Toronto

 

Hello ! Bonjour!  Buongiorno! Buenos dias ! If you follow me and read my blog, I just posted about Barcelona last week. Today it will be about CANADA. But  again I have more about Europe to  share  very soon.

Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, is a major Canadian city along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. It’s a dynamic metropolis with a core of soaring skyscrapers, all dwarfed by the iconic CN Tower. Toronto also has many green spaces, from the orderly oval of Queen’s Park to 400-acre High Park and its trails, sports facilities and zoo.

I will show you the Toronto I saw during my  visit at the end of June (2016).

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The CN Tower is a 553.33 m-high concrete communications and observation tower.

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Maybe you like  to go to a baseball game and watch the only Canadian team: The Blue Jays. They play at the  Rogers Centre.

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If you like to taste beer,  Steam Whistle is there. The brewery occupies Bays 1-14 within a building known as the John Street Roundhouse at  Roundhouse Park. The company produces a premium pilsner lager packaged in distinctive green glass bottles and a non-twist cap.

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Maybe you would like to ride a bike. It is possible to  rent one. The helmet is not mandatory in Ontario.

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Going to Toronto Islands Park is a nice idea on a hot day.

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View of Toronto while we were on the ferry.

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The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is a lighthouse located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario. Begun in 1808, it is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. Deactivated in 1956.

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Beaches on the islands are  fun for many people.

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And the Far Enough Farm with lots of animals is an interesting activity.

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To visit Toronto, we can use the street car  or just walk.

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We spent some time in the Distillery. Located east of downtown , it contains numerous cafés, restaurants, and shops housed within heritage buildings of the former  Gooderham and Worts Distillery . The 13 acres (5.3 ha) district comprises more than forty heritage buildings and ten streets, and is the largest collection of  Victorian-era  industrial architecture in North America. The district was designated a  National Historic Site of Canada  in 1988.

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Toronto has lots of murals.

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And of course there is always  a church to photograph. Here is St-Mary’s church.

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Just outside down-town, we saw the Scarborough Bluffs.

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This was a quick tour of Toronto.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Barcelona

It was my second visit in Barcelona.  A city I like very much. From the airport, we took a bus to get  to the city. Our hotel was not very far from the Rambla.  What to do in Barcelona:  browsing in La Boqueria , revisiting the Gothic Quarter, walking on Passeig de Graciato to see the great architecture , eating churros, admiring the Cathedrals,  spending time inside the Sagrada, going to Barceloneta to enjoy the view of the water.  We did not have time to go back to Parc Guell  ( we had done it in 2009)  or visiting  museums. Often, we  prefer to be walking , exploring as much as we can while we also take time to enjoy good food.  It was 3 full days well spent.   I will  share a few photos taken during our time in Barcelona.

La Boqueria.

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Gaudi’s work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you will see stunning examples of his work all around the city centre.

Casa Batllo. Gaudí renovated this block of flats to make it look like a sinewy, psychedelic deep-sea beast. Whatever you do, don’t let the queues put you off venturing inside this fantastic building.

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Casa Amatller. Located on the famous  Manzana de la Discordia, Puig i Cadafalch’s Modernista–Gothic romp has a Dutch air about it.DSC03202

La Pedera. This one-time residence is a masterpiece of Gaudí’s swirling imagination.DSC03229

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Hospital de la Santa Creu  i de Sant Pau. With its dainty pavilions, Modernista quirks, ceramic décor and gardens, this hospital works artistic as well as medical wonders.

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La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s unfinished symphony, an extraordinary work of soaring religious devotion and unlimited imagination.

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The Cathedral of Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter.

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and here Santa Maria Del Mar. Barcelona’s finest church is a noble work of grand Gothic construction.DSC03160

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This was a quick tour of a  very interesting city. I hope you enjoyed. Thanks always for reading. Hasta luego !

 

 

Camino de Santiago ( Spain)- part 11

And now it is the final day on the Camino. We were going soon to arrive in Santiago de Compostella. We did not have much to walk on that day . Only 5 km  through eucalyptus forest . The plan was to arrive in Santiago  to be on time for the 12:00 mass.

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When we arrived in Santiago, we walked along  Rua San Pedroto to  reach the Plaza de Obradoiro.  It is where we could say:  “We are arrived. This is it .”  We got a bit emotional   and hugged  each other. We saw many pilgrims arriving and trying to get a sense of their experience.

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I  was a bit disappointed to see main facade of  the Cathedral  as it was in the middle of some restoration work.

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Still , we took photos and quickly we got inside the Cathedral for the mass. We were hoping to see the swinging of the butafumeiro. It is not happening every day.  Butafumeiro means “smoke expeller”in Galacian. This incensory is one of the largest censers in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring  1.6o m in height. Eight red-robed “tiraboleiros” pull the ropes, producing increasingly large oscillations of the censer. During the mass, it is forbidden to take photos but at the moment the butafumeiro is in action, everyone take pics.

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After the mass, we had our last picnic on Monte Pedroso. From the  mountain, we had a view on the city.

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We had time to walk  in the historic quarter.  In 1985 the city’s Old Town was designated a   UNESCO  World  Heritage Site. With a local guide, we toured the Romanesque and Baroque Cathedral and its museum. The city was busy with pilgrims and tourists. But it is mainly a walking city. We got some rain but we were wearing our raincoat. We had time to walk inside  the Parador that has sumptuous architecture and great decoration. We met our group for the last supper  at 20:30.  It was another  amazing dinner  with  great food and wine . We enjoyed it to the max. We said good bye to each other. We were not quite sure if we would see each other the next morning at breakfast.

On this last photo , to the right is the Cathedral. In  front is the Parador (the hotel where we slept- it was founded as a pilgrim hospital  at the end of the 15th C) and to the left  is a government  building.

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After breakfast, we had time to walk some more in  the city. We saw many shops and restaurants.  We sat down for a while in front of the Cathedral to watch the action with the pilgrims arriving.  We  took a cab to the airport for a flight to Barcelona where we were going to spend 4 days.

What a great experience. I would recommend it to anyone. The company  we chose for this adventure is  called ON FOOT IN SPAIN.  It was great  for us because  we didn’t want to do the whole route  and everything was organized for us.

Thanks again for reading.  Shall we visit Barcelona together ? I hope so. I will soon publish  posts  about our visit  in this city.

Hasta luego!

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 10

Day 10. After a night in Samos, we left in the bus to reach  Sarria.  We have only two more days of walking with our group. The morning walk started in Sarria. We could see many hostels  (albuerges)  as this town is more or less exactly 100 km from Santiago. Many pilgrims  only walk this distance in order to get the Compostella ( the certificate- proof of walk on the Camino).

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This part of Galicia is quite bucolic and dotted with numerous small hamlets and quaint parish churches.  We pass the 100 km marker.  Our 14 km morning  walk finishes in Ferreiros. It was  time for another picnic. Notice the cheese   in shape of a breast. We  eat  empanadas, olives, salad , bread , fruits. Every day our lunch was an enjoyable feast.

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We saw  horreos, typical granary built in wood or stone , raised from the ground by pillars ending in flat saddle stones , to avoid the access of rodents. They are used to store grains.

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We shuttled to Santa Maria de Melide. Only 5.5 km of walking in afternoon. When we saw the sign Santiago, we knew we were getting very close. We were excited to arrive at our destination. Our good friends, David and Gayle ( from Australia) were happy also.

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We were going to spend the end of the day and night in a rural mansion. “Pazo de Andeade“, 29 km from Santiago It was constructed at the beginning of the 18th century and lovingly restored in 1995.  We had some time  to explore a beautiful garden.

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Our group  was perfect to use all the rooms they have . We had dinner  together and it was a pleasant evening at the table with good food and local wine. One more night and then we were going to be on our last day on the Camino.

Thanks -as always-for taking the time to read.  Gracias !

I have a few more posts on Spain .  And soon it will be  stories of other adventures on my blog FUN and LIFE. Ciao for now !

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 9

Day 9. We were dry and ready for another day on the Camino. It was not raining. We all has a smile on our face. We had one hour on the bus to get to Herrerias and then,  we started our 8.5 km morning walk.

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That morning, we truly enjoyed spectacular  views back down over Valcare Valley.  Looking back from  where we started.  Such a nice area. That is the day we entered Galicia and reached  Cebreiro ( 1300m/4264′).

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We saw a farmer working on his field.

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As my husband and I are fast walkers and the whole group is behind us, we had time to enjoy a cold beer before lunch. Our lunch were different every day  but it was always a delicious picnic prepared by Jose.

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After lunch, we visited the palloza ethnographic museum. The construction of the palloza dates to Celtic and re-Roman times.

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Another walk in the afternoon , along ancient hilly and steep trails. We arrived in Samos.  We had a superb view on the  Monastery that we  visited  before dinner.

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This  Benedictine Monastery is one of the most ancient and most important of Spain. I think there are only a dozen of monks living there. The church façade dates back to the eighteenth century and is still incomplete.

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Some art on the walls of the Monastery.

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While we had time we  bought some chocolate at the gift shop (to bring home).

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What a nice day. Even a year later , I am  still thinking as one of our best time on the Camino. I look at  the photos and I am so grateful we were there.  Maybe we could go back. One more photo on this post and  more to come ( 2 more days on the Camino). By the way, I don’t know the exact amount of photos I took every day  ( a lot)  but for my blog I choose  a few to give you an idea of the places we saw.

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Thanks   for your visit . I know I have regular  readers ( Cece, Marcia, Mary, Janine, Jeannie, Stephen )so   I say to you : hasta luego y gracias.

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 8

In the story of this blog, it is still June 2015. Day 8 of our walking adventure in Northern Spain. The sky was really gray as we left the hotel and without a surprise we had to wear our raincoat that morning. We crossed the 20-arched medieval bridge in Puente Orbigo.2015-06-10 01.13.35We stopped in the first village for a little while hoping the rain would stop. It didn’t so we kept walking. Just following the yellow arrow.

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Rain, rain, rain… after all it must rain sometimes.

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My socks were wet.  After we stopped for lunch, the rain stopped.        I did not want to change as my shoes  were really too wet and I think It would not have made a difference. Here is Sam and I after our morning walk.  11 km. I think Sam did not walk  but normally he did . He was only 9 years old and a very good walker.

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Lunch was good. Cheese, bread, salad…

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After our lunch, we stopped in  Astorga. We had time for a hot chocolate ( Spanish style, very thick). I bought some chocolate  another day to bring home.

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We saw a van with some bikes. Some companies  offer bike rental for those who want to do the Camino on bike. Personally, I think walking is better and it is much easier to take photos.

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In Astorga,  we saw the Archbishop’s Palace ,  a masterpiece from  Antoni Gaudi. We could only see the outside. It was closed on that day and I think we did not have enough time.

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We reached the famous Cruz de Ferro . The tiny iron cross is embedded into the top of a long wooden beam and surrounded by a large and ancient pile of rocks, Pilgrims often carry stones from home to throw on the pile at this place  that is the highest point on the Camino  ( 1505m/4936′).

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Another 6 km to walk to reach  Molinaseca.  We crossed an old bridge and at the end of the village, we arrived at our hotel

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Time to dry our clothes, find a good place for dinner and relax. We have great memories of our dinner with a very friendly server called Javier. The cost of the dinner was 10 Euros including wine, soup, main dish, dessert and coffee. What a deal!

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More on our adventure on the Camino in my next post. Thanks again for reading.

 

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 7

June 2015.  Day 7 of our travel on the Camino de Santiago…

This day was going to be a very special day as I was going to meet a  Spanish pen-pal at the end of the day  but first let’s see what we did that day.  We visited the remains of a Roman bath complex with numerous mosaics, it was a well preserved 4th C  AD ruins.

You can see the designs on the floor.

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There are many  routes that lead to Santiago. We were on the Camino Francés. ( The French Camino/The French Way).  Historically, due to the  codex Calixtinus , most of the pilgrims came from France: typically from  Arles, Le Puy, Paris and Vézelay ; some from Saint Gilles.  Cluny , site of the celebrated medieval abbey, was another important rallying point for pilgrims and, in 2002, it was integrated into the official European pilgrimage route linking Vézelay and Le Puy.

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We did not have to walk too much that day as we had to arrive early enough in  Leon to visit  the Gothic Cathedral and the underground royal pantheon  ( where it was forbidden to take photos). The Cathedral was  superb. I really enjoyed the magnificent stained glass. The French-inspired Santa Maria La Blanca Cathedral is known for the purity of its style and for housing the finest stained glass in Spain. some dating to the 13th C.

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It was  fun to meet with my friend Encarna.  She was very kind on driving  a few km to meet me on the day I was passing the closest from the city where she lives. She is learning English but it was my chance to practice Spanish during our visit. We always are able to communicate when we really want to.

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Another good day. I  think it would have been nice to have more time to wander in that city but we had to get our sleep and another adventure was just ahead of us  with still 4 more days on the Camino.

Thanks to read /comment.  Gracias !