I am a part time travel agent, retired teacher who loves to travel. Just driving by an aiport exit ramp or seeing some fantastic scenery gets me thinking about where I want to go or what I want to do next. A trip to a nearby provincial park or halfway across the world on a luxury cruise is a good reason to pack my bags.

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 19th 2019

Thursday, Oct 17 Up early for a trip to Salamanca, Spain. We are at the farthest part of the Portugal section of the Douro River so it was a 2 hour drive through interesting winding hills, the rain plains and quaint villages to Salamanca. Only need to have picture ID, no passport required. Realized that somewhere I lost my little braided cork bracelet – now on the lookout for another. We had a tour of the University library (13th century – amazing collection). Students dressed like Hogwarts. Apparently JK Rowling spent time here so probably got the cape and uniform ideas from here. On our free time we went to an Art Deco Museum (no pics allowed). As we walked in, we were stunned by the stained glass ceiling. There were wonderful sculptures in bronze and ... read more
Using schist rock for walkways
on the way to Salamanca (from the bus)
leaving Favaios

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Covas do Douro October 15th 2019

Friday, Oct 11 Well, we were all out front with our baggage waiting for our driver at 9:30 am. At 9:48 still waiting and then sent a text to our driver making sure it was a 9:30 meeting time. At 10:00 when there was no response I sent another text. Very unlike him not to answer immediately. 10:15 the group is still waiting so I had reception in the hotel call the travel company to see what was going on. They said they would call back as soon as they found out. Getting concerned for the driver who has still not responded. 10:38 still waiting so decided to try emailing the agent myself who had booked our group and tried phoning the van rental company but their help line didn't work. Actually got an email response ... read more
view while I tried to write the blog
cool plastic bottle recycling container - fish shape
overlooking Lisbon

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos October 10th 2019

Wednesday Oct 9 Everybody decided to go for a walk to the lighthouse after the beautiful breakfast buffet. After a nice hot 15 minute walk we reached the top edge of the cliffs. When picture taking time started guess who whipped out his camera and started shooting. The lost camera had been in the van in a forgotten bag. Whew! I sketched and everyone wandered off to explore the cliff tops. After finally getting back to the hotel and meeting up near the pool we found out no one had chosen to go down the many, many steps to the beach since it meant coming up the hundred plus steps in the heat. Seems Portugal doesn't heat outdoor pools but since it is the end of the summer season it is only the bravest (or craziest ... read more
Best Chicken

Europe » Portugal » Central October 9th 2019

Sunday, Oct 6 Left Lisbon and took the coast road heading to Setubal. We had lunch at a roadside diner that served a famous pork sandwich. My iced tea was way more than the beer and wine that were only 1 Euro each. Good food and good gelato. We also stopped at a famous "Best Mediterranean Tree" for 3 years running. Don't laugh, there is a committee that goes around finding the best tree. It was pretty cool. By late afternoon we arrived at our hotel which looked great from the outside and the inside. All cool tones, light wood and white walls and billed as minimalist. I didn't appreciate this much or our guide's long talk about where, when how to meet etc as I really had to get to the room and use the ... read more
working the wheel at the pottery factory
did a sketch here at the cloister
the shopping street

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa October 5th 2019

It all started off - all 8 of us at the airport on time with no delays and luggage to go all the way through to Lisbon. Flight to Montreal fine but some hazy thing was trying to come through my brain. As we began descent into Montreal I remembered it was a rather tight timeline to get to the next flight. Only an hour. But I had been assured by Air Canada that this would not be a problem. As we rolled on the tarmac a little late there was a small delay getting to the arrival gate and when I looked out the window to see why things were taking so long there were no buildings in sight. This was a parking spot and we had to get on buses to get to the ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London November 1st 2018

Monday, Oct 29th - the calm Up at 8 to dress and clean the apartment. Not bad team work – Pam, the owner, actually turned up just as we were finishing so I didn’t get to check how Ross did with the toilet room. All subway and train connections worked fine so I thought we’d have a lucky day. But on the train, I again had a seat travelling backwards (top speed was 331 km/hr). Kept my head down most of the time. Arrived in St. Pancras station London around 2:30. Used the phone to find our studio rental. Basement unit but all we needed – clean, well equipped, teeny tiny bathroom and a wee double bed. I did opt for the cheapest unit so no complaints. Only opened the suitcases as there was no need ... read more
The Fork
standing right next to this made me cry
this is probably my expression after the fall

Europe » France » Île-de-France October 28th 2018

Saturday and Sunday, Oct 27&28 Ross wanted to check out the Paris Chinatown before we headed to Haussmann Blvd for serious shopping. Before we even got there I spotted Maisons du Monde. Oh I wish I could furnish an apartment from this shop. So many cool things. I think the shipping costs put most things out of range. On to Chinatown and through a mall - very similar to areas in Richmond. After a good look around we caught the Metro to Galeries Lafayette. So many people. Such high prices. I couldn't believe the line-ups at Longchamps and Gucci purse counters. Security all around. Outside the store the street was lined with huge limo buses dispensing foreign shoppers. They must have a much better budget than me. We took photos from the roof top but didn't ... read more
Christmas at Galeries Lafayette
from the rooftop
all lined up for purses

Europe » France » Île-de-France October 26th 2018

Friday, October 26 Boy these 9:30 mornings are becoming a real habit. Out on the streets by 11 and off to the Metro. A day of walking and planned shopping! But actually spent the least on goods today but oh my I could have if I had another suitcase. We went to Les Halles and followed the phone. First stop was trying to get Ross to do a set pose by the big head and hand sculpture because we had one of me from a trip a few years back. Well Ross is Mr. Polite and a slow mover so we started out as the only people there and by the time he got to the head another group had moved in and then 3 more and they all took 5 or more different poses. I ... read more
quick sketch - they were done before I was
Ministry of Culture building
Do NOT have coffee here

Europe » France » Île-de-France October 25th 2018

Thursday, October 25 Just looked up Thursday markets this morning and Marche Bastille came up. So off we went around 11. It certainly is the largest food and odds and ends market we've been to in Paris. Took a long time to check everything out. Lost Ross a few times. Bought some fruit and nuts and a lot of "almost buys'. Next up was Place des Vosges which we've never seen and we got a couple of pastries to eat in the park. Sketched a fountain and a bit of the apartments there that are from the 17th century. Apparently Mozart gave one of his first recitals here. Now to just walk and follow the crowds. I managed to follow the ones who had shopping bags with good labels on them figuring we'd end up somewhere ... read more
and I went to Russia last month for one of these
The Bastille monument
just window shopping

Europe October 24th 2018

Wednesday, Oct 24 Darn - slept until 9:30 again! Karaoke again last night. At least I finished my book. A little faster getting ready this morning and out by 10:30 to check out our local street food market. Surprise I forgot the Wed market is only partly food and the rest is clothing, leather goods, dry goods, etc. Took longer than expected to see everything. Next off to the Eiffel Tower. We got off the Metro early and walked through some gorgeous streets and came at the tower from the east - no stairs this time though. Good pics as we neared it but what a shock when we were there. Major security. The whole square under the tower, which used to be wide open, is now surrounded in high clear protective shielding. You pay to ... read more
Maybe a few million would get you a closet?
interesting walking streets
there she is

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