Friday, August 31, 2007

Note to our readers

In case you haven't noticed, we've added some pictures. There are new ones going all the way back to Prague, so check them out throughout the blog. Thanks for reading and more coming soon...

Road Trip Pictures

The Big Nickel at Sudbury and Dave

The Big Loonie outside Sault Ste. Marie and us
(gotta love self-taken pictures!)

A moose crossing sign
(Unfortunately we didn't see any real moose.)

A beautiful Northern Ontario view

Heading North on the Trans-Canada

Lake Superior has cold water!

Ontario's longest suspension bridge
(at Ouimet Canyon, near Thunder Bay)

The Terry Fox monument, just outside Thunder Bay

How could we not take this picture?!? It's in Dryden.

Visiting Jason and Katharina in Winnipeg

The first sign of home
(for some of us!)
'Nuff said.

Tying comforter knots with Grandma Ewert
at the Thrift Store in Lanigan, SK

Road Trip

We spent three days crossing Northern Ontario, which started out as being very scenic, and through no fault of its own, managed to be both scenic and boring by the third day. We amused ourselves by stopping and taking pictures of whatever "big" things we saw -- the Giant Nickel in Sudbury, the Goose in Wawa, a Giant Loonie outside Sault Ste. Marie, a huge fish near Thunder Bay; however, we drew the line at "Huskie the Muskie" in Kenora. Finally, we arrived in Winnipeg on Wednesday around supper time, and were met warmly by Susan and Pierre Joanis, friends of Dave's family. We enjoyed supper there, and then met up with Natasha's friends Jason and Katerina later in the evening. The next morning, we hit the road once again. We made a brief stop in Lanigan, SK where Natasha's grandma was volunteering at the Thrift Store. We had some coffee with her and then were initiated into the art of knot-tying for comforters. Grandma Ewert definitely had more experience at that! After driving across the prairie for the day, we arrived at Natasha's parents' house in Saskatoon on Thursday evening, just in time for supper.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Saying Good-bye to Ontario pictures

Farewell cake from Waterloo North care group

Lily, Dave and Tessa at African Lion Safari

The Blue Jays' big game

Dave and Tessa

Natasha and Willem

Sherri, Kaelin and Natasha

Dave and Bill

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How we left Waterloo

Our final two weeks in Waterloo were a blur of visiting, boxes, packing, organizing, boxes, saying goodbyes and more boxes. For the first half of our first week back, we spent a lot of quality time with Tessa (Tash's "local niece" in Waterloo) and Lily (Dave's niece). We took them to African Lion Safari one day, mini-golfing the next, and finished things off with a Blue Jays-Minnesota Twins game on Wednesday. The Jays walloped the Twins 13-1, which made the whole experience very exciting for the girls -- and for Tash and Dave, too.

The second half of the week was spent visiting with Dave's relatives at Sandbanks, a provincial park between Toronto and Kingston. Nearly everyone from his dad's side of the family was there, which in itself made the gathering important -- his family isn't very large, but it is scattered across North America, and so such gatherings are rare. In addition to time spent visiting and hanging out on the beach, we also enjoyed a delicious, expansive, seafood buffet.

Our second week was spent madly trying to get all of our belongings packed into boxes, while at the same time visiting with as many Waterloo friends and family as possible. Surprisingly enough, we actually managed to get everything either stuffed into a box and sent on Greyhound, or crammed into the back of Dave's car. We also spent a good amount of quality time with people. We had a "come-and-go" at Tim and Janice's house (the friends who let us stay with them) the Friday before we left, which gave us a chance to see lots of people, and say many goodbyes.

Sunday, August 5 we left Waterloo and headed into Toronto. We went out for lunch with Tash's niece and attended Dave's office mate's wedding in Mississauga later that same day. Monday morning we hit the road, Alberta bound.

We're back...

After a long hiatus, we are once again posting to our blog -- now from Edmonton, Alberta! "What?" you may be asking yourself, "How did they get to Edmonton? Weren't they just in Prague?" In the next few posts we will tell you how the rest of our summer has turned out, and how we got from Prague to Edmonton.

*** End of the Europe Trip ***

We spent much of our last day in Prague searching for gifts -- we wandered in and out of dozens of souvenir shops looking for toys, mugs with bad puns on them, and the like. Between all this shopping, we also found time to eat at a funky cafe called "Clear Head" -- which had excellent vegetarian food, and visit the Museum of Communism. This "museum" was fairly small -- it took up a few rooms in an old hotel -- but gave a vivid sense of what life in Czechoslovakia was like under Communism, as well as the tension and violence involved in the transition to democracy in 1989. That evening we caught a plane back to London.

Our last day in Europe was spent back in London, where we saw a few more sights before heading home. We started off with the British Museum, where we saw the "must-see" exhibits -- the Rosetta Stone in the Egypt room, the Elgin Marbles in the Greek room -- as well a smattering of the rest of the exhibits; the museum is huge, so we tried to restrict ourselves to a manageable chunk of it, but it was still somewhat overwhelming.

We went from there to Herrod's, where Natasha bought some tea and chocolate, and we gazed at the displays of everything from purses and jewellery to fruits and vegetables. However, the store was extremely crowded, and the omnipresent security guards were off-putting and kinda rude, so the experience as a whole was more frustrating than fun.

After spending a few minutes throwing a disc in Hyde Park, we met Natasha's friend Chris Allen and his girlfriend Lorraine for supper in Chinatown. We had a delicious, lesiurely meal, and enjoyed getting to know Lorraine.

Finally, it was time to head off to the bookstore (Waterstone's, at Ludgate Circus) to pick up our copies of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, which came out at midnight on our last night in London. Fortunately, we had wandered into this bookstore a couple of weeks earlier and were able to reserve copies of the book then; thus, we didn't have to wait in a long line, and were guaranteed to get our copies. After an hour and a half spent waiting at the front of the very loooooooong line, drinking wine, eating snacks, and solving Harry Potter-themed Sudoku puzzles, we finally got our books! And so, it was time to catch the Tube back to Chris's houseboat... except that we missed the last subway, and ended up riding buses until about 4:30am in order to get back. Let's just say that the novelty of London's double-decker buses had very much worn off by the time we got home!

Later that morning, we woke up and caught our flight back home. Aside from Dave discovering that he'd lost his driver's license somewhere in Europe, and a shrieking toddler sitting behind us on the flight, it was a smooth trip. On the positive side, it gave us tons of uninterrupted reading time -- enough for both of us to finish the book :) And so, after getting a ride back from Tanya and Carla, we were once again home in Waterloo... but for how long!?!?