First day in Victoria – Turtle Hostel 7/4/09

I arrived in Victoria this afternoon, and it has already been great. I’m staying at Turtle Hostel at the moment, soon to be moving on to the UVic residence tomorrow.


I spent the day just relaxing a bit, wandering around the east side of Victoria, and I already stumbled upon a few great vegan options. One that I’m really looking forward to trying is Pizza Pi, it’s right on Douglas Street, which on first glance appears to be saturated with little shops and restaraunts. Pizza Pi is focused on local, organic and environmentally friendly production. They have vegan cheese, and gluten free pizza crusts if need be. I’m waiting for a friend to come to town, or maybe when I’m feeling particularly hungry to order a pizza, because their smallest size consists of a 10 inch wide, 6 slice pizza.

I also stopped by a Market and found it was well stocked with organic produce, normal people food, and vegan muffins. I picked up some lemon cranberry muffins, and as I hoped, they were delicious.

Tomorrow will be an action packed day, I hope I can catch a few of the things that are going on.

Bungee Jumping – Mission Accomplished!

So. Mission accomplished. On January 4th 2009, I did finally go bungee jumping, so I can cross that one off my 101in1001 list. In April I’ll be taking a retraining course for skydiving, and ideally do my jump then.Jumping off the highest indoor bungee platform

Bungee jumping is really an amazing experience, it was truly liberating. I woke up that morning, and decided to walk over to West Edmonton Mall, home of the worlds largest indoor bungee jumping platform. Went directly to the Center of Gravity kiosk and paid the fee and waited. At three o’clock I went up. One other person was jumping that hour. We put on our harnesses (I opted for a headfirst jump, because that made the most sense) and walked up a couple flights of stairs and a ramp. I decided to go first, they turned on some punkrawk (I requested industrial, but they didn’t have any) And then it was time to jump.

The horn went off, letting everyone down in the wave pool know that someone was bungee jumping. The crowd started screaming and cheering and I was ready to go. After free falling for a while, I was pulled back by the chord and went up and down for a minute or two. It reminded me of jumping of the high diving board and then some. Very exciting, and I’m glad I did it!

Vegan Polish Xmas 2008

It has certainly been a while. I’m currently in Edmonton celebrating christmas with my family. Celebrating christmas in my family is more of a Polish tradition then necessarily anything to do with religion, but then again, Poland is generally quite Catholic. My family is primarily interested in spending quality time together and EATING!!!

So, what does a vegan Polish Christmas Eve dinner at my house look like? There are only three people in my immediate family, so you might notice the extra empty place setting. That’s traditional in many families, and is for an unexpected guest, or a drifter, or anyone that might drop by in need of food.

We started with a freshly made beet soup (Barscz), consisting of shredded beet root, sliced celery, leeks, green onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and hazelnut oil. In the center of each plate is a brown sugar baked yam.

After that we have homemade perogies. On Monday my mother and I made approximately 250 of them, and froze most of them. They have a slightly sour and salty cabbage and mushroom filling, the dough is absolutely simple: flour, water, and just a touch of salt. The most difficult part of making them is kneading the dough, which is both really physical, and really important to get the right consistency.

Then we have a selection of salads. This year we had potato salad, a slightly sweet cabbage salad, and a vegetable salad.

The vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa) is rather traditional Polish fare, though the recipe varies from region to region and family to family you know what it is when you see it. 🙂

My recipe for sałatka jarzynowa involves potatoes, onions, a fresh celery root, carrots, green peas, white beans, mustard, pickles, salt, pepper, and hazelnut oil. The salad usually has mayonnaise mixed into it, but we have always just covered the top with it. Of course, in my case it’s slathered with veganaise. Sometimes people put horseradish in it, or eggs. I’ve even seen recipes calling for prawns or other fish.

The potato salad has potatoes boiled in the skin, celery (and celery leaves), green onion, pickles, pickle juice and walnut oil in it. It’s garnished with a few tomatoes and some cilantro.

Thanks for reading, and I hope if and/or whatever holiday you celebrate was fantastic. Have a great new year!

…then She took a wrong turn at the cemetery and it all went uphill from there.

I think it is wonderful to be in a city that never seems to sleep. Because apparently, neither do I. Ha Ha. At first i thought the time zone change might be the problem… but the 2 hour difference between time zones is kind of minor really, I think it might be the 48 hour bus ride that has destroyed whatever sleep schedule I had developed for myself. Yesterday I went exploring within a 10km radius of the University Du Montreal, I decided to follow the large green dome I see outside my window every morning and go see what it was.

It turned out to be L’Oratoire Saint-Joesph du Mont-Royal, an amazing church building atop of a hill. The distance from here to there was misleading, which I have to attribute to it’s absolutely massive size, I thought it would be much closer but it ended up being about 2km away (which, yes is rather close anyway.) It is 124m tall (408 feet) I spent about an hour there, wandering inside and outside of the church, and the surrounding parks. Really quite a beautiful place. There were so many people there, though I guess that is to be expected considering it was a beautiful day, and also a Sunday.

As I was walking back to the residence, I saw a familiar sign, and I have to say I got excited to see it. Well it was not really familiar but I knew what it was, Pharmaprix (aka Shoppers Drug Mart). I stocked up on some basics, and upon exiting the Pharmaprix, next door was this fabulous grocery store, Metro, where I bought even more things. Including vegan margarine made in Trois Riviers, Quebec, and fantastic french bread (they make my life extra easy because the ingredients were right on the bread bins) Fantastic I think to myself. I am ready to go “Home”.

P1010642 Continue reading “…then She took a wrong turn at the cemetery and it all went uphill from there.”

Planning a trip to Montreal

I’m a big fan of planning, planning and more planning, when I go anywhere. So since I’m off to Montreal in La Belle Provence for a month or so, that’s what I have been doing. Luckily there are an amazing amount of resources available to me, thank you internet! Once upon a time when I planned a trip to Vancouver, I used something as archaic as a… BOOK. But this time is no different; I still bought my trusty guidebook, complete with fold out map.

Chances are, I will never take this map out in public, but I will likely put it on my wall and track where I’ve been and where I am going. I’ve been feeling stifled by the prairies lately, which frankly is not a feeling I admit to lightly. It is almost as if my romance with simplicity and quiet living has passed. But maybe it’s just my standard fickle fare. Who knows what two months will bring?

One thing I know is that it brings music to my ears I haven’t heard live. I am going to go to the Osheaga Music Festival in August, primarily to see Cat Power (my favourite musician) but I’m sure there are others that will be good as well. There is a costume party at the end of July that I can’t wait to attend. The countless art galleries, museums, and historical sites are exactly what I feel I’ve been missing.

The city itself is filled with a history that the west can only imagine, pictures and skycam feeds take me back to the Stary Miasto (Old City) in Poland. That is one thing that people have said consistently, Montreal feels very European (maybe it’s just an idyllic Europe that North American’s imagine?) I guess I will see for myself in less than four days. Google calendar has become my best friend. For a planner and obsessive nutcase such as myself it gives me exactly what I need. Times, dates, places, invites etc. I’ll end the calendar love fest but I will post a calendar to make me easier to stalk.

My goal is definitely to actually update with what I’m up to, as some people have expressed interest in following my trip. Especially when I mention I might be going to toronto, ottawa, quebec city, and everyones favourite, new york city. Hopefully Toronto and New York will get rid of my interest in the big city once and for all. But I wonder. What if they don’t?