Cruise part 2 – Rome & Vatican City

Rome. The eternal city. Or, the city of a million tourists.


Don’t ever try to do Rome and the Vatican in a day. It will suck your soul. Especially trying to battle the 18 billion Asian tourists in the Vatican who don’t quite grasp the concept of “right of way” or “personal space”. It’s a shame really, because the Vatican is pretty impressive, regardless of what you think of the Catholic Church. I found myself just wanting to get out. I couldn’t appreciate the Sistine Chapel, what with the guards yelling “QUIET!!” every few minutes, and people taking fresco-ruining-flash-photos of the newly restored ceiling. I was so stressed out I even missed the dead popes. Seriously, that would have been my favorite.

Since Rome is obviously not on the coast, we had to take a train (packed, naturally) there, which took about an hour. We did a cheapo tour which was fine. Until we learned that my mom and sister got a private, driven tour..

The coliseum is pretty great. There is a reason it’s so famous. We didn’t go in this time, but I had done that already a few years back. We also didn’t do Palatine Hill, which was kind of a shame because I’m a little bit obsessed with the Romans… Oh well, next time.

The Pantheon is beautiful and shows how bright and colorful Roman buildings were. Preserved because it was converted into a church.

Trevi Fountain. Too busy to throw a coin in, guess I’m not going back!

Spanish Steps

I just kept thinking, if these walls could talk…

The sheer scale.. still can’t believe I missed the dead popes.

Apparently, there are over 5 million visitors per year to the Vatican. That comes down to around 14,000 per day. They are open from 9-4, so that’s 2,000 people per hour. And it feels like it..

Next up: Naples and Herculaneum.

Updates and Cruise part 1

Hello friends!

I’m alive and well and while it appears I may have dropped off the face of the earth, I promise it was only off the face of the interwebs! Turns out, our internet at the cottage was really slow and to be honest, it was too beautiful of a summer to be spending it inside on the computer!

Summer was amazing, from May when I left for a Mediterranean cruise with my family, through the 3 months I spent lounging lakeside in Georgian Bay. Heaven, basically.

But now I’m back and I’m getting back into the swing of things. Like cars, and TV and having a bottle glass of wine with lunch frowned upon..

Anyways.. the cruise. We left from Barcelona; went to Villefranche-sur-Mer, between Nice and Monaco; to Livorno, the port for Florence or Pisa; Civitavecchia, the port for Rome; to Naples; to Kotor, Montenegro; to Venice; to Dubrovnik, Montenegro; and back to Barcelona, where we stayed an extra 4 or 5 days. To say it was great would be an understatement. I’ve never cruised before, but if I did, I would definitely pay the extra money to upgrade to whatever “first class” is called on the cruise line. For us on Celebrity, it was “Aqua Class” and it was amazing.

So, away we go with the photos!

The view from our room’s balcony while leaving the industrial port of Barcelona.

Villefranche was much more scenic than Barcelona and we had to tender in – this was a theme, if there was a tender, it was a pretty city. Our timing here, however, was not ideal. We were there during the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix so there were no taxis available and the train drivers were on strike (of course they were) so we couldn’t really leave the town. So we wandered, took pictures, ate overpriced mediocre food and got back on the ship. It was a beautiful, if not slightly disappointing town.

Up next: Roma baby!

Happy Canada Day!

Yay! It’s Canada Day and the long-awaited long weekend! So many people are up at the cottage and my dance card is filled! Picnic this afternoon and a hog roast tonight!

Hold that Canadian flag high, turn up the Hip, and have an ice cold Sleeman*! Happy Canada Day everyone!

*insert Canadian beer of choice

And I’m back in (online) business!

Oh my goodness, people. I’m alive. Very much so actually, with a golden tan and loads of vitamin D from my cruise followed by 2 weeks (already!?!) at my cottage :) Not to rub it in, but things are pretty good. Minus the whole paying rent for 5 months for a flat I can’t live in without having a job to pay for it. But you know.. silver lining and sh*t.

Anyways, be prepared for some way random postings.. I have internet(!!!), but no wireless(boo), which means that anything I use for (everything) is basically unusable. As is my camera because I don’t think my mom wants random pictues of stuff on her laptop.. So basically, until I can get my computer working (it’s going to take a nice long talk with Roger’s – shudder) my posts are going to be thoughts. Musings. General boasting that I am paradise and most people are working. I have a feeling I’m going to be boycotted…

Tickle my Fancy Tuesday – Link Love

Anyone want to guest post? I won’t have direct access to internet so my postings will be pretty spare.. You can write about anything you like! I would so really appreciate it :) Email me!

1. Free (yes! free!) Instagram filters as Photoshop actions! Download here.

2. Oh my god.. this is so disturbingly creepy. Please check your facebook privacy settings. Frequently. They change all the time.

3. Because it makes me laugh every time. Definitely a good expansion from a simple Toy Story idea. T-Rex Trying.

4. The design for 2012 Serpentine Pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei has been released! I really wish I go see it! I love going to them each year.

5. A few of these photos of the Earth’s most dangerous terrain really made me feel funny.. I think I’ll keep my travels slightly less suicidal, thank you very much.

6. …and just in case your heart rate isn’t high enough, here are more photos of people too high off the ground. They are Himalayans collecting the honey of the world’s largest honeybee.

7. Aw.. remember on Friday when I said that I cry really easily at anything remotely emotional? Well I definitely teared up at this – First Position – a film about kids from around the world who want ballet scholarships. Amazing.

8. While I have wanted to experience bioluminescent plankton for a while now, this photo has just bumped the experience into my bucket list. A trip to the Maldives isn’t anything to sneeze at either ;)

9. Whoa. Robots controlled by brainwaves. The part where the quadriplegic woman drinks the coffee made me a bit choked up!

My week in Instagram

Anyone willing to guest post anytime in the next 5 months? I won’t have easy access to internet so my postings will be pretty spare.. You can write about anything you like! I would so really appreciate it :) Email me if you do! sydney (dot) wilson (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks in advance!

This week has been a bit hectic, mostly as we had my goodbye party at work and (more) guests arrive. All I want to do is sleep and nurse my horrible cold… Basically, I took no pictures. Instead, I chose to relanx and enjoy myself, not be the big snapper :) This is from our boat cruise from Westminster to Richmond.

It’s a gorgeous trip and I’d totally recommend it to anyone in London :)

If you want to see all the other photos I’ve taken, you can follow my pictures here and purchase them here! Are you on Instagram? My screen name is sydthewyd, hope to see you soon!

14 claps per second

Oh yes. Highly important video for you. This had our entire office looking like tw*ts and clapping really fast punctuated by extremely hard laughter. Basically, we looked like we were having a really fun seizure.

Go on, try it. Try to beat 14 claps per second. And try not to laugh. Impossible.

14 claps.

Per second.


So this is a little embarrassing as I was “tagged” by three different people and I never really did anything with it.. So, here are are my answers. Finally.

Questions from Colette
food – Pizza. There are so many varieties that I could eat a different kind every day!
memory – Anything up at Georgian Bay.. it’s basically heaven on earth.
book – Right now? The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Gorgeous book and she really has such a lush writing style.
smell – Air, right after a rainstorm.
colour – Blues to look at, greys and black to wear.
handmade gift – I’ve actually never had a handmade gift.. :( A friendship bracelet when I was a kid maybe?
music – Is this a joke?! How can I narrow my music down to a favorite? Right now I’m really liking Lana del Ray though :)
place – Georgian Bay, Canada. Hands down.
fictional character – Hmm.. Everyone from Swatpaz videos? Does that count?
hobby – Sewing and embroidering. Yeppity yep yep!
cake – Oh boy.. Cake? I do like a good chocolate cake. And carrot cake. But funfetti cake is really good too (I think that is because they don’t have it in the UK!).. After saying all that, though, I have to say, I’m not a super huge fan of cakes. I like pie more ;)

and from Krista:
1. Starch or no starch? I’ve never used starch.. so I guess no starch!
2. Prewashing or not? I’m lazy. No prewashing.
3. Solids or prints? Mostly prints with a neutral (usually white with me) but I have some solids ideas in my head :)
4. Dogs or cats? Both. Each holds a special place in my heart (and life).
5. Big quilts or little quilts? Well.. I’ve only made one of each. I really enjoyed both but I think I like big ones better. I feel more accomplished.
6. Thrifting or buying new? I like buying new and adding some thrifted stuff in.
7. Wood floors or carpet? Wood. Hands down.
8. Beer or wine? Wine. Parents own wineries and mom is a winemaker. Our family “motto” is from the breast to the bottle.
9. Staying in or going out? Generally, staying in. I’d rather have friends over than go to a friends, etc.. I’m so lame!
10. One fabric line per quilt or mix and match? Mostly a line, but swap some out/add some in as I like.
11. Watching tv or listening to music? While sewing? TV. Cleaning/cooking/eating? Music.

And Annika:
1. What or who would you like to be reincarnated as? I honestly have no idea.. As much as I wanted to say something really witty, nothing is coming to me.
2. What is your favourite crap TV series? Does QI count? Ooh.. I really like Antiques Roadshow but Embarrassing Bodies is really gross/awesome.
3. Which country is your absolute dream travel destination? Vietnam
4. Do you have a nickname? Syd the Wyd ;) Also, Sydders, Syd, Squid, Squidward, Squidney, etc…
5. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning person, I feel much more productive in the morning.
6. The Cookie Monster. Marry, snog, avoid? Hmm.. avoid?
7. If you had created Earth, what would it be like? No religion. Created too many conflicts.
8. What’s your favourite food? My mom’s pesto.
9. What’s your favourite song? That’s like asking someone which child is their favorite. Not fair.
10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To be more a doer. I’m working on it :)
11. Would you rather read Fantasy or Science Fiction? I don’t really know. Probably Fantasy though, that’s Harry Potter, right?

I’m not going to tag anyone in specific and I’m not even going to ask 11 questions. I’m just going to leave it at this :)

My week in Instagram

Anyone want to guest post anytime in the next 5 months? I won’t have direct access to internet so my postings will be pretty spare.. You can write about anything you like! I would so really appreciate it :) Email me if you do! sydney (dot) wilson (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks in advance!

We have been super busy – we’ve had guests every weekend for the past 3 weeks (and have a friend staying tonight and another couple coming on Wednesday for the weekend..) and I am leaving next Tuesday! So much to do and no time to do it… That’s the way it is for everyone, right?

Last week, friends and their 2 kids came and stayed with us and we did a little boat cruise down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich – I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It’s a great way to see London, without dealing with London crowds. We were thinking of going and seeing the Cutty Sark but prices are a bit ridic for people of modest means… instead I just took some pictures! I do want to go at some point.

We also spent a morning walking around Crystal Palace Park. I love that such a wonderful, historical park is pretty much right on my doorstep. And no London crowds.

This weekend, another couple came down from Stoke-on-Trent and we spent Saturday Boris biking it around the city. If people have never used the Boris bikes, I totally recommend it! They’re amazing! We went all over – starting at Borough Market, walking to Monument, cycling to Spitalfields via The City. Taking pictures of Leadenhall Market, Lloyds and the Gherkin. Coasting with our legs sticking straight out. Going up Brick Lane and smelling the amazing mixture of curry and bagels. Down Old Street and the terrifying roundabouts, through Clerkenwell to Holborn where we stopped at the AMAZING Princess Louise pub. I must take my dad here.

It’s been a great few weeks and while I am exhausted, I am so excited to see my friends this week!

If you want to see all the other photos I’ve taken, you can follow my pictures here! Are you on Instagram? My screen name is sydthewyd, hope to see you soon!