A Travellerspoint blog

80th and final entry!! with pics!!

(almost a full year after my departure...it's about time!)

Written on Feb 1st, 2008...and 4th...

Well, it was my New Year resolution to write a final entry and post some of the many pics I took in India, so here we go!
Let's all thank levis for meaking them available (several months ago, it just took me a while to get to it)! I'm certainly thankful!

Let's start with the town of Shimla, in the north of India, where all middle-class/well off Indians go to escape the heat of their hometown (aka anywhere else in India). The town is perched up in the mountains, and is literally on a cliff.
Shimla.jpg

Cow_by_the_shop.jpg
hehehe gotta love India and its cows!

Shimla_pop2.jpg
Can you see all those people? The streets were constantly that busy! Massive Indian tourist rush!

The town is also overrun by monkey, they are literally everywhere!
Monkey_family.jpg

Monkey_scratching.jpg

Getting there was a ride and a half, with many many many hours of train ride up the mountain with the old train engines which needed to be cooled off every 20 mins or so by stopping to hose the engine down with water(!)
Train_cool_down3.jpg

Pretty picture for someone who used to work for a fire alarm co! hehehe
Train_stat.._Shimla.jpg

I met Moushy and a couple of other tourists and we went on the 10 days trip "up north" through the Spiti and Kinnaur Valleys.

Comb_book.jpg

Andy__Mous..r__Anna.jpg

On the first day, We came to a stop as a truck was halfway off a cliff on the only road to our first destination.
Truck_off_cliff.jpg
It had already been there for a couple of hours, so we turned around and went to another town (there's a lot more detail in the entry I wrote "back then").

Old man washing in the hot spring water, by the river
So anyway, Old_man_by_the_river.jpg

For this portion of the trip, we drove through the Himalayas, so I took a bazillion mountain pics. Here are a few

Himalayas1.jpg

Himalayas.jpg

Himalayas2.jpg

Kinnaur_Kalash.jpg

Man_walkin.._donkey.jpg

The first valley had some sort of vegetation, but the second valley was actual desert. This is where the power of irrigation is most striking, allowing little villages and a bit of life in such a harsh environment!
Village_in..ountain2.jpg

Mountains_desert.jpg

We also visited quite a few monasteries. The culture up there is a combination of Tibetan and Indian (mostly Tibetan actually).
Monastery_other.jpg

Monastery_artefact.jpg

Ghangkar_monaster2y.jpg

Ghangkar_monastery.jpg

Dhangkar_m..erywall.jpg

Dhangkar_m..rtefact.jpg

Ganesh_carving.jpg

Dhangkar_m..ry_monk.jpg

3monks_walking_away.jpg

This woman was swiping with a broom made of small tree branches...it was so cute I asked to take a pic, but she didn't let me walk back far enough to actually get the broom...
Old_woman_with_broom.jpg

These people work a lot harder (physically at least) than we ever do:
Man_with_big_load.jpg

Cute kids pics:
Kids.jpg

Kid.jpg

On the very last day of this 10 day trip, after all this time of mostly nothing and sooo few people, we get to this:
Indians_on_the_snow.jpg
hehehe, Indians discovering snow!
Indians_on_the_snow2.jpg
and with them, massive traffic jam, noise, garbage and just people all around! It was a bit eerie, and quite funny!

Back to New Delhi, a bit of city life:
New_Delhi_.._street.jpg

Bidonville.jpg

cab.jpgThere are no camels in New Delhi, but I can't remember exactly where I took this pic...
Camels-street_life.jpg

Overcrowded bus:
Men_on_top_of_bus.jpg
To be fair, it's the only time I saw people on top of a bus, but ya know!

I then went to a town called Haridwar, a holy town where people go to bathe in the Ganga
Flower_baskets.jpg

Hardwar.jpg

Red_powder.jpg

Female_statue.jpg

This would not be complete without pics of the absolutely magnificent Taj Mahal:
Tag_Mahal11.jpg

Tag_Mahal21.jpg

Tag_Mahal31.jpg

Tag_Mahal41.jpg

Tag_Mahal_me_in_front1.jpg

Well, lets wrap up with a couple of funny spelling bits:
SandWitches.jpg
Darn Sand Witches... beware!

menu_at_hotel.jpg
Obscure warning... hehehe

And to conclude, what better than a sunset over the Himalayas! :-)
Sunset_top..e_world2.jpg

Sunset_ove..malayas1.jpg

On this note, I wish you all a wonderful wonderful year 2008!!!!!!!!

Posted by Mistrale 20:36 Archived in India Comments (1)

Mistrale's around the world trip (in 80 entries!)

hehehe

rain 15 °C

Written on Sept 21,

Started school, big change but less stressful than work anytime of the day!!
Montreal is only ok so far...I can't believe how little french I hear! It seems like everyone speaks either english, some arabic or spanish...really weird! Doesn't feel like I'm in Qc at all!!!
I really want to post the India pics...will as soon as I kick myself in the butt, send my F'ed up memory card to Levis and get my pics back... in other words...don't hold your breath!...but it'll happen!!!

Posted by Mistrale 15:29 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

London pics

sunny 20 °C

Written on August 19... (actually, started then, but finished on Sept 11 !!!)

I’ve already been back home for over a week, but though I should really end this thing somewhat properly.

On my last day in London, I tremendously enjoyed a free walking tour, with a "oh, so" knowledgeable (and cute to boot) guide. What was supposed to take a little over 3 hours ended-up taking almost 5!! hehehe, but the tour was filled with anecdotes, and bits of history. I'll see what I remember from the pics I took (baaad me, should have done this much earlier!!)-End of section written on August 19...

I really should have done this MUCH MUCH earlier, hehehe, but I just couldn't be bothered. The exercise of writing this blog was further delayed by the fact that, on Aug 19, I processed some of my London pics (to reduce the resolution for ease of upload on this site), and DELETED!!! the ones left (in high resolution) on the memory card!!! I thought I had transferred them to my PC, but hadn't! F'in great!! I was so pissed that I put everything aside until further notice (aka: today). The worst part is that I emptied the memory card to have more space for a wedding I was going to on the weekend of Sept 1, BUT I FORGOT MY CAMERA at home !!!!!!! AND THEREFORE DIDN'T END-UP TAKING A SINGLE PIC!!! What a massive waste of time and energy and great way to raise the blood pressure!! Anyway, I then moved to Mtl, and school started, so my time has been spent reading...and reading some more! I'm now mostly caught-up (actually procrastinating a little, but I have a class in 1:30 hour, so doing this entry is a great way to relax the little grey matter a little.)

Back to beautiful London, ....the pics you'll see are all the ones I have left from this leg of my trip! arrgghhh!
I'll try to go in order of the tour.
The_Monument.jpg
This is "The Monument", which was built to remember the great fire that almost completely burned London in...a long time ago. It is, however, thanks to this fire that the plague was eradicated in London! A bit of history: back then, all the building were made of wood. When the plague hit (fact then unknown: caused and spread by rats), the great men of the time tried to figure out how to stop it. They started by killing all the cats (!), then the dogs, then the Catholics (hehehe), but none of it worked. The population was dying faster than I can type this and, unfortunately, or fortunately, one night, a baker didn't extinguish the fire of his oven properly and started a fire which spread through all of London, thanks to joined wood walls. In the process, it killed rats and population, thus marking the end of the great plague!

We then visited the London bridge, which I didn't take a pic of because it's a very simple boring concrete bridge. It's well known because it was the first bridge in London (originally built of wood, burned, rebuilt of wood, burned again, then built of rocks of some sort).
It did however provide a good vantage point of the well known Tower bridge
Tower_Bridge.jpg

St-Paul_s_Cathedral1.jpg
St-Paul_s_Cathedral3.jpg
We then visited St-Paul's Cathedral, which is one of the very few monuments that wasn't destroyed in either World War, despite it's location on a hill, and it's impressive height. Of course, some thank a Divine intervention, but others remark that at the time of these wars, plane radar and visual indications weren't exactly as they are today, so pilots needed to keep landmarks as to know where they were and where to drop bombs....

Woobly_bri..bridge_.jpg
We then went to the Millennium bridge. Designed by a Sir "something", big local name who has also designed several other landmarks of London. Anyway, he was asked to design this bridge for, you've guessed it: year 2000. The budget was 10M pounds. Anyway, as with many projects, it went like 2.5times over budget, and on January 1st, all the media was there, and several hundred people were waiting to be the first to walk on this wonderful new bridge. As they got on, and got further toward the middle, the bridge started to sway quite a bit and people started to get sick, so the media, instead of getting shots of wonderful happy people on a wonderful bridge, got pics of people pucking from each side!!! hehehe HAHAHAH!!!The architect in question ended-up saying that the problem was not his design, the problem was “how the people of London walk”!?!?! He didn't exactly make friends with that one, and another few million pounds were spent to fix the bridge. It's now called "wobbly bridge" by locals! hehehe

Covent_Garden_market.jpg
We then went to Covent Garden. A market that it for tourists (undeniably), but nevertheless fun to see. It has some historical relevance that I don't remember. I had a Cornish pastry (typical traditional meal for miners) which was quite good. It's essentially a layer of dough filled with (traditionally) beef, but (today, almost anything you can think of) and folded over to make a little pocket of food in dough, with a bit of dough folded together to hold-on so that the miners could eat it with their dirty hands. I had a veggie one and it was very good!!

Big_Ben_1.jpg
The famous Big Ben. Quite nice indeed, and tall. Apparently 2 double-decker busses can fit (height-wise) in that clock! wooo! It is the most precise analogye clock around...apparently.

Now, it's important to mention that the entry fee for each of these monuments/buildings was AT LEAST 10pounds!!!! No need to say that I didn't visit any. Crazy!!!

Protest_park2.jpg
I don't know the exact name of this park, but I call it Protest park. It's located in front of the Parliament (attached to Big Ben). The story is: People went there to protest..I believe the Vietnam war... and set up camps and stuff. At some point, the city made it illegal to set-up camp there, but didn't make it retroactive, so the people already there could stay. The result it that they never left (I suspect there were shifts and rotations of people, but nevertheless). There is actually 1 man who's made it his life dedication to protest and has been there fore over 20 years!!

Westminster_Abbey.jpg
The tour then finished at Westminster Abbey... not exactly sure why it's important, but it is...I think most monarchs and well known figures are buried there...

At that point, WAY behind schedule, I had to run to get the
Underground_sign.jpg

and go meet my cousin and his new
Thalia6.jpg
little girl.

That was that of that day.

The following morning, day of my departure (at 5pm), I went to Buckingham Palace hoping to see the change of the guard (big thing apparently), but because of all the deployments at war and stuff, they only do it every other 2 days, and I was on an "off" day...oh well!
Buckingham_Palace2.jpg

I then went to visit a nearby park, and was told a while back, that there wasn't really any wildlife left in Europe...even squirrels. I didn't really believe it until I noticed that people were marvelling at the squirrels in the park!! heheheh They should come to MTL!!
I saw pretty swans (what's the plural of swan?)
Swan_on_the_lake.jpg

I then went to have a fish and chips (couldn’t possibly go to the UK without eating it). It was MASSIVE!!!
Fish_and_c..nd_beer.jpg
and I must say, the first time I ate a fish and chips and didn't feel yuky at the end (despite serious amounts of grease on, in and around it!). Nothing beer didn't wash away! hehehe

Let's finish with a couple of pics from the wonderful hostel I stayed in:
Palmers_Lodge_outside.jpg
Palmers_Lodge_inside.jpg

and London landmarks:
Doubledecker_bus1.jpg
and
Mailbox.jpg

And the sign I was most happy to see in a long time:
Welcome_to_Canada.jpg

The picture is kind of shitty as I realized a bit late that I was maybe not supposed to take pictures while waiting in line to get through customs! hehehe

I have to go to class, but there will be a last entry, as I think that the trip really ended here in Mtl, and I like the idea of finishing an 80th entry (no better way of ending things than with a round number)

Posted by Mistrale 14:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

LONDON!!!!

wow!

sunny 20 °C

Written on August 8th...

hehehe, yet another keyboard with different key locations!!! hehehe, and I though these things were pretty much standard (aka US standard!) oh how wrong was I! hehehe
Well, I made it to London today and got to walk around a little, went to Picadilly Circus, Notting Hill, and just walked around. London is freaking busy!!! I thing I will tremendously enjoy a visit here, but understand the many people who told me that they would never live here. Well, tomorrow a long day is planned, from a free 4hrs walking tour of "everything to see in donwntown London", to a visit to my cousin's, to a potential visit to the Beer Festival (entry is 6.5£, but can I really miss this?? I don't think so!! hehehe -anyway it'll probably be the only thing I visit as everything else is out-of-this-world expensive).

Well, my time is up at this free hostel internet, but more news soon! I had forgotten why I booked this hostel, but remembered as soon as I saw it: it's an authentic colonial (aka old looking) house and it's absolutely gorgeous. I wonder why it's a cheap hostel and not an expensive hotel!!

Cheers

Posted by Mistrale 11:29 Archived in England Comments (0)

Lyon, with pics

overcast 20 °C

Written on August 7...

Today was my last full day in France and I must admit that I'm glad my time is almost done. I'm honestly completely fed up with travelling and sightseeing and out of money, so I've spent the last 3 days just walking around town (I must have seen all "the nice places" at least twice), my feet hurt, I'm tired and not hungry, but not well fed either (mostly munching and eating sandwiches, I haven't sat down for a proper meal in a restaurant yet, too $$ and no real interest in local food as it inevitably involves meat (and yuky parts of it too, like the stomach, nose, etc, although I know I could get chicked or duck at most places). On top of it, it started to rain yesterday and today, although not raining, it's freaking cold, so I burn time (and keep warm) here at the internet cafe.

On a brighter note, I went to see a really good french movie yesterday, called "Conversations avec mon jardinier", it was delightful and this morning I went to visit ruins from the Roman time, with the largest coliseum found in the region. This part was quite interesting, as the walk through a very nice park to get to the Basilica was also quite nice, so was the basilica itself. I then had a drink with a friend of a friend, who currently lives here, and it was nice to speak with someone other than a fellow traveller (I litterally cannot stand the "traveller conversation" that we always have at hostels, where are you from, when did you get here, for how long, where from, where to, etc arrggghhh so boring and repetitive!! I've turned a bit antisocial, and avoid people there-to avoid THE conversation. I'll go through the motions when cornered, but always seek an escape route asap. hehehe, man it's time to go home! Throughout this trip I didn't want to complain, so I tried not to, but not I'm officially done...les carrottes sont cuites! the fat lady has sung.

hehehe well, not sure what to end this, overall quite boring entry..pics...why not.

Let's start with a few from Paris (the ones that were on my memory stick)

Belle_porte.jpg
The artwork around that door was amazing, although probably not very antique...

Cath_drale..e_Paris.jpg
Cathédrale Notre-Dame, centre of Paris since before it was called Paris!

Point_Z_ro.._France.jpg
It says "Point zéro des routes de France" (Point zero of the French roads)

Charlemagne.jpg
Charlamagne. Tthere's a song in French that says that Charlemagne invented school as we know it...I resisted the urge to throw him a few rotten eggs. hehehe

Tour_Eiffel.jpg
It was higher than I expected, and due to my own fault and somewhat lazyness, I didnt' go up, but still admired it.

Me_in_fron..riomphe.jpg
This, on hte other hand, was smalle rthan I expected... The lastnames of ...fighters I guess... were carved everywhere on the structure, but despite looking carefully, I didn't see any that I knew...to bad.

Now Lyon
Centre-ville.jpg
This is the centre-ville (downtown). it brings me to something I noticed in Paris and ever since, but never mentioned. Cities here (that I've seen) rarely have highrises, everything is 4, 5 sotries max. Probably due to the history of the place, but the contrast is strilking here with the 1 highrise! hehehe Generally churches, and mostly cathedrals are the highest thing around!!!

Vieux_Lyon.jpg
Vieux Lyon, where the hostel is (on top of the hill), but you cannot see it here.

Colisee.jpg
The roman coliseum, well a small portion of it at least. Thse ruins are quite large and were mostky buried until the 80's when they were dug up. Today they have theatre and music shows there. It's quite the location!

Colisee_dans_le_temps.jpg
Sketch of the structure "back when", the dark grey portion is what remains and has been restored today. The structure could seat 11,000 people (!) and but did not have a solid roof (due to engineering issues), but rather a velum "fabric" roof to protect from the sun and rain.

and last pic:
Vignes.jpg
Taken right in town, pretty cool! We are in the Rhone region after all (well known for it's wines).

SO that's that, I may post from London, but it will be price dependent... in any case, I'll post some stuff upon my return to CANADA!!! HHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! :=)

Posted by Mistrale 08:02 Archived in France Comments (0)

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