Gaining – Both Weight & Elevation

Day 2 – July 24th, 2020

It was a fresh morning with some light sprinklings of rain as we left our Airbnb room and headed off to find breakfast.

We decided to take up our old habit of sharing one order of food, not even for the sake of prices but more so we can eat more flavours per day 🙈
Stopping one place, eating, moving on to the next and so on 😉👌🏻

‘Toast Culture’ had many good reviews and an appealing Instagram page so we were looking forward to it.
Though the service was good and the food fine, it wasn’t that burst of flavour we’d hoped for.
Having to generously salt and pepper the food and paying $17.00 for the one dish that was mainly a bowl of potatoes.
It was fine and we FELT good after eating the fresher style of meal apposed to some fried platter but it just didn’t impress us as hoped I suppose.

Since we weren’t really filled from that experience, I looked up cafes/bakeries nearby… the desire for a ‘coffee like’ drink ( since hot coffee lost its appeal over a month ago #pregnantproblems) was strong, I think due to the slightly chilly morning.

‘Chocorrant’ was found a moment away and we readily ordered their lemon meringue and crème brûlée croissants and a hazelnut coffee.

The croissants were delicious 🙌🏻🤤

Just like croissants we’d have eaten in Europe but with the added enjoyment of flavourful fillings, of two of our favourite things.
They made up for the breakfast bowl 😉

We could then begin our 4.5 hr drive to Jasper.
I succumbed to sleeping the first 2 hours away, pretty quickly.
Mike listened to another ‘Father Gilbert’ and said he actually didn’t mind it… he’s not usually big on audio books/radio dramas but having nothing to do but drive or talk to a sleeping wife, must have set the right tone 🤪

We paused for a bathroom/refreshment break at Starbucks in Hinton and that’s also when I pulled out ‘the butt pillow’ 😂
I borrowed it from my sister, (not as gross as it could unintentionally sound 🙈) who’d used it during their road trip from The States to Canada back when they moved.
It’s a gel type pillow that is meant to raise the sitting position for short people, so that the back of the user actually sits in the right spot on the vehicle seats.
It definitely helps 👌🏻

Compressions socks were also fought back on… not the easiest thing at any point in life but for sure not with a baby belly, in a vehicle, when the small person is up in your ribs. Mike may have been roped into sock putting on/removing during future wears 😜

Mountains finally began edging nearer but we didn’t see a single animal besides some fenced in Bison way back at the beginning of Alberta 😜

Personal size fruit cups that mumsie had sent with us were eaten…

I only had my little gold spoons from home to bring with and those, along with my silk pillowcase, made for a rather posh looking road trip moment I thought 😉😋

We detoured a couple minutes off our main route, stopping at Annette Lake, as I’d read it was a good one to do a little walking at if one desired and that was an accurate description.

With beautiful blue and turquoise waters, sunshine’s and mountains in the foreground, it made for a lovely ‘first stop’ and we wondered down the paved path alongside it for a little stretch.

 

We got to our hotel in Jasper not long after, ‘HI Jasper’.

A newly built hostel style complex and it was done so very nicely.
Clean simple lines, lots of windows, a nice dining/shared kitchen area if you needed and our room, though a little sterile, was clean and spacious 👍🏻

We rested there awhile, stretching our vehicle contorted bodies while searching for where we wanted to try going for supper.

We went to The Raven.

First that is 😜

The prices seemed high, which we pretty much expected but none of the meals really jumped out at us either.
By that point it felt awkward to leave as we’d already been served our waters, so we ordered what sounded like a very tasty Brie and baguette appetizer. Brie, rhubarb date chutney, candied pecans, garlic butter spread baguette and pickled grapes. It was very little but VERY flavour filled and tasty, if not actually filling 😜

We walked around town a little more, trying to decide if we should share another meal elsewhere, get snacks and head to the campsite where we’d be meeting friends for the evening or if we needed more food at all.
Turns out we did need more and it was found at ‘Alba’ 🤓

Mich got his ‘once a trip’ calamari order and I wanted gnocchi but decided to try the duck pasta instead, since I can neither cook nor easily order duck easily at home.

Both meals were very enjoyable 👌🏻
Mikes being crispy little strips with a zesty lemon garlic sauce instead of chewy rings and my pasta having a savoury, brown gravy type sauce.

We did not share meals that time and our stomachs protested due to that fact but not in an all together displeasing way 😜

Before leaving town we found a pop machine to fill up a reusable plastic bag boughten from a dollar store at home.
It worked perfectly as an ice pack, as was my intention but I wasn’t sure it would work as hoped 🤪

Standing, laying and walking don’t cause too much pain but sitting has proven to result in much upper back/rib pain for over the last month, so I’d been concerned about the icing options.

Leaving Jasper we headed to find the Lucerne Campground to meet up with our friends and family. We drove too far due to lack of cell reception for our google maps but by doing so we got to see the picturesque ‘Moose Lake’ ☺️

By the time we got to the campground, it wasn’t long until the sun starting retreating and we spent our evening around the campfire and under stretched out tarps, due to light smatterings of rain.
Suffering from smoke inhalation and enjoying the conversation until heading back to our hostel after midnight.

Which is probably one of the latest nights I’ve had during this whole pregnancy 🙈

Feasts For All Senses

April 19th –

Our Simonstown part of the trip came to an end and we checked out of our Azure Retreat Airbnb house.
We had a splendid sky to bid us adieu and it had been a very enjoyable place to stay.

Having no complaints besides sheddy towels 🤪👌🏻

We ate the rest of our milk tart for breakfast that morning, so as we headed towards our next destination of Strand, we stopped at Kalky’s so Mike could try the fish and chips he wanted and I actually ate my leftover meal from the night before 😏

Both were satisfying 😉

It was around an hour drive to get to our friends place, where once there, we sat with cool drinks in hand, catching up on the last two years highlights 🤪

The men went out to buy some braai (BBQ) meat for dinner and from that time on it was a leisurely coming together of prepared items to enjoy for supper ☺️

One item on the menu was specifically South African and necessary to try… and that was mutton liver 🤪 Continue reading “Feasts For All Senses”

Out And About: A Smorgasbord Of Things

Disclaimer: The following observations are things I noticed during my time living in Holland.
They are in no way about certain people and the opinions stated are just that, my opinion.
I don’t mean to portray anything as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ difference, simply ‘different’ then what I was used to.
😊😉🇨🇦•🇳🇱


As time goes by, I plan on sharing some of the things I learnt/noticed/experienced during my time living and traveling in Europe.

This is the fourth such post and I apologize in advance if I repeat some things, when moving around the different subjects.



Out and About: A Smorgasbord Of Things



After we leave the **cozy** Dutch home, we exit onto a small car port, generally occupied by… a small car 😉

(It became an exciting thing when we would spot an actual, real, big, truck on the roads😋)

Whether you walk or take the car (or you’re Dutch and take the bike), a grocery store is usually no further away then 5 minutes and the journey will be taken mostly on a cobblestone street.

How a rock, cut a certain way and laid in the ground can add so much charm? I don’t know, but it does😁

(Someday in the far future, Michiel and I plan on incorporating some cobblestone into our landscape so there’s a hint of Holland for him, in that very eye pleasing way 😉)

To the grocery store.
Those weren’t as hard to adjust to as you’d think.
From woman, that was usually the question I’d get, ‘Oh is it very hard to find groceries there?😬’.
The answer? Nope, for the most part it was pretty easy to find the things I usually looked for, once I figured out what was what, due to different packaging and looking for things much larger than they have available 🙈

Sour cream came in little, almost half cup sized containers and salted butter isn’t a very popular thing, so Mike had to look for it with me. Sour dill pickles were never found, after about three jars and some other failed attempts at locating any, I gave up.

The jar that had stated ‘extra sour’ was full of bologna (not literally) and they were still a ‘sweet’ pickle.

‘Paprika’ is probably the most popular chip flavour (it’s a flavouring found on many other things as well) as the other options are generally plain or cheese… I still don’t understand how Holland doesn’t have ‘Old Dutch’ potato chips, what could be technically more wrong? 😜

I did search long and hard for plain puffed wheat cereal (never found it) and corn syrup was no where to be seen and its substitutes weren’t as thick and also on the healthy side, so super expensive 🙈

Holland has one thing we never found anywhere else though… cold, carbonated , Lipton Iced Tea… HOW I MISS YOU 💔

Baking powder and vanilla come in small, paper packages of a couple of tablespoons worth and it took a special request to the vegetable man to get a spaghetti squash 😉

Leaving the store you’ll pass by the flowers but unlike here in Sask. where you avert your eyes and say, ‘No, I just bought $89 of groceries and a Starbucks to get me through it, I don’t need a $45 bouquet  flowers’, you’d probably say something more like, ‘Hmm, three bunches (normal to large sized) for €10?  ($15) Why not?!’.

(Though rarely would you catch me saying either of those sentences because I’m not a big flower person 😂🙈 This bouquet Mom and I made there one spring is the exception though 💕)

Going out of the store, possibly with flowers and groceries in hand, there is a good chance you’ll smell someone smoking, as it’s allowed to do everywhere there.

In Sask. smoking in public places/near entries etc. is not allowed and hasn’t been for quite a few years, so going from that, to a place where it’s quite popular, you do notice it a fair bit.

More so in Amsterdam then the smaller towns and villages.

But back to town/food stuff and less about the air pollution 😏

Certain days mean certain food trucks are around, depending where you are.
Our favourites were the loompia truck, fried spring roll like things which sound super delicious at this moment😬
The kibbling, which was fried fish with a special tartar like sauce and of course, the occasional cheese truck 😉👌🏻

And though it’s cold out and what I’d consider unpleasant to sit out in, many a restaurant/cafe has outdoor seating with some blankets (or not even) and people will be sitting outside, coats and scarfs on, being *cozy, sipping their warm drinks.

I never did that and I hope I never have to… they also have seats inside, for a reason 😜

They do have many restaurants there, though eating out isn’t nearly as popular as it is in Canada or the USA.

The variety in Europe beats both though, in the sense that you can easily find a Greek or Italian restaurant, owned and run by a true, Greek or Italian and the taste proves as much.

The Chinese restaurants proved to be a great disappointment to me though, having variety of dishes but all generally the same flavour, which wasn’t much flavour at all 🙈

The amazing Greek restaurants made up for that though 😉👌🏻

A Dutch’ snack bar’ is somewhere the younger crowd could be found grabbing a quick bite to eat.

Where fried foods and ice creams are made fast and cheap and it is something they grow up with and love.

My first few trips to a snack bar were a little sketchy and hunger inducing until I adjusted to the usually, slightly run down, cold atmosphere and found ‘snacks’ I liked, opposed to Mikes choices 😏

( They also have these scary looking, self-serve counters😜)

There are fewer, large chains and Starbucks are found few and far between.

If you’re going somewhere early in the morning and want to grab breakfast and a coffee to go… it ain’t happening.

That isn’t a thing that is done and it was a little hard for me to get used to, since I don’t like morning tasks and would usually opt for coffee on the road before thinking to wake up earlier to enjoy my cup of coffee at my house.

While I lived there, ONE drive through coffee place opened.

ONE.

If you are tempted to go into a ‘coffee shop’ to warm up and you’re in Amsterdam, proceed with caution 😏

A ‘coffee shop’ is a place to go smoke/buy drugs and or space cake and ‘plants’.
If you’re looking for the liquid, caffeinated, brown kind of coffee, you’ll need to find a cafe with a name, not a ‘coffee shop’ 😋

**Cozy.
One of THE most used words of a Dutch person😏
Actually they say ‘Gezellig’ and when translated the closest word is cozy.
Everything, is cozy.
Oh your house has a fireplace? How cozy! (that example I do understand).
Oh your house is small? So cozy!
It’s 4 in the evening so let’s turn off the lights, light candles and make it cozy.
It’s cold out so let’s drink coffee and be cozy.
You joining us would be cozy.

And on, and on 😉

You could say I really, don’t much like the word cozy anymore after having almost everything turned cozy for over a year 😉
If that’s their thing, great… but it’s just not something this Canadian could adjust to 😋

Greetings And Goodbyes

Monday April 3rd –

After a non eventful/non sleep inducing flight, we’d made it back to Amsterdam and then quickly boarded the train to Velp.

During our train switch, a Starbucks was stopped at as a strong need for caffeine was kicking in hard and then a kebab ordered to eat on the way.

We rolled our suitcases to the grandparents house and then walked to their new apartment to say hello and wait for Inge to drop off a car for us.

More coffee was consumed and also apple cake, while catching up a little on the different happenings between sips and bites.

It was past noon by the time we left with the car and drove back to Doesburg, where I almost immediately crawled into bed and remained there as long as possible, drifting in and out of travel weary sleep.

Once I did awake, the sun was shining brightly, so Mike and I sat outside to enjoy it, not having got enough in Africa I guess 😋
John and Inge got back from work not long after and we visited outside until the sun sank below the hedge and the cool of evening swept in. Continue reading “Greetings And Goodbyes”

Journeying To And Through Johannesburg

Monday March 27th –


The view from the surf lodge was taken in one last time that morning before we drove off, looking for breakfast in the town of Jeffrey’s Bay.

During the drive there, my first flamingos were spotted 😁

They’re actually super weird… which I pretty much knew, but seeing their spindly long legs work in real life brought it more into perspective😋

‘InFood – Coffee Society’ was where we sat down for a drink and bite to eat and though it was one of the cooler ‘looking’ dishes and drink serving, it was probably the one of the least tasty 😬

It was a nice sunny spot though and we enjoyed the weather from our table beside the window.
I was also able to get a blog posted so it worked out well.

The town was home to one of the biggest surfing competitions in South Africa, hosted by Billabong.
Thus, there was a large Billabong factory outlet that we took our time looking through.

Then our drive to port Elizabeth began. Continue reading “Journeying To And Through Johannesburg”

Knysna – Heart Of The Garden Route

Thursday March 23rd –



(Knysna – pronounced with a silent K)

Morning began with breakfast at our hotel.
A large spread was waiting for us in the breakfast room and our hostess brought over our coffee.

The weather wasn’t as hot as our previous days and it wasn’t a bad thing 😋

We checked out by 11:00 am and began driving to our next spot, still in Knysna, just a little further out of town.

I wasn’t feeling so good, my allergy/cold becoming suddenly worse, rather than better, so we went to see if we could check in to our next hotel early.
We drove up to the large, deserted looking building and Mike knocked on the door.
No one came out and since official check in wasn’t until 2:00 pm. we decided to return then.

‘The Heads’ weren’t too far away, the area where the sea water comes from into Knysna’s lagoons.
We walked around, collecting some new types of shells while being sprinkled with a light misting of rain.

Something everywhere needed badly at the moment. Continue reading “Knysna – Heart Of The Garden Route”

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