Page 3 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Alaska » Juneau June 30th 2017

Click on pictures to enlarge Juneau 23 June - 2 July On the June 23rd we arrived in Juneau, our last stop in Alaska. When I planned the trip we had hoped to take a long ferry journey out along the Aleutian Islands but for various logistical reasons it proved impossible to fit in. So eventually I admitted defeat with that plan and decided we could come to Juneau for 9 nights and go out on more local ferries if we wished. However I hoped I had not made a mistake and that we would find enough to do here. I needn't have worried as we have loved being here despite it having certain challenges, the first one being our accommodation. By the time we booked there were only expensive hotels left and the amazingly cheap ... read more
Forest trail near Mendenhall Glacier, very mossy
The sea was very still, we were lucky.
First blue ice, our twin boat is hidden behind it which is why you can see 2 people.

North America » United States » Alaska » Valdez June 23rd 2017

Denali 11 June to Anchorage 23 June 2017 I was so keen to post the last blog (knowing we would only have wifi that night and not again until we reached Valdez) that I think I should have explained a little more about Denali National Park & Preserve. As you might guess from the name it prohibits hunting and any contact between humans and animals. So there is no feeding of animals or any attempt to interfere with the balance of life in the area. There is a scientific research centre which monitors and studies the flora and fauna but in theory does not intervene. The Park was established under a different name in 1917 so has it's centenary celebration this year. We could have had some birthday cake but we went walking when it was ... read more
Santa lives in North Pole, a village near Fairbanks.
Inside our RV, spacious and solid.
The shower room.

North America » United States » Alaska June 12th 2017

Kenai Peninsula to Denali 31 May - 11 June Bears, more bears and Snowshoe Hares. The day after Pauline and Colin left for Seward we picked up a car and headed for Clam Gulch on the west coast of Kenai. Kenai means low land which seemed strange when we were in Seward but made much more sense when we crossed to the west which is flat, although more mountains are visible on the mainland further out to the west. We stayed two nights in a lovely B & B called The Moose Is Inn. Yes, that is not a mistake, it is The Moose is Inn! The original house is on one side and joined to it is now a spacious house with four bedrooms complete with en suites upstairs and a modern, beautifullly equipped kitchen, ... read more
Clam Gulch Beach
Our first moose sighting - considered as dangerous as bear
Russian church

North America » United States » Alaska » Seward June 4th 2017

Vancouver to Seward 21-31 May 2017 We boarded the Holland America ship Noordam by lunch on Sunday 21st with some trepidation as Jim and I were unsure we would enjoy the cruise 'experience'. However we were soon settled into our 'stateroom', cabin in other words. It was spacious with a queen size bed, small sofa, table, desk, TV, double wardrobes, ensuite with bath, and best of all, a private balcony with a table and two chairs complete with footstools. Getting to grips with the complexities of 10 decks, four entertainment venues, (in fact I think there are 5 but I did not see the last one until we were disembarking) numerous bars and quiet areas including a library, two pools, three hot tubs, a fitness centre and spa, medical centre, casino, shops, two main restaurants and ... read more
We can never get confused!
Ketchikan - this was the red light district.
It is still a colourful area.

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.

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

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