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.

 

 

More on Death Valley National Park

The story of our visit in Death Valley continues here…

Now , we will go  for a short hike to see the Natural bridge. We hiked up the dramatic canyon to see this formation. It was  very hot. We did not know yet that  we were getting one of the warmest day of our trip !

Death Valley’s dramatic relief is the result of fracturing and tilting of the Earth’s  surface which transformed the regions’ once featureless terrain to the spectacular landscape present today.

Another  interesting  place to see was the Devils Golf Course. We were not going to play golf  but have a look at the crystallized salt. It was named after a line in the 1934  National Park Service   guide book to Death Valley National Monument, which stated that “Only the devil could play golf” on its surface, due to a rough texture from the large halite salt crystal  formations.

One more  short hike on that day to see the Golden Canyon. One of the most popular hike in the park. Narrow passageway beneath high colorful hills  that ends at sculpted canyon head wall.

Very  important to drink as much water as possible on those very hot days.

DVNP, the hottest place on earth. It holds the record : 134 F/ 57C.

Thanks to all for  reading and/or commenting .  More on DVNP  with my next post.

 

 

 

Salt Creek interpretive trail.

Death Valley National Park was the highlight of my trip in California in 2017. The first evening we  enjoyed was  a spectacular sunset.

The next morning, we were up early and ready to explore this vast area. The salt creek trail has a boardwalk that allow us to visit the salt marsh.

It was amazing to see the rare pupfish in the creek. Their lifespan is one year or less. So these tiny fish are in a hurry to feed and breed.   Pupfish got their name because they seemed as playful as puppies. They live in temperature ranges from 0 to 100C ( 32F to 212 F). They can live in water 3 times as salty as the ocean. They have been around for 20,000 years. Pupfish are desert survivors.

It was fun to see little lizards and see how fast they move.

We needed to get going with our visit as there is so much to see in DVNP.

More from our exploration in the park on my next post.

Thanks for reading !

4 Seasons

Antonio Vivaldi wrote the  “Le Quattro Stagioni” ,  each of which gives a musical expression to a season of the year.  Beautiful music !   Today my  post  reflects on  our 4 seasons in Canada. Is there a perfect season ? Or is it just perfect that we  have 4 seasons  (at least here in Canada) ?

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Spring. La primavera. It was not my favorite season when I lived in Quebec ( for about 30 years). Ski season was over. We couldn’t cycle yet. The grass wasn’t green. The snow was melting too slowly (and was dirty) and it was still cold.  As a Vancouverite, spring has become almost my favorite season.  In February – it is still winter- but in my garden I am delighted to see snowdrops followed by crocuses. We start to see flowers (the bulbs) very early and the trees are blooming in March and April.  At last, there is not as many rainy days.  Except this year ( so much rain !).

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And lilac  is a good sign of spring.

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Tulip time is  fantastic when we can visit those  large fields. It has become an interesting outing for us who live in the Lower Mainland. Just south of the border it is also possible to enjoy such beauty. I took this photo in April 2014 in Agassiz, British Columbia. Isn’t it beautiful ?

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Summer.  L’estateSummer Solstice is on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm in Vancouver. This day is 8 hours, 4 minutes longer than  December Solstice day. The longest day of the year. Oh ! Joy! Dinners outside will  be in order and spending time in the garden to keep it nice.  I am not really a person who spend time at the beach  but walking by the water is wonderful with the smell and the wind.  When I am not traveling  I rather hike or cycle and it is why I really enjoy summer. The birds are happily singing early in the morning inviting me to get out of bed .

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Summer is also time to pick up berries. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  I like to have those local berries in my freezer for the winter months.

Sometimes, I enjoy splendid sunsets. This one was taken from English Bay.

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Too soon, for me, summer is fading away.  Days are not as long and not as warm although we rarely suffer from high heat during the summer months in Vancouver. The word fall is not my favorite word of the dictionary.

Fall is l’autonno in Italian.  Fall is a bit sad for me. Falling leaves, cool days  and more rainy days. But on a positive note we see magnificent trees and beautiful leaves.  And when we get  sunny days , we want  to be outside cleaning up the garden once more. Walking in the forest is  good to stay connected with nature that is preparing for a rest.

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Winter. L’inverno. We are getting more rainy days . The days are very dark. We might get snow in the city but mostly we get  it on our local mountains. I used to go up to do cross-country skiing. When snow falls in the city, why not making a snowman ? No need to have little kids around. I have my inner child.  I had fun creating  “Alfred” in December 2016.

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Now, you know that I like  the 4 seasons. You also know  which one is my favorite if you read until here. Maybe you can tell me which one is your favorite ?

Thanks for reading and your comments. Happy 4 seasons !

 

 

 

Puerto Vallarta (part 2)

I hope you ( my  200+ followers) enjoy my  posts.  I would be very happy if you were commenting once in a while.  Many thanks for your interest in my travel stories. Now  we are going to spend time  “en el centro de PV”.  And by now you know that PV stands for  Puerto Vallarta.

After breakfast, we take the local bus to go to downtown or what we call “el centro”. The bus fare is 7,50 pesos. It is about .50 cents. The buses are old  but it does not matter as long as we get where we want to go.  We usually go “en el centro”  once during our stay in PV.  It is a bumpy ride as the pavement is  sometimes rough.

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We like to walk on the “malecon”. It is a boardwalk for pedestrians. It is very popular for  tourists. This large sign  PUERTO VALLARTA  is new. It was not easy to get a picture with nobody having their photo taken in front of it.

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There are many sculptures to admire on the malecon.

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and also some sand sculptures.

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We also see the “Danza de los Voladores“. The ritual consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum.

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After their performance, they ask for a donation.  The ceremony was named an Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO   in order to help the ritual survive and thrive in the modern world.

There are  artists on the malecon selling  their art. And then of course , there are  restaurants  and many  stores  for souvenirs. We have a special restaurant we like to go. I will talk about it on my next post.

Hasta luego.  Have a good weekend.

 

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (part 3)

La Cruz is a nice small village. A few thousand people and a few more during the winter months. Many fishermen. The mercado is always busy in the morning. I like to look but the smell is the  what you expect in a fish market. So I never stay very long around. Sailboats and yachts for sea lovers. I prefer to stay on land and look at the sea. But if you want  you can go on excursion on catamaran or sailboat.

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The streets are not all paved. I mentioned  it in a previous post. Most of them are dirt or simply paved with some rocks. The cars cannot drive very fast. Some streets have no street lights. You can walk in the middle of the street or on the sidewalk but you always must be looking where you walk (there are holes and uneven sidewalks). I prefer to wear my running shoes when I walk in the village. It is not a place for fancy shoes.

There is a large park that is often busy with entertainment. We see a lot of signs “SE VENDE” (for sale). Some buildings are very old.  Or  they look old. There are enough stores to find what we need. Many seem to sell the same things. There are enough restaurants also. Some are more for the people who come here to spend winter  (The gringos). Sometimes,  there is just a grill installed on the side of the road. They put a table and a few chairs and they wait for customers. dsc00400

This is a bit like in Vietnam. Cooking outside, eating outside. We like TACO ON THE STREET. It is a simple restaurant with tacos. Very good. They also have flan for dessert. And it is very inexpensive.

We go for our usual walk at the marina in the morning and also we walk on the street where they have the market. Every Wednesdays, the street has vendors: kitchen stuff, clothing, toys, CD and also some fruits and vegetables. I really don’t see anything interesting. Later we will go again for our walk on the beach. My collection of sea glass is getting bigger. And every time we collect the glass, the beach is safer. I would be sorry to know someone has walk on broken glass. The glass we find is not always soft. With my collection I will try to be creative. I will keep only the best sea glass and play with it. Then I take a photo of my creation and put the sea glass back in the container. Here is an example of what I have done.

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Why do I like so much Mexico ? The sunny days allow us to spend more time outside without having to bundle. It is a vacation for our normal day life and I must assure you that it is very pleasant. I really enjoy the sky and looking at the ocean.

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Flowers are beautiful.

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I also have a chance to practice the language. I have been taking lessons before and I feel confident to speak it . For me, learning some words spoken in any country I travel is important. At least  very basic words like : Hola, adios,  por favor, gracias.  But now that I have started to learn Italian, I get a little confused but it is OK. French, Italian and Spanish have lots of similarity. So if I say per favore instead of por favor, they will understand !

On my next post, I will talk about Puerto Vallarta.

Adios y hasta la próxima!

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (part 1)

Viva Mexico!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.