Roger Sutherland

Whirl Traveller

Roger Sutherland

My name is Roger and I am originally from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia but now live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My wife Jeanette and I have travelled to all the continents with the exception of Antartica but nevertheless have many other countries and areas still to experience in the future.

I did my first blog when we visited Europe for the second time in 2012, entitled Europe Potpourri. Had I known that I would have enjoyed blogging as much as I do, I would have started doing it earlier and included our first trip to Europe and Morocco and most certainly Australia, New Zealand and China. I believe that since then I may have improved my blogging a little and I hope that you enjoy what I share with you this time around.

Jeanette and I love to travel and usually before one vacation is well underway, we are busy making broad plans for the next, God willing.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

By the way, I welcome comments.

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 18th 2015

The drive south from Brussels is on the smoothest of highways as we turn off at exit 18 and continue south on a secondary highway with less traffic for company. It is the beginning of a long weekend as the National Holiday looms near in a few days. Leaving the frenzy of preparation in Brussels itself, little cars dragging campers or trailers with tents and other paraphernalia, hug the inside lanes and speed towards any number of pleasant sites of relaxation somewhere in Belgium. Rolling hills present green pastures of corn and other crops like barley, the golden hue of ripened wheat fields interspersed between them. Farm houses, their privacy shrouded by tall elms, while small clusters of dense forest spread out over the landscape as far as the eye can see. Soon the large thick ... read more
River Meuse, southern Belgium
War memorial in Dinant.
Castle near Dinant.

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 4th 2015

Landing back in Brussels for our third visit was somewhat like a home-coming. Len was waiting for us at the airport and as we made our way to her home, familiar sites appeared as we neared - Place Flagey and the shop from which we regularly got our fresh baguette, both easy walking distance away. Place Flagge hosts a Farmers Market every weekend, even during their winter and we were looking forward to the fresh fruit, cheeses, olives etc. etc. and especially the boudin noire. But this blog is not about Belgium at all, but about an event - The Carlos Santana Concert to which Len graciously got tickets for the three of us. We had attended a fantastic concert of his at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, the very year that he won 8 Grammies. ... read more
Waiting for the start.
The two "sisters".
Crowd waits.

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 29th 2015

The splendour of Budapest at night - I will let the pictures speak for themselves. ... read more
Starting the cruise minutes before the sun set.

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 29th 2015

Five days in this masterpiece of a capital, Budapest, was a stroke of genius choice by Jeanette. While we have considered visiting many cities in Europe via a river cruise, we are exceedingly pleased that we opted to spend time in a city such as this. Very walkable, historic, hospitable and cosmopolitan, I would find it less rewarding to visit with just a stop on a cruise line using the packages offered on board. As with any visit on a crises line anywhere, it is a good appetizer for the main course at a later date. By the way, I make no apologies for the prominence of the Parliament building in my photographs because it was simply captivating in design and appeal. Morning haze and dark rain clouds somewhat obscured tho view of Pest from the ... read more
Inside the building where we stayed.
Enjoying wine on the internal  veranda overlooking the courtyard.

Europe » Hungary » Western Transdanubia » Heviz June 23rd 2015

After an excellent train ride from Bratislava enjoying the scenery and finally winning two Quiddler card games off Jeanette, we arrived in the famed city of Budapest which we would only use as a transit point to pick up our rental car and head south to Heviz. We would return in about a week to stay for a while. So, more on Budapest later. Before I say anything about Heviz I need to single out someone whom we met and who deserves a whole paragraph of this blog entry. This person I speak about is the tram driver that drove us from the main train station to downtown. All the Hungarian people that I have met in Calgary, although on a casual basis only, have been warm. This driver was simply doing his job yet he ... read more
Stopped for a break from Budapest to Heviz.
Entering Heviz.

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels June 23rd 2015

Few of our family or friends thought that we were really serious about attempting to travel Europe for nearly two months with only knapsacks. Well, they weren't alone. I first really worked hard to convince Jeanette that it was workable. She then decided on a trial run of the idea during an unplanned trip to Florida the month before leaving for Europe and readily agreed after that! I have to give her full marks for being such a trooper. The experiment worked superbly - off the aircraft, through Immigration/Customs and out the door every time. No more waiting at carousels. As far as the train is concerned it was a piece of cake as well - quickly on board and such ease in storing the knapsacks on the overhead shelf while we watched some others sometimes ... read more
Passenger on train
Why these monsters?

Europe » Slovakia » Bratislava Region » Bratislava June 20th 2015

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, was not on our original itinerary but, as usual, Jeanette came up with the idea of a short visit at the expense of one day out of our planned week in Heviz, Hungary. From the moment we walked up to our hotel and were greeted by the the young man at reception , Tebor, we felt a little special. No detail of comfort was spared in our room. Spacious and immaculately clean, everything we needed was present, down even to a shoehorn. Looking out from our window we could see the street outside lined with neat looking private homes and flowered gardens. Just near the reception area was the in-house restaurant but we were not interested since we usually roam around to find a restaurant in some other area, just for ... read more
I think I am winning at quiddler.
Hotel entrance.

Europe » Austria » Vienna June 19th 2015

Visiting Vienna is an immersion into elegance, refinement and the classical, especially if you enjoy the great music. Many of you who have visited will understand. We left our apartment and descended down the long escalator to the metro U1 that would take us to the centre of the city. Modern, clean and fast, we sped along, anxious to get our first glimpse of the heart of this legendary classical capital. After two flights of escalators we emerged and there, standing before us and the first structure we noticed - the imposing steeple of St. Stephen's Cathedral. Wow! What a welcome! It was simply spectacular! And that was just the outside. Upon entering, we were greeted by what I would consider to be one of the most fabulously designed churches we have ever seen. And we ... read more
Inside St. Stephen's.
St. Stephen's.
The upper altar at St. Stephen's.

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 16th 2015

This city of Prague (Praha) seems to rival others in terms of the immense expanse of glorious ancient beauty in architecture, influenced by countless dynasties, rivalries, war and change. Fortunately it is all there before us to see, feel and enjoy. The old city and the area surrounding the great castle across the river just ooze with history. Just walking the Charles Bridge over the Vltava River (built by King Charles iv, starting 1357) after leaving the castle, says it all, baroque-style statue after statue (replicas now), depicting important parts of the city history. I found it very difficult to absorb it all and settled for simply enjoying the ambience of this magnificent city which was so intertwined with religious conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and her Protestant challengers centuries ago. Now the Church's influence ... read more
Another marble sculpture.
Dominating this junction.
On the street where we stayed.

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Dresden June 15th 2015

Of course, with so many unexpected predicaments in our European rail track record, leaving Berlin for Dresden, we made absolutely sure AGAIN, that we were at the station early enough to avoid any mishaps. Folks, I should look more closely at my train tickets but more on that in a while. There were so many people on the platform and lots of scurrying to find seats. Someone in the cabin nearest to us saw that we were looking for a seat and beckoned us to sit in two apparently vacant seats. And so we obliged hoping that neither was reserved. As luck would have it, nobody showed up to claim them and we were on our merry way to Dresden. There must have been a reason that we picked those particular seats since we just happened ... read more
Dresden Cathedral.

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