Let’s get out of town (TO) and explore other areas in Ontario.

Toronto is fun to explore but if you live in the city you also want to escape and enjoy   the nature. My son took advantage that we were visiting and had a car to go north of Toronto… to Blue Mountain.

In this post I will share  a few photos from that visit. Let’s go…


Blue Mountain. A ski hill with 42 runs and 3 terrain parks.



…with a view on the Georgian Bay.


The village of Blue Mountain. They like the Adirondak chairs in this area ! The first Adirondack chair was designed by Thomas Lee while vacationing in  Westport , New York, in the  Adirondack Mountains  in 1903. Also called a  Muskoka chair  in Canada, it is a simple chair made of wood or man made materials, generally used outdoors. Originally made with 11 flat wooden boards, it features a straight back and seat and wide armrests.


…or maybe you would like to try those one,  ski style  in case you do not know what to do with old skis.


Old truck can be use for decoration !


Collingwood is a town with nice murals.






…and then we went to Wasaga Beach. Wasaga Beach is situated along the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a popular summer tourist destination, located along the southern end of Georgian Bay, approximately two hours north of Toronto, and neighbours, to the west, the town of Collingwood. Wasaga Beach is situated along 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) of sandy beach on Nottawasaga Bay and the winding Nottawasaga River.    A record 18 endangered piping plovers have been spotted in Wasaga Beach. Piping Plover are nesting there.



It was nice to walk on the board walk. Many people were enjoying the beach on a nice sunny day.


Fun to be outside and discovering new places.  I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Thanks so much for your comments .

Next week,  I will share story and photos  from my recent trip in Europe.




DSC00113Leavenworth is an interesting village in Washington State.  It is a Bavarian  town nested in the Cascade Mountain Range. It was a logging town on the verge of extinction and now it is a very popular touristic destination.  2 millions people come here every year !

We arrived in Leavenworth early enough in the afternoon to walk through the town and admire the Bavarian architecture of the buildings. It is quite amazing to see.  For a moment you can easily forget your are in USA.


There are many shops where you can find special items like nutcrackers, cuckoo-clocks, beer steins, music boxes and holidays decorations. You can do wine tasting , eat cheese or chocolate… It is a little paradise.





I can just imagine the ambiance of the place  when they have special celebrations. They have many festivals throughout the year including Oktoberfest and the magical weekends of Christmas Lightning.



After sleeping in Leavenworth we walked some more in the town and I took more photos. We realized that most stores only open at 10 or 11 AM. It was really quiet  especially because it was  Thursday  morning but I am sure the weekend are very busy.

It was really nice to visit Leavenworth. Thanks for visiting my blog.  Next post will be from our trip to Europe ( spring 2015).

Palouse Country.

This post is about our trip to Palouse Country, Washington State.  The origin of the name may have been from the Palus Indian Tribe. French-Canadian trappers and fur traders may have used the French word pelouse meaning “land with short, thick grass” to describe the area. The Palouse Hills extend out from Steptoe Butte and cover an estimated 3,000 square mile region in SE Washington and Northern Idaho.  We look out upon a sea of wind-blown hills dotted with ancient buttes surrounded by distant mountains. The fertile silty loess makes the Palouse a productive farming region. In the Palouse wheat is king.

We left home on Sunday morning (May 22) quite early.  Our very first interesting stop was to see Palouse Falls and the Palouse River.  It is a 198 foot falls with high volume of water (in the spring and the fall). The iconic falls has been deemed the official water falls of Washington State.  This is an amazing spot for photography.  We didn’t hike down to get close to the falls. I could see it was a narrow path and did not feel very safe. I noticed also that there were many places with no fence. The view of the river was also really nice.


You can see here where the water flows …into the river.  You can see people just above the canyon. And if you look carefully you will notice a trail ( on the right of the image below) . This is to allow you to get closer to the fall . Personally, I think it is a bit  risky to walk there but we saw people doing it.


After about one hour, we drove to Colfax where we were going to spend 3 nights. Colfax is a very small town with less than 3000 of population. On the main street, you find a few restaurants, banks, post office, gas station, grocery store and some businesses.

The next  morning, we were up bright and early and ready to go to Steptoe Butte, a National Natural Landmark.  A Steptoe is an isolated hill, or mountain, of older rock that is surrounded by younger lava flows. This island in a sea of stone (quartzite that is some of the oldest rock in Washington State) is 3612 feet. It has survived massive floods and burning lava.


Driving over there from Colfax was not very long but the ride was nice with all the green and the rolling hills on each side of the road. We saw some sheep and lamas.  During our time in Palouse, we saw also  lots of horses and some cows.




We arrived  to the butte and  drove slowly as I wanted to capture it all. When we got to the top, we had a 360 degree view on the whole area. It was cloudy, very windy and cold, about 8C. But the view was magnificent.


We had two full days to explore the area and see as much as we could.  Not much traffic on the roads. The villages we visited were also very quiet.  We realized that there was not much work happening on the fields also. All the work must had  been done already.

We were  happy with our first day. Especially because we didn’t have much rain. Just a little in the afternoon. Those big clouds would eventually go away.  My next post will show you more of Palouse Country.  We even went back up to Steptoe Butte at the end of our second day as the sun was out and I knew the photos would be more interesting  ( the sky less  cloudy and gray).

Thanks for reading/commenting. It means a lot to me. MERCI.


San Diego ( part 3)

Hello readers !

My  travel story continues.  As we approach the park,  we  notice a cemetery called Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  The cemetery is located about 10 miles (16 km) west of  Downtown San Diego , overlooking  San Diego Bay  and the city from one side, and the Pacific Ocean  on the other. Rows and rows of white tombstones is quite impressive. Burial in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents. We do not stop so I take photos as we are driving by.


We are now just about  to visit the Cabrillo National Monument  on Point Loma. The monument commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1543 exploration of the area is an interesting historical backdrop to panoramic views of San Diego.


You can only imagine the conditions in those years for the adventurers ready to explore the world .  Cabrillo  was probably born in Portugal  but  was an explorer on behalf of the  Spanish Empire.  Cabrillo’s discoveries went largely unnoticed at the time, so none of his place names were permanently adopted. Despite this, Cabrillo is now remembered as the first European to travel the California coast, and many parks, schools, buildings and streets in California bear his name.

This must be the ship ( a miniature ) that  crossed the ocean to get to America.


The park offers a view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline, as well as  Coronado and  Naval Air Station North Island . On clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean,  Tijuana  (Mexico). A visitor center screens a film about Cabrillo’s voyage and has exhibits about the expedition. You could spend many hours there and learn  a lot but sometimes it is not possible to read it all.


Here is the Old Point Loma  Lighthouse. From November 1855 and for the next 36 years, except on foggy nights, it welcomed sailors to San Diego harbor. However, the lighthouse’s site on top of a 400-foot cliff meant that fog and low clouds often obscured the light from the view of ships.  On March 23, 1891, the flame was permanently extinguished and the light was replaced by the New Point Loma lighthouse at a lower elevation.


As it was getting late that day, we left the park but we came back another day to spend time close by the ocean.


Always fun to discover new places.  We still had time to see more of San Diego and it will be the topic of another post.  Thanks for reading.

Let’s go to Paris.

Paris, Paris.…  we all dream about this City of Lights. La ville lumière. Maybe you’ve been  there, maybe you are working on that dream.  Today , I will share a few pics taken while I was there in May. I haven’t been posting anything since mid-May as we were busy traveling in Europe. In my last post, I shared a quote from Audrey Hepburn : “Paris is always a good idea.” And it was , indeed ! Coming back home was  nice as our head was full of wonderful memories. I have also  tons of pics to edit. It takes time  but I am still very happy I brought back pictures to remind me the good time we had over there. Today is only about Paris . Not much text, not enough time to say a lot. Just enjoy the photographs.


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There is so much to see in Paris. We only had 3.5 days  but we did the most we could with that time. Climbing the Eiffel Tower to the top to admire the views on  Champs de Mars and Trocadero,  visiting Notre-Dame and  Sacré-Coeur,  climbing the Arc de Triomphe, walking on the Champs Elysées, strolling in Jardins du Luxembourg and Jardins des Tuileries… Yes, lots of walking  but the metro is great also. BTW, no more locks on the Pont des Arts. They were removed shortly after our visit to Paris. Let me know how you enjoyed my photos. Thanks .

Oh yes, Today is July 14 which is the  French National  Day…

“Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly Le quatorze juillet .The French National Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789,which was the culmination in Paris of a violent revolution that had begun two days earlier, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.” (From Wikipedia)


Carmel Mission : Spanish Mission in California. (part 6)

Now,  we arrived in Carmel to  visit the  Mission. I knew it was going to be interesting as it was the second mission founded  by Fr. Junipero Serra. This place is also called The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo. Most people will  say : Carmel Mission. It is easier ! Today the Mission and its historic church is one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage in the USA for visitors from all over the world. We visited as soon as it opened its doors. It was  September and certainly not too crowded. Still , we are not alone and we can take our time to see it all. A beautiful place!  The Mission was  founded in June 1770  but really  many restorations has to be done over the years and are still done now. We saw some men working outside in front of the church.

Here is a bit of history:

Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission or Mission Carmel, is a Romanc Catholic  mission church in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

The mission was the headquarters of the Alta California missions headed by Father Junípero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784. It was also the seat of the second presidente, Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen. The mission buildings had fallen into disrepair by the mid-19th century, but were restored beginning in 1884. It remains a parish church today. It is the only one of the California Missions  to have its original bell tower dome.   The mission also serves as a museum, preserving its own history and the history of the area. DSC00377

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Beside the Basilica , a cork oak ( could be more than 110 years old). Museums and  gift shop, so much to see  but still we did not want to spend  to whole day   here. We were happy with  our visit and ready to see more of California.


San José; Spanish Missions in California. (part 2)

October 2014.

In March 2013, while spending some time in California , I visited the Spanish Mission at San Juan Capistrano. It was wonderful to be there and take photos of the place. Then, I discovered there was 21  Spanish missions in California. I bought a post card  to visualize  where they are located. I got the idea it would be fun to go back to California and visit few more. This is why we made a plan to do a road trip. After 1,555 km ( 3 days ) we visited  the Mission San José in Fremont.  It was the 14th of the 21 Spanish Mission. This one was founded in 1797  by Father Femin Francisco de Lasuén. The original abode structure was destroyed by an earthquake  in 1868. The interior of the reconstructed church is unusually elegant, containing crystal chandeliers, murals, religious paintings and a gold leaf altar. It is considered to be a near-perfect replica of the original church, though it incorporates a concealed structural steel frame which provides earthquake resistance. You can also visit a small museum which displays old paintings, photographs,and exhibits about the Ohlone Indians.


Here is the postcard showing where we can find the  21 Spanish  Missions.


DSC00108 Mission San José (reconstruction)

Inside of the church.


This was the first  Mission we visited , we were able to see two more that day. I will write about them in another post.