I've been watching this documentary by a couple of Canadian boys called "Departures". If you haven't seen it yet, it's a must. These two guys in their mid to late twenties embark on a year-long trip across the world. It's truly incredible and brought back a ton of memories of the trips I took 5 years ago while living overseas. I highly recommend it. Last week was a postless week because of various personal reasons... one, I was sick and am only now recovering, and two, work started back up again and lots of time was spent planning. But I'm back! Inspired by the show, here is another post of my experience in Europe.
This weekend I went to the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. It was enchanting. I highly recommend that you make the trek out to the east end of the city to check it out; it is well worth it.
Colmar, France is located close to Strasbourg right near to the German border. If the pictures haven't said it already, it is absolutely gorgeous; you feel like you are walking right into a story interpreted by the brothers Grimm. In 2009 our school organized a field trip for all the exchange students and we had the privilege to experience the Christmas market in this charming little village. Luck would have it, this same day, October 8th was the beginning of "la fête des lumières" in Lyon. We spent a long and amazing day here, and then walked the streets of Lyon that evening.
My exchange year in Lyon changed me in more ways than I could have imagined. I won't bore you with the details, but I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of my time abroad between 2009 to 2010. Due to the sheer volume of photos, this post will be dedicated to the first few months in the city. I did lots of sight-seeing during this time with some pretty amazing people that I am lucky enough to still call my closest friends today. It is amazing how traveling can strengthen relationships and bond people together, even with those you barely know.
Two years ago I was at teacher's college in North Bay, Ontario. North Bay as a city isn't much, however, the surroundings are very picturesque. Just to give you an idea of how nice it is, there is a waterfall located a mere 30 minute walk from the school. I was reminiscing this weekend over the walk some teachers and I took behind the school that year. Here are some of the pictures we took (unaltered).
Today Katrina and I took the students to We Day in Toronto. The numerous motivational speakers and performers made the event very memorable and inspirational. Colonel Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and command a spaceship, made an appearance, as did Spencer West and Kweku Mandela, Nelson Mandela's grandson. Other more well-known presenters included Shawn Desman, Joe Jonas (omg the little girls in the audience deafened me with their squealing), Hedley, Nelly Furtado, and Katie Couric. Woot woot!! Needless to say that I'm exhausted because we had to catch the bus from school at 6am; but totally worth it. ;)
Flowers have been a very important part of our family for generations. My parents, both avid gardeners, have worked very hard to beautify their property; both the front and back yard are stunning recreations of their colourful imagination and concentrated labour. Although I love nature, I hate gardening; I don't understand how people can enjoy weeding. Also, I think the green thumb skipped a generation because every time I get a plant, I manage to kill it... yep. Here are some shots of the beautiful plants I captured on camera. (I've added some other nature photos in there)
My family and I just spent a couple of days at our cottage. The weather cooperated while we enjoyed typical lake-side activities, like canoeing and kayaking. As soon as we got there, my brother decided to take me out on the boat. We were fortunate enough to see some pretty spectacular wildlife; loons, herons, and turtles came to say hello. Lucky for me, he also agreed to be my model. Erik is sporting our late grandfather's old hat, which made me smile. Here are some of the photos I took while up north.
I just spent two days in South Western Ontario with my family. We toured some local wineries and did a little swimming on a sand bar, which was super cool! You can actually stand in the middle of the lake!! Who knew? We were in good company as we ate great food and shared some laughs. Here are some of my favourite photos over the last two days.
I went to Paris about a week ago in order to fly home. I had an evening layover in the most romantic city in the world. My mission was to find the old bookstore Shakespeare and Company. I had the help of a man, who was kind enough to point out some landmarks as he sent me in the correct direction to the store. Did you know that if a bridge has an "N" on it, it was built during the reign of Napoleon III? Although it wasn't the famous Napoleon I, that's still pretty cool, right? I'm getting off track here. I finally located the store and immediately fell in love. The weathered books, the old stacks, the wooden ladders, the old typewriters.... The ambiance itself stirred a hunger to write.