All posts by B.Levack

Batorama

Today I only did two things. I will blog in the order the events happened.

We left the house at around 9am. We walked past the cathedral to a place that gives boat rides/tours. The company that gives the tours are named Batorama. We got on one. It is an open air tour, given through headphones and recordings. I didn’t know where those headphones had been though, so I used me own. I listened to the English version. There is 10 languages, with both an adult version and a child’s version. I listened to the adults version. I did switch to the child’s version for about ten minutes to hear what Nathan and Clara listened to. The only thing that was on that channel that I heard was a jazzy and electric version of the ode to joy. The boat took us all around the city of Strasbourg and under every bridge in the city. The water levels in different parts of the city were different so that meant I got to go in a lock. It was cool. Overall the tour was pretty nice. There was one drawback to the whole ride…..  It was raining. It was raining a little bit had as well, not just spitting. A man came around and handed everyone ponchos. Is he superman or something, because he saved my day! I actually stayed dry!

At the end of the day, we went out to a restaurant. The place was very good. The food was great. I cant say what I got, or remember the name of what I got, but basically it was a potato pancake with melted munster cheese on it and fries on the side. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. It filled me right up as well, but of course I still had room for dessert. I got Ice Cream! It was really good. I had two scoops of chocolate, one scoop of vanilla, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, with almond shavings on top. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………. We walked home from here and that ended my day.

Everything in between these two events that I haven’t mentioned was wasted professionally on my bed with some electronics and tired eyes….

PEACE!

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Switzerland

This post will cover yesterdays and the day before’s events.

August 1st:

We woke up today on time and begun packing everything up and getting ready to leave. After we finished that we ate breakfast. We then went to the bakery. I got chocolate cake there and I took it back home to eat before we left the house for good. The chocolate cake was good, and it was a bike slice so it filled me up. We left the house.

Along the way to the train station which is where we were going, we came across a store with a shirt I wanted as a souvenir. I quickly left my stuff with Clara and Dad outside of the store and went in with Nathan and Mom to get the shirt. This took only a minute or two. We were right back on track toward the train station very soon afterwards.

We arrived, waited for and boarded our train. We took our seats. These were in 1st class!!the train ride was about 2.5 hours long. The highest speed that was traveled was 320 km/h. That is really fast. We landed in straasbourg at 15:15. We took a car from there all the way to our house in Switzerland. This also took 2.5 hours.\

We went out to dinner after we got home. We also checked out the carnaval that was taking place in the village we are staying in.

August 2:

We went into a city named Bern. We walked around, looking at buildings and stores and clock towers and structures, etc.  They have a bear park, but unfortunately it was under construction and wont be finished until the fall.

We went on a nature walk 10 minute drive from our house. It was really hard to find the access point but when we finally did, the path was beautiful.

What!?! Escargot!!??

One of the highlights of my day was lunch, meaning I will describe it to you first.

We struggled to find an affordable place that serves French classics ( Frog Legs, Onion Soup, Escargot, Crepes, Duck, etc. ) to eat lunch. We finally found a place. Mom and I split an onion soup and escargot. I tried the onion soup, and it was quite good. Now to try the escargot….. I was actually quite nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I finally put the snail into my mouth, and realized escargot is really good. I ate three, only because there was just six, and I was splitting them with Mom, but I would have eaten more. [All other French classics apart from crepes are to be eaten later[read on to discover more]]

I’m sure that if you have read the others blogs you will have a good idea about our day, so I will just go over it quickly.

First thing we went to Notre Dame Cathedral. I knew nothing about this before then, only just heard the name, so Mom told me and the others what it is all about, including the Gargoyles legend and the story of the hunchback. We walked all around the Cathedral and got a really nice view of it. Along the way we also saw the lock bridge. This bridges railing which was put there to stop people to falling into the water below is completely covered by locks (bike, gate locks, etc.). It looks cool.

From here we walked and looked at the outside of la Louvre. This is an art museum that holds the Mona Lisa. Today we only looked at the building, tomorrow we go inside.

From there we walked to the Arc De Triomphe. It was about a three mile walk and took around an hour to get there. My legs were exhausted by the time we got there. The Arc is in the center of a round-a-bout/traffic circle. This traffic circle is very busy, and there was no way to cross into the circle above ground. We just couldn’t find the way to the Arc. After around 20 minutes we finally found the underground passage that led to the Arc. It is really cool. The amount of carvings of people is crazy, and how ornate, accurate and cool they are. On the Arc there are many names (surnames/last names). We only really recognized one. This was Bonaparte. Napoleon Bonaparte. After a while we decided to continue walking. Just before we left we all got Crepes. The kids got Nutella on their Crepes, Mom had Caramel and Dad had Honey. They were all good!

We then walked to the Eiffel Tower. This was about a 30 minute walk from the last place. Just getting close to the Tower wasn’t good enough. I had to go up it. All the way. I took the stairs up as high as I can. I really enjoyed the view. The elevator took me from the second level to the top. I just loved the view, and now I can say I have been to the top of the Eiffel Tower! I was on the first level at one point and saw a glass floor, similar to in the CN Tower. I stood on that for some time and I thought that was neat.

See you next time,

Brandon

Medals

Saturday was a busy and exciting day for me!

I actually managed to get myself up early enough on Saturday to get myself to school by 9. Immediately the 3 on 3 tournament started. It was a u14 tournament meaning I was playing with people 2 years older than I am. I was the youngest kid there. All the other kids apart from the rest of my team were 14 years old. My other two teammates are 12, but both born in 2002. It began and we started losing straight away. We were never crushed, although we lost all games. I learned very little from this, given all of my training there is not much to teach. It was good practice in though, and it was fun and challenging. Sometimes I even managed to put a shot or layup in.

All right, so at this point I have played against all the other teams ( 4 of them) and lost to all of them. Now there is a shooting competition. Each team has 2 minutes to try to score as many 3 pointers as they can. The only catch is the same person can’t shoot two shots in a row. Me and my team (consisting of two of my best friends) could have done a lot better than we did. We, all together, scored 2 three-pointers. We lost. Last place. The next closest to us was 4 baskets. It was difficult to score them because you were under pressure and being rushed. I usually score 7/10 three-pointers. I was upset.

We were then sat down to hear the results of the day. This is when I was told my team came last. I wasn’t upset, and I knew it would happen, because the tournament wasn’t really meant for my age, but all around it was good. Afterwards is my award ceremony at 2:30. At this time it is barely 11.

Now……… wait until I have something else to do.

Turns out I played basketball for the 3 hours. Just taking shots, layups, 1 on 1s with my friends, and playing around.

For the award ceremony, my family came in. I was hoping the entire time that I would get a medal and be recognized. I grabbed some food and the whole thing started. The medals are for most improved player, defensive player, team of the year, and a trophy for mvp. My year 7 team (I say “my” because I am captain) won team of the year because we were the most successful in the playoffs and in the cups. I also won mvp! I cant explain why…… well, I can. It is because I am good at the game, I practice my talent and I dedicate myself and show up to training regularly no matter what the weather. I am proud and i definitely will be taking the medal and trophy back to Canada.

Fathers Day Adventure

Today Is Father’s day in England. This meant I had an opportunity to make some breakfast for Dad.  I made and seasoned a hard egg on the stove, while I had two pieces of toast toasting in the toaster. I finished the egg, put it on a plate and buttered the toasts. I put the egg on the buttered side of one piece of toast. Cheese and tomato were sliced and put on the toast. I fried some ham and also put that on. I closed the sandwich. Some cherry tomatoes and smaller pieces of cheese were placed on the sides of the sandwich, to be ate separately.

We went to London to go on the London eye (tickets supplied by Grandma and Pipi). It was really cool. We got an early start and had almost no waiting time! The pod we were in wasn’t very crowded and was pretty cool. You could see the whole of London! Not only was it cool, but beautiful.

We also went on the river Thames tour. It wasn’t very long, but it was cool given the fact we got to learn a bit of the places history and see everything off of the long river. The sights were beautiful and the man speaking even included some humor and funny comments, so it was more than just a history lesson.

We went to also see the Globe Theatre. I could not only stand there, and because I am learning about it in History and Enlgish, I just had to go in. It is really cool. It is exactly like I thought it would be. I actually touched the stage!nThe tour we went on was roughly 40 minutes. I enjoyed all every minute!.

The Road – Day 7

We spent almost all of today on the road travelling back from Holland to Germany to catch our plane back home. We catch our plane tomorrow. We made one stop along the way.

We drove about an hour to a small village. On the way, just outside of the village, is a river. There is a bridge crossing the water. This bridge is a drawbridge. Lucky for us, we got stopped because a boat wanted to go through, and the drawbridge raised to let the boat through. It was really cool.

The village has windmills, but these are for different purposes to Kinderdyjk. The windmills in the village have different purposes. One was a saw mill, another was a spice mill, used to ground spices to a fine powder. We went into the spice mill and it was pretty neat.

The village would have been nothing to see, but we got to watch a demo on wooden shoe making. It was really cool. The shoes are made of buplar wood, which is really wet. He blew into the shoe really hard and water came pouring out of the shoe. The demo was free and really cool. This led us to watch other demos and try some samples of food, and that is really all there is to do.

The rest of the day was spent on the road, traveling to our hotel to sleep the night and catch an early plane!

Amsterdam – Day 6

Today we spent the day in Amsterdam. It was pretty neat!

We got in the car this morning and drove to the nearest train station. We parked our car and bought some tickets to Amsterdam. The train soon came. We hopped on, and rode about 20 minutes to Amsterdam Central station. We got off there, and begun wandering. Without a map, or any prior knowledge of where anything is, wandering is the perfect word.

We did a pretty good job wandering, because we saw almost all of what there was to see in Amsterdam. We saw Anne Franks hiding spot, the royal palace, and just Amsterdam. It has it’s own view, smell, and atmosphere. You can sense excitement and hussle in the air. The traffic has its own way here, and the view is only Amsterdam. What I am trying to say is that this place is very unique.

Me and dad went in the torture museum. I thought it would be really cool, and part of it was. Dad just thought the whole thing was gruesome, and it was. It was horrible. Even the least horrible torture equipment and methods (probably branding) were still horrible. the worst I think they saved for last. Just as you are about to walk out of the museum, they have one final piece. It was called the saw. It was a big saw with two handles that would have been used by two people. Now, the saw on its own can be a useful tool, but not the way they used it. They would take a person, and tie him upside down on two peices of wood poking out from the ground. Right leg and arm on the right pole, left leg and arm on the left pole. They would then take the saw, and slowly cut from your bum, all the way down to your head, and eventually completely cut you in half.

horrible.

In Amsterdam, marijuana is legal. On a busy road, walking one end to the other you will see (and smell) 3 or 4 people smoking pot. Outside of shops smells like marijuana, and alleys smell very strongly of it as well. In souvenir places, most of everything in there has one form of marijuana on it. Even bracelets have marijuana leaves splitting up words. It”s a CRAZE!

We caught the train back to our train station where our car is parked. We drove off to our new hotel. The previous night we stayed at a Stay Okay hotel. We are staying at a Stay Okay hotel tonight again! But this time we are staying in a castle. There is a moat filled with water, huge grounds, and a pretty front garden. It is soo cool!

Kinderdyjk – Day 5

Today we left Belgium :(, and drove off to the Netherlands.

It was a three hour drive, but we split it into 1:30′ legs. Our stop was at Kinderdyjk. It is an area covered with windmills, used to prevent the land from flooding. There are many rivers running through with strips of land between. But why windmills to stop the land from flooding, and how is there a link?

In this area, it is almost always – always windy. Floods occured often, which troubled the millers living there. In this time, an electric or fuel powered motor, so they had to generate a turning force somewhere, so they used the wind. They used wooden gears with wooden teeth, a wooden gear type thing that caught the teeth of the gear and spun and looked similar to a merry-go-round, a few axels, and a wheel to push the water.

The wind spun the windmills arms, which connected to an axle spun a gear. This spunthe merry-go-round, which changed the angle of the rotation. The mery-go-round was connected to an axle which brought the turnung force from the top to the bottom. On the other end of the axle was another merry-go-round. This one spun a huge gear. This huge gear is on an axle. On the other end of the axle was the wheel. This wheel was in the water.
The job of this spinning wheel is to push the water uphil, to gte it away from the town. One mill ould not be able to do this, but a series of them will.

We eventually carried on with our journey and arrived at our hotek in Harlem, just next to Amsterdam (probably spent wrong) where we will be visiting tomorrow. We adventured around a little bit, and visited a grocery store and a tourist info place.

Bruges – Day 4

Today we went to a city called Bruges. It is very touristy, and has a lot of things to do.

At first we had no idea at all where we were going, and just kind of wandered. Eventually, we found a map and located a place Dad wanted to visit. Him and I memorized road names to get us to that place. The area he wanted to go to was a lot nicer than the area we first arrived in. It was brighter, greener, and more lively. There was lots of nice stores, selling waffles, ice creams, chocolate, lace, paintings, and such. There is also a bar / brewery.

Dad found a brewery online(I would imagine) and he wanted to go on it’s tour. He found that there was no age restriction, so he took me as well. It was my first brewery tour ever. It was pretty cool. The only thing that was bad( and I only know this because Dad mentioned in at least a billion times) was that they didn’t let you taste the barley or the hops.

Part of the brewery is new, and the new stuff is where they do most or possibly all of the brewing. They still have all the old contraptions that they used to make beer in the 1900’s. I think that out of the old stuff, the cooling place is the neatest. Since that in the 1920’s they didn’t have variations of (or at all) air conditioning, so the brewers were unable to cool the beer properly to ferment it. What they did was at the top level, build a room with no windows, and a copper floor which would act similar to a tub, and pump the warm stuff up at one end. The wind flowing through the room, due to the fact that there are no windows, would cool the beer from about 100-120 degrees Celsius, to 50 degrees Celsius. It would flow to the other end of the copper floor, at that point be cooled, and sucked/pumped back somewhere else for further modification.

At the end they let everyone taste a beer that they make. Go check out Dad’s blog to see how that tasted!

While we are in Belgium, we HAD to try some chocolate. We bought some. They were SOOOOOO good. They actually melt in your mouth, and are just amazing!

We finally got home. We packed up a simple dinner and headed off to a nearby park. There, we ate and the kids switched between eating and playing. The park is decent. It entertained me, Nathan, and Clara, so it guess it did it’s job. There is a swing we mostly spent all of our time on, but only because it went high and we could push one another, and it is a bit scary because right at the top, the seat begins to flip a small amount, and makes you want to fly off.

Gent – Day 3

Today I woke up and found myself in a train. I slept in a train. It was neat, and I could perfectly stretch out. it was actually kind of comfortable. I slept well. We ate breakfast and left almost immediately.

We drove all the way to Belgium. We are in a city called Gent. It has a new half and an old half, which is the more touristy area and we will be spending lots of exploring time in. We spent our day there today. It was cool.

We are saying in a house this time, not a hotel or a place where you sleep in buses, campers, and trains, whatever you want to call it. It is a smaller house, compared to the ones we stayed in in France and Italy. It is nice though. There is two beds, in which one is a double an one is a pull-out.

The old part of Gent is really nice. There is a big church or cathedral every 500 meters or so. We went in one. It was really nice. There is a river that travels through the center of the town and branches out towards the outer edges, so there are river-tours, similar to Venice, but in motorboats. There were a lot of bridges to cross, but not as many as Venice.

There is a castle as well in old Gent. It looks nice. It caught on fire in the 20th century, and was put out. It is currently under some construction, and when we arrived it was closed so we couldn’t get in or get a great view/picture.

We had to get Dad a beer, and the kids waffles because we are in Belgium. You will have to read Dad’s blog to hear about the beer, but I will say a thing or two about the waffles.

They were super good. I had half of a chocolate with chocolate sauce, which was a similar consistency to Nutella, but it didn’t have the hazelnut taste. That was really good. I had half of a waffle with whipped cream. The waffle itself was light and fluffy and amazing, and went perfectly with the light and soft texture of the whipped cream. I also got a coffee. It was also really good. I forget what they called it, but it was a weird name, something like coffee lungo. With some milk and sugar added, it was really good.

There is a bakery near where we are staying. It is perfect. The food there is really good quality, really fresh, really cheap ,and really good! A type of bread we bought was in a good quantity, it tasted great, and was only €0,90! 90 cents! I bet we will visit tomorrow.