Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Shopping

My blog isn't very exciting as most of the time I am relaxing, swimming, eating, napping, REPEAT.
Yesterday we swam in the morning. Then Jeff came and took us to lunch and dropped us off at Central Festival which is an outdoor two storey mall built around Central department store and a cinema. We walked through the mall checking out all the stalls and then did a circuit of the surrounding streets. I found a few small items, bargained down some prices and bought myself a sarong. I have been wearing it over my bathing suit. It has large red hibiscus flowers on it. I love it. We took a taxi home and made supper from groceries we bought at Tops market at Central Festival. It has rained here but it usually last less than half an hour and is a warm rain.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Thailand

The trip was long, but I slept on the longest leg so it was good. I got fed every time I turned around. Three meals on the first flight and one each on the next two. I posted pictures of the Taipei Airport and the Bangkok airport on Facebook. The trip takes about 20 hours but you cross the international date line so it appears to take an extra day. Fran and Jeff met me at the airport. Thailand is a drive on the other side of the road place.
Jeff took us to a Thai restaurant for supper and we stopped and visited a market square and the French bakery. They were out of croissants so Jeff ordered some for the next day. Jeff's friend is letting us stay at her villa for a few days as no friends are visiting.
Yesterday I slept until 10:00 and we lounged at the pool all day. It is a small pool but I'm not an Olympic swimmer so I just float around in it.
Jeff took us out to dinner for steak last night. A huge tbone and it cost about $8.00 each.

Today we are going to a three storey shopping mall called Central Festival Samui. I will post pictures on Facebook.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Heading to Thailand

Well, on the spur of the moment with 4 weeks notice I decided to follow a friend and visit her and her son in Thailand.
I'm now sitting in Pearson Airport waiting for a flight to Bangkok with a connection in Taipei, Taiwan. The weather this week in Koh Samui - the island I am going to has been 88 degrees all week. No rain so far and the place seems wonderful.

In the airport I showed my Dublin pictures to a man from Colombia and he showed me pictures of Cartagena. He was heading for Dublin and had never been to Europe.

Can't load pictures. See Facebook.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Ready to go to China

It is Sunday afternoon and I think that 99% of everything is packed. I can't pack the electronics until this evening.
At a few minutes to 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning I will be heading for the meeting place for the bus to pick up all the people going on the tour to China. We are flying from Toronto to Beijing - a thirteen hour flight. We will visit Beijing, Xi'an, Suzchou and Shanghai.
I have decided to take a smallish (large carry-on size) suitcase, a backpack and my purse. We can get laundry done in the hotels. I just don't want to have to drag around a big suitcase.
So here I go - Fresh haircut, clothes, camera, snacks, purse, tickets, Chinese currency, US Dollars, Passport and Chinese Visa. I'm ready to go!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nov. 6 - Rotterdam.

This morning Leonie and I set off to explore Rotterdam. Most of Rotterdam especially the harbour area was destroyed in WWII.  Therefore unlike other cities in Europe Rotterdam is a new city with innovative and sometimes weird buildings. There is a lot of new sculpture some of which makes you ask " Is this art or can I cart it away?" I took lots of pictures until my camera died and then Leonie took some. There are still some on their way.
The highlights of the day were the new Market building, the poffertjes and the marine museum display of boats in the water. We walked along the Maas, we watched the water taxis going at break-neck speed. I investigated the cube houses. They were very strange and topsy turvy. All the rooms are weird shapes and windows can look down on the street or up but rarely straight across to your neighbour. I think that some of the corners woul be hard to clean and the stairs are quite steep, but it is an innovative idea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nov 5th last day in Portugal

I saved the best for last. Today I travelled back in time. At one o'clock in the afternoon I left Spain by zip line and landed one mile later in Portugal at 12:01 p.m.


Ana and Paulo had been keeping me busy all week and it was lovely. Ana asked me what I wanted to do. I checked all the brochures and found that there was a way to zip line from Spain to Portugal. What a thrill!
This morning we left for Alcoutim. Ana checked and we could take a local boat across the river and we would be right at the office for Limitezero, the zip line people. We were fitted with safety gear and helmets. Paulo and I and two people in charge of sending us off the hill got in a Jeep and drove almost straight up to the top of the hill behind the office. We received a number of safety instructions and had the gear tightened.  The guide took our picture and Paulo shot a movie as I was launched into space and flew from one country to another. I travelled back in time. I left Spain at 1:00 pm and landed in Portugal 59 minutes earlier at 12:01 pm. It was the thrill of the trip. I am so glad I did it.
Ana had my camera and took some pictures but I also bought the official one.


After the adventure we walked around town and then headed for Mertola a town farther north which has a beautiful restored castle.  Mertola is farther up the river and is the first bridge across the Guadiana River since Castelo Marim. The distance between the two bridges is 62 kilometres. This castle is quite old but it has been renovate quite a bit. There is a one section that has been excavated to show the ancient ruins. The gentleman at the site was very pleased to talk to us about the site and the history. We climbed the walls and took pictures from each side. The amazing thing is that attached to the Castelo is a cemetery that is in use today. In order to get to the castle all roads led upward. I was a little worried about the cobblestones going down as they can be quite slick and there are no railings or hand holds. Paulo went down and brought the car up as he saw cars coming up to the castle. 
We thought we were fine for time to get me to the airport early for the flight to Amsterdam. Paulo and Ana decided to take a route across country which would be a bit shorter but slower as there was no highway. After a few miles we decided to pretend we were in a video game as the roads resembled Mario-kart. It would say winding road for 600 metres, then it would be windy for 2 kilometres, straight for 600 metres and then windy for two more kilometres.  Every five kilometres it would announce winding road 600 metres. Paulo would say - what do they think the rest of the winding road is?
All of a sudden partridge would run across the road. Ana would laugh and more partridge would waddle fast across the road. We stopped because we saw deer very close to the road and of course partridge running between them. Ana said there was a partridge festival in Alcoutim - maybe they were running away. We also saw cork piled by the side of the road and Paulo stopped so I could take pictures of the trees. They peel the bark (cork) up to the first branches which makes the tree two colours. All this starting and starting made me a little late but European airports and schedules are different from Canadian. I dropped off my bag and said goodbye to Ana and Paulo. I went through security and had about 1O minutes before boarding. If I was in Canada I would be hurrying and worried. In Europe the waiting room hadn't opened yet. People were sitting in the hall waiting for the attendants to arrive and open the doors. Finally we boarded and my row was the only one with an empty seat.  We arrived without incident in Amsterdam and caught a train to Rotterdam and a taxi to Leonie's house. Quickly to bed after a long day.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nov 4th, Sevilla Cathedral, Real Alcazar, and Spanish Square

Paulo and Ana decided that today was the day to go to Spain. We are going to Sevilla and we will visit the cathedral, Alcazar, the Spanish Square and IKEA.
I am a little disappointed with the European Union. I don't end up with passport stamps.
When we arrived in Sevilla we drove around looking for the underground parking. It gave me a chance to see the city which is a mix of old and new. Strange round skyscrapers and old bull fighting rings. We parked in the underground in the centre of town and started our tour.
There is a very old large post office with concrete decorations that are mailboxes on the side of the building. Opposite the post office is the beginning of the cathedral. We walked around it and I discovered that just like Salamanca, graduates of the University had written their names (400 years ago) on the side of the building in bull's blood. You can still see the writing today. I went inside and took a few pictures. The outside was more impressive then the inside. It was beautiful but I expected the nave to be bigger.
We walked around the old city which included some of the outside walls of the Alcazar. We found a lovely restaurant. Ana and Paulo shared a variety of tapas but I missed having Paella when I was in Spain before so I had a seafood paella. It was delicious. Now it was time to go to Real Alcazar. We rented audio guides. Mine was in English. We travelled together for a few rooms and then we split up. Room after room opened to new splendours. The ceilings were gorgeous. The gardens were lovely. I got pictures of the peacocks, the fountains, the tile work, the ceilings, the carved walls. I loved it all. I decided it was time to make my way to the exit to find Ana and Paulo. Then I got lost. I kept heading in the right direction and ending up back where I started. People told me to go straight and turn left. I did it again and there I was again, back where I started. Finally a man told me to go straight through two doorways before I turned left. I made it to the exit and found Ana and Paulo. There are almost a hundred pictures of Alcazar on Facebook, I just couldn't stop taking pictures.
We had to walk about a kilometre to the Spanish Square but it was worth the walk. It is a beautiful half circle of building with an impressive square that was big enough that there were several bridges and a canal with boats in it. There are horse drawn coaches giving people rides around the centre of the square. Another wonderful attraction.
We headed back toward the old city and the car.
We had to stop for churros and chocolate before heading to IKEA. All IKEAs are so huge and you must follow around in a circle to find the exit, I was not surprised when Ana said that we had walked 11 kilometres over the whole day.