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Come Rain Or Snow…

  Happily touring around Ireland enjoying the lush richness of every shade of green imaginable, from lime green to kelly green to deep sage green, we could hardly believe how beautiful it was.      Our B&B was lovely, but with icy cold bedrooms, as most are. The outside day time temperature in winter in Ireland is crisp with an average between 5 and 15 degrees C. Electricity is very expensive in Europe, so many people heat only the center of their homes, and reluctantly turn on the heat in the bedrooms only if urgently requested (begged), despite the fact … 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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Falling Down the Castle Stairs in Ireland

  What a thrill it was going to be to actually stay in a real castle! We were excited. After spending a few days in Limerick and driving out to see the Cliffs of Moher, we were on our way to our first castle – Ballynahinch Castle.    We drove down quiet roads winding through the countryside towards Galway, passing by small towns, green fields with endless stone fences, driving right by impressive castles, and crossing bridges over creeks and rivers. The scenery was always engaging and quaint.   There was even a flooded road… where we had dutifully followed … More…

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Ireland: What You Need To Know

  The first thing you need to know if you’re driving around Ireland is that there are no traffic lights. That’s right, no traffic lights. Instead, there are 50 million roundabouts.   On arrival the ten or more roundabouts just to get out of Shannon airport caused us great anxiety. As a Canadian, driving on the left side was plenty enough challenge, but to make any attempt to understand the rules of a roundabout at the same time was well nigh impossible! Is there one lane or two, sometimes it’s clearly marked; other times it is not. Do you use … More…

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Ireland: Playing In The Rain

  Even if it was raining all the time in Ireland, we loved it. I’m sure you’re wondering how anyone could love rain, but just wait a minute; there is some real evidence of the beauty of the Emerald Isle.   After spending a few days in Limerick, we drove the 100 km to the coast to see the famed Cliffs of Moher.   The Cliffs of Moher in the rain are so beautiful… especially in the rain.   This is the lookout tower, O’Brien’s Tower, at 214 meters or 700 feet above sea level, built of local stone by Cornelius … More…

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Driving On The LEFT

  “Now why in God’s creation would you take yourself ever go to Ireland if yer didn’t havta? The weather is bloody miserable! For God’s sake, it rains all the frickin’ time. Are you daft man? And the wind’ll go right through ya… give yer head a wee shake.” T’s solidly Irish friend said, just before we left. “The people in Ireland go away for the winter themselves!” he exclaimed.   We laughed. Our philosophy is that rain is better than snow, and 15 degrees above zero is better than 20 degrees below zero. And T had a vested interest in Ireland … More…

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Canadian Woman Disgraces New York Opera House

    When a friend invited me to join him in New York to go the opera (his big obsession), I was hesitant. I was not that keen on opera, or even on a big city for that matter. We’ve always taken a ‘pass’ on big, busy, noisy cities, preferring the warmer local flavour of smaller centres. I hummed and hawed, then remembered that I could use my Air Miles to fly to New York. He said he would look after everything else.   Quite certain that I wouldn’t even like New York, but giving it a chance, I landed … More…

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In The Pink

  Birds are not a big attraction for us, but we were a little curious about the Yucatan flamingos. We thought $100 was a little steep for the Flamingo Boat Tour out of Celestun, so we declined several offers from local tour operators.     Since there was a large lagoon stretching for miles along the highway near Telchac, where we were staying, we started looking for the flamingos there. Some parts of the lagoon were quite pretty, but there were no flamingos to be seen.   We spotted the flamingos a little farther down, but they were little pink … More…

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The Sexiest Dance in Mexico

  One of the sexiest dances I’ve ever seen, except for the Argentine Tango, is this Cumbia. We just happened upon a fiesta in the little town of Chelem, west of Progreso, in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Part of the fiesta was a Cumbia Dance performance.   We had made a stop in Progreso first. It was a dramatic difference from the weekdays, where the beach and the town was quiet and empty. This was Sunday, the busy day; portable shops were set up along the beach, bar cafes were set up right in the sand on the beach, … More…

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The Secret, Cheap, Hauntingly Beautiful Mangrove Tour

  It was only by accident that we heard about the Mangrove Tour. We were swimming in a cenote at some Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan, Mexico, when a woman was telling other people about this amazing tour that no one knows about because it originates in a little village far from the madding crowds. We were immediately intrigued and joined the conversation. Where, how much, and when we asked.   A few weeks later, along with my visiting cousin, H, we set out to find this tour. We found the little village of San Crisanto just fifteen minutes up … More…

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My Book is Finally Done

  I cannot believe it! My book is finally done.   This baby has been as much work as a real baby!   I have been constantly changing it, removing yucky stuff, redressing, changing again..   …removing godawful stuff I missed, sweet baby, feeding and feeding and feeding the flow of words, adding photos, complications with technical issues, removing photos, changing again…   …pampering it, holding it, talking to myself, screaming, asking myself why I ever decided to take on this nightmare, changing photos, changing words, getting hopeful, sweet baby, maybe not, changing again..   Well, you get the picture. Who … More…

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Lol Tun Cave, Yucatan: An Underground Castle

Take a walk into Lol Tun Cave, and it feels like you are walking into a grandiose cathedral or castle. It is a bit of a rough walk down and into the cave but it is well worth the effort.    There is a mysterious quality to caves. While the water drips and every small sound echoes in the vast cavern, your eyes settle on the gigantic icicles of mineral deposits drooping down to the ground.   Caves are fascinating in that it makes one wonder why the earth’s crust doesn’t fall into these enormous holes under the very ground we … More…

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Explore The Elements: EARTH, FIRE, WATER and AIR

  Explore the Elements is a Photo Contest from Thomas Cook that has invited writers and photographers to showcase the images they’ve captured on their travels. The challenge is to submit photos that capture the essence of each of the elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. I have accepted that challenge. Although it is not a voting contest, please let me know if you think my images are worthy of consideration by the judges. The judges will choose the best photos in each category. The top prize is a 5000 pounds travel fund! We could really use that to bring you stories of our … More…

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The Magical Cenotes of the Yucatan – You Have To See Them All, But Especially These Two…

  There are 6000 cenotes in the Yucatan – six thousand. OK, so maybe you can’t see them all, but here are a few of the most mystical and enchanting of them all.   What the heck is a cenote, you say? Cenotes are natural swimming holes, a sinkhole resulting from rainfall slowly eating away at the limestone bedrock of the Yucatan peninsula and a huge network of underground caves was formed. The caves fill with water or from the deep underground water table. When the roof of a water filled cave falls in, a cenote is formed. Cenote water … More…

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Off-The-Beaten-Path Beaches In The Yucatan, Mexico

  It was exciting to see the sublime azure ocean come into view as you drive in to Progreso on the North coast of the Yucatan. We were here is 2008 and it was just a small fishing village with a beautiful miles-long sandy beach and clear aquamarine water. As we drove up to the beach back then, it was still an untouched beach for miles in each direction with only a few restaurants facing the sea. But now Progreso was a big town, all grown-up, with paved front street, and a boardwalk; 37, 000 people and growing. The little fishing … More…

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Wildest Train Ride Ever!

  The train to the SKY… SKY… SKY…   Dennis, at www.guanguiltagua.com, who organized our car and driver for Ecuador, tried to tell us that we should come back to Quito through the mountains. I tried to tell him that I don’t really like mountains, nor windy roads that make me motion sick. Plus, we had read that the Andes are so high that people get altitude sickness. The altitude is extremely high, in the 10,000 ft range. Just what I need – altitude sickness and motion sickness.   No thanks I said. Once, twice, maybe half a dozen times, I politely said “No!”   … More…

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About Us

Exotic places

  Join us in exploring the world! Each year we travel further and further off the beaten path to little known places.   Cure for Boredom: Curiosity Cure for Curiosity: Travel   As a writer, counsellor, teacher, immigration officer, corrections worker, probation officer, parole officer, teacher of deaf adults, teacher of the criminally insane, counsellor to new immigrants, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend, I have a non-stop curiosity about people and places in every part of the world.   What about you? Are you curious about other places in the world? Do you long to travel to that one exotic place … More…

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