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Spain - April 01 to April 16, 2024

Finished!  Our Spain 2024 Travel Blog now includes
  • our memories,
  • financials, and
  • links to our lodgings

For these, along with details of each day and photos please go to Spain 2024 tab.

April 16, 2024 - Toledo to Madrid to Toronto to Halifax

And so another trip reaches its end.  After breakfast we had a driver take us door to door to the airport in Madrid where we flew to Toronto and then on to Halifax, all flights being on time.  While it is fantastic to travel it is also nice to return home.  For photos and more please go to the spain-2024.php

April 15, 2024 - Toledo

Another day spent wandering the streets of Toledo.  Rather than eating out we decided to get some take-out and set up on the terrace to enjoy our food and wine with the sunset.  Good decision as it was a nice way to spend our last night.  

April 14, 2024 - Toledo

Today was spent wandering around Toledo, a beautiful albeit mountainous city.  Hills everywhere resulting in a very difficult walk for those / us with bad knees (Norm) and potentially bursitis (Gayle).  We struggled but made it through most of the Jewish Quarte and then out for dinner.  Churches, museums and other historical buildings around nearly every corner. 

April 13, 2024 - Hotel Rural Las Tejuelas, Extramadura to Entre Dos Aguas, Toledo

We left Las Tejuelas after breakfast for a two plus hour drive to Toledo where we met an Avis agent who drove us into the historic centre of the city and our hotel, the home of Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia.  We ate a 10 course dinner at the hotel's restaurant - a very interesting dining experience.  

April 12, 2024 - Hotel Rural Las Tejuelas, Extramadura

We enjoyed an absolutely wonderful breadkfast with the best orange juice of the trip.  We then relaxed through early afternoon when we went out for a drive, more or less three hours north and the west through the mountains (not real mountains but more than rolling countryside).  We returned, relaxed some more and then enjoyed another nice dinner at Las Tejuelas.  

April 11, 2024 - Cordoba to Extramadura (Hotel Rural Las Tejuelas)

We left Cordoba today for a relatively lengthy but beautiful driver north-west into the province of Extramadura.  The wildflowers were in full bloom with stunning fields of many colours.  Rolling hills, olive trees and wildflowers made for a very scenic and enjoyable drive.  We easily found Hotel Rural Las Tejuelas, our 'home' for the next two nights where we enjoyed a nice dinner. 

April 10, 2024 - Cordoba

A somewhat busy (for us) day with a visit to the Mezquita-Catedral - very interesting and a flamenco performance with dinner, which actually turned out to be much better than expected.  

April 09, 2024 - Cordoba

A relaxing first day in Cordoba.  After a very nice breakfast at our hotel we went out to wander around the city, including the primary destination - the nearby Mezquita-Catedral.  We didn't go in (tomorrow) but enjoyed the space outside.  We returned to our hotel though a maze of small streets.  Again we enjoyed a wonderful dinner through the recommendation of the hotel.  

April 08, 2024 - El Amparo to Hotel Madinat, Cordoba

Today is the reason we are here in Spain - the 70th anniversary of the day of my birth.  We started with another nice breakfast, this one outside in the warmth of the morning sun.  After packing up and saying our good-byes we drove the 180 km to Cordoba.  The drive took somewhat longer than planned due to the numerous wildflower photo stops.  After checking in to our hotel we went to a nearby restaurante for a meal where Norm could get paella.  Both the meal and the ambiance / service of the restaurant were excellent, a great way to end the day.  

April 07, 2024 - El Amparo

The air was still feeling the impacts of the calima which kept us in most of the day.  In the afternoon we went into Alhama de Granada where we wandered around the town seeing a number of interesting historic sites.  El Amparo does not serve dinners on Sunday meaning we went out to a highly rated restaraunte that we found to be mediocre at best. 

April 06, 2024 - El Amparo

Quite the wind storm last night - a Calima bringing sand particles from the north of Africa.  Breakfast was served at the very civil hour of 10:00 am.  Not as huge a breakfast as some but excellent quality.  We relaxed at El Amparo until late afternoon when we went for a drive just to go for a drive, ending up in Alhama de Granada.  Dinner tonight was pizza, after an excellent salad and a tasty limoncello 'tiramisu' for dessert.  

April 05, 2024 - Cortijo del Marques

Moving day.  After our final breakfast we packed up and left Cortijo del Marques for the one hour drive south-west to El Amparo.  We did stop along the way at the Avis office at the Grenada airport to deal with a car rental issue.  We found El Amparo quite easily, had a nap and then down to dinner, served outdoors given the beautiful warm evening.  

April 04, 2024 - Cortijo del Marques

Another day primarily spent at the Cortijo although we did go for a drive late afternoon for a couple of hours.  Upon returning we again spent time on the terrace before enjoying another very nice dinner.  

April 03, 2024 - Cortijo del Marques

We spent a relaxing, leisurely day at the cortijo.  After a wonderful breakfast of all the standards (the fresh orange juice was tart and tasty) - eggs, meat, cheese, fruit, delicious bread, cakes, coffee etc. we soaked in the sun on the terrace as the temperature warmed and took lots of photos of the property.  We enjoyed a spectacular dinner at the Cortijo's restaurant. 

April 01 / 02, 2024 - Halifax to Toronto to Madrid to Granada to Cortijo del Marques

Lots of flights and lots of airport lounges.  First Halifax to Toronto followed by an overnight flight to Madrid.  Then after a few hours in a very nice lounge in Madrid we took a short (40 minute) flight to Granada were we picked up our rental vehicle and drove half an hour to Cortijo del Marques, a place we have stayed a few times before.

               Costa Rica - February 06, 2024 - March 01, 2024

Finished!  Our Costa Rica 2024 Travel Blog now includes
  • our memories,
  • financials, and
  • links to our lodgings

For these, along with details of each day and photos please go to Costa Rica 2024 tab.

March 01, 2024 - Escondida Guacima, Guacima to Montreal to Halifax
Due to our flight being delayed we were not rushed to leave, allowing for a final breakfast.  Flights were on time getting us back to Halifax a bit after midnight - another long travel day but well worth it for the great three plus weeks we enjoyed in Costa Rica.  

February 29, 2024 - Escondida Guacima, Guacima
Today was spent relaxing at Escondida Guacima, first enjoying breakfast while being mesmerized by the many birds enjoying the papaya put out for them.  Some of the afternoon was spent in the pool after which we again had another simple dinner.  We leisurely packed and readied ourselves for returning home tomorrow. 

February 28, 2024 - Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo to Escondida Guacima, Guacima
Moving day.  After an early morning swim in the Pacific, followed by breakfast, and perfectly visible sloths (momma and child) we finished packing and sadly left Jardin de Los Monos.  The drive to Guacima, a suburb of San Jose is more or less three hours after which we returned to Escondida Guacima where we stayed the first night.  

February 27, 2024 - Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo
Really very much ditto.  More blogging, more swimming, more photos of sloths and butterflies, another gorgeous sunset and again dinner at the Supper Club. 

February 26, 2024 - Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo
Pretty much ditto.  Blog, swim, take photos of sloths and butterflies, watch the sunset and have dinner at the Supper Club.  

February 25, 2024 - Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo
See February 24, 2024 - pretty much identical other than we went to the beach for sunset and with the Supper Club closed we had dinner at a different restaurant.  

February 24, 2024 - Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo
Today is what we expect most days will be like her at Jardin de Los Monos - sloth like.  We really don't have anywhere to go / see and where it is hot it is best to be on our large shaded outdoor area, with a nice pool at our doorstep.  For dinner we went to The Matapalo Supper Club where we were warmly greeted and enjoyed another fabulous meal.

February 23, 2024 - Encanta La Vida, Cabo Matapalo to Jardin de Los Monos, Matapalo
We left Encanta La Vida but not before visiting the nearby escuela (elementary school) to provide the children with beanie babies.  A somewhat lengthy drive north to the other Matapalo south of Quepos we arrived a little after 4:30 pm, returning to Jardin de Los Monos where we have stayed three times before.  

February 22, 2024 - Encanta La Vida, Cabo Matapalo

Today will be one of the most memorable of our travels.  The visit of the howlers.  Mid to late afternoon they came by and spent well over an hour in the trees directly above our cabina.  The were loud and fun to watch - simply a great show.  

February 21, 2024 - Encanta La Vida, Cabo Matapalo

Our second day here at Encanta La Vida was pretty much the same as the first (see February 20, 2024) although we did see more spider monkeys.  

February 20, 2024 - Encanta La Vida, Cabo Matapalo

Our first full day here at Encanta La Vida.  We woke up early to the howling howlers, clearly closer by than at other places we have stayed.  They to the lodge for breakfast, back to the Cabina, off for a swim followed by lunch, then repeat in the afternoon ending with dinner.  

February 19, 2024 - Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce to Encanta La Vida, Cabo Matapalo

Moving day.  After lunch we said our goodbyes to Reymar, Yanja, Richy, CeCe, Yolenny, Tammy and Sarah and were boated across the Golfo where we picked up our rental vehicle and drove the short in distance but lengthy in time rough dirt road to Cabo Matapalo and Encanta la Vida where we will be staying the next four nights.

February 18, 2024 - Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce

Our last full day here at Dolphin Quest - more eating; more swimming; more bird watching; more photos.  After dinner we went on the Bioluminescent tour along with two other guests.  

February 17, 2024 - Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce

Today we did the dolphin tour / quest -  3 1/2 hours during which we saw dolphins (of course), pelicans, sea birds and a really cool sea snake.  Upon returning the scarlet macaws were in the trees by the shore providing an opportunity to enjoy their antics.  After lunch the rest of the day was spent relaxing ... and eating,  

February 16, 2024 - Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce

A repeat of yesterday.  We were supposed to go on a dolphin 'quest' today but with Reymar occupied it got deferred until tomorrow.  So essentially another day of eating and not doing much else.  We again ate a lot, again endured the eat, again had a swim (two for Gayle).  

February 15, 2024 - Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce

Being our first day here at Dolphin Quest we did what we love to do on the first day of places where we are multiple nights - do nothing.  We ate, endured the heat, had a swim, ate some more, napped in the heat of the afternoon and then ate again.  

February 14, 2024 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical to Dolphin Quest, Golfo Dulce

Moving day.  Sadly we said goodbye to Pacific Edge and headed south to the Osa, about a three hour drive.  We found our parking place in Puerto Jimenez no problem, and were met by the Dolphin Quest 'water taxi' and crew for the half hour trip across the Golfo during which we were fortunate to see a few dolphins.  Dolphin Quest is our 'off the grid' - solar power 'home' for the next five days. 

February 13, 2024 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical

Yet another relaxing day during which we did not leave the property until going our for dinner.   Another tasty breakfast, more chatting with Sid and Michaelynn, more time in the pool, taking more photos around Pacific Edge and somehow the day just past us by.  

February 12, 2024 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical

After one of Sid's classic breakfasts we went to Uvita to the medical clinic for Gayle to have her ear checked.  It was blocked, cleared and now all good.  Most of the afternoon was spent chatting with Sid after which we enjoyed an excellent Italian dinner at Gusto.  

February 11, 2024 - Uvita - Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge to Dominical - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge

After another early morning that included a nice sunrise, howler monkey howls, the sounds of birds, Gayle noticing six Tucans in a nearby tree and a filling breakfast we checked out to head 10 km up the road to Pacific Edge Eco Lodge where we stayed last year.  A relaxing afternoon followed by a lovely dinner at Scala - a very nice restaurant we ate at last year. 

February 10, 2024 - Uvita - Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge

After a downpour last night we awoke to another beautiful sunny day again spent relaxing here at Tiki Villas.  We thought of going our for a drive but there isn't really anything we haven't seen so decided to stay put enjoying the pool and the lodge, listening to the birds and insects.  

February 09, 2024 - Uvita - Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge; dinner at Exotica in Ojochal

Again we spent most of the day here at Tiki Villas, celebrating both Gayle's birthday and the arrival of our first grandchild.  We returned to a favourite restaurant in Ojochal for the 4th time where we enjoyed yet another wonderful dinner.  

February 08, 2024 - Uvita - Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge

After two days of travel today was a do nothing veg out day - wake up to the birds and howler monkeys, start this travel blog, enjoy breakfast, soak in the sun with time at the pool.  We considered going out for pizza but in the end decided to again eat here at Tiki Villas.  

February 07, 2024 - San Jose, Costa Rica - Guacima Escondida to Uvita - Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge

After a good sleep we awoke to a warm sunny morning.  After coffees on our balcony we enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of Gallo Pinto, made our way to the car rental company and were then our way for the lengthy (nearly four hours direct - it took us a bit over five) drive south to Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge.

February 06, 2024 - Halifax to Toronto to San Jose, Costa Rica to Guacima Escondida

Although there was some anxious times due to the significant snow storm to hit Nova Scotia over the weekend the airport was back on schedule by Tuesday.  We got out, leisurely made our connection in Toronto and arrived early in San Jose.  We took a taxi to our B&B where we immediately crashed.

Greece - The Ionian Islands:  Aug 28, 2023 to Oct 02, 2023

Finished!  Our Greece 2023 Travel Blog now includes
  • our memories,
  • financials, 
  • links to our lodgings, and
  • our favourite islands

For these along with details of each day and photos please go to Greece 2023 tab.

October 02, 2023 - Corfu Town => Athens => Montreal => Halifax

We were out early for a 9:00 am flight to Athens from where we connected to our Air Canada flight to Montreal and then on to Halifax.

October 01, 2023 - The Merchant's House, Old Perithia to Corfu Town

We left The Merchant's House and Old Perithia this morning, driving the hour and a half to Corfu Town where we spent the afternoon strolling through the alleys of this interesting Venetian town.  We then enjoyed a nice final dinner at a restaurant near to our hotel.  

September 30, 2023 - The Merchant's House, Old Perithia, Sidari Beach

Our last full day in Old Perithia, most of it was spent in the village with an afternoon journey to Sidari beach a half hour away.  

September 29, 2023 - The Merchant's House, Old Perithia, Syki Bay Beach and the White House

A similar day to yesterday although today we took a bit of a drive down the east coast, had lunch rather than dinner and stopped at Syki Bay Beach for our daily swim. 

September 28, 2023 - The Merchant's House, Old Perithia, Agios Spyridon Beach

Another relaxing day, both at The Merchant's House and then in the afternoon at Agios Spyridon Beach.  Dinner again at the third of the tavernas in the village.
September 27, 2023 - The Merchant's House, Old Perithia

As has become our practice the first full day after arriving we pretty much stay put.  Here in the small village in the mountains that means literally going nowhere.  And that's ok.  

September 26, 2023 - Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki to The Merchant's House, Corfu via Astakos and Igoumenitsa

A long travel day starting with a ferry from Ithaki to Astakos via Kefalonia, a 2 1/2 hour drive to Igoumenitsa where we returned the vehicle before taking another ferry to Corfu.  From there we picked up another rental car for the 1 1/2 hour (that turned out to be more) drive to Old Perithea and our destination of the Merchant's House.  

September 25, 2023 - Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki - Minimata Beach

Last full day on Ithaki.  After another morning at the villa a short side trip to Perachora, a swim at Minimata beach followed by another drive around the north side of the island - just because it is a great drive. 

September 24, 2023 - Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki - Skinari Beach

Another carbon copy of the past couple of days, with again the beach changed.  Today, after our relaxing morning / early afternoon, again with no Wifi we headed to the north of Ithaki, having a swim at Skinari beach and then a light meal in the port of Frikes.  

September 23, 2023 - Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki - Mprosta Aetos Beach

Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday with only the beach (Mprosta Aetos today) and restaurant (back to Kohili) changing.

September 22, 2023 - Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki - Filiatro Beach

After a light do-it-yourself breakfast and a swim in the afternoon we went to the beautiful Filiatro Beach for an afternoon swim after which we had a light dinner of tzatziki and pizza on the waterfront.  

September 21, 2023 - Kefalonia - Olivemare, Katelios to Eumaeus Villas, Ithaki

Moving day with an afternoon ferry from Sami, Kefalonia to Ithaki where we settled into Villa Anna at Eumaeus Villas, a unit with stunning views and a private pool for the next five nights. 

September 20, 2023 - Kefalonia - Olivemare, Katelios with a drive along the south-east coast of Kefalonia

Another relaxing early part of the day with an afternoon drive to Skala and then north with a stop at Liminea beach.  Afterwards a drive through the interior to Eleni's Olive Garden where we had a bit to eat before returning to Olivemare.

September 19, 2023 - Kefalonia - Olivemare, Katelios with a trip to a nearby beach

Another relaxing day where we didn't venture too far although we did spend time on a nice nearby sandy beach with amazingly warm water. 

September 18, 2023 - Kefalonia - Olivemare, Katelios

A do nothing day - leisurely breakfast, relax, use the pool, work on Travel Blog, nap, dinner in town. 

September 17, 2023 - Kefalonia - North Point Rooms 1953 to Olivemare, Katelios

Moving day from the very north of Kefalonia to the very south, with a short stop for a swim along the way.  Our 'home' for the next four nights - Olivemare in the village of Katelios looks like it will be a nice place to hang our hats.  

September 16, 2023 - Kefalonia - North Point Rooms 1953 - Myrtos Beach

Today we drove south along some dramatic coastline, past the island of Assos to Myrtos Beach, one of the most beautiful and photographed beaches in Greece, and we now know why.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing at North Point Rooms 1953, with dinner at a nearby traditional taverna.  

September 15, 2023 - Kefalonia - North Point Rooms 1953 - into Fiskardo

We stayed close to home today with a visit to nearby Fiskardo followed by a swim at Paralia Emplisis, nice but pebbly, as are most beaches here in the Ionian Islands, beach between Fiskardo and North Point Rooms 1953.  We enjoyed a great dinner at a coastal seafood restaurant.  

September 14, 2023 - Lefkada - Thealos Villages to Kefalonia - North Point 1953

Moving day.  We left Thealos Villages driving 45 minutes or so to Vasiliki in the south of the island where we caught a 1 hour 15 minute ferry to Fiskardo.  From there it was a short 10 minute drive to North Point 1953 Rooms where we will be staying the next three nights.  

September 13, 2023 - Lefkada - Thealos Villages - to the beaches in the south-east

Today was another beach day - this time two beaches in the south-east of Lefkada.  Afterwards we went to Syvota for dinner, a nice table on the harbour front.  For more please go to Greece 2023.

September 12, 2023 - Lefkada - Thealos Villages - a drive across the island

Today we decided to venture further away, driving across the mountains inland with a stop in Englouvi, famous for their lentils where we enjoyed some at a taverna in the town square.  It was then down the west side to Kavelikefta, a beautiful beach.  We enjoyed a great sunset on our drive back to Thealos.  

September 11, 2023 - Lefkada - Thealos Villages

Another pretty relaxed and quiet day although today we did get out for a swim at nearby Nikiana beach. 

September 10, 2023 - Lefkada - Thealos Villages

Having an extra day on Lefkata today was a down day, and by down we mean we did nothing beyond a swim in one of the pools at Thealos and dinner in the evening.  But hey that is what vacation should be at times.

September 09, 2023 - Paxos => Lefkada - Thealos Villages

Moving day.  After a very nice stay in Paxos (we would certainly come back) we're off to Lefkada via a ferry to Igoumenita where we picked up our car for the hour plus drive south to Lefkada where we easily found our next 'home' being Thealos Villages. 

September 08, 2023 - Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki - boat tour

Today's adventure was a boat tour to first to the west side of Paxos with its caves, at places deep blue and at other bright turquoise waters.  Then on to Antipaxos for a stop at one of the sandy beaches with a taverna where we enjoyed lunch.  Returning to Paxos we again returned to Lilas for our last meal. 

September 07, 2023 - Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki

The weather was supposed to be better today, and it was until it wasn't.  We went to a beach on the southern end of Paxos, parked, walked to the beach and then minutes later it started to rain.  Never did get in the water.  We returned to Lilas' for dinner and were fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to some very authentic Greek music.  

September 06, 2023 - Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki

Another dreary day but still much better than those in Skiros, Volos and the Pelion who are suffering considerably more.  It was nice enough to again have a filling breakfast on the terrace and get our for our first sea swim here in Paxos.  We then did go out to dinner but had to wait due to the limited number of tables due to the rain.  But in the end we had dinner in nearby Patamos before returning to Zakspitaki.  

September 05, 2023 - Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki

Unfortunately the weather forecasters got it right again - more rain, which kept us in for most of the day.  We did head town to Lakka later in the afternoon, wandered around and then had an early dinner before returning to Zakspitaki.  

September 04, 2023 - Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki

What's this - rain in Greece?  Today was overcast, cloudy with light drizzle most of the day.  As a result we stayed put for the majority, being able to sneak in breakfast in the morning and then dinner at night.  Otherwise not much happening.  Of course we stopped to listen.  

September 03, 2023 - Corfu => Paxos - B&B Zakspitaki

Moving day.  We left Pelecas Country Club, driving to Lefkemmi in the south of Corfu where we returned our vehicle and took the ferry to Paxos.  Upon arriving in Paxos we picked up our next vehicle and followed Helen to B&B Zakspitaki.  After checking in we drove to Loggos, and nearby (every place in Paxos is nearby) seaside village.  We decided to eat closer to 'home' in Potamos.  After dinner we came upon some traditional Greek music in the other village restaurant.  Of course we stopped to listen.  

September 02, 2023 - our last day spent entirely (except for dinner) at Pelecas Country Club

We considered going out but had not destination calling for us so we spent the day lounging around the pool and enjoying the property.  For dinner we returned to Stavros Taverna in part due to the music we had been told would be playing, which turned out to be the case.  

September 01, 2023 - a drive to the south of Corfu along the west coast, returning on the east coast

Although we didn't get out as early as we wanted we did drive down to the south of Corfu, along some very narrow 'road's on the mountainous west coast, stopping at a 1,500 year old olive tree.  The waves were too significant for swimming but the scenery was very worthwhile.  We returned along the resort filled east coast.  

August 31, 2023 - Pelecas Country Club, Corfu

Hard to believe we again spent most of the day here at Pelecas, but we did.  After all we are on vacation.  We did get out to one of the nearby beaches for a bit of time early evening before returning to Pelekas Village for dinner.  

August 30, 2023 - Pelecas Country Club, Corfu

A catch up on our sleep and relax around the pool day.  This rural Country Club is very relaxing, providing lots of reasons to stay put.  We did manage to leave early evening for dinner but otherwise enjoyed a quiet, down day.  

August 28 and 29, 2023 - Halifax => Montreal => Athens => Corfu => Pelecas Country Club

We're off to Greece - again!  Flights were more or less on time and baggage arrived so all was good.  We picked up our vehicle and found our way to Pelecas Country Club where we will be staying the next five nights.  

                          Spain:  May 21,2023 - June 06, 2023

For day by day details, photos, memories, financials and links to each of the places we stayed, please go to Spain 2023 tab. 

June 06, 2023 - Mas Xipres, Sant Pere Sacarrera to Barcelona to Toronto to Halifax

We had a quick (early) breakfast and we were on the road.  An hour and a half or so and we arrived at Barcelona's airport where our flight left as scheduled.  We seamlessly made our connection in Toronto, arriving in Halifax again on schedule.  We have now finished the travel blog with costs and our Memories.  For more please go to Spain 2023.

June 05, 2023 - Mas Xipres, Sant Pere Sacarrera

A nice breakfast to start the day enjoyed outside due to the sun and warmer temperatures.  During the afternoon we took a drive through the nearby countryside and vineyards - this is Cava country.  We returned to finally drink our bottle of Cava after which we had dinner with Hendrik and Hetty and their son.  Then packing so we could leave early for the airport tomorrow morning.

June 04, 2023 - Bodegas Arnes, Graus to Mas Xipres, Sant Pere Sacarrera

We left Bodegas Arnes this morning, making a brief stop in Graus to wander the Plaza Mayor.  We then continued pretty much directly to Sant Pere Sacarrera where we found our final stop Mas Xipres, where we treated to a very special dinner of paella.

June 03, 2023 - Bodegas Arnes, Graus with a visit to a Buddhist community

After breakfast we went to the Dag Shang Kaygu Buddhist temple in nearby Panilla.  Afterwards we took a drive through the nearby countryside during which we stopped at a Roman bridge and then along a rural 'road' to the village of Roda.  We then returned to Bodegas Arnes where we enjoyed another nice dinner.

June 02, 2023 - Casa de San Martin, San Martin de la Solana to Bodegas Arnes, Graus

Last morning at Casa de San Martin.  We enjoyed breakfast during which David explained the 'funeral pole'.  Then slowly packed, said our good-byes, took the short stroll to the > 1,000 year old Holly Oak tree, and off to Ainsa where we visited the Pirineos Bird Center.  We then drove straight to Graus and Bodegas Arnes, our next stop.

June 01, 2023 - Casa de San Martin, San Martin de la Solana with a drive into and walkabout Ainsa

Most of today was spent at Casa de San Martin.  Although the weather was iffy we did go into Ainsa with the goal of visiting the Bird Museum.  However .we arrived a bit too late - the museum closes at 2:00 pm and we didn't want to wait around until it opened at 3:00 pm so after a stroll through the old part of town we returned to San Martin.  We enjoyed another tasty meal along as well as a continuation of our chat with Silvie and Alfred, the Germans we had met the previous nights.  

May 31, 2023 - Casa de San Martin, San Martin de la Solana with a drive in the neighbouring mountains

Today we took a drive clockwise to Fiscal, then north to Sarvise, through the mountains east to Escalona,  then south to Ainsa, back through Boltana and returned to Casa de San Martin.  We chilled out on our balcony the rest of the afternoon, although again the weather turned not so great later in the day.  We had another very nice dinner that included chats with the other guests.  

May 30, 2023 - Casa de San Martin, San Martin de la Solana
Total kms driven today => 0.0.  We ate breakfast and then just hung around Casa de San Martin, working on our travel / e blogs, relaxing on our balcony enjoying the view, napping, and then having dinner.  A very sloth like day.  

May 29, 2023 - Hotel Selba D'Ansils, Benasque to Casa de San Martin, San Martin de la Solana
We enjoyed our morning at Selba D'Ansils before leaving for our next stop.  With a road closure we had a choice - a bit of a back track or 25 kms on a dirt road over the mountains.  We chose the latter on what turned out to be a spectacularly scenic drive.  We arrived at Casa de San Martin, where we have stayed twice before, late afternoon.  After reconnecting with David we enjoyed another interesting and unique dinner.  

May 28, 2023 - Hotel Selba D'Ansils, Benasque
With the weather forecasted to be nice this morning we drove the 14 km further up the valley, stopping frequently for wildflowers, waterfalls and views of the snow-capped mountains.  Upon returning to Benasque it started to rain, and continued to do so all afternoon, keeping us in our room.  We had a wonderful dinner at Hotel D'Ansils.  

May 27, 2023 - Hotel Selba D'Ansils, Benasque with a late lunch at Casa Javier
Another nice breakfast followed by some relaxing time in our very nice room.  Mid afternoon we decided to drive the half an hour to a restaurant we discovered in 2011 and then ate in again in 2018.  Kind of a Pyrenees tradition.  We enjoyed another wonderful meal.  We returned via a narrow mountain road where we came upon lots of wild flowers and a small herd of cows controlled by a cowherd and two dogs.  

May 26, 2023 - Casa Rural les Flors, Grammos to Selba D'Ansils, Benasque
After breakfast we spent some time wandering through the beautiful outdoor space and gardens of Casa Rural les Flors before hitting the road for a four hour drive north-west to Benasque and our next stop the Hotel Selba D'Ansils.  Although long for the most part it was an easy and scenic drive through mountain valleys.  For dinner we had a fondue at the hotel.  

May 25, 2023 - La Vella Farga, Lladurs to Casa Rural les Flors, Grammos
After a nice 'buffet' breakfast and a chat with Adrianna we left La Vella Farga.  Unfortunately we encountered some heavy rain causing us to skip a visit to Sant Llorenc de Morunys.  We drove through a very pretty mountain route and then north to Adrall where we turned west to Casa Rural les Flors, our stop for the night.  

May 24, 2023 - La Vella Farga, Lladurs with a visit to Solsona
We interrupted another do nothing day with a trip to nearby Solsona where we wandered around the old historical area of the town.  Many interesting buildings, cobbled lanes, gargoyles etc. to see.  We returned to a downpour of rain, spending the rest of our afternoon in our room until dinner.  

May 23, 2023 - La Vella Farga, Lladurs
A very quiet day starting with an elaborate breakfast, after which we took a (very) short drive to the nearby hamlet - too small to be a village - of Llardurs.  We returned to La Vella Farga where we enjoyed a restful afternoon in part because of the rain.  Another delicious dinner in the Vella Farga restaurant brought our day to a close.  

May 21 / 22, 2023 - Halifax to Toronto to Barcelona, Spain, to La Vella Farga, Lladurs
We are off yet again, this time for two and a half weeks in north-east Spain -> Catalonia and the Pyrenees.

We flew from Halifax to Toronto where we connected with a flight to Barcelona.  We picked up our rental car and headed north to our first stop La Vella Farga near the village of Lladurs where we enjoyed a welcoming glass of cava, napped, and then had a light dinner.  

Costa Rica - February 07 - February 28, 2023

February 07 - February 28, 2023 - Memories and financials of Costa Rica 2023
March 01 - March 03, 2023 - trip extension in Cancun and Toronto
For day by day details, photos, memories, financials and 
links to each of the places we stayed please go to Costa Rica 2023 tab. 

March 03, 2023 -  Comfort Inn, Mississauga to Halifax

We finally made it home today - and uneventful.  Up early, shuttle to the airport, in Air Canada lounge until boarding, departure on time and early arrival in Halifax.

March 02, 2023 -  Fairfield Hotel, Cancun to Comfort Inn, Mississauga

Today we were finally scheduled to return home.  All was good until we boarded the plane in Cancun, essentially on schedule.  But then there was a delay due to a maintenance issue, then another delay and another.  We eventually left three hours late, meaning we did not get checked into our Toronto hotel until 12:30 am, rather than the more civil 9:30 pm we were expecting.  

March 01, 2023 -  Fairfield Hotel, Cancun

Mid morning our son Paul was successful in getting us a direct flight to Toronto (no need to detour via Denver or clear US customs) tomorrow, putting our minds at rest.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing, working on the Travel Blog, enjoying the large pool and hot tub and then having another Mexican meal. 

February 28, 2023 - El Rodeo Estancia Hotel, Belen (San Jose) to Fairfield Hotel, Cancun

We were to return home today with a flight from San Jose to Cancun, connecting to a flight from Cancun direct to Halifax.  While the first part went as schedule we were unable to make our connection, ending up in Cancun for the night (and next night) before being booked on an alternative flight.

February 27, 2023 - Hot Springs Lodge, above Quepos to El Rodeo Estancia Hotel, Belen (San Jose)

Our final morning at Hot Springs Lodge.  After a traditional Costa Rican breakfast (Gallo Pinto) we said our good-byes and headed out on the three + hour drive to Belen, a suburb of San Jose where we will be staying tonight close to the airport for our morning flight.  

February 26, 2023 - Hot Springs Lodge, in the mountains above Quepos

Today was a very difficult day as our beloved dog, who was apparently fine a few days ago passed away overnight.  Very difficult for those back home as well of course for us.  We pushed though as best we could but it was hard to enjoy our day.  That being said we did have a couple of diversions with the making of empanadas for breakfast and another bonfire to end the day.

February 25, 2023 - Hot Springs Lodge, in the mountains above Quepos

Hot Springs Lodge is a step back in time.  Very traditional Costa Rican up here in the mountains and rainforest, effectively without Wifi - some but very spotty.  Being the only guests we are spending considerable time with Jose enjoying the many birds.  We participated in breakfast by making our own tortillas.  But we also received some distressing news about our dog Toledo.  

February 24, 2023 - Nature's Edge Boutique Hotel, Uvita to Hot Springs Lodge, in the mountains above Quepos

We enjoyed a leisurely morning at Nature's Edge - breakfast, chats with Keith and Joe, a swim and then packing as today we left and drove an hour and a half north and then 13 kms inland and up a mountain to Hot Springs Lodge where we will be for the next three nights.  The Lodge provides all meals meaning we do not have to leave.  

February 23, 2023 - Nature's Edge Boutique Hotel, Uvita

One difference today - we went down to Parc National Marino Bellena where we strolled Uvita beach and tipped our feet in the ocean, after which we went to a restaurant that has a great view of the Whales Tail for drinks.  For dinner we went to the Bee Hive here in Uvita.  Otherwise everything was much the same. 

February 22, 2023 - Nature's Edge Boutique Hotel, Uvita

A very similar day to yesterday spent here at Nature's Edge except for our evening excursion to Ojochal for dinner where we ate a Exotica, a restaurant we have eaten at on two previous trips.  We enjoyed another excellent meal.  

February 21, 2023 - Nature's Edge Boutique Hotel, Uvita

Other than driving down the mountain to Uvita to pick up a pizza that we brought back and ate under the stars on our balcony today was spent entirely at Nature's Edge simply enjoying the sounds and sights.  Of course we enjoyed a nice breakfast and a swim but otherwise not much else.  

February 20, 2023 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge to Nature's Edge Boutique Hotel, Uvita

Today we leave Pacific Edge and move down the road to Nature's Edge.  However we detoured quite a ways to visit the Borucan Village where we had lunch and dropped off a couple of large bags of beanies.  We then drove via Palme Norte, completing a loop back to Uvita where we ascended another mountain and Nature's Edge. 

February 19, 2023 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical

And again more of the same.  Wake up early to the sounds of the howlers, birds and insects, breakfast, lounge around, a dip in the pool, dinner, to bed. 

February 18, 2023 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical

Another day of nothing other than chillin' at Pacifc Edge, enjoying the property.  Sure we broke down and went out to dinner in the evening but otherwise a very 'sloth' day.  

February 17, 2023 - Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, Dominical

Given the beauty of this property there is lots of incentive to stay and just enjoy it.  Which is what we did.  Our only excursion was for dinner in the hills above us.  Otherwise listen to the howler monkeys, cicadas and birds, cool off in the pool and gaze out over the jungle and ocean. 

February 16, 2023 - le Jardin de Los Monos, Matapola to Pacific Edge, Dominical

After five relaxing days and of course another morning troupe of monkeys we said adios to Lettika and Dama and headed first to a nearby beach just south, and then on to Dominical where we stopped at a lunch spot as we had time to pass away before checking in to Pacific Edge, just south of Dominical.  Having had a mid afternoon bite to eat we picked up some drinks and tapas as we decided to stay put in the evening.  Another fantastic sunset.

February 14 and 15, 2023 - le Jardin de Los Monos, Matapola

The travel 'bug' got me so not much happening other than lots of sleep - so much so we skipped dinner and I missed the sunset on Valentine's Day.  I felt somewhat better the next morning although we again spent a quiet day at le Jardin de Los Monos.  But I was up and about and did enjoy the passing birds and monkeys.  As the Matapalo Supper Club was closed we ate at A Kachete, the other restaurant in Matapalo Beach.  

February 13, 2023 - le Jardin de Los Monos, Matapola and Escuela San Andres

Ditto - i.e. much the same as yesterday with one exception - a trip up the the dirt road to San Andres to the small one room school with six students where we brought many smiles by gifting the students a beanie each.  Dinner was once again at the Matapalo Supper Club. 

February 12, 2023 - le Jardin de Los Monos, Matapola

For the most part we expect to stay put here at Los Monos and today we did just that.  We watched birds, kept a look out for monkeys (none showed up) and spent time in the pool.  A short walk to the beach for sunset and dinner again at the Matapalo Supper Club.  

February 11, 2023 - Las Nubes, Matapola to le Jardin de Los Monos, Matapola

Perhaps our shortest moving day ever - < 10 km, albeit 7 km of it was down the dirt mountain rod.  But no problem as we returned to Le Jardin de Los Monos where we have stayed twice before, including last year. 

February 10, 2023 - Las Nubes, Matapola

As planned we spent another day doing little other than relax at Las Nubes.  A leisurely breakfast, work on the travel blog, a dip in the pool and then another delicious dinner.  

February 09, 2023 - Las Nubes, Matapola

Being 7 km up a rough mountain 'road' there is a tendency to stay put here at La Nubes - and stay put we did.  Today was Gayle's birthday for which we enjoyed a bottle of Spanish Cava.  But otherwise it was work on the travel blog, enjoy a swim in the pool, keep a look out for the Tucans and be inundated by the constant sound of the cicadas.

February 08, 2023 - San Jose to Las Nubes, Matapola

We enjoyed a better than expected breakfast at the Hampton, after which we caught the shuttle back to the airport where we got another shuttle to our car rental agency.  With our vehicle we were on the road toward the Pacific coast and then south past Quepos to Matapola where we climbed (7 kms) up the mountain to Las Nubes, a place we had stayed in 2020.  

February 07, 2023 - Halifax to Toronto to San Jose (the one in Costa Rica)

Rather than the previous really early morning flights to connect to a 9:00 am in Toronto the scheduling has been changed such that we were on a 10:30 am flight from Halifax to Toronto where we had four plus hours until our flight to San Jose.  I had upgraded our Visa card to the Infinite Privilege version (the appeal was the first years fee was waived) that provides access to Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge.  A very nice way to spend our afternoon.  The flight to San Jose actually left a few minutes early and with favourable winds arrived early.  Immigration was easy after which we picked up our luggage and caught the shuttle to the nearby Hampton Inn where we stayed the first night.  Shortly after arriving it was lights out.

Greece - The Cyclades & Pelion:  Aug 29, 2022 to Oct 03, 2022

For day by day details, photos, memories, financials and 
links to each of the places we stayed please go to Greece 2022 tab.

October 03 - Negroponte, Eritrea, Evia to Athens to Toronto to Halifax

That's it - five great weeks in Greece.  Today we returned home.  

October 02 - Negroponte, Eritrea, Evia with a drive to Kalamos beach

We had considered spending our entire last day simply relaxing at Negroponte but in the end the appeal of what looked (on the web anyway) to be a beautiful turquoise beach on the east side of the island won the day.  It was a bit over an hour to reach Kalamos Beach but well worth it.  

October 01 -  Six Keys, Afissos, Pelion to Negroponte, Eritrea, Evia

Our last (except for driving to the airport) moving day.  A final breakfast at Six Keys but not enough time for a swim before we had to check out and drive to the south of Evia.  The drive was over four hours, but quite easy and fast being mostly on the E75 toll highway.  Ultimately we arrived at are last stop the Negroponte Resort.  

September 30 -  Six Keys, Afissos with a short drive to Lefokastro

For the most part we enjoyed our last day at Six Keys at Six Keys - eating, swimming and relaxing.  We did take the short drive to Lefokastro where we did find a nice cove for a swim.  

September 29 -  Six Keys, Afissos with a drive to Ag. Kiryaki, the far end of the Pelion

Another wonderful morning waking up to sun and warmth.  After a very filling breakfast we enjoyed a swim here at Six Keys and then a long afternoon drive to the 'end of the world', well the end of the Pelion and the quaint (except for a significant film crew) fishing village of Ag. Kiryaki.  A stop in Lafkos on the way back after which we had dinner at a taverna in Neopori before returning after dark.  

September 28 -  Amanita, Tsagkarada, Pelion to Six Keys, Afissos

After another enjoyable breakfast and chat with Filaretos but before we got on the road Gayle enjoyed an hour plus walk through the 'enchanted forest' around Amanita.  We then tried to get to Damouchari beach but stopped just short.  After that it was a relatively short drive south and west across the mountains to Afissos and Six Keys where we will be staying the next three nights.  

September 27 -  Amanita, Tsagkarada, Pelion and a drive to Mylopotamos Beach

See yesterday but replace cheese from Crete with cheese from Limnos, Papa Nero beach with Mylopotamos beach and with dinner at a fish taverna Aggelika in Mylopotamos.  

September 26 -  Amanita, Tsagkarada, Pelion and a drive to Papa Nero Beach

A very Greek breakfast with cheese from Crete, a cake, tomato and cucumber salad, eggs (if one wishes) etc.  Today we drove down to Papa Nero beach where we enjoyed a refreshing (the water is bit cooler on this side of the mountains) swim.  Dinner was a bit more upscale at a restaurant (although we still ate outside), rather than a taverna.  

September 25 -  Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion to Amanita, Tsagkarada, Pelion

Another moving day.  We enjoyed freshly made Belgian waffles (with real cream and cherries) for breakfast before packing up and moving to the other side of the Pelion.  A very short drive of less than an hour (without stops) and we were 'home' for the next three nights looking to the east and the islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, islands we had visited way back in 1980. 

September 24 -  Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion with a drive to the beach at Kala Nera

A little bit more activity today as we went for an afternoon drive to Milies, then to the coast and Kala Nera where we enjoyed a swim.  The we completed the loop by ascending the mountain back to Pinakates.  We went to the next village over - Milies where we enjoyed a great dinner.  For photos and more please go to the Greece 2022 tab.

September 23 -  Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion

A very quiet day during which we never left the village.  After a European (Belgium) breakfast focused on meats, cheeses, croissants we enjoyed another chat with Eduard who gave us directions of a few places to see.  However we ended up staying for the most part at The Little Swallows with an afternoon stroll though the village to take a number of photos.  We ate at Pileas, the other restaurant in the village.  

September 22 -  to Rodi, Rovies, Evia (Euboea) to Little Swallows, Pinakates, Pelion

Another great breakfast and then another moving day as we left to Rodi, took a short ferry to the mainland and then drove north and east to Volos.  After Volos it was down the west coast of the Pelion and then up (and we mean up) the mountain to the village of Pinakates where we easily found The Little Swallows, our home for the next three nights.  We ate this evening in the nearby town square or platia.  

September 21 -  to Rodi, Rovies, Evia (Euboea) with a couple of trips to Limni

We spent the morning at to Rodi, first enjoying a great breakfast after which we worked away at the travel blog and other updates.  In the early afternoon we went to nearby Limni where we wandered through the small village, had a drink in a harbourside taverna and found a beach for a swim.  After finding two tavernas closed we ended up back in Limni for dinner - the same taverna.  Chilly but authentic.  For photos and more please go to the Greece 2022 tab.

September 20 -  Aegean Castle, Andros to to Rodi, Rovies, Evia (Euboea)

Today is another moving day.  After a quick breakfast we drove to Gavrio to catch the ferry to Rafina on the mainland where we picked up our rental car.  We drove north, through Marathon, and on to Chalkida on the large island of Evia.  From there it was north to near the top of the island, over some surprisingly significant mountains until reaching to Rodi in the town of Rovies where we will be staying the next two nights.  

September 19 -  Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Zorkos Beach in the northeast of the island

We decided to explore the north of Andros today, starting with stops in Batsi and then Gavrio, the two significant towns on the west coast.  From there we drove north, and then east over the mountains and another very scenic drive before descending to Zorgos Beach, a very pretty cove with a gorgeous long, albeit pebbly beach.  Afterwards we had a bit to eat at taverna above the beach before returning to Aegean Castle.  For photos and more please go to the Greece 2022 tab.

September 18 -  Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Korthi Bay and then Chora

More or less an extended version of yesterday but with two additional swims.  We drove further south to Korthi Bay where we had a swim in the harbour.  From there we enjoyed a very scenic drive to Chora from where we drove through the small villages in the hills.  Connecting back to the main north-south road on the west coast we went down to Cooper's Beach - quite a 2 km descent for another swim.  From there it was back to Aegean Castle where we again had dinner courtesy of Christina. 

September 17 -  Aegean Castle, Andros with a drive to Chora

After a wonderful breakfast and a very enjoyable swim in Aegean Castle's beautiful pool late afternoon we headed out towards Chora.  An scenic drive including coastal scenery, nice mountain villages, lots of stone fences and the nice town of Chora with its long stone pedestrian only central walkway.  We returned for another wonderful meal from Christina. 

September 16 -  Pano Gitonia, Potomos, Amorgos to Aegean Castle, Andros

Another moving day, this time three ferries starting at 7:10 am from Amorgos to Naxos, then Naxos to Tinos via Mykonos and finally Tinos to Andros.  Pick up our rental car and drive 20 minutes to half an hour to Aegean Castle (easy to find) which will be our home for the next four nights.  

September 15 -  Pano Gitonia, Potomos, Amorgos, a trip to Mouros Taverna

We decided to do a bit more today, being our last day in Amorgos.  We drove most of the way across the island to a beach and taverna we visited previously.  While we did not take the many steps down to the beach we did enjoy a very nice meal (my moussaka was delicious).  After returning to Aegaili we enjoyed a final swim before back to our room to pack and enjoy the sunset. 

September 14 -  Pano Gitonia, Potomos, Amorgos

Another do little down day hanging around our room at Pano Gitonia, enjoying the wonderful vistas.  Late afternoon we returned to very sandy Aegaili beach for a swim, and then back to Lagkada for dinner at another restaurant.  

September 13 -  Pano Gitonia, Potomos, Amorgos

Still not feeling well and a bit concerned about an infection we decided to visit the Medical Centre in Chora.  Turns out 1.  I tested negative for Covid, and 2.  the doctor was of the opinion I did not have an infection, saying I just needed to wait it out.  We then enjoyed a late afternoon swim on the beach in Aegaili followed by dinner in the small, but very cute village of Lagkada.  

September 12 -  Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi to Pano Gitonia, Potomos, Amorgos

Sadly we have to leave Koufonisi today.  While five days was great, we could easily spend another five here, but that does mean foregoing somewhere else.  We enjoyed a few final laughs with George and Christoupholou before he delivered us to the port where we got a Seajets for the short 35 minute crossing to Amorgos.  We picked up our rental car in Katapola and drove the half hour or so to Pano Gitonia in Potamos, just above Aegali.  While disappointed to leave Koufonisi we are at the same time glad to be back in Amorgos.  

September 11 -  Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi and Kato Koufonisi

Still not feeling great this morning I skipped breakfast but by mid afternoon felt good enough to head out.  We ended up on the accompanying island of Kato Koufonisi where we had a swim at Nero beach and then ate at the only taverna on the island.  Although late, upon returning to Pano Koufonisi we hopped on the water-taxi to Pori beach where we spent more time in the water until after the sun set.  We did enjoy seeing the full moon over the sea.  

September 10 -  Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi

Not a great day.  Neither of us felt particularly well and as such never left Pambelos Lodge during the day.  We forced ourselves to walk down to Finikas for something to eat in the evening but that was it.  We did enjoy seeing the full moon over the sea.  

September 09 -  Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi

Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday.  A leisurely breakfast, most of the afternoon vegging out, a swim again at Fanos beach, took the water taxi to the Port, wandered through Chora and had dinner at George's brother's restaurant Almira, which we very much enjoyed on our previous trip, and did again.  

September 08 -  Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi

The magic of staying at Pambelos Lodge is the joy of simply sitting on the terrace looking across the channel to the island of Keros.  It never gets old.  After a leisurely breakfast we finally headed to the beach late afternoon.  And Fanos beach is everything we remember - sandy, picturesque, beautiful water.  After our swim we walked to Mixalios where we had dinner.  

September 07 -  Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa to Pambelos Lodge, Koufonisi

Well, the ferries were funning again today in spite of continuing winds - perhaps not the smoothest sail but it was only 35 minutes so turned out to not be that bad.  George was waiting for us at the port to take us up to Pambelos Lodge, where we returned for our fourth stay (2105, 2017, 2019 and now 2022).  Having had a bite to eat in Mersini waiting for the ferry, and being quite tired we chose not to walk to dinner - there are no rental cars on Koufonisi - but rather just crashed.  

September 06 -  Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa

Another three beach (two swims) day.  The wind has picked up cancelling ferries today meaning it is in doubt whether or not we will be able to leave Schinoussa tomorrow, not that being stuck here would be so bad.  The car provided access to corners of the island we would not otherwise have gotten to.  Dinner in the village was like the first night - a bit upscale - very nice.  

September 05 -  Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa

Schinoussa is a bit more rugged than expected so we decided to rent a car in order to access some of the more remote beaches.  We visited three, swimming in two as the waves in the third were a bit rough.  It was sunny but the wind did pick up today, and is supposed to increase again tomorrow.  Dinner was a bit of a disappointment, but that sometimes happens when one travels.  

September 04 -  Petrino Studios, Naxos to Schinoza Luxury Suites, Schinoussa

We enjoyed a quick breakfast before taking photos of the Petrino family, Marianne, and some of us.  It was then a half hour drive to the port where we easily returned our rental car and boarded the Blue Star ferry for the 1 1/2 hour sail to the island of Schinoussa where we will be spending the next three nights.  We were met at the port and delivered to our Suite, complete with a plunge pool.  After a quick dip we walked into the village (perhaps 10 minutes) where there are a number of restaurants along what is essentially one street.  We chose well, enjoying an excellent meal. .

September 03 -  Petrino Studios, Naxos, with a drive around the north-east corner of Naxos

We spent most of the day driving around the mountainous north-east corner of Naxos with stops in Apollonas, where we enjoyed a nice swim and then Lionas where we had a bite to eat and a short swim.  Narrow twisty roads made the driving a bit challenging but a very good day.  

September 02 -  Petrino Studios, Naxos

A quiet day during which we didn't do much.  Breakfast, some crosswalk flag work that I needed to do, some additional time enjoying our terrace, an afternoon at the beach and a return for sunset, followed by another wonderful dinner.  

September 01 -  Hotel Petres, Paros to Petrino Studios, Naxos

After another tasty, and varied, breakfast we said our good-byes with Sotiris driving us to the port from where we left Paros on a 45 minute ferry to the neighbouring island of Naxos.  We easily picked up our rental car and drove the 45 minutes or so west across the north of Naxos to Petrino Studios where we will be staying the next three nights. 

August 31 -  Hotel Petres, Paros
The plan was to stay put, relax and catch up from the overnight flight.  And that's exactly what we did.  Our decision to start the trip here at Hotel Petres worked out perfectly as we enjoyed a do nothing day, other than eating and swimming.  

August 29 / 30 -  Halifax to Toronto to Athens to Hotel Petres, Paros

A loooong travel day, first to Toronto, then an overnight flight to Athens and finally a short flight to our first stop the island of Paros.  We were tired when we arrived but we are back in Greece!  Sotiris picked us up at the airport for the 20 minute drive to Hotel Petres, where we stayed in 2015.  After checking in and our welcome drinks we relaxed before enjoying dinner here at the hotel.  For much more please go to the Greece 2022 tab.

Another trip that was planned for 2020 but sadly cancelled due to Covid 19 was a big one - a celebration of our 40th anniversary during which we intended to more or less replicate the route of our honeymoon - 3 weeks in France and 3 weeks in Greece.

Having made a somewhat late decision to go in 2022 the logistics turned out to be a bit complicated (a number of places we wanted to stay in France were already booked) resulting in us deciding to defer France until next year and visit Greece for 5 weeks. 

For a map of our itinerary, as well as the places we will be staying 
go to the Greece 2022 tab.

We were scheduled to go to southern Italy for 26 days
in May / June 2020, a trip that of course was cancelled due to Covid 19.
We scaled back a bit - 16 days - but have decided to return to Europe, 
with a trip to Italy.  For a map of the area we will be touring go to the Italy 2022 tab.

                           Italy - May 29 - June 15, 2022

Note the following is only a one or two line summary of our day.  
For day by day details and photos please go to the Italy 2022 tab.

June 15 / 16  Torre Cangiani, Massa Lubrense to Naples to Munich to Montreal to Halifax

What was supposed to be a long travel day back home turned out to be two uncomfortable travel days.  After 'sleeping' in the Montreal airport we did finally make it home the afternoon of the 16th.  For much more check out the Italy 2022 tab.

June 14  Torre Cangiani, Massa Lubrense

A quiet last day spent mostly around Torre Cangiani.  A short drive to a beach, a bottle of Prosecco and then dinner in Massa Lubrense.  

June 13  Hotel Marulivo, Pisciotta to Torre Cangiani, Massa Lubrense

Our last major travelling day, nearly 3 1/2 hours direct but over 5 with a stop at a Buffalo farm and a beach for a swim in the sea.  We arrived at Torre Cangiani, with its spectacular views of the Bay of Naples where we enjoyed dinner watching a wonderful sunset.

June 12  Hotel Marulivo, Pisciotta with a day trip to Sanza

After enjoying a great breakfast in one of the most scenic locations we can imagine we decided to take a drive up to the town of Sanza to have pizza at the top ranked restaurant in the region.  It was an enjoyable afternoon through some very scenic countryside. 

June 11  Villa Cheta, Maratea, Basilicata to Hotel Marulivo, Pisciotta

Another moving day albeit relatively short.  We left Maratea, driving north along the coast until reaching the quaint town of Pisciotta, where we found our hotel with its wonderful vistas of the sea quite easily.  

June 10  Villa Cheta, Maratea, Basilicata with time at Il Mirto

Much the same as yesterday.  However being somewhat warmer we drove to Il Mirto, a swimming spot at the south end of the Maratea coastline.  The water was too cold to actually get in but we spent some relaxing time enjoying the superb views.  We returned for a short swim in the pool after which we had dinner at Villa Cheta.  

June 09  Villa Cheta, Maratea, Basilicata with a drive into the mountains east of Maratea

Another quiet morning at Villa Cheta after which we went for a longer drive, to Sapri and then inland and south, coming out at Castrocucco di Maratea.  We enjoyed a very nice dinner in Maratea.  

June 08  Villa Cheta, Maratea, Basilicata with a drive along the Maratea coast

A nice breakfast to start the day, a swim in the pool, photos of Villa Cheta, and a drive down the spectacular coast with a stop on the way back at a pizzeria for dinner.  

June 07 Villa il Turro, Massa Lubrensa to Villa Cheta, Maratea, Basilicata

     Another moving day.  We enjoyed a final breakfast at Villa il Trullo (more delicious cakes), said our goodbyes to Danila and left Massa Lubrensa, this time along the (quicker) northern coast of the Sorrento Peninsula.  Then a stretch on the A3 where we made good time before crossing the mountains to the coast and Maratea.  We then drove 10 km north, along some stunning coastline to Aquafredda where we easily found our home for the next four nights Villa Cheta.  

June 06 Villa il Turro, Massa Lubrensa with a tour of La Masseria lemon farm

     Again we hung around the villa today until mid afternoon when we drove a short distance to nearby Schiazzano where we took a two hour tour at La Masseria - a lemon farm, followed by dinner at the farm.  

June 05 - Villa il Turro, Massa Lubrense

     A pretty quiet day mostly spent enjoying the grounds of (and views from) the Villa.  In the afternoon we ventured out for a short while, first to a Gelateria and then a ceramics shop before returning before heading out again for dinner in a nearby village.   

June 04 - la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Volsci to Villa il Turro, Massa Lubrense

     Moving day.  After saying our goodbyes to Marianna, Pasqualino and many of the staff we left del Ruspante towards the coast and Sperlonga, then south towards Naples.  We drove around Naples and then along the Amalfi Coast (very piano / slowly) to the end of the Sorrento Peninsula.  After a bit of effort we found our destination Torre Il Turro.   

June 03 - la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Volsci - a drive to Ceccano, Pisterzo and Amesano / pasta cooking

     Same ritual - later breakfast, relax during the morning and then an afternoon drive, today towards Ceccano, then through a nice valley before a 7 km climb to the village of Pisterzo - nothing much really - and then back to Ruspante via Amesano.  The event of the day was a pasta cooking class during which we made fresh pasta, which was then cooked for us for dinner.  

June 02 - la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Volsci - a drive to Isola del Liri and back through Frosinone and Ripi

     Today we went as far as Isola del Liri where there is a waterfall in the town.  After some effort we eventually found it and honestly it was a bit of a disappointment.  But on our way back we returned through Ripi for another visit to Merlingo Gelateria.  We returned to Ruspante where we each enjoyed a huge antipasti plate.  .

June 01 - la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Volsci with a drive to Pofi and Ripi and a visit with Luigi the goatherd

     Today we ventured somewhat further, past the hill top village of Pofi and on to Ripi where we were successful in finding a great Gelateria.  After returning Pasquilino and Marianna took us to see Luigi and his herd of 200 +/- goats.  

May 31 - la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Vosci

     After a decent sleep, interrupted by the sound of the nightengales, we lingered over breakfast and then went up (and we do mean up) to Castro del Vosci where we wandered through the borgo / village after which we had a pizza at a nearby pizzeria.  

May 29 - 30 - Halifax to Toronto to Frankfurt to Napoli to la Locanda del Ruspante, Castro del Vosci

     We've arrived here in Italy.  After lots of masked time on planes we landed in Napoli, picked up our rental car and drove to Locanda del Ruspante, where we napped and enjoyed our first Italian dinner.  

                       Costa Rica - March 27 - April 10, 2022

March 27 - April 11, 2022 - Memories and financials of Costa Rica 2022
     A list of our most vivid memories, along with financials and links to each of the places we stayed.

April 11 - Montreal to Halifax

     Rather than fly through Toronto a couple of seats opened up on the direct afternoon flight to Halifax.  We grabbed them and were home late afternoon.

April 10 - Hacienda El Rodeo, Ciudad Colon to San Jose to Montreal

     The end of the trip.  After breakfast we drove back to San Jose where we dropped off the car, shuttled to the airport and boarded our flight to Montreal.  In spite of landing on time there apparently were issues with the baggage as it took an inordinate amount of time to be delivered (necessary to clear customs).  As a result we missed our connection to Halifax and had to overnight at a hotel 'near' the airport, the cost of which was thankfully covered by Air Canada.

April 09 - Hacienda El Rodeo, Ciudad Colon

     Consistent with the theme of our do little, relax a lot, sloth like trip, beyond a short drive during which it felt like I was attacked by some mango throwing Capuchin monkeys, we mostly stayed around the Hacienda.  Guillermo arrived in the afternoon, spending time telling us about the history of the his family's legacy.  In the evening Guillermo, a chef, prepared us a delicious meal.

April 08 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce to San Jose to Hacienda El Rodeo, Ciudad Colon

     Our experience at GDR comes to an end today.  One final breakfast, a number of goodbyes - Chantelle, Simon, Geronimo, Andy Lee and Margaret and we were boated back to Golfito where we boarded a 12 seater (plus 2 for the pilots) plane that flew us to San Jose.  Here we again rented a vehicle and drove the hour plus (traffic was heavy) to beyond Ciudad Colon and Hacienda El Rodeo, our final stop.  Although the only guests (there are only five rooms) dinner was made for us, which we enjoyed with a nice bottle of Spanish wine.

April 07 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce - rainforest hike to retrieve animal camera

     Today was for the most part another do little day.  We did an hour and a half hike with Andy to retrieve a camera used to capture video of animals passing near, or in a Peccary mud bath.  We swam in the pool, and in the Golfo, watched the monkeys and the birds, again ate well, and experienced another afternoon downpour.  This can get to be habit forming.

April 06 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce - early morning sunrise boat tour

     We were up early - actually Gayle is up very early every morning, before light, to listen to the awakening of the insects, howler monkeys and birds as the sun rises.  We then headed to the beach where we were taken on an early morning boat ride along the coast of the Golfo.  Not much of a sunrise but we did see many birds - pelican, toucans, Scarlett macaws among others.  We had a swim in the Golfo upon returning, all before breakfast.  The rest of the day was very relaxing with the highlight being an intense pounding rainstorm for a couple of hours during the afternoon.

April 05 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce - mangrove and kayak adventure

     Today's activity was an all afternoon adventure to the mangroves of the Rio Esquinas at the top /north of the Golfo.  We were fortunate to be followed by a number (at least four) dolphins before exploring the river where we saw crocodiles, monkeys, and many different birds.  Gayle and others went kayaking - I stayed in the boat with Chaney.  Fortunately, unlike the following days we were spared the afternoon downpour.

April 04 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce - waterfall trek

     Today's activity was the waterfall trek.  1 1/2 hours there, led by our guides Augustine and Andy, a half hour at the waterfall, where Gayle and I enjoyed being cooled off by the cascading falls, and then an hour and a half back (a somewhat different route).  No doubt not great for my suffering knees but I made it.  After dinner we joined Augustine for the night tour where we saw spiders, frogs, snakes and other creepy crawlers.

April 03 - Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce

     While activities were scheduled for most days this was one of our 'do nothing' days.  Each day starts with coffee delivered to your cabina at 6:30 am.  After that we simply enjoyed the sounds and smells of the retreat, and the three included meals.

April 02 - El Castillo, Ojochal to Golfo Dulce Retreat, Golfo Dulce - Bioluminescence tour

     Moving day - we were unable to find a vehicle rental that we could drop off in Golfito so we did so in nearby Uvita and then took the 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Golfito where we were met at a marina for a half hour plus boat ride (through some relatively rough waters we were told) to Golfo Dulce Retreat (GDR) where we were met a the beach by Simon and Geronimo (the resident parrot).  We were given the lay of the land, well actually the rainforest, by Chantelle and taken to our beautiful, very private (upgraded) cabina.  Back to the lodge - perhaps a four minute walk along a well defined path to the lodge first for afternoon tea and cake, then cocktail time followed by dinner.  As Wifi reception only exists in the lodge, i.e. not the cabinas, we tended to spend considerable time there.

After dinner we went out on a one hour Bioluminescence boat tour - a fascinating experience of seeing micro-organisms light up to the motion in the water.

April 01 - El Castillo, Ojochal

     Pretty much a repeat of yesterday until late afternoon when we decided to go out - first to Playa Ventana for an ok sunset and then to Exotica, a restaurant in Ojochal we ate at in 2020 with fond memories of our meal.  Nothing has changed as service and food were both wonderful.

March 31 - El Castillo, Ojochal

     A repeat of our first day at Jardins de Los Monos in that we never left the property.  Breakfast was great, with considerable choice, including of course the traditional Costa Rican breakfast of Gallo Pinto.  All day relaxing, swimming, chatting with staff and then enjoying another casual dinner.

March 30 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo to El Castillo, Ojochal

     We left Jardins de Los Monos driving south past Dominical and Uvita to Ojochal where we checked into El Castillo, a Spanish style boutique hotel set on a hill with wonderful views of the coast, both north and south.  We enjoyed the infinity pool and ate a nice dinner at the hotel.

March 29 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo

     See yesterday - ditto.  Went nowhere other than the beach during the afternoon and again for sunset, and then back to El Express del Pacifico for yet another enjoyable dinner.

March 28 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo

     Today was a quiet, relaxing do nothing day.  Beyond walking down to the beach most of the day was spent around the pool.  For dinner we returned to El Express del Pacifico, a wonderful casual, informal restaurant nearby where both Daniel and Darleny remembered us from two years ago.

March 27 - Halifax to Toronto to San Jose, Costa Rica to Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo

     After missing our planned trip to Costa Rica in 2021 due to Covid-19 and deferring a planned trip in February 2022 we finally caved and just decided to go - our 5th winter trip to Costa Rica in the past six years.  Being later in the year, i.e. during income tax season, and our decision to stay at what for us is a very expensive place, we shortened the trip to two weeks.  We again went south to the Golfo Dulce, where we had been in 2017 and 20220.  We flew through Toronto arriving in San Jose noonish.  We picked up our rental vehicle and drove to the coast and then south to Matapalo where we returned to Jardins de Los Monos, a place we stayed for three nights in 2020. 
Costa Rica - February 05 - 29, 2020

February 05 - 29, 2020 - Memories and financials of Costa Rica
     A list of our most vivid memories, along with financials and links to each of the places we stayed.

For photos and more details please go to the Costa Rica 2020 tab. 

February 29, 2020 - Eden Atenas
     An early breakfast - one seating at 7:30 am, which worked well for us in order to leave for the airport.  The drive was an easy 45 minutes to return the vehicle and then efficiently be shuttled to the airport.  Unfortunately our flight was delayed over an hour resulting in a stressful connection in Newark but we did make it, with minutes to spare.

February 28, 2020 - Villas Alturas to Eden Atenas
     Today the trip draws to a close as we leave Villas Alturas and drive north to Eden Atena, about 45 minutes from the San Jose airport, where we stayed the second night.  It was an uneventful drive.  Rather than go out we decided to buy some stuff at a grocery store and simply make sandwiches for dinner.

February 27, 2020 - Villas Alturas, with a visit to Dominical
     Most of the day was spent relaxing at Villas Alturas with a late afternoon trip back to Dominical to wander along the beach and observe the after-effects of the Envision Festival.  We then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant, Por Que, No, set in a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean with drink and food equally wonderful.

February 26, 2020 - Villas Alturas between Dominical and Uvita
     Today we did the tour of the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary where we experienced animals that cannot be released back into their natural habitat.  Florian provided a very informative tour.  We enjoyed the sunset from the resort's platform overlooking the jungle to the ocean after which we went into Dominical to eat.

February 25, 2020 - Villas Alturas between Dominical and Uvita
     Another quiet day.  Breakfast was very good - fresh juice and a delicious burrito.  With our beautiful terrace and the nice pool we spent most of the day around Villas Alturas.  We tried going to Rancho Cielo Alto for dinner but upon arriving found it was closed for renovations so ended up at Pizza Time in Uvita where we enjoyed a very good pizza.

February 24, 2020 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo to Villas Alturas between Dominical and Uvita
     Probably our shortest travel day ever - < 30 minutes from Matapalo south to Villas Alturas about midway between Dominical and Uvita.  The views from the Villas Alturas property are stunning as is our lodging.  We're looking forward to another sloth like relaxing stay.

February 23, 2020 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo
     Really a repeat of yesterday, the only difference being the monkeys that ran across our roof at 5:50 am.  Otherwise most of the day at Jardins de Los Monos, some time at Playa Matapalo in the afternoon, another wonderful sunset and dinner again at El Express del Pacifico.  If the formula works why change? 

February 22, 2020 - Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo
     A quiet day with some time on the beach - Playa Matapalo, time in the pool and a return to the beach for sunset.  We checked out the other nearby restaurant but our meal was so good yesterday we returned to El Express del Pacifico where we enjoyed another excellent dinner.

February 21, 2020 - Casa Botania, San Vito to Jardins de Los Monos, Matapalo
     Today was a travel day, returning north to Matapalo where we are staying much closer to the beach.  The drive, particularly from San Vito to Potrero Grande was quite nice, up and down through beautiful countryside on a winding road.  From Potrero Grande we turned west back to Palmar Norte and then north to Matapalo.  It was a long drive of over three hours on the hottest day of our trip.  We easily found our next lodging - Jardin de los Monos.

February 20, 2020 - Casa Botania, San Vito and the Wilson Botanical Garden
     One of the reasons for coming up this way was (at least for Gayle0 to visit the Wilson Botanical Garden.  While it was a pleasant walk and we did see a few colourful flowers, some huge stands of bamboo and a number of colourful birds on the whole it was a bit of a disappointment.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing at Casa Botania.

February 19, 2020 - Casa Botania, San Vito
     Where did the day go?  We never left the property but somehow the day passed us by.  Partly due to chatting with other guests; partly due to working on the travel blog; partly due to sitting on our terrace enjoying the view across the valley to the mountains; and partly napping.  The one thing we did do is lay out a table of beanie babies that will be donated to the children of Casas de la Alegria.  We then enjoyed another great meal courtesy of Kathleen.

February 18, 2020 - Casa Horizontes, Drake Bay to Casa Botania, San Vito
     We left Casa Horizontes this morning, having said our good-byes to Reinaldo, Jamy and Pedro.  The drive was more eventful than we would have wished due to a flat tire.  But we changed it and had it repaired and were on our way for another couple of hours, arriving in the mountainous area of San Vito.  First impressions of Casa Botania are very positive, as was the dinner prepared by Kathleen.

February 17, 2020 - Casa Horizontes, Drake Bay
     Last year we arranged to provide a number of beanie babies to a school in the town of Bijagua.  They were so well received we brought down another 50+ this year and today dropped in at the Drake  Bay elementary school were we gave half to the school to distribute to the children.  Otherwise it was a day similar to the previous - a swim in the ocean and relaxing time in the heat on the deck of our cabin.

February 16, 2020 - Casa Horizontes, Drake Bay
     A similar day to yesterday, the only exception being a short walk along the shoreline to a café where we had a bite to eat and a drink.  Then to the beach where we were amused by the pelicans before enjoying another swim.  Then it was back up to Casa Horizontes to relax for the rest of the afternoon, dinner and good night.

February 15, 2020 - Casa Horizontes, Drake Bay
     Today was all about surviving the heat.  It is hot, and humid, here in Drake Bay.  Without a pool we ended up taking a few cooling off showers during the day.  We did go down to the beach for a nice swim in bath temperature water.  Otherwise we watched and listened to the birds and saw a boa constrictor in the tree just outside our cabin.

February 14, 2020 - Villas en el Bosque, Ojochal to Casa Horizontes, Drake Bay
     After not seeing any monkeys around the lodge for three days this morning we hit the jackpot with a troop that decided to grace us with their presence.  It was entertaining and great for photos.  From Ojochal it is three plus hours to Drake Bay, the first two an easy drive after which it is a bit more challenging on a dirt road, including the need to cross three small streams.  Actually it was not as bad as we were led to believe,  We made it no problem.  We found our lodge quite easily, settled in and enjoyed a solid home cooked dinner.

February 13, 2020 - Villas en el Bosque, Ojochal
     Another quiet day except for an hour and a half challenging (due to the hill down from and back up to the lodge, and the sweltering heat) hike to the ocean, during which we saw a small troop of white faced capuchin monkeys.  We didn't actually go into the ocean due to the waves but glad we made the effort to hike down to it.  We enjoyed another great meal, this time at Exotica.

February 12, 2020 - Villas en el Bosque, Ojochal
     As is our practice on the first full day after arriving at a new place we stayed put, relaxing on the property and in the pool.  Otherwise there is not much to report.

February 11, 2020 - Las Nubes to Villas en el Bosque, Ojochal
     After four wonderful days at Las Nubes we turned the vehicle back on and slowly made our way down the 7kms back to the coast.  From Matapalo it was an hour drive south to Ojochal where we easily Villas en el Bosque, a beautifully landscaped property.

February 08, 09 and 10, 2020 - Las Nubes

     The combination of being self-proclaimed sloths, being isolated 7 kms up a challenging mountain road and a desire to simply relax had us decide to stay put for the next three days.  With a comfortable room, a (small) pool in which we could cool off, drinks if and when we wanted them and delicious meals there really was no reason to leave - so we didn't.

February 07, 2020 - Eden Atenas to Las Nubes, Matapalo

     After a great communal breakfast with all the other guests we packed up and left for the three hour (more like five with stops) drive out to the coast and then south past Jaco and Quepos and Manuel Antonio before turning inland 7 kms up the mountain to Las Nubes where we will stay put for the next four nights.
February 05 and 06, 2020 - Halifax to Toronto to San Jose, Costa Rica to Eden Atenas

     For the 4th consecutive year our winter trip takes us to Costa Rica, more or less following the route of 2017 - landing in San Jose and then following the Pacific coast south at far as Drake Bay before circling back.  We flew through Toronto arriving in San Jose late (11:00 pm) at night.  As a result we choose a convenient airport hotel - the Hampton Inn.  The shuttle was quick and efficient and the hotel what one would expect. 

     After an ok breakfast we took the shuttle back to the airport where we got a shuttle to Alamo where we picked up our rental vehicle.  .Rather then a long first day drive we chose a boutique hotel - Eden Atenas, only an hour or so west of the airport.  

            Turkey - October 03, 2019 - October 10, 2019

October 09 and 10, 2019 - Kirazli to Izmir to Istanbul to Vienna to Montreal to Halifax
     After over five weeks it is time to head home.  We used Aeroplan points for business class flights.  It was approx. an hour's drive to Izmir's airport from where we flew to Istanbul where we met up with Bill and Linda.  After spending the entire afternoon in the Turkish Airlines business lounge we boarded a flight to Vienna, where we over- nighted.    In the morning we took an Austrian flight to Montreal and then finally Air Canada to Halifax,  A long day and a half.

Many more details along with photos at the Turkey 2019 tab.

October 08, 2019 - Kirazli (Euphesus Lodge) with a visit to Ephesus
     While heavy rains overnight had us thinking we would be unable to visit Ephesus today the weather cleared mid-day allowing us to visit this ancient Greek city.  Sezgin, the owner of our lodge, went with us explaining and guiding us through the ruins of a city that flourished for nearly 400 years between 129 BC and 263 AD.  We returned to Karazli where we had dinner and packed for our long trip home tomorrow.

October 07, 2019 - Kirazli (Euphesus Lodge) with a drive to Selcuk
     Today we took a drive (only 20 minutes) to a pottery shop near Selcuk after which we went into the town and wandered around.  After returning to Kirazli we discovered the restaurant at which we planned to eat was closed so drove about half way to Kusadasi where we found another place to have dinner.

October 06, 2019 - Alacati to Kirazli (Euphesus Lodge)
     After breakfast we packed up and headed, although not before a short detour to the beaches of Alacati, to our other stop in Turkey - to the south near the ruins of Ephesus.  The drive was ok but again not spectacular - nothing like Ikaria or Samos or Chios.  We found Kirazli, a quaint farming village, and Euphesus Lodge without much difficulty.  After a very interesting walk through the village we ate dinner at our Lodge.

October 05, 2019 - Alacati - drive to Urla
     After breakfast and a lengthy chat with Utku we drove towards Urla, swung south through some vineyards to Kuscular and then up a peninsula to Balikliova and Ildir.  Back to Alacati for dinner at Asma Yapragi where we could not get into yesterday. 

October 04, 2019 - Alacati
     Today was spent in Alacati, both relaxing at our Otel (the Turkish spelling of Hotel) and wandering the pedestrian only streets of the town.   

October 03, 2019 - Chios port to Cesme to Alacati
     We left Greece on a 50 minute (we were on a slow boat) ferry to the port of Cesme in Turkey.  No problems picking up our rental car at the port and we were off a short distance (< 20 km) to Alacati where we eventually found our hotel Tas Otel.  After settling in we went for a stroll through the town before having dinner at Papazz. 
            Greece - September 02, 2019 - October 03, 2019

October 03, 2019 - Chios (Volissos) to Chios port
     Our last morning in Greece.  A final breakfast and we were off, crossing back to Chios port.  We arrived in plenty of time, dropped off the rental car, enjoyed a glass of fresh orange juice and boarded our ferry for the short sailing to Cesme, Turkey. 

We have also included our Memories of Greece along with links to our lodgings and financials for our trip.

Many more details along with photos at the Greece 2019 tab.

October 02, 2019 - Chios (Volissos) - a drive to the mastic villages in the southwest of Chios
     A great day!  We drove south from Volissos along some spectacular coast including a drive that hugged the mountains along the way passing many beautiful beaches.  Our destination was the three best known mastic villages of Pyrgi, Olymbos an Mesta.  We also veered to the coast for our last swim of the trip.  Beautiful scenery and interesting villages with lots of locals to photo, and of course a great sun set on the drive back. 

October 01, 2019 - Chios (Volissos)
     Still not feeling great we stayed close to home with nothing more than a short outing to a nearby beach in the afternoon.  We considered driving around the north of Chios but in the end didn't have the energy.  A very 'do nothing' day. 

September 30, 2019 - Samos to Chios (Volissos)
     Today we leave Samos, flying a short 25 minutes to Chios where we picked up our rental car, went to the port to purchase our ferry ticket to Cesme, Turkey and then drove an hour across the island to Volissos, a small village on the west coast.  We settled into our holiday home, made a short visit to the village and ate at a restaurant next to the harbour. 

September 28, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria to Samos (Armonia Bay)
     Another moving day but very stress free in that our ferry was not until 1:45 pm.  We had a final breakfast at Toxotis, said goodbye to the staff and drove the 20 minutes to Evdilos to catch the ferry.  The trip to Samos (the port of Karlovassi) is a little over an hour.  We picked up our rental car and drove east along the coast to Armonia Bay where we will be staying the next couple of nights.  As it was easy we ate at the hotel. 

September 27, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas)
     We moved units today, to one with an unobstructed view of the sea.  Continuing to not feel great we decided not to take the long trip to Agios Kirikos but rather just rest / relax, enjoying our terrace and wonderful views.  Back to Anna's for sunset and dinner. 

September 26, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas) - drive across the island to Magganitis
     Feeling marginally better we went into Evdilos to pick up our ferry tickets and then drove across the island to the village of Magganitis.  After driving through a number of small villages (on a narrow road) we reached the dramatic south side where a new wide 'highway' has been built taking one to Magganitis.  Upon returning we again ate at Mary Mary. 

September 25, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas) - sunset in Nas
     I have a virus and am most definitely not feeling well.  As a result the day was spent drinking tea and snuggling up in a blanket.  Gayle convinced me to go to nearby Nas for the sunset and something to eat.  The sunset was again very colourful and the food no doubt needed. 

September 24, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas) - a drive to Christos Rachon and a tour of Afianes vineyard
     Today's afternoon trip was a drive into the interior of Ikaria, to Christos Rachon where we stopped at the Afianes winery and took their wine tasting tour.  We stopped in a quaint mountain village - Agios Dimitros for dinner. 

September 23, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas) with a drive around the west end of the island
     Today's adventure was a drive around the west end of Ikaria, past Nas along some stunning coast line to the village of Karkinagri where we stopped for a drink and a small bite to eat.  We continued 4 kms along a cliff hugging dirt road to the village of Trapalo before returning.  We again ate at Mary Mary in Armenistis. 

September 22, 2019 - Armenistis, Ikaria (Toxotis Villas) with a short drive to Nas for the sun set
     The ultimate do nothing day.  With a full week on a reasonably small island we didn't feel a need to get out this first day.  After a leisurely breakfast we spent the afternoon on our terrace simply enjoying the views to the sea  A bit before sunset we went to the nearby village of Nas where there are great views of the sunset. 

September 21, 2019 - Mykonos to Ikaria - Armenistis (Toxotis Villas)
     Another moving day.  We had a sensible 11:45 am ferry from Mykonos to Ikaria - time for breakfast and then being delivered to the port by Costas.  The ferry was a bit under two hours.  We picked up our rental car and headed the 12 kms down the coast to Toxotis Villas where we will be staying the next seven nights.  We walked into the nearby village of Armenistis for dinner.

September 20, 2019 - Koufonissi to Mykonos (Aeolos Hotel)
     Moving day.  Not only did we say good-bye to George, Lola and Renate we also said good-bye to Linda and Bill.  We need to over-night in Mykonos due to ferry connections while Linda and Bill are headed to Folegandros.  We arrived in Mykonos pretty much on schedule to be met by Costas from the hotel.  After settling in we headed into the town, down by the port where we had dinner.

September 19, 2019 - Koufonissi (Pambelos Lodge) - Finikas Beach
     Another relaxing day with the afternoon visit to the beach for a swim.  Late afternoon we walked into and through the village and then a further km to the west side and a picturesque fishing harbour where Aneplora restaurant is located.  As in 2017 we enjoyed a meal in this awesome setting.

September 18, 2019 - Koufonissi (Pambelos Lodge) - Finikas Beach
     Again a leisurely breakfast, R & R at Pambelos later morning / early afternoon and then down to a beach - today it is Finikas, the closes beach to us.  Dinner ended up being at Armira again, and like last night was very good.

September 17, 2019 - Koufonissi (Pambelos Lodge) - Pori Beach
     As will be the case every day morning was spent enjoying a leisurely breakfast followed by down time relaxing at our Pambelos.  Early afternoon we walked over the middle of the island to Pori beach, on the north-east corner of the island.  After a couple of swims and some beach time we took the water taxi (rather than walk) back to Chora where we stayed for dinner.

September 16, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) to Koufonissi (Pambelos Lodge) 
     We left Amorgos this morning - 1/2 hour drive from Potomos to Kotopalo to catch the 6:00 am ferry.  A short 41 minute trip had us in Koufonissi where we hitched a ride on the Finikas but to then be picked up by George and delivered to Pambelos.  After breakfast we settled in.  In the afternoon we wandered down to Fanos beach for a swim and walked most of the way into Chora for dinner.

September 15, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) 
     And yet another quiet day.  We moved down to Panorama, a nearby room - perhaps the nicest room although the terrace was somewhat smaller.  We then went into Aegiali to exchange our ferry ticket, agreeing not to 'gamble' another day and to take the 6:00 am Blue Star.  Then a light lunch at Pookie's taverna in Aegiali and a swim as the winds and waves had subsided.  For dinner we went back to Lagada - this time to a different restaurant - mediocre food but a really great 'local' atmosphere.  It was early to bed for our 4:15 am alarm.

September 14, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) 
     Due to the high winds and rough seas or ferry was cancelled today, meaning another day on Amorgos.  A few logistical issues - extending the care rental; moving in with Bill and Linda as there were no other rooms available at Pano Gitonia, cancelling Pambelos Lodge in Koufonissi but in the end not the end of the world.  Another restful relaxing day, the highlight of which was feeding Alex, our adopted mule an apple.  Hey its Greece where they say 'Siga Siga' (slowly slowly).

September 13, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) - Tholaria and Langada
     We stayed on the east end of the island, having breakfast in Tholaria and then walking the twisty narrow alleys of Langada.  The wind was strong with considerable cloud cover, making swimming not very inviting.  We returned to Langada in the evening for dinner where we were treated to some live Greek music.   

September 12, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) with a trip to Mouros beach
     Pretty much a copy of yesterday, replacing Agia Anna Beach with Mouros Beach.  The beach was again a bit of walk but well worth the trek down, and then back up.  In addition to a swim we ate dinner at Mouros tavern.  A very relaxing day.

September 11, 2019 - Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia) with a trip to Anna Maria beach
     After making a light breakfast that we enjoyed overlooking Aegiali and its harbour we took a drive in the afternoon past Chora and on to Anna Maria beach - 92 steps down to a pebbled but calm swimming area.  For dinner we went up to Lakgada where we enjoyed a nice traditional Greek meal on the rooftop of a restaurant.

September 10, 2019 - Astypalea to Amorgos (Aegiali / Pano Gitonia)
     Moving day.  We had to be up at 3:45 am to be out by 4:30 am to catch the 5:15 am ferry to Amorgos.  No problems, other than the early morning alarm.  We arrived in Amorgos, had breakfast, picked up our rental car, killed some time and arrived at our lodging late morning in hopes our room might be ready, which it way.  An afternoon swim, dinner and early to sleep.

September 09, 2019 - Astypalea
     Not that we mind - this is pretty much the perfect vacation for us ... another cloudless, sunny, hot day, another relaxing breakfast, off to a beach and back for dinner.  Very low key, relaxing,      

September 08, 2019 - Astypalea
     Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday with Vatses beach replaced by Steno and Alipsi on the east side of the island.  In the evening we walked to the castle and church at the top of Chora before having dinner at Barbarossa as we descended.

September 07, 2019 - Astypalea
     Today's beach was Vatses, on the west side of the island across a 3.5 km dirt road.  Nice enough but not spectacular.  Anna recommended we arrive early and get a good table at Akti, a restaurant on the cliffs above the see with views to the main part of Chora and its castle.  The setting was magical and the food very good - we enjoyed a very nice dinner.

September 06, 2019 - Astypalea
     Again a nice breakfast under cloudless blue skies, a bit of work on the blog, and then a driver to the north east corner of the island with a swim on the way back.  We then returned to Kalderimi before walking into Chora to again eat at Agoni Grami.

September 05, 2019 - Astypalea
     As we expect every day will be we started with a leisurely breakfast, hung around our room, checked email and worked on the blog.  In the afternoon it was out to a beach where we enjoyed the sun and a swim.  Back for a couple of hours and then down to one of the restaurants on the nearby beach of Livadi where we had an excellent meal.    

September 04, 2019 - Astypalea

     Our first full day in Astypalea started with a filling Greek breakfast -fresh OJ, pastries, yoghurt etc.  We then relaxed before heading to the nearest beach for a short afternoon swim.  It was then to the port to pick up Linda and Bill Collins who were arriving by ferry from Piraeus.  They will be with us the first two + weeks of our trip.  After they settled in we went into Chora for dinner.

September 02 / 03 - Halifax to Montreal to Athens to Astypalea (Kalderimi Traditional Houses)

     A long travel day.  First to Montreal, then overnight to Athens and finally a short flight to the island of Astypalea, where we will stay the next seven days.  We were picked up at the (small) airport and delivered to Kalderimi Traditional Houses.  After settling in we had an afternoon nap and then walked into the onlyt town on the island where we enjoyed a fabulous meal..     

           Andalucia, Spain - April 07, 2019 - April 19, 2019

While I have a golf trip to Ireland early June our next adventure begins September 2nd - four weeks in Greece, including returns to the islands of Koufonissia and Amorgos, along with a few new islands, and a week at the end in Turkey.  

But before we finish with this journey at the Spain 2019 tab you will find memories of the trip, along with financial details, and links to our lodgings.

April 19, 2019 - Jinetes (Hacienda de Los Jinetes) to Sevilla to Amsterdam to Toronto to Halifax

     Another long travel day.  A quick breakfast, a short drive to the Sevilla airport, a flight to Amsterdam, a surprise (much more on the Spain 2019 tab), a surprisingly pleasant and comfortabe flight to Toronto and then finally on to Halifax.     

Details and photos at the Spain 2019 tab.

April 18, 2019 - Alcala del Valle to Jinetes (Hacienda de Los Jinetes)

     We left Cortijo El Guarda late morning as we decided to stay much closer to the airport, just north of Carmona.  The drive was again very scenic, bringing us to Hacienda de Los Jimetes where we enjoyed a final dinner after packing for the trip home.

April 17, 2019 - Alcala del Valle

   Ditto.  Same thing today - a nice liesurely breakfast; a few hours of relaxation and down time and then a drive through the nearby countryside where we encountered flocks of goats and sheeps, along with theri shepherds.  Again we ate dinner at Cortijo El Guarda, with great food and great service from Hans and Miranda.     

April 16, 2019 - Alcala del Valle

   After a quiet late morning / early afternoon at El Guarda we took a short drive for a drink and a small tapa in the scenic nearby village of Sentenil.  For dinner we took Miranda's recommendation to eat at El Murrel de Arriate - a restaurant in the old train station in Arriate where we enjoyed a wonderful meal.

April 15, 2019 - Alcala del Valle

   Other than a quick into town to have a flat tire repaired we spent the entire day at Cortijo El Guarda, including dinner.  Such a beautiful property.

April 14, 2019 - Alcala del Valle with a day trip to Fuente de Piedra

   We decided to head out on a half day trip today to Fuent de Piedra to visit a donkey refuge and flamingo sanctuary.  Very worthwhile not only for the two destinations but as well the scenic drive.  We returned to Polear, a restaurant in Alcala del Valle at which we had eaten on two previous occasions.  Again we enjoyed a fantastic meal.

April 13, 2019 - Iznajar to Alcala del Valle

   We left Cortijo La Haza and Iznajar today and headed west to Alcala del Valle.  Along the way we stoppped for short time in Antequera before arriving at Cortijo El Guarda, our home for the next five nights mid afternoon.  After a nice chat with Miranda and Hans we went into Alcala for the asparagus festival, after which we had dinner in a local restaurant.  

April 12, 2019 - Iznajar

   We spent the entire day at Cortijo La Haza.  Having been somewhat busy in Sevilla it was nice to relax in the numerous seating areas on the property.  There seemed to be no need to tour the area, dominated by miles and miles of olive trees.  Again we enjoyed a superb dinner courtesy of Patrick.

April 11, 2019 - Sevilla to Iznajar

Our last morning in Seville today.  Shortly after noon we were taken to the airport where we picked up our rental vehicle and off we were for Iznajar where we will stay the next two nights.  We easily found our cortio where we enjoyed a fantastic dinner.

April 10, 2019 - Sevilla

Today we returned to and visited the Real Alcazar - beautiful ornate buildibngs and wonderful expansive gardens in the centre of the city.  Early evening we took in a flamenco show after which we enjoyed another tapas style dinner.

April 09, 2019 - Sevilla

A quiet day here in Sevilla.  After an excellent filling breakfast we went for a stroll, first by the Cathedral, past the Alcazar, and then to the river which we walked along to complete the circle back to our hotel.  Just before returning we stopped for a late afternoon tapas.  Dinner was again of the tapas style at a nearby restaurant.  

April 07 / 08, 2019 - Halifax to Toronto to Amsterdam to Sevilla

We made it.  The flights to Toronto and Amsterdams were both on time although the final leg from Amsterdam to Sevilla was 1 hr 15 min delayed meaning arrival at our hotel not until near 10:00 pm.  Fortunately restaurants are open late - we arrived at 10:50 pm and got the last table available.  We enjoyed a number of tapas size dishes.

Our next trip takes us back to Spain, specifically a return to Andalucia.  

The first three days will be in Seville after which we will be at two cortijos in the Andalucian countryside.  

Due to my upcoming (June) golf trip to Ireland we weren't planning a spring getaway but with the cortijo, which we have stayed at three times, being sold and the opportunity to spend my 65th birthday in Spain we couldn't resist.

We leave Sunday evening, April 7th with our flights taking us from Halifax to Toronto to Amsterdam and finally to Seville.

                  Costa Rica - Feb 06, 2019 - Feb 26, 2019

February 26, 2019 - Huacas (Casa Mapache) to Liberia to Montreal to Halifax

Our trip came to an end today.  With an early afternoon flight we were not rushed, having plenty of time for the one hour drive to the airport.  Smooth flight to Montreal where we experienced a 1.5 hour  delay due to a late arriving plane.  Temperatures ranged from low 30s in Liberia to minus 13 in Montreal.

Memories of the trip, along with financial details, links to lodgings, and photos all at the Costa Rica 2019 tab.

February 25, 2019 - Huacas (Casa Mapache)

Another quiet day spent entirely at Casa Mapache until we went into Tamarindo prior to sunset for dinner on the beach at Pangas.  

February 24, 2019 - Huacas (Casa Mapache)

Not much to report today.  We again started the day with a hearty breakfast, spent time in the pool, went into Tamarindo to have a late afternoon meal (at the Green Papaya) and then another vibrant sunset. 

February 23, 2019 - Junquillal (Mundo Milo Eco Lodge) to Huacas (Casa Mapache)

Last moving day.  We spent the morning and early afternoon at Mundo Milo, working on the travel blog and enjoying the pool.  We left mid afternoon for the short (< 1 hour) drive past Tamarindo to our final stop - Casa Mapache, another small B&B run by another French couple. 

February 22, 2019 - Junquillal (Mundo Milo Eco Lodge)

Today nature gave us monkeys, crocodiles and another gorgeous sunset.  Most of the day was spent at Mundo Milo with an early morning walk to the beach, during which we saw a troop of monkeys and their infants.  In the afternoon we drove the short distance to Playa Blanca where we found the fisherman with the crocodile and then early evening it was back to the beach for the sunset.  Life is sweet. 

February 21, 2019 - Junquillal (Mundo Milo Eco Lodge)

Our first day at Mundo Milo was very relaxing - a leisurely breakfast that included a large serving of Gallo Pinto; time working on the travel blog; and dips in the pool.  We then returned to the beach where indeed there were 83 hatchlings waiting to be released to the sea, a wonderful experience to observe. 

February 20, 2019 - Playa San Miguel (La Colina Pura Vista) to Junquillal (Mundo Milo Eco Lodge)

We left La Colina Pura Vista this morning for a lengthy drive first further down the coast, then cross the Nicoya peninsula towards the east side and north to Junqullal and Mundo Milo Eco Lodge. 

February 19, 2019 - Playa San Miguel (La Colina Pura Vista)

Ditto to yesterday.  Another relaxing day enjoying the pool and the peace and quiet of La Colina Pura Vista.  Late in the afternoon we returned to the beach and Locos Cocos for a drink and another great sunset.

February 18, 2019 - Playa San Miguel (La Colina Pura Vista)

A quiet day, mostly spent around the pool.  Late afternoon we went down to the beach where we enjoyed a nice meal in a great setting at Locos Cocos.  Spectacular sunset. 

February 17, 2019 - Playa Azul (Hotel Luna Azul) to Playa San Miguel (La Colina Pura Vista)

Travel day.  We left Hotel Luna Azul, driving the gravel road south with a short stop in Samara.  We then continued another hour plus to Playa San Miguel, a beautiful 8 km beach and La Colina Pura Vista, our home for the next three nights. 

February 16, 2019 - Playa Azul (Hotel Luna Azul) and Ostional Beach

Not much different than yesterday.  Most of the day was spent lounging around the pool although we did take a short (4 km) drive to nearby Ostional beach where we did see a flock of pelicans. 

February 15, 2019 - Playa Azul (Hotel Luna Azul)

An absolutely do nothing day as we never left the property.  Breakfast, a dip in the pool, work on the travel blog, back to the pool, a nap on the lounge chair, another dip and dinner. 

February 14, 2019 - Bijagua (Casitas Tenorio) to Playa Azul (Hotel Luna Azul)

We started the day with the farm tour, seeing cows, chickens, guinea pigs, sheep, a horse and rabbits.  We all had a chance to milk the cow.  Eventually we were on the road heading to the Nicoya peninsula and the coast.  The last hour plus of the drive to Ostional and Hotel Luna Azul was difficult over a rough gravel road, but well worth the effort. 

February 13, 2019 - Bijagua (Casitas Tenorio)

Today was a special day as we delivered beanies and other supplies to children at the Bijagua school.  Afterwards we drove a dirt road on the Volcan Miravalles side - much longer than planned but a nice drive through the rolling countryside.  We stopped at Pizzeria Barrigon for drink and better internet and then spent the afternoon relaxing. before going to dinner at a nearby lodge. 

February 12, 2019 - Bijagua (Casitas Tenorio)

As we expect will be the case at most places on this trip the day after arriving did not have us leaving the property.  After a traditional Costa Rican breakfast during which we were treated to a show of birds and squirrels eating bananas put out for them.  In the afternoon we walked the nature trail, seeing a number of monkeys along the way.  Dinner was left over pizza. 

February 11, 2019 - Heliconias Nature Lodge to Bijagua (Casitas Tenorio)

Moving day, and unfortunately vehicle replacement day as our vehicle 'died' shortly after leaving Heliconias Nature Lodge.  Once the vehicle was dealt with we drove north past the Tenorio volcano to Bijagua and Casitas Tenorio, our 'home' for the next three days. 

February 10, 2019 - Heliconias Nature Lodge with our day spent at Tabacon Thermal Hot Springs

Today was off to Tabacon Thermal Springs & Spa where we enjoyed the afternoon relaxing in the many pool and rivers of warm water originating from the Arenal Volcano.  Our admission included a nice buffet dinner. 

February 9, 2019 - Heliconias Lodge with a trip to the Costa Rican Dog Rescue Centre outside La Fortuna

Today is Gayle's birthday.  We tried to get into Tabacon Thermal Springs but there were no tickets available so we spent some time at the Costa Rican Dog Rescue Centre were we walked four of the dogs for over an hour.   Gayle loved it.  We then enjoyed a traditional meal at a small local restaurant. 

February 8, 2019 - Heliconias Nature Lodge

We spent the entire day at the Nature Lodge.  A typical Costa Rican breakfast followed by time by the pool, a nap and dinner.  Very relaxing - kind of what vacations should be. 

February 7, 2019 - Toronto to Liberia to La Fortuna (Heliconias Nature Lodge)

Up at 3:45 am; depart at 4:20 am to get back to the airport for a 7:20 am flight to Liberia, Costa Rica.  A 4 1/2 hour flight had us arriving just before noon.  We rented a vehicle and set off on what was supposed to be a 3 hr drive (but took longer) to La Fortuna near the Arenal volcano.  We arrived at the Heliconias Nature Lodge where we will be the next four nights. 

February 6, 2019 - Halifax to Toronto

As a result of an early morning flight through Montreal being cancelled we over-nighted in Toronto, taking the opportunity to visit our friends Steve, Wendy and Mike.  A short but nice visit, again with 5 * hospitality (and equally 5* pizza for dinner). 
      Italy (Tuscany and Umbria) - Sept 29, 2018 - Oct 13, 2018

October 12, 2018 - Mompeo to Ceri

We left Le Mole Sul Farfa after breakfast driving through the Sabine hills with a short stop in Bocchignano.  We then continued west across the River Tiber and on past Lago di Bracciano to Ceri, our last stop, located on a fortified plateau.  We enjoyed dinner in the small village before packing for our morning departure.  A few photos and details at the Italy 2018 tab.

October 11, 2018 - Mompeo

A do nothing day.  First it rained most of the day and second Gayle was not feeling well so we simply stayed put, me working on the travel blog and Gayle resting.  Dinner again at our agritourismo.  

October 10, 2018 - Borgo di Carpiano to Mompeo

After a great stay we left Borgo di Carpiano driving through the scenic landscape of the Umbrian hills to Assisi where we stopped to stroll through the well known town.  We continued past Spello, which looked nice as well but time precluded a stop, and Foligno, Spoleto, east of Terni and through Rieti and on to Mompeo in the Sabine Hills where we will be for the next two nights.  

October 10, 2018 - Borgo di Carpiano to Mompeo

After a great stay we left Borgo di Carpiano driving through the scenic landscape of the Umbrian hills to Assisi where we stopped to stroll through the well known town.  We continued past Spello, which looked nice as well but time precluded a stop, and Foligno, Spoleto, east of Terni and through Rieti and on to Mompeo in the Sabine Hills where we will be for the next two nights.  More at the Italy 2018 tab.

October 09, 2018 - Borgo di Carpiano with a trip to Gubbio

The morning was spent at the Borgo with the afternoon in Gubbio, a nearby medieval town.  After wandering through a very interesting town we returned to enjoy another wonderful meal.  A very enjoyable day.

October 08, 2018 - Borgo di Carpiano

Today was a quiet stay put day - we did not leave Borgo di Carpiano, spending the day simply relaxing.  A great breakfast and another nice dinner.

October 07, 2018 - Doglio (Podere le Corone) to Gubbio (Borgo di Carpiano)

More cakes and sweets for breakfast and we were off and on our way.  We stopped to walk around Monte Castello di Vibio - it was raining yesterday - and then drove north past Perugia and on towards Gubbio to our next stop - Borgo di Carpiano, another wonderful boutique hotel with wonderful ambiance and food. 

October 06, 2018 - Doglio with a visit to Monte Castello di Vibio

Our second consecutive yucky day.  More delicious cakes for breakfast after which we took a short drive to yet another hilltop medieval town, Monte Castello di Vibio.  After a short stay we returned to our agritourismo, relaxed for the afternoon and then enjoyed another filling dinner.  

October 05, 2018 - Doglio with a visit to Todi

Unfortunately the weather turned.  Overcast with likelihood of rain and cool.  After breakfast we went to nearby Doglio to attempt to get Wifi access but without success.   We continued on to Todi, a worthwhile visit on its own, spend some time in a cafe, bought some meat and cheese and returned to Podere le Corone.  

October 04, 2018 - Montepulciano to Doglio

We awoke to another great day.  Early morning coffee, a Turkish sauna, a nice breakfast brought our stay at Lupaia to an end.  We left noonish for a scenic drive through southern Tuscany, and on to Umbria, ultimately to Doglio near Todi and our next stop at Podere le Corone.    

October 03, 2018 - Pienza to Montepulciano

A short drive (only 20 km) moving from Fonte Bertusi to Lupaia.  Today was a photographers delight.  After a wander through Pienza we went to Lupaia, an upper-end lodging outside Montepulciano.  Our hopes for a nice day were granted.  We arrived early, enjoyed the property and a wonderful dinner.

October 02, 2018 - Pienza with a drive through the Tuscan countryside

A leisurely day starting with breakfast, some relax time and then a drive through the area, including small towns such as Castelmuzio, San Giovanni d'Asso and others.  After enjoying lots of scenic countryside with wonderful landscapes we returned late afternoon after which we headed into Pienza

October 01, 2018 - Pienza with visits to San Quirico d'Orcia and Monticchiello

We enjoyed an extensive, wonderful buffet breakfast - great coffee including cappuccino scuros (doubles), pastries, cereals, yoghourt, eggs, juice, including blood orange juice, fruit, meat, cheese, little sandwiches and on and on.  The weather was not great - overcast, cool and later on showers.  We spent the morning doing wash and then in the afternoon went to nearby San Quirico d'Orcia and Monticchiello.  We bought some food and ate in our apartment.

September 30, 2018 - Orvieto to Radicofani to Pienza

After a light breakfast we decided to wander around Orvieto for a couple of hours.  We then headed to the countryside as we drove north to Pienza.  We stopped in the hilltop medieval town of Radicofani where we were able to get a table (just) at the one restaurant where we had a wonderful (and overly filling) mid day meal.  We continued on our way through some beautiful rolling hills and cypress trees, easily finding our lodging just outside of Pienza.  

September 29, 2018 - Karpathos to Italy (Rome to Orvieto)

Transition day as the Greece portion of our trip came to an end (see the Greek 2018 tab for Memories, lodgings and costs) and the Italian segment began.  We had a very early (6:30 am) flight from Karpathos to Athens connecting to an Athens to Rome flight.  All were per schedule.  After picking up our vehicle we drove a couple of hours north to Orvieto where we stayed the night.
          Greece (Dodecanese) - Sept 11, 2018 - Sept 29, 2018

September 28, 2018 - Karpathos (Ammoopi) with a drive to the west coast of the island

The morning was miserable - a considerable amount of rain; very unusual for this time of the year but being our last day we gambled and headed to the west coast of Karpathos.  What a difference - sunny blue skies, perfect for some time in the gorgeous turquoise water.  But when we crossed the mountains back to the east coast the weather deteriorated.  We stopped in Pigadi to pick up some food in order to eat in as we packed for our early morning flight.  

September 27, 2018 - Karpathos (Ammoopi) with a drive to the south-west corner of the island

A mostly quiet day.  After an unbelievable breakfast we did a 'dry run' to the airport in order to know how long it will take given our early morning flight.  We continued around the south coast to the west side and the small towns / villages of Arkasa and Finiki, where we had dinner.  Back across the inland, through Menetes to Althea Villas. 

September 26, 2018 - Karpathos (Kyra Panagia) to Karpathos (Ammoopi)

Moving day.  We left Kyra Panagia on a windy morning for a short drive further south, past Pigadia to Ammoopi where we will be staying at Althea Villas for the next three nights.  Windy windy windy!  For dinner we went to the traditional village of Menetes where we met Eri, who fed us and then showed us her interesting traditional Karpathian home. 

September 25, 2018 - Karpathos (Kyra Panagia) with a visit to Olympos

A similar morning - do-it-yourself breakfast and a visit to the beach.  In the afternoon we drove what was a spectacular route to the north end of the island and the traditional village of Olympos, where a number of women greet the tourists in their traditional dress.  Nice dinner, including a vegetarian moussaka for Gayle. 

September 24, 2018 - Karpathos (Kyra Panagia)

A real do nothing day as we stayed put in Kyra Panagia - first making our own breakfast, then down to the beach for a swim, then back for quiet time, aka a nap, then back to the beach, then dinner.  All very relaxing and and enjoyable. 

September 23, 2018 - Chalki to Karpathos

Up real early for a 5:20 am ferry to Karpathos where we were met with our rental car.  We had a coffee and yoghurt in the port town of Pigadia before driving up the coast towards Kyra Panagia, a small village on a beautiful beach, where we will be staying the next three nights.

September 22, 2018 - Chalki

Ditto yesterday.  Really no where to go and not much to do other than enjoy the scenery, swim and relax.  Another very quiet / relaxing day.

September 21, 2018 - Chalki

Our first of two days in the port of Chalki.  No car rental - just enjoying our apartment and the spectacular views and wandering through the port.  A couple of swims, some work on the blog and dinner.  A very quiet / relaxing day. 

September 20, 2018 - Tilos to Chalki

Nothing exciting today.  With a late afternoon ferry Maria allowed us to stay in our room until we had to depart.  We lingered over breakfast, enjoyed another swim - the water is so warm - and just hung around until Maria delivered us to the port for our 1 1/4 hour ferry from Tilos to Chalki.  We easily found Villa Praxithea and checked in.  Down to the harbour where we picked a restaurant for dinner. 

September 19, 2018 - Tilos

Pretty much a repeat of yesterday with a walk into Lavadhia after breakfast, a drive through the rugged mountains to pretty much nowhere in the south-west, another enjoyable swim and dinner, all under blue skies while enjoying nice temperatures. 

September 18, 2018 - Tilos

Today was a 'Tilos' day.  A late breakfast during which we had a nice chat with Maria.  After time relaxing we took an afternoon drive to the far end of the island, with a swim along the way.  Dinner at a restaurant right on the water.  Slow and relaxing, consistent with the vibe of the island.

September 17, 2018 - Rhodes to Tilos

After spending the morning at Zacosta we wandered around the old walled town of Rhodes before being delivered to the ferry by John.  The ferry to Tilos, a bit over two hours was smooth.  We were met by Maria who delivered us to her Marina Rooms on the other side of the bay.  We could immediately see this was going to be quiet, relaxing stay given the size of the main town.  After settling in we had a nice dinner at a nearby taverna, with a great table looking directly out to the sea. 

September 16, 2018 - Symi to Rhodes

We had a late afternoon ferry from Symi to Rhodes today.  After checking out of Thea Apartments we walked the other side around a corner, and then another to Nos beach where we had another enjoyable swim.  We stopped on the way back for an afternoon meal and then returned to get our backpacks from Panos who stored them for the afternoon.  The ferry took us to Rhodes where we were met by John and our golf cart ride through the old town to Zacosta. 

September 14, 2018 - Symi Island (Pedi harbour and Chorio)

After a nice breakfast we went up to the old town of Chorio, and nice stroll of winding alleyways past well maintained homes and shops.  The village had a very lived in feeling.  We stopped at a cafe for drinks and cakes before returning to Pedi and taking a water taxi out to Marina Beach.  Dinner was back on the harbour side at a nice taverna well up the hill and therefore with great views of Gialos.

September 13, 2018 - Symi Island, Dodecanese

We awoke to simply admire the view of what is no doubt the prettiest harbour we have been in.  The pastel colour buildings are so attractive, and photograph well.  We picked up our rental vehicle and moved to another lodging in the nearby bay of Pedi (Thea apartments was fully booked) and then drove to the far end of the island and Marathounda Beach where we enjoyed a swim and some food in the taverna. 

September 12, 2018 - Rhodes to Symi

With our ferry not leaving until 1:00 pm we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Zacosta, including nice chats with John and George, who took us to the port and the ferry.  The trip to Symi is only 50 minutes.  After checking in we spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the view of the harbour.  Then a short walk-about and dinner.

September 11, 2018 - Brugge to Brussels to Athens to Rhodes

Nothing much to say on this travel day.  Up at 6:00 am; left Brugge at 6:50 am for the two plus hour drive to the Brussels airport where we boarded our Aegean flight to Athens.  After a three plus hour stop-over we flew on to Rhodes.  After checking in to our hotel we went out for our first Greek meal. 

September 10, 2018 - in Brugge

We spent a relaxing morning at Canal Deluxe B&B before heading out to walk the streets and alleys of Brugge, including with a walking tour  Lots of interesting architecture and shop after shop of chocolates and/or waffles.

September 08/09, 2018 - Halifax to Iceland to Brussels to Brugge

Rather than backtracking to Toronto or Montreal we took an Icelandair flight with a transfer in Rejkyavik to Brussels.  Being unable to make the connection to Athens we added a day, rented a car and drove to the city of Brugge for two nights. 

Our next adventure, will take us back to the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, where we spent six nights on the island of Rodos in 2010.

However before arriving in Greece we will be spending two nights in the Belgium city of Bruges.  Our Icelandic flight (overnight September 8, 2018) could not make the connection to Athens and rather than just one night near the airport we decided to drive the 1 1/2 hours to a city we have heard wonderful things about - Bruges, where we will stay September 9th and 10th.

It is then on to a number of Dodecanese islands, first flying in to Rodos where we will stay the night due to ferry scheduling.  We will be returning to a hotel we stayed at in 2010 - Zacosta Villa Hotel, within the old walls, arriving on the late flight from Athens.   Early the next afternoon we are off to Symi (north of Rodos) for four nights.  We then need to return to Rodos for a night as there is no direct ferry to Tilos that coincided with our itinerary.  Then it is off to Tilos (north-west of Rodos) for three nights, after which we are on to the island of Chalki (Krevatia on the map) for three more nights and then south-west to Karpathos for the last six nights of our time in Greece.

From Karpathos we then fly, through Athens, to Rome for the second part of our trip - in central Italy. 

Spain (Pyrenees and Menorca) - May 09, 2018 - June 07, 2018

Another trip in the books, all in all surpassing our expectations.  Given it was still May in the mountains the weather was actually better than expected - not hot but reasonably warm with minimal rain.  Perhaps we didn't meet that many other travelers but our hosts were very hospitable.  Menorca was wonderful and we were especially pleased with the places we chose to stay.

Check back mid September for our next travel blog as we will be off to Greece and Italy.  Until then enjoy the summer.

June 07, 2018 - Menorca to Barcelona to Montreal to Halifax

Up at 6:00 am; on the road at 7:00 am, before any one else was awake, and at the airport 15 minutes later as planned.  Our Vueling flight to Barcelona was on schedule as were our Air Canada flights, first to Montreal and then to Halifax.  Fortunately on the long flight to Montreal we had an open seat beside us providing some extra room.  As always it was a long day, arriving back in Halifax at 10:00 pm, or 3:00 am Menorcan time but its a small price to pay for the opportunity to travel in Spain.

June 06, 2018 - Menorca (Binigaus Vell to Binissafullet Vell) with another drive to a beach on the north coast

After breakfast we packed and left Binagus Vell and our last stop ... Binissafullet Vell.  After settling in we again drove to the north coast and another afternoon at the beach Cala Pregonda.  After returning to Binissafullet Vell we had our last meal of the trip, a nice Italian dinner. 

June 05, 2018 - Menorca (Binigaus Vell)

After enjoying another great breakfast and the morning at Binigaus Vell we drove to the north coast and Platja de Cavalleria.  An easy 7 to 10 minute walk brought us to a wide curving sandy beach where we enjoyed the sun and warm temperatures.  We then went to the Cap de Cavalleria and stopped in Fornells on the way back before returning for dinner. 

June 04, 2018 - Menorca (Ses Talaies to Binigaus Vell)

We left Ses Talaies this morning after an enjoyable three days on the west side of the island driving to the centre of the island and Binigaus Vell, checking in shortly after noon.  After wandering around the property we checked out two beaches on the south coast before returning for dinner. 

June 03, 2018 - Menorca (Ses Talaies) / Plages d'Algaiarens / Cala en Boscha

While it rained this morning it cleared up early afternoon allowing us to go to a beach on the north coast and then a town on the south coast, where we ate dinner - Menorca being a relatively small island.

June 02, 2018 - Menorca (Ses Talaies) / Cala Morell / Ciutadella

After a traditional (complete and filling) Spanish breakfast we took a short drive to Cala Morell, a small north coast resort village.  Not much of a beach with overcast weather so we returned and spent the afternoon in Ciutadella where we had an early dinner.  

June 01, 2018 - Barcelona to Menorca (Ses Talaies)

A 4:00 am bus departure is not a great way to start one's day but we returned to the airport and had no problems with our flight to Menorca.  We first stopped off at Binissafullet Vell (where we were supposed to stay) and then drove to the west end of the island for the next three nights.  More details and photos at the Spain 2018 tab.

May 31, 2018 - Barcelona and not on to Menorca

The plan was to spend the morning/early afternoon in Barcelona and then to the airport for a short flight to Menorca.  However our flight was cancelled (re-booked next morning) necessitating a 1 hr 45 min bus trip well north of the city. 

May 30, 2018 - a day in Barcelona

We spent the day in Barcelona - at a much slower pace than last year when we visited Park Guell and Segrada Familia.  This year we just wandered through the streets and alleys of downtown Barcelona, admiring the interesting buildings and stopping now and then just to watch the people.

May 29, 2018 - Hotel Can Cuch to We Boutique, Barcelona

We left Hotel Can Cuch this morning to the coast and then into Barcelona.  We turned a bit late forcing some driving through the city but managed to find the car rental return office.  A taxi from there to We Boutique, the same place we stayed last year and then a short walk before returning to Casa Lolea, where we ate last year, for another enjoyable tapas dinner. 

May 28, 2018 - Hotel Can Cuch

The weather during the first half of the day was not great, and given the 5 km drive steeply up a narrow lane to get to the hotel we decided to stay put.  Fortunately it cleared in the afternoon in order that we could enjoy our bottle of cava in our nice sitting area outside our room.

May 27, 2018 - Chateau Brangoly to Hotel Can Cuch

A lengthy drive today back into Spain through a mountain pass east of Puigcerda and then a National Forest south/east of Vic - twists and turns, up and down; with lots of wildflowers.  We eventually made our way to Hotel Can Cuch, a beautiful hotel isolated up in the National Forest.

May 26, 2018 - Chateau Brangoly with an afternoon drive in the area

As great as our breakfasts have been Chateau Brangoly's may take the cake - well actually three cakes - carrot, apple and chocolate.  Quite the spread.  In the afternoon we popped over to Spain to fill up with gas and then drove through a valley and along the slopes of a mountainside, stopping at a small market.  We returned for another excellent dinner.

May 25, 2018 - Domaine des Massols, Marsa to Chateau Brangoly, Enteivg

We left Eve, Antony and the three dogs to continue our travels further south, nearly to the Spanish border.  Perhaps one of the most scenic days of driving including the drive west to Ax-les-Therms, then south with a diversion into Andorra and finally to Brangoly and the Chateau Brangoly where we were fed like kings and queens.

May 24, 2018 -Domaine des Massols, Marsa with a drive the nearby Aude Pays Cathare area

After yet another nice breakfast and a morning working on the blog we went out for what turned out to be an enjoyable afternoon drive through some scenic countryside, with the usual abundance of wildflowers.  After nearly 100 kms we returned for yet another delicious dinner.

May 23, 2018 - L'Ancienne Bergerie to Domaine des Massols, Marsa

We continued east through the Pyrenees - generally a flat drive, not through the mountains past the towns of St. Giron and then Foix.  A nice if not spectacular drive.  We worked out way to an isolated valley and then ascended the mountainside to Domaine des Massols. 

May 22, 2018 - L'Ancienne Bergerie, Galey, France with a drive in the nearby mountains

This afternoon we went for an enjoyable drive in the area, over a mountain pass and through some lovely valleys, the one from Seix to Aros to Moulis being particularly scenic.  A bit of rain at Lac Bethmale put a damper on the drive but otherwise it was a nice trip.  We returned for yet another wonderful meal at L'Ancienne Bergerie.

May 21, 2018 - El Acebo de Casa Muria (Renanue) to L'Ancienne Bergerie, Galey, France

We left El Acebo and Spain today, driving over (and under) the mountains to France where we drove over a couple of mountain passes (along which this year's Tour de France is routed) and down a valley to Orgibet / Galey where we found L'Ancienne Bergerie, our 'home' for the next couple of nights.  Photos etc.  at the Spain 2018 tab.

May 20, 2018 - El Acebo de Casa Muria (Renanue) and a short drive across the mountains of the area

Our second full day in the area after breakfast and a some work on this travel blog we went for a short drive through a number of small villages hugging the mountain side.  Lots of animals and great vistas.  We returned to Casa Javier for dinner.  

May 19, 2018 - El Acebo de Casa Muria (Renanue) and Park Natural Posets-Maladeta

Today we drove up the valley to Benasque and then on to the Park Natural Posets-Maladeta where we stopped for a coffee/beer at the Hotel Hospital de Benasque.  A stop on the way back in the village of Ancils before returning to Casa Muria.  We enjoyed dinner at Casa Javier, where we ate in 2011.  

May 18, 2018 - Casa San Martin de Solana to El Acebo de Casa Muria (Renanue)

After an extremely interesting chat with David during which he provided a complete history of the Casa and failed dam project in the valley.  After finally leaving after noon we stopped in the abandoned village of Janovas and then the nearby town of Ainsa.  We then continued driving north towards Castajon de Sos near which we found our next stop in the nearby hamlet of Renanue.  

May 17, 2018 - Casa San Martin de Solano

We spent the entire day at Casa de San Martin mostly lounging about.  We of course enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, nice chats with David, a walk along the 'road', relaxing on one of the many nice benches, playing with the dogs and then being fed wonderfully.  A great relaxing day. 

May 16, 2018 - Gallipienzo, Navarra to Casa San Martin de Solano

We left Heredad Beragu driving first past Sos del Ray Cotolico, a bit north and then east past Jaca and on to San Martin where we stayed in 2011.  We were greeted by David, who looked after us on our previous visit.  Being the only guests this evening we enjoyed a very quiet evening, including our own private dining room.

May 15, 2018 - Gallipienzo, Navarra

Two highlights today; first 1,100 +/- sheep passing beneath our hotel balcony, and a chat with the shepherd later in the day, and second a climb to and visit of the church and crypt of the 11th Century Inglesias San Salvador.  Photos and a video (of the sheep) at the Spain 2018 tab.

May 14, 2018 - Getaria, Basque to Gallipienzo, Navarra

We left Getaria driving through some very scenic areas, first with the coast in sight and then through the lush Basque hillsides.  Not too much along the route other than an abundance of roadside wildflowers and lots of animals.  Ultimately we arrived in Gallipienzo, a medieval town dating from the 9th Century.

May 13, 2018 - Getaria, Basque

The plan today was to either drive down the coast to a couple of fishing villages or up into the hills through the vineyards, or both, but the weather did not cooperate.  Although there were the occasional sunny periods it was mostly overcast and raining, and still quite cold.  Other than a midday walk through town we spent most of the day indoors.  Photos and more at the Spain 2018 tab.

May 12, 2018 - Zarraton, Rioja to Getaria, Basque

A much colder day (high of only 12 C) with a few showers during our drive.  We first stopped at the Muga Bodegas, crossed the Camino de Santiago twice and worked our way to the coast and the Atlantic Ocean, eventually reaching the seaside Basque town of Getaria. 

May 11, 2018 - Hererros to Zarraton, Rioja

After a surprisingly excellent breakfast we left Enclave Soria driving north through the Sierra de la Demanda and into the Rioja regions, ultimately to Zarraton, where we stayed in a Palacio originally built in the XIth century.

May 09/10, 2018 - Halifax to Hererros, Spain

Our flights were all on schedule with an early morning arrival in Madrid.  We drove a few hours north-east near the town of Soria where we spent our first night.  On the way we stopped in a couple of interesting villages and met a shepherd.  It certainly is nice to be back in Spain!

With this trip behind us our next adventure will take us back to Spain for four weeks from May 09, 2018 through June 07, 2018.  We will be returning to the Basque area of northern Spain (we were there in 2011) and then across the Pyrenees, first on the Spanish side with a week on the French side.  Back through Catalonia to Barcelona with a week in Menorca to finish the trip. Check back for the travel blog.

Costa Rica and Panama - Feb 05, 2018 through Feb 21, 2018

Having enjoyed the Pacific side of Costa Rica so much last year we decided to return only a year later.  This time though we will be going to the Caribbean side and then south into Panama and the islands of Bocas del Toro, with the final two days in Panama City.

February 21, 2018 - Panama City to Halifax

Up early for a 5:30 am shuttle to the airport where we took a COPA flight from Panama City to Cancun where we changed to an Air Canada flight directly to Halifax, arriving just before 7:00 pm and bringing an end to another interesting and great trip.

February 20, 2018 - Panama City

Our last day in Panama City.  Rich arranged a half day tour with a dedicated driver - to a memorial to the Chinese, a visit to the the community of Amador and a couple of hours at the Panama Canal Milflores locks before driving through the dense downtown of Panama City and out to our hotel near the airportFor a few photos go to the Costa Rica Panama 2018 tab.

February 19, 2018 - Panama City (Casa Sucre)

A full day in the historic district of Panama City - Casco Viejo.  We wandered the streets, ran into Monica and Lucia, did some souvenir shopping, and ultimately struggled to find a place for dinner.  All in all a good day. 

February 18, 2018 - Isla Bastimentos (Casa Cayuco) to Panama City (Casa Sucre)

After breakfast we went with Dave for a tour of the nearby Ngobe Salt Creek village.  Dave is very passionate about the Ngobe, providing us an interesting tour.  After returning to Casa Cayuco and having lunch Dave took us back to Bocas town where we caught a short flight to Panama City.  After settling in to Casa Sucre in the old Casco Viejo part of Panama City we went to dinner at a Peruvian restaurant. 

February 17, 2018 - Isla Bastimentos (Casa Cayuco)

For the most part a similar day - periodic downpours with the sun appearing on occasion between.  In the afternoon seven of us took a hike through the jungle, wading through mud and ponds until we ultimately reached the shore along which we continued our walk until returning to the lodge.  

February 16, 2018 - Isla Bastimentos (Casa Cayuco)

Today was a quiet day, in part due to the frequent downpours.  We ate three good meals, took a nap (or two), listened to the pounding surf and the periodic downpours. 

February 15, 2018 - Isla Bastimentos (La Loma Jungle Lodge to Casa Cayuco)
After breakfast we took what turned out to be a 2 1/2 hour tour of the farm encountering a mama sloth with her young one, cocao trees and lots of muddy jungle.  After lunch we we picked up by Dave and boated around the other side of the island to Casa Cayuco, the next eco-lodge of our Bocas island trip. 

February 14, 2018 - Isla Bastimentos (La Loma Jungle Lodge)

Unlike the other guests we did not take a tour.  Rather we lingered over our three filling meals and make maximum use of our rancho, getting lots of exercise ascending and descending between the lodge and our rancho.

February 13, 2018 - Isla Pastores (Finca Vela Lodge) to Isla Bastimentos (La Loma Jungle Lodge)

We left Finca Vela early afternoon, being taken back to Almirante where we got a water taxi to Bocas Town from where we were picked up for a 20 minute boat ride to La Loma Jungle Lodge where after introductions we climbed the 153 steps to our Rancho cabin.  As promised the climb was worth the view. 

February 12, 2018 - Isla Pastores (Finca Vela Lodge)

Pretty much a repeat of yesterday with a 1 1/2 hour tour of the Finca after breakfast by Herve.  The afternoon was again spent relaxing and swimming / paddle boarding (at least Gayle).

February 11, 2018 - Isla Pastores (Finca Vela Lodge)

Rest and relaxation enjoying our pretty little cabin right on the water, watching the birds, swimming a bit, working on the travel blog and just sitting around, sort of what vacation is supposed to be. 

February 10, 2018 - Puerto Viejo (Hotel Banana Azul) to Isla Pastores (Finca Vela Lodge)

We left Banana Azul this morning, taking a bus from Puerto Viejo to the Costa Rica / Panama border, crossed and then took a 1 hour shuttle to Amaranti where we were picked up for our 15 minute boat ride to Finca Vela Lodge. 

February 09, 2018 - Puerto Viejo (Hotel Banana Azul) and Tree of Life Wildlife Refuge

Today was a big day, being Gayle's birthday.  We started with some time on the beach watching a couple of surfers, went to a wildlife rescue centre to see the botanical gardens and a number of animals, including a few sloths, and finally enjoyed a wonderful meal at a very nice Italian restaurant in nearby Playa Cocles.

February 08, 2018 - Puerto Viejo (Hotel Banana Azul)

The entire day was spent at Banana Azul.  After breakfast we sat on the beach watching a couple of surfers.  We would have gone into town in the afternoon but just before we were about to leave it began to rain, a rain that continued for a few hours resulting in us staying put.

February 07, 2018 - Cachi (Hotel Quelitales) to Puerto Viejo (Hotel Banana Azul)

After another enjoyable breakfast and a nice chat with Jose, Didier and a demonstration of towel art by Xenia we left Hotel Quelitales for a lengthy 4 1/2 hour drive to Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean sea south near the border with Panama.  The drive was quite hilly for the first few hours before flattening out approaching Limon and then south to Puerto Viejo and our next stop - Hotel Banana Azul.

February 06
, 2018 - Cachi (Hotel Quelitales)

A leisurely day - starting with a really nice breakfast with a huge serving of very flavourful gallo pinto.  Some bird watching, relaxing in our cabin and then a late afternoon 1 1/2 hour drive to Cachi, around the lake to Paraiso and back and it was time for another great dinner. 

February 05
, 2018 - Halifax to Montreal to San Jose, Costa Rica to Cachi (Hotel Quelitales)

An early morning flight (5:50 am) to Montreal, connecting to a direct flight to San Jose.  After picking up our rental vehicle we drove through San Jose, east to Cartago, Paraiso and finally Cachi and our hotel for the first two nights, the Hotel Quelitales at the top of a valley in the rain forest.

Greece and Istanbul - Sep 03, 2017 through Oct 03, 2017

Off to the Mediterranean again, this time to Greece.  First it is the island of Naxos and then a return to the islands of Koufonissi and Amorgos.  We return to the mainland where we will rent a car to tour the Peloponnese with a few days on the island of Kythira off the south coast.  Finally will will be spending the final three nights in Istanbul. 

October 03, 2017- Istanbul to Toronto to Halifax

Today we returned home ... business class.  We got a great Aeroplan deal that was too good to pass up.  With a mid-afternoon flight we left our hotel shortly after 10:00 am in order to spend time in Istanbul Turkish Airlines lounge.  Pretty special.  Check out the Greece Istanbul 2017 tab for more details.

October 02, 2017- Istanbul

Our second and final full day in Istanbul.  The weather was much nicer today - still cool but mostly blue skies with only a few clouds.  We went to the Blue Mosque (impressive inside and out), the Grand Bazaar and another bazaar on our way home.  A fair amount of walking.   

October 01, 2017- Istanbul

Our first day in Istanbul the weather was not great but for the most part the rain held off.  We wandered through the sights of the Sultanahmet historical area of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque, Haggis Sophia and Hippodrome.  After stopping for a light lunch we went into the Ayasofya museum.  

September 30, 2017- Nafplion to Athens to Istanbul

We left Nafplion this morning, driving the three hours or so to Athens and the airport for our flight to Istanbul.  Being our last day in Greece we have included a 'Memories of Greece' along with information on costs and the places we stayed.

September 29, 2017- Nafplion

We spent the day in the old town of Nafplion, first visiting a small folk museum and then wandering the narrow alleys and strolling along part of the harbour.  Being somewhat of a 'city' with many shops we did a little shopping before joining Linda and Bill for dinner.

September 28
, 2017- Kitta, up the west coast of the Mani peninsula, to Kalamata and then across to Nafplion

Another moving (primarily driving) day although we did get a swim in.  After turning inland through the mountains we encountered rain, at times heavy.  Some dramatic mountain driving eventually led us to Nafplion where we arrived very late afternoon. 

September 27
, 2017 - the west coast of the Mani peninsula

A pretty light day.  Breakfast of course and then a drive north to Drialos to look at some pottery, then south to Mezapo Beach, then to Gerolimenas for a drink in a water side cafe/taverna then further south to Marmarioui Beach and finally back for dinner. 

September 26
, 2017 - around the Mani peninsula

After a unique, tasty and filling breakfast and some frustration working on the travel blog (WiFi is not the best here) we went out on a drive around the Mani peninsula.  We first drove south through Gerolimenas near to the southern most point in Europe - we turned around a few kms short, and then through the mountains and north up the west coast.  Very dramatic.  After completing the loop we enjoyed another excellent dinner. 

September 25
, 2017 - Monemvasia to Kitta (Citta dei Nicliani)

We left Monemvasia after breakfast driving north up the coast where we stopped for our daily swim.  Then across the mountains down to Skala, on to Gythion and then down the second 'finger' of the Peloponnese to Citta dei Nicliani in Kitta where we enjoyed a wonderful meal. 

September 24
, 2017 - Monemvasia

Today was spent entirely within the walls of Monemvasia, a small island off the coast, founded in 583.  We enjoyed a great breakfast, relaxed, and wandered around the village, and ended the day with a fabulous meal. 

September 23
, 2017 - Kythira to Monemvasia

With a 2:00 pm ferry we had time to go down to the harbour of Avlemonas and enjoy a swim - calm as can be it was nice.  We returned to shower, pack and then back down for lunch.  We then drove the 15 minutes to Diakotis where we caught the ferry back to Neapoli.  We then drove 45 minutes to Monemvasia. 

September 22
, 2017 - Kythira

After a spectacular sunrise and a cup of coffee we went out to see Kythira.  First to Potamos to buy our return ferry tickets, then to Agia Pelagia for a swim, then all the way south through the areas burnt by the massive fire of 2017 to Chora, a couple more beaches and dinner in a traditional taverna in Kalamos. 

September 21
, 2017 - Elia to Kythira

Up early and a quick breakfast before leaving at 7:30 am for the hour drive to Neapoli where we picked up our ferry tickets and boarded the ferry to Kythira with a few minutes to spare.  We found our lodging fairly easily, went into Avlemonas for a drink and a bit of food as they got our room ready.  We then settled in and relaxed for the early afternoon before going to Kaladi beach for a swim.  Then a drive around this quarter of the island and into the village for dinner. 

September 20
, 2017 - Stemnitsa to Elia

Today we left the mountains of the Peloponnese heading south to Elia.  Our departure was somewhat delayed as we unexpectedly spent about 1 1/2 in cafes in Stemnitsa.  After the 2 1/2 hour drive through orange groves and olive trees we reached the seaside town of Elia where we enjoyed a wonderful meal right next to the harbour.

September 19
, 2017 - Stemnitsa and surrounding area

Late getting up, a late breakfast and a late departure to drive to Dimitsana and through the gorges of this area of the Peloponnese.  But a beautiful drive it was through the mountains.  We returned to Stemnitsa around dinner time when we had a light meal again in the square.  

September 18
, 2017 - Amorgos to Naxos (ferry) to Athens (air) to Stemnitsa

A travel day.  Up at 4:45 am to catch the 6:00 am ferry from Amorgos to Naxos (arriving at 9:10 am).  Breakfast in Naxos town and then a taxi to the airport for the 25 minute flight to Athens were we picked up our rental car to drive three plus hours across the Peloponnese and up into the mountains to the small village of Stemnitsa. 

September 17
, 2017 - Chora, Amorgos with a trip to the west end of the island

After breakfast at a restaurant in the village we wandered through most of the back alleys and squares of Chora.  We then took a drive to the far end of the island, past the shipwreck to another beach for our daily swim.  On the way back we stopped at a dramatic cliff-side bar for a drink.  We then returned to Chora and went for an early dinner given the hour we will need to get up for our early morning ferry. 

September 16, 2017 - Aigaili, Amorgos to Chora, Amorgos

We left Pano Gitonia and Aigaili today, driving the short half hour to Chora, the medieval capital of Amorgos, in the centre of the island, up the mountain from the port of Katapola.  We easily found our 'traditional house' and spent the afternoon wandering through the alleyways of this village with character.  A trip down to the port to pick up our ferry tickets and out the other side of Katapola where we walked 20 minutes to a beach for our daily swim.  Then back to Chora for dinner. 

September 13, 14, and 15, 2017 - Aigaili, Amorgos

These three days are effectively carbon copies of each other.  Each day was sunny, hot and essentially cloudless.  The mornings were spent at Pano Gitonia staring out to the harbour, town, beaches, and mountain village.  We made a light breakfast - coffee, juice, sweets and yoghurt and caught up on emails or worked on the travel blog.  Then in the afternoon it was off to a beach for a couple of hours followed by relaxation back at Pano Gitonia and then dinner.  The only thing that was really different was the beach and the restaurant.    

September 12, 2017 - travel day Koufonissi to Amorgos

After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Thania, Lola and Georgio and loaded all our bags on Georgio's jeep for the drive to the port.  We were on the short 45 minute Highspeed ferry to Katopola in Amorgos.  We rented our cars and drove the half hour to Aegali and Pano Gitonia.  Every bit as wonderful as we remember.  

September 11, 2017 - much the same as the past few days, Koufonissi

The days are becoming somewhat repetitive - sleep in; a leisurely breakfast; worked on the travel blog; to a beach for a swim; back for some more relaxation, and then today into Chora and then beyond to Aneplora, a restaurant on the west side of the island reported to have great sunsets. 

September 10, 2017 - to Pori beach, Koufonissi

Today, again after lengthy, relaxed breakfast we hiked the path over the top of the island to Pori beach, an absolutely stunning crescent shaped sandy beach on the north-east side of the island.   After a refreshing swim we enjoyed a nice lunch at Kalofego, returned to the sea for another swim and then took the coastal walk past the other beaches to Pambelos Lodge.

September 09, 2017 - a 'light' day in Koufonissi 

A pretty quiet and pretty much do nothing day.  A leisurely breakfast; work on the travel blog; a trip down to the second beach (Platia Pounta); a nap and then a return to Finikas for dinner.  

September 08, 2017 - our first full day in Koufonissi

The day started with a delicious extensive breakfast followed by a trip into town to pick up a few supplies (milk for coffee; wine etc).  Then it was down to Fanos beach for a swim (the sand and water is wonderful) before returning to welcome Bill and Linda, who are joining us for parts of this trip to Greece.   

September 07, 2017 - Faros Villas, Naxos to Koufonissi

Today we left Faros Villas and Naxos driving to Naxos Town where we returned our rental car, wondered the harbour for an hour and then caught the ferry for Koufonissi and our return to Pambelos Lodge. 

September 06, 2017 - Faros Villas, Naxos

Today we drove through the interior/mountains of Naxos, stopping in a few nice towns.  We had very good lunch at a typical tavena in Koronos before circling back towards Naxos Town and then back to Faros Villas.  

September 05, 2017 - Faros Villas, Naxos

Another primarily recovery day.  A bit late in rising, but not so late as to miss breakfast, a dip in the pool, a nap and then a drive around the south-west of the island, before another nice sunset and dinner.  

September 04, 2017 - Halifax to Toronto to Athens to Naxos to Faros Villas

After a long day of travel we are here - in Naxos, where the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and the temperatures are high.  A short drive to the south of Naxos brought us to Faros Villas, our 'home' for the next three nights.   

Spain - May 07, 2017 through June 01, 2017

It is off to Spain  for three and a half weeks - first five nights at Cortijo El Guarda, a cortijo we have been to twice before and simply love, then east for eight days through Andalusia, the Sierra Nevadas and on towards Valencia from where we fly to Mallorca for nine nights followed by two nights in Barcelona.

May 31, 2017 - Barcelona

Lots of walking today.  We took the bus to Antoni Gaudi's Park Guell, then walked and visited his Sagrada Familia, then walked back to our hotel, then walked to dinner, then walked back, seeing lots of Barcelona in the process.  Photos of Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and dinner at Spain 2017 tab.

May 30, 2017 - Son Palou, Orient, Mallorca to Barcelona

Travelling day although with a 5:00 pm flight there was no rush.  A leisurely breakfast; a chat with Marc; a visit to a glass factory and on to the airport.  Then it was a short 50 minute flight to Barcelona where unfortunately the taxis were on a one-day strike.  Public transit to our hotel and then out to eat - typical Catalan tapas.

May 29, 2017 - Son Palou, Orient with a short drive

Early afternoon we took a drive to a glass factory near Campanet in search of a Mallorcan olive oil pitcher. Unfortunately the one we found was too large so we returned empty-handed other than some photos of a fellow picking cherries, some sheep and a windmill.  We went all out and had an enjoyable dinner on our last night here at Son Palou.  

May 28, 2017 - Son Palou, Orient

We spent our first full day at Son Palou in Orient.  After breakfast we took a walk through the village (it is really quite small) then circling back to Son Palou.  We had a pitcher of sangria in the afternoon and another nice dinner.

May 27, 2017 - Muleta de Ca S'Hereu to Soller to Valldamossa Orient and Son Palou

After three wonderful days we left Muleta de Ca S'Hereu first stopping at the market in Soller.  Then back along the scenic north coast with a short stop in Valldamossa, eventually to Orient and our final stop in Mallorca, our return to Son Palou.

May 26, 2017 - Muleta de Ca S'Hereu and Port Soller

We did drive down (and back up) the snaking road (see photo at Spain 2017 tab) .in order to stroll through Port Sollers.  As touristy port towns go it was actually quite nice, with a tram that runs to Soller, about 6 kms inland.  The afternoon was again relaxing at Muleta followed by another nice dinner. 

May 25, 2017 - Muleta de Ca S'Hereu

Both because this place is so relaxing and wonderful and who would want to drive down and up that road when there was no need we decided to simply stay at Muleta all day, lounging around at the pool and comfortable seating areas leading to another nice dinner.  

May 24, 2017 - leave Finca Son Jorbo; arrive in Port Soller at Muleta de Ca S'Hereu

After three nights it was time to move on, to Port Soller on the north coast.  Our relatively short drive took us back to the outskirts or Palma, through Valldamossa, along the dramatically scenic north cost past Deia and on to Port Sollar and our lodging for the next three nights Muleta de  Ca S'Hereu. 

May 23, 2017 - morning at Finca Son Jorbo; afternoon drive to Arta and Cala Torta

A pretty similar day to yesterday - breakfast, a leisurely morning at the Finca, and then an afternoon drive to the south-east of the island, to the beach at Cala Torta where the water was warmer, a stroll through Arta and then back to the Finca.  

May 22, 2017 - morning at Finca Son Jorbo; afternoon drive to Cala Figuera and Playa s'Amarador

We spent the morning and early afternoon at our Finca after which we took a drive to the coast, first through Campos then on to Cala Figuera and a beach at Almondine. We returned to Cala Figuera for dinner and then returned just before dark.   

May 21, 2017 - moving day - drive from Guadalest to Valencia; fly to Mallorca; on to Finca Son Jorbo

Today we are off to Mallorca.  After breakfast we drove to Valencia from where we flew to Palma de Mallorca.  We picked up our rental car and made our way to Porreres and Finca Son Jorbo where we will be staying the next three nights.  

May 20, 2017 - Guadalest castle, a drive to the coast and tapas for dinner

Breakfast was served on the terrace overlooking the valley - very nice.  In the early afternoon we went up to the castle after which we drove to the coast - Benidorm and Altea, through endless nispero orchards before returning for our special dinner of 11 tapas.  

May 19, 2017 - Villenueva del Rio Seguara to Guadalest

After another filling breakfast Llanos provided us a tour of the citrus grove with explanations and tastings of the fruit.  We then drove up the valley, through many more citrus groves and then further east in to Valencia and Alicante provinces.  At Alcoi we drove back in to the mountains to our stop for the next two nights, El Castel de Guadalest where we enjoyed yet another wonderful meal.

May 18, 2017 - Mairena across the mountains in to Murcia and Villaneueva del Rio Segura 

After breakfast we left on our longest drive - nearly 300 km.  The first hour was slow through the mountains but then some good highways had us make time so that we arrived at La Joya del Valle de Ricote for our 'Magical Moroccan Night' mid afternoon. 

May 17, 2017 - Las Chimeneas, Mairena

Another quiet day.  After a nice breakfast we strolled through the sleepy village of Mairena.  Late afternoon we went for a driver through the valley, stopping for a drink/tapas at a recommended place with great views of the mountains from the terrace.  Photos of the stop and others of the day at the Spain 2017 tab.

May 16, 2017 - Pitres to Mairena

After our do it ourselves breakfast and a stroll through the property we left for a twisty turning undulating drive across the face of the Sierra Nevada mountains, just below the edge of the protected Parque Natural, eventually making our way to the village of Mairena and out stay at Las Chimeneas.  

May 15, 2017 - Cortijo Prado Toro (Pitres, Alpujarra, Sierra Nevada) with a drive to Trevelez

An easy day started with a short trip to Pitres to pick up some stuff for breakfast and then a late afternoon drive up a gorge to Trevelez, the ham curing capital of Spain.  Photos and more at the Spain 2017 tab.

May 14, 2017 - Cortijo del Marques (Albolote) to Cortijo Prado Toro (Pitres, Alpujarra, Sierra Nevada)

After only a quick one night stay we left the Cortijo del Marques driving south through Granada along the west sidd of the Sierra Nevada mountains and then along the south to the village of Pitres and Cortijo Prado Toro. 

May 13, 2017 - Alcala del Valle to Cortijo del Marques, just north of Granada

Finally the weather gets nice enough to have breakfast outside and we have to leave.  We drove straight east to Granada and then 20 km north for a one-night stay at Cortijo del Marques where we stayed in 2013. 

May 12, 2017 - a drive through the mountains to the coast and back

Where is the hot Andalusian weather?  Another cool, cloudy day with prospects of rain.  We spent the afternoon driving through the mountains down to the coast (where it was sunny and hot), then circling back to Ronda and El Guarda, where we again enjoyed a nice dinner.  

May 11, 2017 - Cortijo El Guarda with a trip in to Ronda

The weather again today was far from great - mid teens with intermittent rain.  We went into Ronda for the afternoon where for the most part the rain held off. 

May 10, 2017 - Cortijo El Guarda with a drive in the Andalusia countryside

The weather has taken a turn for the worse.  It was cool (mid teens) with some rain today but we did get out for a drive but chose not to go into Ronda due to the weather.  Just the same some nice flower photos at the Spain 2017 tab.

May 9, 2017 - Cortijo El Guarda

A recovery day hanging around El Guarda with a great dinner at Polear in Alcala del Valle.  Unfortunately our luggage has not yet arrived.

May 7 - 8, 2017 - Halifax to London to Brussels to Malaga to Cortijo El Guarda

Our journey was a mess with flight delay after flight delay, undelivered luggage and a very late (11:30 pm) arrival.  But we made it - which at one point did not look likely.  Details of our changing flights and struggles can be read on the Spain 2017 tab.

Costa Rica - February 5, 2017 through February 22nd, 2017

This journey takes us to Costa Rica, where we visited February 5th through 22nd.

We have been before, but each time to the north.  This trip was south to the remote Osa Peninsula.  We spent time in the cloud forest and on the coast.  As expected the reliability of Internet / WiFi was sparse, particularly early in the trip.  As a result we were not able to publish our travel blog as we went along.  However we are now working away at it.  Unlike past trips where we reported day by day here we will comment by stop, e.g. the first posting covers our three days at Santa Juana Lodge.

February 19 - 20 - Paraiso Quetzal Lodge     

Bye, bye heat and coast.  At Dominical we headed inland to San Isidro de El General and then north to the cloud forest and a 'birding' lodge where we went in search of the resplendent quetzal as well as enjoyed the numerous hummingbirds.  See some of their photos at the Costa Rica tab.

February 17 - 18 - Alma de Ojochal, Ojochal     

We left Lookout Inn and and Osa Peninsula, returning north to Ojochal, where we stayed at a small but very nice five-room boutique hotel, complete with pool, restaurant and live music.  We enjoyed simply sitting on our balcony, watching the birds and the sunsets.  Pura vida.

February 13 - 16 - Lookout Inn, Carate     

From wilderness to more wilderness.  A 46 km drive along a gravel road brought us to Carate on the west side of the Osa Peninsula - again only solar power.  We enjoyed four days at Lookout Inn, consistently hearing and observing the crashing waves, the birds, reptiles, bugs and animals (monkeys, coatis and a tapir).  A relaxing friendly lodge providing a great experience.  

February 09 - 12 - Saladero Eco Lodge, Golfo Dulce     

For the next four days we were 'off the grid', so much so that we had to take a boat to the lodge.  Saladero is pure wilderness on the primary rain forest and the shores of the Golfo Dulce.  We enjoyed swimming in the warm gulf waters and hiking the short trails in search of wildlife.  The food was great, the hospitality great and the other well-traveled guests very interesting.

February 08 - Santa Juana to Puerto Jimenez     

Today was a travel day.  From Santa Juana Lodge we drove back to the coast, through Quepos and then south past Palmar and on to the Osa Peninsula where we stayed in Puerto Jimenez in order to catch both the next morning. 

February 05 - 07, 2017 - Halifax to Montreal to San Jose to Quepos to Santa Juana     

A very early departure had us arriving in San Jose mid-day which allowed us to drive a few hours south to reach our first destination, Santa Juana Lodge in the foothills of the cloud forest. 

October 03, 2016 - Casaprota to Halifax

     Time to come home.  After 25 days today is a quick breakfast, a 1 1/2 hour drive to Rome's Airport, a flight to Montreal and then another to Halifax.  Check out the Sicily 2016 tab for memories of and a summary of our trip.

October 02, 2016 - Casaprota
     Unfortunately the weather was not great our last day with intermittent showers.  We caught the tail-end of the monthly fair in nearby Osteria Nuova, relaxed at Colle Cesoni, had a great chat with Giovanni and Anna Maria and enjoyed a final pizza.  

October 01, 2016 - Baglio di Pianetto and Sicily to Colle Cesoni, Casaprota north-east of Rome
     We left Sicily today.  After a quick breakfast we drove the one hour to the Palermo airport for our hour or so flight to Rome.  From  Rome we drove 1 1/2 hours into the hills to the town of Casaprota where we will be our final two nights.  We ended up at an event in the town square in the evening - a nice way experience. 

September 30, 2016 - Baglio di Pianetto with a short drive in the afternoon
     We spent most of the day at the winery, relaxing including time around (although not in) the pool.  We did take a short drive around the area before a very memorable dinner. 

September 29, 2016 - Masseria Susafa to Baglio di Pianetto
     After three nights we left Susafa, enjoying a scenic drive north-west through the mountains and rolling hills towards Palermo where we are staying at a vineyard approx. 40 km south and still in the rural hills. 

September 28, 2016 - Masseria Susafa with a drive through the mountains down to the coast
     Most of the day again at the Masseria although we did go out for a few hours in the afternoon, driving north through the Monti Madonie and then on to the coast before returning. 

September 27, 2016 - Masseria Susafa
     When you are at a really nice place and out in the country along a less than great one lane road 20 km from the nearest town it is not a particularly tough decision to stay put and simply relax.  We did.  

September 26, 2016 - Piazza Armerina to the Monti Madonie and Masseria Susafa
     Another not so great day weather wise.  Not having gone in to Piazza Armerina we did so before leaving the area, taking a short walk through the center of town and popping in to the cathedral which was quite impressive.  We then drove north through more rain and a whole lot of nothing up into the mountains and eventually to the Masseria Susafa where we will be staying the next three nights. 

September 25, 2016 - Villa Romana del Casale and rain
     One of the primary 'must see' sites near Piazza Armerina are the mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale.  We sent an hour or so (that's what it takes) viewing the multi-coloured mosaics dating originally from the fourth century AD.  Shortly after returning to our B&B it began to rain, and rained throughout the rest of the day precluding any other excursions. 

September 24, 2016 - to Ragusa Ibla and then north to Piazza Armerina
     On the advice of Francesco we decided to bypass Modica and head to Ragusa Ibla where we spent a couple of hours including lunch.  We then continued north past a number of similar looking towns (high on hill tops, extremely dense with homes and churches) through rolling countryside to Piazza Atmerina. 

September 23, 2016 - Noto and the south-east coast of Sicily

     Today we went to another Baroque town - Noto.  Devastated by th 1693 earthquake it was rebuilt and recently restored to be a showpiece of architecture.  We then drove south to the south-east tip of Sicily and then back to Pozzallo along some beautiful sandy beaches.  More at the Sicily tab.

September 22, 2016 - Scicli and Sampieri

     In the afternoon we went to the nearby town of Scicli.  Located in a gorge the town is very pleasant to walk through with nice plazas and some fascinating buildings.  We then went down to the beach for a nice stroll before returning to Scicli for dinner. 

September 21, 2016 - Fattoria Vassallo to Villa Quartarella, Modica

     Before leaving Fattoria Vassallo we got the full tour of the farm from Salvatore.  Animals, vegetables, nut trees, vineyards, fruit trees - we saw them all.  We then drove primarily along the coast, first through some not so attractive greenhouses but then some nicer beach-side communities before heading somewhat inland to Villa Quartarella, a few kms south of Modica.

September 20, 2016 - Fattoria Vassallo, beach time at Cale de Re and Licata

     After another leisurely morning we went to the coast to a cove/beach Salvatore recommended where we spent a couple of hours on the beach.  Afterwards we went into nearby Licate to wander the centro before returning to the farm for another filling and great meal. 

September 19, 2016 - Laguna dei Fenici, Marsala to Fattoria Vassallo, north of Licata

     Today was our longest driving day, from Marsala south and then west.  After the city of Marasala it was primarily vineyards and olive groves.  We did stop for a couple of hours at the ruins of Selinunte - very impressive, before continuing on to the organic farm at which we will be staying the next two nights. 

September 18, 2016 - Laguna dei Fenici, Marsala

     We spent the day along the salt-pans in the lagoon just north of Marsala, including a visit to the Museo del Sale, housed in a windmill used in the day for moving the salt water from one lagoon to another. 

September 17, 2016 - Scopello - Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro and on to Marsala

     Although we knew it would be crowded (and it was) we returned to the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro and hiked the (difficult) 1 km or so to the first beach, the Cala Capreria.  We then left the area, driving through rolling hillsides often covered with vineyards to the west coast and Marsala, our stop for the next two nights. 

September 16, 2016 - Scopello, with a couple of hours at the beach

     Today we stayed in the area.  We tried to go into the nature reserve but a brush fire closed the park so we found a nearby beach where we spent a couple of hours in the sun and beautiful sea.  Then some time simply sitting in the village square, watching the people, including two more weddings and an early dinner.

September 15, 2016 - Scopello, with a drive to Erice and Son Vito Lo Capo

   After a nice breakfast we drove across the mountains to the west side and the town of Erice where we wandered around for a couple of hours.  We then drove to the very north of the peninsula and the seaside resort of Son Vito Lo Capo before returning for dinner again in Scopello. 

September 14, 2016 - Pantelleria to Scopello

     Our last morning at La Casa dei Fiori before flying to Sicily (Palermo) to pick up another rental car and drive the approx. one hour to Scopello, on the north-west part of the island.  

September 13, 2016 - Pantelleria

     And yet another quiet, mostly lazy day.  In the afternoon we took a drive along the north coast and then to the Specchio di Venere or Venus' Mirror, a small lake in a former crater.  We continued inland across the island, ending up in Scauri (it seems all roads lead to Scauri).  Then back to Tracino where we enjoyed another wonderful meal courtesy of Carlos.

September 12, 2016 - Pantelleria

     Much the same today - the morning lazing around La Casa and then an afternoon drive across the interior to Scauri where we were unsuccessful in finding a place to eat.  We returned again along the east coast and picked up a couple of pizzas and a calzone to eat on our terrace. 

September 11, 2016 - Pantelleria

     After spending the morning and into the early afternoon at La Casa dei Fiori we went for a drive around the south-east end of the island - a spectacular drive with the sea always present.  After Scauri we continued on to the town of Pantelleria and after a short stop returned to Tracino, essentially driving around the entire island. 

September 10, 2016 - Pantelleria

     The first of what will no doubt be a number of relaxing (lazy?) days.  We are in a wonderful place with a large terrace looking out to the sea.  A comfy hammock for Gayle, decent Wifi access, warm weather, and a pool - not much need to go anywhere  at least not today.  

September 8 / 9, 2016 - to the island of Pantelleria

     We left mid afternoon for Toronto and an overnight flight to Rome from where we caught a one hour flight to the island of Pantelleria, located between Sicily and Tunisia (closer to Tunisia) in the Mediterranean.  During our five days on the island we will be staying at La Casa dei Fiori (The House of Flowers) . 

Sicily 2016 - September 08 to October 03, 2016

       Our next trip is to Sicily.  Gayle spent some time on Sicily during her year of travelling in 1974/1975 while Norm has never been this far south on any of his trips to Italy.

       The trip begins with five nights on the island of Pantelleria, an island in the Straight of Sicily  between Sicily and Tangiers, actually closer to Tangiers than Sicily.  No particular reason for going to Pantelleria other than it qualifies as being 'off the beaten track'.  Apparently the food is supposed to be very good.

       Then it is back to Sicily for two and a half weeks, from Palermo to the west side near Trapani, then south with a couple of nights in Marsala, along the coast past Agrigento as far as Modica and then through the interior, i.e. between Caltanissetta and Enna back to Palermo.  In spite of two and half weeks we will not be spending any time along the east coast and although not staying on the north coast we will likely do a day trip.

       Rather than leaving Palermo on an early morning flight we will be leaving mid-day to Rome where we will then head about an hour and a half north-east of Rome for our last two days.


       As always the ability to keep the travel-blog current will be dependent on the speed of Wi-Fi access.  Photos can take some time to upload.  Check back regularly to see if an update has been posted.

Norm and Gayle

Hawaii 2016 - January 31, 2016 to February 17, 2016

with a stop south of San Francisco


Being Gayle's 60th birthday we decided to take a special winter vacation - to Hawaii. 
We stopped for three nights en-route near San Francisco before continuing on to the Big Island.

January 31, 2016 - February 17, 2016 - San Francisco and the Big Island, Hawai'i
    A great 2 1/2 weeks.  The few days south of San Francisco was a great decision.  Not only did it break up the long trip the Monterrey Peninsula was an interesting visit.  Spending two weeks on the Big Island was also a good call - relaxing with the opportunity to explore the whole island.

     See the Hawai'i 16 tab for a full report.

February 17, 2016 - Ka'waa Loa Plantation and our last day on the Big Island
    Our last day.  We enjoyed yet another filling breakfast and of course outdoor showers in the lava rock enclosure.  We made it (just in time) to the Seahorse Farm tour and then a final dinner before returning to the airport to catch our late night flight to LA, then on to Toronto and finally back to Halifax.

February 16, 2016 - Ka'waa Loa Plantation and a visit to a sea turtle beach
    Same old; same old.  The morning was again spent enjoying the Ka'waa Loa Plantation property, including the outdoor lava shower.  In the afternoon we went north of Kailua-Kona to a state park known for its sea turtles ... and it did not disappoint.  

February 15, 2016 - Ka'waa Loa Plantation with a drive to Kailua-Kona and back along the shore
    Another morning spent on the lanai soaking in the quiet and the panoramic view to the coast.  In the afternoon we drove 10 miles along the old highway and what is the Cultural Heritage Trail.  Unfortunately being a Monday most of the craft shops were closed but a nice drive the same.  We returned along the coast with a stop to watch a number of surfers.

February 14, 2016 - Ka'waa Loa Plantation with a visit to Two Steps and the City of Refuge
    So here we are again enjoying our morning at our 'plantation' on the lanai overlooking Kealakekua Bay.  In the afternoon we spent some time snorkeling at a place called 'Two Steps' and then went to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park, a 'city of refuge' and place of royal grounds. 

February 13, 2016 - Waipi'o through Waimea and Waikoloa to Captain Cook
    We left Waipio Rim, crossing the island with short stops in Waimea and Waikoloa to take a few photos of the crosswalk flags, and then on to the coast and south, past Kailua-Kona to Captain Cook where we will be staying at the Ka'waa Loa Plantation our last four nights..

February 12, 2016 - all day at Waipi'o Rim B&B with dinner in Waimea
    Our last full day in Waipi'o was spent in its entirety at the B&B, doing nothing but sitting on our terrace, enjoying the vistas, reading, working on the blog, and simply relaxing.  This may sound somewhat boring but for us it is why we came to Hawaii, to sit back and enjoying without racing around, driving everywhere.

February 11, 2016 - Waipi'o Rim through ranch country to Haw'i and down the Kohala Coast
    The morning was a repeat of yesterday and the day before - leisurely hanging out at our B&B, enjoying the breakfast (a fruit try and cheese omelet with freshly picked avocado and tomato.  In the afternoon we drove over to Waimea and then through ranch country to the very north of the island and Hawi.  We returned along the Kiohala Coast with brief stops at two beaches along the way before crossing back to Honoka'a and Waipi'o.

February 10, 2016 - Waipi'o Rim to Hilo to Waimea

Same old same old - wake up to the sun and sound of the surf, laze around, enjoy a creative and tasty breakfast, work of the travel-blog, check emails, noon passes, finally get up and out.  Today we drove back down the Hamakua Coast to the Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Gardens and then inland between the two large volcanoes - Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, before stopping for dinner in Waimae.

February 09, 2016 - Waipi'o Rim B&B and Honaka'a

Today is Gayle's birthday - 60!  And we spent it doing essentially nothing.  Now that may not sound very exciting but we are a such a wonderful place with a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the valley and ocean below that there is not much incentive to leave, plus there is not much near by.  So for the most part we stayed put and enjoyed a relaxing day here at Waipi'o B&B.  We did make the trip in to town to check out a few of the shops and pick up some food for dinner.

February 08, 2016 - Volcano to Hilo to Waipi'o

     We left Volcano east across the bottom of the island to Hilo where we stopped for lunch.  It was then north along the Hamakua Coast, including a short but spectacular scenic drive along the old highway through lush jungle and beautiful coastline, eventually reaching Waipi'o Valley where we will be staying the next five nights.

February 06 and 07, 2016 - Volcano National Park

     Two relatively do nothing days here in Volcano and the National Park watching a few films in the Visitor's Centre, stopping at the steam vents and then seeing the Halema'Uma'U Crater in the Kilauea Caldera both during the day and then again at night when the orange colour of the reflecting lava bed was particularly impressive.

February 05, 2016 - a drive around the south-west of the Island to Volcano

After enjoying another great breakfast and receiving many helpful suggestions from Dave and Wendi we left Honu Kai and drove around the south-west corner of the island, eventually making our way to Volcano where we will be staying for three nights in a cabin just outside Volcano National Park.

Feb 04, 2016 - a drive up the Kohala Coast and an afternoon on the beach at the Mauna Lani Resort

     After a wonderful breakfast we drove up the coast to Dave and Wendi's other property at the Mauna Lani Resort where they not only rent out their condo but provide guests access to the beach.  We took advantage of the opportunity for a great afternoon of swimming, snorkeling and relaxing.  We returned for dinner at the Kona Inn, with a great setting on the water providing for a wonderful viewing of the sunset.

February 03, 2016 - Pescadero to San Francisco to Kailua-Kona

     For the most part a travel day.  Early to rise, an hour drive to San Francisco for a 4 1/2 hour flight directly to Kailua-Kona.  We easily found our B&B the Honu Kai where we were greeted with a Hawaiian laid-back welcome.

February 02, 2016 - Ano Nuevo State Park and Santa Cruz Mountains

     Although it was drizzly and cloudy early in the morning the weather quickly improved such that we decided to go to Ano Nuevo State Park and take the tour to see the Elephant Seals that return to, give birth and breed on the shore/beach.  It was a very worthwhile tour, informative and interesting as well as being a nice hike.
     Afterward we drove through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains and along Skyline Ridge at the top of the mountain range.
     Photos, mostly of the elephant seals, at the Hawaii 2016 tab.

February 01, 2016 - Pescadero to Monterey to Carmel and back to Pescadero

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day.  The plan was to drive down to the Monterey Peninsula, approx. 1 1/2 hours (although it took somewhat longer with the numerous photo stops) to wonder around Monterey, take the 17 mile drive by all the famous golf courses (Spanish Bay, Cypress Point, Pebble Beach etc.) and then on to Carmel Bay.

We enjoyed a long but wonderful day, the drive surpassing our expectations.

January 31, 2016 - Halifax to Montreal to Chicago to San Francisco to Pescadero

Up real early for a 5:50 am flight to Montreal, and then on to Chicago and finally San Francisco.  We were somewhat concerned about making our somewhat tight connections, particularly after deicing both in Halifax and Montreal, but thanks to the Nexus card that helped us get through US Immigration we made each flight, arriving in San Francisco as scheduled. 

After landing we drove about an hour south to the farming town of Pescadero where we 'Chicked In' to the Pescadero Creek Inn - our home for the next three nights.  We went out to the well know Duartes Tavern for dinner and then back to call it a day, in spite of it being only 6:30 pm Pacific time.


"Welcome to Morocco"


We have now completed our Memories of and Faces of Morocco.  

Please go to the Morocco 2015 tab for the summary of our trip.

Morocco - September / October 2015


October 07 - Marrakech

    Our last day in Marrakech.  We got out late morning to visit the Majorelle Gardens.  When  a garden is the number one tourist attraction in a city you know Gayle will insist on visiting.  The gardens were actually very nice, deserving of its praise.  Contained within was a superb Berber museum.  We then returned to the Riad where we had a lengthy chat with some British travelers before going to dinner.  We returned and finished packing for our early morning departure. 

For more please go to the Morocco 2015 page.

For those really interested here is our tour itinerary.

Around Morocco Tour.doc Around Morocco Tour.doc
Size : 35 Kb
Type : doc


Norm and Gayle

Any comments or question please send to moosehead@accesswave.ca

October 06 - Marrakech

    Another pretty much do-nothing day, mostly spent at Riad Al Bushra.  Late afternoon we went out into the Medina and souks, ultimately passing through the Jemma el-Fnaa square - location of the snake charmers. We then continued on to dinner.

October 05 - Marrakech

    Most of the day was spent at Riad Al Bushra.  We expected to need a day to re-energize ourselves and right we were, even more so with me still coughing and sniffling.  I worked on the travelogue, we both had a nap, and relaxed dipping our feet in the plunge pool - very nice in the heat.  Late afternoon we went out to an artisan complex and dinner but otherwise it was a very low-key day.

October 04 - Essaouira to Marrakech

    Another relaxing morning at the Riad, after which we left for Marrakech.  The drive is flat and direct.  A few short stops and we arrived late afternoon.  We enjoyed one final mint tea with Amar as we reminisced about our three weeks traveling together, afterwards saying our goodbyes.  It was with sadness that Amar left.

October 03 - Essaouira

    A relaxing morning at the Riad, a few hours in the very nice small port city of Essaouira and then a swim and some time in the sun.  Dinner included a nicely prepared fish, appropriate in this fishing community and a pleasant chat with a couple traveling from London.

October 02 - Taroudant to Agadir to Essaouira

    We left Taroudant traveling west to the coast and Agadir, a city we passed by.  It was then norhtn along beautiful coastline with stops for bananas, another grill and a demonstration of the process for using the Argan nuts to make oil.  Late afternoon we arrived at a beautiful Riad south of Essaouira for the next two nights.

October 01 - Taroudant

    Two trips to the Medina in Taroudant - known as the 'little' Marrakech.  We did do some shopping in the morning - a frustrating negotiating process, then returned to the riad for a relaxing afternoon, including a swim.  We then returned to the Medina just before sunset to experience the craziness of the streets and square in the evening.

September 30 - Tafraout => Igherm => Taroudant

    We left Tafraout driving through more wonderful mountains and landscapes until we stopped for lunch in Igherm.  A busy little of town we joined Amar for chicken grill.  It was then on to Taroudant, where along the way we did see the goats high in the trees eating the Argan nuts.  Our riad just outside of Taroudant was an excellent recommendation of Amar, an orange and banana farm with views to the Hihg Atlas mountains.

September 29 - Tafraout

    A 'down' day.  In the late morning we went out into the countryside to see some 'painted rocks' - really they should have been left natural.  During our travels we were fortunate enough to see a group of gazelles.  We returned to Tafraout to just wander around for a couple of hours and then back to Chez Amaliya for a relaxing afternoon and dinner.

September 28 - Tata to Tafraout

    Some spectacular and varied scenery today, from the flat desert to a dramatic valley, the Ait Mansour to landscapes that reminded us of both Arizona (without the cactus) and Peggy's Cover due to the granite rocks perched upon each other.  We had a nice stop in the village of Akka, again buying treats for the children.  A lot of driving (over 300 km) but a drive that always had our attention.

September 27 - Tamdakhte to Tata

    Mostly driving today, mostly through the desert.  Our timing was good when we came upon a herd of camels crossing the road.  When we arrived in Tata, a small town near the Anti-Atlas Mountains just outside our stop for the night a wedding was taking place - with food and song.  Apparently it was only the first night of a four night celebration.  Our stop was very unique, a 500 year old Kasbah with a ton of character.

September 26 - Tamdakhte with a day trip to Telouet and its Kasbah

    A relatively easy day today with a trip up the valley, passed more caves (some with people still living in them) to the village of Telouet and the Kasbah Telouet, a very well preserved Kasbah with particularly impressive mosaics and tile work.  We then continued in a counter-clockwise circle through some beautiful landscapes, eventually returning to our Riad for a restful afternoon and antoher nice dinner.

September 25 - Dades Valley to a nomad cave then on to Ouarzazate and Tamdakhte

    First on the agenda was a visit to a nomad family of 12 still living in a set of four caves.  We were welcomed to tea and met half the family including young Abdul who welcomed the soccer ball we brought him.  A scenic drive brought us to the oasis of Skoura where there are apparently 300 Kasbahs.  It was then on to Ouarzazate - through an intense hail storm - where we visited a Berber shop, ultimately buying a couple of small carpets.  Rather than staying in Ouarzazate, a reasonably large city we drove 45 minutes north to the village of Tamdakhte where we will stay the next two nights.

September 24 - Tinghir to Dades Valley

    We started the day with a tour of the palmerie just south of the Todra Gorge where we were shown the irrigation and resultant extensive variety of fruits and vegetables.  After a walk through the kasbah, and a display at the carpet co-operative we walked the short but steepest portion of the gorge.  It was then a short drive to the Dades Valley, which we drove through seeing a considerable number of kasbahs on the 'route of 1,000 kasbahs'.

September 23- M-harch to Tinghir

    Primarily a driving day.  Amar is also not feeling great so it was understandably lets get from A to B.  That said there was not much between A and B.  Across the desert, a Berber village, more desert, palm trees in an oasis, more desert, a few villages, more desert and then the road to Tingher where we did encounter a number of massive kasbahs.  Stayed in a riad run by with a nice couple.

September 22 - Riad Nowhere

    Ok, actually Riad Nomad but this is truly beyond nowhere.  The entire day was spent by ouselvees in the riad - no internet ; nothing to do but listen to the silence.  Not for everyone but we actually kind of enjoyed it.  And sleeping under the stars was nice.

September 21 - desert camp to the desert isolation

    After breakfast we left the camp, again having the pleasure of Bob and Jimi transport us across the dunes.  After freshening up at the Riad we left for the a couple of days in the outback desert.  Merzouga and the dunes is a great experience but if one really wants isolation, i.e. feeling like the nomads a trip to M-harch is in order.

September 20 - a visit to the souk/market of Rissani and then the camel trek to the desert camp

    We took the 45 minute drive from Merzouga to Rissani where we spent an hour and a half wandering through the extensive souk (market), even larger this week due to the selling of the sheep for the upcoming day of sacrifice.  After some quiet time at the riad we drove out to the far side of the desert where we met our camels for the one hour trek to the overnight camp.

September 19 - around Merzouga and Erg Chebbi

    After breakfast we circled behind the large sand dunes of Erg Chebbi to visit with a nomad women and her home.  Nearby was a well with camels present.  A couple of nomads, withe the help of Amar spent some time cleaning sand from the well.  We then visited the Gnawa people, originally slaves from Sudan for both a performance of their traditional music and their Berber pizza.

September 18 - Fes to Merzouga

    We left Fes for a very long drive, first through the mid Atlas mountains and their cedar forests - visiting some Barbarian apes along the way - then through the Ziz Valley before continuing further south.  We stopped to see the fossils of the area, and ultimately did not arrive to Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi (sand dunes) until after dark.

September 17 - Fes

    Today was spent in and around Fes.  During the morning/early afternoon we were taken throught the Medina by a guide (otherwise we surely would have gotten lost) and then in the afternoon to a ceramic factory and the Palace gates.  Then some time to relax before another excellent dinner at our Dar.

September 16 - Chefchaouen to Fes

    We left Chefchaouen this morning driving south the Fes.  Our first was a village market.  Then it was on to the roman site of Volubilis where we stopped to wander around the ruins dating form 225 BC, followed by the city of Meknes and then on to Fes where we will stay for two nights.

September 15 - Chefchaouen

    Today was spent in Chefchaouen, mostly walking the blue painted alleys of the medina.  We went just outside to see the women washing carpets and clothes in the mountain stream and enjoyed drinks in the square while watching people.  After a visit to the castle we had dinner at a local cafe.

September 14 - Rabat to Asilah to Chefchaouen

    After (another wonderful) breakfast Omar arrived to begin our tour.  Before leaving Rabat we stopped at the Mausoleum Mohamed V before driving two hours north to the what was originally a Portuguese town - Asilah.  Here we strolled through the medina and stopped for a drink before continuing north and then west, just south of Tangier, along the Alboran Sea and into the Rif Mountains to Chefchaouen.  A long day in the vehicle but quite a nice drive, particularly along the Mediterranean coast and through the mountains.

September 13 - Riad Zyo, Rabat

    After a late (yes we slept in) breakfast we relaxed, starting the travelogue and chatting at length with Mohamed.  We then wandered through Rabat, including the cemetery, kasbah, and medina.  After the 'cooker' offered to make Gayle a vegetable tagine there was no question we were going to again eat at the riad.

September 11/12, 2015 - Halifax to Toronto to Paris to Rabat

    The reward of a long day of three flights is the enjoyment of spending an afternoon / evening in a our first riad - Riad Zyo, an oasis in the medina of Rabat.  Ali, the owner spent considerable time chatting with us after which we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the riad.  A great start to the trip.


Greece (Paros, Koufonissi, Amorgos and Crete) - May / June 2015

June 18, 2015 - Chania to Athens to Toronto to Halifax

    Up early, a quick breakfast and then to the airport for what turned out to be over 24 hours before finally arriving home.  Not a particularly rewarding day but the cost of vacationing in Greece, a minor cost in the grand scheme of things.

June 17, 2015 - Kefali to Chania

    Time to leave Kefali and spend one night in Chania before flying home.  We stopped in Kefali for an orange juice and Elos for a coffee with the stone / wood carver and then drove the hour and a half to Chania.  Our Bed and Breakfast is right on the harbour of the old town which put us right in the middle of the actions, which was both good and bad.  We chose well and enjoyed a very nice final meal.

June 16, 2015 - Kefali and Elafonisi beach

    Yes it is getting repetitious but another glorious day, the first half of which was spent enjoying breakfast and the sun shining on our terrace.  Later in the afternoon we went to Elafonisi beach, the 'best' beach in Crete, approx. 16 km away.  The beach is quite spectacular - very sandy with shallow water, an enjoyable place to spend a couple of hours.

June 15, 2015 - Kefali and a drive to Sougia and Paleochora

    Another relaxing morning at our guesthouse before heading out to a couple of coastal towns, enjoying the scenic drives and swims at both.  On the way we enjoyed an interesting experience when we stopped in to an olive wood shop in the village of Elos.

June 14, 2015 - Kefali and a drive to the coast and north to Sfinari

    This is a nice place, with a great few of the opposite side of the gorge, so we enjoyed it making a late breakfast and relaxing.  It was not until 4:00 pm that we forced ourselves to go for a drive down the gorge to the coast and then on to the village of Sfinari where we enjoyed a swim and dinner.

June 13, 2015 - Samonas Traditional Villas to Kefali (Velanos Villas)

    Another travel day without a lot to see or describe of the drive between Samonas and Kefali - in the mountains of the south-west of the Chania region of Crete.  So today is all about Samonas Traditional Villas where we enjoyed three wonderful days.

June 12, 2015 - through the mountains o the south of the island; Frangocastello and Chora Sfakion

    We're getting better - out by 1:00 pm today for a drive first east along the north coast then inland and across the mountains to the south coast and the area around Frangocastello, then west to the seaside village of Chora Sfakion and then back through the mountains again.


June 11, 2015 - relax at Samonas Traditional Villas with a drive around the countryside

    We enjoyed our house here at Samonas before eventually getting out late afternoon for a drive through a few villages,  down to the coast and then back into the mountains for a meal at a well rated (and based on our meal well deserved) restaurant.

June 10, 2015 - Anatoli to Samonas

    Our longest driving day from Anatoli, through the mountains down to the coast, then west along some very attractive coastline, then inland (where it dumped rain), again through the mountains to the north coast and Rethimno, further west towards Chania before finally back up the mountains to the village of Samonas.

June 09, 2015 - a drive from Anatoli through the mountains down to the sea and to Ierapetra

    We took a circular drive, first further up into the mountains, then to the Libyan Sea, along a scenic coastal road to the sea-side village of Tertsa, where we had lunch at a taverna on the beach.  We then drove into Ierapetra for Gayle to see the town where she stayed over 40 years ago.

June 08, 2015 - Arodamos to Anatoli

    After a similarly nice breakfast we visited the animals, said our good-byes and left the mountain.  After a frustrating hour driving unmarked roads, unable to find our route south we decided to take the national road to Agios Nikolaos to make up time.  We then headed back into the hills through Kritsa and then south on a very scenic drive to Anatoli, a traditional village high above with views of the Libyan Sea.

June 07, 2015 - a quiet day in the Crete mountains - Arodamos

    We enjoyed a stationary day here in the Crete mountains - after all it is an 8 km drive through the mountains to the village.  The furthest we strayed was a short walk to a nearby church.  We enjoyed what will no doubt be our most memorable meal and evening of the trip, spent along with two families from Cyprus listening to Giannis play his lute and sing traditional Cretan songs.

June 06, 2015 - travel day - Amorgos to Naxos to Crete to Arodamos

    Travel day -- up early (5:00 am) to catch the ferry (7:00 am) )to Naxos to catch another ferry (scheduled 3:15 pm but not until 4:15 pm) to arrive in Heraklion (schedule 6:55 pm but not until 9:30 pm) which meant driving up into the mountains in the dark and ultimately not arriving until 11:30 pm.  A long long day.

June 05, 2015 - Hozoviotissis Monastery and Katapola

    Today we visted the Hozoviotissi Monastery, near Chora, literally built into the side of a cliff halfway between the top of the cliff and the sea far below.  We then drove down into the largest town Katapola, returned to our apartment and enjoyed dinner at Kamara, the restaurant up the hill from our apartment.

June 04, 2015 - a drive to the far end of Amorgos with a couple of beach stops

    Fortunately the weather was somewhat better today - still a bit cool but predominately sunny.  As is our tradition it was well after noon before we got out (relaxing over breakfast in a place like this makes getting out early not at the top of our list).  We drove the entire length of the island stopping for two short swims and a light meal along the way.

June 03, 2015 - an afternoon trip to Chora, Amorgos

    After making breakfast in our kitchenette and sitting around for the morning we eventually got out and drove the 15 km through the mountains to the capital village of Chora.  Very traditional with many small churches, alleyways, shops and restaurants we had a late afternoon lunch before returning to Aegiali through some heavy clouds.

June 02, 2015 - Potamos / Aegiali, Amorgos

    We enjoyed a quiet day today.  Not having our car yet we returned to Kamara for breakfast - the fresh orange juice was excellent - and then lazed around, working on the blog.  Early afternoon we walked down ... way down to the town where we picked up our rental car and some breakfast supplies.  A short drive to a nearby mountain village and dinner in Aegiali and the day was done.

June 01, 2015 - Koufonissi => Amorgos

    We had a late afternoon ferry today to our next island - Amorgos.  We could have gone down to the beach but rather hung out on our terrace where Vassiliki dropped by.  We had a lengthy chat, learning a considerable amount about life on Koufonissi.

May 31, 2015 - Koufonissi => beaches

    Another typical Koufonissi day.  Get up, make some breakfast, sit around admiring the view, go the a beach, go to another beach, have something to eat, return to Pambelos Lodge and enjoy the evening with candles and Psimeni raki, the local herb liquor.

May 30, 2015 - The annual Koufonissi Fisherman's Festival

    The annual Fisherman's Festival - what brought us to the island of Koufonissi, not one of the more popular islands (although apparently it is with northern Europeans).  We made a nice breakfast in our kitchenette, went for an afternoon swim and then in to town for dinner and the festival.

May 29, 2015 - Paros to Koufonissi via Naxos

    Today is primarily a travel day, with a short 45 minute ferry from Paros to Naxos and then an hour later a 2 1/2 hour ferry from Naxos to Koufonissi where we will be staying the next three days.

May 28, 2015 - a drive through the interior of Paros

    Today was a funny day weather wise - with rain off and on and then quite cool.  But we did drive through the interior to the original capital of Lefkas and walked a portion of the Byzantine Trail.

May 27, 2015 - a drive around the Island of Paros

    We rented a car for a couple of days, today driving around the island, a total of 55 km, stopping at a few fishing villages and a beach where we enjoyed a swim in the Aegean.  Dinner was great in a very nice restaurant overlooking the nearby island of Antiparos.

May 26, 2015 - Naoussa, Island of Paros

    After a long sleep we enjoyed a late breakfast.  Clea drove us down to Naoussa where we rented a car for tomorrow and Thursday, wandered around the town, picked up a few supplies and walked back to Petres.  We had a short swim, relaxed and I posted the first day of the blog while Gayle napped.  We will again eat at Petres tonight.

May 25, 2015 - Naoussa, Island of Paros

    We arrived in Paros on schedule, met at the airport (the smallest airport we have ever experienced) by Clea of Hotel Petres who provided insightful commentary of what Paros has to offer on our 25 km drive to the hotel. 

     After getting orientated we enjoyed a great dinner before crashing.  Further details and photos on the Greece 2015 page.

May 24, 2015 - Halifax to Toronto to Athens to Paros

     Our flights take us to Toronto, then overnight to Athens followed immediately by a connection to the island of Paros, our first stop for four nights.


Portugal and Spain - September 2014

September 29 - Palmela to Tornto

After breakfast it was off to the airport in Lisbon from where we caught our SATA flight to Toronto, with a two-hour stopover in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Acores.  From there we flew to Toronto where we stayed overnight with friends. 

September 28 - Casa Tres Palmieras, Portimao to Palmela

Our last morning in the Algarve and then it was off on a lengthy drive over the Serra de Monchique and then north to Palmela.  Upon arriving we were surprised to enter a Medieval Festival in not only town but at the Pousada.  This made driving through the throngs of people challenging but slowly we made it.  We then joined those same crowds to experience some of the festival.  

September 27 - Casa Tres Palmieras, Portimao

Staying at such a nice place we pretty much stayed put, enjoying the pool and the views.  After a nice breakfast overlooking the sea we enjoyed a swim and the nice weather.  We did take a walk along the cliffs to the one beach and a few restaurants but in the end decided to pick up some ham, bread and cheese, a pizza and a bottle of wine and eat at our place. 

September 26 - Castro Marim to Portimao

Today we drove most of the Algarve, along the slower national road - which was not all that exciting.  We stopped for a short while in Tavira, a nice town and then continued on to Portimao where we have a nice place to stay with magnificent vistas of the sea, beaches and cliffs. 

September 25 - Alcala del Valle to Castro Marim, Portugal

Unfortunately we had to leave Cortijo el Guarda and Spain today, not that we rushed out.  After saying our goodbyes we drove up to and through Seville and then west to Portugal, passing many orange groves along the way.  Castrol Marim, a quiet sleepy town in the first one encounters after crossing the border.  We quickly found Casa Rosada a nice small three room B&B with a beautiful garden and accomplished cook.

September 24 - Alcala del Valle

Another so-so weather day - very cool for Andalucía this time of year.  But it did result in us spending most of the day at the cortijo just relaxing and resting.  We went out for a drive later in the afternoon during which it ... yes rained, and pretty hard for a while.  But it cleared up for the last half of the drive, with the sun actually coming as we were returning to the cortijo.  We enjoyed another nice dinner with Hans, Miranda and the other guests. 

September 23 - Alcala del Valle

A bit of a strange day.  After a nice breakfast the weather turned cold with showers off and on.  As a result we just lounged around our room until late afternoon when we went out for a short drive to the nearby 'pueblos blancos' or white villages, before having dinner in Alcala del Valle.  Photos and commentary on the Spain 2014 page.

September 22 - Fuenteheridos, Andalucía to Alcala del Valle, Andalucía

Today we head south-east, past Seville to the Cortijo El Guarda where we stayed for one night during our 2013 trip to Spain.  We so much enjoyed the cortijo, the hospitality of Miranda and Hans and the fantastic dinner we are returning for three nights. 

September 21 - Fuenteheridos, Andalucía

Another 'down' day we stayed at the molinos in the morning and then went out for a drive to some of the nearby villages in the afternoon.  We returned just before the rains, and in this case heavy rains began.  We again ate in the village to end a quiet day. 

September 20 - Guadalupe, Extremadura to Fuenteheridos, Andalucía

Today should be our longest driving day - slightly over 300 km south-west from Guadalupe, generally through flat plains into Andalucía and the village of Fuenteheridos where we will be staying two nights at was once an olive mill.

September 19 - Plasencia to Guadalupe

Breakfast, lingering in the amazing Parador de Plasencia and then on the road south to Guadalupe.  A generally scenic drive in part through a national park brought us to the interesting town of Guadalupe, with its impressive cathedral, Parador and other historic buildings. 

September 18 - Ciudad Rodrigo to Plasencia

Another so-so day weather wise.  For the most part is was overcast with a few showers although at times the sun shone through with blue skies.  We left Ciudad Rodrigo for the 150 km drive to Plasencia.  Our route took us via La Alberca, an interesting old town in the hills.  Although threatening rain we stopped for a walk about town.  From there it was across a mountain ridge and down the other side to Plasencia. 

September 17 - Ciudad Rodrigo

A simple and quiet day here in Ciudad Rodrigo.  We wandered through the narrow streets of the historic - inside the castle walls and moat - town.  Showers off and on kept us close to the Parador were we relaxed most of the day before going out for dinner. 

September 16 - Finca La Ramallosa to Ciudad Rodrigo

We left Alfonso and Finca La Ramallosa with short stops in a Trevejo and San Martin de Trevejo, a couple of small villages/towns he recommended before continuing on to Ciudad Rodrigo where we are staying (at the historic Parador) for a couple of nights. 

September 15 - Finca La Ramallosa

Today was a real do nothing day as we stayed put at Finca La Ramallosa.  We went for a nice walk to an abandoned hamlet but otherwise not much else ... and it was nice.  

September 14 - Belmonte through Serra da Estrella to Finca La Ramallosa, Spain

Today was supposed to be a short day but turned out anything but - actually the most kms driven of any day to date.  The reason, rather than driving straight to Spain we decided to go through the Serra da Estrella mountains, the highest in mainland Portugal.  As you will see in the photos on the Portugal page we were fortunate to encounter a number of shepherds on what was a scenic drive.  We then drove east crossing in to Spain and the finca that will be our home for the next two days.

September 13 - Flor da Rosa to Belmonte

We left Flor da Rosa for a drive essentially straight north ultimately to Belmonte, another Pousada - this one originally a convent in the hills south of Belmonte.  We detoured a bit to visit two interesting towns - Idanha-a-Velha and Monsanto, the first very small but with some interesting roman ruins and Monsanto a nice hilltop village of stone homes; narrow alleys; elderly ladies selling the traditional Monsanto doll and a great roof-top terrace overlooking the valley.  We finished the day enjoying an excellent dinner at Belmonte. 

September 12 - Flor da Rosa with a day trip to Castelo de Vide and Marvao

Staying two nights at the Pousada here in Flor da Rosa today was intended to be a leisurely day.  Ultimately we did go out for a drive that took perhaps longer than expected but during which we did visit two interesting towns.  We returned for another dinner at the Pousada.  

September 11 - Palmela to Flor da Rosa (Crato)

After breakfast we wandered about the Castello de Palmela before heading inland through the Alentejo to Estremoz where we stopped for a while before continuing north beyond Crato to Flor da Rosa where we will be staying for two nights at the Pousada. 

September 9  / 10 - Halifax to Toronto to Ponta Delgada to Lisboa to Palmela

Flying SATA airlines a Portuguese carrier based in the Azores we connected through Toronto with an overnight flight to Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel, one of the nine Azores islands in the mid-Atlantic.  We changed planes, continuing on to Lisbon where we picked up our rental car to drive approx. 50 km south east to the town of Palmela where we stayed at the Pousada de Palmela. 

September 9 to 29, 2014 - Portugal and Spain

This September we are returning to Portugal - 30 years after visiting in 1984 - as well as spending time again in Spain.   Technically we will actually be returning to Ponta Delgada in the Azores (where we spent six days on our previous trip) although this time it is only a one-hour touch down for our SATA flight from Toronto

We will primarily be staying at pousadas (the equivalent of Spanish paradors) in Portugal and then a mix of paradors and cortijos (including a return to Cortijo El Guarda near Ronda where we spent a night a year ago). 

Our route takes us from Lisbon, north through the Alentejo, east into the Extremadura region of Spain, south into Andalucía and then back to the Algarve on the southern coast of Portugal.

I will once again be maintaining the blog as best I can as time allows.


Corsica and Provence - June 2014

June 30, 2014 - Chateauneuf-Villevieille to Nice airport to Montreal to Halifax

We awoke to wonderful sunshine our last morning to enjoy another very nice breakfast (we are going to miss those chocolate croissants) under an olive tree.  The drive to the airport, including a gas fill-up was both easy and 40 minutes, as promised.  From there it was a long day of travelling until we arrived home.

June 29, 2014 - Brignoles to Chateauneuf-Villevieille

Primarily a driving day we booked out last night in the hills north of Nice, approx. 45 minutes from the airport.  The first part of our drive took us through a number of vineyards and then across the lower hills of the Alpes-Maritime.  We drove a challenging 30 minutes to the village of Peillon, an impressive village clinging to a mountain-top for a nice final dinner.

June 28, 2014 - Saint-Saturninn-Les-Apt to Brignoles

After three nights at Mas Perreal we had to leave, back towards Nice.  We scheduled one stop mid-way just outside Brignoles.  The first part to the drive was nice, through rolling countryside, of course past lavender fields and past one amazing field of sunflowers.  Thereafter open fields of wheat and corn and then some forested areas as we drove south, arriving at the Bastide de Messine near Brignoles. 

June 27, 2014 - a visit to the market in Lourmarin and a drive through the area

Today we went to another market, this one in Lourmarin.  Somewhat larger and in another wonderful Provence village we enjoyed this market somewhat more, and bought a few things.  Again we stopped for drinks in a busy cafe, enjoying the nice weather and people (and for Gayle dog) watching.  We  then went for a drive through the nearby countryside before returning to Mas Perreal for a swim before off to dinner in Saint Saturnin-Les-Apt.

 June 26, 2014 - a visit to the market in Roussillon

Another low key day.  After a quite different breakfast - not that it did not have the standard bread, jams, juice and coffee but a fresh fruit plate and fresh picked at the Mas Perreal cherries pancakes were the first 'hot' dishes we have had for breakfast.  We then went to Roussillon, approx. 12 km, to the market, returned to spend the afternoon at the Mas and then enjoyed a 'picnic' supper here at our terrace.

 June 25, 2014 - Saint-Laurent-du-Verdon to Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt

A shorter day today although we did not get out until after noon.  Another lightning and thunder show with buckets of rain kept waking us last night.  The early part of the drive was through more lavender fields each as impressive as the last.  We then drove east through a couple of larger cities (Manosqude and Apt) before finishing the day by arriving just outside Saint Saturnin-Les-Apt for a stay of three nights.

June 24, 2014 - Roure to Saint-Laurent-du-Verdon

A long driving day today, first out of the mountains through some ski resorts, over the Col de Toutes Aures and on to Castellane, followed by a drive through the dramatic Grand Canyon du Verdun.  The last stretch along the plateau above Lac de Ste Croix brought us to lavender land, in full bloom and eventually our beautiful B&B Les Colombiers du Chateau.

 June 23, 2014 - Roure

Today we stayed put, taking a walk through the village (half an hour to see it all) and then simply relaxed at the Auberge, catching up on the blog, planning the next few days etc.  Actually really nice to spend a quiet day.  The Auberge is noted for its restaurant that lived up to advance billings.