sponsors always were:
During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & Partners; Austria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western Hotels; South Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus; Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.
ReportsDuring my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.
Sunday, 1 June 2003
The Ocean train westbound --> Montreal, Quebec, Canada I woke up around six and climbed out of my little single bed room, folded back this bed and headed for that shower on the hall way.
I had a great sleep and I certainly had not expected that in a moving train. I also want to thank VIA Rail for providing those free ear plugs, I guess they are good!
After the shower I headed to the dining car and had myself that complimentary breakfast that goes along with my single bedroom. Now I understood that Bed & Breakfast-on-the-Train concept.
8 am. Hello Montreal! I am back again!
When I was in Montreal before, and I can't even remember when that was exactly without looking at my own reports list, I enjoyed it very much.
But when I left the place and travelled to Quebec, I got an email from Glenda Cameron. She was very very disappointed that I skipped her invitation like that. "Who's going to clean the windows now, Ramon?"
So I told her that I would make a quick one-day stop in Montreal again when I get around here again. Although I hope she has done these windows herself yet!
Now something interesting happened. A few days after this day Glenda send me her report about my stay for a day at her place. To be posted on the letmestay-forum which she very regularly visits.
Then I thought, why not give myself a break and just let Glenda tell her story on about having me over and all that?
So here you go, Glenda! And thanks for the good time!
I'll get this done while it's still fresh - I trust that Ramon won't mind me doing it right away since my perspective as a fan of his project will no doubt be different than his.
I dropped Ramon off at the train station this morning and as I write this he should be about half way to Toronto getting ready to don his surgical mask. I'm kidding of course.
So woohoo! Ridin' the Rails from Halifax to Toronto, 'Nice-dutch-guy' made a special pit stop back in Montreal to stay-for-a-day.
Ramon arrived early on Sunday morning (08:00) on the train from Halifax. Ugh. I like my sleep. I was however looking forward to meeting him so it wasn't too much of an effort to get myself to the train station. I was only five minutes late and lucky me, his train was delayed by about 25 minutes. He was easy to spot amongst the crowd with his trademark cap and red jacket but WHOA! He's so much taller than I expected! I don't know why I thought he was shorter. Wasn't it Karl in Newfoundland that had the same comment?
Having been able to get some decent sleep on the train, he was pretty much up for starting the day so we popped over to my office in Le 1000 which is across the street from the station so I could borrow the digital camera from work and record his stay. Ramon's eyes lit up when we got to my desk... I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN! Computers have a magnetic effect on him. They suck him in and keep him there until someone can pry him away from their clutches. That's ok, I could relate to the fact that he had gone almost a full day without checking up on things.
Next stop was home to get settled in. I was surprised how quickly he re-oriented himself in Montreal pointing out places along the way. He has an excellent mental map. The weather was cold and rainy so any outdoor activities that I had previously thought might be an idea went out the window.
Ramon seemed just fine with that since he had already spent about a week in Montreal before heading east and was anxious to file his latest reports, write his weekly articles, check and answer his email, sort stuff out on the website / forum. He really does earn his keep, so to speak. As others have been, I was impressed with his work ethic and dedication to the project.
I knew from the site that Ramon has an affinity with animals - no kidding!! Clancy (my dog) and the two cats are suffering Ramon-withdrawal now. They're all shedding hair quite profusely at the moment and despite making sure we routinely subjected his clothes to sticky-lint-brush applications I think his next host in Toronto might have something to remember me by! Sorry Toronto host!
With rain pelting down, Ramon ensconced at his laptop, I took the dog for a walk, we had brunch, I ran a couple of errands and I picked up a four-time Academy Award nominated (it did win one) movie called Adaptation to watch for the afternoon. Apologies to anyone who actually enjoyed this movie (sorry Karl!) but if you haven't seen it yet, save yourself the time and money!
The only redeeming quality was the acting - Meryl Streep and Nicholas Cage indeed turned in good performances. What they had to work with however in my honest opinion was pseudo-intellectual drivel. Yeah yeah, "the power of passion and the pursuit of elusive dreams" and all that - we got it. The point wasn't lost on us but I'm quite sure renting The Pianist would have been by far the better choice. Ah well, what's done is done.
Having checked with a few forum-regulars before his arrival, for opinions on Ramon's favourite foods, I decided sushi might be a treat for dinner tonight. Yum! Treat for me as well! My friend Sandrine (who enjoys sushi and solo-world-travelling herself) joined us. Ouoff! We all enjoyed it a little too much! A pint of Guinness would have to wait a bit for the sushi to settle.
That didn't stop us from heading down the street to Hurley's Irish Pub for some live music. Sandrine had to work on Monday (not moi!) so she headed home.
Musicians Jim, Gary, and Ron who I believe usually play with other bands, get together on Sundays and pretty much take requests all evening. I had never seen Hurley's quite so empty (think it was the cold weather) but it didn't seem to matter, we had a great time talking about life, love, the project and future plans and since it was so empty, the band played all of our requests! Except for Ramon's request for Jefferson Airplane! Booh! They were definitely folkies.
It was getting on midnight and there was still some Letmestayforaday.com-work to do so we headed home. Back to Ramon's mental map - thank you for finding my car Ramon! I too have a good memory, just short sometimes!
Back at home, I fell asleep on the chesterfield (there's a good Canadian word for you) watching A Time To Kill on tv while Ramon worked in the other room. It was around 2:30 am when he was finishing up. Time to hit off that switch and hit the sack!
Morning was a bit rushed as we both needed to get on the computer and get ready to head back to the train station. We were running quite late but he still took the time to post an email reply to my mom who had sent me an email wishing him well and he also couldn't leave with out making sure to track down each animal to say goodbye! Sheesh - too much attention for them! How can I compete?
Back to regular stuff now for me, after dropping him off I took the car in for a check-up, picked up a few things and with the rest of my day off from work will get out in the garden and finally plant all the stuff I bought about two weeks ago when it started raining. Gorgeous day out there right now and I expect Toronto will have the same weather. Hope you enjoyed your stay Ramon despite the weather.
It was a pleasure having you and a lot of fun getting to know you a bit better. I look forward to continuing to follow you on wherever your fascinating journeys may take you.