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10 Reasons Why “I Love My Island”

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  “I love my island” the guide said, gazing across the majestic vista of land and sea.   She fell silent for a few moments, then, when she turned toward me, I saw that her face was flushed with emotion.   “Every time I come up here, it seems to catch me anew.”   She was referring to Terceira, one of the islands of the Azores, and then she continued to point out and explain various historical sites and points of interest. Her love of the island was not difficult to understand. Dreamy panoramas of ocean, hills and sky caused … More…

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Drunk On Flower Pheromones

Azores Like A Garden Of Flowers

  In The Azores, the terrain consists mostly of rolling green hills with vegetation that was an odd cross between desert cacti and tropical fern – an unusual mixture.   But most of all, I was enthralled that my favourite flower, Hydrangea was literally growing everywhere!   Hydrangea flowers create a magical highway lined on both sides with purple and blue flowers, like something out of the Wizard of Oz. How awesome is this!   The Hydrangea bushes kissed the entire edges of rivers and lakes, flowers dancing in the water reflections.   Terceira is often called the Lilac Island … More…

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History Is Boring

History Repeats Itself. Which May Explain Why It's So Boring.

  Some people find history fascinating; others find it completely boring. I used to be the latter, finding all those dates absolutely meaningless (stop scowling). Random dates and events seemed like completely useless knowledge. I wanted to know what was happening today! Not 500 years ago.     In high school, I hated history. Memorizing lists of pointless dates was excruciatingly dull, and I barely scraped through Grade 9, 10, and 11 History courses with marks like 51% and 53%. Then in Grade 12, the principal, Mr. Warick taught Grade 12 History. All he did was wander around the front … More…

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Close Your Eyes & Spin The Globe

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  We couldn’t decide where to go so we just closed our eyes and spun the globe. Crazy way to choose a place, but exciting none the less. Wherever the finger landed was where we would go. We landed on some little dots in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What the heck is that, we wondered? Closer inspection revealed that it was a group of islands called The Azores. We knew absolutely nothing about them, but that’s where we were going.    The lost islands, the flower islands, the lonely islands, the forgotten islands, the pastoral isles – these … More…

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How Many People Can You Fit On A Bicycle?

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  This post is a photo journal of a variety of random “along the road” photos we took on our travels through Belize. Sometimes it’s the unintentional photos that tell the best stories. We hope it gives you an authentic feel for the real Belize.    Little girl on Caye Caulker…   Animals near or on highways…   Old men on bicycles, motorbikes and tricycles…   School children…   Animals in bars and other odd places…   “Hey bartender, I’ll have another Scotch, straight-up.”   Unusual buildings…   Amusing signs…   Unusual Bars… this one was called Cheers. Talk about … More…

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Mr. BIG Moneyyy

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  Ok, so maybe Belize wasn’t so bad after all. One of the few times in Belize that we saw that inimitable Caribbean turquoise water was when we were on the ferry heading toward Caye Caulker from the rather ugly Belize City. It was thrilling to see the true blue Caribbean waters after only seeing wild dark waters banging against cement walls on the coast.   We deliberately chose quiet Caye Caulker over the expensive and over-developed Ambergris Caye. It seems that most of the beautiful blue water is found on the islands off the mainland. Who knew this? Why hadn’t … More…

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Wild Monkeys Jumping On Our Boat

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  At Orange Walk, in Belize, we stayed at the Orchid Palm Inn, a lovely inn filled with  – you’ll never guess – orchid plants. Reasonable rates and very nice rooms: Orchid Palm Inn.   The owners of the Orchid Palm told us about the Lamanai Jungle River Boat, so the next morning, we drove to the Lamanai River and waited for the boat.   Within a short time, we were gliding down the New River in our little boat.   Our knowledgeable Guide educated us about all the animals and birds along the river.   Noisy and playful Howler Monkeys were … More…

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Orange Walk: The Smell Of Belize

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  We tend to travel using only our sense of sight. We look around. We see stimulating new things. We see beautiful scenery, a giant waterfall, a vast blue ocean, a sparkling lake, majestic mountains, a gorgeous hotel, or ancient ruins. Sometimes we use our sense of taste when we try new exotic and delicious foods, but even then the artful presentation of the food plays a big part in appealing to our sense of sight.   How much more enriching would a travel experience be if we paid more attention to the other senses while travelling: taste, touch, sound and … More…

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Belize, A Bit Of A Disappointment

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  Belize is a tiny Central American country on the Caribbean side, so that usually means amazing turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and Spanish-speaking people. Because I have wanted to go to Belize for about 10 years, I could hardly wait, but to be honest, it was a tremendous disappointment.   Belize does not have those beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise water. Most of the beaches are walled in with wild water banging against rock or cement walls. As an English-speaking country, it definitely was easier to communicate in English, rather than Spanish, but the only place we found the … More…

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Mexico To Belize

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  As I was saying in the last post, Belize is located directly South of Mexico, below the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula. It was cheaper to fly into Cancun and then drive down the Mayan Riviera coast, scattered with luscious turquoise beaches, and then drive on into Belize.   We started in Cancun, and after sorting out problems with accommodation and the rental car, we headed south towards Tulum (see last post: An Inflatable Car? ).   When we were in Tulum 7 years ago, it was a tiny village. Now it was more like a town. Development is happening … More…

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An Inflatable Car?

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  For years, we have wanted to go to Belize.    Belize is located directly South of Mexico, below the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula. It was cheaper to fly into Cancun and drive down the Mayan Riviera coast, scattered with delectable turquoise beaches, and then drive on into Belize.   Something always goes wrong on most trips. Seldom are they disasters, but still they are disappointing at the time. We expect to have little problems, so we never get too wound up about them.   We flew into Cancun, and took a taxi to the Solymar Beach Resort … More…

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Stopping By To See Goldie (Hawn) and Kurt (Russell) In The Muskokas

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Taking the Trans-Canada Highway from our home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to our home in London, Ontario, is a long, long drive. 7000 kilometers, to be exact.   Crossing Saskatchewan and Manitoba over miles of prairie and whispering grain fields holds a wonderful sense of freedom. You can see for miles, the roads are straight and the driving is easy. The land is as flat as a pancake and sunsets are sensational.   Wheat field.   Canola (yellow) and Flax (blue) fields.   We have to say we were shocked to see giant marshmallows growing in the fields. (Until we realized … More…

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The Best Bits of Ireland

  We don’t agree! T and I, that is. Usually we pretty much agree about a country. Not only do we disagree about our favourite best bits of Ireland, but we can barely decide which of half a dozen places we individually feel are our favourites.   T says, “The most fascinating place was Ballynahinch Castle (see Ballynahinch Castle) because it seemed like stepping back in time. It felt real and authentic.”   “For me, it was Wicklow County. Those amazing rolling green hills and deep valleys were mesmerizing to me. I could easily live there.” I say.   “Yah, it was nice, … More…

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Ring 3: The Dingle Peninsula

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  The Dingle Peninsula was the most fascinating and memorable of the three “Rings” on Ireland`s South coast. Wild and rocky, wind-blown and untouched by tourism, it’s the REAL IRELAND.   The poor little sheep were clinging to the sides of the rocky crags. With vast valleys or ocean below, did they ever slip and fall? They certainly ended up on the road often enough.   We sort of went backwards around the peninsula, counter-clockwise, starting at Castlegregory, a quaint little town with a 50’s-style gas station, and 14 miles of wind-swept rocky beach.   One-way mountain roads zig-zagging into … More…

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Ring 2: Skip The Ring Of Kerry, But Don’t Miss Killarney Park

  The Kerry Peninsula (aka Ring of Kerry) is the next peninsula after the Beara Peninsula driving from Southeast to Southwest in Ireland. Although it is likely beautiful, it is the most touristy of the 3 rings, so horror of horrors, we skipped it. We heard that the Ring of Beara and the Ring of Dingle were even more amazing and much less touristy than the Ring of Kerry. We`re not saying that we don`t recommend the Ring of Kerry, but given time restrictions, choose the Dingle Peninsula as a first choice. Of course we always avoid the most touristy places wherever … More…

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Balleylickey, Skibbereen, Hag’s Head & Klonikilty

  With Irish place names like Balleylickey, the Burren, Hag’s Head, Klonikilty, Skibbereen, Salthill, Graiguenamanagh, Sheep’s Head, Beara and Dingle, driving around Ireland was filled with curiosity. What would a place with such an odd name be like? There was a wild variety of landscapes, but like most countries, it was the little-known, off-the-beaten path places that were the most beautiful. We drove in a circle that started in Limerick, went North to Sligo, then East to Dublin, then south  along the coast, then inland to Cork, then South along the coast, then around the three peninsulas: Beara, Kerry and Dingle, … More…

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There Are NO Restaurants In Ireland!

  You may be surprised that there are no restaurants in Ireland! None. Every town we came to, we could not find a restaurant. There are dozens and dozens of bars, one on every corner, even in the smallest town, but no restaurants.   Finally, we reluctantly started going to the bars, and lo and behold, they all serve meals – excellent meals. The food in Ireland in general is outstanding. We found it fresh and wholesome with good-sized portions.   It was pouring rain (it`s Ireland after all) when we ran into Moll Darby`s Bar and Restaurant in Limerick, where … More…

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Living Like Royalty In Cabra Castle

  Cabra Castle was elegant. A 19th Century castle, set deep in the hills of Cavan County, it was stately and refined. While Ballynahinch Castle had felt more authentic with the hunters going out for the early morning hunt all decked out in somewhat traditional hunting attire: short pants, knee-high socks and rubber boots, a white shirt and tie, a sporty wool plaid jacket and a woolen newsboy cap, rifle tucked under the arm; Cabra was fit for a Queen, and King of course.   The entrance to the castle was long, and as the castle came into view, it felt like … More…

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Travel To Little Known Places: PRINT Book Just Released

  My print book is done! Well at least it’s big news for me. It was a ton of work, I mean it really was hours and hours of painstaking editing and review. I’ve read it and scoured it and changed it and revised it at least one hundred times. Now I think I am satisfied that it is the best I can do. I hope you agree. Feedback graciously accepted!   DESCRIPTION: Travel. Exotic destinations. Once in a lifetime adventures. What could go wrong? Often revealing their silliest fears or dumbest travel mistakes and consequent misadventures, you will be … More…

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Getting Your Hand Slapped in Ireland

  While touring Ireland in our rental car, we, of course, had to try Guinness, the beer that is the pride and joy of Ireland.   T is a beer connoisseur, but I was surprised that I liked it too.   One day, we stopped at a local pub for a Guinness. The stern bartender came over to take T’s order of a Guinness.    “What’ll yer ‘av?”    By the way, when in Ireland, just say “pint, please”. If he asks “a pint of what?” then scowl at him and snarl “Guinness, of course”. Most barmen won’t ask anyway, … More…

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