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

 

travel musings

I always think of going on vacation and coming home kind of like a new start.  It’s a chance to take a deep breath, see new sights, maybe experience new things, and maybe even come home with a new perspective on something that’s been on your mind.  My suitcase is neatly packed the night before a trip, my carry-on carefully arranged with my cameras and extra diabetic supplies (my Lowepro backpack is awesome for that), and then it’s off and away with a hope that nothing will go terribly wrong on the trip (knowing that most trips have something come up that isn’t quite according to plan).  Of course, on the way home, my suitcase is packed in five minutes with everything thrown in haphazardly (but just remember to throw in a pair of clean underwear in your carry-on in case your plane is delayed over night –  that came in handy once for me…oh and put a scented dryer sheet in your dirty clothes bag – that tip is courtesy of my mom).

Anyway, I have a lot of pictures to go through, but wanted to post one today.  This is at China Beach between Sooke and Port Renfrew, with the Olympic Mountains off in the distance.  This was my favourite beach of the ones we checked out.  Most of the beaches we visited involved walks through beautiful rainforests to access the beach, the walk to this beach was also one of my favourites.

sparkle

 

Summers Are For Road Trips – Quebec City

I love Quebec City, specifically Old Quebec.  I’ve never been to Europe, but I imagine it’s like being in a European city. Founded in 1608, it’s one of North America’s oldest cities. The Chateau Frontenac is reported to be one of the most photographed hotels in the world.  I took my fair share of pictures.

Chateau Frontenac at dusk

Statue of Samuel de Champlain who founded Quebec City in 1608

Chateau Frontenac from a boat tour of the St. Lawrence River

Close-up

If you are planning a trip to Quebec City, I highly recommend this hotel.  The location in Upper Old Quebec is perfect.  You can walk everywhere you want to go.  There are so many excellent restaurants, cafes, and shops in Old Quebec (or you can just wander the streets for hours admiring the architecture).  The people were friendly, the food was so good, the coffee was the best I’ve ever tasted, it was just an all-around excellent experience. I tried to use some of my high school French, but when the server responded in English, I took that as a sign that maybe I should stick to my first language!

Here’s the website for the hotel: http://www.hvq.com/