Page 3 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts


North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver May 21st 2017

Geo: 49.2605, -123.114On June 17 travelpod will cease to operate so we will not be sending blogs in the same way. We will put all future blogs into PDF format and circulate them to anyone who wants to receive them. If you would like to be on the circulation list please let us know.Sue & Jim From Montreal we flew to Vancouver, overnighting in Richmond near the airport so that we could take the ferry the next day from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, followed by the bus to Victoria, the Capital of British Columbia. It worked perfectly as Jim was still suffering with a painful back but once in Victoria he managed to get out for a walk in the mornings. Then in the afternoon I was able to visit the Museum of ... read more
Butchart Gardens
Parliament at Night.
Eastern Pacific Seal - ready for lunch!

North America » Canada » Quebec » MontrĂ©al May 15th 2017

Geo: 45.5075, -73.558710th - 14 May 2017 Montreal and Quebec After returning to the UK in early April we carried out the usual tasks, habitation check and engine servicing for Astrid, dentists, opticians etc for us as well as visiting friends in various places. The first weekend home the weather was amazing, reaching 20 plus then it changed for the worst and we had a very cold 5 weeks. We had accumulated warm clothes for our upcoming Canada/Alaska trip but found we needed to wear them all the time and in fact we had difficulty taking them off to wash ready for the trip. It was that cold. Astrid is cosy and warm at night but during the day it was bitterly cold so we were reluctant to do much walking. Travelling in Astrid allowed us ... read more
Essex Bluebells
Another view of Chateau overlooking town
Stunning beauty of Notre Dame

Europe » Spain » Canary Islands March 31st 2017

Geo: 28.8634, -13.8273Farewell to Lanzarote for the third and final (?) time.Our 3 months in Lanzarote has flown by and on Sunday 2nd April we return to the UK to stay with Anna for a couple of days before collecting Astrid from store. Each time we return it is like coming home despite the change of people on the complex. The furnishings in the house are the same, just a tad more rusty than previously, the umbrellas in need of repair or replacement and the complex needs a touch of tlc but having said that it is in one of the best positions in Playa Blanca with views to the Papagayo beaches one way and an easy walk into the small town the other way. Given the increased demand for accommodation here it is also good ... read more
Huge wave coming into the lava
Diving allows an all round perspective.
Ghostly figures marching through the fish.

Europe » Spain » Canary Islands January 25th 2017

Geo: 28.8634, -13.8273My last blog was posted in summer 2016 before leaving for Queensland. I did promise the next blog would be from there however I was too lazy. I spent the whole time enjoying myself and behaving as if I were on holiday. The guilt for abandoning responsibilty in this way has finally become too heavy to carry so I am forced to write a quick update to ease my conscience. Queensland was wonderful, weather perfect almost all of the time (a couple of showers, a few gusts of wind and the rest of the 3 months around the 30 degrees mark and sunny), plenty of reason to eat and drink well with our visitors and superb scenery and wildlife. We stayed at Mango Lagoon in Palm Cove which suited us well with 2 bedrooms ... read more
Surfing lessons on Famara beach
La Graciosa harbour just visible.
Sunrise!

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido » Tomakomai July 27th 2016

Geo: 42.387, 141.01816 - 25 July 2016 From Tokyo to Kyoto, Himeji, Naoshima in the Inland Sea and Hokkaido.Gilli departed early on the 16th and we left Anna & James in Tokyo to enjoy their last couple of days alone and then set off back to Kyoto. The reason for this is that Kyoto has an annual festival, the Gion Matsuri Festival which lasts the whole of July in Gion but with the highlight, a procession, on the 17th.We doubted whether we could get there in time as initially we were only able to book accommodation in Gion on Airbnb for 4 nights from the 17th but the procession starts at 9am and we would not be able to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto early enough. All the accommodation, understandably, was fully booked for the 16th ... read more
Many people dressed traditionally.
Love the lanterns.
Moving the traffic lights out of way.

MISSING July 24th 2016

Geo: 35.67, 139.77Japan 6- 16 July 2016 - With the family - Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakone I really don't know where to begin. Japan seems familiar at first sight as it is a sophisticated 'western' style country with large conurbations and cities but don't be mislead - it is totally different. We arrived at Narita Airport, Tokyo, with Anna and James and met up with Gilli at the hotel as she had arrived three days earlier. Rather than start with a list of sights seen I will first give general impressions in the hope of conveying something of the buzzing atmosphere of the crowded, densely populated cities of Japan, which never seem to end as they sprawl right along the southern coastal strip of the main island, Honshu.The first impact on arrival is overwhelming, as if ... read more
Old & New
Senso-ji Shrine
Path through Arashiyama

Europe » United Kingdom » England May 14th 2016

Geo: 50.2662, -3.6542England 23rd March - 28th AprilThis is just a short update for anyone wondering where we are and what we are up to.We returned to the UK at least a month too early - it has been very cold and wet since we arrived! There has been frost on numerous nights and the first couple of weeks were uncomfortable to say the least. I had decided not to blog during the summer but as we are both finding our memories weakening I decided it might be a good idea to make a few notes so we know where we have been. Astrid was in very good condition when we collected her but when we started her up, although the vehicle battery was fine and started first time, the auxiliary or leisure battery did not ... read more
Centre of Dartmouth
Built in 1635
Interesting life of John Davis

Central America Caribbean » Belize March 17th 2016

Geo: 17.8651, -88.017Mexico & Belize 27th February - 21st March 2016We were happy to fly out of Cuba but we had not realised just how depressing it had been there until we drove away from the airport in Cancun and experienced the joy of seeing decorative flowers and bushes planted along the roads, the cleanliness and the care that had been taken to make the area look pretty, and the SHOPS! Jim had booked us into the Ibis Hotel in Cancun which is basic but welcoming, clean and comfortable. To us at that moment it seemed like 5 star luxury. Even better, next door is a huge supermarket. Jim kept thinking up excuses to go and visit, it was such a novelty after Cuba. We relaxed, caught up with emails and planned our onward journey. It ... read more
Coatimundi in Shipstern Reserve
Roseate Spoonbill
Mennonite girl, face forward but eyes followed us!

Central America Caribbean » Cuba February 28th 2016

Geo: 23.1168, -82.3886Cuba 30 January to 27 February 2016Apologies for the length of this blog - it was impossible to post anything in Cuba.Before starting I think it might be useful to say a few words about the recent history of Cuba. I remembered the names of these things but had not really understood what they were about as like some of you I was very young when, for example, the Bay of Pigs Fiasco occurred, and many of you were not born. Most of this is from the Lonely Planet so any inaccuracies are theirs! If you are not interested in history skip to the end of the bold text.The Fight for IndependenceCuba suffered many years of attacks by Privateers from European countries and was eventually colonised by the Spanish. They fought for independence from ... read more
Some cars are superbly maintained and for tourists
National hotel, scene of Mafia 'convention'.
Jose Marti Monument

South America » Colombia January 29th 2016

Geo: 4.33008, -74.1475Barichara to Bogota via Desierto de la Tatacoa, San Agustin and Tierradentro 10 - 30 January 2016We left the cosy haven of Serenity Suites in Bucaramanga reluctantly and headed to Barichara, a 6 hour journey in 2 buses, but quite easy. We arrived and checked into El Zaguan, a spacious hotel built in traditional style of wooden beams around an internal courtyard. The room was huge with a large functional bathroom, something of novelty we have discovered on our travels. We started to unpack at which point Jim said, " You did take the jackets out of the wardrobe in Bucaramanga?". Oops! Short answer, "No!". What made it worse was when I packed I had said to Jim that there seemed to be plenty of space in the bag. Anyway we thought about what ... read more
Serenity Suites, originally a private home
Beautiful Barichara
Whiling away the hot afternoon




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