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Fun and Adventure

Quebec City and Ottawa

Beautiful view of Chateau Frontinic and the Fall Colors!

We said good-bye to Montreal much too soon and were on our way to Quebec at 8am. The morning was a pretty drive along the St. Lawrence river. We stopped at a Copper art museum and specialty shop which was very interesting. Then we stopped at Montmorency Falls cascading down 100 feet. We never tire of waterfalls. This one is really spectacular and 30 meters higher than Niagara!

The top of Montmorency Falls.

The top of Montmorency Falls.

 

 

Quick stop on way to Quebec to see house The Adam's Family was filmed in! Fun!

Quick stop on way to Quebec to see house “The Adam’s Family” was filmed in! Fun!

From here we headed to the City where we checked into our hotel. That night we had a wonderful meal at L’entrecote Saint-Jean restaurant. It was a delightful restaurant and the food was delicious- my favorite meal of the trip. The next morning we got up at  8am and had a 2 hour tour of Quebec. It was a wonderful overview of the City. We had the whole afternoon to explore the City on our own which was really fun.

Beautiful view of Chateau Frontinic and the Fall Colors!

Beautiful view of Chateau Frontinic and the Fall Colors!

A huge mural painted in the center of old town. Feels like you can walk right into the street and meet the people there.

A huge mural painted in the center of old town. Feels like you can walk right into the street and meet the people there.

“Fresque des Québécois
Visitors to Old Québec’s Place-Royale can’t miss the immense Fresque des Québécois on Côte de la Montagne. This mural recounts the story of Québec City, weaving in visual allusions to its unique architecture and fortifications, and its larger-than-life personalities. Look closely at the building’s windows: you’ll see some 15 historic figures and nearly a dozen of Québec’s leading writers and artists. It’s truly a breathtaking work!”

Quebec gearing up for Halloween!

Quebec gearing up for Halloween!

Delicious mussles in Quebec.

Delicious mussels in Quebec.

Love all the views of this gorgeous Chateau that is seen all over the City as you walk through it.

Love all the views of this gorgeous Chateau that is seen all over the City as you walk through it.

We left Quebec City after 2 wonderful days of walking and exploring. This City makes one feel as if you are in Europe. This was my second time here and won’t be my last I hope. We arose early to travel to Ottawa. It was another long ride on the bus. We arrived in Ottawa at 3pm and had a wonderful tour of this beautiful City.

Our lovely guide who gave us a tour of the city - dressed in 100 attire.

Our lovely guide who gave us a tour of the city – dressed in 1800’s attire.

The Parliament building- Most important building in City.

The Parliament building- Most important building in City.

There was a huge rib and Bar-b-que cook off we enjoyed for dinner - blocks of Bar-b-que and lots of people- great fun.

There was a huge rib and Bar-b-Que cook off we enjoyed for dinner – blocks of Bar-b-Que and lots of people- great fun.

Police marching in memorial celebration of all fallen officers everywhere in the world

Police marching in memorial celebration of all fallen officers everywhere in the world

The first thing Sunday morning we were up and out the door to see the parade and memorial service for all police officers throughout the world. It was very impressive – the parade was huge with thousands of police officers marching in uniform with bands, bagpipes and much pomp and circumstance. We were there for 3 hours! With the parliament as the backdrop it was really impressive and a true tribute to those in service to protect and care for the people.

Hundreds of motorcycle cops led the parade then lined up with lights flashing.

Hundreds of motorcycle officers led the parade then lined up with lights flashing.

After the memorial we spent an hour on bikes and rode all along the Canal Rideua which winds through the city. “Built during a time when Canada feared a potential attack from the United States, the Rideau Canal has become a defining landmark in Ottawa. The 202-kilometre (126-mile) canal, which travels south to Lake Ontario, first opened in 1832. Its 47 locks and interconnectedness with lakes and rivers is a true engineering marvel, leading to its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks and trails line the Canal as its travels through Ottawa, perfect for a scenic picnic and bike ride.From May to early October the Canal becomes a popular spot for cruises, canoes, and kayaks. And during the winter it turns into the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink.”

We then walked to the farmers market and saw some other sites along the way. We waited in line for 2 hours to see the inside of the parliament building and the beautiful library and rotunda. We were back at the hotel by 5pm- in time to make it to our final farewell dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.

Biking along the canal

Biking along the canal

View of Parliament and the brilliant Fall colors

View of Parliament and the brilliant Fall colors

The canal frezes in winter and people ice skate here!!

The canal freezes in winter and people ice skate here!!

Tons of garlic in the Farmer's Market- Had a great sandwich here.

Tons of garlic in the Farmer’s Market- Had a great sandwich here.

The impressive library in the Parliament building. http://www.parliamenthill.gc.ca/

The impressive library in the Parliament building. For more information about this famous library go to http://www.parliamenthill.gc.ca/

This was a great day in Ottawa- I really loved this City. It was so clean and fun to explore. The people were really nice and I was sad we did not have more time there.

Our last day we boarded the bus once again and headed back to Toronto to catch our plane home. We had two stops along the way. First stop was one of the many locks along the Rideau Canal. This was an interesting and , also gorgeous spot along this canal which is a world heritage site.

Picture of home along the canal.

Picture of home along the canal.

The lock in action.

The lock in action.

Last stop- The Big Apple- a fun place for lunch and incredible apple pie!

Last stop- The Big Apple- a fun place for lunch and incredible apple pie!

Thank you Trafalgar, Perry our guide and Ron the most amazing driver ever for a great trip!

Thank you Trafalgar, Peter our guide, and Ron the most amazing driver ever for a great trip!

A Day exploring Joshua Tree Park

Today was a great day of fun and adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. We drove from Palm Springs to visit the park which took an hour. We Parked at Barker Damn and then rode our bikes up Queen valley rode and then over sheep pass into Hidden Valley. The bike ride was spectacular and a lot of fun. We started out on a dirt rode then unto the park paved rode. Both easy to navigate and a great ride.The park is really spectacular. I want to return and camp here some time. So many wonderful hikes, bike rides, painting opportunities and photography. The park was full of rock climbers and it is one of the best rock climbing places around, not that I am interested in Rock Climbing:)- sure is fun to watch, though!

John riding The Queen Valley Rode

John riding The Queen Valley Rode

Backlit Smoke tree

Back lit Smoke tree

Barker Dam - A great hike

Barker Dam – A great hike

Reflections in Barker dam- Not much water- still and pretty reflections

Reflections in Barker dam- Not much water- still and pretty reflections

Sunset in the gorgeous Joshua Tree Park

Sunset in the gorgeous Joshua Tree Park

Our Visit to Egypt and the Pyramids

On our Holy Land Cruise one of the most interesting stops was to visit Cairo and The Pyramids. We disembarked for our 2 day tour in Alexandria and drove 3 hours to Cairo. The ride was very interesting and a bit scary. The traffic in Egypt is so unbelievably heavy . There are all kinds of different transportation on the freeway- cars, trucks, horses, wagons and even a few camels. There are no traffic laws and no set lanes so it is all very chaotic. Our guide was Mohammed and he was full of information about the culture and politics of Egypt. I am not going to go into all that on my blog. I want to share my pictures and some of the experience we had. Egypt is a very interesting country and full of ancient history and many wonders. Our first stop was lunch on the Nile River on “The Boat of the Pharaohs” – a floating restaurant. We  were entertained with Belly dancers and a whirling dervish.

Freeway traffic- everyone going in the direction they want to go!

Lunch on the Nile

Whirling Dervish

Buildings along The Nile River.

After lunch on the Nile we visited The Egyptian museum in Cairo. “The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms. ” It was fascinating and a wonderful museum.

Picture of the Egyptian museum

After a quick ride around Cairo we were taken to the Pyramids for an evening light show. I found this to be rather a touristy experience, but it was fun to see them at night and lit up. The next day we saw the pyramids of Gaza, The sphinx, Imhotep and Saqqara tombs, The Citadel of Salah  Al Din, The Rahina museum and much more. Walking the area of the Pyramids was gorgeous. The only bad experience we had was the relentless vendors who really should not be allowed at the Pyramid site.

The Sphinx at Night lit up

Quite a show- lights and music

"Legend has it that Salah ad-Din chose the site for its healthy air. The story goes that he hung pieces of meat up all around Cairo. Everywhere the meat spoilt within a day, with the exception of the Citadel area where it remained fresh for several days. But in reality this location provides a strategic advantage both to dominate Cairo and to defend outside attackers. Salah ad-Din had come from Syria where each town had some sort of fortress to act as a stronghold for the local ruler so it was only natural that he would carry this custom to Egypt. Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/citadel.htm#ixzz2OIlxG9k1"

View of Cairo from Citadel

You can see how the Citadel is very majestic!

Entering the area of the Pyramids . I love the gold colors and the atmosphere radiates with light.

"Giza can be subdivided into two groupings of monuments, clearly defined and separated by a wadi. The larger grouping consists of the three "Great" pyramids of Khufu, Khephren, and Menkaure; the Sphinx, the pyramids of the queens, attendant temples and outbuildings, and the private mastabas of the nobility. The second grouping, located on the ridge to the southeast, contains a number of private tombs of citizens of various classes. While the majority of the monuments of the larger grouping are made from limestone that was quarried and transported to the site, the tombs of the smaller grouping are simply carved out of the native living rock. Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/giza.htm#ixzz2OIvgoCX6"

Camel rides are offered by the vendors. This was part of our group taking off for a picturesque ride among the Pyramids. The vendors will not let you off the camel until you give them more money- so beware!

View from a distance.

 

Cinque Terra- Italian Riviera

In October we had a wonderful trip to Italy and The Holy Land. I will share my experiences with you over time and hope you enjoy  reading about each place. We began in Italy. We flew to Milan and dropped our friend off in his family’s hometown Lonate Pozzola. He has family there and we spent our first night in Italy in Giovanni’s home. He was a wonderful host and we felt so at home.

The next day we left for Cinque Terra. Driving in Italy was a challenge, fast drivers and hard to read signs all made driving an adventure. We had a hotel reserved in La Spezia , but drove around town and never found our hotel even with a GPS system to help us! John got quite frustrated and decided to head back to a sweet little town called Borghetto we had passed and the Hotel Belvedere on the main street. We checked in there with no problem and ample parking. Our room was clean and we had a nice view of the mountains behind us.  The restaurant was reasonable with good food so we decided to eat here , also. We enjoyed our time there.

Hotel Belvedere

 

View of town from our room

The next morning we had a great breakfast at the hotel then headed to Monterosso Al Mare and our hotel Palme. This town is divided in half by a mountain with incredible views. We started by driving to the old town side. We could walk to our hotel from here- but had to drive back up the scenic windy mountain and back down to the other side to reach our hotel by car. We loved our hotel. It was one block from the beach and an easy walk to the train station. We spent 4 nights in this area and loved every minute. Each day we took a train ride to one town or another then hiked the rest of the day. Every hike was special. I took hundreds of pictures and will share a few.

The Cinque Terre, the five villages… Linked together by fantastic walking paths, these breathtaking villages are full of history and magic. With amazing hills to produce the rare Cinque Terre wine, wonderful local olive oil, beautiful forests where wild mushrooms are picked during the autumn, you will, without a doubt, enjoy the local gastronomy. The bustling little ports offer a wonderful location in which to relax, as do the old centres and narrow streets of the five villages.

The beautiful view of Monterosso La Mare from the top of the mountain.

The Cinque Terra region is famous for it's pesto. It is delicious. We ate at a restaurant called "Al Carugo" 3 times. We loved this restaurant above all that we tried in Monterosso. Delicious pesto pasta and Mussels to die for!

View of Riomaggiore in background. We bought a 2 day pass for the train and rode it to Riomaggiore then hiked from there to Manarola after exploring the town.

I loved the houses built on these step hills- So hard to imagine how people decided to build here. The colors are incredible!

The pretty town of Manarola. Where do you go and see boats parked on the street and the laundry hanging is part of the scenery.

 

 

 

Hiking above Corniglia- breathtaking scenery

Today we hiked to Corniglia from our hotel in Monterossa al Mare. We followed the direction in our Rick Steve's book and it was a wonderful hike. The up hills are a killer- lots of stairs and straight up, but the reward of gorgeous views made it totally worth the climb. It took us exactly 90 minutes, which is what the book said it would take. There were quite a few people on the trails. We arrived in Corniglia took lots of pictures and checked out the town.

Approaching Corniglia

Cinque Terra was definitely one of my favorite places to be for 5 days. I have lots more pictures, stories, places of interest and history. For now I am leaving you with just a taste of our experience in hopes that someday you will be able to visit this beautiful area and experience it for yourself.