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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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The Yellow City

  What a shock when we drove into the yellow city! Who knew such a thing existed? We were just driving along, taking the less-travelled and non-toll road from Telchac to Cancun for our flight home, when we came upon the yellow city.    At first, we thought it was only a few streets.   But then everywhere we drove in the city… it was yellow, yellow, yellow. It reminded us of the song, Mellow Yellow.   “Oh”, I exclaimed, “This must be the yellow city we read about!” We had crossed it off the list of ‘Must See’s’ when we … 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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Should Have Stayed In Mexico

    Thursday, February 26:   A few days ago, February 22, in Mexico, the cat sitter emailed us that the pipes are frozen in the house, and that there is no water, so no bathrooms either. Car is also unlikely to start and is buried in a mountain of snow. They have had record-breaking cold temperatures between 20 and 40 below in the last few weeks. Colder than the Canadian Prairies! It seldom goes lower than –10 in Southern Ontario. Coldest winter in 30 years.   We got home about 11 pm last night, checked the pipes, no water anywhere in … More…

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A Mosquito In Your Wine… Is Better Than A Bee In Your Beer

  While I screamed and hollered and swore at my computer with the new hard drive that would not load emails from the external drive back-up, T went merrily off to the Merida Zoo. He has been into long walks lately, so he walked. It was a long walk on a hot day.   At the zoo, he was pleasantly surprised to see that the animals were well taken care of and had plenty of room to move around. Only the wild cats – tigers, lions, and panthers were pacing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and … More…

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Sumptuous Mayan Chocolate

  The real highlight of our day to the Uxmal Ruins was discovering the Chocolate Museum just opposite the Ruins. The place was absolutely fascinating.   What incredible insights to the Mayan culture! Who knew that they used chocolate beans as currency at one point in time? You could buy a rabbit for 10 cocoa beans, while a slave in good health would cost 100 cocoa beans.   The trade routes in Central America…   The museum was in the thick jungle and among the cocoa bean plants were little palapas (thatched roof huts) joined by a walking path. Inside … More…

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Mosquitoes, Markets & The Art Of The Yucatan Sale

  This is our modest rental home in Merida, Mexico.   Our huge Roman Bath on the rooftop deck. You could fit 15 people into it.     The house has everything we really need, accept for the uninvited guests – mosquitoes! The little buggers get in everywhere and they are so tiny you can barely see them. (There is no need to seal doors and windows in tropical countries to keep out the cold.) You don’t feel the sting of these mosquitoes until some time later when you start scratching and look down to see a big red welt. … More…

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Locked Out Of Our House in Merida

Here we are in sunny Merida, Mexico, skin soaking up the luscious moisture and the warmth of the sun like a sponge. It’s easier to breathe here. Such a dramatic contrast to the cold dry air of winter in Canada; it’s almost a shock to the system. It was a long line-up through Customs and Immigration in Cancun this time, and we had some hassles with the rental car, as usual, but after an hour got it all sorted out, and headed down the highway from Cancun to Valladolid. We know better that to drive at night here, but it was … More…

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2014 Year In Review For Travel To Little Known Places

  We are so pleased to announce that we now have over 11,000 subscribers. A big thank you to our top commenters: Marnee, Wendy, Alison, Joanne and Tami.   Click on the link below to see a map of what countries visited our site – there are so many all around the world. http://jetpack.me/annual-report/50477331/2014/   We continue to work on the book, and had no idea how much work it really is to write a book. It is on its way.   Thank you so much for following our jaunts around the world and stay tuned for our a first … More…

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The Cure For Boredom Is Curiosity

  We’re off another adventure! I’m a little nervous though and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just excitement, or the stress of wondering if I have covered all the bases. Staying in another country for four months is not quite the same as a one week or one month vacation where you move around all the time, but it will be so wonderful to be in a warm country during our frigid winter.   The house is booked – nothing extravagant, just a little two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in colonial Merida, on the Mayan side of Mexico. This is the side … More…

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Argentina: Coffee, Croissants And Cads

  D and I decided to rent a car and explore the beaches South of Buenos Aires. Stopping at beaches along the way, we stayed overnight in a few places, but it was late afternoon when we got into San Clemente and saw the beautiful beaches.   We definitely wanted to stay for a few days, and started looking for a hotel. For three hours we drove from hotel to hotel to hotel, on and off the beach, and all hotels were absolutely full. We were actually exhausted from jumping in and out of the car running in to ask … More…

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Uruguay: Private Chauffeur, Body Guard, Chef & Surf Instructor

  We were lucky to have a friend who had a friend in Montevideo, Uruguay, and he was enthusiastic about meeting us.   Montevideo, Uruguay, is just across the water from Buenos Aires, Argentina, so with a 3 hour Buquebus ferry ride across the very wide Rio de la Plata, which opens into the Atlantic Ocean, we arrived. We met a lively woman from England on the ferry who helped us call our friend in Montevideo.   We took a taxi to his house and there we met his wife and son. They were a sweet and kind elderly couple … More…

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Argentina: How To Kayak Without Getting Wet

  Had we gone canoeing here on our own, we would surely have been lost for days.   The Parana Delta in Argentina is a maze of tiny waterways through a wetlands jungle forest. It is one of the largest deltas in the world covering over 8000 square feet. The Parana Delta is only smaller than the Amazon river system.   The Parana Delta is also called the El Tigre Delta because El Tigre is a town between the delta and Buenos Aires. Tigers used to roam the area, hence the name. The dark orange part in the photo below … More…

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Paraguay: Pride of the Guarani

  We left Iguazu Falls on a high of blustering waterfalls surrounding us in a circle of thundering water, but we forgot to tell you about our excursion to Paraguay.   We booked a catamaran boat excursion down the Iguazu and Parana Rivers into Paraguay.   The Iguazu and Parana Rivers cross each other at the three-country border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.   The catamaran wasn’t a sailboat: it was a motorized pontoon boat, but we needed it for shallow areas of the river.   Along the way we were going to see an original Guarani Indian site in … More…

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We’ve Seen Beautiful Waterfalls, But Not Anything Like This One…

  Sitting in the Buenos Aires airport, we were lazily waiting for an announcement to board, when someone said we had to find a shuttle out to the plane. What? Scrambling to figure out what and where, we finally found the right shuttle boarding at the very last moment to Puerto Iguazu, far up into the NE tip of Argentina.   We had purchased a flight package from Buquebus Turisimo that included 4 nights hotel with air from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. Buquebus is an Argentine-Uruguayan company that operates ferry services from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay, and also offers … More…

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Places We Regret Going

  We’ve travelled to over 30 countries, and each one had something special, unforgettable and memorable.   But upon careful review, do we have any travel regrets? Have we travelled to any places that we wish we had not gone to?    There are a few that stand out above others as the best with no regrets whatsoever, like Tonga, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venice, but then there was also China, and Ireland… oh, and Croatia, and Scotland… and France and Mexico and Hungary… there are so many incredible memories, and so many fantastic places!    So… ummm… let me … More…

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Gyor, Hungary

  I was so excited to return to my favourite small town in Hungary: Gyor.   Near the border of Slovakia and only an hour and a half to continue to Vienna, it’s a pleasant two hour drive from Budapest to Gyor…   Gyor (pronounced “Dyur”) is packed with charm, and has a quiet community atmosphere with the storybook river Raba running through it…   E and I had spent a lot of time here several years ago when she lived in Gyor. She had a pretty little apartment just off downtown.   Since I was there in winter, I … More…

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The Taxi Ride Of Our Lives!

In Budapest, we took a Danube Riverboat Cruise down the river to a little town called Szentendre.   We enjoyed great views of the bridges and Parliament Buildings as we cruised slowly down the Danube…   Jaws dropped though when we saw a bus floating in the river…  Oh My God.   A few minutes later we realized that it was a bus boat! Hilarious.   After a nice cruise down the river, Szentendre came into view…   Szentendre was a charming little town…   But what really was unique was the Marzipan Museum. Yes, marzipan, the almond paste that can be … More…

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The Garden of Happiness

  One day I was out shopping at the mall in downtown Budapest at West End City Centre Mall…   It’s a huge five-level mall!   Not without its charms…   A bit disgruntled that I could not find a single thing I particularly wanted to buy, I was equally tired of walking and walking back and forth on five endless levels with no palpable results. Perhaps I should have been happy to save my money, but I was looking for things I thought I needed (you know how that is).   Finally, peeved, I stepped outside a back entrance … More…

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Heal Thyself in a Roman Turkish Bath House

  It seems that Hungary sits over a steaming inferno of water…   Hungary has a reputation for having the best Roman Turkish bath houses in Europe.   People from all over Europe, as well as from other parts of the world, visit their famous medicinal hot springs.   Thermal baths are literally spread all over the country. There are over 140 registered thermal baths in Hungary and over 1300 thermal springs.   The city of Budapest holds the title of having the most thermal and medicinal springs than any other city in the world.   The Roman Turkish bath houses are … More…

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