In the 6 days we have been in Europe, we have:
Taken a train to the highest point in Europe and trudged through snow.
Gotten on the wrong train from Venice going to Florence.
Sondra ran off a cliff and went paragliding in Interlaken.
Saw the famous David statue in Florence.
Took a strenuous bike ride through Tuscany. (Next time I am hiring a cute Italian to take me on his motorcycle.)
Hiked through a town in the alps that does not allow cars.
Taken a boat cruise on Lake Zurich.
Ridden the water taxis in Venice.
Who knows what we will do today!
Archive for May, 2009
In the 6 days we have been in Europe, we have:
We have been in Zurich for 24 hours and already took a boat cruise, hiked, took a cable car ride, rode a water taxi on the river, shopped in a local grocery store and accidently got on a non stop train to a city we had not paid for. Tomorrow we are off to Interlaken, where I love watching the cows with their big bells. (I get amused by simple things.) Off to eat Swiss chocolate.
You may have heard about the “Flat Stanley” project designed to increase literacy with children. Basically schools, clubs and individuals color a picture of “Stanley” and then send him to someone else with a description and photo of Stanley’s adventures. This means Stanley is seen next to the Eifel Tower, on horseback and even rafting the Grand Canyon. Well, now it’s your turn to meet “Sammy Sole” the new, unofficial Soles4Souls “Flat Mascot”. (Well, he’s not totally flat, because he’s made out of a size 14 flip flop.) Sammy will be traveling with us this year as we tour the country in our RV. While he can’t explain how Soles4Souls is a shoe charity and recycles shoes, he can add his photographic presence. Here he is, climbing the rock wall at the tulip festival, and of course, posing with the tulips.
Did you ever consider a shoe box to be valuable? I didn’t. That is until yesterday when I crushed about 10 shoe boxes to make more room in our large box truck. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say when Caroline, organizer of the Shoes and Champagne Gala heard the boxes were crushed, she let out a scream and raced over to us. The boxes were “special” because they held expensive designer shoes from around the world. The shoes were safe and sound, but needed to be in their original boxes to satisfy Canadian Customs regulations. What happened next was like something from an episode of “Friends”. I tracked down the person in charge of garbage collection for the Tulip festival to find out where his crew threw the trash bags. “Far left garbage dumpster at Lansdowne Park” he said. Caroline and I drove to the park. Obviously she is an amateur when it comes to dumpster diving. She was ready to pay the $5.00 parking fee to get into the park. explained we just wanted to come in and go through the trash, so there was no need for us to pay. He let us in. We found the four dumpsters and jumped in, ready to go through hundreds of black trash bags. Luck was on our side, and we quickly found the bag with crushed shoe boxes and triumphantly drove away. I’ll never look at a shoe box in the same way!
The evening of day 18 of the Canadian Tulip Festival ended with happy people going home with hundreds of tulip pictures stored in their cameras. For the Soles4Souls team, it meant packing up tables, banners and over 2,000 pairs of shoes. All the colorful Skechers shoes that had been on display needed to be put in bags. Sondra and I were diligently working when a young boy came up and asked “Can we help?” Seeing he was serious in his offer, we put him and his friends to work. They were a great help in putting the shoes in bags…even if it meant they got wet because the shoes were filled with rainwater. Thank you Aaron, for helping us, along with Brandon, Roya and Sean!
Since the weather was cold at the Tulip Festival, sales of flip flops were slow. Here’s our new idea to raise money for Soles4Souls. I’m the chaperone. Sondra and Caroline are the “participants”.
When the Tulip Festival is open until 9:00pm, it obviously gets dark at our booth. Allan put up some floodlights so we could still talk to people and actually see their faces. The rock climbing wall staff also added floodlights, which made for a pleasant “glow” around our area.
For the past two weeks in Ottawa we’ve lived across the street from the American Embassy, wondering about the people who work there. Yesterday we were delighted to meet four respresentatives from the Embassy. They came pushing, dragging and pulling a large yellow mail cart filled with 200 pairs of gently used shoes. They gave us insider tips on restaurants and tourist attractions, plus were just fun to be with. The shoes will be recycled and kept out of landfills by being donated to people in need around the world. Thanks to all the Americans who donated shoes to us in Canada!
We get many types of visitors that stop by the Soles4Souls booth as we sell Flip Flops and explain about our shoe charity. The little bunny hangs around the tulips and likes to sleep under our RV. Yesterday a chipmunk raced into our RV as we were eating dinner. Sondra’s screams scared him so bad he almost flew down the steps as he left.
The RV has been in one location for the last two weeks. It’s nice not having to move, but it does cause a slight problem. For anyone not familar with RV camping, here’s a fact: When you use an RV toilet, it does not empty into a regular city sewer line. Oh no! The “waste” goes into a holding tank connected to the RV. When that tank gets full, it needs to be dumped. Normally this is done at a place like a KOA Campground. In our case, we were thrilled to have an official “Mobile Poop Pump Truck” come to the RV and empty our holding tank. It was done by two French speaking men, so that added a bit of sophistication to the whole event.