So: the last city in Europe. I don’t count Amsterdam because we stayed close to the airport and didn’t see the city. I am currently writing this on a plane listening to Taylor Swift. So that means I’m writing what I want to write even though I promised I’d write about the stuff after Rome to fill in space for a wanting audience. Well I don’t care.
So here’s our two-day trip in Bruges. I think we shouldn’t have gone to Normandy so long; Bruges was far better. My aunt Judy says some people say Bruges is boring and to them I say, “Boo you.” The first day we checked in to a hotel. Wow, really Jack, I did not see that coming, you live so dangerously (sarcastic comment of the day).
The first full day we went to a place called “Historium”. It is an interactive experience telling you a story of Bruges in the 15th century. Then after the main attraction they added a virtual reality experience. In it you sail to Bruges in a trader ship. The way you had to enter Bruges then was to stop at a large canal and hop on a bunch of small boats to deliver your goods.
Then we went to the market in the center square. There was a huge piece of modern art there. I usual hate modern art! I mean loath, hate, despise. I’m on a level where if I could rule the world I would outlaw modern art and any one who owned it would be sentenced to life in prison. So now that you now my view on modern art I have to say the guy that made this is awesome. It’s this massive glass thing that I don’t understand the meaning of. But the thing that makes it cool is that inside one of the glass panels is actually a one-way mirror. Joe and I went inside. So what we did is that every person that stopped to look at it got a magically knocking sound in his or her head.
The next day we just walked around. We stopped at this brewery that’s been working and run by the same family since 18XX. We ate lunch there. It was pretty good. Then we walked close to canals just exploring. We saw a bunch of swans and ducks. Then we took the train to Brussels to catch a train to Amsterdam. Then we got on a shuttle to the hotel. The next day we got up early to catch a flight back to Toronto. So now I’m writing my blog on a plane.
Now I know you are all thinking the same thing; “Jack this delayed blogging was kind of funny the first time but now you’re pushing it”. And yes I am. But to be fair I’m in Paris, so be happy I’m not talking about Paris. Normandy was nice. That’s it, blog is over…………… well there were cats too…
Just kidding here it goes. We drove from Brittany to Caument L’Evente. This beautiful little town wasn’t beautiful. I actually think my parents went out of the way to find the only town in Normandy where every one wants to get rid of tourists (especially Bretons).
There was one bed and breakfast. I’ll give you a hint that’s where we stayed. They were really nice. The lady running the place also had three cats. My favorite was this old one that had one expression. Give me food or die!!!!
Then the second last day I was on Instagram and the cat said, “you will be a pillow”. So I was a cat pillow. It also ran away from Joe; so massive plus there.
The first day we went to Juno beach. The Juno beach exhibit is completely staffed by Canadians. I had honestly forgotten how much I loved Canadians. They are so friendly, and it’s not just because I’m Canadian there were staff everywhere else no one was as friendly as the nice lady from Ontario who gave me candy to say this. After that we went to Omaha. Which is what is what you see in movies. Unless there climbing hills then it’s the rangers. This is because: ‘Merica. Omaha was much bigger with twice as many troops landing there than Juno.
They have a massive graveyard of over nine thousand troops buried there.
The last day we went to Bayeux. They have a massive tapestry that’s 70 meters long. It had to wrap a corner of a massive hall. It was made in medieval times right after William the Conquerer took over England. Some history buffs may say: “but Jack he was originally William the Bastard”. And I say to you, yes (it is my favorite name for him, but oh well) but this is after he took over England making, him the Conquerer. Then we went to a WWII museum that took a look at the strategy of the taking of France from Nazi Germany and the equipment. They had tanks!!!
Then we left for Paris, the city of single 13 year olds and pizza (there is no truer love).
Salzburg takes forever to get to from Venice by train. Not really, it was only 9 hours but it seemed like forever because I was stuck in a train car with my family.
Now I know what you’re thinking; Jack you dumb bum you haven’t even written about Rome, let alone Italy. Well Italy is going to be long and I’m feeling really uninventive on the sarcastic line area today. So for now you’re going to have to deal with me talking about Austria, not Italy. Austria is one of the most historical places in Europe. From the Sound of Music to the Turks almost taking Vienna time and time again saying “this is for the crusades you jerks!” it is a lovely place to stay if you like churches, castles and classic musical movies.
The first day we went to this massive castle that was built in 1496 and had many improvements since then. It was never captured by force but was high up on a hill not really able to defend the town. That’s because it’s just supposed to intimidate the enemy. The only reason it was taken was when Napoleon showed up they just gave it to him.
The next day we went to the convent that Maria the main character in the Sound of Music stayed. That same day we went to the cemetery that they based the end scene set off. I know what you’re thinking: wow Crim/Cotte family so inventive. We also took a walk along the river and saw where Mozart grew up.
That same day we went to the Schloss Mirabell Palace. That has the fountain that they filmed the Sound of Music Do-Ray-Me song. Are you starting to see a pattern yet?
Then it was off to Fussen, Germany where we are currently.
The family is now in Siena, Italy. So of course I’m going to talk to you about Athens the capital of Greece. The last day in London we went back to Heathrow to fly to Athens. We took a taxi to our hotel in Athens. The hotel was great depending on whose point of view it is. I’ll tell you it was great. Joe, on the other hand, will tell you it’s crap. His bed was right beside the door and on the way to the bathroom for the oldies.
The first day there we went to the Parthenon (the Acropolis for all the haters looking to correct me). Then we went to a nice dinner with lots of cats! Joe was in heaven he just stared at them imagining cuddling with them.
The second day we just walked around the city looking at Parliament, Hadrian’s Gate and all the many ruins in the city of Athens. The same day we went to the Acropolis Museum. Fun fact: Athens supported Mark Anthony and Cleopatra in the Roman civil war.
The third day we went to the hill across from the Acropolis. Are you starting to see a pattern yet? We went to the place where they think the Greece politicians kept Socrates. They also built a statue to the Roman emperor Augustus (they guy that won the Roman civil war, you see why they built it now).
There are a lot of cats I mean a lot you can’t go a day in Athens with out seeing at least five cats. We saw lots more than five a day but for the sake of the doubters I’ll scale it back to a believe able scale. Then we went to the port, got our ferry tickets and took a trip to Naxos.
We are now in Greece. So Joe and I are seriously behind in blogs. But for now I’m going to tell you about England. The first day we got there we got off the ship and said goodbye to the ship kids and every one else. Then we took a bus to the airport to take the subway to our hotel. I know; confusing.
After the subway ride we checked in to our B&B. We had seen signs for Wicked everywhere and that’s a play I’ve wanted to see for a long time. I was very happy when mom and dad said we could go. It was such a good performance.
The next day we went to The Tower of London. They did some pretty wacked up stuff in there; like murdering two little princes! The little brats probably deserved it though. I’m pretty sure they cried over spilled milk and the guards couldn’t stand the whining. Then we went to lunch and walked back to our hotel. (On a side note Big Ben is much smaller then it looks on the post cards.)
After that day we went to the British Museum. It is the largest museum in the world. It has a massive collection of mummies. Then, what I thought was one of the coolest things, was a leather man! He had died in a swamp that worked as a tannery to turn him in to a leather man! The coolest part was he died right before the Romans invaded. Think about how long ago that was.
They also had a whole collection of Napolean Bonaparte news and propaganda cartoons depicting how much of a short snob he was.
Then the next day we went back to the airport to fly to even older places than that leather guy. Athens Greece!!!!!!
Yesterday we left Morocco. Here is what we did. The first day Mom had a field lab. So Dad, Joe and I went on a field program. The only interesting thing was the Hassan the Second Mosque. It was the most impressive religious building I have ever seen.
The next day we went to Marrakesh. They had the biggest market. You could easily get lost in it. Then we went to a pharmacy kind of thing. They had lots of special herbs and spices. Also, I got a massage. Next we went to a medieval university. Then we went back to the ship.
After that day we went to Fez. Now, Fez is a five hour drive from Casablanca so we had some cool stops along the way. On the way we went to Meknes and toured around looking at old medieval gates and walls. Then we went to a really fantastic lunch with a nice courtyard and fountain. We also went to a really old Jewish cemetery. Our next stop was Volubulis. It was an old Roman city in Morocco. It was amazing. A lot of it was still together. The pictures are a lot better at describing it.
When we got to the hotel it was late so Joe and I stayed up watching a movie. The next day we toured Fez. We did pretty much everything we had done in Marrakesh just in a different city. The only difference was we went to a tannery. It smelled really bad. Then we drove back to the ship.
I forgot to tell you about the bread. It is so good. It’s like the French left a trail of wonderful bread where ever they colonised. The last day we went to get WI-FI. We just went to the train station, which was really close to the port. When we got there we headed straight to Starbucks. Then after the almighty WI-FI we went to Rick’s Café. It was supposed to be like the movie Casablanca. The bar was the same but nothing else looked like the movie. It had the best food by far. I am not being biased because had a burger (it does help though). Then we got more WI-FI time. Last we went back to the ship and left Morocco. Time for Europe.
The first day in Cape Town set us up for a great time (which was fulfilled). We went on a city orientation tour with Semester at Sea. It was amazing; we had a terrific guide and company. The first thing we did was go to Table Mountain. We took the cable car up to the top. It is the best cable car in the world. It spins around so everyone gets a 360 degree view. The top was just the most amazing view of a city anywhere in the world.
Then we went to a military museum. It had a lot of old relics from the 17th century. After that we went to the ship and ate dinner and slept. The next day we got up earlier than usual to go to on a multi-day trip. Botlierskop, our first stop, was my favorite place in South Africa. When we first got there they gave use this big lunch of wonderful food. Then we went to our “tents”. They were big and better than any hotel room I have every stayed in. (That could be because no one’s realized my blackjack potential.)
Then we went on an awesome game drive. We saw Black Impala, Elephants, Rhinos, Springbok, Waterbok, and Zebra. Then we got Wi-Fi time and ate the best dinner in a long time. Warthog is the tastiest animal to walk this earth. Then we went to bed. Next we went on another game drive with lots of mud. It was amazing we saw Lions and Baby Rhinos and Baby Giraffes. Then we ate a wonderful breakfast and started another long drive to Plettenberg Bay. We ate a packed lunch and went to an Elephant sanctuary to play with elephants. We held hands and walked with the elephants. Then we rode them for a minute because it was muddy and I don’t think they had insurance. Then we drove to Tsitsikamma Lodge. Our cabin, for just Joe and I, was even bigger than our tent. Not as nice, but good TV. Also, I mean big, as in two stories big. The next day we went zip lining. It was such an amazing view and zip line. Then we had a light lunch of sandwiches and fries.
After lunch we drove to Storms River Mouth to play on the beach and look at baby dassies. Dassies are little mammals that look like a cross between a groundhog and a chipmunk. Oh and the amazing view, that too. Then to Port Elizabeth for a regular hotel with dinner and rest. The next day we went to Addo National park for a game drive. We saw lots of elephants. We also saw the red heart beast. After Addo we went to Port Elizabeth for our flight back to Cape Town. When we got on the ship we had burgers and pizza (it pays to be late for the buffet). The next day was just as fun. We went to boulder beach with our private driver. Boulder beach is covered with penguins. They are the coolest animal in South Africa. Then we had a yummy lunch of burgers and seafood. Then we cleared immigration and left with the ship. Now we are on our way to Namibia.
We are now sailing to South Africa so I thought it would be an opportune time to tell you about Mauritius. When we first got to Mauritius it was very pretty (it was for the rest of the day too). After immigration and meeting with our field program we got off the ship (surprise). Mauritius is the African Hawaii. We met our German guide and were off for the day. Oh, and a quick note here, there was no air conditioning in the bus for most of the day. First we went to the rich neighborhood. Our guide, I kid you not, said this “most Muslims are drug dealers that’s why they are rich”.
So we went to the top of the hill to see the amazing view of Port Louis. Next we went to a temple were you could walk in the water with holy fish. Then to a hill with an amazing view of water falls and forests. Pause for a second here. I am going to tell you how warm we were inside that hell bus. It was cooler outside, in tropical weather, than it was inside that stinky bus. But then, what could this be, lunch with the most powerful fans in the world. Yes, Yes finally.
Then we went to a beautiful beach with skinny dipping students. Then we got back on the bus, but wait there is more, the air conditioning is fixed. Just in time for the wet people to freeze. Then we got on the ship and it was BBQ night!
We have just left Cochin, India. It was a different country. Not in a bad way. I mean different in the sense that you could be in the worst traffic of your life or have the road all to yourself (except for the cows).
So the first day in this beautiful country we did nothing (Mom had to work with her students). The second day however, we met our driver. He drove us to Munnar: a small town with lots of tea plantations. We went to our hotel (not the cleanest in the world). The food was great (you know except for the dead bugs in the cereal). Then we went to a tea museum and tea factory. Then we went back to the hotel for lunch. We rested for the rest of the day. The next day we drove to a different hotel, and along the way we made a few stops. The first stop was a cool water fall. Then we rode elephants. It was the most fun riding any animal (enough with horse riding: elephants all the way BRO). Next we went to a spice garden that just smelled beautiful (that’s it, just smell).
Then the Elephant Court Hotel in Thekkady. It was super beautiful and had amazing Wi-Fi. Then another long day of driving (no elephantsL). We went to an amazing beach resort and rode the waves in to the sunset. Dad and I lost our sunglasses (here we come South Africa). Then we went back to the ship, and mom and I had Mexican dinner for my birthday!