Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Soyuz Launch

I am buried under all the German homework, but today was exciting because I got to watch a live feed of the Soyuz launch and docking, in the background while I tried to write an essay in German about a my mythical trip to Berlin. Woot! :)

It's unbelievably cool to sit at my computer and watch people get SHOT INTO SPACE. I feel like I'm in some kind of spec fic story!

Here's a quick Twitter roundup of today's space-related events...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Ich habe noch einen Koffer in Berlin" by Marlene Dietrich

I interrupt my regularly scheduled reminiscence of my summer holidays to bring you this rather haunting tune by Marlene Dietrich. We watched in German class as part of our section on Berlin, and I'm having a hard time shaking the mental image it produced. You can Google English lyrics if you like, but essentially she sings about still having a suitcase (Koffer) in Berlin, and compares it to other cities, but none of them draw her back the same way as Berlin.

Now, please note that this is an entire flight of fancy, but this image that showed up in the thumbnail produced a train of thought. Dietrich is staring off into the middle distance while well-dressed man gazes at her, which, since I don't know who he was, provoked an interesting idea about Dietrich as the Allies great weapon, propaganda. She was well-known for being anti-Nazi and became an American citizen in 1939. She toured with the USO, and also did campaigning for American war bonds. "Ich habe noch einen Koffer" wasn't written until after the war was over, but can you imagine the influence she would have had on a USO tour, with her husky voice and distant eyes, longing to go home to Berlin? Talk about inspiration to win a war...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The View from the Road Trip

It seems like so long ago already, and I guess it kind of was - it was August 23 when we left Jasper to head to see friends in Vanderhoof. The delay in posting is due to the terrible internet while we were gone, the massive number of photos to sort through, and the fact that school started promptly on our return to Calgary. So I'll probably be stringing out these photos of rocks and trees and water in BC for at least another post, or even two. :)

This is Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It's an easy stop just after you pass our of Jasper National Park, heading west.

Panoramic photo of Purden Lake from Trevor's iPhone
We took a stretch break at Purden Lake Provincial Park, about halfway between McBride and Prince George. It was a bit overcast, but just lovely. Unfortunately, a contractor was there pumping out the outhouses, so if you got too close it didn't SMELL too lovely, but it was a really nice place to stop for a break.

We spent a few days with our friends in Vanderhoof, which is the geographical centre of BC (if you're ever there, eat at Woody's Bakery, which is THE BEST bakery I've ever experienced, and that's really high praise...), and then we headed even further north to Smithers.
On our way up to Smithers we took a detour to Fort St James National Historic Site, on Stuart Lake. I hope you go there, but if you do, be warned that your Garmin GPS will not be able to find it. You'll have to watch for the signs, and if you get to the main intersection, you've gone too far. :) It was absolutely beautiful there - the ocean is still several hundred kilometres away, but it's easy to imagine the early traders making the journey inland and arriving at Fort St James. It feels very different from the coastal and southerly BC I know and love - it thrilled the heck out of my internal history geek. :)

Recreations of the tea bales that traders would have brought to the fort - the amount of work it would have required to get this tea from China to central BC blows my mind!

Trevor kicking back in an early version of a lazy boy, padded with a buffalo skin that was traded into BC from Alberta.

Fort St James - so pretty!
We took the time to watch the interpretive videos and look in all the buildings, and then got on the road again.
The campground we stayed at in Smithers was called Glacier View. See that lump of clouds in the middle of the mountains? Yah, the glacier is behind the clouds. :P Sadly, the weather in Smithers was not quite what I was hoping for (and the campground was too close to the highway for tenting - logging trucks run all night!), but we wandered around the historic downtown, checked out the museum, ate at a good Japanese place, and went to a movie. (The World's End, with Simon Pegg and Martin Freeman - SO FUN!)

Our last day there the weather improved, of can see the glacier in the distance... We went to hike Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, because the website talked about the amazing fossil beds, and the name caught my attention, but alas, we didn't see any driftwood, and the part of the park with the fossils is out of bounds! I was very disappointed! We headed further up the back road to another provincial park, but the trails there were muddier then we were up for, so we headed back to Vanderhoof for another few days with our friends there, and another trip to Woody's Bakery. :) Then we were off to Quesnel for a few days, which shall be another post, because I have German homework to do now...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Summer Holiday - Jasper

Two weeks ago today Trevor and I left Calgary for our road trip. It feels like ages ago already!

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Lake Louise. I haven't been there since I was about 13, and it wasn't as big as I remembered it being. :)

The drive along the Icefields Parkway is BEAUTIFUL. We're definitely going to do it again.
And next time we're going to stop at the icefields instead of just zooming by!
We took a trip to see this amazing canyon and waterfalls just a few minutes away from the Jasper townsite. It's called Maligne, and it's stunning. Unfortunately, the sun was at the wrong angle to light up the canyon nicely, and my camera skills aren't good enough to compensate for it. But hopefully this gives you an idea!
We did an hour and a half-ish hike around Annette Lake, which has quicksand at one end of it. I've never seen quicksand before, and I was expecting it to look more like the Fire Swamp...
View from a bench on the far side of Annette Lake.

The nights in Jasper were FREEZING - the first night we were there it got down to zero, which was a bit cold for my taste! But we're hoping to go back next summer earlier in August when it's not quite so close to fall.
If you ever go to Jasper, be sure to go on the Friends of Jasper walking tour around the townsite - it was really interesting, and admission is by donation. I quite enjoyed it, and I'm pretty sure Trevor paid attention as well. :)
Right now we're in central BC in a teeny tiny town called Clearwater, which is basically the townsite for Wells Grey Provincial Park. On Friday we leave to head for home, spending a night in Revelstoke on the way. It's a bit bittersweet - I like being outdoors so much, but I do miss my cats and my own bed, and I'm looking forward to the new school year.
Watch for a post in the next week or so about our adventures in BC! :)

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