Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Since this is a new blog - let's start from the beginning!

I'm Claire!
I am a teacher, sports enthusiast, avid punner, and world explorer.
I still need to see everything.

For now, I'll use this space to talk about my BIGGEST EUROPE TRIP YET! but in the future may repurpose it to share my adventures in teaching. Also featured, other trips that I'm not done talking about yet.

What makes this the BIGGEST EUROPE TRIP YET!?
For anyone that doesn't know me, I've been to Europe, for everyone that does know me, let's talk about it more (you know you love it).

The first trip: I was 18, it was 2006, we went to Scotland for 2 weeks as a family to trace the MacGillivray roots. What I remember about this trip the most is how much I loved Edinburgh. Also, how boring 3 days on the Orkney Islands with no TV, wifi, or human interactions beyond parents and a younger brother can be for an 18 year old. We rented a car and let Dad drive us all over the country on the wrong side of the road, he's still recovering. Our trip started in Glasgow, then Edinburgh for a few days. We drove up to the Inverness area with a pitstop in Sterling then spent a few days near Dunmaglass (think Loch Ness...) where the MacGillivray's are from. After, we continued north to the Orkney Islands, saw some neolithic remains then ventured down the west coast to Skye. We stayed at an Inn frequented by Rob Roy and then flew back home.
This first trip was a big influence in me getting a BA in history at the University of Lethbridge. SO USEFUL! (the degree, not the trip, the trip was actually useful)

The second trip: I was 24, it was 2012, I was halfway through my teaching degree, Graham (the little brother) was doing an internship in Switzerland, the bank of Mom and Dad helped to finance a flight to see him. I met Graham in Paris, I had always dreamed of visiting Paris and have this weird thing with the Eiffel Tower, anyone who visited my apartment in Lethbridge can vouch for this. We spent three days in the Paris area. Our first day was spent literally all over Paris. We saw all the big things. Our second day was at Vimy Ridge (remember, history degree...). Our final day was spent wandering some markets and streets, nursing blisters. From here we took the train to Barcelona with a pit-stop in Marseille. Barcelona was a 5 day event, the high point being surprise tickets to see FC Barcelona play Real Madrid in game one of the Spanish Super Cup. We spent a day at Mont Serrat and another one at Vila Nova ila Geltru and the rest were just spent exploring Barcelona. Then, off to Switzerland. Graham had to work for this last week so I spent some time exploring Switzerland on my own, using his place in Baden as a base. I went to Interlaken, Zurich, and Bern. The last weekend we went to Bellinzona with two of his roommates. Then Graham got peed on by a frog and I went home.

The third trip: I was 24, it was 2012, I was 3/4 of the way through my teaching degree, Graham was doing an internship in Switzerland, Mom and Dad bought me a flight for a Christmas present. Ok, so it's actually only 4 months after and I am literally the most spoiled 24 year old in Calgary, but it's not like I don't appreciate it, it's also not like I didn't go broke paying for the travels anyways (but that's what student loan are for right?!). I went back to see Graham, this time starting in Switzerland, he was a jerk and went to Barcelona before I arrived so I took off to Stuttgart in Germany for their Christmas market. Went back to Baden and visited the Zurich and Basel Christmas markets and took off to Italy for a few days. I stayed in Milan but took a high speed train to Rome FOR A DAY, who knows what I was thinking, but it was Rome and the opportunity was there. Graham and some friends met me in Milan and we took off to Budapest for Christmas with Vicky and Philip, two of his friends from Vienna and Munich, respectively. We had five-ish days in Budapest, another Christmas market, a wonderful Christmas day, and then flew to Istanbul via Berlin for 3 days. We landed on one side of Berlin, took a train straight through it, and then spent 4 hours at the airport on the other side before making it to Istanbul. We spent a few very busy days in Istanbul and then it was time for me to fly back home again.

THE BIGGEST EUROPE TRIP YET!: The last three trips have been between 2 and 3 weeks - this one is 4, therefore bigger. This trip, I am 26, it is 2014, I am done school and as of Friday will be done my first year of teaching. I'll be flying to London to meet Gordon, my Godfather, The Godfather (just kidding...) for 10 days. Mostly in London, but also Nottingham and then Paris. In Paris, Gordon will take off back to Saudi Arabia and I will meet my friends Dani and Steph. Steph and I will venture off on our own for a couple of days in Caen to visit Juno Beach and drink cider, then we'll all rendezvous at Gare du Nord in Paris and go to Brussels. While in Belgium we will be visiting Ypres (think battle of Passchendale), Bruges, and Antwerp. Next up is Amsterdam for a few days, Berlin for a few more, and then a final stop in Barcelona for some sangria and lounging on the beach.

Some other trips worth mentioning: Last summer I went to Nova Scotia for 10 days with Dad as a grad gift, I like to think of it as a reward for finally doing something useful at University. In 2007 I went to Mexico for a week to build a house in Puerto Penasco. The summer I turned 11, also the summer that I had Chicken Pox, we took a family road trip across Canada for 5 weeks. Also countless trips to the West Coast, Okanagan, and Rocky Mountains. In 2010 I did a 5 day road trip to Mount Rushmore too. We can talk about all of this later though.

Stay tuned!