2 Days in Seattle

This weekend I was invited, thanks to a Klout Perk, to spend 2 days in Seattle. During these 2 days, we are invited to visit the city and explore hidden gems and hopefully tweet about it while we are down there with the hashtag #2DaysInSeattle.

I haven’t been to Seattle in about 3 years. Yeah I know it’s very close for us here in Vancouver and I am looking forward to exploring the city a little bit more. How much can I do in 2 days? I’m not 100% sure. If you had just 2 days in Seattle what would you do? What restaurants should I try? What local hot spots is a must see?

I’ll admit I will be going up the Space Needle this time around as I’ve never done that before. I have done the underground city tour before as well and of course I will be revisiting Pike’s Place Market. I’m also thinking of taking either a dinner boat cruise or just a regular boat cruise.

I’ve very excited about the opportunity and hopefully everyone will enjoy my tweets (internet hotspots permitting) as well as a post, or two afterwards.

Road Trip to Princeton, Keremeos and Osoyoos British Columbia

Yesterday was one of those days when Russ and I just wanted to get away for a road trip that took us eastward. We had no game plan except to drive and see how far we wanted to go. As we got closer to Hope, we decided to continue along the Hope-Princeton highway and drive and quickly explore the area.

We had a quick stop in Princeton where we had lunch at a local restaurant. And allowed Junior, who was with us on this trip, a quick bathroom break. Though we were only there for a few short minutes. It was fun to enjoy the warm sun that the area gives you this time of year. The town is filled with many trails and great places to enjoy nature. Next weekend, August 19 – 21, their annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival takes place. So if you are into fiddlers, sea chanties and Celtic music, make sure to check them out.

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We continued on towards Keremeos where we stopped at a local fruit stand, Mariposa, and bought some great local fruits and vegetables that this season offers. As the temperature was reaching 32C we had a nice ice cream to help cool us off. Truly a wonderful area with the surrounding mountains.

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Continuing our trip we stopped in Osoysoos just before 6pm where we decided to walk along the beach. As it was the weekend and wonderful weather, there were tons of people in Osoyoos. I would have loved to have stayed longer and explore the city more, but we didn’t get a chance.

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What is wonderful about driving through the Similkameen valley was the amount of fruit stands, wineries and wonderful park areas it has to offer. If you are fine with driving a few hours from Vancouver, I think you will enjoy a day trip to this area. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.

Berlin – Day 1

Berlin Day 1 1 After a 2 hour bus ride from Dresden, we finally arrived to our new home in Berlin at the famous Hotel Berlin Berlin.  It was nice to be greeted at the Hotel door by the Berlin Bear that throughout the city. This is similar to the Orcas and Eagles that were throughout Vancouver. It was great to see other cities doing the same thing.

Once we got settled into our hotel rooms, we headed out on 1/2 day tour of the city. It was amazing to see that we were given such a huge bus for only 14 people.

Our first stop took us to the famous Brandenburg Gate. The gate was commissioned by Fredrick William II of Prussia in 1788 and was the entry point to the city palace in the boulevard of linden trees. It was also an important entry point when Berlin was separated into the East and West sides. Now the Brandenburg Gate is a European landmark and is surrounded by many consulates.

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Our tour continued through the city where we got to see a section of the remaining Berlin Wall where famous artists where asked to paint the wall after the wall came down in 1989 to form a huge graffiti wall. Most recently the artists where invited to come back and repaint their section and update them with their signature.

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We continued our tour around the city seeing all the old section of the former East Berlin and seeing the new architecture throughout the city including the famous Sony Centre.

Our next stop was the famous Checkpoint Charlie. This was the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Here you can pose with some people dressed in US, French and Russian soldier uniforms (at a cost of 4 Euros) or get your passport stamped with replicas of the original stamps for about 5 Euros. I opted out not to get my passport stamped as I felt it was too “Niagara Falls” for me.

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It was very odd being such an area where there was a division of the city. If it wasn’t for some of the monuments currently around the city, you wouldn’t know there was an old wall. I even got to step over the old line.

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An amazing day with lots of information provided by our tour guide. The evening we got together as a group for an amazing dinner. The next couple of days we will be on our own and I’ll hopefully get to go back to some of the sites we saw our initial tour.


What an Ordeal

What an ordeal it’s been up until now. I’ve heard horror stories about people missing flights, delayed flights, and lost luggage, but yesterday we experienced all three at the hands of Air Canada.

As all of you know, Air Canada’s customer service and ticket agents were on strike and Air Canada suggested everyone checks in online. Alas we were not able to connect online and complete our checkin which was very annoying. Reaching YVR International we told the Agent (which was management) that we were not able to complete the process, and when we tried the kiosk everything worked well. Alas the flight itself didn’t leave on time and we were delayed by 20 minutes. This would give us 30 minutes to make our connecting flight to Brussels – tight I know.

During our flight we were told that we would be arriving in gate 49 and our connecting flight was in Gate 50. This was possible. On landing our gate was changed to Gate 15. Stressing out about our connecting flight we rushed to our gate with 20 minutes to spare. This is when it all went sour. Air Canada was refusing to let us, and 12 other passengers from Vancouver, on the flight because they said our check in luggage would not make it. There were 2 passengers who had only carry on which refused as well since the system would not let them check onto the flight. 3 Managers at the desk had no idea how to allow this and there excuse was that Air Canada was experiencing a labour distribution. So much for the “business as usual”. The agent pretty much told us to grab our luggage at the baggage claim and then rebook ourselves for our trip.

At the baggage claim, Air Canada could not find my luggage. Stressing out, we headed to at least try to book ourselves back to Europe.

The ticket agents were swamped. From what I could tell, many flights went without their passengers. Looked like anyone that was transferring to Europe from Montreal were out of luck. For me the most frustrating part was that we had eurorail tickets from Berlin to Prague that now were no longer valid. The Manager at the rebooking counter didn’t care. Her response was that we were being booked to Berlin the next day and the rest we were on our own. We asked if they could get us to Prague at least, but she would not do it. After she left someone else came to our aid and she was able to book us to Prague for Saturday arrival. I can’t remember her name, but she was able. She couldn’t give us our new boarding passes, but gave us our booking number and told us to checkin online.

Air Canada booked us at a hotel for the night, and when we arrived there in tried to check in online, but failed. As you can imagine, stress level continue.

This morning there is hope. We got checked in and are booked to Prague. Additionally my luggage is here too and we will be able to get that checked.

What I am disappointed with Air Canada. This is an airline I’ve always had no problem with. I’ve always have been treated fairly and with dignity. This did not happen yesterday. Air Canada failed, and their response was horrible. I have been so close to canceling this trip and going back to Vancouver. What I am out now is a day in Prague, a hotel night in Prague, and 2 Eurorail tickets.

I will be going after Air Canada for this loss.

Buenos Aires Here I Come

Buenos_Aires_ 014 Ok so I’m not going right this second, but Russ and I are about 3/4 booked for our Buenos Aires holiday this coming January. All we are missing at this point are confirmations on our condo.

Yeah, I do have family down there, but this time around, Russ is taking Spanish courses that will require us to be in the heart of the downtown of Buenos Aires and alas my family doesn’t live in the downtown core. I think this will give us a great indication on how condos are there since we are looking at the possibility of buying our own piece of Argentine condo market before the prices go sky high.

Since Russ’ classes will be for 2 weeks, we plan on staying an extra week after that to spend with my family and explore other areas. Hopefully we plan on taking the ferry across the bay and going into Uruguay for a day or two.

I’m getting excited about heading down there again and enjoying some more of my heritage and exploring new areas of the city I didn’t get a chance to on our last trip a couple of years ago.