It seems unreal that I have already been in Europe for a week! In the last entry, my roommate Josh had yet to come home from the Munich nightlife. He finally arrived home, sometime around 3 AM and fell asleep like a log. I slept in too, but only by a half-hour. I have to stop doing that; especially after the recent developments.
My day began with another very good breakfast of salami, cinnamon rolls, eggs, toast and vanilla yogurt. Then we got to explore Munich!
After we got into town, I hurried to the hair-product store I had seen last night. They had everything -- gels, perfumes, shampoos, hairspray, more shampoo -- everything, that is, except hair straighteners. I was crushed!
Once I was done getting over my depression, I headed to Marienplatz from yesterday to watch the Glockenspiel perform at 11 AM. For anybody who's life-long dream is to watch the Glockenspiel perform, I'm sorry, but you should really find a new dream. Don't get me wrong -- the beginning is neat. You're standing in a plaza with three clock towers on either side of you, and at 11, they all begin chiming in sync with each other, creating a symphony of clangs and clongs. The Glockenspiel's moving figures weren't very exciting though. I watched them for about five minutes while the song played and then I carried on my way.
I went to the Theatinerkirche from yesterday and took pictures because there wasn't a service going on this time. The church was very beautiful inside, so I took about 60 or so pictures of just that (no joke!).
I then walked through the Hofgarten and took pictures of that place, since I didn't get any from the previous day.
After a little bit of shopping (I bought more postcards), I went to the washroom at a local KFC. When I was done, I walked outside and bumped into a few members from my tour group. Together we approached the coach and began boarding. It was then I realized my mistake -- I had left my postcards in the washroom, three blocks away and down a flight of stairs!
I asked Muffin if he could wait while I went and got them, and he said that because of the schedule, he could only wait until 12. That was in 4 minutes. I took off like a bolt, running down the street, weaving in-between people as I went. All across Europe, people ride bikes instead of cars or walking, and when somebody cuts them off, the biker jingles their bell at them angrily. It was cute when the Dutch people did it, but it sounded a lot more irritated when the Germans did it -- especially when it was directed towards me!
I got to the KFC, ran down the stairs, snatched my post-cards, ran back up the stairs and ran back to the coach. I jumped on the bus right when the clock turned to 12.
Unfortunately, not everybody was as lucky as me. One of the Brazilian girls on our bus had gotten caught up waiting to get a coffee, and she missed the bus. Once her friends realized this, they asked Flip if they could be let off the bus and go back and get her. Flip said they probably would never find her, but they were determined so Flip let them go. On their way out, however, Flip gave them specific directions on what train to take to get from Munich to Innsbruck.
After a few hours of driving, we finally reached the famous Alps. The mountains still had snow, and for those in our group who had never seen snow (those from California, Brazil and Tokyo), the gasps of excitement and awe filled the bus.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
"Have you ever been to Medicine Hat?" Abby Czibere from the Visitor Centre asks. I feel bad when I tell her no, unless you count stopping to fill up and grab fast food. In short order, I realize that's a big mistake as there's a vibrant food and arts scene and beautiful riverside parks to explore in this city of 65,000 people.
The Hat (the city's nickname; its residents are Hatters) has experienced a renaissance in recent years thanks to innovative entrepreneurs. Trendy eateries, indie coffee shops, and craft breweries have opened, attracting like-minded businesses, while enticing young people to stick around after college. Even the museums add to the up and coming feeling with their unique exhibits and events. Smell the smells of war at Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, or attend a concert in a massive kiln at MedAlta Potteries (Tongue on the Post Music Festival).
150 years ago, Canada became a country, albeit a much smaller one. Since then, Canada has grown much in size, reputation and as a favorite for travellers from around the world. Lonely Planet recognized these accomplishments last year and ranked Canada as the #1 travel destination in 2017. With the addition of free National Parks all year long, 2017 is the perfect time to visit the Great White North!
I am always interested in Canadian adventures, so I thought I'd check out G Adventure's website to see what tours they have planned this year. Since G Adventures is a Canadian based travel company, I figured they would have something going on this year to celebrate our sesquicentennial. Instead, all I saw were the same eight tours as last year, and the year before. Thinking maybe there was some big announcement coming for 2017, I emailed G Adventures asking about it, hoping, praying, that maybe there was something, something, anything at all… but I received no response.
Now, don't get me wrong. G Adventures has eight great Canadian tours, and they all look really awesome, but they only show off a small sliver of what Canada has to offer. In fact, four of the tours are almost exactly the same:
Love poutine, Justin Trudeau and just about everything Québécois? G Adventures had the right idea including Montréal in two of their Canadian tours, but Montréal isn't the only noteworthy place to visit in Québec. Now, this tour doesn't give Québec the justice it deserves either, but hopefully it inspires you to take your time to explore the wonders it has to offer. Québec is a beautiful province with a long history, stretching back over four centuries, so this tour is dedicated to the incredible history and culture of French Canada.
Our fictional tour starts in Montréal. If you've read my Five Historic Canadian Cities article last week, you already know Montréal is one of Canada's most lively cities. Packed with some of Canada's most impressive scientific museums, Montréal is also home to an archeological and historical museum, Pointe-à-Callière. Inside one of the most unique buildings in Old Montréal, this museum ventures deep into the history of the city and explores its foundation, its struggles and its changes. With 375 years of history, to uncover this museum starts off with the discovery of Hochelaga and showcases various sections of the original sewer system. The museum also has several illustrations showing the plagues and fires that once decimated the early city. The museum also has an interactive section about the pirates that once terrorized the St. Lawrence River. This museum is one of my absolute favorites, so if you love museums as much as I, you'll want to check it out.