To Delhi (via Toronto & Zurich): October 29 & 30

Posted in Flying, Switzerland, Travel, Vacation, Zurich with tags , , , , on November 26, 2015 by Amanda

My flight to Toronto was uneventful.  My flight to Zurich had a medical emergency.  It’s amazing how there is always doctors and nurses on flights with medical emergencies.  Upon landing, we were told that we’d have to stay seated (though, of course, some people stood up anyway) and wait for ground medical personnel to take the sick person off the plane but we ended up being allowed to leave the plane pretty quickly and she was still on the plane; so, who knows what happened.

I had a 6.5 hour layover in Zurich and decided to explore the city.  It was quite quick to get through immigration and the train to the city was easy to find and it only took like ten minutes to get to the centre of the city.  It was still quite early and not much was open but as I only wanted to walk around that was totally okay.  Zurich seemed very nice and definitely looked European but I really didn’t feel I was missing much by not spending more time there.  Still, it was way better than sitting around the airport for hours!

I was very glad that I’d noticed that flughafen was the German word for airport as it would have been a challenge to find a train back to the airport if I hadn’t!

The flight to Delhi was pretty routine though I ended up eating a kid’s meal (a kid seated behind me didn’t want their meal because it was pasta and I offered to take it) and it was seriously the best airplane meal I’ve ever had; plus, it included kinder chocolate!  There was also the signature Swiss chocolate later in the flight!



India: General Thoughts

Posted in India, Travel, Vacation with tags , , on November 25, 2015 by Amanda

I returned from my vacation to India over a week ago but I’m only getting around to getting about it now. I was not very awake last week and then I had stomach issues this weekend. Anyway, I’ve decided I’ll divide my trip into posts as it would be one really huge post if I just wrote one post.

My trip, after a very brief visit to Zurich on the way, started in Delhi. I then traveled to Agra and around a fair bit of the state of Rajasthan. As India is a very large country, I really only saw a small bit of it. Anyway, here are a few overall thoughts before I start by day-by-day accounts of my trip:

  • India reminded me more of the Middle East than I’d expected.  I think this was due in large part to the huge numbers of men compared to women in public places.  Also, it was generally quite hot and it didn’t rain and it was rather dusty in many places.
  • Being a vegetarian was every bit as easy , perhaps even more so, as I’d imagined it would be.
  • I expected lots of cows and monkeys roaming the streets and I saw them.  However, there were also tons of dogs and for some reason, I just wasn’t expecting that.  Some places also had a fair number of pigs and goats roaming about.
  • Things certainly weren’t expensive yet with a few exceptions (eg. the Delhi metro) they weren’t shockingly cheap either.  Apparently, southern India is a lot cheaper.  Prices have also risen considerably in recent years, I was told.  Prices were certainly lower in places less visited by tourists.
  • I expected traffic in big cities like Delhi to be crazy but it was even crazy in smaller places.  I encountered few places that were pleasant to walk.
  • It was always hazy.  There never was a clear, sunny day.  I expected this in Delhi but not in a lot of other places.  Apparently, this is normal for the “winter.”
  • Speaking of the “winter,” I was expected it to be a bit cooler than it was.  It really only was anything but super hot on a few evenings and early mornings later in the trip.

What delayed my grocery shopping this morning

Posted in Cars, Fire extinguisher, Frustration, North Battleford, Saskatchewan with tags , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Amanda

I headed out to my car with the intention of going grocery shopping this morning but my car was very white.  Now, my car is permanently dirty but has always had a brownish tint to it; today, it was very white!  There was some sort of foam on the back (which I later found out from the police officer was from a fire extinguisher) and a fairly thick layer of white stuff around the whole car.  Other cars in the parking lot had some of this stuff on them but mine was by far the worst.  I managed to get the white stuff off the windows so I could see to drive and I went to a car wash.  When I came out of the car wash, my car looked quite clean but as it dried it looked not nearly as clean.  However, it looks like most if not all of the white fire extinguisher stuff came off which I suppose is the important thing.


Southwestern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns etc.: Day 3

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Blumenhof, Chortitz, Driving, Ghost towns, Goodwin House, Hallonquist, Neidpath, Sanctuary, Saskatchewan, Schoenfeld, Simmie, Swift Current, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Amanda

I got going this morning (Monday) even earlier (like 6:30 am!) but this day ended up being a bit shorter than the other two.

My stop of the day was a town called Simmie.  This was another place that still had a fair number of inhabitants but still had an abandoned feel to it.  It clearly had once been quite a bit larger; a sign indicated that it once even had a library!  Along with a number of abandoned businesses, it also had an abandoned fire hall.

Old sign at the entrance to Simmie

Old sign at the entrance to Simmie

After leaving Simmie, I came across an abandoned school. It was interesting because it looked like a huge building from afar but when I actually arrived there, it was clearly just an average schoolhouse.

My next stop was Blumenhof.  It was another not quite abandoned town with a number of abandoned buildings.  Interestingly, it had a section of wooden sidewalk.


Wooden sidewalk

Wooden sidewalk

Schoenfeld appeared to be still fairly well inhabited though it clearly was a fair bit larger.  It was quite interesting to see a street sign with no street in sight!  Another interesting thing in this town was a sign outside of it former school that listed all the teachers that had taught there; it was clear that it was not a place people wanted to stay working for long!

Sign listing all the teachers

Sign listing all the teachers

I then drove to Chortitz.  It had some abandoned buildings but I suspect that it was never a terribly large community.

I then spent some time driving with a enormous wind farm in view.

Hallonquist was pretty much abandoned though it looked like its community hall is used at least occasionally.  It didn’t have that many buildings left but I really enjoyed seeing a house that has mostly collapsed; there was also a lot of twisted metal around it.

The mostly collapsed house

The mostly collapsed house

Neidpath was in a super scenic location and was abandoned with the exception of one house.  It was clearly quite a large town at once point.  It had two abandoned grain elevators and a number of abandoned buildings.  It also felt very spread out.  I found one foundation and I suspect that there once were many more buildings.

Neidpath from afar

Neidpath from afar

I briefly stopped at Goodwin House which is located along the South Saskatchewan River.  I had driven past it on my way down on Saturday and it looked interesting.  It was very different than most buildings as it was constructed of stone.

Goodwin House

Goodwin House

After lunch in Swift Current, I only stopped at one town (which wasn’t far off the as I was feeling pretty tired.  This town was called Sanctuary.  It was yet another town that was surrounded by a farm but roads made it easy to get a good look.  There were only a few buildings left.

Southwestern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns etc.: Day 2

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Admiral, Cadillac, Claydon, Divide, Dollard, Eastend, Ghost towns, Govenlock, Loomis, Masefield, Orkney, Ravenscrag, Robsart, Saskatchewan, Scotsguard, Senate, Shaunavon, Travel, Vidora with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by Amanda

There was sure a lot of oil near Shaunavon.

The first town I visited on the second day (Sunday) was called Dollard and was not far from Shaunavon. I first visited its cemetery which was unlike other cemeteries I’ve seen. There were some religious statues and a couple of graves in the middle but the rest of the graves were along the edge of the fence and there was a lot of empty space in the middle. The town had a number of inhabited houses but it also had some abandoned ones and it was clear that this town had once been much larger.

I stopped briefly in Eastend which is like a mini-Drumheller. This place has lots of dinosaur signs and such. My GPS took me on a really hilly, winding road leaving Eastend which led right back to the highway. It provided really nice views but staying on the highway would probably have been more sensible!

Some of Eastend's dinosaurs.

Some of Eastend’s dinosaurs.

Ravenscrag was the next town. It was a bit off the highway and the roads there didn’t seem that well-travelled. I didn’t have any problems but I did get a bit worried a couple of times. This town, in what turned out to be a bit of a trend, was now surrounded by a farm. I think there was a number of buildings left but with one exception I really couldn’t get all that close.

I then headed to Robsart. I’ve read a lot about Robsart as it seems to be the undisputed best ghost town in Saskatchewan. I’ll admit I went there with very high expectations. I’ve really wanted to go there since I first took interest in ghost towns. I was somewhat disappointed with Robsart. It was uninteresting but it just wasn’t as fantastic as I had expected. I’ve come to the conclusion that I most enjoy places that are unexpectedly interesting. That being said, Robsart does looking amazingly abandoned when you approach it from the highway. There actually are a couple of inhabited houses but with so many empty buildings you hardly notice them.

Approaching Robsart

Approaching Robsart

Vidora was another town that has been surrounded by a farm. It doesn’t look like much is left here though there are a couple of small buildings blown over in a very interesting way.

I stopped and took of the sign where a school had once sat in Senate. That is all there is to tell you that a town named Senate once existed. I always amazed when towns manage to leave pretty much no trace.

I then went to Govenlock. This town has just one standing building, the community hall. However it was actually a quite interesting town as there were also foundations of other buildings.

Foundation of a building in Govenlock.

Foundation of a building in Govenlock.

Divide was yet another town with buildings left but surrounded by a farm.

A bit past Divide, I saw what looked from afar to be an old abandoned schoolhouse. As I got nearer, I saw a cemetery and knew it was actually a church. As I was leaving, I also noticed a small cross on the building.

Claydon was a bit weird. They have a post office located in a building that could totally pass for being abandoned! The front of the building was clearly once a grocery store and still has some remnants left like an cigarette advertisement; it also has a broken window on its door. There are other buildings that look less than great but still seem to be inhabited.

Claydon's post office

Claydon’s post office

Loomis also seems to be within a farm now but with a road right beside it. So, I could get a good look.

Orkney was definitely my favourite town of the day! It was quite interesting and almost abandoned. The grain elevator appears to be for sale (though the sign is rather faded) if anyone wants to buy one! The old school had a curling rink attached to the back of it but the whole thing is now very much abandoned. I almost left the town and then realized there was quite a bit more I hadn’t seen!

Curling rink/school in Orkney

Curling rink/school in Orkney

Masefield was yet another town hidden within a farm.

Cadillac is far from an abandoned town but had an interesting abandoned school which was quite large. This town also had signs with old pictures of various buildings outside of the buildings.

School in Cadillac

School in Cadillac

Admiral is clearly not a ghost town but had a fair number of abandoned buildings. It also had a couple of buildings that now appear to be homes (a church and a credit union).

Scotsguard was definitely unique! Someone has clearly put a lot of work into restoring many of the buildings. Maybe this will be become a museum soon? They seem to have restored the buildings other than houses. They have small informational signs on them. There are some empty spaces in this town but this really does give an idea of what these types of towns must have once looked like. I enjoyed visiting Scotsguard because it was different and informative but I wouldn’t want this to happen to every town as I really do like the seeing the abandonment.

Some of Scotsguard's buildings.

Some of Scotsguard’s buildings.


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