Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter is here!

This is what the weather forecast looked like a week ago:

A week later it turns out that this forecast was somewhat accurate, except that it turned out to be much colder than expected! On Wednesday morning Nolan posted this picture:

The -28 came with a windchill of pretty close to -40. So yes, pretty cold! I missed out on some of the cold in Ottawa, since I was hiding in Sault Ste Marie. For you who don't know where Sault Ste Marie is, it's about 800 km Northwest of Ottawa. And it was almost colder than Ottawa! I was visiting colleagues at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre and attended a seminar of Enhanced Forest Inventory at Sault College. The hotel I was staying at was a good half hour walk from GLFC and I managed to walk in every morning, even in -28 temperatures (and wind chill of -35). As long as you dress for it, it's definitely bearable. The week itself was very good as well, and made me realize again how valuable some face2face time can be, and how much I like spending time in the regions. Not that Ottawa is bad, but still...

The canal is now officially open for skating, so I might just have to bring my skates to work for a quick skate at lunch time!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Nolan's been bugging me that I haven't updated my blog in a while. 'I'm checking every day, and there is nothing new to see. Don't you think it's time for an update?'  Maybe time to update the background picture as well, since we're not in a fall season anymore. A picture of a deepfreeze with serious ice build-up would be more appropriate.

But I'll take this opportunity to post some pictures of Paris and the Netherlands. We had a great trip, had a wonderful Christmas with my parents and Gijsbert (too bad Monika and Rob were not there, but understandable), caught up with good friends and enjoyed Paris. Too bad nothing was going on for New Year's. But still, it was fun.

A beautiful rainbow on our way back from Wijk bij Duurstede to Amerongen.

Dams were open in the Rijn due to the high water level.

Le Sacre Coeur



Le Louvre

Notre Dame

Louvre (and the line up to get in)

Locks of love

Does this need an explanation?

Arc de triomphe

Eiffel tower all lit up.  It will get the blinking lights going for about 2 min every hour on the hour. And that's what happened at New Year's. Nothing more than that. Just some blinking lights. Oh well...

I might have to photoshop my head in.

There were some cool lights though.

The weirdest thing happened on our last day in Paris though. The hotel we stayed at was nice and one of those typical Paris-type hotels. Nothing strange about it. We had breakfast at the hotel every morning, which included those delicacies that France is known. Yum!
Our last evening at the hotel, I had a shower, but noticed that the water was getting cold. Yep, we ran out of hot water. They told us that the hot water tank was broken, and since it's January 1st, no technician could come. They'd fix it tomorrow. That put a bit of damper on things, since we wouldn't be able to shower the next morning (our last morning before taking the train back to Amsterdam).
The next morning we wanted to go downstairs for breakfast, but there would be no breakfast. They were busy packing the place up! We asked about breakfast, but they told us we had to go somewhere else because they were closing that day!! As in, this is the last day we're open and having guests! So weird... We had breakfast and then came back to the hotel to pick up our stuff and checked out. I did mention that we were disappointed we didn't have hot water so we did have a nice discount. But it was still very strange how the hotel just 'closed'. Luckily we went home that day, so we were not affected too badly. But it made for a good story!