That London Feeling

I just recently spent a few days in Maidenhead and London, UK. This was a very quick visit, but still quite pleasant. London is filled with so many beautiful sites to see, that it was very difficult to fit everything into such a short amount of time.

20170805_172025 (1).jpg

We did take a bus tour, for the first time, hoping this would offer the chance to view more of the city in the limited time we had. However traffic was not cooperative, due to closures from the marathon, so this took longer than anticipated. I felt like I was back in Toronto rush hour traffic again! I also noticed that the prices of tourist attractions seemed a bit higher then what I have seen throughout my travels thus far. The important lesson from this spontaneous trip is that planning, or purchasing tickets ahead of time, is definitely key. The most ideal way to travel is to have a firm idea of what attractions you would like to see, and to do your research ahead of time.

20170805_200729 (2).jpg

That aside, London is gorgeous. It is a big city with a fine balance between old and new. The major sites are impressive and majestic. The double decker’s were exciting, the food was served in large portions, and the citizens were very helpful. You can feel the love of art and appreciation of Shakespeare throughout the city, which is something that any actress would enjoy. There are also some free attractions for tourists including the Science Center, the Natural Museum of History and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

20170805_211439

My personal favourite and most memorable moment cost nothing at all. Walking along the Thames River from the London Eye (Ferris wheel) to the Tower Bridge at sunset, on a Saturday night, is such a treat. It had all the sweets you could eat, drink options, tacos, the sounds of the nearby waves from the Thames, festive music, a live theatre rehearsal, artists sketching their lovers and the captivating orange sky.

20170805_203239.jpg

Any suggestions on where to go next in Europe? What to eat? What to see? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for the next adventure!

Cheers,
Melissa

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland, was such a memorable experience! It’s a gorgeous place to visit, rich in history, food and activities. If you ever plan on visiting Krakow here are a few essential places to visit: St. Marys Basilica (which has a picturesque view of the town square from the top of the tower), Auschwitz, The Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wawel Cathedral (and don’t forget to check out the Dragons den underneath the castle grounds), Kościuszko Mound (for a panoramic view of the city), and old town square (where you can purchase as many souvenirs as possible at the old cloth hall).

One tip I have is to check out “Cracow Free Tours”. They offer tours daily (we signed up for 3 of them while visiting), and are very informative. The tours are led by locals whom really know the area and have personal insights that add an extra touch to your tour. Without these tours we would have missed out on so many unique pieces of history that Krakow has to offer. Check them out here: http://www.cracowfreetours.com/.

While in Krakow be sure to satisfy your taste buds with all the pierogies, sausage and pretzels that your heart desires. Then take a stroll through the Kazimierz district to snack on a traditional Zapiekanka (an open faced sandwich on half a baguette, topped with sauce, cheese and more), a trend that dates back to the 70’s and was mentioned by our tour lovely guide. Or stop at Alchemia Od Kuchni, one of the oldest and cutest pubs on the block that has a Narnia themed décor, including a wardrobe to walk through. Lastly, have a drink outside of the childhood home of Helena Rubinstein and be inspired by her life story. A cosmetics entrepreneur once deemed one of the world’s richest business women.

Souvenirs to purchase include dragon décor, a flower crown and pottery! Did I miss anything? Any suggestions on where I should travel next? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers,
Melissa

Nymph Errant

I just spent last week back in the theatre, and it felt great! Though I wasn’t on stage this time, but happily helping out backstage with hair, makeup, etc. Regardless it was fun to be working with such a great cast and crew in a Dutch theatre. The show was ‘Nymph Errant’. It’s the light-hearted story of Evangeline Edwards, who graduates from a finishing school in 1933. She and her classmates are encouraged by their teacher, Miss Pratt, to “experiment”, in the broadest sense possible. What follows is a romp through Europe with plenty of opportunities for snappy Cole Porter musical numbers, interesting dialogue, lots of accents, wonderful costumes, a few dance steps, exotic locations and a good time for all.

nymph

Now that it’s all wrapped up, I’m prepping for my next Dutch audition, so fingers crossed and stay tuned!

Cheers,
Melissa

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

Happy Canada Day from Amsterdam! Although enjoying the beautiful landscape that Europe has to offer, I still miss the beautiful country that I am from. Unfortunately, I can’t be in Ottawa to join in the festivities of celebrating Canada’s 150th; however I can still find the patriotic love here in The Netherlands. Fortunately some fellow Canadian expats planned a boat party! It was so much fun and so nice to be surrounded by fellow Canadians all dressed in red and flying our flag. So eat your poutine, ketchup chips and Nanaimo bars, and raise a cold glass of Molson Canadian, or your mug of Tim’s coffee, and cheers to the Birthday of our magnificent country!

IMG_1369.jpg

Cheers,
Melissa

Cheese, Stroopwafels & History, oh my!

Just spent a very active weekend exploring more of The Netherlands. First stop Gouda, South Holland! It also happened to be the Stroopwafel Festival, as Gouda is where they originated. Yummm! So of course this required sampling some freshly made delicious warm ones. Gouda is also known for the cheese market, so of course I had to indulge in tasting the many flavours of cheese that it has to offer. Apart from  all the sampling, and the rainy weather, it was a delightful trip. Gouda is charming and filled with lots of history, museums, a market filled with treats and some very old stunning buildings.

Next stop, The Hague! This city will require another visit back, as it is the third largest city and cannot possibly all be seen in one day. The weather held up more so than Gouda, which made walking around more enjoyable. My favourite parts of the day were the Panorama Mesdag and the visit to the beach. However not to be missed are The Prison Gate Museum, Madurodam (the coolest interactive miniature park I’ve ever seen), The Peace Palace, The Knights Hall, the antique market and more!

Stay tuned for further travel and acting adventures in Europe! Let me know any places that you suggest I visit!

Cheers,
Melissa

And…Action!

Some time has passed and I can officially say that I am an Actor in Amsterdam. I have now been on set a couple of times, each experience unique in its own. I must say it’s very similar to sets on Canada. The main difference being the language barrier, which means I will definitely have to work on my Dutch skills ASAP. Luckily most people also speak English and are willing to help out! Props to the craft and catering department, as the food options have been amazing and the lunches very satisfying! The crews have also been professional and super friendly. Lastly, figuring out the train system to find my way to set has been an experience as well.

al 2

Here is one of my first videos from a gig in Amsterdam. You may not see me… but I am in there a few times: https://www.facebook.com/dutchcasting/videos/1758395250844323/

al 3

I will hopefully have more to show you from my other booked gig shortly. I can’t say much, but I can say in this one you will be seeing me a lot!

al 1.jpeg

Though very different compared to Toronto, Amsterdam still has a lot to offer in the acting industry. They have an abundance of events going on in the city for art, culture and entertainment. I hope to see more shows coming up and can’t wait for Amsterdam Fringe!

Annnnd for #TBT… Here’s a photo from when I was a red carpet host!

IMG_20170622_220459_441

Cheers,
Melissa

A Trip to Cologne, Germany!

I just recently spent a couple days in the beautiful Cologne, Germany!

IMG-20170528-WA0025

The weather was a picture perfect 31 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. There was so much to do, in such little time. From viewing churches, smelling the first ever eau de cologne, to climbing 533 steps in the Cologne Cathedral, tasting sweets at the chocolate museum (yum), the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, taking in the breathtaking view at Köln Triangle and looking at locks of love at Hohenzollern Bridge. I really recommend sampling the local beer Kölsch at a brauhaus, tasting the delicious pastries at the many bakeries and watching the sunset along the Rhine River, while cooling down with a refreshing beverage.

Any suggestions on where to travel next???

Since settling in for the past month I’ve gotten to see more and more of Amsterdam, and even went as far as Rotterdam. Though it was a very quick visit (and I’ll have to go back for sure), we had some time to sample some Trappist beer and enjoy some Spaghetti Parmigiano, that was prepared in a cheese wheel, what!?! It was so good, I’m still thinking about it. Thank you Mangiare Rotterdam.

20170521_203155

Stay tuned for further adventures! And keep your fingers crossed, as I have another audition this weekend!

Cheers,
Melissa