Saturday, September 30, 2006

If The Wasen??

If I were in Stuttgart for just one more day this weekend, and if I had the time to go to just one place, and if that place finishes up at 11pm and there's an aftercap somewhere else... well where would that be? Well if you can figure out where these are from then you might see me there ;-)

If I went to a parade would this be what it looked like?

If you consume lots of beers (lots-lots!) then this is what the room end up looking like ;-)

If I wanted to give a clue to the party-house, would this be a good indicator? ;-)

If you've got to go to the beach, it might as well be in the sky!

If the sun came out, and if the beers were cold, and if there was a beach party going on, I wonder if this is what it would look like:

But what if you wanted to take a break and enjoy the sun and company?

Or what if you stayed around for the fireworks?

I wonder what if...


Friday, September 29, 2006

Day Day Going Around

It's been a busy, busy couple of days! I guess it hasn't really been a bad day, but as compared to Wednesday (Toronto for CASE Camp which was great, scoring $20 Sens-Leafs tickets, hitting Toronto hard until 3am, etc.) it certainly could have improved. Well it's about to... I've got opening night tickets to the 67's game: sweet!

I guess a busy day or two certainly helps you appreciate the good days just a little bit more... I can certainly think of some people who had some worst times!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Today I was less than 5 meters away from a deer and didn't even know it. I was treking through the Bruce Trail in the forest with my mp3 player going when suddenly I noticed some movement right in front of me:

This pic was after it had moved a bit into the brush while I got my camera out. There was like 5 of them around when I looked up!

Oktoberfest Lamer

Ok lads, great game! Let's hit the Oktoberfest! Follow me... no, not you Pissarro. Retard.

Walking To Infinity

Last night I went for a walk and got lost in my thoughts... 6 hours later the sun came up and I turned back to go home. I think I walked to the edge of infinity...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Home Sweat Canada

As I'm writing all these posts about how great my last trip to France/Sicily was as well as looking back at all the travels I've been beyond lucky to be able to experience, I came across a pic that just made me remember something I heard once: sometimes you have to travel around the world to appreciate just how lucky we are at home :-) :-)

More Sicily pics tomorrow, I'm off for a jaunt by the bay...


With a fun filled memory and a tear in my eye it was time to check out some of the other Aeolian islands (I did eventually have to return to work after all!). Lipari is the biggest of all the islands, the easiest to access from the other islands and Sicily itself... but it's also the least interesting (from a hiking and isolation standpoint) and most overrun with tourists and development.

Lipari would be a nice return to civilization, fine cuisine and fun before heading out to Salina (another island) the next day. They also had a great "mini-theatre" very similar to the one in Taormina (although much, much smaller):

Being a little too big (and developed with highway roads) to hike all the way around the island I decided that I would rent one of those scooters you see for hire everywhere to check out the island. Well scooters are for wussies, so I got the 4X4 and ripped up the roads lapping the island 3 times :-)

It was desitnation Salina with their spring water Malvasian wine the next day...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Off To The Aeolian Islands: Stromboli

Sicily up until this point (in the story posts) could be summed up in 2 words: AWESOME and HOT! With most of the major cities and sites that mark Silicy comleted it was time to hit the famous Aeolian islands for some more volcano's, hiking, sun and beach :-)

Hiking was a priority and getting the chance to go up the volcano twice, one during the day once at night, really rocked. Stromboli was the first island visited because I wanted to make sure not to miss it. It's often refered to as the best island and upon reflection afterwards each island (as you will see in later posts) was great in its own way, but Stromboli had that little extra "magic" that will reside in my memory for the rest of my life.

A nice view from about 1/2 the way up the volcano, you can actually see our bed+breakfast from here:

Hiking up the volcano through the reeds:

That black "sand" is actually vulcanic ash from the contant activity and mini-explosions from the mountain. Stromboli is the most active volcano in the world, so much so that heavy volcanic activity in any volcano is refered to as "Strombolic activity". Cool, but the socks and shoes I was wearing turned permanently from white workout to dress black ;-)

Can't beat the view... but not yet at the top:

The view from the top, above the initial cloud line... wow:

We have to hike up the left side of the mountain, the right side of course being too dangerous with the mini-explosions every couple minutes:

Here you see a bit of the end of an explosion, unfortunatly although there are explosions all the time my camera takes 4-5 seconds to take a picture so I never get the full height of the "stream of fire" that erupts into the air, quite a sight if you get a chance to visit:

Watching the sun go down on the top of the volcano, it's a great view when you're there but tough as hell to get a great photo because of all the ash and smoke from the volcano:

Full gear is required at the top as night fell and the smoke got intence. I kinda look like a miner here:

Once again I can't tell you how great Stromboli is, you really have to go and experience it for yourself. The restaurants, the small close nit community, the nature, everything... just perfect. If they had an arena and a white snowy Christmas I could definatly see myself getting lost on this island forever :-)

Watching the sun come up on the last day in Stromboli... nuff said:

Taormina Centurion

Something seems awfly strange about this particular Roman centurion posted in Taormina... is that a spear in his hands?!? ;-)

Reading Spurts

What I've been wasting my time doing 5 mintue browsing sessions over the past week:

Here's a future look at me in March getting my surf on in Oz ;-)

"According to the reading on my equipment up front, there is still one cell phone turned on...", pretty smart fake-out by the flight attendant, or maybe that's why all these Russian planes seem to be falling from the skies like burnt out comets?

Kids these days, they don't want no Monopoly money, they want to charge it!

Watch this guy climb an iceberg.

Yes it does:

Get revenge on that Coke machine.

Single? Moving to the U.S.? Hit one of these cities.

Open your beer with a lighter... or how about just a plain piece of paper.

See Paris all over again, the way it was in 1910.

Bush tries to get it on with the German chancellor, get rejected, makes her look meek, German's make fun of her crappy podcast.

Best Fark headline of the day: "A woman's sex drive begins to plummet once she is in a secure relationship, according to research conducted by almost every married man on planet earth."

I need a squash partner. Read these basics and you're now as good as me, gimme a call and we'll get a game going.

Do you think Britney Spears is an idiot? You are wrong, she is much MUCH more of an idiot than that!

Be a YouTube star.

British Airways suck. I can't believe they put the lives of their passangers in danger like that!!

I'm going back to bed...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Watch Your Head

Fall is arriving in Canada... what a great time of year:

Taormina Plays

Right beside Catania is Taormina. It's kinda like the richer, prettier, more spoiled little sister of Catania... but if you want to spoil yourself, then this is the place to be!

The city has tremendous charm. Just strolling around can uncover any number of treasures, like this wishing well hiden in the garden vines with a view that promises all your wishes will come true:

Strange wonders also abound, like this hawk trainer (yes that's a real live owl on top of the sign that he commands):

The city itself is actually split into 2, one on the coast with all the beaches and a few hotels, and one on the mountain face that you see here with most of the housing, shops, restaurants, more hotels, banks and my personal favorite: the famous Greek theatre (that round bowl you see in the upper left of the city):

That pic and this one were taken from the top of the mountain above Taormina which I hiked up to get an especially great view of the city and, in the distance, Mount Etna:

The jewel of the city however is the preserved theatre. Even now after all these years of wear and tear on the building the view is still breathtaking. Imagine catching a midafternoon play where the actors depict drama of the time with the city and sea on the backdrop:

...or a late night opera under the stars and moon:

I leave the rest to your imagination and encourage you to visit... it was certainly one of the highlights that I will never forget...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Boy Likes Girl

Except from "When Harry Met Sally" spooged from Marginal Revolution. The debate: can guys and girls be friends or will they always degrade to sex?

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?

Harry: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and
there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don't.
Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: No you don't.
Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.
Sally: You say I'm having sex with these men without my

Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.
Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.
Sally: How do you know?

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally: So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?

Harry: No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too.
Sally: What if THEY don't want to have sex with YOU?

Harry: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally: Well, I guess we're not going to be friends then.

Harry: I guess not.
Sally: That's too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

So what do you think? Can they be friends, or... ;-)

Weekend Washer

The weekend has finally arrived! Unfortunatly with a pile of materials to go through for my studies, house cleaning and laundry to do I'm not so sure that's a good thing! Um... yes it is! ;-)

Actually all that stuff isn't bad at all, the only thing I really hate, and I mean HATE, is ironing dress shirts and pants. Damn that's boring and annoying all at the same time. Stevie got this in that made me think about the upcoming chores:

I guess I'm in the market for a wife! ;-) Have a good one everyone!

Matt's Doubletake Taken

Hilarious! I'm browsing through a bunch of the photo's from the trip and recent weddings when I come across this one. Now we all know Matt's the nicest guy in the world who love's Domi with all his heart, but I guess not seeing her in the days leading up to the wedding took its toll.

Can you tell me what he's thinking here in this pic? Yeah, I thought so. Way to go Matty, you dog you!!! :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What? Wasen You Say? :-)

It's that time of year again... yup, it's Cannstatter Wasen time baby! The Wasen is one of the two big parties in Stuttgart each year, the other being Frühlingsfest in the Spring... wait a minute, isn't every day in Stuttgart a party?? ;-)

Last year I was doing the Paris thing and couldn't work it out to get over for those weekends :-( but that'll all change when I finally move there permanently for a year instead of just traveling there every couple months for my studies :-) :-)

Here's the old gang at the Wasen in 2004, just 2 years ago. Seems like a decade ago, seems like a minute ago...

PS> What's with that crazy hair!?!?! ;-)

Update: Has anyone gotten one of these crazy flirt cards? Totally cheezy but certainly a conversation starter! ;-)

Taking On The Beast

Within plain sight of Catania (and most of the western half of Sicily actually) is the biggest active volcano in all Europe: Mount Etna. At 11,000 feet high it was high on my list of "to-do's" while in Sicily, mostly for the hiking and the view, although climbing volcano's in Sicily would become a habit as I later climbed the most active volcano in the world in Stromboli (located just off the coast of Sicily and part of the Aolean Islands).

I was worried about the heat but leaving later in the afternoon gave plenty of time for the climb while still having light of day as well as offering a bit a repreave from the mid-day sun. The weather couldn't have been better in fact!

Although Etna is constantly erupting (they are like "baby" eruptions), there's rarely any danger below the very top of the mountain. There was however some destructive activity a couple years ago. As the picture below will contest, the eruption and subsequant lava flow in 2001 took out some of the houses. This one was only partially covered and is actually still open as a touristy store selling postcards and the like. They also carved out some of the lava rock to construct a make-shift storage wearhouse!

The one side however is completly covered, that's the roof I'm standing on:

Speaking of caverns, there are many caves and tunnels created from the lava flow/cooling around certain areas on the mountain, why looky here:

This is me being a bit grumpy after wonking my head off the low hanging roof of the cave:

The location: perfect.
The weather: perfect.
The company: perfect.
The experience: priceless :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ancient Syracuse

Not an hour south of Catania is the ancient city of Syracuse... but you won't see too much of this:

(ruins of an old church) not much of the old ruins remain. The city however was rebuilt a few centuries ago and still has that "ancient look", at least for us North Americans ;-) Some of it however, like the famous Cathedral at Piazza Del Duomo can never loose its charm. Here it is in all its glory ;-)

Brilliant isn't it! ;-) Anyways, St. Anne church was at least open if not quite as impressive:

...and the Piazza itself is terrific for a cold beer on a hot day:

If the centre of the island isn't your fancy you can also check out the abundance of picturesque coastline:

...which is exactly what I did! ;-) They even served Paulaner!!

I wasn't quite done soaking up the local culture:


Diner time was past approaching... but the restaurant I wanted to go to was on via Castello Maniace which was nowhere to be found (squint and look at the sign behind me, I literally walked down and around that street 4 times before realizing I was on the right one from the beginning!).

Hitting the beach can sometimes be tough on some of the rocky shores of the island... of course some arn't phased a bit!

Although I didn't have much time in Syracuse (just a day/night trip from Catania) it certainly left a lasting impression. It was especially nice since I had arrived just after tourist season was over (last weekend in August) and the city was quite literally deserted of tourists with only the bare minimum of locals remaining behind to enjoy the splenders of the city in peace.

In short, Syracuse's combination of culture, coast and culinary delights make it a highly recommended destination in Sicily. Of course I was pretty excited to leave it as well as it was back to Catania for the nightlife and an early morning rise for one of the highlights of the trip... the trek up the largest active volcano in Europe: Etna! :-)