Saturday, September 26, 2009

trop fromage et mal a gorge.

i am in paris. i now officially speak franglaise. i happen to be very good at it.

while it has definitely taken me a day or two to not feel like a lost little puppy in this big bad city (i have a cold, it doesn't help things), i am now here and loving it. paris is soooo beautiful, but also totally rough around the edges, which allows it to be both the silly fantasy paris of my dreams and a raw and complex city. people who say paris is an amusement park have no soul.

things i have done of note:
-bartered at the pharmacie for cough medecine
-bought an overpriced sim card
-eaten cheese
-climbed the eiffel tower
-picnicked in the jardin de luxembourg and at the pantheon
-climbed to le sacre coeur to watch the sunset and paris light up at night (twice)
-eaten a life changing falafel (fanny i happened upon l'as du all on my own then realized it was one of your tips. thanks!) in the "jewish quarter"
-found out the catacombes were closed for renovations (?) after circling the intersection for half an hour
-eaten more cheese
-les puces de st. ouen - 5 hours of flea market heaven
-watched adorable french enfants play in the park by my hostel
-caught up with old friends
-made new friends (i know. cheesy but true)
-slept with a kitchen knife under my pillow and one eye open. just in case.
-bravely chose to stay in my fairly shitty hostel room with a cement hole in the wall they call a washroom because i am no pussy.

and yet, there is still so much to do.

i am convinced that the french know something we don't about life. and i'm determined to figure it out before i leave. perhaps the cheese + wine + chanel + baguette + cigarettes + amour + histoire + beaute = a happy life. for the sake of research i'll play with those variables and let you know what i come up with.

bon soiree,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

tartans and tea: select photos from my trip so far

a mackintosh street lamp in glasgow. mackintosh everywhere.

fish and chips.

on the way up to arthur's seat for a panoramic view of edinburgh.

me in loch ness. no monster to be found.

st. paul's cathedral from across the river at the tate modern.

boroughs market - tomatoes!

boroughs market - pig!

looking morbid in a cemetary.

the ceiling in bath abbey. very magestic.

sunny afternoon in a graveyard in bath.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bath and Dreary London.

just got back from a two day excursion to bath. picturesque little town that is. arrived in the early afternoon and decided to have an orientation picninc break before setting off to explore. thank you marks and spencer for the 99p taster packs of cheddar and chorizo and sally lunn's for the sally lunn bun (a local specialty, that's basically a fluffy brioche-y thing). i tried to pace myself with all the sights but it turns out that bath is quite small and i managed to fit in a gallery, the fashion museum (snuck in for free), the circus roundabout and victoria park all in the afternoon. random wandering completed the day before a gruelling climb up a giant hill to get to my secluded mansion hostel. funny place. lots of old ladies. sat on a big leather couch and watched a miss marple mystery with some grannies.

the next day i woke up early and sat in a field near the hostel and ate jaffa cakes while taking in some views. jaffa cakes are great. the field smelt kind of farm-y and it wasn't until lazing in the grass for a while that i realized that the field was also a grazing ground for cows. there was cow shit everywhere. not on me luckily. but it made me think of this children's book i used to love about a girl who keeps asking her mom to buy her new and better markers (culminating in the "super indellible never come off till your dead or maybe even later" colouring markers), so that she could draw apples that looked realer than apples and oranges that looked realer than oranges and cow plops that looked realer than cow plops. cow poo really is very ploppy. but i digress...i continued on my way down a tree covered path to an old graveyard, which was really cool. mushy, peaty grass, overturned tombstones and an old abandoned abbey. it was overcast that morning so the whole thing had a really romantic, eerie quality to it.

headed back in to town, ate a pasty for breakfast (been eating too many of those lately) and looked at this interesting photo exhibit taking place in the main square of town called "the earth from the air". It's made up of all these amazing aerial shots of different regions of the world that are suffering from various ecological issues, trying to raise awareness about sustainability and how we're desecrating the earth's natural resources and the like. it's a touring exhibition and the website is if you want to check it out. saw bath abbey, pretty majestic (and free, which was nice change of pace) and the roman baths (pretty ho-hum and overpriced). drank some of the healing thermal spa water. it tasted like a dirty hot tub. climbed another ferocious hill then found another, much sunnier, cemetary to explore and nap in. and then off to catch the bus home.

hm. two days in a small town and that's my most thorough post yet.

back in london now. it's raining. spending the day trying to book flights and hostels for paris and berlin. any thoughts on hostels with a curfew. all the good ones seem to have them and i don't like it. thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

now (drum roll please) i am going to post photos! in a bit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To market to market...

Markets in London are awesome. Yesterday I checked out the Boroughs market which is a great food/farmers market in south east London. Stunning. Whole pig roasts, crazy heirloom vegetables, loads of samples, tasted a smoked changing. Once I figure out how to upload pictures off my camera (I've only had it for, like, 5 years...) I can show you the crazy cow heart tomatoes and pig's head I saw. Loved it.

Today I headed to Portobello Market in Notting Hill, which for some reason I thought I had seen the last time I was in London ages ago, but clearly I was confusing it with Camden, cause it is fantastic and I have never seen a market as splendid in my life. After eating some sub-par bangers and mash I perused the vintage stalls which, gasp, have clothing that actually dates back further than the 70's (a rarity in Canadian vintage shops) and I am determined to find a perfect tweed hunting blazer as my official London souvenir before trips end. Along with general knick-knackery (vintage cameras, printing press pieces, watches, coins, western corral gear...) there are farmer's stalls with excellent wares, like the biggest artichokes I've ever seen and green cauliflowers that look like the hermitage in Russia...

Excellent segue actually, as it appears my dream of going to Russia on this trip just may be fulfilled. My lovely friend Nadja is heading to Moscow mid-October and, if I can get myself in order visa-wise, I will be joining her there. Amazing. So excited. Will have to buy a warmer jacket.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be continuing my market tour of London. Heading to Spitafields and Brick Lane with Xandra for an East Enders perspective. I've been told to expect good curries and chaos. Looking forward to it. Then on to Bath for an overnight on Sunday, where, as I mentioned in my last post, I will try to act posh, wear something neo-classical and fall in love with Mr. Knightly. Or something. (Don't worry Justin, he's fictional.)

Signing off...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Hello friends!

So I am now happily settled in London...not much to report except that, um, it's awesome. I forgot how exciting a city this is. I am mostly floored by it's pace, it's fashion and how much my feet hurt at the end of the day. So far I feel like I've mostly been walking through neigboourhoods and sites at a break neck pace, seeing things, but forgetting that it's ok to stop every once and a while and enjoy. That'll be on the agenda for tomorrow. Since the weather has been fantastic (a welcome change from Scotland) I hope to spend tomorrow lounging in a lovely park with a book and perhaps a quick jaunt over to Notting Hill or Chelsea to check out what I hear are excellent charity thrift shops. Rich people get rid of the choicest items.

I've been here for just over 2 days now and I've managed to see Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster, the London Eye, Trafalger Square and other such monuments. Seen them before. They're still pretty cool. Excited for the Tate Britain/Modern, continuing to explore SoHo, Saatchi and more neighbourhoods. Plus, a quick trip to Bath, Bournemouth and maybe a couple other sea side towns. Drink tea, wear something floral and attempt to be posh. Though I don't know how convincing I'll be at that, on Bond St. today they could smell my poverty :)

I'll be here for another week and a half most likely, so if anyone has any must see destinations for me to hit up, let me know. I'm planning to just continue exploring markets, and neighbourhoods, window shopping, galleries, people/fashion watching and the like. Special moments are much desired. Keep me posted.

If anyone can figure out how to comment on my posts/actually reads my posts let me know how you're doing.

xx, Sammi

p.s. Scotland was nice too. Funny hostel. Interesting characters. Lots of rain and fried food.

p.p.s. There's no garden in Covent Garden. Just tourists.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gerrrls, gerrrrls, for i am in my prrrrrime.


lovelier than glasgow. beautiful in fact. fewer scots. friendlier hostel. highland tour tomorrow. 30 seconds left on internet accees....aaaaah