Springs. We were unable to get into the paid pools in Radium last night, we would find ourselves a free pool today! Lussier Hot Springs is at the end of a treacherous cliff-side road, with a good ol’ “drop to your death” to one side. We arrived and parked, and walked down the steep path to the river. How cool! There are three natural pools, of varying heats, that are positioned right next to a rushing, mountain river. We were one of three groups there— plenty of room for everyone. We stripped down to our swimmers and slid slowly into the hottest pool. We spent three hours at Lussier Hot Springs that morning. We chatted with the local old naked guy, and a few other groups, but mostly just talked about how amazing the water felt.

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Our fingers had sufficiently pruned and our skin reeked of sulphur. We drove back out to the highway. Garrett had the bright idea to stop near Radium at an old mine turned swimming hole. He called it “the cliffs,” which made me feel like I was in high school and was about to go somewhere my mother wouldn’t approve of.

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We wandered down the forested path and found ourselves in front of a stunning watering hole. The snow hung on the branches surrounding, the air was crisp and silent, and the water reflected the scene like a mirror.

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Here we stood, eating chips and drinking beer, marvelling at the beauty and wonder of nature. After a slippery ascent back to the car, we drove back to Radium. Another totally whimsical, relaxing, and perfect weekend in the mountains.

 

 

Celebrating Midsommer in Sweden

June, 2015

I arrived at Bastad station and met up with Rebecka and her friends. This weekend I would be celebrating Midsommer, a wondrous and whimsical Swedish holiday. First order of business— Midsommer crowns. Andrea, the resident florist, arrived with bushels of flowers and we all began fabricating our head attire. Fredrik’s crown was probably the most impressive, but Rebecka’s ended up being the perfect size and maybe my favourite. I was impressed with mine.

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Considering it was my first time ever fastening together a bunch of flowers and creating a flowery head piece, I thought I did quite well! next was the Maypole. This quickly became my favourite part of the holiday. We erected a big, cross-shaped Maypole, and decorated it with lots of flowers and leaves. We hung big wreaths under each arm. It ended up looking a bit like an upside down penis. But it was beautiful and was fun to decorate! We covered the thing in greenery and used up all the leftover flowers.

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Then, as if this holiday couldn’t get any more whimsical and wholesome, we all joined hands and danced around the Maypole. Everyone laughed and sang Swedish songs, while we all skipped around the pole. I was laughing my butt off. THEN we danced like frogs and sang a song about frogs. I love this holiday. I love this holiday so much.

And then we started drinking. I knew my friends back home would look at me sideways if I told them we danced like frogs around a penis shaped Maypole covered in flowers, and weren’t drunk.

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We all gathered around the table and began dinner. Another Midsommer tradition during dinner is to drink Schnapps. The idea behind this, is that if you drink a little bit of schnapps in between servings, you will have more room for food! The schnapps are about 30-40% alcohol and only poured to about 1/3 of the shot glass. Phew! I had one and that was that. It seemed though, the more schnapps the boys drank, the louder and more frequent the singing became. Each song leads to a cheers and another little shot. Phew! These boys can drink.

Rebecka, bless her, felt bad that I didn’t know any of the songs, so she tried to teach me. She sang a line and then I repeated it. We got through the whole song and she said, “wow! You are picking it up so fast!” She clearly can’t hear what I am actually saying…

The party was in full swing. People were dancing, drinking, laughing, chatting. Then Hampus turned off the music. “It’s time for a night swim” he said. Yay!!! I grabbed a towel from the closet in the washroom, and joined the others outside. We began the walk down the steep hill. I may have been drunker than I thought, because I started singing the Indiana Jones theme song and didn’t really stop. Fredrik put his towel around his neck like a cape and I held the end out so it looked like it was blowing in the wind. We passed by the neighbour’s house and they watched us walk by. I was softly singing Indian Jones, and Fredrik walked with a towel cape around his neck.

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We found the beach! It was actually harder to find than it sounds like it would be. As soon as we walked into the sand, my clothes were off. I ran alongside my friends through the sand and into the VERY cold and VERY shallow water. We ran for ages and the water never actually passed our knees. There I was, 2 am, standing knee deep in the North sea, tits out, in my undies, watching the sun rise! How beautiful is this place?! Because it was so shallow, we all ran in, and then almost immediately ran back out. I dried myself off and put my clothes back on. I joined the rest of the group for a shot of gin, and we began our ascent back to the house. The hill was steep, but it felt good to arrive at the top. I sat on the stoop at the back door for a bit and watched the sky begin changing colours. Man oh man, how beautiful. It is 4am, and the sun is on its way up. Happy Midsommer, Sweden!

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Helan går sjung hopp fallerallanallanlej, helan går sjung hopp fallerallanlej

Och den som inte helan tar, den heller inte halvan får

HELAN GÅÅÅÅÅR (this is when you drink your tiny shot of pure alcohol)

SJUNG HOPP FALLERALLANLEJ

My version was about falafels

A Funny Story from an Airplane

January, 2014

2:30pm

The taxi dropped me off at the international departures gate and I joined the throngs of white people in the line to check in. I said to Eka, the cabbie, “so many white people!” He laughed agreed that there were a lot of white people.

I said farewell, and now I wait.

4:55pm

Something you need to know about me is that I get really riled up when I don’t get a window seat. First of all, I love to look out the window and check out the one and only, Mother Earth. You can see the coolest, most epic nature things from the airplane and I don’t want to miss out. Second, I often fall victim to motion sickness, and find the only chance I have is when I sit at the window seat and look at the horizon. Well, I’m in the aisle for my flight from Bali to Bangkok, and the couple beside me have closed the window. How the F am I supposed to a) continue my ever growing and changing love affair with nature and all things epic, and b) how am I supposed to keep my eggs down if things get bumpy?

Remember when PDA was something people liked to see? Hmm, in fact, I don’t think it’s ever been something people like to see. The couple next to me is having everything but sex. I’ve been thrown three elbows as a result from the violent rubbing and tickling going on, and we haven’t even taxi’ed away from the airport!!

Remember how I said, “I mostly like to sit in the window seat because the view of the horizon keeps my violent motion sickness in check” (see previous paragraph). If this making out, tickling, teasing, and other various methods of foreplay continues in the seats beside me, and that window remains closed, leaving me with no horizon to look at if I get motion sick, I can’t be held responsible for puking all over the place.

Everywhere.

5:06pm

In the span of 5 minutes- since I finished the last thought- there has been a very obvious boob grab, a far from stealthy penis graze, an enthusiastic inner thigh squeeze, and an unnecessary number of comically audible kisses.

Who kisses that loud?

Window is still closed.

5:36pm

I am amazed. Here I sit, wearing noise cancelling headphones for the sole purpose of  blocking out the sounds coming from beneath the blanket beside me. What are they even doing under there? Do I ask them to stop? I don’t think I have ever felt more uncomfortable on an airplane in my entire life.

Window is still closed. These two are clearly worried about the daylight illuminating their far from appropriate airplane activities.

7:49pm

The girl from the pornographic airplane show sitting next to me just vomited into a barf bag. Surprisingly, it killed the mood. Thank you, turbulence.

Window is still closed.

8:01pm

To be clear, I don’t mean, “ thank you, turbulence for making this girl sick,” I mean,“thank you, turbulence for pressing pause on the unnecessary, and wildly inappropriate acts of my seat neighbours. That being said, I did let out a bit of a laugh when she pulled the blanket away and grabbed at the barf bag. The man gave me a dirty look. I politely offered to switch seats with her, so she could be on the aisle and could have a quick and easy path to the washroom if need be. She was so grateful and we switched seats. SUCCESS! Not only am I able to sit at the window seat for the most glorious sunset, but I was able to disguise the suggestion as an act of total selflessness.

I love airplanes.

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Cycling through Tulip Fields in the Netherlands

April, 2015

This morning, I met Sally at the bikes and after a quick stop at Albert Heijn for some picnic snacks, we cycled over to Centraal. There we met Rebecka, Line, and Lucinda, and began our epic adventure day! We rolled our bikes into the station and to the ticket machines. Sally informed us we were to train to a place called Voorhout. She did not know how to get there, just that we had to. I googled it, and it showed we had to train to Haarlem and then transfer to a Voorhout train. We bought the tickets and rushed down the platform to the train. There is nothing more awkward than walking a bike through a train station. Scratch that. There is nothing more awkward than taking a bike up an escalator in a train station.

Cut to five foreigners on a train gasping and squealing at the sight of every tulip field we past.

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We arrived in Voorhout and were almost immediately lost. We tried to find the signs that were to guide us along the path, but we couldn’t find any. Finally, we consulted a map. Once we were on our way, we knew we were on the right path, because there were massive tulip fields everywhere. Tulips, tulips, tulips. What a beautiful and totally frivolous crop to grow. I love it. We cycled past fields and fields of them. We cycled past daffodils too, and then hyacinths, hyacinths, hyacinths. The smell of these flowers is intoxicating and almost suffocating. I couldn’t believe there were fields and fields of them.

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We were lost again. And then again. The signs we were looking for were few and far between, and if we saw one, the numbers were so unsystematic, we had to keep referring to our guide to remember which number we were looking for next. The path was kind of a nightmare.

We cycled past the huge fields of Keukenhof and saw a guy surfing in the canals! He was riding a wakeboard and held onto a rope that was being wound in by a huge crank. A guy on a nearby ladder took epic photos of this guy wake boarding through tulips with windmills in the background. Oh Holland…

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It was time for lunch, so we found a nice little green spot next to the tulip fields and spread out our picnic. It was nice to sit in the sun, smell the flowers, eat our snacks, and drink beer. And what lovely company with whom I shared this moment. We soon continued our cycling. I had to make a few executive decisions because at the rate we were going— stopping along the way to take pictures of/in front of/with every single tulip field we went by— we weren’t going to be done until midnight. We ditched the bicycle pathway and cut back towards Voorhout. We bicycled right past many tulip fields on the way, but one hyacinth field in particular had “photoshoot” written all over it! We took photos and videos in the fields, and I could have passed out from the smell. It was phenomenal.

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After six hours of cycling through tulip fields, we had become desensitized to their beauty and on the train home, not one of us made a peep as we trained by the multitude of flowers. We were coming up to Haarlem and Line suggested we have dinner there! We hopped on our bikes and trained to the city centre. We found a patio square in the sun, near a cathedral and a carnival, and declared it the perfect place for dinner. I had a delicious sandwich and a well deserved glass of wine. After dinner, we walked over to the ferris wheel to inquire about prices. It was only €2 for a ride. How could we not. We rode that ferris wheel as the sun went down over the cathedral. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

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“Flowers for sale”

Bicycling around Inis Mor, Ireland

May, 2013

After a somewhat bumpy ride over the sea, Jennine and I arrived on Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Conamara. Rory was waiting for us and we all went to a tiny restaurant to have lunch before our epic bike ride. I chose the fish and chips because my stomach was desperate for it. After our quick bite, Jennine and I head over to a bike rental place and asked the man for two of his finest two-wheelers. The charge for the day is 10euro, but he requires a 10euro deposit as well. I was about to hand him a twenty to cover my own bike, and he said, “I feel terrible charging two beautiful girls full price.” He gave the bikes each for 5euro. What a deal! Then we were off!

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I began the trip singing “Bicycle Race” by Queen, “Bicycle” by Hey Ocean, and “Bicycles are Red Hot” by TV on the Radio. My friends didn’t like it so much. I stopped singing upon their request, but also because I realized I can’t bicycle and sing at the same time. It’s not easy, especially when biking up hill after hill, against the wind, with rain spraying sideways into your face.img_4953

The view was beautiful and there is something so refreshing about the smell of the sea. As we biked along the path, with the water on one side, beautiful green pastures on the other, and the lovely aroma of burning turf in the air, I felt a spark of inspiration! I can understand why so many painters and poets have come to the west of Ireland to create— it is impossible to not feel inspired. There were donkeys and cows in the yards of the houses. I saw a sheep on a leash! We took lots of ridiculous photos, even in-action-selfies, which is probably the most dangerous thing I have attempted this whole trip, if I am being completely honest.

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We were on our way back to the ferry dock. I didn’t realize that the ‘uphill both ways’ thing is physically possible, but it turns out on Inis Mor, it is! I was exhausted by the time we clambered onto the boat. My stomach let me know that it was having rough time with the fish and chips and I appreciated the warning. The wind picked up and I started to get anxious about the rocky ride back to the mainland. I decided to go to sleep and sleep through whatever motion sickness I was about to experience. It worked! I slept the whole time! I sat two rows ahead of Rory and Jennine so we could all have window seats. I woke up just as we were pulling up to the dock.

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I looked behind me to find Rory and Jennine and they were nowhere to be found. I looked at the front of the boat, and then to the back, but I couldn’t spot them. Then the woman next to me said, “they came looking for you, and then said you’d figure it out…. Will you figure it out?” I smiled and nodded. She was so sweet. Then you know what? I figured it out! I stood up and saw the two of them standing by the door to race off as soon as we were able. We decided that it was imperative we sit at the front of the second floor of the double decker bus, and the only way we would be able to make it is if we RAN out of the ferry and to the bus. We did this. The bus arrived and the three of us ran like crazy people to the door. I hurdled over suitcases and children in what felt like slow motion. I am sure the people around me thought, “that girl should be in the olympics”. FOR sure. We made it! We sat at the very front of the bus and looked out the beautiful window at the beautiful countryside. That is, until the bus filled up with sweaty post-bicycling-bodies and the windows all fogged up.

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