Continental Breakfast

I’ve traveled a bit in my time (the image above is Sly and I standing below the Sacre Coeur in Paris, July 2014) and enjoyed my fair share of “continental breakfast” but I’m not sure I feel exactly the way this guy does.


I must admit a certain excitement when I get the chance to partake of something that reminds me of my travels.  Sometimes it’s something as simple as a continental breakfast which reminds me of my trip to Europe with Sly and the Bessons.

Sitting in the tiny dining area at the base of our small hotel(see below). Collecting the bits and pieces that go into the breakfast there: fresh croissant, yogurt, coffee, tea, real butter, muesli, fruit.  Seriously good stuff and all of it, seemingly, fresh from a market. Surrounded by other travelers, some from within France, some from without. Yes, the portions are smaller than I’m used to but there’s probably a reason I come back from vacation in Europe 20 pounds lighter after a month!

With this bounty spread out before you, a sense of preparation for a day of exploration and excitement unfurls in your mind! What will the day hold? What new things will you see? What experiences will occupy your day? Will you get lost on the Metro? Will you find a neat little ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant serving traditional French fare at a reasonable cost? Will you walk among the locals without giving away your status as a traveler? So much potential for new adventure!

So I can really appreciate the joi de vie he expresses over something so simple as a free breakfast. There’s plenty of things that remind me of my travels and the continental breakfast at some chain hotel is actually one of them.  The Shining twist at the end was something that my cinephile core can really appreciate.

The Hotel Modern, if you’re looking for a place to stay in the middle of Paris, was quite nice and is the memory I use when describing the breakfast above. Decent enough with some very nice people manning the desk. If you’re looking for a cheap two star in the middle of Montmarte you could do worse than book this hotel.

Back to the Real World

Edit: I never did post this. Not sure why. Perhaps too bitter? Fuck it. It’s going up.


We’re back home. yay.

Perhaps not the most interesting way to phrase it but there it is. Three weeks in Europe, bouncing around and seeing the sites, really makes you want to stay. Like seriously stay. I considered it for longer than I probably should have.

One negative aspect of living freely while traveling is seeing so many “possibilities”, and probably not valid possibilities at that. You look around at some location, the locals going about their daily business and think to yourself, “You know, I could do this. I could do this right here. I don’t have to go back.”

Of course, that’s bullshit. There’s so many things you’re not thinking about when romanticizing the possibility of sticking around in a foreign country: where are you going to sleep? How are you going to find work? What about health insurance while you’re in a country that’s not going to be happy if you fuck yourself up and need hospitalization? None of these things pop into mind when you’re gazing lovingly at that pretty bridge or amazing vista in the distance. No, you just want to  experience those things day in, day out while you live there.

Sure, the idea is great but the reality really sucks; trust me, I lived it. For almost a year I lived in London and during the time I was trying to survive, I didn’t see a goddamned thing that could be called a tourist attraction. And that’s what happens most of the time; you’re so busy working and commuting that you don’t make time to do the sightseeing you thought you’d do.

Another Zaal Trip Coming to a Close

We’ve only got another couple of days left in our summer vacation; time to return back to Canada where ‘real’ life prevails.

Back to work, at a job I’m not sure will fulfill my requirements for the future. Back to a shitty little apartment, that doesn’t fulfill anyone’s requirements. Back to a boring town that shuts down around 2200 unless you like going to the bars to drink your face off and deal with the Cro-Magnons which seem to live in those locations.  Don’t even get me started on the dearth of cultural opportunities we don’t have in Calgary. Wait… is that  a double negative?

To say that I don’t belong in Calgary sounds… disingenuous at best but it’s hard to argue that it makes for a decent ‘base’ of operations for travel. Not as good as, say, Toronto but that city has its own issues that I’m not sure I’d be happy with. It’s a central city with an International Airport with Oil and Gas money flowing through the streets. Good place to work but a great place to get away from.

As I get older, I realize that I am truly nomadic in temperament, always thinking forward to the next time I can be on the road, doing something new and interesting, seeing how different cultures deal with things so very differently that we do.

Here’s an example: this morning at breakfast, Sly pointed to the jam sitting on the plate of one other diner the next table over. It was in a small, glass container with a metal lid holding an individual portion. It was, actually, a very small jar of jam. Back in Canada, you would have received the same condiment in a plastic cup with a tear-away lid. I can only imagine someone from the UK showing up in Calgary, maybe Cora’s or Phil’s, and having these shitty little packages sitting on their table. How quaint, they would say, when in reality it’s probably bloody shocking to them.

I know I’m probably nit-picking, but I appreciate the ‘old’ societies. They have different worries than we do and they concern themselves with the small societal problems a whole hell of a lot less than we do. Want to put some boobs in your movie? PG! Want to show someone getting their head blown off? 18+! Seems sensible to me.

Their cities are more refined with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years to make themselves better. Transit systems work the way they are planned to. London Transport services the city with its population of eight million and they do it well. Calgary Transit can’t seem to service one million.

And here’s the rub: I KNOW it sounds like some silly traveler on a trip enamored with a city he’s only been in for a couple of weeks. Fuck that, I used to live here and know about this city, warts and all, and would still choose to emigrate here if I got the opportunity.

Right on schedule, I’m getting maudlin just before my return to Canada. This always happens so I am prepared. I want the rest of my trip to rock and make it home in one piece.

So I can do it all again next year. 😉

Dunkeld Falls @ Old Military Road
Dunkeld Falls @ Old Military Road