Just go!

Posts have been few and far between for a number of different reasons, but quietly in the background, a trip to Paris has been planned! It’s getting very close to lift off, and I hope to have many pictures to share in the weeks to come.

somewhere over Minnesota, March 2016

Everyone I’ve talked to about Paris seems to have a strong opinion. It’s beautiful! The food was amazing! Wine is cheap! Paris in the Spring! You’ll love it! People are rude! Dog poop is everywhere! I would never go back!  I’ve tried to take those opinions with a grain of salt because travel is very personal, What one person thinks is an amazing destination, is on another person’s “I would never go there!” list.  (Jamaica is on that list for me.) My only travel advice is if you want to go somewhere, just go!

I thought it would be fun to pick just one photo from each of the last few trips to capture what I liked the most about each one.

Elk Island National Park, near Edmonton Alberta, Summer 2017 (one of the best places to watch a sunset!)

 

Puerto Vallarta, Banderas Bay, March 2017

 

Island Lake Lodge, August 2016 for a classic Canadian wilderness scene.

Prince Albert National Park, June 2016 (another classic Canadian wilderness scene)

New Orleans, March 2016. This was a hard one because I pretty much love everything about New Orleans. But one of my favourite things was walking along Royal Street at night in the French Quarter to take pictures of the window displays. This was in the window of the Red Truck Gallery.

Jasper National Park, July 2015. I love talking animal pictures.

Watching surfers, Maui, March 2105

This is not far from home at all…near Regina, summer 2015

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC, June 2014

…and still one of my favourite pictures I’ve ever taken…Great Bear Rainforest, June 2013

All of these pictures make me realize I’m very lucky to be able to travel and to see and experience many different places.

Classic Canadiana

A glimpse of the Banff Springs Hotel (someday I’ll stay here, but a visit to the Rundle Lounge in the Hotel is the next best thing!)

banff springs hotel daytime

And further down the road, a sliver of beautiful Lake Louise….

lake louise

Since this is the first of my favourite places I’ve visited (having camped in Banff as a little kid), it’s probably at the top of the list followed by New Orleans, Maui, and Tofino/Ucluelet.  Where to next, that’s what’s on my mind – somewhere new, perhaps.

 

mountains of Banff

It was a hot, dry, summer in Western Canada, and as a result there were a lot of forest fires.  Prior to our camping trip to Banff in August, it had been so smoky that the highway between Banff, and Radium, British Columbia had been closed.  We camped for four days and had spectacular weather for three of those days.

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain

Cascade Mountain

Cascade Mountain

walking by the Bow

Walking by the Bow River

It was very smoky on on our last full day in Banff.  Mount Rundle on a clear day…

Rundle on a clear day

And on a smoky day….

Rundle on a smoky day

Made for an interesting sunset…

Banff August 2017Banff August 2017 1

up on the roof

Still have some Puerto Vallarta pics to share which is a good thing! Between being busy at work and figuring out how I’m going to handle my workload, and being uninspired by the April landscapes this year, I haven’t picked up a camera in awhile. The prospect of May flowers, though, will change that soon!

If you’re interested in traveling and experiencing different places, I really encourage you to think differently about your accommodations and look beyond hotels and resorts.  Renting a house was not without frustrations – there were a few pool issues to be sorted out which meant contacting the owner in Texas and then dealing with the property manager who lived across the street and was extremely busy running a fishing boat charter company, and a language barrier with the pool guy.  Also, because the house was for sale, there were a few showings, but we knew that a possibility before renting, and received a discount for the inconvenience.  Some people have asked if there were any worries about renting a place online because what if the place doesn’t look like the pictures and you’ve spent all that money and it ends up being in a bad neighbourhood?  You do need to do some research.  I looked on AirBnB and Home Away.  Read the reviews, then try to read between the lines of those reviews.  I only look at places that have more than 5 reviews, preferably more (because it’s pretty easy to get three of your friends to give you a good review!). If there’s an address look it up on Google Maps street view.  Establish a rapport with the owner either by phone or email  – do they respond to your inquiries quickly and answer your questions?  This all sounds like it takes some effort, but I enjoy it! Keep in mind, this was for a two week stay, and a good portion of the travel budget was going towards accommodations.  I wouldn’t put this much effort into a three day stay, for example.  Ultimately, the house in Puerto Vallarta was chosen for its million dollar views and my bucket list rooftop, private pool! All the research paid off! All the pics were taken from the rooftop.

The sunsets!

oh the sunsetsalone on the oceansetting sun

The neighbourhood…5 de Diciembre

stained glassbrick buildingmagic hourmountain vista-2open windows-2palm trees and hanging clothes

all in a day's work

Felt a little nervous for this guy painting on the roof!

hillside

And the iguana who liked to sun himself on the ledge of the house’s second level.

so handsomeiguana

 

French Quarter after the rain

I loved taking photos at night in the French Quarter – it’s just as pretty and colourful at night as it is during the day.  The restaurant in the picture, the Italian Barrel, was one of my favourites of the trip, and I’d highly recommend it if you find yourself in New Orleans. A block or two down the street on Decatur is a really cool store that I can’t remember the name of (I’ve spent the last hour on Google and Google Maps trying to figure out exactly which store it was on Decatur)… it’s full of all sorts of weird, wonderful, bizarre, and beautiful treasures, oddities and works of art. I want to go back to New Orleans just to visit the store (discovered it on the last night of the trip) again!

Barracks Street-2

Italian Barrel restaurant on the corner of Barracks and Decatur

Great Bear Rainforest inlet reflection

In my last post, I said that a lot of the pictures I took in the Great Bear Rainforest two years ago were of reflections in the water….this is one of my favourites.  It’s such a beautiful place, far off the beaten path (which, truth be told, was a bit of an odd feeling). Some days we didn’t see any other boats.  It took a few days to get used to all the peace and quiet and solitude.

mountain reflections