Still Montreal…

Enjoying myself in Canada – but it's a struggle not to buy loads of stuff, considering the low prices everywhere… *g*

Thanks for your email, Missy – looking forward to Sunday a lot, can't wait to meet you!
And Jack (if you have the time to read this, you poor offline sod LOL), miss you too, glad to hear you're still hanging in there…

My friend Deb probably had her baby last night – hope everything went well, sending lots of good thoughts in your direction, sweetie!

Those I haven't mentioned now – thinking of you anyway, in between sightseeing and browsing stores… And Mami – I talked French with one of my room mates! Isn't that cool?

Take care!

Montreal, Canada

After a hot and pleasant stay in Provincetown I arrived in Montreal with the over night bus – a veery long drive with by far not enough sleep…
Therefore I haven't done much today, specially since the weather was really nasty.

The best definitely was my arrival – I walked up to the hostel when everyone was standing outside shivering because there had been a fire alarm. Not less than FOUR fire engines came – but luckily it had only been a water flood and no serious damage had been done.

The big thing today was naturally 9/11, even if in Canada most people went about business as usual, it was still ever present… Also there were sharp controls at the borders, a reminder every time.

I don't want to get gloomy, so let's close this with a big hug to all my family and friends – I think of you, even if I don't find the time to answer your emails…

And Sibylle – there's no fee on travellers cheques, so you don't have to worry about that. It's like cash over here. *hugs*

Trip update

Thought that it was high time that I fill you in on the latest developments in my travel plans…

There are not even two weeks left until my plane leaves for Boston and just this morning I put together an itinerary for the first three weeks. After that I'll meet up with Sibylle in NYC and we'll travel on Southwards together…

– Sept 4-8: Boston. The hostel is already reserved and I'm looking incredibly forward to seeing that supposedly so beautiful city!

– Sept 8-11: Provincetown, Cape Cod. Some nature is absolutely essential – even if it means having to buy an extra bus ticket because Greyhound doesn't go there…

– Sept 11-14: Montréal. Already wanted to go there the last time, now it finally works out! Looks as if I'll spend 9/11 on the bus – suits me just fine, truth be told!

– Sept 15-18: Pittsburgh, PA. Visiting Rhonda and Missy – that's even worth the 19 hours bus ride! 😉

– Sept 18-21: Washington, DC. An absolute must naturally – and if I get the chance to meet up with Mike and maybe Nik (who I haven't asked yet… *g*) I might just stay longer and skip the next thing on the list:

– Sept 21-23: Philadelphia. If it works out it's cool – if not I'll live… And it annoys me to no end that the hostel there does not accept credit cards – I don't want to send them a traveller's cheque by mail!

– Sept 23-Oct 1: New York City. Sibylle arrives on Sept 24 and we'll take a week to see the sights and enjoy the life of the 'Big Apple'…

After that we'll probably head to Cary, NC to visit Sibylle's former host family, then down South to see Deb (yay!) before heading to Florida to catch some sun before going back on Oct 14…
Those six weeks will be over way too fast, I already see that coming! *sniff*

But it's going to be a whole lot of fun and I can't wait! There's a ton of stuff I should do – 13 days left and counting… lol

Because I feel like it!

Nothing new has happened but I already began to write this last night when my laptop once more crashed on me – and I refuse to let this spoil my fun!
Because it *is* fun to imagine where I'll go, who I'll meet – so here's my itinerary, not necessarily set in stone and in almost random order:

– Boston: You already know that one from my earlier entry. Besides, I'd like to see something of the seaside North of the city – I'm all about the sea! (Switzerland doesn't have any – one of the few things I really miss here.)

– Montreal: Didn't go to Quebec last time in Canada and I've heard good things about that city. Also my mom will probably be ecstatic that I'll have opportunity to practice my French. Do you think they speak English as well up there? *g*

– Toronto: Maybe. Because I didn't see a lot of the city last time and because Jules lives there and could show me around.
If I have too much time on my hands (as if!) I might go deeper into Ontario and visit Martha and Andy because staying with them was wonderful!

– New York: Duh, as if I could visit the East Coast without going to the Big Apple! Christine lives somewhere around there – perhaps she could show me something of the nightlife. (Note: Biggest drawback of travelling alone as a woman is not being able to go out at night – except of course if one is feeling suicidal… *g*)

– Washington DC: Another tourist must-see. In my case specially the Smithsonian! Plus, it'd be cool to see Nik, who works there – *if* he has the time…

– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: To see Rhonda and Missy – isn't that reason enough? 😉

– Wherever Mike will live then: If he hasn't gone back to Africa by then I'd love to make good on the promise I made in Namibia and go see him!

– Las Vegas: Yes, I'm aware that it's not exactly on the East Coast – but it's just two days by bus and I had a lot of fun there last time! I could go see Jack and perhaps explore a bit more of the desert. And this time I'd even be old enough to go everywhere! *g*

– Gainesville, FL: Check out the university there and give them my application for an exchange semester. Doing that in person might help my chances.

– a beach somewhere in Florida: It'd be really cool to just chill for some days, enjoy the sea and the sun…

– Everglades: I've always wanted to see them – and seeing that this trip will be heavy on the cities it'll be good to get out for a while.

– Miami: Well, my plane leaves from there, so I'll probably stay a couple of days. Perhaps I'll meet up with Sibylle and whoever she'll be travelling with – we leave almost at the same time for Switzerland, so that'd be really cool! (Nightlife, nightlife… *g*)

That's what's in my head so far – and I haven't even begun to search my guide book for other cool places yet! Oh my, six weeks are just not long enough…
But it's so wonderful to imagine everything – draws out the pleasure of travelling for months!

America, August – December 1999

My four months in Canada and the US were just about the best time of my life so far – being on the road on my own really helped grow and become more comfortable with myself. Even after almost three years it's all still very vivid in my mind – which is why I still talk about it a lot… *g*

I won't go into too many details here – that would take hours… Just let me say that I started out in Vancouver and crossed Canada over to Niagara Falls. Then I went over Chicago and crossed the Midwest (Kansas City, MO, to be exact), stopped in Flagstaff to see the Grand Canyon and in Las Vegas, then went to California and traveled up from San Diego until Yosemite.

I spent a lot of the time staying with relatives of my mother that I didn't know and with friends that I also didn't know very well and had a lot of good experiences – also when I was completely on my own. I'm still in touch with a couple of people I met in hostels – mostly with Denise from New Zealand. She and her boyfriend let me ride with them from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and then up to Yosemite – and I definitely hope to visit them and their little daughter one day!

But since they say 'A picture says more than a thousand words' – here's a small selection of the 15 or more rolls of film I took in those four months:

Banff – the Rockies felt a bit like Switzerland, truth be told… So it was just perfect for me, since I was still getting used to traveling.

Invermere, on Lake Windermere – stayed with relatives there. This is one of my fave pics of myself – I spent a lot of time like that, just relaxing somewhere beautiful…

Well, this is obviously Niagara Falls – I really enjoyed the ride on the 'Maid of the Mist' and the falls just took my breath away! I think I took about two rolls of film there…

“Love and marriage…” *g* Well, I definitely enjoyed Chicago – stayed with a friend who'd done an exchange year in Switzerland for two weeks. Her family was really nice, took me in and treated me incredibly well!

That was one of the highlights – Jane had arranged a 'date' for me to go to the Homecoming Dance… Jason was doing me a favor, but he still did it right, opened car doors, paid dinner and insisted on dancing with me a couple of times (instead of with his friends) – a real gentleman!
I was all the more impressed because the day I'd spent at the high school had left me prejudiced about American school boys (think 'American Pie' and you have a picture about my day there)… *g*
The dress I bought in Canada, btw – and spent only 60 Canadian dollars, as opposed to the 200 American bucks or so the other girls all seemed to have spent… LOL

Jane and her the boyfriend Eric with me at the Brookville zoo – one of the few times I actually spent time with Jane, who was incredibly busy with school and all…

Around Halloween (obviously… *g*) I spent a couple of weeks in Liberty, MO, with a college professor and his wife – they really went through a lot of trouble to make me feel at home and keep me entertained! The excursion to the pumpkin patch was just one of many, many things we did when Ken and/or Phyllis had time…

The visit at a local open air museum (where they had rebuilt historic buildings into a village) was another thing we did. I really really loved my stay with Ken and Phyllis – despite the fact that there was not a lot for me to do on my own in Liberty I had an absolutely wonderful time there! For example I sat in on a couple of Ken's English Lit classes and discussed 'Utopia' (after reading it as a kind of voluntary homework – how did that happen? LOL).

Flagstaff was not just great because I got to see the Grand Canyon – it was also definitely the 'funnest' hostel, because through group activities (trips to the Grand Canyon and Sedona) I grew close to several great people. With the guy on the right (Simon, an Austrian) I then even traveled on to a place I hadn't really planned on going to…

Las Vegas. Aka 'Disney World for grown-ups'. Definitely another highlight! Simon got sick, but I had luckily met David, a Canadian, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly – without spending a buck for gambling! Well, I was still very, very underage then – but we had a lot of fun in the children's section of the Excalibur! I still have the dog David won for me – and I won one as well and gave it to poor poor Simon… LOL

The hostel was Vegas-style as well – it even had a jacuzzi as you can see! The guy on the left is David, the one in the back Simon – the others were from Sweden and I've forgotten their names. LOL

In San Diego I visited my former class mate Claudia (the one in the back with the blonde curls) and we had a great time together, enjoying California – and spending a Saturday night in Tijuana, Mexico… (Claudia, ??, Jessie, ??, Merlin, Jessie's mom, me and Sarah)

The obligatory L.A. pic… Took a tour from the hostel – was not overly impressed by the city, although the posh parts were sure fun… It's just too big for my taste.

I could hardly believe myself – it was Thanksgiving and I was sitting at the sea and watched the crazy folk at Venice Beach…

Pigeon Point. If I'd still been travelling by bus I'd never seen this beautiful place (and the hostel was right beside it – with a jacuzzi on the cliff…) – but thanks to Denise and Ross from New Zealand I had the chance to stay a night there…

In Frisco I stayed with relatives in San Mateo. This is the city I liked best – it has a really great atmosphere and I enjoyed it a lot!

To soak up the incredible nature America has to offer I spent a couple of days in Yosemite – Denise and Ross took me. It was quite cold at night and in the morning – but also breathtakingly beautiful and walked around for hours…

After that I spent some more time in San Fransisco – then it was over and I spent Christmas at home again… It felt strange but also good to be home – but it's definitely made me addicted to that kind of travel… The trip down the East Coast in September (2002) is definitely something I need! *g*