Around the world. (Part 2)

Here is part  2 of my series “Around the world”.

Canada is a very  large country. If you live in the East maybe you did not visit the West part of the country.  I was lucky to drive across Canada twice.  The first time, alone,  from Quebec to BC and the second time  with my family from BC to Winnipeg. I really enjoyed driving  in the Prairies and seeing the Rockies is also a wonderful memory. Unfortunately I do not have much photos of those areas . Sometimes the best I could do was to take a photo through the window. We had many km to do every day.

I visited the Maritimes ( except New Newfoundland and Labrador) when I was 19.  I went back some years  later, with my family,  in Nova Scotia and New-Brunswick.  One day I might visit the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. And of course, I visited many parts of  Quebec .  Magdalen Islands, located in the Gulf of St-Laurent, is a splendid corner of  my country. Not so easy to access  but it is what makes it even more interesting.

In USA, I have seen lots of states .  I have done  many km on the roads in USA. One summer  we traveled through 26 states . We visited majors cities in the east : Boston, New-York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Pittsburgh.  We also spent time in Chicago and Saint-Louis. The main reason for this trip was to see many baseball games.

I still have to see states in the south-east part of the US. I have been many times to Washington state, Oregon and California. In Arizona and Utah I have seen wonderful vistas.

In Mexico, I went to Mazatlan, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo. I have so many good memories of  time spent in Mexico. I love the sun, the beach and the food!

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Next week,  another post of travels. Are you following me ? I hope you enjoy the photos as well.

 

 

Around the world. (Part 1)

Traveling is such an amazing thing to do if you are curious to know the world. I am very  happy  to have been  to many different  places. I still have many more  places I want to see. I enjoy  planning  a trip. Will it be  during spring or fall ? How long should  last my trip ?   What will be the main activity ? I resist the  summer trips when cities or hotels are very busy. I guess this possibility comes at a certain age. I like to buy a book or borrow one at the library and research what tourist attractions, parks, museums or even restaurants  we could be interesting . We choose the dates of our trip. We book  flight and  hotels . I can spend  hours on the web making sure the location of our hotel is good. I am not booking very expensive hotel rooms. I know I will be in the room only to sleep and have a shower. I am still  at home, months ahead of  a trip but it my mind I am already living it. I can’t wait to prepare my suitcase. I try very hard to pack light. Not always easy! But I think the more I do it I am able to pack only what I really need.

During our trips, I take lots and lots of photos. They are my memory and my best souvenir.  I don’t have a heavy and sophisticated camera. It is compact and I appreciate  it. I don’t buy stuff. But if I fall in love with a little souvenir it is inexpensive, small and not breakable. Something useful like earrings or a little metal box.  I take notes , write a little diary but I have little time to write to friends or family. Now with Instagram and What’s app it is so easy to communicate and you  don’t have to say much. But most of all I want to appreciate the moment. Enjoy the food, the landscapes, discover and see as much as possible. I also  want to have a good time  with people I visit . Sometimes  we go  where friends live. We are combining visiting and tourism.

2003. You can see one of the first photo I took shortly after I bought my first digital camera.  We were on a family road trip in British Columbia. I wonder how many flags you  know. I used to study them for fun.  In front of this concrete wall are my two boys.

When I return home, I download my photos and  edit them. As soon as I can I start a  book.  I have used Blurb for almost 10 years. I prepare a personal book with text and photos after each major trips. Is there a better way to keep our trips alive ? I  also like to share  with Flickr and 500px. It is interesting to offer  images of places people will dream about or rethink of a trip they have done in the same area.

For me a picture is very important. One day I saw a photo  of the cliffs taken in Bonifacio, Corsica. I knew that one day I would go there and I did in  July, 2007.

We have done road trips, bike trips, walking trips. I liked them all. Just for fun I counted how many countries I have been to. Including Canada where I live I have been to 16 countries. It is not a lot but I am not in competition with anyone.

When I was still a teenager, I went to France, England and Wales. Later in life,  I went to  USA, Denmark, Switzerland and  Italy.

Other countries I visited are :  Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Netherlands ( only Amsterdam).

In my next post I will share a few pics taken in North America.

Thank you so much for reading. Your comments are always very much appreciated.

 

 

Girona

For quite a long time I wanted to visit Girona, the capital of the province and one of the most interesting medieval cities in Spain. Finally , I was able to spend two days in that beautiful city in Catalonia.

We had booked a B & B in the old town, not far from the Cathedral, in the heart of the old Jewish  ghetto. The Pension Bellmirall was a good choice for us as it is well located . The building dates originally from the 14th century. It has been  restored and altered over the year. It felt like a museum as many paintings of the artist Isidre Vicens were on the walls. The artist lived in this house for many years and it still belongs to his daughter.

With a map it is easy to explore Girona.   And the only way to discover the particular charm of this city is on foot. You can wander for hours through the Call- the labyrinthine old quarter with its narrow, steep alleyways and lanes and its ancient stone houses which form a rampart chain along the Onyar river.  Every morning, we walked by the beautiful Cathedral. We could even hear the bells during the night. We were a little surprised they ring the bells all night long.  Every fifteen minutes !  The 14th-century Cathedral represents many architectural styles including Gothic and Romanesque but its most notably Catalàn baroque. The facade dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Cathedral contains many works of art displayed for the most in its museum.

We visited the inside and the cloister. It has an unusual trapezoidal layout.

In the museum, I enjoyed the tapestery of the Creation,  an unique piece  of Romanesque  embroidery,  dating from 11th-12th centuries and depicting humans and animals in the Garden of Eden.

Sometimes it is little details that catches your eyes. Like this door handle on the huge door.

Or what you see on the pavement…

We were lucky to have wonderful weather although it was October.

The extension of the Roman walls during the medieval ages enables visitors like us to stroll along a walkway following some sections of the longest Carolingian walls in Europe. You can get really nice views on the city.

We  adopted a bar by the Placa de la Independencia to get our apero. It was also a good time to taste some tapas.

The city of Girona is divided by the Onyar river. That means that we got to cross bridges and enjoy the view of the colorful houses along that river.

I will keep very good memories of this time spent in Girona. If you have a chance to visit, I know you will like it also.

Thank you for your visit on my blog, Fun and Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cadaqués, Figueres and Callela (Spain)

Today, I will write about  cities on the coast of Spain.  The Costa Brava, also called Wild Coast” or “Rough Coast”, is  a coastal region of Catalonia  in northeastern Spain.

Cadaqués , is the first resort on the Costa Brava  once you have left France  behind you. It used to be a simple fisherman village.  Salvador Dali came often here as did many other artists. It was pleasant to wander  around to satisfy  our curiosity.  Dozen of small coves with a narrow street running along the water’s edge, crystal-blue  water, fishing boats on the sandy beaches, old whitewashed houses, narrow twisting streets and a 16th century parish up on a hill.

Another village is called Calella de Palafrugell. In fact I am not sure you should call this place a village or a town. It is a more quiet  place than Cadaqués but it might be busier during summer time as there is a nice beach. I went there to visit a friend who goes there every year. We did not spent much time  but what I saw was lovely.

We met the artist Rodolfo Candelaria. He has a few of his art in the village. As he was eating at the same restaurant as us and my friend knew him I had the chance to say hello and take a photo of him.

We spent time in Empuriabrava where you can see nearly 24 kilometers of canals. This is the largest residential marina in the world. We walked on the beach and had lunch.

Finally,  we stopped in Figueres.  Figueres is not on the coast. It is the birthplace of the surrealist Salvador  Dali  (1904-1989). We wanted to see the original architecture of the museum and theater. We only had time to see the outside.

I like visiting Spain and exploring new places. Do you like Costa Brava?  Have you been there ?  On my next post I will share  photographs from another Spanish city. Thank you for visiting my blog. Hasta luego.

 

 

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Perpignan and Collioure (France)

It is October. We are lucky to have good weather for this trip in Southern France. We first have a short visit in Perpignan.

“Perpignan is a southern French city near the Mediterranean coast and the border with Spain. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca during the 13th century, and a significant Catalan influence is evident in its medieval core.”

In the hall of the City hall, we see a sculpture of Aristide  Maillot called The Méditerranée.

I enjoy walking in the city, looking at the buildings.

We visit the church – église Saint-Jean.

Porte Notre-Dame. (below)

Soon it is time for lunch and then more km ( by car)  to get to Collioure where we are going to spend the night.

“Collioure is a town on the Mediterranean coast of southern France. On the sea, the medieval Château Royal de Collioure offers dramatic coastal views. The bell tower of 17th-century Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church was once a lighthouse. The Modern Art Museum includes paintings by Henri Matisse.”

Collioure is a very charming seaside village who offers 31 flavors of pastel houses and 6 petite pebbled beaches.

It is good to take our time and capture all this. We also take a ride with “le petit train” to see the view from the hill top.

We can see the windmill built in 1344 originally used for grain but today it grinds out olive oil.

Charming village. We  have  sangria made with local wine.

Collioure is only 24km/15 miles from the Spanish border and shares a common history and independent attitude with its Catalan siblings across the border.

The story will continue  next week. Thanks for reading and comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the GR-65. Day 9 ( last day)

Saturday September 30. Lauzerte to Moissac. This day will be over 30km.

A difficult day as it starts with rain as soon as we leave the gite in Lauzerte. We are wearing our raincoat. We have a cover on our backpack but we really hope the clouds are going to get tired to spray on us.

I don’t want to take photos with  my camera. It is in a plastic bag in my pocket. I try to take pictures with my cellular but really I will take very few that day. But when I see this building I want a photo. This must  be a dovecote ( where pigeons or dove can stay).

We walk, we walk and we do not find a place to shelter for our lunch. We do not want to waist time  as we think it would be better to arrive  and rest. But it is our last day on the trail and we keep thinking about the arrival.

We see a few pilgrims  who, like us, have to deal with the muddy and slippery  trail. Without walking sticks it is not easy to climb the step trail.

We have booked a hotel room for this last night. I am quite happy to get in  Moissac.

We have been there a few days before this adventure. It is where I bought my créantiale and now I have many stamps on it. In France we do not have to show our créantiale when we sleep in a gite  but in Spain the pilgrims need to have one.

All day the rain doesn’t stop. It would be our most difficult day. Our feet are wet and I feel cold. The warm shower is the best thing to do when we get to the room shortly after 3 pm.   We rest and later we choose a restaurant close by our hotel. We indulge in pizza and red wine.

Celebration. We have done more than 250 km in 9  days.

The next morning, we have time to wander in the city. It is not raining anymore!

The  abbaye Saint-Pierre . Since 1998,  the church and cloisters have had international protection as part of a World Heritage Site “Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France “.

I really like the sculptures of the French artist Toutain.

Now that this adventure is finished , we will return to Toulouse for two nights and  continue our traveling  in   Southern France  and Spain ( Catalonia) . More to come next week! Thanks for reading.

 

 

On the Gr65. Day 8

Each day, we are ready earlier. It means  two things. We are getting stronger  and we sleep so well that we are ready to start  walking as early as possible. When we leave the gite it is still a bit dark  ( shortly after 8 AM) . The sky is wonderful. I need to capture  this moment.

We follow the road, the same road  we were able to see from our bedroom window.

We are enjoying the moment. Our body knows well that this is another day on our feet. How many km will we do on day 8 ?  29 km counting the steps we do when we arrive in Lauzerte.

But before we get there , we pass the town of Montcuq. We do not visit. We prefer to get going and have more time when we will get to our destination.

We stop later to have our picnic. We see donkeys and sunflowers. We also see a few pilgrims. It feels good to know we are not alone in that adventure.

We arrive in Lauzerte and we have to climb  a street to get to our gite. Les Figuiers.       A very friendly  couple  runs this gite. We have booked a room instead of sleeping in a dorm.  Each room has a name. Our room is called Marguerite  and we have a great view on the area.

We have time to go to  the town center.  It means we have to climb a little more. But it is worthwhile. We are enjoying it very much , the Church, the square, the beer we are having with other pilgrims and the good weather. Is it possible to say we are having the time of our life ?

At  7 pm we have to be back in our gite for dinner. And it is quite a great dinner with  apero, soup, prosciutto and melon, sausage, ratatouille, cheese, desert and wine as we wish ! We are a good group at the table. Across the table is a man from Mexico. He does not speak French and not much English either. So I  have to communicate in Spanish with him and he shares with me the reason of his pilgrimage. He plans on walking all the way to Santiago in Spain.

Another great day. We feel fine. We are happy.

Thank you for reading and comments.