Page 3 of Pensiongapper Travel Blog Posts

North America » Canada » Ontario » Thunder Bay May 18th 2019

Saturday 18th May 2019 It is now two weeks since we left home so we are a quarter of the way through our trip. In some ways the time has flown, conversely, it seems ages since we left home! It has been two weeks of varied and rich experience, some quite unexpected (like discovering there were bears around where we were camping): “Travelling is about finding things that you never knew you were looking for” Anon When we got to Red Rock yesterday, we slept in a beautiful heritage building, the Red Rock Inn, jacuzzi bath and all; we enclose some photos of the Inn here in this blog, just to prove that we don’t always slum it and are not entirely crazy souls! Only now and again! The journey from White River to ... read more
Still thick snow about, even at the waterfalls
Aguasabon with Lake Superior in the background
Rainbow River

North America » Canada » Ontario May 16th 2019

From Sault Sainte Marie to Wawa, where we stayed last night, proved to be one of the finest scenic drives we have ever experienced. The Lake Superior Provincial Park covers 1,600 square kilometres of evergreen forests, rivers, lakes, craggy escarpments, roaring waterfalls and tumbling rapids and above all, the little coves and panoramic vistas of the brilliant blue “Shining Big Sea Water”. Lake Superior lives up to its name! We took our time, stopping frequently to explore and take photos, so only got as far as Wawa, which is, as the Lonely Planet describes it, a town “in the middle of nowhere”! The places visited on the journey included the Chippewa Falls, which is the half way point on the Trans Canada Highway, from coast to coast, as well as Little Rabbit ... read more
Lake Superior
Chippewa Falls
Chippewa River

North America » Canada » Ontario » Sault Ste Marie May 15th 2019

Yesterday was pretty special. We went to visit the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation at M’Chigeeng near Lake Mindemoya on Manitoulin. Artists work there, reviving traditional work like moccasin-making, beadwork and fine jewellery and painting on skins, wood and stone. Beautiful craftwork. They run free sessions for school children there too. These classes are so important following on from years of suppressed cultural identity. Manitoulin children were sent away to Catholic residential schools from the 19thCentury right up until 1958. At these schools, where they spent ten months of the year without seeing family, brothers and sisters were segregated from the age of five, beaten if they were caught speaking the Ojibwe language and also frequently abused. The idea was to obliterate Ojibwe culture and the Catholic Church failed to apologise formally until 1996! Many First Nation peop ... read more
Our B and B by the lake
The Silver Birch wood
Pathway up to the first escarpment

North America » Canada » Ontario May 12th 2019

When I was at Thameside Primary School in Caversham in Berkshire, I directed the children’s performance of “The Song of Hiawatha”, so I know a lot of the poem by heart and ever since arriving on Manitoulin Island, the words have been reverberating in my head. Longfellow, who wrote the poem in 1855, was writing about Lake Superior (which we haven’t got to yet): “By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the Shining Big Sea Water” However, the Great Spirit of the Ojibwe people (Hiawatha’s people) lives on Manitoulin on Lake Huron. Manitoulin is named after the Great Spirit, Gitche Manitou, and his people, the Ojibwe First Nation are most important on this island. Before major construction or development, which is strictly controlled, the chiefs hold a pow-wow and ... read more
The tip of "The Bruce"
View of our motel from the Chi Cheemaun ferry
John waiting to see if they close the bow doors!

Tobermory! Not the womble who is second-in-command to Great Uncle Bulgaria, nor the pretty Scottish town in Oban, but Tobermory in Ontario, Canada; on the tip of the Bruce Peninsular, just 257 kilometres from Toronto but light years away, 4 degrees, “real feel” 1 degree according to Google! We decided to take the lesser-known route to get to the Trans-Canada Highway where we are heading, by coming up “The Bruce”, then taking a ferry across to Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron, which we shall do tomorrow. We are unusual visitors here; most are fishermen and hunters and also it is still winter! We collected our Nissan rental car from Toronto airport yesterday and five hours later, having stopped for lunch en route, we arrived at t... read more
Looking out to Georgian Bay from Tubs Harbour
Little Tub, Tobermory
Little Tub

North America » Canada » Ontario » Niagara Falls May 8th 2019

What a difference a day makes to the weather! Today was cold but dry, clear, sunny with a bright blue sky. Just perfect for our trip to Niagara! The Falls are about 150 kilometres from Toronto and the bus journey takes about two hours. When we got to Niagara, John and I just looked at each other in dismay: “they have ruined it” we said. The main street down to the Falls Parkway is much more depressing than the Lonely Planet indicated; at eye level one is greeted by amusement arcades, funfair rides, cheap gambling joints, some sleazy-looking accommodation and the all-important photo opportunity with a life-sized plaster statue of Jack Sparrow! Johnny Dep, not your fault but what the hell has “Pirates of the Caribbean” got to do with Niagara? Look ... read more
By the Canadian Falls
Power and Beauty!
Down on Table Rock before passing under the Falls

North America » Canada » Ontario » Toronto May 7th 2019

Our flight from Lisbon to Toronto yesterday was happily uneventful: no delays, no hassle, no turbulence! The flights take a northerly trajectory across the Arctic Circle, hence the relatively short flying time of seven and a half hours. Since Toronto is five hours behind Portugal (six hours behind Spain) we landed just an hour and a half after departure from Lisbon. I watched two good films to pass the time, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Bornand then enjoyed watching the sun setting as we flew down towards Toronto on a SW heading, from our seats on the right-hand side of the plane. High above Lake Ontario, we were spellbound by the beauty of vibrant slashes of orange, gold and red, set against an almost translucent blue heaven, whilst below us lie ... read more
Decided against a trip out to Toronto Islands on this lovely old vessel; it was still only 6 degrees mid-morning!!!
Down by the harbour on a misty Tuesday morning. CN tower in the background.
Saint Lawrence Market

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 6th 2019

Sunday strolling around a beautiful city. What could be more splendid! However, there was a fair amount of climbing steps as well as strolling for us yesterday. Lisbon is a hilly city; it is built on seven hills, just like Rome only packed into a smaller area so the hills are much steeper! There are street lifts and funiculars as well as trams and even Thai-style Tuk-Tuks to get one up and down. However, the Sunday queues are lengthy so we took the old worn Medieval steps and cobbled streets, trodden by millions over centuries. The views were stunning at every twist and turn. Our Sunday started with a trip down the cobbled streets to one of the many bakery/restaurants to eat a breakfast of the famous Lisbon custard tarts with coffee. Rather expensive, two small ... read more
Placa Comercial down by the river
John and the LIberty Gate (freedom from Spain)
Placa Comercial

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 4th 2019

Well, today was a most auspicious start to our travels; a most encouraging day that proceeded without a hitch! We walked Mutley and Megan up to their holiday home (Nick and Mam’s house), then returned home to shut our place up for a couple of months before Nick collected us and drove us to Alicante airport. Our TAP flight (Portuguese Airlines) from Alicante to Lisbon was on a turboprop plane! Now you don’t fly on those many times any more in Europe! It was a 70-seater, similar to one we flew on in Borneo last year from Miri to the Mulu National Park. We loved it! It was like old-fashioned flying, just two wide seats each side of the aisle, tons of leg room, a most generous luggage allowance, free drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and ... read more
City centre location
Our hotel on the left

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Alicante April 27th 2019

Saturday 27th April 2019 Preparing for a road trip is completely different to preparations for backpacking. We keep forgetting that we shall not have to carry rucksacks, so the clothing allowance can be a little less frugal! However, since we are taking some camping gear with us, space will not be over-generous in our wheelie holdalls, just a little more ample than in a rucksack. Weight will not be a problem: the little tent weighs just 2.2 kilo. So, the packing list is complete, we have shopped for most of the things we need (medical, toiletries and so on) and John is playing with his new Canon camera! Another difference is that we have not had to visit the International Diseases Unit at the Vega Baja hospital in Orihuela as for past big trips. Unlike when ... read more

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