Been Touring

beentouring

Been Touring

Join me on tours and holidays I have taken in Canada and around the world. My notes were written while travelling and only lightly edited to maintain fresh impressions.



North America » Canada » British Columbia » Field February 14th 2020

My camera tells me how stark is the lighting at Emerald Lake. No matter how brightly the sun and sky glare, the encircling peaks guard against the colour palette. Black rocks and dark trees challenge the depth of brilliant crystals. Dark shadows created by wind drifts entice the eye with shapes and swirls. High clouds chase blue streaks away from the expanse of ice blanketed by snow, barely marked by skiers, snowshoers and walkers. People relish feeling tiny in the midst of the high mountains, the wide lake and the endless sky.... read more
Horizontal wonder
Mirrored view
 Snow blobs

North America » Canada » Alberta » Lake Louise February 7th 2020

Absolutely clear light made the mountains shine with snow and glaciers. Along the Bow River near Lake Louise village, strong shadows sculpted wind-blown ridges. Bright sun polished curves and dips in the landscape. Tiny rifts of open water highlighted winter's cold blanket.... read more
Bow River
View from Lake Louise Village
Bow River

North America » Canada » Manitoba » Churchill November 2nd 2019

Watching the mama bear and her cubs was so entrancing that even our driver/guide forgot about lunch. When no bears were any longer in sight, he drove to a place known to him. He and the naturalist served vegetable soup, our pre-ordered sandwich and a cookie with tea, coffee or water. His stern injunction was that we must each be seated before we could be served, and no one was to help. This kindergarten-level rule was to prevent undue spillage in the vehicle, which could harmfully attract bears. During the afternoon we saw individual bears minding their own business. One was stretched out on his belly in a bed of rocks. As uncomfortable as that sounds to us, the rocks do hold some heat from the thin sun and from the animal itself. Quite often he ... read more
Snowball or Ptarmigan?
Huge paws!
Footsteps

North America » Canada » Manitoba » Churchill November 2nd 2019

At last the day had come to fulfill my dream of seeing the polar bears in url=https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Churchill,+MB/@58.749511,-94.1860019,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x526fd949c8f9f537:0xd10c44d8423762dd!8m2!3d58.7684112!4d-94.164964?hl=enChurchill, Manitoba! Visiting Churchill as a tourist can be done anytime, but the polar bears are there only in the early winter and early spring. Our charter to Churchill, Manitoba left at 6:30, a little late. The shuttle from the Holiday Express was kept busy with myself and others who hadn't wanted to drive in the very early morning. The Canadian North 737 was full of excited anticipation. As we ate breakfast, a naturalist talked about the polar bears and their plight caused by climate change. Seeing the bears is never guaranteed. In November they are waiting for the ice on Hudson's Bay form and thicken enough to let them walk... read more
Mama and cubs
Deceptive cuddly look
Resembling boulders

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country September 20th 2019

The damp days of this summer gently nurtured the wild flowers in the the mountains. Bold colours peeked from mossy woodlands. Multifarious mushrooms soaked up the rich juices of the earth. A few small animals ventured near to us to have their photos taken. On August 2 we chugged up the wide path to a serene Elbow Lake encircled by dark green trees and richer green fields. Beyond the lake the path towards Rae Glacier wandered through bushes bursting with new leaves and long blades of grass that framed the tiny blooms on every side. August 16 brought us onto the damp forest path to Black Prince Lake, a lake that has virtually disappeared since the floods of 2013. Most of the morning we rejoiced at the wide varieties of mushrooms just at the sides of ... read more
Mushrooms
Serene Elbow Lake
Twisted tree

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country July 12th 2019

Oh! The wild flowers! First we had to struggle along a steep ascent through the woods. After about 45 minutes, the path opened onto the Highland Meadows. Expanses of white, yellow and purple wildflowers carpeted the newly emerged grasses. My eyes swept from the tiny blooms to the towering peaks. Yellow Glacier Lillies grew in a profusion that promised good eating for the bears in a few weeks. Elaine was expert at sighting minuscule blossoms such as the purple Moss Phlox and the red Rose Root. Our walk was slowed to a crawl as we searched for little plants to exclaim about and to photograph. We paused for lunch at the base of the mountains all around the meadows. Now our imaginations soared as we marvelled at the rock so obviously ripped out of the earth ... read more
Wildflowers along a melt-water stream
A field of Glacier Lillies
Highwood Meadows

North America » Canada » Alberta » Lake Louise June 21st 2019

In the pouring rain we got on the Skrastins Club bus destined for Lake Louise. I was so shaken by the snowfall warning that I had provisional gear in case we were diverted because of bad trail conditions. Unexpectedly, the sky lightened after about half an hour, and encouraging spots of blue sky emerged after about an hour. Fresh snow twinkled from mountain tops, but nothing was on the ground. Rain ceased. While all the other hikers trod off on their paths, Candace and I had planned a lazy start to a slow day of relaxation. The coffee at the deli in the Chateau Lake Louise was mellow and rich, especially accompanied by a shared scone fill of finely chopped walnuts. Unnecessarily fortified, we joined the hundreds of international tourist... read more
Nature's sculpture
Moss fluttering in the light breeze
Victoria Glacier

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik April 3rd 2019

Our full day tour of Dubrovnik was fascinating. For two hours, Jakica led us through the old city centre, combining facts with stories and personal memories. Most of the buildings that survived conquest, war and earthquakes are from about the sixth century, the fourteenth century, and the eighteenth century, plus twenty-first century new builds. Many of the historic buildings were damaged, some severely, in the early battles of the war with Serbia and Montenegro 1991-1994. Almost everything has been restored, which makes the buildings look fresh and well-maintained. Jakica pointed out that the whiter limestone blocks are newer, because they come from a different quarry than the traditional blocks, and that the redder clay roof tiles are new, in contrast to the yellower old ones. Two rival theories explain the origins of Dubro... read more
Onofrio's fountain 1440
Franciscan Monastery 17 century
 Walls built into the coastal rock

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Mlini April 2nd 2019

After more than ten hours of sleep, it was the alarm clock that woke me. I had set it to get up in time for breakfast, and to adapt to the nine hours of change. Breakfast was buffet style in the restaurant. I chose muesli, apple juice, deep-orange fried egg, an unknown sausage, bacon and light rye bread. Although the bacon was terribly salty and apple juice was made from a concentrate in a machine, I enjoyed the meal. The manager came by part-way through, greeting all the patrons with bonhomie and urging us to come to the sea-side restaurant for lunch. He told me that the season was just starting – they had only a hundred rooms occupied today, but by tomorrow that would be up to four hundred! Indeed, on my walk, most shops ... read more
St Rocco 15 -19 century
 Great deli at Konzum
Idyllic!

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik April 1st 2019

Flying to Frankfurt was uneventful, luckily aided by the empty seat between me and the other virtually silent fellow in the aisle seat. I think I really slept for about an hour, during a short night of trying to persuade my brain to be still. The long walk and short tram ride from the arrival terminal to the next departure terminal was a relief to my constrained muscles. Immigration was no trouble, but security was exceedingly tight. The full body scan highlighted my money pouch under my clothes, even without any metals. In a slightly private half-booth, an official gave me a pat-down, and unsatisfied she took me to a fully private booth to examine the pouch. She thought it “very good”, but “very dangerous”! She went on to pat all over and specifically examine the ... read more
Coast of Slovenia
Croatia
Hotel Astarea




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