Dundee & Edinburgh, Scotland

The second leg of our UK journey took place in Dundee & Edinburgh. Rather than take a flight, we decided to take the train into Scotland. Travel by train took up the entire day however we really wanted to admire the landscape and my mom and I secretly wanted to re-live the Harry Potter train ride into Scotland! As we left the big city behind us, we could see the landscape morph into lush green rolling hills, lochs, the ocean and finally the River Tay.

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London, UK

Our trip to the United Kingdom started in 2008 when my mom and dad decided they wanted to take a trip and visit the land my dad’s ancestors had immigrated from. My dad’s sisters had been a few years earlier and had found the town where the Dryden clan originated from and this inspired my dad to want to go there. They started talking about it during the winter of 2008 and had decided they would probably go the summer of 2009 or 2010. Unfortunately, this would be too late, as my father was unexpectedly diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in February 2009 and passed away three months later. There was talk after he passed away that my mom and my dad’s sisters would go anyway however, I got the feeling more time was needed after his passing to be able to go on this trip without him.

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Mt. Colden, NY

Mt. Colden, NY

After attending a two-day course in basic mountaineering skills with Attitude Montagne, I decided to test my new skills on my first mountaineering adventure to Mt. Colden in the Adirondacks in March 2013. It would not be my first climb up a mountain in winter (I had done two day-trips in Chamonix) however it would be my first time sleeping outdoors at -20C in a lean-to with four men I did not know!

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Sydney & The Blue Mountains, AUS

Sydney was one of three major cities we visited in Australia and was very different than Melbourne. I felt it did not have the same “bohemian” vibe that I felt in Melbourne however I always felt close to the water in Sydney and that made me very happy! Also, compared to Melbourne, there seemed to be many more visual landmarks such as the Opera House, Sydney and Darling Harbours, and The Sydney Harbour Bridge. I am probably committing a faux pas by comparing the two cities and I do not want to insult anyone’s pride in their city so let me just say that I found each city to be amazing and each had their own charm!

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Melbourne & The Great Ocean Road, AUS

Australia! I went to Australia and it was amazing!

Australia was not on my list of places to visit in the immediate future however when given the opportunity to go, I took it right away. This trip was to serve two main purposes: 1) Explore an amazing country/continent and 2) Validate if all the rumors were true about deadly creatures hiding in your bed covers waiting to kill you 24/7.

We traveled from Montreal at the end of December 2012 and spent three amazing weeks visiting Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns. Before leaving, we were potentially looking at visiting New Zealand or Tasmania as well (I wanted to do the Overland Track) however decided to focus only on Australia for this first visit. I know I will go back again so I will definitely visit New Zealand and Tasmania at some point!

I have decided to write three posts for this trip: 1) Melbourne & The Great Ocean Road, 2) Sydney & The Blue Mountains, 3) Cairns, Daintree National Park, & The Great Barrier Reef.

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Cyprus

Our trip to Cyprus took place in June 2012. Jonathan’s parents have a place in a little village near Larnaka called Trulloi so we decided to vacation there. Before this trip I knew little of Cyprus. I did not know what to expect when we arrived so it felt like a true adventure. As usual, I bought a trusty Lonely Planet in order to do some research and took some time on the flight there to read-up on Cyprus’ tumultuous history. Being the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, offering many great resources such as copper, and being centrally located between Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt, many attempted to posses the island have been made. Cyprus has seen Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Lusignans, Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans, British and Turks attempting to take a part of the island for themselves. Cyprus is currently divided in two with the Greek Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriots in the north. There is a demilitarized zone separating the country however it is possible to travel to the Turkish side at specific checkpoints. Our trip only took us to the southern part of the island…the north will have to wait for the next visit. With all this diversity, Cyprus offers tons of history, beautiful ruins, and great food…not to mention the breathtaking scenery and a sort of hedonistic lifestyle!

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Emilia-Romagna, Italy

In July 2011 I did my first solo cycling trip in Switzerland. In the Susten Pass climb I met Gerald and, within 30 minutes, we had exchanged information and he had informally invited me to join him in Italy the following year with a group of cyclists. It took many months after Switzerland before I contacted Gerald and made this trip to Italy a reality. Paolo, the one organizing the Italian trip, was quick to provide me with information and was thrilled to have a Canadian on his team! In May 2012, I departed from Montreal and made my way to Bologna where I was greeted by Gerald and some of his cycling friends and, the adventure began!

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Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive, and Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

Cycling in the Shenandoah area in Virginia is a yearly event for many cyclists. Our group this year included approximately 100 cyclists! We do this to get our season started, it is one week-long, and we ride approximately 500 to 600 kilometres (depending on the cyclist). The drive from Montreal is 1140 kilometres but entirely worth the distance. This year, the cycling week took place from April 15 to April 21 2012.

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