Europe, first month

It’s been more than a month since we left Montréal for our months-long trip to Europe. How time flies! We spent the very first week of our trip in Paris (which I visited last year but Paul has never been). It was mostly cold, cloudy and occasionally rainy. I wasn’t at my best but we still had a lost of fun walking around the city, visiting the Louvre, having picnics everywhere! After this first week, the adventure began: we went on the road, visiting parts of France (Normandie, Bretagne), moving from place to place with our rented car, and sleeping in it! I can say we sleep fairly well! We are very careful when it’s time to transform the car into an hotel (ha!) and I can already tell you that we don’t regret our decision to travel this way! It gives us total freedom to decide where and when to go, to move or to stay. We check our budget regularly and it’s going really well so far, which is quite reassuring after a month on the road!

I was looking forward to that feeling when you’re in an unknown country where people speak a foreign language… expatriated? So I was very much looking forward arriving in Spain! I understand Spanish up to a certain point and this is excellent practice! What struck me first when we arrived in Spain are the mountains! They are splendid and make the landscape completely different from France where it’s very flat, at least where we’ve been. I love the new landscape! Having grown in the Laurentians (region in Québec, Canada), I am used to a mountainous landscape and I love it. I realised, arriving in Spain, how I missed the mountains! They are quite different from the ones I know, though. Ours are soft and very round, here the mountains are sudden and abrupt. They remind me of the mountains of Monteverde in Costa Rica!

The Spanish are absolutely charming, and we get on well with the little Spanish remaining from my Spanish classes and the google translate app ( and that will be even more useful in Germany and the Czech Republic !!). Coffee is delicious here, and I treated myself to café con leche (latte) and tortilla (potato omelette) in the first spanish rest area where we slept. We have been lucky so far since the beginning of the adventure on the road, we find working wifi relatively easily, and thanks to Paul who did tremendous work in preparation of the trip ( he read all the travel guides and compiled the information on a map he created in his computer… a lot of programming, I’ll let him explain it to you in good time). We know what we want to do and see! Paul is the chief organizer and I am the master photographer! 🙂

We were very motivated before the trip to blog regularly, but we have come to realize that travelling as we do is a lot of work! So we have decided that we wanted to live and experience this moment at our own rhythm, and so we put te blogging aside, but we haven’t forgotten it ( i have to mention that my computer is kaput, and with the speed of free wifi it is very difficult to add photos to the blog posts and takes a lot of time and patience (read frustration)). Maybe we’ll have more time to blog in the future!

In the meantime, here are a few dreamy pictures from the last weeks 🙂

Roadtrip down south

On the road

On the road

A few weeks ago, I went on a small trip with my mom to get out of the city and the everyday life.

We began by going to the Maine to refuel in a place we know and love. We went to the sea to listen to the soothing sounds of the waves, and the following day we went on the beach. We also went to our favorite restaurant there, slept, relaxed under the sun, and drank cocktails! Vacation life 🙂

Me and my mother

Me and my mother

Morning face in Wells

Morning face in Wells

Installed to journal and draw in the hotel

Installed to journal and draw in the hotel

After our short trip to Wells, we decided to visit Salem to enjoy the fresh autumn weather and sun. Salem is a beautiful city, there are a lot of magic and potions shops, psychics studios and whatnot. We mostly visited on foot, so we didn’t do any paying attractions or museums.

Finally, we went to Boston! Another beautiful city, completely different from Salem and Wells. The the mix in architecture style (very old and new) is super interesting, and I loved the old red bricks buildings we could find everywhere.

During this trip, I took my pictures thinking mostly of models to draw architecture later. We can always get better and I like to work on different subjects, and before the trip I was thinking about architecture! I want to get better and broaden my creative field so new possibilities arise.

Gabrielle

First trip in Europe

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In april, I went on a three weeks trip with my best friend to Europe! It was our first time there for the both of us so we were very excited to go and discover a new continent.

I spent months getting ready: reading blog post about what to wear, how to travel with just a backpack (yes I did that), the places to visit, and most important for me: what to bring as art material for the trip!

We spent a week in Paris, 4 days in Berlin, 4 days in Praha and a week in Rome. We found great apartments with Airbnb in each city, and on the last night before our flight back to Montreal, we spent the night at a charming hotel just beside the Cathedral Notre-Dame. Not too shabby!

We spent 3 wonderful and unforgettable weeks discovering those cities, walking, eating and taking a million pictures!

I will share more on my trip soon, here is a little peek:

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Our view from the Paris apartment

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When we stumbled upon the Eiffel Tower

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Berlin has beautiful architecture and history

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Currywurst! So delish

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Incredible view in Prague

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Prague

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Happy in Rome

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Breathtaking ruins in Rome

Have an amazing week! I can’t wait to go back.. xx Gabrielle

Mapping the PCT

Cartographie

Next summer, I’m planning to make an exciting trip with a good friend of mine. Maybe you saw the movie Wild with Reese Whiterspoon? If it’s not the case, I suggest you to rent it: it’s a good little movie. It’s the (true) story of a young woman going through a long journey on the West Coast, to help restore order in her personal stormy life. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) offers to this lost soul all the quiet and natural wonders required to reach a more peaceful state of mind.

Although really digne, Cheryl Strayed’s (the young woman) motive is quite different from mine. Watching the movie, my eyes widely opened themselves to this crazy adventure accross the US: this could really be a life changing event. Constantly surrounded by nature for more than 2500 miles (roughly 5 months of hiking!), crossing deserts, snowy crests, mystical valleys, giant forests… An enterprise where everyday is enchanting, where modern responsabilities of life are put aside. This is also what my friend glared at (at least I believe so) when sitting in the theater a few months ago.

“Hey, what about hiking the PCT next year?”

On my side, I also began copying out some maps. Gabrielle gave me recently, for my birthday, a cute Moleskine notebook, composed of enough pages to hold my daily thoughts on the trail. I thought it might be appropriate to draw in the first pages some broad maps of the route we’ll take across 3 different states (California, Oregon and Washington). Completely inexperienced in the art of cartography, I simply traced screen shots of GoogleMaps, dividing the itinerary in 4 zones.

Map representing the projected route in Oregon (red line), the forest patches (green stripes) and the stretches of water (in blue). Each point and letter designate a possible point of resupply.

Carte Oregon

Map representing the projected route in Oregon (red line), the forest patches (green stripes) and the stretches of water (in blue). Each point and letter designate a possible point of resupply.

For the record, I simply superposed a grid in Word on the screen shots. With the help of some basic little calculations, I then determined the raster’s resolution and the size of the picture, in order to adjust it to my notebook size.

Besides making the first pages of my notebook look pretty, such maps could become useful to make a quick assessment of the journey’s progress and to estimate the amount of days necessary before reaching the next resupply point. Also, I hope to be able to note everyday on it our current position, with a view to keep every details of this marvelous adventure.

In the following months, I’ll probably keep nattering about this PCT thing, while the preparation will become more and more polished up. It’s a great life experience that I’m really looking forward, I hope to interest you a little bit with it!

Paul