Around the world. (Part 5)

This is another post on my travels in Asia. This trip was in  winter 2014.  After visiting Northern Thailand and many places in Vietnam, we flew to Siem Reap where we  visited many temples. It is best  to have a guide who can tell you  about each temples. He knows when it is good to visit them according to the amount of tourists around. We had busy days but  when we travel we know our days are not for resting. This can be done later when we get home.

Angkor Wat is an unique place. I am so happy I got to see it.

We had one more country to see during that trip. From Siem Reap we flew to Hong Kong. When we arrived at the airport, we  bought an octopus card . The MTR is a great way to travel in HK.

When you  see  all the skyscrapers you cannot believe that so many people live there.  We were busy travelers.  Every day we explored a different area of this big city. As usual I brought back tons of photos.

We discovered some quiet areas  such as  the Nan Lian Gardens. We visited a few  temples. We saw nice art in display.  We got to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.

After 35 days in Asia ( 4 countries)  it was time to go back home.  If you missed any of my “Around the world” posts,  you can find the 4 previous posts published earlier .

It was an incredible journey that we will never forget. I am  looking forward to other adventures, take more pictures , meet new people, discover other parts of  the world. I learn more about myself as I get out of my comfort zone.

Fun and Life ( which is the title of this blog ) is coming to and end with this post. I am not sure at this time if there will be a sequence  (Fun and Life-2  ?) or not. I’ve got to do some thinking and see if my desire to write about all the fun things  ( mostly travel) is still an important part of my life.

Thanks for reading and be sure that  your comments were always very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

Around the world. (Part 4)

Traveling to Asia was  fantastic . I hope to go back again. Today I will share a few shots taken in Thailand and  Vietnam. In the next post, I will share about  Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Let’s start with Northern Thailand . We visited Chiang Mai and many little villages. We discovered  temples and lovely architecture. We saw people working at markets.   I took lots and lots of photos.

Driving in the countryside , we could see smoke as the farmers burn the land to help the  future crops. We were traveling during the dry season but we have to assume there was no danger with the fires.

This is the White temple we can see in Chiang Rai. Very spectacular.

One week in this part of Thailand was not enough  but we were very happy with our visit. We had to fly to Bangkok and then to Hanoi in Vietnam  where we would meet our cycling group.   We visited Hanoi and  Halong Bay  before starting our 11 days cycling days. We did  around 450 km . With my photos you will get a sense of my trip in Vietnam. Motorbikes, bicycles, people everywhere…

We enjoyed the scenery on our way to Halong Bay. We did not  have great weather in the Bay but it was a great experience to see the floating villages.

We had an educational tour as we cycled in different areas of Vietnam. The weather was not that great to start but it got warmer as we got in the southern part of the country. We learned so much and people were friendly .

In 2 weeks, I had been in 2 countries I did not know at all before I got there. Now I look back at the photos and I appreciate so much this experience. Asia is so different than America  and for us it is an amazing discovery for all  our senses. I even tried to learn a few words in thai and vietnamese !

Next week, you will see  more photos taken in Cambodia and Hong Kong. Thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Around the world. ( Part 3)

I love going to Europe.  It feels so different than North America.  It is rich in history. Everywhere I  stop to  take photos. They help to  keep the memories alive.

The first countries I visited in Europe are France, UK and Wales. Then Denmark, Switzerland , Italy and Spain. There is not a country I like best . They are all interesting to me. I wish I could see them all.

What is your favorite country  in Europe ? Is  the language a problem when you visit a country where you cannot speak the language ? Do you try to learn a few words before you go ?

I will share a few pictures taken during my trips in Europe.

Every time I have been to Switzerland , I enjoyed the green landscapes. So many nice places to see .  Spending time in Gruyeres was fantastic. Another time we went in the Canton of Valais and we did some hiking. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces very scenic .

In Italy, the first city I visited was Rome ( I showed some pics from my 2003 trip in the previous post). In 2012, we went to Venice. It was a dream for me. I remember being so excited. We spent 4 days in the city walking everywhere and going to the islands of  Burano and Murano.  If you knew how  many pictures I took during that trip, you would not believe me.

In Italy, on other trips, we have been visiting the  Gran Paradiso National Park and  Turin. We discovered Piedmonte area and Cinque  Terre  ( on a walking trip). We really enjoyed Cinque Terre and went on hikes between the villages. We stayed in Vernazza one of the 5 villages of CT.  We also went to Genova,  Pisa, Lucca and Florence.

In 2015, at last, I went back to Paris after 23 years and this time my husband was with me. As French is my first language, there was no worry for me to get by.  On my bucket list was to go up to the very top of the Eiffel tower. The view was great.

On that trip we also visited the Bay of Arcachon, the Dune du Pilat, the lighthouse of Cordouan.  We even flew over the whole bay in a small airplane for 4.  So many great memories.

Bordeaux and  St-Emilion  were also part of that 2015 trip.

We were also lucky to visit Toulouse and  wonderful villages of the Haute-Garonne. Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Carcassonne, Foix .  Here another collage for you.

Many  green vistas to see while we traveled in France.

Spain is another great country. We know quite well Barcelona as we have been more than once. We  walked on the  Camino for 11 days with a group and guides ( On Foot in Spain). You can find some posts on our walks here on my blog.

So many good memories . I can’t wait to discover more of Europe .

Thank you for reading my post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

.

 

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.