Italy 2011, Florence

Our last full day in Florence began with beautiful blue skies. Jackie and I had brought our running attire and decided to go for a run first thing in the morning before going out and exploring the city one last time. Jackie had a longer distance to run than I did so we planned our route with the map, each took a copy, and headed out for our runs. As you can see with the GPS tracked run details below, I ended up getting a little lost and stopped my run to ask for directions. As it turns out Jackie also got lost in the winding streets of Florence but managed to make it back to the train station where we said we would meet at the end of our runs.

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Training Run in Florence. Click to see details

After taking quick showers we headed out into the city. We had pre-booked tickets to the Uffizi and Academia galleries so we made our way to the Uffizi, stopping for some espresso and breakfast on the way. Walking through the Uffizi gallery we went through rooms and halls filled with paintings and sculptures from the renaissance era. Jackie is more of an art buff than I am but I always appreciate this era of art and so walking through the rooms and halls of this amazing gallery was pretty amazing.

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View of Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi

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Jacq & I in the Uffizi

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Replica of the David sculpture outside the Uffizi

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Poseiden and his minions

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A random door near the Uffizi

As we finished up at the Uffizi gallery, we still had a bit of time before or reservation at the Academia gallery and we were pretty hungry. We walked across Ponte Vecchio to find a quiet place for lunch and according to our guidebook, that would be towards Piazza Santo Spirito. We found a fantastic little restaurant called Gusta Osteria where I have to admit that I ate one of the best pieces of lasagna I have had in my life. If it hadn’t been for the bread before the meal arrived, I very much would have enjoyed eating a second serving of the deliciousness!

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A view of Ponte Vecchio as we were walking towards it

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What a good looking couple!

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A vine covered building we found as we were exploring the streets

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Best. Lasagna, EVER!

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Gusta Osteria, great food!

The hour was quickly approaching for our ticket reservations at the Academia gallery so we walked back towards Academia for our ticket. Along the way we stopped in the Piazza di Sante Croce for some gelato and water and enjoyed admiring the basilica at the end of the square while we finished our dessert.

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Basilica Santa Croce on our walk to the Academia

We finally made it inside the Academia and walked to the statue of David. Words escape me in trying to describe this magnificent sculpture. The replicas all around the city were nice, but the real statue of David blew me away. I don’t have any of my own photos of the statue because you weren’t allowed to take any and I simply didn’t feel right trying to sneak a photo of it. I did, however, sit down on the marble flooring and admire this work of art. I move around to different locations in the hall and just took it all in. It is, by far, my favourite part of our adventure in Florence.

After the Academia we went back to the hostel, did some laundry, had dinner, and went to bed early to get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, off to Venice we go!!

 The full set of photos can be found in this set on my Flickr page

Italy 2011, Tour of Tuscany

So we started off our visit to Italy with a bang with our visit to Cinque Terre which I wrote about in my last post on Italy. Our next full day in Italy took us to the Tuscany region on semi-private tour, aptly named The Best of Tuscany Tour. We woke up and took our time getting ready, figured out where we were going to go to meet up with the tour group, and started on our way. The tour’s office was really easy to find and after a brief introduction, we headed out. This tour was a little more expensive than some of the others we had seen but we liked the idea of it being a semi-private tour. What this meant was that there were 7 of us on the tour plus the tour guide and the driver and we were driven around in an air-conditioned mini-van. There wasn’t a massive bus where you and 40 other people were trying to get window seats; it was probably one of the most relaxing tours I’ve been on.

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A view from San Gimignano

 

Enjoy the original Best of Tuscany Tour with a great tour guide to bring the past to life. Have free time to explore three fabulous hilltop towns of Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggione. Visit a a stunning historic Tuscan estate for a wine tasting and cellar visit. Taste top-quality olive oil and see the shimmering olive groves and glorious vineyards. Dine on a traditional Tuscan lunch with wine, surrounded by classic Tuscan countryside views on the very best one-day Tuscany tour!

Referenced from: http://www.italy.artviva.com/tours/13/best_of_tuscany

Our driver made his way to the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano. It’s s small, walled town that is known for its many towers. The tower-houses were built by families in the medieval days who would try and build their tower as the tallest one in the town. And so, of course, this caused their neighbours to build their towers higher and higher, and so the story goes. For us, we spent the couple hours we had walking around and enjoying the little alleyways, cobblestone pathways, and gelato! As it turns out, the big gelato shop in town had been the winner for the international best gelato competition for 2 years in a row; of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out!! 🙂

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Main road leading into the town from the gate

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Looking back at the main gate

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A random side street

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Another random side street

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Looking up at one of the remaining towers

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Fountain at the town square

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Fountain at the town square

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Green vines growing up the sides of the buildings

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One of the many towers in San Gimignano

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Wall textures

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Ahh, the scenery, and yes, another selfie, I’m good at those!!

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View of the Tuscan countryside

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Trying to climb the wall. I didn’t get very far

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Old mail slots

Our next stop on the tour was a wonderful wine estate owned by the Palagetto family; we were told they were one of the biggest wine making families in Italy. We started the tour with a brief walk through some of the grape vines and descriptions of the different types of grapes that were used. Next we went inside to see that large vats where all the wine making magic happens. We continued on to the large rooms where they house the aging casks and finally made our way to the tasting room. This is where they had our gourmet lunch with some lovely, local meats, pasta (of course!), and various tastings of wine that the winery produced. After the very satisfying luncheon, we did some quick wine shopping from their store and headed back to the van to carry on with our tour. Next stop, Monteriggioni.

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White wine grapes

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Stainless steel wine making vats

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More wine making vats

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Aging casks

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Aging casks

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Pile of corks from wine tastings

The small, walled town of Monteriggioni sits at the top of a natural hill. It was built on this location as a strategic defense town by the Sienese during the Florence/Siena war in the 13th century. The town boasts 14 towers giving them a panoramic view of the countryside they were defending. The most significant feature, and my favourite, of this town is the shear thickness of the defense wall. It is over 2m thick at some places making it almost impossible to break through if the town were ever attacked. We spent about an hour walking around the town and climbing up on the walls since there was really not much else to see apart from that. Even so, it was worth seeing it.

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Beautiful vineyards on our drive to Monteriggioni

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Piazza Roma, the main piazza of Monteriggioni

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View into Monteriggioni from on top of the wall

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Towers & wall of Monteriggioni

Last, but definitely not least on our tour of Tuscany was Siena. Like most of the other Tuscan hill towns, Siena was settled by the Etruscans circa 900-400 BC and inhabited by a  tribe called the Saina. Over the centuries there were many wars and attempts at taking over the city whose major rival was Firenze (Florence). We spent another couple hours wandering around the city but there was simply too much to see in the little time we had. We decided to stop for a cappuccino, grab a quick gelato, and headed towards the duomo.

 

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Ring of buildings surrounding the Piazza del Campo in Siena

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Piazza del Campo in Siena, the historic centre of the city

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We HAD to stop for a cappuccino!

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Random door while walking around Siena

The duomo in Siena was unlike any of the other duomos we had seen until now or we saw on the rest of our trip. This duomo had a unique black and white design that started on the outside of the building but was most prevalent in the tower columns inside the cathedral. The black & white, as expected, were quite contrasting of each other and I found that distinct cut of colours to be quite beautiful.

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Siena Duomo

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Siena Duomo

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Siena Duomo

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According to the sign, no photos, but everyone was taking them so…

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Beautiful floor in the Siena Duomo

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I loved the alternating black and white in the Siena Duomo

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Looking up at the tip of the cathedral

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Artwork on the walls of the cathedral

Easy to say that we did not have enough time in Siena to see everything but it is definitely on our list to spend more time there when we go back to Italy in the future.

Thus ended our day and our brief, yet invigorating tour of Tuscany. We were driven back to Florence where we slowly made a tired walk back to our hostel to shower, eat, and rest up for our next day of adventuring!

The full set of photos can be found in this set on my Flickr page

Italy 2011, Cinque Terre

Our first full day in Italy started pretty early at round 06:00 so we could catch the 07:45 train from Firenze to Riomaggiore which is the most south-eastern town of the five towns making up Cinque Terre and is just west of La Spezia. It took us the better part of 4 hours to get there on an extremely long and slow train but we got there and bought our passes that would allow us unlimited access across the villages.

The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. “The Five Lands” is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinque_Terre

cinque-terre-map

We started off on the trail to Manarola with subdued excitement. As expected there were beautiful vistas and a large amount of birghtly painted buildings in the town. The hike allowed us to view the villages from afar and see them in blazing colour in the beautiful sunshine.

When we got to Manarola, we walked around the town for a while, hiking up to the bell-tower and then down to the beach where we went into a multitude of shops selling everything from pesto and dried pasta to beautiful pottery. They had a beautiful beach where a lot of people were swimming and having a jolly old time. I now understand why, when Italians come to Canada, they think our beaches are terrible; their beaches there were simply stunning.

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Heart-shaped locks on the way out of Riomaggiore

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Looking north-west with Riomaggiore to our backs and headed towards Manarola

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Peek-a-boo!

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I enjoy stone!

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Manarola

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Looking out to sea in Manarola

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Enjoying a morning espresso in Manarola

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Heading towards the beach at Manarola

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Manarola; what? weren’t you expecting selfies?

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Manarola

When we started down the path from Manarola to Corniglia, we saw that the path was closed for renovations so we took a few of the gorgeous photos above and went back to Manarola to catch the train. After a hike up to the village itself from the train station, we decided to take a break for lunch. We a really nice chat with a Canadian couple who were in Italy & Croatia for their 3 week honeymoon and then parted ways to continue on.

We headed out for what was to be the toughest hike of all of the hikes between villages. The total hike from the first village to the fifth is around 10km and up to this point we had come a measly 2km. This next hike was 4km on its own and this is where we started the uphills and downhills. Luckily there was a bar/resto at roughly the 2km mark so we got a few minutes to rest, a biology break, and bought some more ice-cold water.

By this point I was completely soaked through most of my clothing with sweat. Since we were rushed in the morning, I forgot to wear my proper, breathable hiking shorts as well as my breathable t-shirt. So here I am hiking in a sweat-laden pair of jeans shorts and a cotton shirt. Obviously not ideal, but I ignored the dripping sweat and we continued on our way.

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Corniglia on top of the hill with Manarola seen in the background

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Another view of Corniglia on top of the hill with Manarola seen in the background, and the beautiful blue waters

When we finally made it to Vernazza, we needed a slightly longer break so we had a seat and enjoyed some gelato. We also walked around looking at the lucky people who had their swim suits and were swimming around in the azure blue waters. Since I was completely soaked and perpetually sweating, I was getting a bit grumpy about it and wasn’t really keen to continue on to the fifth and final village, Monterosso. My lovely wife, Jackie, knows that I can also get grumpy when I’m hungry so we shared a chocolate chip and peanut butter crunch Cliff bar that she’d brought along and set out on the last hike.

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Taking a gelato break in Vernazza

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Vernazza from above

This last hike of another 4km was particularly challenging as well and my right knee had started to get a bit achy. Once again there were the stunning vistas and I was able to put aside the pain and soldier through the rest of the hike. At one point we could see 3 out of the 4 previous villages and the sun was starting to come down so it cast a different set of colours on the scene.

There were some narrow pathways along the hike so I took a brief video along the way to show everybody at home what it was like:
http://youtu.be/LngFAlZ22Zc

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Vernazza peaking just out of full view and Manarola in the background

I really can’t say enough good things about this hike. Although it was exhausting, it was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on. Next time we come back, I think we will definitely make a multiple day trip out of it and try a different path between the villages since there are different sets of hikes, some higher up through the hills.

Until then, I’m going to sit back and enjoy my beer!

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A well deserved beer after a full day of hiking

The full set of photos can be found in this set on my Flickr page

Floating on Air!

With our upcoming trip to Italy & Lebanon, I had been thinking about leaving my MacBook Pro behind for the trip due to the extra weight that I didn’t want to deal with. A few days after those thoughts popped into my head, Apple decided to announce the new line of MacBook Airs which had the i5 and i7 processors. I ended up selling my MacBook Pro and I received my MacBook Air last night. The technical specs of the one I bought are as follows:

  • Model: 13″ MacBook Air
  • Screen: 13.3-inch high-rez LED-backlit glossy widescreen with 1440×900 native resolution
  • Processor: 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • Storage: 128GB flash storage
  • Memory: 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 onboard memory
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000, 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

I wanted to post my first impressions of it so far since I played with it for a few hours yesterday installing programs, copying my files, and getting familiarized with MacOS Lion.

Overall Speed: Wow, this is one fast machine! From being completely turned off to logged in and ready to rumble takes at most 20 seconds and that includes the time for me to type the login password. The SSD is fantasticly fast and is even a step up faster than the SSD I had installed on my MBP. Simple things like copying files over from USB 2.0 feel exponentially faster. It took 23 minutes to copy 65GB of MP3s over USB 2.0 from my external backup. USB 2.0 is rated “up to 480 Mbps” which I had never come close to but that rate is equivalent to 386 Mbps (amazing!!).

Programs in General: I click, and the program pops up almost instantly… that’s all I have to say about that 🙂

Adobe Products: Since I’m a hobbyist photographer, the most processor/power intensive task I’ll be performing on my Air while traveling is image processing. I spent about 20 minutes playing around with Lightroom where I had it reading my full photo library off the external hard drive and it ran beautifully. For Phosotshop I ran a photomerge (5 photos in RAW format @ 10mpx) and it ran very very smoothly. That’s about the extent of the “heavy-duty” stuff that I use LR & PS for so I’m really happy with those results so far.

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MacOS Lion: Lion is a very interesting upgrade. It really makes use of multi-gestures but will take me a few weeks to get used to it once I have the big features figured out. There are a few annoying quirks where the back/forward gestures for websites don’t seem to work right now outside of Safari (I use Firefox or Chrome). The new Launchpad & Mission Control screens are pretty cool. Launchpad is customizable very much like the iOS device’s app customization with folders and such. One big feature that’s fantastic is Air Drop which basically allows you send files between Lion-running computers that are within wifi-distance to each other just by drag & drop but it’s neat and much simpler than before.

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Battery & Weight: The laptop is extremely light and feels only slightly heavier than the iPad. I didn’t find that the lightness compromised my typing or mouse usage like I was expecting, which was nice. The battery is pretty great for how small and thin it is. It lasted about 4 hours yesterday but that was with me going crazy copying files, installing programs, downloading updates, having USB powered hard drives plugged in, and basically just going nuts on a new computer :). I would expect it to have a battery life of around 5-6hrs based on regular internet use and likely 3-4 if I’m doing some full screen work like photo-editing/processing, all of which is great.

Upgradability: I did a bit of research on the ability to upgrade any part of the MacBook Air. It looks like the SSD is upgradeable but it’s crazy expensive at this point in time; see here. As the SSD technology gets better, the flash memory will come down in price and that’s when I’ll make the jump and get a bigger drive. For now it’s just going to have to be the 128 GB on-board plus the external backup that I carry around everywhere.

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Final Thoughts: Overall I’m super happy with it so far. Granted it’s only been 16.5 hours since I received it and started writing this post but the first impression with all my software on it and my documents copied over, it’s still running just as fast as when it was empty of any of my files. Only time will tell how it maintains the speed but for now I’m extremely satisfied with my purchase!

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Please note that all photos in this post are courtesy of http://www.apple.ca

O Canada!! Finally Canadian!

I arrived in Canada on August 19th, 2000 to start my first year of university. Exactly 10 years and 11 months later, which is today, July 19th, 2011, I took my oath to the Queen and her descendants, sang the national anthem, and officially became a Canadian citizen! As you can imagine, this was a long time coming and a pretty exciting event for me as well as my parents who sacrificed a lot to send me here to Canada so many years ago.

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Checking & signing paperwork

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Waiting for the judge

The day started with Jackie and I showing up at the citizenship courtroom in the Government of Canada building near Yonge & St. Clair in downtown Toronto. Although Jackie is already a citizen, we’re allowed to bring family and friends to “help celebrate this joyous event” as the letter from Immigration Canada stated. We all had assigned seating and once everyone was seated, they started calling people up to check all their paperwork and to hand over their permanent resident cards; can’t be a permanent resident if you’re a citizen apparently :).

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Getting ready to give my oath

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Shaking hands with the judge

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Woohoo, it’s official! You’re stuck with me Canada!

Once everyone was checked and handed over their cards, the actual ceremony started. The judge came in and gave us a speech to start off the session. Next we had to raise our right hands, and swear our oath to the queen and her descendants. Apparently after the oath is given, we are officailly Canadian citizens (Yay!!!) and so the rest of the session was more ceremony than anything else. We lined up and took turns shaking hands with the judge who gave us our citizenship card (very important!!) and wished us well.

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Posing with the judge after the ceremony

We had to sign some papers again basically putting into writing our oath that we had just given and then we sang “O Canada”. The judge then finished off the session by welcoming us to the country as citizens. During her speech, she read out the list of countries people had immigrated from. This was pretty crazy because the 80 people that had immigrated today represented 39 countries across the globe… crazy!!!

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Receiving a kiss from my favourite Canadian

After we left, we headed up north to the passport office where I submitted my application for a Canadian passport. With that done, both Jackie & I were starving so we headed back downtown for some lunch. I remember when I first came to Canada in 2000, Molson kept running their “I am Canadian” ad campaigns on TV so for old times’ sake, I had to have myself a Molson Canadian on the day of my citizenship!

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Bring on the Beast!!

The last few times I’ve been running in my 2 month old running shoes, I seem to be prone to injuries. I wouldn’t have an issue if it was happening only once in a while but it seems like after every single run, my right hamstring is killing me as well as my sciatic nerve area. This seemed very odd to me so I went and talked to Jeff who’s the manager of the Running Room at High Park to pick his brain a bit.

Now I have some extremely flat feet which means I need a shoe with signficant arch support so my running doesn’t get negatively impacted; I’m already a big, heavy guy as it is so I don’t need to do any more damage to my feet/legs with improper shoes. Jeff had always suggested a motion control shoe for me… enter The “Beast”.

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The Brooks Beast is just that, a beast of a shoe. It has one of the highest amount of high density foam in any shoe and that makes it one of the best supporting running shoes out there. Of course the compromise is a heavier shoe, but at this stage in my training, I don’t really care about speed so it’s all good. So Jeff brings out the standard width Beast, which is all the Running Room carries, and I try it on, finding it a little too tight (I have wide feet… of course, nothing is easy!!!). Jeff then asks one of the workers at the store, Lucas, about the Brooks factory store and whether the Beast comes in a 2E or 4E width for people like me. Lucas confirms that it does in fact come in both wide and extra wide and proceeded to give me the address to the store in Mississauga.

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Next day at lunch I take a drive and buy myself a pair of size 12, 4E width Beast running shoes and wear them around the office for the rest of the afternoon. They felt really good but of course I wouldn’t be able to tell until I went for an actual run with them. So today I decided to use them for our Wednesday run and they felt fantastic. It’s really great to be able to have a running shoe that does not require me to where my orthotics as well since it has so much support built into it already. Thanks to Jeff & Lucas for suggesting this running shoe for me!

 

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Toronto Airport Runway 5k Run

This was definitely an interesting experience; yes you read right, we were actually running on a full-blown runway at the airport in Toronto. This was the 4th year they had the run and it was to raise money for a couple of the hospitals in the area. Jackie & I along with our friends Kevin & Andrea ran the race and it was really cool having the planes landing and taking off on the runway a few hundred feet away from where we were running!

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Hiking & Waterfalls – A TPMG Adventure!

Yesterday morning I met up with 6 other members of the Toronto Photography Meetup Group (TPMG) for what was to become a day of shooting waterfalls, rushing to shelter under rock outcroppings from torrential rain , slipping and sliding in the mud, good hiking, and fun times!

So we started our day with a stop at Grindstone Creek Falls. We parked and got our butts down to the base of the falls, each person deciding on the perspective they were going to shoot the falls from. I wanted to get up close and personal so I was closest to the falls but off to the right a bit. The weatherman had mentioned there would be some light showers in the morning to a 1mm buildup. Well what happened about 20 minutes into the shoot was pretty much what I would call a torrential downpour. We rushed to pack up our gear and found a rock outcropping that we got close and cozy under until the downpour went away; the pouring rain was also accompanied by some crazy lightning.

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/14, 1 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/22, 0.8 second exp, ISO100

As the torrential rain abated, we quickly made our way back to the cars and decided to wait out the remainder of the rain in a Tim Horton’s coffeeshop. Almost 2 hours later we moved on to Tiffany Falls where we had planned to shoot Tiffany as well as another falls (can’t remember the name) weather permitting; it didn’t and so we were happy to get some photos of Tiffany Falls along with some flowing water shots downriver from the falls.

We spent quite a bit of time here and this is where I finally discovered what a neutral density (ND) filter is used for. I don’t own any of them but one of the group members was nice enough to loan me one so I could get some of the great shots that I got; the ND filter is definitely going to be something I buy in the next little while. Next we headed to Stephanie Falls which is located around the Ancaster Heights area according to Google. On the way down to the falls, which started just off the side road in front of a “No Dumping” sign, we saw several deer just chilling in the post-rain sun.

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/32, 4 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/32, 3.2 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/32, 5 second exp, ISO100

Our final stop was supposed to be the falls around the Morningstar Mill and so after a half hour drive along the QEW, we got to the mill. There was a great sounding/looking waterfall at the base of the mill but there was no easy way for us to get down to it. We spent a good hour and a half trekking back and forth through mud and foliage trying to find an easy way to the base of the falls but alas were not able to. We continued on in the opposite direction because our group leader (you know who you are!) had heard there was another waterfall further down. What ended up happening is that we found the road again about 3km from our cars and had all had enough so we headed back to the cars.

All in all it was a great adventure and was nice to finally be out at one of these TPMG events!

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/22, 2.5 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/20, 2.5 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/22, 0.6 second exp, ISO100

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Canon EOS 40D w/ Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens, f/22, 3.2 second exp, ISO100

Harry Rosen 8k Run – I Did It!

Race day baby!! This day is what I’ve been training for during the last 10 weeks and it feels great that it’s finally here. I have been very fortunate to have had the support of friends and family during my training, especially my lovely wife, Jackie, who has been encouraging me daily. I was also able to raise $670 for prostate cancer research so that’s fantastic as well!

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Goofball selfie with my race gear on

I started the day with a healthy breakfast waiting for my wonderful wife to get home from her night shift. I took Zeus out for a walk and checked out the preparations that were going on in the park for the race. When we got back, I started getting ready for the race and once Jackie came home, we headed down to the park.

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My #1 fan!

We had planned to meet up with our 10k clinic from the Running Room and so we did and took some pre-race photos. It was nice to see that almost everyone who started the clinic was still around and made it to the race.

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The people from our Running Room 10k clinic who could make the race

Jackie walked me over to the corral that I was starting at and we took a couple photos and I got a kiss for good luck.

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Thumbs up before the start of the race

They started pumping us up with music and announcements getting us ready to run and finally they let us loose on the course. I had a plan in mind and I zoned myself out from everybody else around me and ran my race. My music helped me get going and the encouragement from the volunteers helped as well. Near the 6k mark I started feeling quite tired and need to take more breaks but I was ready for the monstrous hill at the end and gave it everything I had left, finishing with a big smile on my face and hands raised in the air!

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In the zone; “… it’s the Eye of the Tiger…”

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That’s a nasty, nasty, nasty hill!!

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Powering through the nasty hill; heart rate was at least 195bpm at this point!

After collecting my medal, a nice new running hat, a bagel, and a banana, I headed over to meet up with Jackie and my brother, Hratch, who had come out to support me. As is necessary, there were the nicely posed victory photos which was a great ending to a great race day!

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Proof that Hratch got out of bed to come support his brother

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It’s not gold, but it’s a finisher’s medal!

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Yeah, I did it!

Achilles 5k Run

Woohoo, I finally ran my first run! It was pretty exciting to be out here today running my very first run, with my wife right next to me; well, she was next to me for the first minute or so and then took off… ya, she’s a bit faster than I am. 🙂

It was a really great event and there were tons of people out supporting as well as the runners all geared up in the green run shirts and the lovely running schwag they gave us: Green Gloves, with clover leaf grips on the palm side!! So cool! Anyway there were around 1500 or so runners give or take and I lined up around two-thirds of the way to the back seeing as I was aiming for anywhere between 30-35 mins for the run. Turns out I ran a solid 33min49sec race which I’m really happy about. My GPS went a little nuts through the buildings and thought that I ran through a whole bunch of walls. It stated that I ran 5.3km when in actuality it was just under 5km for the race. Great first experience in a race and now I’m totally stoked for the Harry Rosen 8k run coming up April 2nd.

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Jackie and I showing off our race schwag before the race

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Hanging out outside after the race was over