And with the hint of an accent it all flooded back … Vancouver 2010

Funny how history repeats itself.  A year ago, I was somewhat blassay about the Olympics being in this fine city of ours. The Olympic Committee had not been especially warm or welcoming to locals, but a few of the Houses changed all that for me, especially La Maison de la Suiss and Saxony House.  Oh and how did I love the music at the Saskatchewan Pavilion and all the fantastic Arts at Atlantic Canada House! Well, I’ve been feeling a little the same way as the one year celebration got under way this weekend, that is until a heard a German accent yesterday and then I was taken right back, burning red face and all.

You see for me the Olympics weren’t really about the games or sport at all. They were about the people I met, both local and from around the world and in sharing in our traditions from music and celebration to food and beer.  Oh and there were some fine beers – thank you Saxony House, I get teary eyed just thinking about those tankards.  I’m happy to provide you with an address for a care package.

Saxon-Canadian Relations (aka Being a good Canadian Diplomat.)

So we all need goals, especially around games, and that I had, just like any of the athletes.  My goals were two fold.

  1. Enjoy as much food, drink and music from all around the world, as possible.
  2. Encourage International Relations by hosting a little competition of my own against my darling hummingbird604.  How you ask?  Well, our own Olympic Sport of seeing who got more Olympic dates.

Now, this really set a great purpose and tone to the Games as things got off to a roaring start in our Olympic Event.  The Opening Ceremonies alone I had three dates.  Needless to say, despite the odds, I was leaving Raul behind in a white wash.

Olympic Dates 2 & 3 (Yes, they happened at the same time, as did Date 1 - he's taking the pictures. I'm not a girl that wastes time.)

That was until this Saxon fellow got in the way, and turned me head over heels in a hunt for unrequited love.

Stealing a Kiss

Not wanting to lose though, I tossed my heart aside and still managed to get in a kiss or two:

Thats when Raul pulled off the mittens and started playing dirty, deeking me out and landing me a very real Olympic romance and case in International Relations in my lap.  Now, I’m not one to smooch and tell, but lets just say that that German accent yesterday was all I needed to take me right back to Vancouver 2010 and turn my face as red as a beet.

Faced with nostalgia, I think I’ll dig up a bit of our unused footage to share with you in the coming weeks.  Who knows it might even help to me cure of this past year’s weakness for foreign men.

European Mishaps and Mischief

When my boyfriend, Ben, said his friend Emme was considering a trip to Europe I remembered all my silly Eurorail experiences.  When you’re at art school in Glasgow, summer isn’t the best (we get A LOT of rain).  So we felt the continent calling, for artistic inspiration of course.

Vatican City, Italy

With Emme’s upcoming trip, I feel it is my duty to fill her in on the joys available on my continent, to help her to avoid the many pitfalls we fell into.

Eurorailing can open up a world of culture, art, history and travel.  But when you let three 19 year old art students loose on the rails, mayhem is sure to be on the cards.  Being spontaneous we felt there was no need to plan ahead.  We would book our flights for the start and finish then find our way in between (avoiding Morocco, our mothers made it clear that was off limit as: ‘you pale and pasty girls are sure to be sold for camels’).  It kind of worked!

Over a couple of summers we covered eight countries, and our friendship survived sleeping opposite brothels, getting left with no money in Berlin (in the middle of the night), over sized luggage stuck in trains, missing trains and being told to get out of Spain (swear words were included) in Spanish!

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

I could go on forever, but my mishap highlight has to be Italy, a lot can happen in a week!  Our arrival from France into Milan may have set the tone for the trip. As the train slowed for arrival, we pulled our rucksacks down from the high compartment shelves and one of the cords got stuck.  As we tugged it free it pulled the emergency stop lever and the train jolted to a stop.  The other riders in our compartment stared in disbelief, silence (we don’t speak Italian, they don’t speak English or Spanish or French).  The silence broke as the conductor rushed down the carriage checking compartments.  It turned out the train can’t restart until the lever is returned to the safe position, whoops!  Terrified of a fine we simply didn’t have, unable to communicate, my friend Sadie, pushed me saying: “do that look where you look like you’re going to cry.”   A skill I had mastered when I got nervous, and it seemed to work.  The conductor fixed the lever, the train moved and we almost RAN off the train, still scared someone was going to grab us demanding a €300 fine.  We left from a different station.

Luggage was an Italian issue, as our friend Chloe’s suitcase (yes she brought a suitcase backpacking) would get stuck on every Italian train, as the aisles were too narrow, resulting in us spending a lot of time in the space between carriages.

Rome, wonderful Rome, brought a different issue, money!  Accommodation was so expensive, so we ended up following a tipper person from the train station offering the cheapest space in an area we knew was accessible for town.  We arrived in a two-bedroom dorm hostel, seemed really nice and clean, brilliant!  Until the sun goes down and we realise we are neighbours with a brothel, and a big one at that.

I haven’t even gotten into the stories of sleeping in space huts, nunneries or train stations (during the day, we couldn’t find a park).  So if you want a list of top tips of what to avoid when arriving here, I’m an expert in what not to do, just give me a shout.

Lainie xx

Ruins leading to the Coliseum - Rome, Italy

Lost Love

I first saw him on the Eve before the Games. We exchanged a brief, but ever so sweet kiss and my heart, that I worried had turned to ice, melted in that instant.

Stealing a Kiss

Being me – he is, of course, a complex fellow, and not all that easy to get close to.  You see, he is somewhat of an International Celebrity. We stole a brief moment when no one was looking, but would I ever see him again?  Would we be able to share another tender touch?

As luck would have it, he was needed to entertain the crowds last Saturday and his handlers were preoccupied, so he reached for the only familiar face on these foreign soils – me!!!  I got to be on his arm all evening, to dance with him, to poise for photos with him and proudly introduce him (my future lover) to the world.

Me and My Fella

Celebrity or not, the time had come to seek out something a little more intimate, perhaps even a date!!!!  Not wanting to offend and to respect International relations, I decided it was best to formerly request an audience with this delightful fellow in a more formal hand written letter to his handlers, of course. And then I waited and I waited….

Had I misjudged our connection?  Were our cultures and customs just so different that I was so off on the typical signs of the mating dance?  I simply had to know, so I mustered up the courage to go and see him one last time last night at Saxony House.

I was met by my worst fears.  No, not that of unrequited love, but that of concern for the safety of this most gentle fellow. Saxel had been kidnapped.

My head is reeling in despair and disgust.  This gorgeous beast was handcrafted with love for the Canadian people, he had agreed to leave his most beloved woods of Saxony to grace us with his presence here in Vancouver, and he had even agreed to stay, to be auctioned off at the end of the Olympics to raise money for a children’s charity.  And how are these extensions of International friendship received?  Someone kidnapped this beautiful, trusting Saxon soul, right from under the noises of his handlers.  I ask, where were the police and motor security brigades, when this International travesty struck?  What are they doing now to find this missing International ambassador?

I urge, you the people, Canadians and Internationals-alike, to help find my fellow, Saxel, and return him to his rightful home.  Show him how good and kind we are as Canadians.  How we would protect his hairy ass, in an attempt to see him free once more.

Have you seen my fella?

Saxel was last seen on Wednesday night at the Irish House. Any tips you can provide on his current whereabouts or leading to his safe return would be most appreciated.  You can drop tips here or to my email at

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


One Hell of a Great Party at Saxony House

Apologies about my singing in this vid from last night, but I couldn’t help myself.  I was having such a great time!

Here’s the usual schedule at Saxony House:

  • 12 – 6 pm    Saxon Food & the Olympics on the Tele
  • 6 pm – 11 pm   Saxon Grub (kitchen closes at 10 pm), Live Folk & Rock Band & Saxon Films
  • 11 pm – 2 am Saxon DJ Club Dance Party

Dolling Up to Kick Off the Party at Saxony

Really looking forward to the Official Opening of Saxony House Tonight and absolutely loving the song that they’ve created for Vancouver 2010:

With the Saxony folk and rock band, De Erbschleicher, Saxon Films, and a Saxon DJ and a Saxon Chef, I think this House is going to be a fantastic cultural experience!

More tomorrow ….