Roderich, Maple Ridge, BC, Canada


Posted Feb 22, 2008, 9:03 pm
I'm at home in Germany and feeling a bit lonely. We saw a picture of Emil today, the first one since he left here to 'go on vacation'. He seemed to be enjoying himself and if he thinks he can make me jealous he going nuts. I'll show him how I can enjoy myself and I'll beat him at any game when we see each other again! I already studied some strategies in case he actually learns how to catch a ball.


Posted Feb 24, 2008, 2:29 pm
This it me at home with Loki. He's posing for the camera.

Posted Feb 24, 2008, 3:07 pm
Today it's warm (14°C) and sunny and we decided to go on a little adventure: We went to explore the ruins of the Hohenburg, former Castle Homburg. Excavations are under way there but it's hard because the castle has been built, razed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Here you can see a plan of the fortifications of the 17th/18th century:
Sometimes one can see the different levels of construction:
There were lot's of curving staircases and I dared to climb them all:
This archway would be too small for people today.
Here was the Residence of the Counts of Saarwerden in 1123.

Posted Feb 24, 2008, 3:22 pm
This is the city I live in:

The winter forest:
A good place for a midday rest:
I looked into this old tree stump for see if there were any animals hiding there. You can't see it well in the picture, but it's actually I tunnel and light comes through from the other side. I saw a little lizard sun bathing but it didn't want to have its picture taken with me. That's silly, I wouldn't have eaten it!  :rolleyes:

Posted Feb 27, 2008, 3:59 pm
I am really excited. Today I am leaving for Florida where shana10214 is waiting for me. I got a comfortable padded envelope, because I'll be taking a plane there. Still, I can't wait to get out again and see what Florida is like.

Posted Mar 8, 2008, 1:14 pm
I have arrived in America! I was greeted by some fellow TVs. I didnt get to meet Resi as she was packed up in her envelope. After, I took a rest in the TV chair, or as Andrea calls it.

Posted Mar 8, 2008, 1:30 pm
After a very long rest I was ready to start my journey. First of course I needed to read their paper, "The Tampa Tribune."
Everything is in English! I immediatley went past the other sections, to be fave section! The sports of course! Sorry for the shaky picture. After, Andrea will take me around the house as it is to early to go anywhere.

Posted Mar 8, 2008, 7:04 pm
Andrea told me that both of her parents graduated from Ohio State. So in this house we are big Buckeye fans!!


Posted Mar 8, 2008, 7:07 pm
Andrea taught me a few Ohio State songs.

Here is across the field.

Fight the team across the field,
Show them Ohio's here
Set the earth reverberating with a mighty cheer
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hit them hard and see how they fall;
Never let that team get the ball,
Hail! Hail! The gang's all here,
So let's win that old conference now.

Here is the Buckeye Battle cry:

In old Ohio there's a team
That's known thru-out the land;
Eleven warriors, brave and bold,
Whose fame will ever stand.
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky,
Ohio field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry-

Drive! Drive on down the field,
Men of the scarlet and gray;
Don't let them thru that line,
We have to win this game today,
Come on, Ohio!
Smash through to victory.
We cheer you as you go:
Our honor defend
So we'll fight to the end for O-hi-o.

Posted Mar 10, 2008, 6:14 pm
Today Andea decided she would cook, she said that I needed a break from sports. On the menu today is Pasta with creamy cheese sauce and Three Cheese biscuts(Andrea was going to make the buttermilk but Marcello told her she should get the three cheese.) Marcello, Chocolate Chimp, and I all helped her make this meal.
The mix with Marcello!
Helping to stir!]
Ready for the oven!
Now for the pasta
The finished product-hmmm....who ate the biscuit??
Cough, Cough, Marcello!

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 10, 2008, 6:39 pm
Today a fellow toyvoyager arrived from Finland. Her name is Muumipeikko.

Here is a picture of the 4 of us.

Posted Mar 12, 2008, 10:37 pm
Andrea said that we should take some group photos on the patio.

Here is my friends and I in front of the pool. We all wanted to go swimming but Andrea said it is way to cool.

We decided we would rather just relax on the chair, besides I needed to rest after playing so hard.

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 14, 2008, 3:26 pm
Guess what?? Andrea told me that today we are going to have a sleepover at buggy4526's house. It will be lots of fun!! I will get to meet Lamby, the toy that buggy4526 is hosting. Andrea said that there will be lots of sports to watch/to play.
Andrea also said that Éireannach, Alfonz, and Watson have all visited her house. We are going to have a TV sleepover!! Yay!
Im really excited, will update later.

Posted Mar 14, 2008, 9:59 pm
We are here. We just arrived and we just met Lamby. I know we are going to have alot of fun tonight

Here we are strapped in, on the way here.

Here we are in our group picture.

With Lamby :)

We are in for a fun night....hopefully sports are involved

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 2:34 am
We are having a great time!! I was asked what we wanted to do first and of course Marcello said .We ate a yummy dinner of Spinach/cheese Ravioli, Garlic bread, and Marinara pasta with cheese on the side.

Now we are going to have some fun.
Will update soon,

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 2:59 am
Now it is time for desert!!

We had chocolate milkshakes, oreos, and milk. After all, Oreos is Milk's fave cookie.

Yum, now I am finally full. Now time for some games!!

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 3:25 am
After being full with food,
It was time to have so fun and play games!
Buggy4526 has a Wii gaming system so we played with that.

There we are with the Wii and xbox 360 and xbox.

Here is the game, "Wii Play"

After we sat on our "high chair" and went to watch TV

We decided to watch a new TV series

We are getting sleepy

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 3:32 am
It is 11:30 and I am very tired after a long night of fun.
We are all going to sleep.

I wonder what adventures will come tommorrow :)
Will update tommorrow


Posted Mar 15, 2008, 4:19 pm
We have just woken up. Rise and Shine!!!!! The Florida sunshine has come out, it was raining yesterday.

Now we are all hungry, it is time for breakfast!!

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 8:27 pm
Yawn! I am so tired by hungry? I wonder what is on the menu today? Belgian waffels and Hot pockets, yum.

I was really nice and offered to help with the meal.

Here is the yummy waffel!

The yummy Hot Pocket!!

Now I am full, maybe we can look around the pool, Andrea told me their pool is really pretty!! Andrea also said that they have a basketball hoop.

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 15, 2008, 10:23 pm
Now that we are well fed again, it is time to look around. The pool is so pretty!!

Here is us in on a rock showing the pool

Here is us in front of the hot tub.

Weee! In front of the slide.

Chillin on the lawn chair

Unfortuantly it was too cold to swim so we just looked around the place.

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 16, 2008, 2:56 pm
After searching around, I noticed a basketball hoop! Yay!

Mission complete!
Bye for now,

Posted Mar 16, 2008, 4:10 pm
After a fun time at Buggy4526's house, it is time to leave and go back to Andrea's house. We said good bye to Lamby buggy4526, and then her doggy Princess.

Maybe we will meet again??  :rolleyes:

Bye for now,

Posted Mar 19, 2008, 3:31 am
Today we said goodbye to Marcello and Chocolate Chimp. We had a great time together and I will miss them.

First, I wrote a postcard home.

Group hug!!!!!!

Bye Bye Marcello!

Bye Bye Chocolate Chimp!

Here they are in their envelope.

Now it is just Muumipeikko and I. Andrea said some toys are going to be visiting soon. Maybe I will meet them.

Posted Mar 20, 2008, 2:25 pm
Muumipeikko and I have been looking at all the adoptions going on and we asked Andrea if we could help a toy in finding a new home. We picked out this small little guy and he was very eager to travel.

Muumipeikko and I are going to find him a new home.
We are happy to do such a nice thing.
We will keep you updated on him.

Posted Mar 20, 2008, 5:54 pm
Let me tell you the plan for today and tommorrow  :D

First we will go to Andrea's friends house and then for dinner we are going to an asian resturant and then Andrea is sleepingover at her house and then tommorrow Andrea, Muumipeikko, and I are going to babysit for a 3 yr old down the street. We are going to have so much fun.


Posted Mar 23, 2008, 4:45 pm
We all know what day it is!! EASTER!
Mommy-Please have a great easter.


Posted Mar 24, 2008, 10:48 am
Happy Easter to you all! Looks like you are having a great time.

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 12:03 am
Today is Muumipeikko's last day. She is leaving for france. I will miss her. Now it will just be me, but Andrea says that a few new friends are coming. I wonder if they will arrive before I leave??

My goodbye hug with Muumipeikko

Bye Bye!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 12:07 am
Sorry we havent updated in a few days, Andrea has been so busy going back to school from Spring break. We had sushi tonight! YUM.

Andrea says she is sorry that we havent gone sign seeing she will make sure to take some landscape pictures before I go.

Gotta go! The Ohio state basketball game is on soon.  :rolleyes:
See ya,

Posted Mar 28, 2008, 11:27 pm
Andrea is raising money for Breast Cancer and she is doing a walk too for it, so she is raising money by having bake sales at her school, this week she is going to sell Cookies. I said I would help  :rolleyes: .

Today on the menu is Sugar and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

First, we started off with the sugar cookies. With my small little hands I managed too help stir.

Ok, now onto the chocolate chip, with a little strength left, I stired these too.

We put them in the oven next.  :D

Here are the finished sugar cookies.

Here are the finished chocolate chip cookies.

I am sure they will sell out, they are too yummy! I I think they will be yummy as I HAVENT had one.  ;)


Posted Mar 28, 2008, 11:29 pm
After such hard work making those cookies, I needed to some food. We had Mickey Mouse Pizza. Hehehe! It was very good.  :)


Posted Mar 28, 2008, 11:30 pm
Here is Andrea's doggy Chloe and I. I finally managed to get a picture with her. I am not sure if Chloe is interested in a friendship with me or just eating me.  :stare:

She looks very very hungry.
Now we will take her for a walk.


Posted Mar 28, 2008, 11:33 pm
The weather was nice out today so we decided to go for a walk.

Can you spot me??

Here is my name.


Posted Mar 29, 2008, 5:36 pm
Today Summy and Antonio from Germany arrived. It was cool to meet them!

Now we are going to the mall.


Posted Mar 30, 2008, 9:24 pm
Andrea says that it is time to leave Florida and go to India. I rested before getting in the envelope as it is a long journey from here to India.


Posted Mar 30, 2008, 9:30 pm
After my nap, Andrea said it was time to get into that travel envelope thing, other wise known as the small uncomfortable thing. I said my goodbyes.

Bye Antonio!

Bye Summy!

Group hug!

Time to get into the envelope

I talked to Summy/Antonio from the envelope.

I sais goodbye to Andrea and thanked her for hosting me.
Bye Florida and Hello India!!!!!

Posted Apr 4, 2008, 1:49 am
This is Andrea. Roderich left today at around 5 PM traveling USPS. We wish him a safe journey!

Posted Apr 14, 2008, 9:00 pm
Mommy, I've arrived in india....
And it was exactly right in time, because as the postman guard me to my new hosts home, they were just about to start for their long weekend vacation!

Of corse I did not stayed at home, although I was really tired...

All together we went to a garden type beach resort called The Dune near Pondicherry which is about 160km south of Chennai.

I was fantastic and very relaxing.
All this beautifull flowers were amazing, don't you think.

And the best think was, I've learnt to swim. But more the lazy kind of style  B) .... Next time I will try the sportive kind.....

In the evening the boys gave a little welcome party for me, as we listened to the sound of the ocean....
That's life!

On our way back home I saw some salt-winning-fields at the side of the road, which I wanted to show you.

I am really looking forward what adventures I will have in india....


Posted Apr 14, 2008, 10:45 pm
Hello over there!
I was very happy to see that you have arrived savely and have already seen so much of India. Have a lot of fun with the others, be good and remember to thank your hosts!
from mommy, Loki, Hugi and Eddie!

Posted Apr 17, 2008, 11:55 am
first of all, don't worry if you see the following pictures..

I AM FINE!....

But I had a little "accident"....

Yesterday we all watched TV together, "American Idol" and we had a lot of fun... As you know me, I can't sit quiet at a sofa, so I jumped a little bit to pratice for my basketball skills....

Unfortunatly I felt off the sofa and hit my head, so it started bleeding.... I was a little shocked, but Mandy Sheep was sooooooo nice to me and helped me immediatly with "first Aid".... She done a great job!!!

After that, all the other toyvoyager came to visit me,
and I already feel much better now....

I just miss my mommy a little bit!!


Posted May 9, 2008, 10:50 pm
ooooh Mommy, don't be angry with me I did not gave you any update the last times, but my head was still hurting and so I just relaxed and hide in one of my hosts bags, so she could hardly find me.....

But of corse, I visited some places with them....

Here you can see me in an amazing restaurant, called the Amethyst... It's like a beautiful garden....

And later that day, we went to the church of the holy Mother Mary, but it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hot.
I got a bad sunburn that day.....

Posted May 9, 2008, 10:59 pm
Today I joined in to visit another, very famous church here in Chennai...

It's name is "St. Thomas Church" and it is the oldest one in the south of india and the legend says, that the body of St. Thomas is laying to it's feed.

And lucky us, as we went in, a very friendly couple were just got married and we all wished them good luck and all the best.

I was even allowed to make a picture o them, to show you a traditional indian wedding dress....

Much more colours, than back home in Germany, don't you think?!

Posted May 23, 2008, 8:17 pm
Finally, we all were waiting so long for it.....

Tomorrow morning we will start our trip into the north of India.....

Jaipur - Agra (Taj Mahal) - Delhi - Manali - Keylong- Sarchu - Leh ..........

We will be back at the 9th of June.....

Today we all helped packing the suitcase, everyone is now in charge of something.....

Carl and I are in charge of one tv's dairy.....

Thanks to god, we don't have to travel in the suitcase, we have our very own, very comfortable backpack..... (as comfortable as if can be, with such a travelbunch!)

We'll surely have a lot of fun..... I will tell you everything later.....

BYE BYE.....
...we are off.....

Posted Jun 9, 2008, 6:34 pm
I am back! Back in Chennai.....

That were my best holidays ever, I saw so many new things and I explore a lot a nice bulidings and landscapes...

My hosts took arround 900 pictures just of us tvs and it'll take a while to tell you everything, but every journey starts with the first step....

So we first flew from Chennai to Mumbai and had to wait there for 5 hours cause one flight to Jaipur was canceled....
It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boring, you can't imagine.....

So we arrived very late in Jaipur, ate something and went straight to bed. We hat a room at the Jai Mahal Place Hotel, where lately lived one minister..... It was sooo beautiful!

Next day, on sunday, 25th, we explore Jaipur and the surrounding and we saw some palaces and artfull made bulidings.....

Later I relaxed at the hotel's pool....
We all had a lot of fun together!

Posted Jun 10, 2008, 12:53 pm
Monday we spent on the road....

Because there were some people called Gujjar, who demonstrated in a town near Agra and killed several others, the normal road from Jaipur to Agra was closed, so we had to take the long way over Delhi....

It took us 10 hours, so we arrived in our hotel in Agra again very late.

But it was not as boring as it sounds. We saw a lot of funny vehicles at the so called HIGHWAY....

And we took a rest next to a friendly group of cows...

Near Agra I saw a nice building called Akbar Tomb.

Posted Jun 10, 2008, 5:21 pm
Oh, this should be the great day!
We woke up very early on tuesday, because we were all so excited to see the Taj Mahal.

Imagine, we could even see it from the hotel's room, far far away....

We made as much noise as we could to wake up our hosts, we just couldn't wait!

But than the big disapointment!
At the entry to the place of the Taj Mahal, the guys said, we tvs are all not allowed to go inside. In fact, humans are only permitted to take their camera with them.

These guys were very rude and sticked to their silly rules, Mona and Uli couldn't do anything.

That was soooo sad!

But our hosts went in and took some pictures for us.
And they told us a little bit about the history of the Taj.

Did you know these facts:

The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey overnight. Construction of the Taj began in the same year and was not completed until 1653. In total 20.000 people worked on the building. The construction bill is believed to have run to 3 Million Rupee equivalent to about 70 million US dollar today.

As the Taj was ready, Shah Jahan let cut off the right hand of every worker, who built it, because he wanted to make sure, that they were not able to built another copy of Taj for any other man.

And soon after the finishing, Shah Jahan's son became the Emperor and put his father into jail.
He said, it is a big crime to built such an expansive building, while the folks have nothing to eat and die because of hunger. He put Shah Jahan into the Agra Fort from where he could see the Taj from his window every day, untill he died.

We went to this place, and Shah must had the same view, we had as we took this picture of me and the Taj in the far.

Still today it is a shame, that the goverment earns so much money every year from the visitors of the Taj Mahal, but Agra is still such a poor city.

It is very dirty and many people have got nothing to eat.

Around the place of the Taj a lot of beggars are, and you have totally to watch out, not to be cheated by shopowner and other people on the streets.

So this was a not so nice expierience allover....

On our way to Delhi we than found another nice building. It is not as old as the Taj, but looks a little bit like it....
It's a hindu Temple near Agra.

Posted Jun 10, 2008, 8:04 pm
Yeaaaahhhhh, mommy, I did it!!!!

I learnt how to swim dolphin style, because Uli taught me wednesday morning at the Lemon Tree Hotel pool in Delhi.

First I made a big jump into the refreshing water, because in Delhi it was really hot these days... and than I learnt real fast and got real fast... he he he.....

Are you proud of me, mommy?!

Later we did some more boring stuff, visiting the National Gallery Of Modern Art and some old tombs....

Posted Jun 11, 2008, 6:42 am
Today Carl and I woke up very early (okeee, I woke him up, I was just bored...) and first thing we went down to the hotel's restaurant and drank a coffee.

Later, together with the other tv's we went to the Red Fort in Delhi, but just Roderich and I could go inside, because the security check was very strick, and we both very small enough to not be noticed! 

The Red Fort was built by the guy, who built the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan.
The sandstone walls of the Red Fort extend for 2 km and vary in height from 18m to 33m. Shah Jahan began construction of the massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. Shah Jahan never completly moved his capitel from Agra to his new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi, because he was deposed and imprisoned in Agra Fort by his son, as I told you before.

Inside the fort are many buildings like halls of public and private audiences, royal baths, a mosque and nice, green gardens.

Posted Jun 11, 2008, 10:34 am
ooooooh yeaaaah... today we fly north of Delhi to Manali, which lies at an altidude of 2700m in the himalaya mountains and it was muuuuuuch less warm..... I loved that!!!

In Manali we took a little walk to the town and than enjoyed the beautiflu view from the hotel room's balcony.

Posted Jun 13, 2008, 7:49 am
Today was great.

We first went to a place, where Mona, Uli and Repa gone for a white-water-rafting.... That was nothing for me, even no I can swim, but we watched them.

And I wondered about the smell, that lies over the valley...???
Than I found some plants, that grows there on every corner, like herbs.... Strange greens, don't you think?!

Later we visited some other places in Manali and, near by, the village of Vashisht.

In this area lives a lot of tibetan refugees, so you also find typicall tibetan houses and buddism temples. 

Posted Jun 13, 2008, 11:51 am
Oh, I love the area of Manali.
Everything is green, the weather is chilly and the people are friendly.

Today we first visited some old temple and a cute, little castle.

Naggar castle was capital of the Kullu Valley for nearly 1500 years and the castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh about 500 years ago in the classic Himachal wood ans stone blockwork style. The castle's courtyard contains a tiny Jagtipath Temple, which houses a slab of stone said to have been carried here by wild bees.... and a small museum.

About 2 km uphill past the castle is the Roerich Gallery, a fine old house displaying the artwork of eccentric Russian painter Nikolai Roerich, who died in Naggar 1947, and his son Svetoslav Roerich.

The distinctive Roerich style falls somewhere between surrealism and russian icon painting.

It was very interesting!

A five minute wark uphill from the gallery (which was extreme steeply), is the Urusvati Himalayan Folk & Art Museum, which houses a collection of embroidery and folk art.

Posted Jun 13, 2008, 7:34 pm
We are on the road again and the first part of the route goes from Manali over the Rothang Pass, which is in an Altitude of about 4000 meters or 13050 ft, to Keylong.

Keylong is 115 km north of Manali and in about an elevation of 3500m.

Imagine, it took us 7 1/2 HOURS to drive 115km, just because the Leh-Manali-Road is partly so bad, and sometimes there are some streetworking in progress and you have to wait, till the way is free again.

Anyway, the landscape is breathtaking and I really enjoyed travelling, although we all were totally shaked and had a little head pain, because of the altitude.

Posted Jun 14, 2008, 12:07 pm
Again, one day in the car. Today we drove the 140km from Keylong to Sarchu in about 7 hours.

Look at this landscape, it was just so amazing!!!

On our way we also saw a beautifull ice lake, I just love that picture.

Near Sarchu we slept at a small tent camp ( 5 tents), which was build in the middle of nothing..... just an elevated plattform between some mountains.

The ground was totatly dry in that high.

You had to walk real slow, because you run out of breath so extremely fast.... I think, this place lied in an elevation of about 4000m, and your heart beats like hell.... I felt a little sick...

As long as the sun was shining, it was quiet warm and the sky had the brightest color I've ever seen!

But as the sun went down, it started to freeze.
This night was sooooooooooooooooooooooo cold, you can't even imagine! brrrrrrrrr....... But this incredible view was all worth it!

Posted Jun 16, 2008, 9:06 am
Today we took the last part of the roadtour, 245km from Sarchu to Leh in the region of Ladakh. That took us 10 hours this time.

We came along some of the highest motorable passes of the world.

Nakeela Pass at 15547 ft, which is 4738 meters,
Lachulunga at 16616 ft, which is 5065 meters,
and Taglamgla at 17592 ft, the second highest motorable pass in the world, which is 5362 meters.

In this high there is growing nothing anymore, no trees, no plants, no grass..... So the sourrounding look some kind of surealistic to me.... a lot of stones and rocks and of course snow....

We all felt sooooo sick, especially at Taglamgla Pass, because of the high elevation. Our hearts beated like crazy and you breathed very fast..... Although the landscape again was so beautiful, we didn't want to crawl out the car to take some pictures.... We just wanted to go down as fast as possible again and we were so happy as we arrived in Leh..... pfew....

Posted Jun 16, 2008, 11:33 am
Yesterday we were really lazy, We haven't done anything but lying in bed, reading a little bit and eating some soup....

We were just so exhausted from the journey and our bodies were stressed out by the high altitudes we passed, that we decided NOT to go to the world's highest motorable road, which lies in an elevation of 5700 meters near by Leh..... That would have been just to much for us, I guess....

And today we took a little walk around the villiage of Leh.

In the first picture you see our Hotel, "The grand Dragon".

In the second it is a little mosque and in the backround at the hill you see the Leh Palace, that was built in the 17th century and it is sometimes called "the mini Potala", for the palace in Tibet that it resembles.

Leh itself nestles in a side valley north of the Indus river. Until 1947 it had close trading realtions with Central Asia and yak trains would set off over Karakoram La to Yarkand and Kashgar.

Today Leh has massive millitary presence and is a reminder of India's sensitive borders with Pakistan and China, because it is in the state of Kashmire.

The old town, at the base of Namgyal Hill, is a labytinth of alleyways and houses stacked with dry wood and dung, collected to use as fuel to withstand the long winter months.

In fact, the tourist saison just lasts 3 month a year, from June to August, because it is just too cold in the other months and many roads are closed then.

Posted Jun 16, 2008, 2:43 pm
The last day of our vacations in the north of india passed by today.......

And it stood completly under the sign of Buddha!

We visited several gompas, monastarys, temples and stupas, as like the Klu-kkhyil Gompa ("klu-kkhyil" means "water spirits")in Likir, which was founded in the 11th century and was the first in Ladakh known to have been built by Tibetan monks.

Unusual for Ladakhi gompas, is the external 25m- high Maitreya statue, that dominates its setting.

This trip was very interessting, we saw a lot of the old tibetan culture... and we learnt about praying wheels and this prayer flags, you saw a lot in my pictures before.

On these colorfull flags there are prayers written and the colors symbolizes the elements. The wind shall carry the prayers around the world, that's why you often find these flags in high elevations, like the gompas and monastarys.

We had some very nice views about the valleys of the Ladakh area and the Indus River.

It was a loooong day, but we didn't want to miss the first game of Germany in the European Football Championship (okeeee, Uli and Mona didn't want to miss it!) so we went to bed very late.


Posted Jul 2, 2008, 10:05 pm
Oh wow, this trip into the north of India was really amazing....
I the end, the time run by soooooo fast.... (even faster than me!)

But I guess, every nice vacation goes by.... I am a little sad.....

It was a fantastic time and I wonder, if I will see the guys again, one fine day?!

Posted Jul 2, 2008, 10:08 pm
Hey, mommy!

India was great expirience, but now I am off!

Next destination -> the USA, and I looking forward, because they have a lot of great sports over there....  :D

See youuuuuuuuu...............

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:35 pm
I finally found my way back to my mentor. I am somewhat worse for wear and am missing an eye, parts of my ears and m nose isn't what it used to be but I am read for more adventures. Due to my time out in the wild I changed my life missions. I now what to visit some charity events or help in your neighborhood by distributing food to the needy or elderly, visiting children's or nursing homes, social centers or other places that could use some cheering up. I am willing to help out of course, just let me know what to do!

Posted Apr 15, 2009, 8:29 pm

We visited a residential area today. Aren't the gardens beautiful with the spring flowers and very green and soft grass? As you can see on the big thermometer we had 21°C, warm enough to have lunch outside. Can you find all of us in the apple trees?

Posted Apr 24, 2009, 4:57 pm

I finally arrived at my new host in Spain and I'm really excited (and as you can see I'm already learning Spanish!).

As this is my first day I cannot tell you much about Santiago de Compostela yet, sorry, but María promised that she's going to show me the town as soon as possible :).

By the way, she also told me that she loved the postcard! It was a very nice touch.
Oh! I almost forgot to say that I already met some new new friends :)
So...don't worry about me, I'm fine  B)

Bye bye!


Posted Apr 25, 2009, 9:39 am

I'm still here :). These days I couldn't go out very much because the weather is quite awful and it seems that it's going to rain forever! But, don't worry, María's dad says that we're going to have a beautiful sunny Monday next week (so I'm keeping my fingers crossed).

However, I have some photos I took when I went for a walk with María this morning (amazingly, it wasn't raining! :D). I have to say that this is a great place to enjoy nature! "Galicia verde" is what many tourists say here... I'm sure you can guess what it means  :p


Posted Apr 27, 2009, 4:04 pm

Today I'm very excited because I just came back from Pontevedra, where I visited a truck farm. It was not really a long journey--we went with Irene's car and it didn't take more than an hour, even though she is the slowest driver I've ever seen  :p.

But I have to say that this visit was totally improvised since, at first, our intention was to visit the Port of Vigo, which is the biggest fishing port in the world, but some kind of road traffic accident blocked our way  :(

Anyway, I took some pictures from our visit to the truck farm so you can see I had a great time there.

Roderich  ;)

Posted Apr 29, 2009, 9:40 am

Today I'm updating from a town named Caldas de Reis, which is located in Pontevedra (yep, I can say that I've been in Pontevedra at least three times or so  :rolleyes:). Anyway, I took the bus with a friend, Melman, and went to visit the famous thermal spring that is in this small town.
The bus was almost empty because we took it just after we had lunch, and, apparently, this moment of the day is what Spanish people call "siesta" time! So a lot of people were sleeping in their couches while we were in the bus, making the most of my time here in Galicia!  :D

Anyway, here you can see me visiting the thermal spring...
There was also some kind of washing place (a typical Galician thing), but this one is more special than any other you can find here because the water does not come out cold but rather warm so it's very nice to wash your hands there! Oh, and old people say that this water has therapeutic properties (something that it was already believed in Roman times!). To sum up, I had a really good day  :p



Posted May 1, 2009, 8:21 pm
Hi mom!,

Do you miss me?  I'm sure you do ;)

Today I went to visit the "Auditorio de Galicia" (Galicia's main auditorium) and the beautiful park that this place has. Fortunately, we had quite a sunny day :D, which, as you can see, let us take a long walk and enjoy the great atmosphere.
Can you see the ducklings? Aren't they super cute?  :rolleyes:
Oh, by the way, the park is called "Música en Compostela", as you can see in the picture below...



Posted May 4, 2009, 5:25 pm
Hello mom! :D

How are you? I'm fine and quite excited because I just came back from a "mercadillo" (a street market) which is very common here in Galicia. You can see agrarian people selling fruits and vegetables, among other things, and they mostly talk in Galician, so I could not understand a thing! María tried to translate what they were saying though, but sometimes it was difficult for her to understand them too! (and it was quite funny, by the way, since Irene was the only one who was more or less confortable talking to these street vendors).

We spent like the whole morning there (time flies when you're having fun!) and then we went for a walk, I met a new friend (Bruno, the dog), and bought a little goldfish. I think I had quite a nice day mom  :)



Posted May 7, 2009, 12:51 pm

I'm the happiest little panther in the world (OK, maybe that was a little over the top  :) ) But, anyway, I'm not the only TV that is with María anymore since Bally has arrived, finally!.

Well, I know that what you really want is to see pictures! and I have some from yesterday's walk  :D. As you can see, we (María, Bally & me) went together and walked through some streets that are in the old part of this charming city/town (some people think it's a city, some people think it's a town...I don't really know what it is and I don't think it matters anyway). Hope you like them  :)



Posted May 9, 2009, 9:28 pm

I feel like a child today because I just came back from having a very fun day at a park!  :D

By the way, the park was next to a Santiago's library known as Anxel Casal and I liked the building so much that I decided to take a picture with it too :)



Posted May 10, 2009, 10:02 pm
Hello mom!

Today I went to visit a little girl who is in the hospital of A Coruña, the second largest city in Galicia. She is good but tired of being there, obviously. But I also have to tell you that I did a good thing (you should be proud of me, mom) because when a nurse came to take blood for some tests, I did my best to distract her...and her mom said it was the first time the girl did not cry, and it was thanks to me!  :D

Well, it was not a center for underpriviliged kids but I think I felt quite fulfilled anyway. The little girl seemed happy, and that's all that matters :)



Posted May 13, 2009, 8:06 pm

It's raining again! So I couldn't go anywhere today, but I do have some pictures from yesterday  :rolleyes: María made me go up the stairs you can see in the pictures! (fotunately, I was with Bally who was very helpful  :p) Anyway, these stais are in a placed called "Fontiñas", which is a Galician word that could be translated as little fountains, I guess...

And I ate cherries!  :p



Posted May 20, 2009, 9:57 am

Today I have some pictures I took when I visited Santiago de Compostela's cathedral (unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the building, though). This cathedral is very important because it is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Greater (one of the apostles, I'd even say that he's one of the most important/beloved ones in Spain). So this is also why Santiago de Compostela is the destination of the "Camiño de Santiago" or Way of St. James. In fact, Maria is looking forward to finishing her degree and walking it (her dad promised to do it with her then :D). Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could also walk the Way of St. James one day? It's a major historical pilgrimage route since the Middle Ages!

Another picture in "La Fuente de los Caballos" (it could be translated as the Horses' Fountain, I guess...)

And finally I also visited the City Hall of Santiago, known as "Pazo de Raxoi" (pazo is a Galician word which means palace).


Posted May 21, 2009, 12:46 pm
Hello  :D

Today is holiday here in Santiago de Compostela and so we (Bally and me :) ) could go out and have a nice walk with María. As you can see in some of the pictures, we had a rather raining morning (but we enjoy the walk anyway!).

(I know you can barely see me in the pictures, but I'm that small black dot in the midde of them  :p )

By the way!, look what I've just found out! An old Spanish bill! María told me that her grandmother gave it to her when she was just 12! It seems difficult to believe since it does look like new! I guess she is very careful with her things  :rolleyes:

And now I have to leave because it's lunch time here in Spain and a very tasty Spanish omelette is waiting for me!

Hope you have a great day mom =D



Posted May 26, 2009, 8:10 pm

Today is my last day here, in Santiago de Compostela! However, I did visit one last place before leaving since I could not believe I had not gone with María to class since I arrived =D

I'm looking forward to visiting my new host =D Don't worry about me, I'm sure I'll be just fine.

Lots of love,

Posted Jun 8, 2009, 7:51 pm
Hi Mom!!!!!!

  I just got picked up from Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville.  I had a super long flight across the Atlantic ocean and now I am in Richlands!!! I will be living with my two host's Darcie and Steve.  I came JUST in time for a big event, Darcie's birthday!! We are all going to Las Vegas!! WOOHOOO party time!!!  I plan on playing blackjack, Craps and the slot machines.  I also plan on eating good food, having some drinks, laying out by the pool, looking at the TERRIFIC lights on the strip and seeing some shows.  Here is my schedule for Vegas.

June 22nd First class seats to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Steve said since it was Darcie's birthday they wanted to spare no expense on the plane LOL  I will be flying from Jacksonville to Atlanta, Georgia then on to Las Vegas. 

June 23rd  I am going to go see Criss Angel who is a famous magician and has a show on TV called *Mind Freak* he has a show in Vegas at a fancy hotel called *The Luxor*  we have FRONT ROW seats waiting for us!!!

June 24th  We are going to see Anthony McCool at The Hard Rock hotel and Casino.  He is a Hypnotist and his show is going to be soooooo good!!! 

June 25th  We are going to a show called Tony and Tias Wedding at The Paris hotel and Casino.  This show looks sooo funny and we will be part of a wedding with dancing, Italian Buffet dinner and wedding cake.

I heard it will be 100 degrees while we are there.  I plan on working on my tan :)  anyways I am super excited to go!!  Here are a few shots of me arriving today.

As soon as I jump out of the envelope, Daisy the Boston Terrier is waiting to greet me.

Here I am with the two other TVs that are visiting.  Ricky the rat and Stanley the monkey.  Ricky is booked out on a flight tommorro to go to Arizona.  He told me all about his visit to Steve's work (Steve is a United States Marine) I might get to go for a visit too!!

Here I am with a North Carolina postcard!!!

I am learning all about North Carolina which has a nickname of *The Tarheel State* I will do a big update on it and all about its rich history! Anyways mom I am drinking a *Sun Drop* which is a soft drink that is made in North Carolina.  It tastes like super sweet citrus.  Talk to you later mom!!


Posted Jun 11, 2009, 12:36 pm
Hi Mom!!!

Today I got on the computer and learned all about the state of North Carolina.  I have prepared a history lesson just for you!!!

North Carolina is bordered by South Carolina on the south, Georgia on the southwest, Tennessee on the west, Virginia on the north, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. The United States Census Bureau classifies North Carolina as a southern state in the subcategory of being one of the South Atlantic States.

North Carolina consists of three main geographic sections: the coastal plain, which occupies the eastern 45% of the state; the Piedmont region, which contains the middle 35%; and the Appalachian Mountains and foothills. The extreme eastern section of the state contains the Outer Banks, a string of sandy, narrow islands which form a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and inland waterways. The Outer Banks form two sounds—Albemarle Sound in the north and Pamlico Sound in the south. They are the two largest landlocked sounds in the United States.

Immediately inland, the coastal plain is relatively flat, with rich soils ideal for growing tobacco, soybeans, melons, and cotton. The coastal plain is North Carolina's most rural section, with few large towns or cities. Agriculture remains an important industry. The major rivers of the coastal plain: the Neuse, Tar, Pamlico, and Cape Fear, tend to be slow-moving and wide.

The coastal plain transitions to the Piedmont region along the "fall line", a line which marks the elevation at which waterfalls first appear on streams and rivers. The Piedmont region of central North Carolina is the state's most urbanized and densely populated section - all five of the state's largest cities are located in the Piedmont. It consists of gently rolling countryside frequently broken by hills or low mountain ridges. A number of small, isolated, and deeply eroded mountain ranges and peaks are located in the Piedmont, including the Sauratown Mountains, Pilot Mountain, the Uwharrie Mountains, Crowder's Mountain, King's Pinnacle, the Brushy Mountains, and the South Mountains. The Piedmont ranges from about 300–400 feet (90–120 m) elevation in the east to over 1,000 feet (300 m) in the west. Due to the rapid population growth of the Piedmont, many of the farms and much of the rural countryside in this region is being replaced by suburbanization: shopping centers, housing developments, and large corporate office parks. Agriculture is steadily declining in importance in this region. The major rivers of the Piedmont, such as the Yadkin and Catawba, tend to be fast-flowing, shallow, and narrow.

The western section of the state is part of the Appalachian Mountain range. Among the subranges of the Appalachians located in the state are the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Balsam Mountains, and the Black Mountains. The Black Mountains are the highest in the Eastern United States, and culminate in Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m).[3] It is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Although agriculture remains important, tourism has become the dominant industry in the mountains. One agricultural pursuit which has prospered and grown in recent decades is the growing and selling of Christmas Trees. Due to the higher altitude of the mountains, the climate often differs markedly from the rest of the state. Winters in western North Carolina typically feature significant snowfall and subfreezing temperatures more akin to a midwestern state than a southern one.

North Carolina has 17 major river basins. Five of the state's river basins: the Hiwassee, Little Tennessee, French Broad, Watauga and New, are part of the Mississippi River Basin, which drains to the Gulf of Mexico. All the others flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 17 basins, 11 originate within the state of North Carolina, but only four are contained entirely within the state's borders - the Cape Fear, Neuse, White Oak and Tar-Pamlico.[7]

The coastal plain is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean which keeps temperatures mild in winter and moderate in the summer. Daytime high temperatures on the coast average less than 89 °F (31.6 °C) during the summer. In the winter, the coast has the mildest temperatures in the state, with daytime temperatures rarely dropping below 40 °F (4.4 °C); the average daytime winter temperature in the coastal plain is usually in the mid-60's. Temperatures in the coastal plain rarely drop below freezing even at night. The coastal plain usually receives only one inch (2.5 cm) of snow and/or ice annually, and in some years there may be no snow or ice at all.

The Atlantic Ocean has less influence on the Piedmont region, and as a result the Piedmont has hotter summers and colder winters than the coast. Daytime highs in the Piedmont often average over 90 °F (32.2 °C) in the summer. While it is not common for temperatures to reach over 100 °F (37.8 °C) in North Carolina, when it happens, the highest temperatures are to be found in the lower areas of the Piedmont, especially around the city of Fayetteville. Additionally, the weaker influence of the Atlantic Ocean means that temperatures in the Piedmont often fluctuate more widely than the coast.

In the winter, the Piedmont is much less mild than the coast, with daytime temperatures that are usually in the mid 50's, and temperatures often drop below freezing at night. The region averages from 3–5 inches of snowfall annually in the Charlotte area to 6–8 inches in the Raleigh–Durham area. The Piedmont is especially notorious for sleet and freezing rain. It can be heavy enough in some storms to snarl traffic and collapse trees and power lines. Annual precipitation and humidity is lower in the Piedmont than either the mountains or the coast, but even at its lowest, the precipitation is a generous 40 in (102 cm) per year.

The Appalachian Mountains are the coolest area of the state, with daytime temperatures averaging in the low 40's and upper 30's for highs in the winter and often falling into the teens (−9 °C) or lower on winter nights. Relatively cool summers have temperatures rarely rising above 80 °F (26.7 °C). Snowfall in the mountains is usually 14–20 in (36–51 cm) per year, but it is often greater in the higher elevations. For example, during the Blizzard of 1993 more than 50 inches (130 cm) of snow fell on Mount Mitchell over a period of three days.

Severe weather occurs regularly in North Carolina. On average, the state receives a direct hit from a hurricane once a decade. Tropical storms arrive every 3 or 4 years. In some years, several hurricanes or tropical storms can directly strike the state or brush across the coastal areas. Only Florida and Louisiana are hit by hurricanes more often. Although many people believe that hurricanes menace only coastal areas, the rare hurricane which moves inland quickly enough can cause severe damage. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo caused heavy damage in Charlotte and even as far inland as the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwestern part of the state. On average, North Carolina has 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year, with some storms becoming severe enough to produce hail, flash floods, and damaging winds.

North Carolina averages fewer than 20 tornadoes per year. Many of these are produced by hurricanes or tropical storms along the coastal plain. Tornadoes from thunderstorms are a risk, especially in the eastern part of the state. The western piedmont is often protected by the mountains breaking storms up as they try to cross over them. The storms will often reform farther east. Also a weather feature known as "cold air damming" occurs in the western part of the state. This can also weaken storms but can also lead to major ice events in winter."[8]

North Carolina was originally inhabited by many different native peoples, including those of the ancient Mississippian culture established by 1000 A.D. in the Piedmont. Historically documented tribes included Cherokee, Tuscarora, Cheraw, Pamlico, Meherrin, Coree, Machapunga, Cape Fear Indians, Waxhaw, Saponi, Tutelo, Waccamaw, Coharie, and Catawba.

Spanish explorers traveling inland encountered the last of the Mississippian culture at Joara, near present-day Morganton. Records of Hernando de Soto attested to his meeting with them in 1540. In 1567 Captain Juan Pardo led an expedition into the interior of North Carolina on a journey to claim the area for the Spanish colony, as well as establish another route to protect silver mines in Mexico (the Spanish did not realize the distances involved.) Pardo made a winter base at Joara, which he renamed Cuenca. The expedition built Fort San Juan and left 30 men, while Pardo traveled further, establishing five other forts. He returned by a different route to Santa Elena on Parris Island, South Carolina, then a center of Spanish Florida. In the spring of 1568, natives killed all the soldiers and burned the six forts in the interior, including the one at Fort San Juan. The Spanish never returned to the interior to press their colonial claim, but this marked the first European attempt at colonization of the interior of what became the United States. A journal by Pardo's scribe Bandera and archaeological findings at Joara have confirmed the settlement.[9][10]

Sir Walter Raleigh returns to find the colony abandonedIn 1584, Elizabeth I, granted a charter to Sir Walter Raleigh, for whom the state capital is named, for land in present-day North Carolina (then Virginia).[11] Raleigh established two colonies on the coast in the late 1580s, both ending in failure. It was the second American territory the British attempted to colonize. The demise of one, the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island, remains one of the great mysteries of American history. Virginia Dare, the first English child to be born in North America, was born on Roanoke Island on August 18, 1587. Dare County is named for her.

Main article: Province of Carolina
As early as 1650, colonists from the Virginia colony moved into the area of Albemarle Sound. By 1663, King Charles II of England granted a charter to establish a new colony on the North American continent which generally established its borders. He named it Carolina in honor of his father Charles I.[12] By 1665, a second charter was issued to attempt to resolve territorial questions. In 1710, due to disputes over governance, the Carolina colony began to split into North Carolina and South Carolina. The latter became a crown colony in 1729.

Colonial Period and Revolutionary War
Main article: American Revolutionary War

Reconstructed royal governor's mansion Tryon Palace in New BernThe first permanent European settlers of North Carolina were British colonists who migrated south from Virginia, following a rapid growth of the colony and the subsequent shortage of available farmland. Nathaniel Batts was documented as one of the first of these Virginian migrants. He settled south of the Chowan River and east of the Great Dismal Swamp in 1655.[13] By 1663, this northeastern area of the Province of Carolina, known as the Albemarle Settlements, was undergoing full-scale British settlement.[14] During the same period, the English monarch Charles II gave the province to the Lords Proprietors, a group of noblemen who had helped restore Charles to the throne in 1660. The new province of "Carolina" was named in honor and memory of King Charles I (Latin: Carolus). In 1712, North Carolina became a separate colony. With the exception of the Earl Granville holdings, it became a royal colony seventeen years later.[15]

Differences in the settlement patterns of eastern and western North Carolina, or the low country and uplands, affected the political, economic, and social life of the state from the eighteenth until the twentieth century. The Tidewater in eastern North Carolina was settled chiefly by immigrants from England and the Scottish Highlands. The upcountry of western North Carolina was settled chiefly by Scots-Irish and German Protestants, the so-called "cohee". Arriving during the mid-to-late 18th century, the Scots-Irish from Ireland were the largest immigrant group before the Revolution. During the Revolutionary War, the English and Highland Scots of eastern North Carolina tended to remain loyal to the British Crown, because of longstanding business and personal connections with Great Britain. The Scots-Irish and German settlers of western North Carolina tended to favor American independence from Britain.

Most of the English colonists arrived as indentured servants, hiring themselves out as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage. In the early years the line between indentured servants and African slaves or laborers was fluid. Some Africans were allowed to earn their freedom before slavery became a lifelong status. Most of the free colored families formed in North Carolina before the Revolution were descended from relationships or marriages between free white women and enslaved or free African or African-American men. Many had migrated or were descendants of migrants from colonial Virginia.[16] As the flow of indentured laborers to the colony decreased with improving economic conditions in Great Britain, more slaves were imported and the state's restrictions on slavery hardened. The economy's growth and prosperity was based on slave labor, devoted first to the production of tobacco.

On April 12, 1776, the colony became the first to instruct its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence from the British crown, through the Halifax Resolves passed by the North Carolina Provincial Congress. The dates of both of these independence-related events are memorialized on the state flag and state seal.[17] Throughout the Revolutionary War, fierce guerilla warfare erupted between bands of pro-independence and pro-British colonists. In some cases the war was also an excuse to settle private grudges and rivalries. A major American victory in the war took place at King's Mountain along the North Carolina–South Carolina border. On October 7, 1780 a force of 1000 mountain men from western North Carolina (including what is today the State of Tennessee) overwhelmed a force of some 1000 British troops led by Major Patrick Ferguson. Most of the British soldiers in this battle were Carolinians who had remained loyal to the British Crown (they were called "Tories"). The American victory at Kings Mountain gave the advantage to colonists who favored American independence, and it prevented the British Army from recruiting new soldiers from the Tories.

The road to Yorktown and America's independence from Great Britain led through North Carolina. As the British Army moved north from victories in Charleston and Camden, South Carolina, the Southern Division of the Continental Army and local militia prepared to meet them. Following General Daniel Morgan's victory over the British Cavalry Commander Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781, southern commander Nathanael Greene led British Lord Charles Cornwallis across the heartland of North Carolina, and away from Cornwallis's base of supply in Charleston, South Carolina. This campaign is known as "The Race to the Dan" or "The Race for the River."[15]

Generals Greene and Cornwallis finally met at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in present-day Greensboro on March 15, 1781. Although the British troops held the field at the end of the battle, their casualties at the hands of the numerically superior American Army were crippling. Following this "Pyhrric victory", Cornwallis chose to move to the Virginia coastline to get reinforcements, and to allow the Royal Navy to protect his battered army. This decision would result in Cornwallis's eventual defeat at Yorktown, Virginia later in 1781. The Patriots' victory there guaranteed American independence.

Antebellum Period
On November 21, 1789, North Carolina became the twelfth state to ratify the Constitution. In 1840, it completed the state capitol building in Raleigh, still standing today. Most of North Carolina's slave owners and large plantations were located in the eastern portion of the state. Although North Carolina's plantation system was smaller and less cohesive than those of Virginia, Georgia or South Carolina, there were significant numbers of planters concentrated in the counties around the port cities of Wilmington and Edenton, as well as suburban planters around the cities of Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham. Planters owning large estates wielded significant political and socio-economic power in antebellum North Carolina, often to the derision of the generally non-slave holding "yeoman" farmers of Western North Carolina. In mid-century, the state's rural and commercial areas were connected by the construction of a 129–mile (208 km) wooden plank road, known as a "farmer's railroad," from Fayetteville in the east to Bethania (northwest of Winston-Salem).[15]

In addition to slaves, there were a number of free people of color in the state. Most were descended from free African Americans who had migrated along with neighbors from Virginia during the eighteenth century. After the Revolution, Quakers and Mennonites worked to persuade slaveholders to free their slaves. Enough were inspired by their efforts and the language of men's rights, and arranged for manumission of their slaves. The number of free people of color rose in the first couple of decades after the Revolution.[18]

On October 25, 1836 construction began on the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad[19] to connect the port city of Wilmington with the state capital of Raleigh. In 1849 the North Carolina Railroad was created by act of the legislature to extend that railroad west to Greensboro, High Point, and Charlotte. During the Civil War the Wilmington-to-Raleigh stretch of the railroad would be vital to the Confederate war effort; supplies shipped into Wilmington would be moved by rail through Raleigh to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

During the antebellum period North Carolina was an overwhelmingly rural state, even by Southern standards. In 1860 only one North Carolina town, the port city of Wilmington, had a population of more than 10,000. Raleigh, the state capital, had barely more than 5,000 residents.

While slaveholding was slightly less concentrated than in some Southern states, according to the 1860 census, more than 330,000 people, or 33% of the population of 992,622 were enslaved African-Americans. They lived and worked chiefly on plantations in the eastern Tidewater. In addition, 30,463 free people of color lived in the state. They were also concentrated in the eastern coastal plain, especially at port cities such as Wilmington and New Bern where they had access to a variety of jobs. Free African Americans were allowed to vote until 1835, when the state rescinded their suffrage.

American Civil War
Main article: American Civil War
In 1860, North Carolina was a slave state, in which about one-third of the population of 992,622 were enslaved African Americans. This was a smaller proportion than many Southern states. In addition, the state had a substantial number of Free Negroes, just over 30,000.[20] The state did not vote to join the Confederacy until President Abraham Lincoln called on it to invade its sister-state, South Carolina, becoming the second to last state to join the Confederacy. North Carolina was the site of few battles, but it provided at least 125,000 troops to the Confederacy— far more than any other state. Approximately 40,000 of those troops never returned home, dying of disease, battlefield wounds, and starvation. Elected in 1862, Governor Zebulon Baird Vance tried to maintain state autonomy against Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond.

Even after secession, some North Carolinians refused to support the Confederacy. This was particularly true of non-slave-owning farmers in the state's mountains and western Piedmont region. Some of these farmers remained neutral during the war, while some covertly supported the Union cause during the conflict. Approximately 2,000 North Carolinians from western North Carolina enlisted in the Union Army and fought for the North in the war, and two additional Union Army regiments were raised in the coastal areas of the state that were occupied by Union forces in 1862 and 1863. Even so, Confederate troops from all parts of North Carolina served in virtually all the major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederacy's most famous army. The largest battle fought in North Carolina was at Bentonville, which was a futile attempt by Confederate General Joseph Johnston to slow Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's advance through the Carolinas in the spring of 1865.[15] In April 1865 after losing the Battle of Morrisville, Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Bennett Place, in what is today Durham, North Carolina. This was the last major Confederate Army to surrender. North Carolina's port city of Wilmington was the last Confederate port to fall to the Union. It fell in the spring of 1865 after the nearby Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

Bennett Place historic site in Durham, North Carolina.The first Confederate soldier to be killed in the Civil War was Private Henry Wyatt, a North Carolinian. He was killed in the Battle of Big Bethel in June 1861. At the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the 26th North Carolina Regiment participated in Pickett/Pettigrew's Charge and advanced the farthest into the Northern lines of any Confederate regiment. During the Battle of Chickamauga the 58th North Carolina Regiment advanced farther than any other regiment on Snodgrass Hill to push back the remaining Union forces from the battlefield. At Appomattox Court House in Virginia in April 1865, the 75th North Carolina Regiment, a cavalry unit, fired the last shots of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War. For many years, North Carolinians proudly boasted that they had been "First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox."

Film studios are located in Shelby, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. Some of the best-known films and television shows filmed in the state include: All the Real Girls, Being There, Blue Velvet, Bull Durham, A Walk to Remember, Glory (film), The Color Purple, Cabin Fever, Super Mario Bros. (film), Cape Fear, Children of the Corn, The Crow, Dawson's Creek, Dirty Dancing, Evil Dead 2, The Fugitive, The Green Mile, Hannibal, The Last of the Mohicans, Nell, One Tree Hill, Patch Adams (film), Shallow Hal, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Leatherheads, Nights in Rodanthe and 28 Days. Half of Steven King's movies were filmed in North Carolina. The television show most associated with North Carolina is The Andy Griffith Show, which aired on CBS-TV from 1960 to 1968. The series is set in the fictional small town of Mayberry, North Carolina, and was based on the real-life town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, although it was filmed in California. Mount Airy is the hometown of actor Andy Griffith. The show is still popular in reruns and is frequently shown in syndication around the nation. North Carolina is also home to some of the Southeast's biggest film festivals, including the National Black Theatre Festival and the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina.

The School of Filmmaking at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem is a unique arts conservatory that combines rigorous professional training with unparalleled facilities, equipment and resources. All Second, Third and Fourth Year productions are entered into film and video festivals worldwide, and several have won major awards, including the Student Academy Award, the Angelus Award and the Cine Eagle Award. The best Fourth Year productions are also screened on film in front of large industry audiences at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles in June each year. School of the Arts alumni have performed in or behind the scenes of Broadway shows, film, television and regional theatre, and are members of the world’s finest symphony orchestras and opera and dance companies. They have won or been nominated for all of the major awards in the entertainment industry, including Tony, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and others. Some well-known alumni of the NCSA School of Drama are Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Dent, and Tom Hulce.

Although North Carolina did not have a major-league professional sports franchise until the 1980s, the state has long been known as a hotbed of college basketball. Since the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 1953, the conference's North Carolina member schools have excelled in conference play. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Duke University, and North Carolina State University are all located within 25 miles (40 km) of one another, creating fierce rivalries. Wake Forest University, another ACC member, is located less than 100 miles (160 km) to the west of these schools in Winston-Salem. UNC has won four NCAA national championships in basketball: 1957, 1982, 1993, and 2005. The Tar Heels also won a national-level championship in 1924, before the NCAA was created. Duke has won three NCAA championships: 1991, 1992, and 2001. NC State has won two: 1974 and 1983. The Duke-UNC basketball rivalry has been called one of the best rivalries in sports and the two schools are often contenders for the national title. In addition to the ACC schools, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte went to the NCAA's Final Four in 1977, and Davidson College near Charlotte went to the NCAA's "Elite Eight" in 1968, 1969, and 2008. In 2007 Barton College in Wilson won the NCAA Division II championship in men's basketball. Although basketball remains the dominant college sport in North Carolina, several schools have also enjoyed success in football and other sports. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Appalachian State University won the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision championship; they are the first university to win the Division I Football Championship Subdivision championship three times in a row. Wake Forest University has also enjoyed substantial success in football; in 2007 they won the ACC football championship and participated in the 2007 Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. This was the first major bowl berth for a North Carolina-based team since Duke defeated Arkansas in the 1961 Cotton Bowl (game).


The Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shining Rock Wilderness AreaDue to geography, rich history, and growing industry, North Carolina provides a large range of recreational activities from swimming at the beach[53] to skiing in the mountains. North Carolina offers fall colors, freshwater and saltwater fishing, hunting, birdwatching, agritourism, ATV trails, ballooning, rock climbing, biking, hiking, skiing, boating and sailing, camping, canoeing, caving (spelunking), gardens, and arboretums. North Carolina has theme parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, historic sites, lighthouses, elegant theaters, concert halls, and fine dining.[54]

North Carolinians enjoy outdoor recreation utilizing numerous local bike paths, 34 state parks, and 14 national parks which are the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site at Flat Rock, Croatan National Forest in Eastern North Carolina, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site at Manteo, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, Moores Creek National Battlefield near Currie, the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Old Salem National Historic Site in Winston-Salem, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, Uwharrie National Forest.

Other information

Famous food and drinks from North Carolina

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)

2008 Lexington Barbecue FestivalA nationally-famous cuisine from North Carolina is pork barbecue. However, there are strong regional differences and rivalries over the sauces and method of preparation used in making the barbecue. Eastern North Carolina pork barbecue uses a vinegar-based sauce and the "whole hog" is cooked, thus using both white and dark meat. The "capital" of eastern Carolina barbecue is usually considered to be the town of Wilson, near Raleigh. Western North Carolina pork barbecue uses a ketchup and vinegar based sauce and only the pork shoulder (dark meat) is used. The "capital" of western Carolina barbecue is usually considered to be the Piedmont Triad town of Lexington, home of the Lexington Barbecue Festival which brings in over 100,000 visitors each October.

North Carolina is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, first produced in 1890 in New Bern. Regional soft drinks created and still based in the state are Sun Drop and Cheerwine. Krispy Kreme, a popular chain of doughnut stores, was started in North Carolina; the company's headquarters are in Winston-Salem. Despite its name, the hot sauce Texas Pete was created in North Carolina; its headquarters are also in Winston-Salem. The Hardees fast-food chain was started in Rocky Mount. Another fast-food chain, Bojangles', was started in Charlotte, and has its corporate headquarters there. A popular North Carolina restaurant chain is Golden Corral. Started in 1973, the chain was founded in Fayetteville. Popular pickle brand Mount Olive Pickle Company was founded in Mount Olive in 1926. Cook Out, a popular fast food chain featuring burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes in a wide variety of flavors, was founded in Greensboro in 1989 and operates exclusively in North Carolina.

[edit] Ships named for the state
Several ships have been named for the state. Most famous is the USS North Carolina, a World War II battleship. The ship served in several battles against the forces of Imperial Japan in the Pacific theater during the war. Now decommissioned, it is part of the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial in Wilmington. Another USS North Carolina, a nuclear attack submarine, was commissioned on May 3, 2008.[55]

Cardinal, North Carolina state bird
Strawberry, North Carolina state red berry
[edit] State symbols
Main article: North Carolina state symbols
State motto: Esse quam videri ("To be, rather than to seem") (1893)
State song: "The Old North State" (1927)
State flower: Dogwood (1941)
State bird: Cardinal (1943)
State colors: the red and blue of the N.C. and U.S. flags (1945)
State toast: The Tar Heel Toast (1957)
State tree: Pine (1963)
State shell: Scotch bonnet (1965)
State mammal: Eastern Gray Squirrel (1969)
State salt water fish: Red Drum (also known as the Channel bass) (1971)
State insect: European honey bee (1973)
State gemstone: Emerald (1973)
State reptile: Eastern Box Turtle (1979)
State rock: Granite (1979)
State beverage: Milk (1987)
State historical boat: Shad boat (1987)
State language: English (1987)
State dog: Plott Hound (1989)
State military academy: Oak Ridge Military Academy (1991)
State tartan: Carolina tartan (1991)[56]
State vegetable: Sweet potato (1995)
State red berry: Strawberry (2001)
State blue berry: Blueberry (2001)
State fruit: Scuppernong grape (2001)
State wildflower: Carolina Lily (2003)
State Christmas tree: Fraser Fir (2005)
State carnivorous plant: Venus Flytrap (2005)
State folk dance: Clogging (2005)
State popular dance: Shag (2005)
State freshwater trout: Southern Appalachian Brook Trout (2005)
State birthplace of traditional pottery: the Seagrove area (2005)

Hope you enjoyed your history lesson Mom!!



Posted Jun 14, 2009, 5:42 pm
Hi Mom!!!

Friday I went to my host's work at the Marine Air Station and they had a fun family day down by the water at the Marina.  They had a big cookout, a DJ playing music, and lots of fun things to do.  The weather was 95 degrees and I was roasting!! I had a great time and here are some photos of me. 

Here is the main sign outside the Air Station.

Here I am at the main gate with a Marine guard.  You have to have a special sticker on your car to be able to come on to the base.  He looked at me a little funny as they are not used to anyone taking their photos haha!

Here I am with my lunch.  A big hamburger, baked beans and a side of North Carolina famous BBQ pork!!

Time for some dessert! The entire table was full of pies, cakes, cupcakes and yummy sweet treats!

Here I am with tiny cupcakes that are Toy Voyager size!!

I went outside and there was a clown that was available to do face painting.  She thought I was so cute and loved posing with me.

Here I am sitting on the Dunk Tank.  The Squadron my host belongs to is raising money for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball that is held every November.  They put their Commanding officers in the dunk tank and you got three balls for a dollar.  You throw the balls at a target and if you hit the target then the person sitting on the platform gets dunked in the water.  It was funny watching everyone try and dunk the boss!!

Here I am outside The Bounce House.  Kids take off their shoes and go inside and jump up and down and have a great time.

Here I am going down to the docks to check out the boats at the Marina.

Here I am with another fun water attraction.  This had a hook you attach to your body and then when you walk to the end it acts like a big bungy cord and it pulls you along the bottom in the water.

Here I am with the MALS 29 Wolverine's sign.  This is the unit my host belongs to.

We stay for a few hours then we go home.  I go out to check the mail and a new TV Mandy Sheep has arrived!!  She will be traveling with me to Las Vegas and we are going to party down!!  Here I am waiting to greet her.

I tell Mandy all about the upcoming trip to Vegas.  I show her our schedule of shows we are going to.

Then I show her our First Class airline tickets! Can you imagine us sitting up in first class like big shot Toy Voyagers!!! lol

Next we have a little party to welcome Mandy and we get down some bottles of drinks.  I chose the Malibu Coconut Rum and it is soooo good!!

Look they even have a small bottle that is Toy Voyager sized!

We grab our drinks and head for the computer.  Darcie wants to show us the beautiful lights that we are going to see on the Las Vegas Strip.  Here is a picture of the Las Vegas sign that has been on the street since 1955. Darcie says she is planning on taking us to the sign and getting our photo taken with it!!

Here is the Las Vegas Blvd strip at night.  I cannot wait to see all the lights!!!

Today Darcie is going to teach us how to play Blackjack.  Darcie says I need to learn how to play and also learn how to stay up late because when they go to the Casino they will often play for 18 hours straight!!! I am also learning how to play Craps and Roulette. I also just found out that we are going to go see the famous Hoover Dam!!  Well mom I need to get back to playing Black Jack.. I just doubled down and won the first hand!!  ;)



Posted Jun 19, 2009, 12:32 pm
Hi Mom!!! Today we spent five hours out in the garage getting Darcie's show car ready for a big show tommorro.  Darcie has a 1955 Porsche Spyder that is her pride and joy! She told me that she takes it to a lot of shows.  The shows all have old cars from the 1940s-1960s.  This show is a bit different as it is a all European show.  They have never had one in the area for just all European and people from all over the East Coast are traveling for the big event tommorro.  There will be no American style hot rods at this show but it is still going to be lots of fun!  The show is at Coastal Plains Raceway which is about a five minute drive from here.  Darcie is happy the event is so close as they usually have to drive for about an hour to get to the other shows in the area.

Here I am with the other TVs helping apply one of three coats of wax to the car.

We work hard and start polishing the hood area.

Here we are finished and sitting on the hood.

Here we are sitting in the drivers seat.  When we finished we took the car for a spin around the neighborhood!

Here we are sitting on the beautiful Banjo steering wheel.  Darcie had this handmade in Stuttgart, Germany.

Here we are on the back checking out the license plate.

Here we are sitting on the back so you can see what the car looks like.

Darcie's husband Steve road races motorcycles for a hobby.  To stay in shape for the big road races he takes his dirtbike on dirt tracks to stay in shape.  Here I am with the Dirtbike.

Here we are with the race bike.  This is a GSXR 600 and it goes super fast! Steve takes it to Daytona, Road Atlanta, Summit Point, Virigina International raceway, Jennings, Carolina motorsports park and New Jersey motorsports park.  The bike goes up to 190 mph.  Darcie always gets nervous at the races because it is high speed and easy to crash!  Someday Darcie and Steve would like to travel to the German MOTO GP in Sachsenring!  they have been to Valencia Spain MOTO GP and they had a fantastic time! Valentino Rossi is Darcie's favorite rider.

Today we are relaxing and getting ready for the car show tommorro.  I will take lots of pictures!!


Posted Jun 22, 2009, 12:39 pm
Hi Mom!!! Today we got up and ate breakfast then got dressed and took the Porsche to the car show.  Mom it was 102 degrees!!! Thank goodness Steve brought the big EZ UP shade protector to sit under all day long or else I would of gotten a sunburn! we only had a quick drive to get to the show.  The show was called Eurorennan and it was the first all European car show that my host's have attended.  My host's are usually the only ones with a Foreign made car at a show so this was going to be special getting to see other ones!  As soon as we arrrive the director of the show comes up
and asks if we will park the car right in front of the registration booth!! Darcie is surprised and says yes.  They love the car so much they want everyone to see it as they enter the show field.  Here we are after we parked the car in front of the booth.  Lots of people thought we were cute.

Here we are parked and posing for the crowds :) Me and Roderich got really excited to see our homeland Germany flag hanging to the left of the sign!!

Next we set up the poster display of the Spyder.  The display has lots of photos of the car and also James Dean.  James Dean was a famous actor (and Darcies favorite!) who also owned a Spyder. We are down at the bottom of the sign by a copy of the James Dean California license plate.

Next we go register the car and we see the trophies that will go to the winners.  Darcie says these are the strangest trophie's she has ever seen! They are really cool as they are bottles instead of being shiny and gold.  Darcie hopes to win one and we do too!!

Next we go wander around the grounds of the racetrack.  We see some vendors selling car stuff and we get on the table for a photo.

The National Guard has a big display at the show and one of the things they bring is a rock climbing wall!!

Next we walk over to a table that has paintball guns! Look at all of them!

We see why the paintball guns are there.  The National Guard has brought a HUGE portable paintball gun field to go in and play Paintball wars!

We go back to check on the Spyder and parked to the right of us is a man who has a BEAUTIFUL M3 BMW.  This car was built for the movie Tokyo Drift which was Fast and the Furious part 3.  This car was really tricked out and had a stereo system that sounded like a nightclub! the owner loves us and lets us sit in the car and also turns on the $20,000 stereo system so we can dance!

Here we are in the trunk with all the stereo equipment.

After we finish dancing we all go over to the drag strip.  Besides the car show they also have some racing going on.  Here we are watching the cars getting ready to go down the track.

We get hot sitting in the sun and drink plenty of water.

At the end of the day Darcie's car wins Best Porsche and Best Vintage.  Here we are at home with the cool Bottle trophy!!

Well Mom me and Bunnerton  and Mandy Sheep need to go get our bags packed as we are going to Vegas on Monday!! will write more later!!



Posted Jun 22, 2009, 12:50 pm

Hi Mom!!!!,

Well tonight is packing night for Vegas!!! Darcie got us in the Las Vegas spirit by playing Dean Martin music for us!! hahaha :) Dean Martin was part of the Las Vegas *Rat Pack*.  She played his song called  *Aint that a kick in the head* and the chorus goes *how lucky can one man be*  but she was singing *how lucky can one toy be* LOL Here we are with our bags packed and ready to go on our flight tommorro! we have to drop the dogs off at the kennel and then we will get our bags and head for the airport.  Our plane leaves at 12:30 pm and we will arrive in Las Vegas at 5:00 pm.  We will gain three hours flying to the western part of the USA so that gives us three more hours to gamble  ;)  We will leave here on Delta airlines and fly to the busiest airport in the USA which is the Atlanta, Georgia airport then off to VEGAS!!!! wish me luck with winning lots of money!!!!! I expect to get very little sleep and will post all the fun photos when I return!  WOHOOO Vegas here I come!!



Posted Jun 28, 2009, 12:15 am
Hi Mom!!
I am back from Las Vegas and me, bunnerton and mandy sheep had SOOO much fun! I will back date my trip so you can see what I did and when!  Darcie wants to first say she is sorry more Casino and drinking shots could of been taken.  The Casinos are VERY strict about NO photographs inside the pit area (play area of Casino)  we DID manage to sneak out a few though LOL I am now a expert at playing Black Jack.  Darcie had me at the tables for up to 12 hours at a time!  I had a Margarita in one hand and my cards in the other :0  Ok mom here is my trip!!

We wake up and Steve makes us big fat Mexican style breakfast burritos!! they are soooo good and made with Chorizo, eggs and potatoes and LOTS of hot sauce.  I have started eating a lot of Mexican food since Steve is always cooking it for us!!

We go to the airport and wait for our flight.  Here we are with our first class tickets!!

They call our flight, we are off to Atlanta, Georgia then we will get our plane to Las Vegas.

Here we are getting on our plane to Atlanta.

We get to Atlanta and wait for our next flight.  We go eat lunch at a bar and have a few drinks to get the party started lol

Our Plane is here! time to go!!

We get on the plane and we are sitting in the first class section, here we are in our big comfy seat!!

We get up and go to the cockpit....can you believe Darcie got us permission to get to fly the plane?

We have 8 Vodka and Cranberrie's and we have a great time!

The pilot announces we are flying over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, it is hard to see but if you look hard you can see the Canyon.

WE ARE FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!! when we take this photo another TV was also taking a photo!! the owner is not on this website and we tell her about it and she is signing up!!

We go pick up the luggage and they have slot machines all over the airport!! after we pick our bags up we go get the rental car.

We head for the strip!! here is Darcie's favorite hotel The Bellagio....we put on a cool radio station and start dancing as we see the big hotels!

Here we are with the Las Vegas Blvd sign as we cruise the strip.

Here is the strip side of the Beautiful Bellagio.

Here is Ceasars Palace.  Mom you need to see the movie *The Hangover* Darcie says you will laugh till you cry! it is ALL about Vegas :)

We are staying at *The Gold Coast* which is right off the strip.  Darcie loves the big fancy hotels on the strip but this one is just as nice and clean and has cheaper prices to gamble :)  Here is our view from our you see the strip? we loved staring at it, especially at night!

We get hungry so we go down and eat.  The buffet is CRAZY huge and we eat a wonderful dinner!

We finally sneak over to the Casino.  Here we are playing the slot machines.....Darcie looks around and quickly snaps a photo of us.

Then we head off to play Black Jack.  Here we are at a empty table.  Darcie could not take a photo of us with the dealer or other people but this was just as fun!!

Here we are at a Roulette table.  This is our second favorite game!

We stay up super late and the west coast is three hours behind North Carolina time so we are super tired.  Here we are with our chips we won.

We FINALLY go to bed... look at what time it is!!! and yes that is AM not PM LOL this is what we do every single night and LOVE IT!!

Well mom that was my first day in Sin City and I think I want to buy a vacation house out here!!


Posted Jun 28, 2009, 6:12 pm
Hi Mom!!

I just drank some Monster energy drink and I just found out we are going to go to the Hoover Dam in Arizona today!!! Hoover Dam borders Nevada and Arizona.  Here is some information on the area.

Hoover Dam, originally known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada. When completed in 1936, it was both the world's largest electric-power generating station and the world's largest concrete structure. It was surpassed in both these respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945. It is currently the world's 35th-largest hydroelectric generating station.[3]

This dam, located 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, is named after Herbert Hoover, who played an instrumental role in its construction, first as the Secretary of Commerce and then later as the President of the United States. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1936, more than two years ahead of schedule. The dam and the power plant are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.[2][4]

Lake Mead is the reservoir created behind the dam, named after Elwood Mead, who oversaw the construction of the dam.

We enter the Lake Mead area and see the sign and the lake.

Then we get closer to the Hoover Dam!!

See the electric towers? They are SIDEWAYS on the mountains!!

Here we are crossing into the state of Arizona.  The Dam covers Nevada and Arizona.

They are building a new bypass for cars.  This is the bridge and Darcie said it made her stomach spin looking at how high it is!!! Can you imagine climbing up it everyday to build it??

After the Dam we go back to gamble in the casino for six hours  ;) We are going to a really cool dinner show at Planet Hollywood hotel and casino.  The show is called Tony and Tinas Wedding.  We have a hour before the show starts so we go to the bar and get a drink.  We sneak on top for a fast photo.

Here we are upstairs by the theatre looking down on the Casino floor.

Upstairs there was a big exibition.  Darcie wanders over and sees that it is items for AUCTION and cannot believe who they belong too!!  Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.  Here we are in front of a small case of Marilyns shoes, makeup case, jewels. scripts, dresses and photos.  Darcie goes crazy with the beautiful dresses and fur coats hanging around the display  ;)

We go inside the Tony and Tias wedding and here we are with the main cast members the groom and bride!!

We have a great time at the show and then we get in the car and cruise the strip back to the hotel....I LOVE the lights!!

We get to the hotel and RUN to the Black Jack tables LOL we play for five more hours..... there are just not enough hours in the day!!!  well Mom I got to get some sleep, Ill write tommorro!!


Posted Jun 29, 2009, 4:47 pm
Hi Mom!!

This is our third day in Las Vegas.  Today we got up and got the car and went to a fun restaurant called the Egg Place.  Here I am with the other TVs getting ready to eat a big Mexican breakfast (Steve's favorite) Darcie thinks it is not a good thing to eat first thing in the morning  :p  I loved it and really liked the Chorizo and refried Beans.

After Breakfast we go to the tip of the strip and take photos with the famous Las Vegas sign.  The weather is a balmly 102 and I make sure to put lots of sunscreen on so I dont get burned.

After we take photos we get in the car and go on a secret mission.  Steve LOVES anything to do with UFOs and aliens LOL sooo we head out for the top secret Area 51.  Area 51 is supposably where all the *aliens* and *Space ships* that have entered US air space have been captured.  The entire base is Top Secret.  Employees of area 51 fly out everyday from the Las Vegas airport on a white unmarked plane with a big red stripe.  They have their own private terminal at the airport that is VERY hard to see and is often on the Discovery channel.  Darcie is going to try and look for it when we take off on Friday and try to catch a rare photo of it from the air :)  anyways we take off for area 51 knowing we can get in big trouble if caught trying to enter the compond LOL

If you try to find Area 51 it is a bit hard.  The US Government denies that it exists :)  We got a few photos but we got scared so we stayed in the back seat so no security guard would snatch us up! Darcie did pull us out and put us on the ground so you can tell everyone that I have been to area 51! Even though Steve is in the military they do not like people coming out and taking photos.

Here it is on a map.  Notice it is not marked.

The long dirt road to the entrance.

This is as close as you can get without getting arrested for trespassing.

Signs like these are all over the place.

While taking photos, a security vehicle arrives.  Darcie takes photos of the vehicle and the guard, they tell her to erase the images or they will take her camara  :cyclops:  YIKES!!! we get back in the car and go back to Vegas and get some more Vodka and Red Bulls.

We have a new TV favorite song.  They played this song over and over and over and over on the radio and in the nightclubs.  Imagine me and the others cruising the strip with this blasting out the back speakers in the car.  ;)


Tonight we went to a casino called Paris, Las Vegas to see Anthony Cools.  This show is a hypnosis show and it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny!!  he had volunteers get on the stage and perform all kind of crazy things that I probably should not type here lol anyways we had a blast!!  Here we are outside with the Eiffel tower!!!

Here is what it looks like inside the casino... look at the pretty blue sky!!

The beautiful check in area....

We come outside after the show and it is dark, look at the lights!!

After the show we cruise down the strip again and go back to the hotel... we are TIRED from all the partying!  :p

Well mom one more day of Vegas!! I want to stay here forever!! hope you and dad can come here sometime!!!! 



Posted Jun 30, 2009, 3:11 pm
Hi Mom!!!
Today is June 25th and it is Darcie's birthday!! we wake her up and sing Happy Birthday to her and then head off for breakfast.  We spend the day with one of Darcie's friends named Terryn.  Terryn is a tattoo artist that does permanent makeup on ladies faces.  She is very busy with all the show girls in the city.  Her business is called Girlz Ink and we have fun watching her work on Darcie's eyes!! Yep Darcie got some eyeliner on her upper and lower lids and it turned out fantastic!  Here we are sitting on the tattoo table and on Terryn's supply box!

After that Steve tells us we are going on a surprise trip for dinner at The Bellagio!! we check the car in at Valet parking and cannot believe how beautiful the inside of the lobby is!!

Inside the lobby they have these big beautiful flowers that are up in the ceiling!! they were sooo pretty!!

We sit down at the restaurant and order our yummy dinner!!

For dessert they bring Darcie's favorite cake in the world... Tiramisu!!

We go outside and it is dark, we go stand in front of the spectacular water fountains for the hourly water dancing show.  This is something NOT to be missed if you ever come to Vegas.

After our dinner we go back to the hotel and change into our party clothes and head off for The Luxor.  We are going to go see Criss Angel's *Believe* show!! the show has LOTS of rabbits in it!!

Here is the outside of the hotel.  It was a bit hard to get us in the following photos...Darcie wanted to capture the entire thing for you to see :)  The hotel is shaped like a pyramid and was all marble inside!

Here is the lobby.

Time for the show!! we sat in the front row!! No photos were allowed inside :(

Ok Mom you are NOT going to believe what happened!! Darcie took us out of her bag so we could *watch* the show.  Criss Angel saw Bunnerton  in the audience and looked right at Darcie (melt haha) and jumped off the stage and asked if Bunnerton  could be in a trick!!! Bunnerton  got to introduce himself and tell everyone over the microphone that he was a Toy Voyager and was visiting from Manchester, UK . Criss Angel took him in his magical hands and made him dissapear with him!!!  Darcie was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO mad she could not take a photo of this!!!!!!!! Bunnerton was later returned by Criss Angel safely to Darcie before the show was over. We had fun watching our friend and will never forget that night!

Here we are outside the Criss Angel store.

After the show we go to see Carrot Top!! HAHAHA he was soooooooo funny! again no photos in the show.  Here we are outside with the sign.

We laugh hard at how funny Carrot Top is and then it is time to go back to the hotel.  In the morning we have a early flight and will be going back to North Carolina.  I go back and pack my bags and try to sleep but it is HARD after all the excitement that I had tonight!!



Posted Jul 1, 2009, 8:56 pm
Hi Mom!!!!
This morning I got up at 5:00am.  We had to take the rental car back and catch a 7:00 am flight to Atlanta.  We didnt want to leave the casino  :(  Steve and Darcie didnt want to leave either and they told me ANYTIME they go back that I am invited! :) We board the plane and guess what???? we get to fly the plane AGAIN!!!

As we taxi I see lots of planes behind ours! this airport is VERY busy.  I look over my shoulder and I see a big white plane with a red stripe, the plane has no airline name on it, you know why? This plane is going to Area 51!!!!  I couldnt get a good picture but I DID find the special terminal that area 51 uses... I got it in the air!! If you look real close at the planes they are all white with red stripes...

Here are my last two views as we fly up into the clouds.... Goodbye Las Vegas......... hope to come back soon!!!

Posted Jul 5, 2009, 5:49 pm
Hi Mom!
Today is a big holiday in the USA.  Today is 4th of July and everyone is off work and celebrating with cookouts and fireworks.  We first went to Dunkin Donuts for some Donuts and Coffee.  We get half a dozen and bring them back home.  I like the Maple bars and the chocolate with sprinkles the best.

After we ate our Donuts we get in the car and go to Walmart! We have stuff to buy for our BBQ! Walmart is HUGE!!!

We get inside and head for McDonalds for a little snack :)

We shop for Fireworks, here we are checking out the selection.

Here we are picking out lots of snacks! We love Ding Dongs, Twinkies and chocodiles!! these are treats made by a company named Hostess :)

Now we go to the Candy aisle.  Darcie LOVES candy and could live off of it!!  hahaha we love seeing all the fun candy that we do not have back home.

Here we are helping Steve get some beer.  Look at the huge selection they had!!

We keep wandering around this huge store and seeing all the stuff they have.

We peak into the basic to see if we have everything.

We get back to the house and unpack everthing.  We are in the process of painting the inside of Darcie's bedroom.  Look how hard we are working.

Tonight we are doing something really fun! Steve set up a drive in movie theatre in the backyard!! we brought the flat screen TV out and some Citronella candles to keep the bugs away.  We grilled hot dogs and had potato salad, baked beans and steak fries! we watched Casablanca and East of Eden.  We watched the fireworks from the backyard and had a great time!

I had a great 4th of July!!!!


Posted Jul 10, 2009, 1:06 pm
Hi Mom!! I just found out that I am going to Hong Kong!! Darcie helped me pack my bags and say goodbye to everyone.  I sure did have a good time here and even got Voyager of the week!! I know I have made friends for life here in North Carolina!!!

Off to catch my plane,

Posted Nov 21, 2009, 7:30 pm
I arrived savely at my host iris' in Hong Kong, but she can't update my travelog because of computer problems, but she did send some photos to my mentor. She took me to Disneyland for Halloween! :D

Posted Mar 30, 2010, 6:37 pm
I finally made it back home! I can't wait to ge travelling again, though, but I hope that this time I will be able to update more often.


Posted Apr 8, 2010, 9:10 pm
Hi Mummy,
I arrived in Remscheid today! My new host Katja gave me a warm welcome with some delicious cat treats.

Soon I was surrounded by more ToyVoyagers. There are Captain Caramel, Wendy, Ceryni and Diddl-Maus who was a little bit afraid of me.

I  had a look around the apartement. Hmmm ... there is a scratching post ...

... a large scratching ton ...

... a litter pan ...

... but where is the cat?

This is certainly not a cat!

Katja told me that there are two ferrets, Shiva and Brighty. This is Shiva, Brighty is emptying a drawer in the meantime.

It seems like I'll have a lot of fun with my new friends here  :)


Posted Apr 10, 2010, 12:02 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in one of the valleys which are connecting the city centre with the districts Lennep and Luettringhausen. To get there we went to Katja's friend by bus. From the bus station Katja showed me the city hall and a sculpture which is marking the entrance of the pedestrian area. It is showing two large forceps as a symbol for the tool producing industry in Remscheid.

Lüttringhausen is a rather old district which had its own municipality before it was suburbanized to Remscheid.

You can find forests and pasture land here in the valley.

Diddl-Maus is no longer afraid of me. We became good friends.

The forest soil is covered with anemones now, we saw white and yellow anemones.

There are only a few houses in the valley.

We had to walk uphill in the meantime. A good overview was the reward for this effort.

We walked into the centre of Luettringhausen and had a look at the historic city hall of the district.


Posted Apr 12, 2010, 5:26 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk to day in Remscheid-Hasten. We went through the municipal park to get there. We saw pretty houses here.

Katja showed me an indoor swimming pool which is only for schools and swimming clubs.

We had to stop and cuddle this beauty.

Here in Hasten you can find industrial buildings close to dwellings, often traditional old houses.

Here you can see "Keiper", a famous company which produces car seats and custom car seats, also for Formula-1 cars.

We were reaching the oldest parts of the district than.

Here you can also see old industrial buildings and new ones between dwellings.

A pretty Patrician Villa came into sight. It was built in the 1790 years. A museum is situated here nowadays.

We took a nice group photograph here.

We went through the municipal park once more to get home. The observatory is situated here.

Here is also a pond with ducks and turtles.

This is the police headquarter.

In the park in front of the police station I found pretty yellow flowers - daffodils.

From here we had to walk only a few minutes to get home. Katja showed me this church. She told me that is nearly invisibe in summer because of the trees around it.


Posted Apr 12, 2010, 5:28 pm
Hi Mummy,
I've got an invitation to travel to Bavaria with Katja's colleage Elke. We will go there on Wednesday and stay until Sunday. Diddl-Maus will also come with us.

You'll hear more of me next week.


Posted Apr 21, 2010, 7:38 pm
Hi Mummy,
we arrived in Marktredwitz today. Marktredwitz is a small town in Bavaria.

We entered our room. We can see the the River Roeslau, an affluent of the River Eger in North-East Bavaria, 37,59 km long.


Posted Apr 21, 2010, 8:01 pm
Hi Mummy,
here you can see our first-class breakfast. We need a fortification for today's trip to Plauen ...

... but first we read the newspaper.


Posted Apr 21, 2010, 8:03 pm
We also visited the Glötzschtalbrücke (Gloetzsch Valley Bridge), which is the largest brick bridge in the world. The railway bridge is 574m long and was built between 1846 and 1851 using more than 26 million bricks. It has four storeys with 81 arches. It is 78 m high and 574 m long.

There were up to 1.736 workers working each month, 31 of them died while construction works.

When it was finished, it was also the highest railway bridge in the world. It is currently part of the high-speed [1] Dresden-Plauen line.

We read some facts about the bridge on this sign.

Here you can seet his famous bridge.

Unfortunately we forgot the name of this creek running close to the bridge.


Posted Apr 21, 2010, 8:30 pm
Hi Mummy,

we visited Feisnitz dam today. We circled it completely. The dam is about 1,3 km long.

We found a small cave. Here we relaxed for a while and enjoyed the overview to the lake.

Greetings from

Posted Apr 21, 2010, 8:38 pm
Hi Mummy,
we are back!

We met Katja at her workplace when Elke took us with her. It was a bit boring in the office, so we played with the copy machine. We tried to take a photo :D

Oh dear, this light is also blinding me.

Have a look at the result.

It looks like cat and a mouse :D


Posted Apr 26, 2010, 9:33 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in the suburbs of Remscheid. We started in Remsched-Hasten, which is one of the oldest districts in the municipal area. I have been in Hasten before, but this time we walked until we reached the bottom of the "Morsbachtal" (Morsbach Valley).

In Hasten you can find lots of pretty old houses.

This is the creek "Morsbach", this valley is named after this creeek.

I saw a running water wheel here.

Several creeks are running through this valley. This one is dammed to a fish pond here.

We walked uphil through a shady forest than.

The shady forest changed into a sunny forest ...

From here you had a good look at the city centre in the distance.

We walked along a small hamlet.

That was a quite long walk, more than two hours.


Posted May 1, 2010, 9:54 pm
Hi Mummy,
today it's the International Worker's Day, so Katja suggested to visit a very important former workplace, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen. To get there, we met Katja's friend Erika and went to Essen by bus and train.

We met in Remscheid-Hasten.

Erika brought a birthday present for Katja, she was celebrating her birthday last week. Erika covered pieces of bananas with dark chocolate and decorated them with real flowers, with ground ivy, in German they are called "Gundermann".  Those plants are edible, in ancient times they were used as a preservation spell against plague and also as a medical plant.

Of course everyone tasted them, they were delicious :)


Posted May 3, 2010, 9:44 pm
We reached Essen and went to Zeche Zollverein by tram.

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a large former industrial site in the city of Essen. It has been inscribed into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since December 2001.

The first coal mine on the premises was founded in 1847, mining activities took place from 1851 until 1986.

The two parts of the site, Zollverein Coal Mine and Zollverein Coking Plant ranked among the largest of their kinds in Europe. The Zollverein Coking Plant was erected in the late 1950's, closed in 1993. Shaft 12, built in Bauhaus style, was opened in 1932 and is considered an architectural and technical masterpiece, called "the most beautiful coal mine in the world". After it had been closed down in late 1986, shaft 12 was declared as a memorial. You can see it on the very first photo.

You can walk in the area everywhere, so we took a walk around.

We decided to visit the coking plant than, we had to walk a few minutes to get there. On our way we saw this gigantic hauling machine.

Soon we reached to coking plant Zollverein.

They have a Ferris Wheel here!

You cannot imagine how large those tubes are!

Everything is gigantic here - there are screws which are larger than Ceryni.

We reached the end of the coking complex. The artificial channel is opened for ice skating in winter.

We walked back on the rear side of the coking plant.

We went to the visitor's center than which is situated in the former coal washing plant. You can see the old machines here. It is quite dark here in this part of the complex.

Great! A black cat in the dard! I think a few peple were scared to death when they saw a little black something running through the dark *hahaha*

We found a beer garden on the estate, we all needed refreshing.

When we went back to the central station, we had to wait for our train. We made good use of our time :D

That was a great trip!


Posted May 6, 2010, 7:48 pm
Hi Mummy,

we took a walk in the afternoon. Although the sun was shining it was rather cold. We went to the municipal park first to have a look at the ducks. We hoped to see cute ducklings but it seems there are still no ducklings.

The rhododendron is already blooming.

This memorial is dedicated to the dead of severals wars earlier than World War I.

We left the park than and walked to one of the oldest districts, to Hasten. You can find those typical old houses here, also old factories among dwellings.

This district is surrounded by woodland.

To walk home we had to walk uphill for an eternity.



Posted May 9, 2010, 2:48 pm
Hi Mummy,
we visited the neighbour city Wuppertal today. The first thing to see when you enter the city centre is the "Schwebebahn", a suspended monorail, the worldwide one and only of that kind.

The Schwebebahn is built above the river Wupper. It was opened in 1901 and it is still in use as a local transport system. It travels along a route 13.3 kilometres long, about 12 metres  above the surface of the river Wupper  and about 8 m above the city streets.

We took a short walk along the river Wupper. Here you can see the Schwebebahn in front of a bank building.

The Schwebebahn has 20 stations, each of it built in a different style, some in the original old-fashioned style, some in a modern style. This one is definitely one of the modern ones.

We went with the Schwebebahn for three stations. We went to the station "Landgericht" (District Court). You can see our train leaving the station.

Here you can see the train leaving into the other direction.

Katja told us that we would visit the Botanical Garden than, high upon the hillside. The city of Wuppertal is situated in the valley of the river Wupper, the slopes of the valley are really steep, so in Wuppertal about 500 stairs were built  along the slopes. Most of them were built in 19th century when the housing areas grew. Here is one of them.

We reached the Botanical Garden than. It was originally built in 1890 as a school garden in the place which is now the rose garden. Between 1908-1910 it relocated to today's site, the Villa Eller'schen, a former country house of textile manufacturers named Eller, which contained a villa , orangery, residential and farm buildings, and the Elise Tower (built 1838) which provides the garden's focal point.

First we had a look at the greenhouses. A real rainforest!

We decided to climb onto the tower.

The outlook is fantastic!

On this zoomed photo you can see the city centre with the characteristic bank building.

Here you can see the greenhouses.

We saw lots of pretty flowers.

Of course we posed for a nice group photograph.

It was time than to leave.


Posted May 15, 2010, 10:31 am
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in the neighbour city Solingen, in the valley and hills of the river Wupper. We started our trip in Solingen-Widdert. From here we walked downhill to reach the Wupper valley. In those rural districts you can often find the traditional old houses, called "Bergische Häuser".

This is the river Wupper which I already saw last weekend in Wuppertal. About 20 km from here the Wupper will flow into river Rhine close to Leverkusen.

We followed our path uphill until we were about 120 m above the valley. You have great overlook from here.

We walked through the forest, over hill and dale. Sometimes we had to cross smaller creeks.

We took a group photograph ...

... at the foot of this impressive rock.

We had to cross another creek. This is the bridge that was once leading across it.

We had to balance over a few stones instead.

Finally we reached the river Wupper again.

We walked through a hamlet with lots of pretty old houses.

One of the local farmers is selling potatoes, eggs and honey here in this booth. Nobody is watching over the goods here, you can take what you want to buy and put the money into the savings box. We bought potatoes and eggs.



Posted May 17, 2010, 9:28 pm
Hi Mummy,
we went to Remscheid- Lennep today. Lennep is the oldest district of the municipal area, with own municipal law since the 1260's years. This district belongs to Remscheid as part of the city since 1929 A.D.

Lennep still has its medieval  city core. Many of the old houses are under monument protection.

Syringa is blooming here.

Here you can see the market place, the farmer's market is taking place here twice a week.

This is "Klosterkirche", a church which belonged to an abbey once. It was  restored and is a cultural centre nowadays. A great restaurant also belongs to the Klosterkirche.

Here you can see the "Roentgen-Museum". Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, the founder of the x-rays, was born in Lennep in 1845 A.D.

This is the school which Katja attended until 1982.


Posted May 22, 2010, 11:47 am
Hi Mummy,
the sun was shining, so we could not wait to go out. We took a walk in the early evening, of course in the forest :)

The first photo was taken in Hasten, I have been here before to admire all those pretty houses.

We picked up Katja's friend Erika, in the house are living several cats. One of it was enjoying the sun outside.

We walked along Morsbachtal. We saw a flock of sheep, they had a lot of recently born lambs.

What a lovely surrounding!

We crossed the road which follows the valley.

Soon we reached another forest.

Finally we took the bus back home. Can you see the water tower in the background? We would have had to walk uphill for at least another 40 minutes, so the bus was a good idea.


Posted May 23, 2010, 4:53 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today to Muengsten Bridge, Germany's highest railway bridge. A feast is taking place there this weekend.

Muengsten Bridge is connecting the cities of Remscheid and Solingen. It overspans the valley of the river Wupper. To walk to the valley took us about an hour. We walked along some pretty rural areas.

In the forest we found this lookout point.

From here you can see part of the large bridge looking through the trees.

We reached the river Wupper than.

Muengsten Bridge is made of steel. It is 107 m high and  spans the valley of river Wupper, which is marking the border between Remscheid and the neighbour town Solingen.

The bridge is 465 m long and was completed in 1897 A.D.

Lots of people are enjoying the sun here, kids are playing in the shallow water and some dogs also.

I heard a train crossing the bridge, but I could not see it.

Later we took the bus home.


Posted May 26, 2010, 9:28 pm
Hi Mummy,
we made a really long  hiking tour today. We followed the so-called "Roentgenweg", a circular route following the limits of the municipal area, 65 km long. It is running along the borders of the neighbour cities Hueckeswagen, Radevormwald, Wermelskirchen, Solingen and Wuppertal.

This circular route is named after Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, the founder of the x-rays. He was born in Remscheid-Lennep in 1845.

We started our tour at Roentgen-Museum.

Here is a map showing the hiking trail.

Soon we left the housing areas of the district Lennep.

We walked  along Wupper dam for a while.

Rural areas followed, we saw some farms.

You can find wind turbines here as energy generators.

We had to follow the sign with an encircled "R". We were on the right path - even after hours :)

We walked along a commercial area.

This was a regular  road once, the tunnel is only broad enough for one car.

We had to cross a state road here.

We were opposite  the city centre on its hill than. In the distance you can see the city with the city hall tower.

Here is also a zoomed  photo.

We reached "Eschbachtalsperre" than, the first drinking water dam which was ever built in Germany.

We crossed the retaining wall and walked  down to the valley. Here is the rear side of the retaining wall.

Here is the water works, the drinking water is pumped from here in the valley to the water tower on top of the hill where the city centre is situated.

We also walked along the open air bath which was re-opened this weekend after the winter break.

From here we walked for another few kilometres through the forest and left the circular route to take a bus home.

Here you can see that Remscheid is an industrial town, despite of the beautiful surroundings. They have a lot of metalworking industry here, tools are produced and all sorts of machines.

We did not make the whole tour today, but about one third. Katja showed it to us on the slate map.

We walked 25 km today!

Now my feet are aching, I need a rest on the sofa :)


Posted Jun 2, 2010, 5:52 pm
Hi Mummy,
today I said goodbye to all my friends and my host Katja. I packed a few important things with me: a lei in the German national colours - so I will be able to celebrate the German team when I'll watch the FIFA World Cup with my next host. Katja told me that my next host will take me high upon the mountains, so I took some cereal bars with me.

When you read this, I will already be on my way to Canada.


Posted Jun 27, 2010, 8:55 pm
Hi Mum,

I arrived in Canada :D! I was a bit scared of coming out of my envelope as I could feel a lot of paws handling it :stare:.

But it turned out that they were a lot of TVs just very excited by my arrival. They are DeanSpooky, Red Navel, Etwas who is German like me and sammino who is a stay at home TV. They were all very impressed with the cereal bars I brought with me ;) and with my German flower chain that I will use to support Germany at football :). However, later on sammino leaned closer and whispered to me that cheering loudly for the “wrong” team while smaug is at home might not be the most advisable thing to do :o.

Posted Jun 27, 2010, 9:36 pm
Hi Mum,

Today seemed to be a nice day so we went for a walk on the mountains. On the way to the trailhead we got pelted with rain and hail :o, but once we parked the car it was nice and sunny and the view was wonderful :).

As we went up the weather started turning ugly.

Here we got a view of our destination for the day.

Unfortunately we couldn’t take any photo from the top as it started raining heavily, or was it snow :rolleyes:? On the way down we met Landroval one of smaug’s TVs who is spending some time on the Rockies. sammino told him that there is a nice host  waiting for him in the States, so he said goodbye to us, grabbed our lunch :stare: and just flew away.

Posted Jul 2, 2010, 1:34 am
Hi Mum!

Today we said goodbye and wished a safe trip to Etwas, who is travelling to Hong Kong, wow :)!

Posted Jul 10, 2010, 4:43 am
Hi Mum,

Today we were going for a trip on the mountains but, on the way, smaug noticed that there was something wrong with the car: we got a punctured tyre :o! Of course we decided to change it with the spare tyre all by ourselves :). Smaug said that we need to get a bit faster if we want to join a F1 pit crew :rolleyes:, but I think we were great B).

Too bad we had to come back to Calgary and get the tyre fixed, so the trip to the mountains was very short :rolleyes:.

Posted Jul 11, 2010, 2:28 am
Hi Mum,

Today we went for a hike near Lake Louise to a mountain called Fairview Mt., so we hoped to find a nice view ;). And actually it was nice indeed :).  Here we were resting after reaching the top.

Then I took a look around. That is Mount Victoria... is the Bow Valley Looking north...

...Mt. Temple just in front of us...

...and that down there is Lake Louise.

Leaning out from a ledge we could see the Saddleback from where we passed on our way up :o.

On the way down we asked smaug to let us play a bit in the snow. How often can you play in the snow in July B)?!

Posted Jul 11, 2010, 4:38 am
Hi Mum,

Today sammino disappeared for a few hours and when he got home he brought two new guests with him :): HolgiHH, a nice donkey from Germany and Krystal, one of smaug’s TVs who will stay here a few days on Holiday. Of course we all gave them a warm welcome :).

Posted Jul 24, 2010, 6:40 am
Hi Mum!

Today the weather was horrible so we just went for a short walk in downtown Calgary. Luckily it’s Stampede time, so there are plenty of places where you can snatch a free pancake breakfast around town :D. We found one where we could even stop eating indoor :)

Calgary has the world most extensive pedestrian skywalk system, so you can explore several kilometres of downtown without ever going outdoor. Here I was on a bridge with the Calgary Tower in the background.

Eventually we tried to go outside, but not for long :rolleyes:.

We found some shelter in this big shopping center until it was time to go home.

The great thing of being a Toyvoyager is that, even when the sky started dropping golf-ball size hailstones on the head of our host, we were safely hidden in a rucksack ;).

Posted Jul 25, 2010, 3:28 pm
Hi Mum!

Today we went visiting the Stampede Park :)! First we got ready for the day with a filling breakfast. Krystal, HolgiHH and Sigfrido brought some delicious chocolate Madeleines from France that we quickly ate :D.

Just to be sure not to run short of energy we got also some bread and nutella ;).

On the way to the stampede park we passed through this nice park.

Eventually we arrived at our destination. First we checked out the Stampede Market where we found some nice “western” corners.

There was even plenty of straw to play with...

Then we played cowtoyvoyagers with  this saddle.

We also found a chuckwagon...

Later we explored a bit the park.

On the way home we decided to get some typical food found in every cattle ranch: cowboy popcorns :rolleyes:!

Delicious :).

Posted Jul 29, 2010, 5:01 am
Hi Mum,

Today the weather was gorgeous, so we went for another walk in downtown Calgary :). On the way we took a picture of some of the skyscrapers.

Later we grabbed another free pancake breakfast...why isn’t  it always stampede time ;)?

Once we had a full belly B), we went visiting the Calgary Tower. It might not be so obvious in the photos :rolleyes:, but the view was great :)!

Posted Jul 31, 2010, 6:07 am
Hi Mum!

Today we went visiting Banff :). Here we were comfortably settled in the car.

The drive was a bit long, but eventually we arrived close to our destination...

...and entered town.

We spent most of the day dodging showers :rolleyes:, but we managed to walk a bit along the River Bow without getting too drenched.

Here you can see the Bow falls :).

Later we got a glimpse of the Banff Springs Hotel, one of the most luxurious resorts of the Rockies B).

Eventually it was time to go back home. On the road we got a bit scared when we saw a truck driving the wrong way on the highway towards us :stare:...

...but it was just being towed :rolleyes:.

Posted Jul 31, 2010, 3:43 pm
Hi Mum!

Today we went visiting the Dinosaur Provincial Park: we were very excited at the idea of meeting a T-Rex strolling on the road ;). The drive was long and a bit boring, so we spent most of the time chatting.

We also stopped to take a couple of pictures at the prairies.

Eventually we reached dour destination :D. Here the prairies are carved deeply by the Red Deer River and its tributaries, so there are plenty of these deep gorges with luscious vegetation at the bottom.

At some points the landscape turns quite “lunar” :o.

Disappointingly, we didn’t meet any dinosaur walking around :rolleyes:, just a lot of information panels describing all the different skeletons (an awful lot apparently) that were dug out in this area.

Posted Aug 5, 2010, 3:25 am
Hi Mum,

Today we all gathered together to say goodbye to Krystal and Sigfrido who are on their way back to France.

Posted Aug 5, 2010, 4:42 am
Hi Mum,

This week end we are in Jasper and today we immediately explored a bit around the town :). First we jumped on the Jasper Tramway that took us up a mountain with a lovely view of the valley.

With a short walk we reached the top of a nearby mountain called The Whistlers, and the view was even better :).

This peak is called The Whistlers because of the sheer number of Whistling Marmots living here. They didn’t seem to inclined to take a photo a with us :(, but we managed to at least take a decent shot of one of them.

Later we moved a bit on the side of the peak to enjoy more views.

Here you can see Jasper again with the Upper Station of the Jasper Tramway...

...and here is the ridge that we walked on to get o the top B).

From the opposite side of the mountain we could see in the haze :rolleyes: the Athabasca Valley, with the Athabasca River being that silver ribbon on the valley floor.

What a great day :D!

Posted Aug 8, 2010, 1:03 am
Hi Mum,

Today we were supposed to visit a glacier, but the weather had other plans so after trying to reach it and getting drenched in the process we had to change destination. So we checked out a little lake near Jasper town called Lake Annette. Nice place, and it wasn’t raining :).

In the background you can see a green space. There was actually a beach there with someone swimming in the lake, crazy people :stare:!

Back to our hotel we gathered some wood...

...and decided to use the fireplace :D.

Unfortunately smaug said that the room was already warm enough and we just have to chat imagining to sit in front of a fire :rolleyes:.

Posted Aug 8, 2010, 4:52 am
Hi Mum,

Today we are going back to Calgary, so on the way we took a couple of photos. One with the Athabasca River...

...and one with Mount Fryatt :).

Posted Aug 20, 2010, 4:16 am
Hi Mum,

Today I said goodbye to all my friends here and got ready to move to my new host. Spooky is leaving tomorrow too, going home, so we’ll keep each other company for a bit at the post office ;).

Before I jumped in my envelope sammino gave me a big hug and wished me a safe journey :).

Next update from Maple Ridge :D!

Posted Aug 20, 2010, 5:57 pm
I have arrived at Abby's house!  It was a very fast trip. SunnyHH and Hedgie were on hand to meet me.

Sadly I did not have long to speak to SunnyHH, because he is leaving today.  He and Hedgie travelled together for a while, so I sat to the side while they said goodbye.

Posted Aug 22, 2010, 6:08 am
Today we are helping Abby make dessert for her family.

First you mix together crushed pecans and grated chocolate.

Then you add brown sugar and mix it together.

Next, the secret ingredient: Kahlua.  Just a splash will do.

Press it into a pan and that is the crust.

Next, melt some chocolate and let it cool.

Then you mix together butter, sugar, instant coffee granules and another splash of Kahlua.

Add the chocolate and some vanilla extract and mix it all together.

Next you add an egg.

You add four eggs in total, mixing for a few minutes in between each egg until it looks like this:

Pour it onto the crust.

Then you have to refrigerate it to let it set.  While you are waiting, eat the leftover filling.

Remember to top your piece with whipped cream and chocolate!

If you do not want to eat raw eggs, don't ask Abby for this recipe.  If you do not mind, then try it.  It tastes amazing!

Posted Aug 25, 2010, 8:21 am
We are going to a special event in Vanier Park: a free outdoor movie to celebrate the launch of a new exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver.

we showed up early to get a good seat.

There was a free bike valet and free food.

We ate some blueberries.

Also some organic chips.

Abby's sister works for the museum and had to take pictures of the event.  We decided to help out until it was too dark.

Shhh!  Eat Drink Man Woman is starting!

Posted Aug 25, 2010, 8:24 am
Simon Fraser University is where Abby goes to school.  This is the Convocation Mall, where graduations and all large gatherings are held.  It's covered for when the weather is bad.

The Academic Quadrangle is where many classrooms, places to eat, lecture halls and offices are found.  The raised square is two floors, and there are two floors below where I am standing.

The campus is on a mountain and on a nice day there is a good view.

Posted Aug 27, 2010, 8:52 am
We are attending the opening of the new Museum of Vancouver exhibit, Home Grown.

There was live music.

Also speeches.

Abby's sister contributed two videos to the exhibit.  Most of the footage of the videos is from Abby's back yard, like these raspberries in the spring/summer video.

This is from the fall/winter video.  The wheat isn't Abby's backyard, but I didn't want my picture taken with compost.

This display is all about collecting seeds.

The canning wall showcases preserves made by the people in the Vancouver area, and people are encouraged to add to the wall.  It was a bit slow to get started, so Abby's family donated six different jars of preserves.

These seeds were free to take.

Posted Aug 27, 2010, 8:53 am
The other temporary exhibit at the MOV is Fox, Fluevog and Friends.  They are famous shoe designers and were huge in the 1970s.  Fluevog is the main focus of the exhibit because his main store is in Vancouver.

There was a kids' station where you could draw your own shoes.  Do you like our design?

The shoes on the left are the 'Munster' shoe, the ones in the middle are the 'Jack White' shoe, and the ones on the right are the 'Iggy' shoe.

Finally, these are some of Fluevog's favourites.

Posted Aug 27, 2010, 8:56 am
The Fraser River is the largest in British Columbia and is named after explorer Simon Fraser (which you will remember is also the name of Abby's school).

It is sockeye salmon season here and the first year in many that they have been abundant enough to fish.  We bought four (Abby wouldn't touch these.  Dead fish make her squeamish).

Keep watching this space because you will see more of the Fraser River very soon.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:02 pm
The Othello Quintette Tunnels were originally part of a railway line that was built when silver was discovered in the Kettle Valley area.

The views here are beautiful.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:05 pm
Continuing on our journey, we drove to Yale.

We stopped to look at the river and pick blackberries.

Yale used to be a very important town along the road that took miners up to the Barkerville gold rush.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:07 pm
Continuing on...

Oh look, tunnels!

Our destination was Hell's Gate, called that because is is the narrowest part of the Fraser River, only 33 metres (110 ft), and is usually deeper than it is wide.  Twice as much water flows through here per minute than Niagra Falls!  When explorer Simon Fraser came through here in 1808 it was such a harrowing experience for him that he wrote in his journal, "surely this is the gate of hell."

You have to take an airtram down.

This is where we came from.

When Abby bought her ticket we were given a coupon for fudge.  I can't wait to use it.

There is a bridge that going across the river.

The concrete structure in the water is a fish stock.  When one of the railways was being built they hit a fault and the resulting avalanche blocked off most of the river.  They built the fish stocks (one on each side) to help salmon get upstream to spawn.

This is a chart of the various water depths.  The water level right now is about at the top of the green.  In the spring it can get much higher.

I am not sure exactly why there is a giant chair here, but it is even large for humans.

This is what I look like from outside the airtram.

Another view of the fish stock.

Along the fence are various signs with information about the history of the area.  Can you spot the glaring grammatical error in this one?  (Hint: one of the sentences seems to be missing some words).

I took a few minutes to look at the river up close to see if I could spot any salmon.

This place isn't just a tourist destination.  chipmunks live here.

Time to head back.

In the car, we ate some delicious fudge.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:10 pm
The Hope slide is the largest landslide in Canadian history.  Four people were killed and only two of the bodies were ever found.

Hedgie and I decided to make an inuksuk from some of the rocks.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:12 pm
The last place we visited on our mini road trip was Bridal Veil Falls, called that because the waterfall sort of looks like a veil.

Posted Aug 31, 2010, 11:14 pm
Vancouver's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America.

This is the Milennium Gate, or Gate of Thousands' Happiness.  It was built in 2002.

This is the Sam Kee building, which holds the world record for being the narrowest building in the world, at only six feet across.  The original owner, called Sam Kee by Westerners, was cheated out of most of his land by the city of Vancouver until he was left with only a strip.  Rather than give up the rest of it, he built a building on what land he had left.  It later belonged to a silk merchant, and now belongs to an insurance company.

This is the West Han Dynasty bell, a replica of one by the same name in China.

This is the Dr Sun Yat Sen garden.  It is ver pretty.

Many animals live here, including turtles, who are sunbathing.

You can find a few of these lions around Chinatown, that symbolize luck.  They are suppsoed to have pearls in their mouths, but unfortunately most have been stolen.

This memorial is for those who fought in wars, and also for those who worked on the railroad in the 19th century (which is why many Chinese came to Canada in the first place.

This is a giant abacus.  The beads are made from jade.

Posted Sep 9, 2010, 8:15 pm
This little mini town was sitting near the road.  It is ToyVoyager-sized!

Posted Sep 9, 2010, 8:18 pm
This is the Chilliwack airport.

See that 'I fly for pie!' sign?  People do quite literally fly here to eat pie.

Every day they put up many different kinds and take them down as they are sold out.  These are the ones available today, and inside the kitchen are the plaques for about thirty more kinds.

I got the raspberry rhubarb pie.

Posted Sep 9, 2010, 8:21 pm
The Back Porch is a local farm that sells handmade pottery, has a coffee roastery, and there are also antiques and some animals.

We looked at the antiques first.  Wouldn't this be perfect for ToyVoyagers?  If only it wasn't broken.

Next, we visited the goats.

We also visited the chickens.

This farm has a large garden.

Inside one of the buildings was where coffee, pottery and garlic were being sold.  This is also the pottery workshop.

Posted Sep 10, 2010, 5:45 am
A new ToyVoyager has arrived.  Who could it be?

It's Ewan E. Ewok!

We decided to introduce him to Lou.

Posted Sep 10, 2010, 5:46 am
It's Abby's day off, so we decided to bake cupcakes together.  This is our carrot cake recipe (there were no instructions so we made them up).

We started off by grating some carrots.

I had a go.

Next we mixed sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl we mixed flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves).

We added the dry ingredients to the wet, then mixed in the carrot.

Into the liners...

And baked for 25 minutes.

Next we mixed up some cream cheese frosting.  Yum.

The piping bag was heavy, so everyone helped out.


Posted Sep 14, 2010, 8:45 am
Today we are attending a play at Bard on the Beach, a local Shakespeare festival that runs every summer.

Today's play is Falstaff, which is a condensed version of King Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.  Basically, they took out all of the dry bits.

There were no pictures allowed inside, but it was a very enjoyable play.

Posted Sep 14, 2010, 8:46 am
Another ToyVoyager has arrived.

It's Bobi!

Posted Sep 28, 2010, 7:44 am
Today we are going to Eat! Fraser Valley, which is a show on local food.

We bought these tickets, which enabled us to try all sorts of food.

Posted Sep 28, 2010, 7:45 am
We met up with Smaug and his visiting TVs for coffee and to explore Chinatown.  I have already visited Chinatown, but everyone visited the Sun Yat Sen Garden together.

Posted Sep 28, 2010, 7:45 am
Ollie Kikabeer arrived today.

Posted Oct 7, 2010, 7:06 pm
Abby took me to a very special event.  A PostSecret live event!  Frank Warren got on stage and told everyone stories and showed pictures of never-before seen secrets, then opened up the floor to people in the audience who wanted to tell their secrets.

I did get my picture taken in the theatre, but it was so dark that you couldn't tell I was there, so instead I am showing you two pictures without me in them that are slightly better quality.

After the event, I got to meet Frank!

Posted Oct 11, 2010, 3:23 am
Today is Convocation at Abby's school, and I was there to see Abby's sister graduate.

The ceremony is held in the aptly-named Convocation Mall.

Before the ceremony, the graduands were piped in by SFU's six time world champion pipe band.

There were a number of speeches during the event.  Abby was the designated photographer for her sister, so she was busy running around with a much better camera and did not have time to take more photos of me.

After the ceremony there was a reception for a special few people.

Posted Oct 11, 2010, 3:49 am
It's time to harvest the grapes in the garden.  We all came out to help.

After playing for a while, Abby said that we were there to help, not supervise, and I was put to work.

It took a while, but I think we did a good job.

Posted Oct 15, 2010, 4:26 am
As you may know, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October.  It's not really a huge deal here, but, as one of Abby's professors said, 'Thanksgiving is the only day of the year where every single Canadian eats the same thing for dinner.'  This is mostly true.  Usually there is a turkey, but they take forever to cook and nobody like turkey here anyway, so there was chicken, along with potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing and candied yams.

I took some of everything.

Posted Oct 25, 2010, 6:35 am
Abby is working on a project for school that is based in New Brighton Park in a back corner of Vancouver, so I tagged along to see the park.  In the 19th century there was a hotel (also home to Vancouver's first post office) and a number of other buildings here, and it was also called 'End of the Line' because this was the end of the stagecoach line from downtown Vancouver.  In the latter half of the 19th century, this is where all the best people in Vancouver vacationed.  None of this exists anymore and nobody is sure where the hotel actually stood, but it was nice to visit the park anyway.

This monument says:

Here Vancouver Began
All was forest towering to the skies.  British Royal Engineers surveyed it into lots, 1863, and named the area "Hastings Townsite" to honour Admiral Hastings, British Navy.

Everything Began At Hastings
The first post office, customs, road, bridge, hotel, stable, telegraph, dock, ferry, playing field, museum, C.P.R Offices (Canadian Pacific Railway).  It was the most fashionable watering place in British Columbia.

New Brighton Park
Retains the name of a hotel built here in 1880 known as the new "Brighton House"

The park is rather large, and it has some nice views.

Posted Nov 2, 2010, 7:08 am
This year Abby let us bake her a birthday cake.  It is near Halloween, so we wanted to make it Halloween candy-themed.

First we melted together butter and chocolate.

Then you add sugar...

Eggs one at a time...

Then flour and baking soda, alternating with water.

Then, we poured it into two pans.

Next, it was time to make frosting.  We mixed together white and brown sugar, butter, milk and corn syrup.

Boiled it for a few minutes...

Once it cooled we added butter and whipped it up.

Onto the cake!

Next was the fun part.  We lined the cake with Kit Kat bars...

Then topped it off with M&Ms!  Voila!  A Halloween candy-themed birthday cake!

Posted Nov 2, 2010, 7:09 am
Happy Halloween!!!

Everybody has such good costumes this year.  Hedgie dressed up as an archaeologist, Charlie Bear dressed up as a Care Bear, Ewan E. Ewok dressed up as a Hawaiian person, Ollie Kikabeer dressed up as a witch, and I dressed up as the Cheshire Cat!

We showed Abby's Mom our costumes and she was so impressed that she gave us candy!

Next, we helped decorate the garden in preparation for Trick-or-Treaters.

This is what it looked like at night.  Spooky!

Posted Nov 4, 2010, 3:01 am
A new TV has arrived, Bussi who is travelling along the WWTVT.

Posted Nov 8, 2010, 9:34 am
Today we are going for a drive to see some of the local scenery.

We drove to Grant Narrows Regional Park.

We went for a walk down this dike.

We didn't walk all of the way, but we did go to this look-out tower.

The views are really pretty.

Posted Nov 26, 2010, 7:31 am
Maple Ridge's first snow.

Posted Dec 2, 2010, 4:11 am
It is time for both Charlie Bear and Ollie Kikabeer to move on to their next hosts.  Everyone gathered to say goodbye.

Posted Dec 25, 2010, 7:54 am
Marty the Moose arrived today.

Posted Dec 25, 2010, 8:18 am
I am sorry that I have not updated in a while.  Christmas is almost here and Abby has kept everyone very busy.  For example, it took two days to get the tree decorated:

All of the presents are wrapped...

See the small stocking at the end?  That one is for ToyVoyagers!  I hope Santa brings me something nice.

Abby baked cookies for Santa.

Because they are in the kitchen, we left a sign on the tree so Santa knows where to look.

Lastly, we checked the NORAD Santa tracker.  Looks like he is almost here!

Posted Dec 25, 2010, 11:32 pm
Merry Christmas!

Good news!  Santa visited last night!

The stocking has something in it!

Look at all the treats!

I hope you are having a good Christmas at home.

Posted Jan 2, 2011, 9:18 pm
Everyone was invited to Christmas dinner, which consisted of turkey, potatoes, stuffing (made with quinoa), brussel sprouts, candied yams, Grand Marnier cranberry sauce and gravy.

Posted Jan 2, 2011, 9:20 pm
Today is Boxing Day, which is the day where Canadians go shopping for sales, but I was not interested in the crowds, so we only went to one unique store, which had a lot of discounted Christmas ornaments.

The outside display is worth noting, because if you come in the evening and tune your radio to a specific station, there is a coordinating light show on the outside of the building.  Unfortunately, we got there too early.

The African elephant from Night at the Museum was waiting just inside the entrance.

Lastly, we went to look at one of the Christmas displays while everyone else went shopping.

Posted Feb 22, 2011, 1:52 am
Today we are making ice cream.

First you whisk two eggs.

Next you whisk in the sugar.  For fun, we used brown sugar instead of white.

Next you pour in cream, milk, and scrape the inside of a vanilla bean...

...until it is all mixed together.

Did I mention that Little Lou was helping?

Next, pour the mixture into the ice cream mixer.

This looks really good, but it has to freeze for a while longer.  We'll enjoy it tomorrow.

Posted Feb 22, 2011, 1:53 am
Happy New Year!

Even though temperatures were below freezing, it was such a nice day out that everyone decided to go for a walk across the Pitt River Bridge.

Isn't the view spectacular?

If you look carefully, toward the center of the photo, you can see Mount Baker, which is in Washington State.

We walked across as the sun was starting to set.

This is what is on the other side of the bridge.  The other bridge you can see is for trains.

On the way back I watched the last of the sun on the mountains.  They are called Golden Ears, and you can see why.

Posted Feb 22, 2011, 1:54 am
Today we are going to Whistler!  It is where many of the events of the Olympics were held last year.

It is a fairly nice drive...when the weather is nice.

Aha!  Snow!  We must be close.

There are many places to ski and snowboard in Whistler, but Blackcomb is accessible right from Whistler Village.

Here is the village.

No visit to Whistler is complete without going to the Cows store.  Everything is cow-themed here.

Here are the Olympic Rings.

The tour being complete, I went to David's Tea to warm up.

We also got some lunch.  Mmmmm, crepes.

Posted Feb 22, 2011, 1:55 am
Monkez has arrived!

Posted Feb 22, 2011, 1:56 am
Today we went to the Raincity Chronicles, which is a night of story-telling that happens about once every two months.  The stories are from real-life, funny, and all of them are loosely based on a theme.  Tonight's theme was Arrivals and Departures.

There was freshly-baked goods for sale to eat while you were listening.  I bought a cookie.

Posted Mar 3, 2011, 6:35 am
It has been snowing, but snow never lasts long here, so we decided to make the most of it while we could.

Everyone decided to make snow angels.

Can you see mine?

Posted Mar 3, 2011, 6:36 am
Abby's family recently got a new cat, so we decided to introduce ourseves and welcome Emma.

Posted Mar 11, 2011, 8:48 am
Today Abby took me to her school.  Simon Fraser University opened in 1965.  It is on top of Burnaby Mountain, and was designed by Arthur Erickson, who is known for liking concrete and water features.

This is the Academic Quadrangle, where many of the classrooms are.  Below the ground there are two floors of lecture halls and places to study and eat.

See the construction behind the trees there?  They are constructing something for the movie Underworld 4, which is partially being filmed here.

This is what it looks like.

This is the Convocation Mall, where graduation ceremonies and student gatherings are held.  Earlier this week there was a clock constructed on the platform, and flags everywhere that said 'Antigen.'  The library is on the right.

This is on the roof of one of the buildings, looking North toward the mountains.  On a clear day the view is really pretty.

This is looking back toward the Academic Quadrangle from the roof.

This is back toward the library.

Here is some more information about the filming happening at SFU.

Here is a list of some of the other movies they have filmed at SFU.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:09 am
Tonight was the night of the Super Moon.  It didn't look much bigger than usual, but it sure was bright!  Can you see my shadow?

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:10 am
Today we are going on a field trip to a lot of different places to learn about archaeology and Native oral tradition.  The first place visited is the site of an extensive fish trap that is 1300 years old.  Sadly you will have to take my word for it that it is there, because the tide was up.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:12 am
Our next stop is Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay is a ferry terminal now, but underneath this park is an old village site.

We went down onto the beach to look for cultural material.

This is an example of what was found.  As you can see, it is not the easiest to spot (it is right in the center).

There is not much cultural material left on the beach because people come down and collect it.  Before you get any ideas, this is actually illegal.  We put everything we found back on the beach.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:12 am
This is The Chief, which is a popular climbing destination.  Many people climb up the rock face, and there are many hiking trails on the other side.  It is also part of a local Squamish legend, which I will tell as best I remember it.  There was a two-headed serpent that lived on the top of The Chief.  It caused a lot of trouble, and so a man trained very hard to defeat the serpent.  He climbed to the top of The Chief and chased the serpent out of its cave.  The serpent slid down the front of the rock face.  Can you see that straight line near the center of the picture?  That dark line was created by the serpent's saliva as it came down the rock face.  The man came down after it and wounded it right where I am standing.  The serpent tried to escape Southwards.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:14 am
The serpent arrived at this lake, which is said to be bottomless.  The man wounded it again when it was in the lake.  The serpent burrowed under the lake and into Howe Sound, which is just West of here, past the hill.  The man followed it through this tunnel and chased it all the way back to Horseshoe Bay, finally killing it in the bay.

There is an archaeological feature in this area, but due to its sensitive nature, I am not allowed to tell you what or where it is (sorry!).  It does have to do with this story.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:14 am
Lastly we visited Porteau Cove, which is known for its scuba diving, but is also an archaeological site.

As you can imagine, it is very difficult to find a rock among rocks, but here is a core that Abby managed to spot (a core is a larger piece of stone where smaller flakes are broken off and turned into tools).

In this area, anywhere that there is a flat beach is probably an archaeologiacl site.  I would very much like to come back and look for more lithics!

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:15 am
Lintilla has arrived.

Posted Apr 3, 2011, 6:16 am
Today we are helping with renovations by tiling the backsplash in the kitchen.  These are the tiles we will be using.

First you cover the wall with a thin layer of special mud, then apply more mud and texture it.

Next, you place the tiles on the wall.

This is the result of our handiwork!

It still needs grout in between the tiles, but that is a job for another night.

Posted Apr 7, 2011, 7:37 pm
Today we were introduced to Abby's new stay-at-home ToyVoyager, Wallace.

Posted Apr 7, 2011, 7:38 pm
We are making an Afghani/Pakistani cookie called khatai.  They are really easy to make and just happen to be vegan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (180 degrees celcius).

First you mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cardamom.

Next, you add 3/4 cup of oil.  You are supposed to use corn oil, but there wasn't any, so we used a mixture of olive oil and hazelnut oil.

This is what it should look like.

Next you drop little balls onto your cookie sheet.  Do not forget to cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper!

Place them in the oven for 15 minutes.

Once they are out of the oven, sprinkle them with chopped pistachios and let them cool completely.

Posted Apr 24, 2011, 11:54 pm
Happy Easter!  The Easter Bunny stopped by and left lots of chocolate, so let's go on a hunt!

This chocolate is cleverly disguised as rocks.

Is this bunny reading?

I can see two hiding places here!

Do you see the egg hiding in the barometer?

How about this one in the tea strainer?

Or these on this old teapot?

This birdhouse has lots of chocolate.

I almost did not notice the one on the hummingbird feeder.

Everyone climbed the apple tree to find this egg.

Look at this tiny egg in the kettle spout!

Aww, the Easter Bunny left a yellow egg at the bee house.

The motherload!  Look at the woodpile!

So much chocolate!

Posted May 20, 2011, 8:33 pm
An Easter tradition for Abby's family is to make pudding eggs.

First you take a package of pudding mix.  We made pistachio and vanilla.

Next, you add margerine and boiling water.

Next you add powdered sugar.

Next you form it into balls and refrigerate it.

Lastly you dip each egg in chocolate and top with whatever you'd like!

Posted May 20, 2011, 8:34 pm
We got up at three in the morning to watch part of the Royal wedding!

Posted May 20, 2011, 8:35 pm
There is an election in Canada today.  I watched the results.