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New Blog

For all our subscribers we have added another blog on our Aussie adventures. You can serch Markotsis through travellers point and will find it easily

Hugs to all xxx

Posted by JenniM 06:15 Comments (0)

Friends and fun

sunny 23 °C

In our time in Montreal everything has seemed to be in fast forward. As we looked forward to what new things we may experience and what the furture will bring we've also been blessed with many new friends which you've caught a glimpse of in some of our entries.

This entry is just a little acknowlegement of the wonderful people we have met and all the fun we've had cause I know with certainty that without them we surely would have had a much harder time adjusting.

My very first bout of sanity came in the form of St Stephen's womens bible study. I came to you a bit lost and with a little girl who wouldnt leave my side. Eleni (and I) feel soooo at home with you all, you've encouraged me and my relationship with God. My confidence has grown and with that so has Eleni's. She loves to be there, loves to play with her friends and hates it when we have to go home! Your a sanity saver and a safe haven.

What do you get when you combine some Aussies, a couple of Austrians, a Scot, and a Canadian? The most splendiferous bunch of people anyone could hope to meet! For the Mums/Dads group which has been going for such a short time, I'm glad we met you. Eleni and I have loved the fun we've had together. The playdates have helped my sanity and Elenis social skills! You guys are great and I'm glad I could do my bit to help bring you all toegther.

St Stephens congregation and our LW friends. On so many levels I feel like we've taken more than we've given. You've been a wonderful place for us to be refreshed. The first Church we stumbled across and in English, we knew it had to be God ordained. We feel ready for the next part of our lives because of you. We've learnt so much and grown together as a family and as individuals, thankyou from the bottoms of our souls.

Our friends from St Stephens, too many to mention but you know who you are. You've dined us and wined us (well sometimes beer was involved), you celebrated birthdays, occasionally picked up the broken pieces, loved us and prayed with us and generally made us glad to be here and be with you, thankyou.

Especially to you my Austrian friend. Where would I have been without your hugs and your cookies! Eleni and I have enjoyed being a part of your family, our outings and all the fun we've had. I know we will be friends forever no matter where forever will take us.

And so with that it is farewell not goodbye. We llok back to running into you all soon be in it your part of the world or ours. Stay tuned for the next part of the journey :)

Posted by JenniM 11:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Niagara Falls

rain

Just managing to squeeze in a bit of tourist travel before Jen and Eleni left the country, and having realised that although Niagara falls isn’t that close to Montreal, it’s a lot closer than Brisbane, we packed up and headed of to Niagara Falls.

It helped that friends of ours from Marty’s Uni days came over from Cambridge to visit us and were enough of an excuse to hire a car and drive through Ontario to get to Niagara Falls.

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When we got to the falls and saw the ice on the water that was at least 2 stories high we understood why the maid of the mist boats weren’t operating. The falls were spectacular even in the cold with ice formations reaching back up as the water cascaded down. The falls are also illuminated by night giving a different perspective on this natural wonder.

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The shops, restaurants, theme rides and shows were over the top tacky. It was wild. We can only imagine how much bigger and tackier the real big places like Las Vegas and Reno are in comparison.

I (Marty) had a ball introducing Bill and Fiona to Hard Rock Cafés. Eleni danced her heart out and the four of us adults stuffed ourselves in the company of rock paraphernalia. We loved catching up with Fi and Bill, enjoyed sharing their special news and loved hanging out with them in Montreal and Niagara Falls, it was sad to see them go and they wandered across the USA border for more adventures.

Jen had heard about a less famous town close to Niagara Falls called Niagara by the Lake. Marty was happy with the diversion because all along the road from the highway to the town were lined with wineries, however we limited ourselves to one due to time constraints, the amusing thing was as we walked in the people next to us asked for a bottle of the Australian shiraz. It turns out one of the winemakers was Australian and his brother came out to give tastings. Once he clarified that I followed the Brisbane Lions or any AFL team then he was ok.

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Another great diversion at Niagara on the Lake was it was the only place in Canada we had found anything like an Aussie meat pie. We admit to feeling a little nostalgic as we sat down on the lake edge indulging in hot pies and sausage rolls – what a way to end a fabulous trip!

Posted by JenniM 03:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Tenants and Trouble

semi-overcast -4 °C

Oh the joys of renting.

We thought we were being generous in giving our landlord 6 weeks notice before leaving only to find out you need 3 months. Who knows that far ahead what they are doing! (We certainly didn't!) So we took on the task of looking for new tenants only to find out our landlord is rather picky.

Within minutes (literally) of placing an add on craigslist we had emails and the phone hopping with intersted people. Apparently even with the rent hike its cheap for this area. We had close to 30 people through, this was a little strange and amusing for Eleni and she had varying reactions to the many different visitors from being really shy to almost hugging one guy she just met. We then selected someone we thought was a good prospect only to have him rejected by the landlord. We moved down the list of people who had left contact details only to find they were no longer interested. After some stress and many prayers we decided at the last minute to let a fellow visiting from the US through to look at our place.

Lo and behold he is keen, so we thought well lets give this a shot and our landlord actually likes him. We spent the night praying that it would all go smoothly. Next day they are here signing the lease and we are free. How fabulous is our God.

Now all we need to do is sell off and give away all the furniture we spent the past 11 months purchasing. This is slightly less daunting now that we know how quickly craig's list works.

Posted by JenniM 18:10 Archived in Canada Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Quebec City and surrounds

snow -10 °C

Hi All,

We realised with not much time left in Montreal that we should get out and see some of the other parts of this provence and country. So on the first weekend in March we hired a car and headed to the provicial capital Quebec City to check it out in its 400th year.

We managed to score great accommodation in a hostel inside the old city and took ourselves on a self guided tour through the snow (though some may say it was a minor snow storm). The old city is beautiful with some amazing architecture and history.

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Following our Lonely Planet guide's walking tour we wandered around the upper city and down to the ports for hot chocolate. We took the Funicular (wall climbing, glass walled elevator) back up into the upper city.

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On the Saturday it was snowing fairly heavily, but Sunday was fine and Sunny. We drove out to the Ice Hotel - a functioning hotel that is constructed entirely out of ice. The outer structure is made out of snow that has been passed through a snow blower 3 times to blend it up, the inside is sculpted out of ice shipped in from a bottled water company to ensure it is crystal clear. The interior is maintained at -5 to -9 degrees C inside to prevent any of it from melting.

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Eleni loved the ice (and had a lick of the doorway), she absolutely loved the slide they had inside as well.

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A highlight for the grown ups was the ice bar where we got to drink local apple ice wine out of pure ice glasses. Very yummy.

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We went on the guided tour which told us that overnight guests are given a -40 degree rated sleeping bag and training to survive through the night below freezing (don't leave your contact lenses/dentures in water on the night stand!).

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We also learned that they had an excess of bookings this year and so built 4 igloos in the grounds. The igloos were awesome. I can now say I've crawled into and sat inside a real igloo!

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After the Ice hotel we went and visited a "1st nations" village -set up on an Amerindian reserve the indiginous peoples have created a mini village showing their ways of life over 400 years ago before the Europeans came. They had a long house which this particular tribe were known to build, canoes built the traditional way, fish drying and smoking areas and a teepee!

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A really awesome trip, definitely something to return to in the summer when everything is open!

Posted by JenniM 17:17 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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