Blogging from beneath the Channel

I’m blogging this from beneath the English Channel (“La Manche” to the French) from the comfort of a seat on the Eurostar. It’s so much more civilised than flying: more leg-room, a simple X-ray instead of arduous and slow security checks, and it delivers me straight to Waterloo/Paris-Nord instead of over an hour from the City centre. Highly recommended (although no wifi: this will have to wait to be posted until I get back to Cambridge).

Versailles and Paris were also interesting. Versailles it pretty much all about the Chateau — I didn’t get to go inside unfortunately, but the gardens were mightily impressive. As a town Versailles is OK, although the old town where we were staying is rather quiet once the coach parties leave. Similarly work meant I only got to spend an afternoon in Paris, although that was enough time to go up the Eiffel Tower and stroll down the impressive Champs Elysee. I hadn’t realised you could go inside the Arc de Triumphe, but someone said it’s very good so I shall make that and The Louvre (an impressive building from the outside, I imagine even better inside) a priority next time.

Memories of Canada

Looking through my home directory this evening I came across some notes I made about my experiences in Canada (sadly now over three years ago!). Here’s what I had to say:

Vancouver

A lovely city, very laid back, with “big city” amenities, without all the usual noise, dirt, etc.

Places to stay: The downtown HI is good but lacks atmosphere. Jericho Beach is great if you want to hang-out on the beach for a few days, but it’s a bit of a pain to get into downtown. GVB is clean, central & has a very friendly atmosphere, plus they organise trips to the pub every night! Highly recommended.

Night-life: Good party town (something of the ‘Amsterdam’ of N. America!). The Stone Temple on a Thursday night has hi-balls (shot+mixer) for $1! [Unfortunately I doubt this is still true!]

Stuff todo: For the ultimate ‘Canadian’ experience, you have to go rollerblading in Stanley Park. The views from Canada place are superb & the Lookout tower was surprisingly interesting.

Places to go:

  • Whistler: The town lacks any character what so ever, but views from top of mountain are superb.
  • North Vancouver: There’s a great indoor market at the sea bus terminal. Capilano Suspension Bridge was a little disappointing but worth seeing (go to Lynn Canyon Prov. Park for same sort of experience on a smaller scale & less comercialised). Climbing Grouse Mtn is a lot harder than it first appears — it’s a very steep climb — but rewarding if you are up to it.
  • Seattle: Pretty downtown skyline & generally a nice place, but not a “must see” tourist destination. The Underground History Tour is excellent, as is (so I have heard) the Experience Music project. The HI hostel on Vashon Island is a very cool place to stay, but getting there without a car was a pain.

Australia and New Zealand in 2005

It seems that lots of people I know will be in Australasia for a good part of 2005. So far we have:

  • My sister: Melbourne from 4th Feb
  • Abi: New Zealand (Christchurch?), for about 2 months, from 26th Feb
  • Chris: Australia and New Zealand, 2-3 weeks in April
  • GK: Sydney, from February
  • Simone: Sydney

I hope I’ve got the details of everyone’s trip right — if not, let me know!! Anyone else going to be in that part of the world next year?