An interesting article about places to retire – I hope before I’m 64, maybe in a couple of years. Hungary was the number one spot and Eastern Europe in general. Also, Portugal, Spain and Greece. Unfortunately many countries in the EU are still recovering economically but that makes it an inexpensive place to live. It’s in my dreams to live in Europe and by the looks of this article, it just might make economic sense too.
Tuesday March 6, 2012. Another beautiful day in Vancouver – sunny, blue skies and all calm – no wind and no waves on the ocean. Today as I ate my breakfast I was watching the sky looking for the Great Blue Herons. There is a large nesting area just a few blocks away by The Fish House Restaurant. Last year I noticed several herons that would perch on the rooftop of one of the neighbouring apartment buildings. I haven’t seen them yet, but my friend Karen tells me she has spotted them already this season. They are such a magnificent bird.
There is so much life to see outside my window although it doesn’t necessarily move that fast. Off to the right I can see one of the small prop float planes that flies back and forth between Vancouver and Victoria harbours. I saw a ferry in the distance sailing into Horseshoe Bay from Nanaimo. It’s too early to see any of the cruise ships headed to Alaska. And always there are the shipping tankers sitting out on English Bay waiting for a pilot boat to take it into the Port when it’s their turn to unload. I never see any movement on these boats. I wonder if there are very many crew aboard, where have they travelled from, what are they doing on board, are they anxious to reach dry land? Do they dream of jumping ship and claiming refuge in Vancouver?
Karen and Roy invited me to dinner tonight. They have recently moved into an apartment building that I see from my living room window. On the top of the building is a very recognizable orange circular structure. It is a building that is mostly dark at night because few people live there full-time. They live on the third floor with the park wrapped around three sides of their apartment. They call it their treehouse. There’s an interesting back story to this condominium building. I know the woman who lived there before, Phyllis who I met her through my friend Joan. Phyllis is a famous Canadian make-up artist. She lived in an apartment on the location of this new highrise and while all her neighbours sold out, she held firm and insisted that they provide her with a place in the new building. And she won. And this is now the condominium where my friends live. So even if you are one among many, you can succeed as long as you stay strong. I’ve always loved that story and now the story continues because of Karen and Roy.
lt’s five minutes before midnight and my day is over. A little reading, listening to the radio and then lights out for me. Good night!
Travels with my Dad on the Rocky Mountaineer, through BC’s desert to the Rockies and incredible Banff
Wow! What an incredible trip so far (October 12, 2008). I’m travelling with my Dad Simon who is 80 years young. We boarded the Rocky Mountaineer train in Vancouver, BC at 7 am on Sunday October 12, 2008 travelling in Red Leaf service. We soon left civilization behind and were travelling through the Coastal Mountains. For me, the best part was when we entered the desert-like area of the Okanagan Valley in central BC. The hills are low and rugged with little vegetation except for some sparse Ponderosa Pine on the flats. It reminded me of that old western television show Bonanza with Little Joe, Hoss, the patriarch Ben and what was the other son’s name – he always wore black and was a bit of a ‘black sheep’ of the family. With a bit of an imagination, as you looked up at the ridge, you almost believed that you would see a group of rough and ready men on horseback galloping to a sudden stop just shy of the edge with clouds of dust billowing. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the sunlight played off the colours of the earthy hills. As the day wore on and the sun moved through the sky the view would have changed even if we wouldn’t have been standing still. Remarkable.
I’m in sunny Calgary – arrived last night by bus from Banff (October 2008). I’m travelling with my Dad and we spent a few days in Banff after travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver, BC. We’re staying with a very good friend of mine, Francine. We went to Annandale highschool together when I was in Grade 9, we played on the basketball team, worked together on my parent’s farm and remained friends through college/university days. In 1978 we took a wild and crazy trip to the westcoast driving her brother Henry’s car to Calgary where he had gotten a job on the oil rigs. We haven’t seen each other but once in all those years. We’ve been having fun re-telling the stories from that trip across the country. We did some crazy things, but nothing that I regret. I just wish I had some grandchildren to tell. I guess I’ll have to write that book. Anyway, we’re still not finished reminiscing, there are more stories to piece together over the next couple of days. Tomorrow is Francine’s birthday so we are going to have a girl’s afternoon out – maybe lunch, some shopping or to an art gallery. Then we will cook a birthday dinner where I’ll be making my signature dish – chicken paprikash. My family background is Hungarian and my mom Helen was a fabulous cook. I owe my culinary skills to her. Everyone loves this dish with the home made pasta called nookedli (that’s the phonetic spelling). I’ll get a chance to meet Francine’s two kids and her partner’s two kids. I didn’t know it was going to be her birthday, but luckily I just happened to bring along some BC sparkling wine. A toast to Francine, my dear, dear friend. We had so much fun together in those younger days! And remembering those times has had us in stitches. We also share in the memory of my favourite cousin Ron who died tragically young. He was a year or two older than I. Francine dated Ron for many years but they went their separate ways some time before the dreadful car accident. Ron and I were very close — I remember that he taught me how to tie my shoe laces when I was 4 or 5 years old and if he had a cold and I was anywhere near him, I was sure to catch a cold too. Ron and I even went to the same schooly for my first year at the University of Waterloo. I remember many a Saturday night party at his apartment. Ron had the kindest heart and the biggest smile. I will love him forever.