Add a Little Spring to Your Step

There is something about spring that makes me feel so alive.  I think it does for many people, especially those of us that just went through what felt like the longest winter EVER.

The last couple of weeks have been filled with exploring provincial and national parks just east of Edmonton, Alberta.  If you haven’t yet been to Elk Island Park or the Cooking Lake – Blackfoot  Provincial Provincial Recreation Area, I highly recommend exploring the area.  Both parks are about 30 minutes east of Sherwood Park via Highway 16.  Although that is the quickest route to get to either park, there are a number of secondary highways that will get you there as well. Continue reading

5 Awesome Trails to Hike in B.C.

It’s March in Alberta and you know what that means – we are still knee deep in snow. I do enjoy the winter season, however, now that spring is right around the corner, so is summer! And that means heading out to British Columbia’s Shuswap Lake region for some excellent hiking.

There are so many trails to choose from whether it be a short stroll along the shoreline in Salmon Arm or a challenging climb to the top of McArthur Heights. There is a hike for everyone, with varying distances and difficulty levels. With any hike, you will find yourself immersed in nature, with bird calls for music and serenity for your soul. Continue reading

Rambling down La Ramblas

Oh Barcelona, a bustling city filled cobbled streets (my favourite), shopping (don’t bust the budget), breath-taking architecture (Gaudi), mouth watering dishes (think paella and tapas), full-bodied red wine (yum!) and excellent beer (can’t forget the beer). And to top it all off, there is a coastline of fantastic beaches lined with boardwalks and trendy little beach bars. Continue reading

My Preference – Portugal!

 

“You eat…you pay”

Ok, so those little dishes of olives, cheese and bread that they bring out before your meal without comment aren’t free???

Apparently not and unless you ask or know of this fairly common standard when eating out in Portugal, you definitely do pay if you choose to eat those tasty little morsels.

Portugal is a beautiful country to explore, shop, sightsee, photograph, eat and drink wine… lots of fabulous wine. A medium bottle of wine from the Douro Valley is a measly 2 euros, while a great bottle of wine will cost you just under 5 euros. Not a bad deal when you are looking forward to spending an evening on your deck, with some local tapas and a good book. Continue reading

Traveling Germany – Part Three

Shut the Front Door!

Have you ever noticed when traveling through Germany or Europe in general, how amazingly intricate and beautiful the doors are? It’s certainly not limited to churches or museums. An afternoon stroll can extend for hours when you take the time to notice, and yes, photograph the variety of doors to behold.

In part two of this series, we enjoyed herring sandwiches along the North Sea. Now it was time to head inland, south to Osnabrück and Koblenz. Continue reading

Traveling Germany – Part Two

Pickled Herring Sandwich?

Ok, before your form your opinion on pickled herring sandwiches – Denmark has red hot dogs, Switzerland has chocolate and Germans like to pickle things…lots of things, and they do a damn fine job of it. If you happen to find yourself driving around the coastal towns along the North Sea, look for the small mobile sandwich huts and grab some pickled herring on a bun. I promise, they are delicious!

We left part one of this series visiting the land of storks in Hansestadt Werben. Continuing north, after a quick overnight stop outside of Brandenburg, we traveled through majestic, tree-lined cobble roads, crossed the Elbe River by ferry, and arrived in Wittenberge. 

A small cemetery outside of Wittenberge, surrounded by poppy fields is where my Dad’s grandparents were buried. Continue reading

Traveling Germany – Part One

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Errr…no…I mean nein!

Okay, I’m not quite that illiterate in German. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to get around Germany as English is widely spoken. That being said, I do try to communicate in German as much as possible while in-country, often to the hilarity of the various residents I encounter. Quite often, when I have thoroughly mangled what I am trying to say and give up in frustration, I ask “Sprechen Sie English?” A common response is, “Yes, I speak perfect English”. I have seen more stifled laughs than you can imagine – all in good humour. Continue reading