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.
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:
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.
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
- Chris: 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?
New photos in the photo gallery, including some from my recent trip to New York and Philadelphia, and May Week in Cambridge.
New photos in the gallery, including Jenny and Anthony’s wedding, the Oxford-Cambridge boat race and my travels to Belgium and Prague.