Blogger Bouquet #54

I recently discovered Wandering Canadians travel and adventure blog and am now a follower.

Who are the Wandering Canadians?

“We’re a couple of Canadians who enjoy hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, diving, and spending as much time outdoors as we can. We hope our stories can help as you plan for your adventures. Thanks for reading.” –L & K

I was thrilled to come across their post from July where they describe their 10-day trip to the island portion of my own province, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The photography is stunning too. But please don’t take my word for it, click on the highlighted post below and see for yourself.

Newfoundland

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Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

A Tourist’s Delight: “Dear Old Signal Hill”

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Sometimes we sit lamenting as memory traces back
The old familiar landmarks that we miss from off our track.
They’ve built the railway stations where our feet were wont to skate,
They motor over footpaths where our lovers used to wait.
But there’s one left still – dear old Signal Hill.*

I’ve always loved Signal Hill. That’s probably why I incorporated into a couple of scenes in my debut novel, Calmer Girls.

Overlooking St. John’s Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the capital city’s most popular tourist attraction.

I take the time every summer to pay a visit, and this past July was no exception. Here are a few shots from that gorgeously sunny and breezy day – then again, as any tourist can attest, it’s always quite breezy atop this hill!

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The iconic Cabot Tower – jenniferkellandperry.com

In the distant past, Signal Hill has been the setting for victorious battle, the location for Marconi’s monumental establishment of wireless telegraph communication, and a signalling station for approaching ships.

Today it is a National Historic Site under Parks Canada.

The best thing I like about Signal Hill?
The views, of course!

View from Signal Hill
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If you look closely at some of my pics, you can see the trail around the hill.

This is not a hiking trail for the faint of heart.

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Thanks for taking a look at my throwback to July and one of the best-loved sites my province has to offer.

*Poem by Lydia Chancey, Book of Newfoundland, 1937

Happy Maisie

Our Maisie

One of the best things about a vacation?
Coming home to a face like this.

Both kitties were overjoyed at our return,
as if we were gone for a month!

One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.”
– Pam Brown, Australian poet

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Happy

Hieroglyphs

Part of the Ancient Egypt Exhibit at the Louvre

Sunday Snap: Heiroglyphs

I know you’re a smart guy, Paul, but you can’t read that. Stop pretending. 😉

Photo first published here: Scenes From France – Part Two: Paris

4 Things You Have To Do When Visiting Montreal

Montreal is one of the true gems of Canada, an incredible fusion of historical authenticity, cosmopolitanism and sheer beauty.

If you’re planning a trip to this wonderful city, there are plenty of ways to make the most of it. While any trip to Montreal (click the link to check out photos from one of my visits there) is bound to be unforgettable, there are certain highlights that you may want to add to your list. Here are just four:

Trek Up Mount Royal

 Image: Wikimedia

Mount Royal is probably the first place you should head to when you arrive in Montreal. The gorgeous views you’ll get of the city will instantly make that hassle with the electronic travel authorisation system worth it. It’s a lovely, scenic walk (or bus ride) to the top, and once you reach the Belvedere Observatory, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of your vantage point. It’s also a great spot for an impressive selfie! If you’re an early bird, try to catch the sunrise from the top of Mount Royal. Seeing the sun creep up over the horizon and spill its rays through the skyscrapers is a magical experience.

Try the Food

Montreal is a true foodie’s city, partly due to the French colonists’ influence. The culinary classics of Montreal may be a little greasy for some traveller’s tastes, but don’t knock it until you try it. Poutine is a trademark of the city, and while it may not be all that appetizing to look at, after just one bite you’ll probably understand why it’s become such a local staple. You also should try a four-inch thick smoked meat sandwich, a specialty of many diners and cafés scattered throughout Montreal. A lot of guidebooks will recommend Schwartz’s, but the locals may tell you otherwise.

Visit a Market

Markets are one of the best ways for visitors to meet the locals and get a taste for the city’s culture. You’ll also want to try a variety of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re there in the summer when pretty much everything’s in season. If you’ve never tried locally grown Quebec strawberries, then this needs to go on your bucket list immediately. Try to save a fair chunk of your souvenir money for a market, to look for local delicacies such as ice wines and ciders or preserves. Just like anywhere in Canada, you’ll also find countless maple-flavoured products.

See the Basilique Notre-Dame

Whatever your spiritual leanings, the Basilique Notre-Dame is one church that you need to see when you’re visiting Montreal. The Basilique Notre-Dame (Or Notre-Dame Basilica, to Anglo-Canadians) is one of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world, and one of the few in North America that doesn’t pale in comparison to the ones in Europe. Have a wander around, and spend a while marvelling at the rustic gothic facades, the giant organ, and its beautiful chapel.

These are just a few suggestions to make your visit to Montreal a fun and interesting one. I hope I am lucky enough to return again one day to enjoy this beautiful city’s culture.

Have you ever visited Montreal?

Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

Newcastle upon Tyne is quite unlike any other place in the world. It is a city where old meets new – the historic architecture melds with the technological advancements of the 21st century in a striking way.”

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Take a look at this top destination in the United Kingdom:

Source: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

Blogger Bouquet #44

I’ve been visiting Elisa Ruland’s beautiful travel blog for a few years now, and I am always amazed by her breathtaking photography, her enjoyable narratives and her knowledge of historical destinations. Love her tagline too: “All you need is love…and travel.”

From Elisa’s About page:

I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend from Atlanta, Georgia, doing my best to live in the moment. A passionate Francophil, I love to travel, I adore the ocean and am weirdly fascinated by maps. I’ve been told many times that I walk too fast.”

I chose to highlight this recent post of hers because of the photos, the info, and because I just might visit there next year, if all goes well.

Day Trip to Canterbury

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Have an inspiring weekend, everyone!

Guest Post: EuroTrip Planner – When to Go and What to See

With my eye on a trip to England next year, I am sharing a guest post by lifestyle blogger, Marie Nieves, who gives some practical advice on planning a European adventure.

I am also welcoming other guest posts on the topic, primarily about travel to the United Kingdom and nearby countries. Please send your guest post ideas to: jennifer@jenniferkellandperry.com.

Take it away, Marie!

EuroTrip Planner: When to Go and What to See

 Europe, Source

Having a tour through Europe is always a great idea. However, if you would like to explore Europe, there are a number of things to consider beforehand. First of all, you should know that regardless of how long your trip lasts, it will not be enough to see everything you want. What you need is to make a plan of your trip in a way that you can make the most of the time you have. Doing this is often difficult as you need to be realistic, but at the same time trying to meet all the expectations regarding the trip. I’m here to help you do that!

When?

There are three main traveling seasons in Europe. They are called high, low and shoulder seasons. The first one is from June until August, the second one is November to April, and the Shoulder seasons are April to June, and September to November. Choose the season depending on your preferences since it will have a major effect on your trip. If you can stand the heat, the high season is great for you. However, if you prefer traveling when temperatures are lower, some other seasons may work better in your case.

Packing

Since you’ll be visiting many countries, and therefore changing locations frequently, I advise you not to bring a lot of luggage. This may or may not be possible depending on how long you’re staying, but try to bring only your essentials. You need money, passport, phone, camera and something to wear. Don’t stock up on anything since you’ll be able to buy things along the way.

Metro, Source

Accommodation

This can be tricky. Perhaps you can choose a country which will be your base and then have excursions from there. For example, you can choose England as a base. If you’d like to stay in a hotel, Tavistock House has great reviews. You can also choose the Oceanic Hotel in Falmouth or the Grasmere Hotel. On the other hand, if you prefer to save a few bucks, there are great offers for shared accommodation in England. One suggestion would be to book a hotel at your primary location in advance and find accommodation for your excursions on the go. Keep track of offers before and during your trip to get the best price for a stay in other countries, as well as to keep your routing options open.

Excursions

Depending on how you structure your trip, you will set the time for exploring England and other countries. It’s all about maximizing your performance during the time given. That is why enticing canal cruises in England are a convenient way to see several different cities such as London, Reading, Windsor and Oxford.  You will surely enjoy cruising along the River Thames and admiring the scenery you pass by. As far as other countries are concerned, the good thing is that it’s really easy to travel by plane from England to any European country. The connections are excellent, so you can go anywhere you want.

River Thames, Source

If this is your first trip to Europe, I recommend sticking with just a few countries. For instance, visit France, Italy and Germany from England. See the capitals and all the main places in these countries. Try the local cuisine, walk down the streets and breathe the air and atmosphere of each city you visit. Give yourself enough time to really experience every country. It’s better to stick with just a few of them rather than try to visit as many as possible and end up confused and exhausted. European trips should be done this way, in stages. Every time you visit, you’ll have a completely different experience!

About the author

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Not-So-Obvious Reasons Why Italy Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

Ah, wanderlust. I’m experiencing you again.

My husband and I are beginning to yearn for a return trip to Europe. We are planning on seeing England sometime in the future, but we still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when we look back on our trip to Italy.

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We all know that food is one of the main draws to Italy. After all, it’s undeniable that their pizzas and pastas are the best in the world, and we feasted on both often, during our travels there.

Many people visit the country to experience the renowned cuisine, and crowds upon crowds of tourists frequent the popular cities of Venice and Rome.

But there is more to Italy than these things. Here are some not-so-obvious reasons why Italy should be your next travel destination.

Wonderful Festivals

One thing I hadn’t known when we visited is that Italy knows how to put on a good festival. If we ever return – and I hope we do – we won’t forget to sample a few. In the summer months, there are many outdoor festivals, full of music for locals and visitors to enjoy. One festival you won’t want to miss is the Carpino Folk Festival. It’s the biggest folk festival in the country and is fantastic if you want to listen to some haunting melodies. You can find out more about this festival in this article.

Amazing Craft Shops

Shopping is one of the biggest draws to Italy. The clothes are fantastic, and you wouldn’t want to leave without visiting some of the designer stores. But as well as clothes, there are some fabulous craft shops. You’ll find many towns across the country with stores selling all the craft items you could possibly need. One place to go to is the Palazzo Pitti. As this feature explains, you can find some great artisan shops here, selling ceramics and leather. You’ll be going home with a full suitcase of fabulous finds if you head to beautiful Italy. All you need is the money!

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The Beautiful Countryside in Tuscany

The views are one of the best things about Italy. Places in Italy like the Amalfi Coast are some of the most stunning in the world. If you head to Tuscany, you’ll see the gorgeous countryside, full of vineyards and olive groves that are breathtaking. The Apennine Mountains are a sight to behold. I recommend you find somewhere to stay in the heart of the Tuscany countryside to have an unforgettable Italian holiday.

We stayed in a lovely villa for an entire week while we were in Tuscany, and took day trips to Florence and Siena. Next time, we have to remember to book a trip to a winery for something a little different.

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Beautiful churches

Even if you are not religious, the churches in Italy are worth taking in. For one thing, they are absolutely beautiful treasures of architecture. They were a highlight of our trip and something I will never forget. Just make sure you cover up out of respect when you visit the churches, or you won’t be allowed in. 🙂

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As well as all this, the country has some of the nicest people in the world. My husband and I would go back in a heartbeat!

Have you ever travelled to Italy?
Do you have any not-so-obvious reasons to add it as a destination?

Fun, Sun, Sand and Smiles

After nine days, the children have gone home.

Our house yawns astonishingly quiet and empty. The beaches here on Sandy-Feet Avenue and Perry’s Point look abandoned, lonely and forlorn; bereft of the three little beach bums that ran across them countless times a day.

A myriad of reminders surround me: empty sand pails, tiny mementos in the form of sea glass and shells from the beach, our grandson’s toy army tank left behind, a day pass from Windmill Bight Park, a box of our granddaughter’s favourite crackers in the cupboard, a candy wrapper under the bed. There is even a folder of GoPro videos they made saved on my PC desktop.

And I’m amazed at how much longer it takes for the dishwasher and the washing machine to fill up in their absence.

We miss our two grandchildren – plus one little friend – but we had an incredible time together filled with sweet summer memories and photos to look back on.

And there is always next year, God willing!

Here are a few captures from last week.

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Searching for starfish, hermit crabs and other treasures
“Wanna go clam-digging again?”

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The weather was beautiful nearly every day!

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Our girl having fun at the nearby playground
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Zip-lining!

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Waiting to dine on ‘Surf ‘n Turf’ at the local restaurant*

During one of these lazy afternoons, our girl decided she wanted to write a story. So while her friend and our boy continued playing on the beach, she sat down nearby with a pad of lined paper and a pencil. When I asked her what her story was about, she said with a shy grin, “Cats.”

I guess the (grand)apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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*All photos taken with iPhone 6

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun