Ok, let’s fire this puppy back up, Barbara

As usual, work put a stop to all other aspects of my life. I have been off for a couple of weeks now and have rebooted my social life. Thank goodness none of my friends seem to care that I drop off the face of the earth for 5 months a year. The social reboot included a trip to Toronto for a volunteer appreciation lunch. I think it is funny that I am considered a good volunteer for a city 450km from my house, but I am, after all, a Canadian so distance means nothing.

I never did post the hats that I made on my trip to eastern Europe in the spring. I couldn’t photograph them there, so I didn’t bother posting them. I started back to work 12 hours after arriving home and …you know the rest (summer time warp).

I actually quit knitting for about 4 months and didn’t know if I was going to ever start again, but my friend Lynda decided to retire (yikes), and so I had to knit her a shawl. I had given shawls to other friends on their retirement, so I couldn’t leave her hanging. It took 2 weeks to knit this shawl and it only used 2 stitches Minature Leaf Pattern, pg 215 and Arches and Columns, pg 196 …hats are a lot more work-efficient.

Lyndas shawl

Lynda’s shawl

Actually 19 front line staff retired altogether. The provincial government changed the retirement rules and we had a mass exodus. It will be interesting to see what comes about next year. It is a bucketload of expertise going out the door. Some are planning on returning part time, but it is a huge shakeup.

Heather came to visit …

I was at the tenant farm yesterday. Heather has been waiting patiently for strawberry-rhubarb pie, and this was the first week that they were available in the garden together. The rhubarb is getting to the end and the strawberries are just beginning. I brought some shortening from home so my little vegan could eat the pie.
She is back together with Edward and even though it was his day off, he decided to come and see her in costume, so I had them both for afternoon tea. Normally at work she is dressed in train overalls. Her dad came racing back afterwards because she had left her nose ring on the table. She had taken it out to be in costume and I guess she had carried it in her hand down to tea and put it beside her teacup. Luckily I hadn’t wiped the table yet.

There and back again…Algonquin park yesterday

IMG_20160516_154642 !!!!!!! ROAD TRIP !!!!!!
Yesterday, we dropped Heather off at the trailhead of the the Highland Hiking Trail in Algonquin Park. She doesn’t start at the village till next week (…long story), so she is hiking this week to kill time, and I suppose because it is one of her favourite things to do. I had the day off and Alan took the day off so we could go together to take her up. Her cousins will pick her up on Saturday on their way through the Park to mums for the long weekend.IMG_20160516_151352Here they are. What Alan is covering up is the part of the sign which says don’t hike alone. Which is one of the reasons I am awake at 4 in the morning, although it is dawn and so time for the other people to soon find her lifeless body on the trail, don’t you know…IMG_20160516_152447It was great to be back, however briefly in the land of Tom Thompson. I spent five feild seasons in Algonquin park when I was Heather’s age, back in my biology days. IMG_20160516_155351It is truly one of my favourite places on earth. No matter where I go, it will always be one of the best. IMG_20160516_165133This church on the way up to the Park has always killed me. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, yet it is so huge. When you google the nearby village of Wilno, Ontario, you find out about its “famous” annual chicken dinner.IMG_20160516_170028This nearby plaque explains the history of the Polish settlers in the area. There was probably a lot of timber money in the past to bankroll the church. They clearcut the whole area and sent it floating down the Madawaska River and on to the Ottawa River and the world at large. I remember seeing the log booms from the Peace Tower of the Parliament buildings as a kid, when they were finishing up the process 50 years ago.IMG_20160516_155804This is the trees now. Still beautiful but not really very old.

Ok, I lied…one more travel post

IMG_20160505_045825Just before my flight was supposed to start boarding, I heard my name over the PA system. When I got to the flight crew, they handed me a new boarding pass for business class. YEAH!
This was my first and maybe only time in business class so when I was greeted with a tray of wine, beer, fresh squeezed orange juice, and Champagne, I chose the Champagne to celebrate, even though I pretty much hate it. The next time I had a Heineken, cause I am much more of a beer gal.IMG_20160505_050009I was also given a flight kit with socks, blindfold, earplugs, lipbalm, toothbrush and paste.IMG_20160504_173429They have WAY better food in business class, served with a ‘tablecloth’ over your tray and real glassware, china and heavy cutlery wrapped in a cloth napkin (so you know you are in a classy joint). This was dessert course of the first meal. When the flight started, the pilot announced that there was someone with a peanut allergy on board, so there would be no peanut service… No problem in business class, they serve your choice of gouda or mixed nuts (the no peanut kind) IMG_20160504_201802Of course, being me, I spent most of my time watching movies on a much bigger screen than I would have had on the other side of the curtain. The chair reclines and changes shape infinitely. I was using those buttons constantly. No chance to get uncomfortable! Oh, and did I mention the massage feature? And the two rounds of hot towels.IMG_20160505_045925At the end of the flight, they gave me this little ceramic house. I had previously been unsuccessful in finding a small object to join the collection I have of little mementoes from my travels. This will do nicely. If I had actually paid for this experience, the difference in price would have probably equalled the amount of money I spent on 6 weeks of hostel accomodation. Would I pay for it? No way. Anybody who knows me knows I am too cheap for that. But it was a perfect ending to a perfect trip and it was by far the shortest 7 hour flight I have ever been on.

Last travel post till the fall…

IMG_20160503_105810Yesterday, I crossed the chain bridge past this guy and entered the Buda side of the river. Six weeks ago. Charles and I had done Pest.IMG_20160503_110852This time, I eschewed the funicular, mainly because the lineup was huge and it cost $10 one way.IMG_20160503_114450I have been trying to walk around a lot anyway to get some exercise every day. I got the lovely surprise of this view of Matthias Church as I rounded the corner.IMG_20160503_123011Then this view of the Parliament buildings in Pest on the other side of the Danube.IMG_20160503_082340I am now at the departure gate waiting for the first leg of my journey home. It has been a great trip but I have to work tomorrow. Yikes.

Sadly, my trip is almost finished

IMG_20160430_170143So I have been doing some power touristing in Vienna. I bought a two day Vienna Pass which gets you the hop on/off bus plus numerous museums. Yesterday I visited:IMG_20160429_104057The MAK museum of decorarive art and did two routes of the hop on/off bus.IMG_20160429_145117I also went to the Votive church, which for some inexplicable reason has weird coloured lights on the alter section.IMG_20160429_161044…and the museum of natural history which, amongst other things, has an extensive meteorite collection.IMG_20160430_121218Today was even fuller, starting with a visit to the art history museum. As well as a fine collection of paintings, they have an exceptional collection of decorative objects, which left me awestruck by the craftmanship.IMG_20160430_130328This was followed by a visit to the Leopold museum. After 5 solid hours of art galleries, I took the hop on bus.IMG_20160430_170328…to the world heritage site. Schonbrunn Palace and gardens. This is a picture of the Belvedere, the picture at the top of the post is the actual palace, as seen from this building.The tour of the actual palace was impressive. So were the grounds. IMG_20160430_164551I was already dead tired at this point so I took the silly tourist train through the gardens.IMG_20160430_185844And if that wasn’t enough, I cued up for half an hour to buy a standing room ticket for the opera. I gave myself permission to leave before the end, fearing I might collapse if I didn’t.

Lovely little Lichtenstein

IMG_20160426_110929I took a short walk in the train station area of Innsbruck before heading out.IMG_20160427_090836We got to Feldkirch, Austria yesterday and we are staying in the youth hostel. It is a building that was used as a leper/plague sanitorium in the late 1300’s.IMG_20160427_102447Today we bought a day ticket on the Lichtenstein bus service. Screenshot_20160427-111402We overshot our stop and ended up going through and into Switzerland accidentally before turning round.IMG_20160427_115133On the way back we stopped in Vaduz, Lichtenstein and walked around a bit. Lichtensten is lovely, full of mountain views, but it is quite built up and super expensive. We didn’t visit the castle you can see on the cliff above the building in the foreground. Charles is a bit castled out and I was happy enough not to bother myself.