When our noon flight from Munich to Toronto was delayed to 9: pm – due to an otherwise illegal crew rest – I took the bus to the nearby town of Freising in Bavaria. Freising dates from 4200 BC, when the first settlers arrived. In 996 AD, Emperor Otto granted Market rights which heralded the beginning of its citizenry. In 1300 AD, Freising was ruled by prince-bishops of the Roman Empire.
Freising, Bavaria- Town Hall at Marienplatz and St. George Church
The Altstatt was bustling with primarily German tourists. Most had cycled in. The weather was gorgeous and the temperature was nearing 30C.
Italian ice cream cafés were beckoning passerbys with the promise of cool decadent concoctions. As the heat helped along, the majority of the sidewalk cafés were filled to capacity.
Strolling through the Old Town centre, historic monuments and buildings were evident all around. Within the city was a forest with a network of waterways, which offered a refreshing walk in its shade.
I visited St. George Church with its veiled altar. The veil, in front of the tabernacle and large stained glass window, allows a play with light that gives a mystical feel to the setting.
When I returned to Munich airport, I took the time to take in the afternoon flurry of activity and to stop and listen to a Bavarian band. One had hardly the sense of being in the heart of a large international airport.
As I proceeded to the departure gate, I found out that our airplane had a mechanical problem – she required a new battery. It was close to 10: pm when we finally boarded. Many passengers had attempted to rebook on the afternoon flight and we were left with 22 people in total on this large Boeing 333. In an attempt to address the extended wait, the crew accommodated all 22 of us in the Executive First cabin. With 24 available seats, it wasn’t hard to put us up!
First class does resemble a space cabin, with its individual pod-like seats and soft blue ceiling and seat lights. Glancing around, I observed the beaming faces as people checked out the lie-down seats, consoles and latest gadgets. We were treated so well that I’m convinced everyone forgot any annoyance suffered pre-flight. On the connection to Vancouver I pretty well slept throughout the 5-hour flight.
Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster – British Columbia
In Vancouver I stayed with friends in Burnaby, where I spent a very enjoyable time. It was so nice to reconnect with friends. We hiked, walked, wined and dined and laughed a lot.
We spent time in Burnaby Lake Park while misty rain gently enveloped us. Seeing the park in its glorious beauty made us ignore the grey skies and damp discomfort.
Burnaby Lake, BC – park and lake
Burnaby Lake Park, BC – Obelisk and Mansion
During our stroll we were amused by a squirrel intent on a seed, who then scampered away posthaste when it noticed us.
My visit was crowned with a delightful 2-day visit with my son Tim and his fiancée Madeline. We hung out, played board games, walked and caught up with the happenings of the past year; I was in heaven! We walked around Colony Farm Regional Park in Coquitlam and, around the corner, in New Westminster where they live, we strolled Queens Park and visited the animal farm.
Colony Farm Regional Park in Coquitlam, BC
The tallest tin soldier in the world. 2000 Guinness Book of Records – at the Quay in New Westminster, BC – 9.75 m tall, size 60 E27 boots, weighs 4,540 kg.
Calgary, Zoo… Stampede Breakfast and the Rockies – Alberta
Next stop was Calgary, where I stayed at the home of my daughter Barbara and her hubby Joe. My granddaughters Jamie and Sammy made a surprise appearance at the airport. Lots of giggles and excited chatter ensued!
The next two weeks were filled with lots of play and laughter. The girls and I had oodles of fun creating colorful pottery gifts for one another. Jamie and Sammy were registered in a one-week (afternoons) bike-camp, and by the third day they were already pros…
Of course we couldn’t forget a visit to the Calgary Zoo… Last year it had been closed due to the flood and now, afer major work, the Zoo had reopened its doors. We visited the Penguins and the Prehistoric park among other attractions.
I had forgotten that the second week in July, Calgary Stampede holds its annual event. We didn’t go to the Stampede grounds and rodeos (been there, done that) but we did take in a couple of Stampede breakfasts chock-full with children’s activities.
Naturally, we also played board games and spent a lot of time in the backyard; the weather had fully cooperated. It was magic to be with the girls and lovely to spend time with Joe’s family as well.
It was great to reconnect with my longstanding Calgarian friends. We drove to the Rockies and walked around Canmore and nature trails. I was shown some of the restoration work from last year’s flood damage. It’s amazing how much had been done already, considering the magnitude of the damage to homes and to the environment.
Views from the Rockies in Canmore and downtown Calgary backdrop
Flood restoration work in Canmore
I even managed a game of Canasta with my friend Gayle (I actually succeeded in winning a couple of games…). Playing Canasta seems to be part of our ritual whenever we get together; with lots of laughter in the process.
Time flew by and soon I was headed home to Germany. I must admit that although I love traveling, I’m starting to find the overseas flights, and the travel time in general, too long and tedious… but on the other hand, I carry many great memories to look back on and savor.
To all my friends who made this visit special: a big thank you!
To my Canadian family who made this visit memorable: I love you!
Until next post, enjoy the rest of summer.