A note on the state of the universe:
1 Europe 2009
Well it looks like we will be travelling to Europe again this summer. Same crew as before (apparently Carmen is a glutton and Zak hasn’t yet decided to cut the cord). The itinerary is as follows:
A note to other Canadians (and North Americans) courtesy of The Man in Seat Sixty One. There can be some severe differences between the ticket prices you can get on the French train site (www.voyages-sncf.com) and the Canadian equivalent. For 4 tickets it was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1200. That was more than enough to bump me up to first class with a shower and still be ahead of the game. Just remember not to choose “Canada” as your location. If you choose Great Britain you will be redirected to www.tgv-europe.com/en. That will allow you to read the booking in english. Then you can just go ahead and book in the french site and pick up you tickets at the station.
It is possible to have you tickets booked to pick up in France and remain in the english site, but I can’t duplicate the procedure every time. Sometimes it just kicks me back to the French site.
As another side note, Mark Smith (the Man in Seat 61) is awesomely helpful and his site is even more so. Check it out! A funny story: I had managed to break the internet… It seems by booking and not carrying through with paying for my tickets so many times trying to figure the system out and get the seats I wanted I managed to overload the sncf booking system. I fixed so I could not book the tickets from any of the sites. I was unsure if It was me, Canada or the site. After a week or two I emailed Mark for advice and he checked it out. They must have straightened it out because it worked for him and I was able to complete the booking, but for a while there I’m a afraid I inadvertently fixed it so you couldn’t book any foreign trains…
So Barcelona. The upside of all this is, we supposedly arrive in Barcelona rested, showered, fed and raring to go (first class includes dinner and breakfast as well as two 2-person cabins). I’ve read conflicting reviews about whether sleeping is actually possible on the trains so we’ll see. Luckily we’ll be exhausted from the flight so it should work out.
So far we figure Sunday and Monday in Barcelona and leave Tuesday a.m. for Figueres. The rest of the day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we explore Costa Brava out of Figueres. Then Thursday evening we head off to Narbonne (in France). This is because I can’t make the schedule work to get us to Montauban early enough on Friday if we leave from Figueres. Friday we get up, hop a train to Toulouse, and then transfer to Montaubon where we head on down to the boat base.
This year we’ve booked an Asteria for the trip and it is again 11 days.
Disembarking in Le Mas d’Agenais, we taxi to Marmande and hop a train to Bordeaux for two nights. Then it’s back on a train for a couple of days in Paris and Versaille (at last) before we come home.
Well L and I have been looking a property for years now and hemming and hawing about investing. When C started looking at condos we tagged along and Greisbach sort of struck a chord with us. So… we’ve decide to buy a townhome in the Terraces of Griesbach. At this point we fully intend to keep the St Albert house and are not 100% sure we will move into Greisbach when its completed (a year from now).
But what we have are options — which is good — and what I feel is a solid investment. Zak is up in the air about his future after High School, so this gives him some options too. Other than that, it is as scary as shit, but at least we’ve regained forward momentum.
What with Zak working and the weather sucking, we’ve done no outside climbing this year and the prospects look dim. Hopefully I will have money left after Europe to go back to Squamish but it’s looking pretty iffy. On a positive note, the gym is going well. I’m flashing 5.10+’s and working 5.11s. Now if I could just get on some rock… Any new partners out there?
Well thats all for now…