Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arrival in Strasbourg!

We finally made it into Strasbourg about 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon. My first impressions of the city and its surroundings were positive but blurry, mostly from sleep deprivation, but also from watching the taxi meter click by. After our 1 - 2 hours of sleep on the plane the night before, we weren't interested in taking buses and trams to get into the city, so we took the easy way out and grabbed a cab. Forty Euros later the four of us and our 12 bags were dropped off at our hotel, a little shell-shocked at the price but relieved to be somewhere with beds again.

Last night we forced ourselves to stay up until 9 p.m. so we could get used to the new time zone as quickly as possible. We walked around our neighbourhood and bought some groceries to bring back to the hotel. We bought the obligatory baguette along with cheese and wine and had ourselves a nice picnic feast before turning in. Both Mark and I woke up about 4 a.m., but our fears about not being able to get back to sleep turned into amazement when we woke up again at 10:30 a.m. This is not something I'm likely to see again (Mark sleeping in so late), so I had to note it for the record!

Today we went to the main square downtown with the intention of starting to look for an apartment or house, but our timing was thrown off by our sleeping in. We did manage to buy two cell phones and get a list of real estate agents from the Office de Tourisme, but that was as far as we got. Meghan was drooping badly and it was getting late in the afternoon, so we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow Mark and I may head out by ourselves to look at places to stay; now that we have to cell phones we feel a little more comfortable leaving the kids at the hotel while we go out.

I'm feeling very excited and optimistic about staying in Strasbourg, despite my lack of language abilities. I've decided that I need to go to a language school sooner than I initially planned, because my lack of French is driving me crazy. The rest of the family is coping quite well, and I'm feeling lost 75% of the time... not a good feeling for me when I'm so used to being on top of things and in control. One of the reasons we took this trip was to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and I managed to do that quite easily as far as my French is concerned!

What little we have seen of the city so far is beautiful, with many historic buildings and mature trees. Our priorities for tomorrow are warring with each other: we really need to find a house or apartment, but the tram is free for one more day, so we would like to ride it as much as possible. We may just have to combine business with pleasure and ride the tram while on the lookout for a place to stay.

I'll sign off for now - it's getting late and I don't want to mess with my sleep cycle any more than traveling eight time zones forward already has!

email us at christinateskey @ yahoo.ca

see our photos online at www.flickr.com/photos/christina-t

Au revoir!


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Visit in Rocky Mountain House

For the past few weeks the kids and I have been staying at my mother's house. The kids went to Science Camp the first week, and now they're in swimming lessons this week.

It has been an adventure (or should I say, a zoo) staying at mom's this time because we have our two cats with us. But it doesn't stop there: my mom has a cat, and we're also looking after my sister's cat. (Are you counting? Does that make four cats?) My sister has graciously agreed to look after our two cats until we come back from France next summer, but since her cat is quite territorial, we felt it was best that they all meet on neutral ground (i.e., my mom's house). To add to all this confusion, my mom has been looking after Tess, a Boston Terrier puppy, on and off for the past few weeks. And then there's Neely, my niece's dog (also a Boston Terrier), who also comes to visit once in a while...

Considering the mix of people and animals, we're all getting along quite nicely!