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.

 

 

.

 

Canada

July  1st is Canada Day ! Happy  Canada Day !

This year, Canada celebrates 150 years. Sesquicentennial. Ses·qui·cen·ten·ni·al. It means a one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, and if you perfect the pronunciation it’s a real crowd pleaser.

Some will say it is older than 150 years  but I think  Canada is still a young country. How old is  the country  where you live ?

Canada is a North American country stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. Major cities include massive Toronto, west coast film centre Vancouver, French-speaking Montréal and Québec City, and capital city Ottawa. Canada’s vast swaths of wilderness include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. It’s also home to Niagara Falls, a famous group of massive waterfalls.

I am Canadian. I was born in Canada and lived in Canada all my life. I grew up in Quebec  but I am now living in British Columbia. So I moved from  almost one end of the country to the other end. Nature is very different in each  provinces. We have beautiful National Parks : Banff , Waterton Lakes, Jasper, Yoho,  etc… In fact there are 47 National Parks in Canada. All provinces have it special beauty.

I have not visited Newfoundland yet  but I hope to go there one day. You get there by ferry or by plane.

Maritime provinces are very interesting. I have traveled to Nova Scotia twice. I know some parts of New Brunswick.  I crossed Prince Edward Island to get to Magdalen Islands. The Magdalen Islands form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 205.53 square kilometers. Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec. I have been twice to Magdalen Islands and I want to go back. I really love the wonderful beaches where you can walk a long time. It is very windy as it is in the gulf of Saint Lawrence. Some people like to go there to do  surf kite.

When I moved to BC, I drove across Canada by car. It was an interesting feeling to see my country.  And 22 years later, my family ( husband and kids)  went on a road trip across Canada.

In Alberta, we spent one night at the Prince of Wales  Hotel built in 1920. This hotel is opened only 4 months during the year ( end of May to end of September). It is located in Waterton Lakes National Park.

In Manitoba, we saw bisons.

I was very happy to see our famous Niagara Falls. They are a major tourist attraction for anyone who comes to Ontario.

Quebec City is a lovely city . The  iconic Chateau Frontenac ( Fairmont Hotel) is a wonderful historic building.  This heritage urban resort with its breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and the architecture of the Old fortified City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site is always great to see.

Now that I live on the West Coast,  I want to see more of my province. There is so much to see here in BC. I love traveling and I plan on seeing more each year.

I share two photos  showing down-town (taken from the North Shore). The sea-bus is transporting pedestrians to and from the North Shore.

To all Canadians, Happy Canada Day.

…and to you all who read my blog, Thank you ! Maybe you can tell me what is your favorite city in Canada ( if you have been visiting or living here). I know it is a difficult question.

 

 

 

Puerto Vallarta (part 1)

dsc00503 I am not counting anymore how many times we have been to Puerto Vallarta.

I remember the very first time it was in 2002. This was a 3 weeks vacation. We stayed two weeks in PV and one week in Nuevo Vallarta ( a bit further north than PV).

We stay not too far from the marina where we can find lots of restaurants. One night we walked in this area. I was pleased to see the colors of the sunset and the reflections of the lighthouse …

dsc00490

We enjoy walking on the beach every day . I will show you what we see. The birds, nice flowers, driftwood, shacks and sign warning us about crocodiles.

dsc00581

dsc00527

dsc00543

dsc00567

dsc00557

On the beach we see many shacks. I don’t think people live there all the time. They are built with any material they can find.

dsc00550

On that beach, there are also many restaurants that are popular with locals.

dsc00545

and now …the crocodiles. It was the first time we saw crocodiles at this spot. Close by a little lagoon. We saw two, a big and a small one. They were sleeping  I think or they were faking it ?

dsc00535

dsc00576I did not like very much to see them and the fence didn’t make a big difference. Do you know what they eat ? How  fast they run ? I was also interested to know so we did a little research.

The American is one of the larger crocodile species. Males can reach lengths of 6.1 m (20 ft), weighing up to 907 kg (2,000 lb). On average, mature males are more in the range of 4.1 m (13 ft) to 4.8 m (16 ft) in length weighing about 400 kg (880 lb). Fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals make up the majority of their diet. On occasion, large mammals such as deer and cattle  are taken. Their dietary habits in coastal regions are not well studied. Like any other large crocodilian, the American crocodile is potentially dangerous to humans, but it is not a very aggressive species and attacks are rare. The can run up to 32 km/hour ( in the water).

The sky at the end of a day is always interesting to admire.

dsc00585

On my next post, I will show you “el centro”  (downtown) of Puerto Vallarta.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are always appreciated.

Hasta luego!

 

 

 

 

 

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (part 1)

Viva Mexico!

We are in a small village of the state of Nayarit. La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

collagela-cruz-2016

I wake up around 8:30 so in reality it is early ( because there are two hours difference in time with home).  I am ready to enjoy the sun. I go on our balcony to listen to the sound of the waves.  I see the vendors installing their stuff for Sunday market.

dsc00095

We made the plan to go later after coffee and breakfast. I even have time to read in the morning. A real sign that I am on holiday. I never read during the day  at home. I like to look at the action in front of our place. I see a man fishing with a net. This is often the way they do it in Mexico. We take our time and only when we are ready we go to the market. We are looking for cheese, strawberries, nuts and bread. I even spot a cute little beach dress. And I buy it.

Later in the afternoon, we go for our walk on the beach and I start my collection of sea glass. We find a lot a sea glass. Dark green,  light green, brown, white. I find also some interesting shells and some rocks. We walk for about one hour, slowly. We are going to do it everyday. I just love it.

img_20161205_092842

I should talk a little about the little B & B where we stay. It is called Villa Amor del Mar. Chris and Cindy Bouchard own this place. They are fantastic people.  This is the perfect spot for a wonderful relaxing vacation. After being there 3 times, I feel so at home there. And of course, we know better the village also. In the next photo, you see the pool and the beach is right there (the light in this  picture is not the best). We can use the paddle board if we want or just relax in the sun or in she shade.

dsc00080

You can check it out here:  http://www.villaamordelmar.com/

dsc00140

When we are at the villa , I like to get up early to see the sunrise. It is so nice. I take pictures and quickly I send them to  friends  or family. I like to share those special moments. I am sure you also  enjoy sunrises and sunsets.

dsc00286

For me it is a little paradise. I can’t wait to go back  again. Does that sound a great spot for you ? Let me know what you think ! I will talk more about the village on my next post. Thanks for reading. Hasta luego.

 

 

Bordeaux

May 2015

We  only had two days in Bordeaux. We met a friend and we walked around the city.     It is a very pleasant city with many great architectural sights. We crossed  the Pont de pierre. We climbed the tower Pey Berland beside the Cathedral Saint-André.  We admired the wonderful fountain called the Monument aux Girondins in Place des Quinconces. It was nice to see Opera House at night. So much history  here again…

The Pont de pierre, or “Stone Bridge” in English, is a bridge in Bordeaux, which connects the left bank of the Garonne River to the right bank quartier de la Bastide.   Its construction took place during the  Bourbon Restoration , from 1819 to 1822.

DSC00814

The fountain of the “daughters of Zeus” : Aglaé, Euphrosyne and Thalie.

DSC00779

When we were up the tower  Pey Berland, we enjoyed the view of the city and the Cathedral.

DSC00901

And here is the Roman Catholic cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux-Bazas. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096.

DSC00960

The Place des Quinconces is one of the largest city squares in Europe. It was laid out in 1820 on the site of Château Trompette, intended to prevent rebellion against the city. The principal monument was erected between 1894 and 1902 in memory of the  Girondists  who fell victim of the  Reign of Terror  during the French Revolution . It is composed of a large pedestal framed with two basins, decorated with bronze horses and troops, and surmounted by a large column with a statue on top that represents the spirit of liberty.

DSC01040

Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux was  first inaugurated on 17 April 1780.

DSC01006

Our hotel was well located on rue Esprit des Lois. From there we walked to a restaurant and had a delicious green dinner.

DSC01005

We had plans  for the next day so we didn’t stay up too late. You will see what happened  in my next post !

I hope this short visit in Bordeaux via my post was enjoyable for you as much as it was for me and my husband .  Thanks for reading.  Always happy to read your comment.

Driving from PD to YVR

After good time in Southern California, visit in Arizona and New Mexico, it  was time to say good bye and hit the road to get home in Vancouver , BC.

DSC02623

A road trip means that sometimes you get to be on the road early , stop only  when necessary, sleep and repeat until you reach your final destination.  With 2240 km to cover in 3 days, it is more or less what we did.

On Day 1, we drove in California with nice weather  until we arrived in Sacramento.  We drove just in front of the beautiful California  State Capitol.  The Neoclassical structure was completed between 1861 and 1874. The building is based on the US Capitol building in Washington DC. I took some shots that day but we also came back to see it with better light  the following  morning.

DSC02641

DSC02646

On Day 2, we drove 857 km. The morning  ride was wet. But it didn’t stop me to take photos through the window.

DSC02653

We left  California and  drove in Oregon until we arrived in Salem which is also the capital of that state. We didn’t make any visits  but enjoyed a nice dinner in a Mexican restaurant.20160305_181310

On Day 3, we only had 584 km on the road. We went by Washington State without stopping unless it was necessary. Normally, we have a picnic and we make a quick stop in a rest area. DSC02673

Here is a shot of Seattle seen from Highway #5.

DSC02691

We  finally crossed the border and said:  Hello Canada !!

After 53 days away and so many fun adventures, we felt blessed to be back home with great memories. When I write this blog, I relive my trip and  I enjoy it one more time. I hope you enjoyed it also.  Every year, I am lucky to go to many places and I don’t always have enough time to write about it. Soon, I will tell our story  when we were in  to France and Spain  last year (2015)  as I didn’t share it yet. But first, I will write about our visit in Eastern Washington State . With some interesting photos.

Thanks again for reading and/or taking time to tell me what you think when you read my post. I’ll be back soon with other FUN and LIFE adventures.