Day in the Black Forest town of Freiburg 

Our first morning in Freiburg, we headed out to the old city. Our walk was wonderful–all along the river that we heard the previous night. The air was clean, crisp, and just perfect. We found a nice bakery that we got some pastries to start our morning. The OJ was great–usually I have a hard time finding regular tasting OJ, and this hit the spot. We sat at a bench at the entrance gate of the old part of town and watched passer byers hurry off to work / school etc.

After our breakfast, we headed in, and found our way down such quaint streets lined with buildings and greenery hanging above us. We stopped at one shop called ‘Collage’, and it had the coolest items in it. We spent a long time just going through all the curated stuff that got our imaginations pouring for projects and such. We then wandered down the way and came into a huge plaza with the Muenster Church. There was the hustle and bustle of setting up stalls for food items going all the way around. We explored the fresh fruits, cheeses, honey, sausages, vegetables. Everything looked great.

We opted to have fresh sausages in bread for our lunch–in typical German fashion.

We continued wandering down the streets and explored the whole town looking at the shops and getting lost in the side streets. There’s a university in the town, so that gave the town a very laid back, unique feeling. All on our way home, everyone’s riding their bikes, sitting by the river and playing games or having a beer together. It really has a great feel.

The next day, we planned to go to Baden-Baden, based on research and personal recommendations, and we were a little stumped as to why. It was nice, and clean, and typically picturesque, however, it felt very old…like what Monte Carlo I would imagine to be. After searching for lunch after the original spot was closed, we had a nice lunch (albeit we had to move because of smokers), but overall the lunch was a great way to start our exploration of the city–and to find out why people recommended it!

We walked throughout the main shopping street, then headed up the mountain to some wonderful fields and took great pictures in a meadow. We continued on and winded back down the mountain and got dropped back into the main street again. I guess we did it all–and we were fine with going back, as comparitively, we really enjoyed Freiburg better anyway!

Once back in Freiburg, we found dinner at a recommended (yelp) shwarma place, and it was quite good. Everyone was out and about watching the soccer matches, so it was fun people watching while we ate. Robert then got a gelato and we headed home for the evening. Freiburg was a really great place!


Drive on the Romantic Road to Innsbruck

This morning we got to the car rental place to pick up our car for the next week. Everything went mostly smoothly, and we were in our Ford B-max little european car! Driving manual was a little stressful being in the city, but after about 15 minutes of traffic and tight corridors or cobbledstreets, we were out of Munich and on our way south to Innsbruck.

First, however, we drove the Romantic Road toward Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy tale like castle in Bavaria. We had beautiful weather, and the scenery was breathtaking. It was actually very fun to do the drive this time rather than going by train, and being able to take pictures from different vantage points by car was really great.

We made our way to the parking area and started our hike up the hill to the castle. Unfortunately, Mary’s bridge was closed yet again (it was also closed 5 years ago disappointingly so), which is such a shame, as this was the main view that you get to see of the castle that’s so beautiful. The hike was very nice up hill in the shade of the trees, and we arrived at the front of the castle. The tickets were already sold out for the day, but me having already been inside, I knew we weren’t missing much–it’s really the outside and position of the castle that is so beautiful in my opinion anyway. Why they don’t finish the castle and create hotel rooms for people to stay in? That would be an incredible use of all the space that currently sits completely unfinished.

After a while of hiking and walking around, we headed down to Innsbruck, Austria. In order to drive legally in Austria, you have to have a sticker in the window called a Vignette. They said when we cross the border, we’ll see signs for this and we can buy a 10-day pass. The total was about $10, which was very fair.

As we left the castle area, we went through winding roads. I thought I saw an EU sign which made me think we just crossed the border, and then immediately on my left I saw a little gas station, completely common, and there was a sign on the ground that said Vignette. I about slammed on the breaks and peeled into the gas station in order to get the sticker. I can’t imagine how many people would miss this due to the subdued nature of the signage. Luckily, we weren’t one of them, and were on our way with our legally driveable car in Austria!

Austria is definitely beautiful. And being able to drive around was great as the scenery was so breathtaking from rolling green fields, to high mountains surrounding little villages along the way. Innsbruck ended up being a lot bigger than I realized, and with our unlimited data plan, we were able to find our hostel quickly.

We were a little nervous during check in as we smelled smoke, and the hostel looked more like a prison, but it sufficed. Innsbruck lodging is of course expensive, so this was a good alternative. With the use of the car, it was easy for us to get around. That evening, we went to a Himalayan restaurant and had a great meal that was very decent in price. We enjoyed walking around the Old Town as it was quite lively with people outside eating in front of cafes and restaurants.

We found a cafe to have a famous Sacher Torte, and enjoyed our slice of chocolate cake outside people watching as they strolled the streets of Old Town. It was a truly European evening. After a wonderful evening, we headed back to the hostel and had a great night sleep.

Day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Before this trip, Mom had a friend / relative who was traveling through Europe roughly at the same time as me, and recommended that this little town was a must-see. So, I added it to our itinerary as a day trip! We started the morning out and got our Bayern Day Pass that let us use regional trains all day. We got a quick bite to eat at the cafes at the train station, and then got aboard our train to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber around lunch time.

The journey passed through some beautiful landscapes of the rolling hills of this part of Germany. Several farm like pastures and grape vineyards speckled the landscapes that were cleanly manicured like felt. The gentle rocking of the train made me sleepy, but we had a transfer right in the middle of our trip, so we stayed relatively alert.

When we arrived, we walked about 10 minutes before arriving at the ‘entrance’ to the walled city. I’d remembered just then that it was a walled city, so I immediately got excited of our adventure here. Stepping through the first gate, you are instantly beamed back in time walking atop cobbled stone streets lined with the wood beam architecture that you think of in fairy tales.

Shops also lined the streets selling everything from souvenirs, to fresh bread, to gelato. We started looking for lunch, and ended up at a bread house and got some freshly made pasta with house made bread. It was a delicious meal that we were able to eat in the square while listening to a concert being performed. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast, but it kept us cool during our exploration of the town.

After lunch, we zig zagged up and down all the streets inside the walls. It was a great place to explore and take pictures. It was simply the most stunning little village that you could imagine. We’ve actually lucked out with the crowds–while there are quite a bit of tourists, it’s not overwhelming at all.

We spent the whole afternoon just enjoying our stroll, and came upon a bakery selling the infamous Schneeballen (snow ball) which was like a cross of a funnel cake hardened into a ball dipped into chocolate.

We then headed back to the train station to catch our train home. As we awaited the train, it was delayed by 20 minutes.. then by 40 minutes, so we took a different route home. Thankfully, we really were able to make it home almost the same amount of time by going the different route.

Once we got home, we were quite hungry and had previously made reservations at the Afghani restaurant around the corner. While we missed our reservation, they didn’t seem to notice (or care), and we had an amazing lamb dish with my favorite Mantu dumplings. Robert’s first experience to Afghani food was a success!

Robert joins the fun!

This morning, I went to the train station to pick up Robert. The train arrived mostly on time, and it was great to see a familiar face from home in Munich! We reunited, and then headed off to our hotel to drop off our baggage nearby. Amazingly when we went to check in, our room was already available for us! This was really convenient as we were able to set down our bags and get settled in, before heading out for the rest of the day.

We then went back to Marienplatz to meet up with Johannes for a welcome Bavarian lunch for Robert. Johannes picked out a restaurant for us to go, and we had some great Bavarian food to welcome Robert. After our great lunch, we bid farewell to Johannes and headed out to look at some shops. After a little while, it began to rain, so we headed back to the hotel to rest a little before dinner.

That evening, we headed back out after a great nap and we crossed a river, and saw a little family of ducks crossing. One duckling got a bit separated, and got caught in the rush of water and started being swept away from the family. We watched and cheered him on to get back to the rest, but suddenly a black crow-like bird flew above, and swept down to the water as if to pick him up. Thankfully, he wasn’t taken, and we continued to watch and cheer him on while we peddled furiously upstream. Finally he made it to the same are the family had gone, so hopefully he was reunited.

We found a cute little restaurant called Hans im Gluck, where the inside looked like a forest with birch wood tree trunks everywhere throughout. After a really great hamburger and fries with an amazing dipping sauce. It was like a french onion dip, and I do not understand how we do not have something like this back home. It makes total sense. We all love French Onion Dip with Ruffles, why would we not eat it with our fries!!?

Reunion with Johannes

My arrival into Munich was easy. Johannes and I went to grad school together and it had been 10 years since seeing each other last. Luckily, we were able to visit this trip.
After a grueling flight aboard with several screaming children, a nauseated passenger in front of me who forced her window shade open the entire flight while everyone was trying to sleep, I landed safely in Munich and quickly found the Lufthansa bus to take me to Johannes’ apartment. After being let in and visiting for a bit, he went off to work and I was able to take a much needed nap–though not too long to make sure I could get on the time zone.

After showering and resting, I headed out to Marienplatz to look around and wait for Johannes to finish work. We then went to Viktrualmarkt biergarten to have a drink with his girlfriend Anne. We enjoyed our chatting about various topics including the upcoming presidential debate as well as the whole refugee crisis and its effect on Germany. Real light hearted stuff :)

We then went for a traditional Bavarian restaurant and got some great dishes. After our great dinner, we walked home and enjoyed a nice evening with some rain, but mostly dry walk home. I was indeed ready for a great nights sleep the following day.

And that I did. After an amazing slumber, I headed out for the day to check out the residenz museum and gardens. I enjoyed beautiful weather and cello music in the gardens. I shopped around a little and enjoyed a day of leisure.

When Johannes was done with work, we went to get bikes for a bike ride. We spent the whole evening exploring the northern part of Munich up to the Olympic park, stopped for currywurst for a snack, then continued on to a palace to see the grounds there. It was a great bike ride.

That evening we searched for some sushi and found a restaurant to try out. When we arrived he said they weren’t serving anymore that evening. So in Japanese I looked at the chef and asked if he was Japanese. He was and then I broke out with pleas of asking if we could just have some leftovers and such, but despite impressing everyone in the restaurant, my efforts failed :(. So we had to find another place nearby. That ended up being pretty good too, but the other one looked like a good place too!


Arriving into Tokyo from my flight in Chicago brought back many memories. For 1995, 20 years ago marked my first visit to Japan, exactly on this same Chicago – Narita flight. Luckily, the plane was a brand new 787, which also shaved off about 3 hours of flight time due to efficiencies that technology has brought to aviation! Arriving in Narita, I was excited about this trip, as every trip to Japan is a fun experience for me.

I arrived in the evening, and it was already dark and rainy. Weather forecasts had said due to typhoons that the weather would be rainy most of my time. I sat on board the train that went straight from Narita to the hotel I had planned to be easy access to both Narita and Haneda for my business partner coming in from St. Petersburg, Russia.

I got checked in, and went to a nearby sushi restaurant. I felt pretty good, a little tired from the journey, but more so excited to be in Japan. As I entered the tiny restaurant, I asked if they were open, and they welcomed me in. Only one other man sat at the counter, and they seemed a little nervous. Once I started speaking, they all laughed in relief to find out that I could speak Japanese, and they joked about how awful it would have been had I only spoken English, as they were too nervous and scared to try.

The sushi was fresh and I ate chef’s recommended. We chatted about why I was back in Japan, my time there as an exchange student, and how Japan has been such a big part of my life. The man at the counter joined in, telling us about his travels to France. He was very fascinated in my stories and the restaurant owner and wife were intrigued as well. By the end of the dinner, we had all laughed and discussed many topics, and while I was feeling quite tired at this point, I was enjoying this serendipitous meeting and engagement with strangers which is always my joy of travel.

As I got my things ready to go, the old gentleman sitting at the bar pulled out a 5 Euro bill and gave it to me as a ‘present’, as he said I would have more likely use of it than he. I bid everyone a gracious farewell for conversing with me, and with that, my trip to Japan officially began.

That night, I texted with Vlad as he arrived at Haneda late at night. I told him exactly how to get to the hotel and which exit was easiest to put him on the street right in front of the hotel. The next morning, we texted again and he set off to arrive at the airport. I estimated when he would arrive, so stood outside the hotel looking for him. After a bit, I went back in to make sure I hadn’t missed him some how and alerted the front desk that he would be checking in just in case I didn’t see him. After a while, he appeared from the underground and we got to finally meet face to face for the first time. He was excited and eager read-t0-go, so we started our day with my plans to see Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ginza.



 Watching Vlad’s excitement seeing these sights for the first time was allowing me to relive my love of Japan and explain things about Japan to someone who was interested in hearing them. Together, it seemed as though we fueled each others’ adventure and though these are places I’ve seen many times before, it was easy to be excited about them again because they were new to someone else.

The next day we headed to do the Yamanote route where we went to Meiji Jungu, Harajuku, Omotesando, met up with my friend Shoko, went to Shibuya, and Shinjuku. We walked a ton throughout the days so each night was nice to relax at our comfortable Apa Hotel.

The next day we did Odaiba, and took the monorail over to see the sight of Tokyo from a distance. We then toured around Shiodome to get some good evening views of the city atop the Dentsu building.

We then did a day trip to Kamakura, so Vlad could see a bit of outside Tokyo and see another ‘major sight’ for day tripping from Tokyo. The trip down was fun to see the sights from the train, and once we got into Kamakura village, the walk around town was nice to see how most of Japan really is. After exploring a bit, we had a nice ‘German lunch’ at a german cafe and headed back towards Tokyo. When we arrived back, we hit up Shiodome and Ginza again for some great evening and night shots.

The final day in Tokyo was spent walking around Tokyo Station, Ueno, the Imperial Palace, and simply exploring all over the city.

Niagara Falls

This morning, I woke up early after not sleeping well as I typically do when I have to ensure my waking up early. I made my way to the train station and got a muffin to bring on board with me for the little journey down to Niagara falls. Just 2 hours away, Niagara Falls seemed like a no brainer to add to my itinerary. Once we arrived at the Niagara station, we were let off literally in the middle of no where onto the grass. I laughed and asked the worker what are we supposed to do to get to the falls. He said, you can walk on the street about 45 minutes to get to them. It’s definitely not what I expected to see when disembarking the train at Niagara Falls.

So off I went and enjoyed a walk along the Niagara River until the kitchiness of Niagara started to unfold. The walk was nice and really didn’t take 45 minutes—maybe just a half hour, and I saw the falls in the distance. Coming up to the first one, it somehow wasn’t as big as I was expecting. I actually had envisioned a drop off that was even higher / deeper, and wondered if what I was seeing was everything. I then continued on to the bigger one, and as the mist cooled me from the hot sun, I found myself taking a few pictures and being content with what I’d seen. Someone had suggested going to Niagara on the Lake, a small community that had shops and restaurants, so I looked up the details of how to get there and there was a shuttle system that brought you over.

I got my tickets and was on my way out of Niagara to this little town. What I was told would take just about 20 minutes took 20 minutes plus a transfer for another 20 minutes plus another transfer for 10 minutes. It was definitely not as described in convenience so I had to calculate the time in which I would need to leave in order to catch my train that evening at 5:45PM.

My first mission was to find food, so I looked on yelp and found the highest ranked restaurant and headed there. Another farm to table type place, I got an amazing pasta dish with a beautiful raspberry refreshing lemonade with mint. The meal was perfect and I was completely fulfilled by the end. I then headed to walk the streets of all these little shops.

Unfortunately, it seems like all the shops were geared towards older women in their 50’s 60’s with clothing, jewelry, gardening knick knacks and the like. However, there were about 4 old timey candy stores that enjoyed a visit too J

After walking around a bit, I decided to head back to make sure I caught the hourly shuttle back to the transfer so I could get back to the train by 5:45. I left around 3:30 and got the 4PM shuttle back. By about 5PM I was on my walk back to the train station and when I got inside, I saw the screen say that the train had been delayed until 6:30. DRATS. I’d made so much effort to get back in time, and there’s literally nothing around—it’s like a ghost town around the station. Fortunately, a mother and daughter were there picking up her other daughters coming in from the US, and they were heading back to their hotel and offered me a ride to get food. She said it was just a couple of blocks away, so I agreed, and got in the car and headed off for the restaurants. What she said was 2 blocks, got farther and farther away and after about 7 minutes of driving, I said, I needed to be careful about how far I go so I can walk back. She said no problem that she would pick me back up since they had to go back anyway. I agreed since I wanted to eat so got into the city where I hadn’t been and checked out all their crazy stores and places. It was like a Gatlinburg with haunted houses, wax museums, guiness book of world records museum and such. I ended up getting a fast food hot dog just to make sure I could start heading back in case I couldn’t rely upon being picked up.

I checked the online schedule for the train and it was delayed again until 7:15PM so I relaxed a little and strolled around. The trashiness of it all wore me down quick and I was ready to head back to the station right when the woman texted me saying that her daughters texted saying it was arriving soon.

So I told her where I was and within 5 minutes, she picked me up and we all went to the station together. The hold up was customs as all the passengers have to get off the train, be cleared, to just get back on the train again. So, 7:15PM was our departure, and we headed back to Toronto after a long, adventurous and tiring day of great sightseeing.

My last day of Toronto was spent with Sean again as he picked me up when I needed to leave the apartment. Earlier that morning I got everything ready and headed to St Lawrence Market to find a bagel and walk around the beautiful marketplace. Once Sean picked me up, we headed to Queen West area for some lunch at a cute café. It was perfect!

Sean then drove me to the airport and we’ll look forward to seeing each other in Austin hopefully in a few weeks!


Arriving in Toronto by train was very easy. As I came out of the Union Station terminal, it was night time, and everyone was looking up with their cell phones taking pictures. When I turned around, fireworks had just begun for the PanAmerican games closing ceremony from the CN Tower. It was a pretty cool thing to see as a welcome to the city.

Uber is very available and useful, so I Ubered to my Airbnb and despite a cumbersome instruction to get the keys and entrance, everything worked out with access fine. This was the first time (well second) that I had been a little disappointed from the Airbnb unit. There were several things that weren’t super confortable such as the noise from the hallway, the noise from the AC, the temperature regulation of the AC, the water pressure in the shower, the cheap towels that stayed wet after one use, and the instruction to take garbage out despite a $50 cleaning fee. There were long hairs in the shower and bathroom, and the place was just not as clean as I’d expect for it being a higher priced unit. Anyhow, it was doable, and I got to bed.

The next morning, my friend Sean came to pick me up and he drove me to another condo unit he and his fiancé own which gives great views of the city from the top of the roof pool. We then went back to their condo and got bikes and he took me around downtown on bikes and over to the terminal to take a ferry to Centre Island. This place was amazing! Just off the coast of Toronto is a beautiful nature park with residential areas and no cars. Cute, quaint homes lined wooded streets with pathways for walking and bikes. Beaches with actual sand to Lake Ontario made for beautiful sun bathing and playing in cool water and after a great work up for appetite, we stopped at a restaurant which amazingly had great food and normal pricing.

After a good exercise of this, we continued biking around downtown and we went by a cool distillery area with shops and restaurants. We biked all the way back to their condo and put the bikes up and got our bathing suits to go back up to the pool on the roof top and enjoy a nice refreshing reward of our day excursion.

When we finished our swim, Sean brought me back to my place and we got ready to go to dinner and I met him back downtown for a sushi dinner at a place called Japango. We did a chef Omakase and enjoyed so much sushi that we couldn’t even finish part of the last dish that was brought out. He then took me to the Times Square of Toronto with great city lights and people watching. We walked around and we got some ice cream to continue our walk around.

We finally ended our fun filled day with a good experience of Toronto and fun conversation. I headed back home and went to bed so I could get up for another full day tomorrow.

The next day, I got up and headed back downtown to go to the CN Tower to take a look out. These places are such rip offs. It’s really too bad, but $40 to ride an elevator up a tower and look out was really not worth it at all. I guess it’s a once in a lifetime thing to do, but none the less, it was annoying that it’s so grossly overcharged. After the CN Tower, I headed to walk all around the city towards Kensington Markets, and then over to a sandwich shop to have lunch. It was so hot, the walking with a backpack and camera was getting annoying with feeling sweaty, so I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. After miles of walking around the city, I made my way back home for a quick recharge, and decided to go to a restaurant nearby for dinner after. I walked to this Farm to Table Italian restaurant that was highly ranked in Yelp, and was pleasantly surprised by a fantastic meal.

Hand made chicken dumplings with olive, Fig with goat cheese, and Arancini balls with Bolognese sauce created an amazingly cohesive meal of appetizers that worked perfectly together. I was very happy with my meal, relaxing and enjoying watching people walk by the restaurant. That evening I relaxed and got ready for bed for my day trip to Niagara Falls the next day.


Montreal, the city of Mont Royal.

After my delayed flight leaving Chicago, I had an easy trip to Montreal. Arriving, it was very straight forward and despite most signs being in French, I was able to get around just fine. I got a taxi to the address of my Airbnb, and perfectly, I opened the lid of the mailbox and the keys were inside just as promised. I got inside, and it was perfect. Nothing special, but exactly what I wanted. It had a hallway that opened to the bedroom on the left, then a living area kitchen and bathroom. Everything was laid out for me including toiletries, towels, and even maps of Montreal. I was excited for the next morning when I’d be able to explore around everywhere.

 The next morning, I got up and headed for what I thought was going to be a cute little café called Café Depot. Unfortunately, this was a chain like Starbucks but it did the job of getting me a good egg sandwich to start the day. I then met up with Pascal, a Montrealer, and we toured the entire city by foot. We walked through the neighborhoods and made our way to Vieux Montreal passing by the Hotel de Ville. We walked along the cobble streets looking at all the buildings and shops including the Marche Bonsecoure. We then stopped to have lunch at a nice restaurant nearby and enjoyed a couple of salads, one of which was a little odd. Pork with tzatziki, watermelon, feta, which had been recommended by the waitress named Pascale too, and she sported a completely non accented English which was impressive. Along with her, everyone else I’ve met in shops switches between perfect French and near perfect English like a light switch. It’s truly a bilingual city for sure–so much so I’d feel just silly trying to even say anything in French.

We then headed for the Montreal clock tower where we were able to climb up the stairs to the top of the tower to get a great view of Old Montreal. We also saw the 1967 blocks building where now wealthy Montrealers live. It’s an interesting series of blocks that look like they’re stacked upon one another which have been turned into really nice apartments.

 We then went back through the main center of town that was filled of food trucks and stalls serving great foods. I tried a wonderful pink lemonade sweetened with pure maple syrup. I then got my sweet fix (as if that wasn’t enough) from trying a cream filled donut. It was great. For dinner, we made our way to dinner for a great Steak Trite dinner. I had a St. Philip 10oz with bottomless fries! It was great! And well deserved after a long day touring throughout what felt like the entire city. We ended the night with plans for the next day to meet up with his friends.

 The next day I headed back to the Old part of the city to go to the Notre Dame church where Céline Dion got married :) I went to check the lines and decided to get lunch first and stopped at this nice little café run by Greeks. I had a great prosciutto sandwich with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad. After lunch I went back to the Norte Dame St Basilica church for an hour tour. It was interesting to learn about the church, but maybe I’ve been to many beautiful churches now where the tours don’t really show anything too unique much anymore. But we went through to both chapels as well as the back room where priests get ready and dressed. One interesting tidy bit was the white stones out front on the street are there to show the original footprint of the church in the plaza.

 After my tour, I went to meet up with Pascal and his friend Dominic. We walked around an area of town called Mile End for a while. We then went to meet Pascal and Dominic’s friends at a bar called Alexanderplatz. Here it was an outdoor industrial setting with a great atmosphere. All of Pascal’s friends were great and friendly, and we sat for a couple hours enjoying the sun going down and the perfect weather. A few of us ordered some tacos from the stand there, and it was surprisingly good. The sausages were a little dry, but the black bean one was delicious. Moist and a hint of curry, it was a great flavor and a nice homage to Austin :) After our hang out, we all took Bixi bikes to a restaurant that specialized in meatballs! It was so good! We ordered a smorgasbord of various types ranging from a chicken curry meatball, lamb tzatziki, cornbeef (smoked meat), risotto with fish. It was amazingly interesting and rich. We need a meatball restaurant in Austin! We ended our meal with a great cookie sandwich that had ice cream in between. I opted for the maple ice cream sandwiched by two warm chocolate chip cookies. I was absolutely stuffed! We then bike rided back through the city back to Dominic’s and hung out for a bit before I headed home.

The next morning, Pascal invited me to breakfast with his friends and had a great brunch. After a fun brunch full of laughing, we all went to Parco Lorienne after seeing Pascal’s cute apartment loft. We had blankets and games and played while enjoying the beautiful weather. We also watched as these guys tried earnestly to get their little grill lit.

 After a few hours of relaxing in the park, I left and went to look at some shops to see if I found anything specific I wanted from Montreal. I love their Bixi biking system. $5 and you can use the bikes all around the city for 24 hours. It’s perfect for exploring easily and the bike lanes make it very easy and safe to wander around and simply find a station to park the bike when you’re done. After exploring around the city so much, I usually would feel very confident in directions and at least which cardinal direction I was heading but I literally felt so directionally challenged I couldn’t ever tell which direction I was going toward, despite coming across the same streets over and over.

 That night, there was a fire works show of USA’s presentation. Over the summer there’s a big competition of fireworks displays and every Wednesday and Saturday a different country represents.. and Saturday was the USA. So I met up with Pascal and his friends again to view the USA entry–which was timed to music ranging from Vivaldi to Johnny Cash. It was an impressive display!

After the fireworks show, we headed back to Cacao 70, a dessert shop with various chocolate creations. I got an Iced chocolate as they were so slammed full after the show that there wasn’t much that you could really easily get as takeaway. It was good and a great way to end the night.

The next morning, I got my apartment ready to check out and put my luggage over at the owner’s apartment. I then got a bixi bike and ventured all around the town again until finding a place for lunch.. a great place called Burger Royal. It was a delicious farm to table type restaurant with delicious meat and house made cheddar cheese! I then wandered around until late afternoon and went back to pick up my luggage and chatted with the owner who was interestingly entrepreneurial so we had a nice chat about his business. I then Ubered to the train station and boarded the train with ease and got settled in for my journey to Toronto!