CA, Ontario: Fall walks – Algonquin Park in October

Fall is the most romantic season in Ontario. But October makes it so special because it is the month of the year when one can indulge the gorgeous foliage, thanks to the countless variety of yellow, orange and red colours that appear shortly after a couple of crisp mornings in the season.

colours

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PE, Sacred Valley: A day trip to Maras, Moray, and Chinchero

How to Peru in 2 weeks, Day#5: A day trip to Maras, Moray, and Chinchero

Dragging a foot after the other one is not a problem, if I can only get a grasp of air. My heart is racing like crazy, trying to pump more air. Thin air. I can’t believe how quickly my heart rate went up after not more than 20 stairs. I suddenly realize what our driver told us in his broken English about an hour ago. Chinchero is our highest point of the day, over 3700 metres altitude. Like a miracle, a bench appeared in front of our eyes, but we still have to climb few more stairs. I only have to keep moving, a step at a time: four, three, two, one. I almost collapse on the bench, trying to stabilize my heart rate: breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.. Continue reading

CA, Ontario: Autumnal postcards – John Earle Chase Memorial Park

September thoughts are lingering more than the month itself. Who needs to go to St. Moritz or Vermont to see autumnal landscapes, when they are right here, around the corner?

Freedom

I have never thought to have a whole park for myself, but certainly this is not a park marked on the Google map yet, but a hidden gem since 1995. Hmm, maybe the park hasn’t had a proper sign since 1995, but anyway, Google, where are you? I’m sure that people would love to know about this park!

John Earle Chase Memorial Park-the trail map on the left, Google map on the right

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PE, Lima: Miraflores & Barranco districts and other impressions

How to Peru in 2 weeks, Day #3 – Miraflores and Barranco districts

The third morning in Lima was sneaking quietly, and we had to decide if we should visit some museums we had on our list, or get to Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sights) in Barranco, while seeing more of the Lima’s street life.

The first stop was in Kennedy Park, so famous for its inhabitants: 60 cats. Located in the heart of Miraflores, the park is well known to the tourists, even though it looked like there were more locals at the time we stopped by. A little oasis in the middle of a bustling city, the park is much smaller than I imagined. Welcomed by a huge Pucara Bull, we had a chance to learn about this symbol, not knowing yet we will actually have a chance to visit the town of Pucara in the following week.

Kennedy park - Pucara bull
Lima-Kennedy park – Pucara bull, the symbol of prosperity, happiness and fertility in Andean culture

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PE, Lima: Lima district – Palm Sunday

How to Peru in 2 weeks, Day #2 – Lima district – Palm Sunday

Second morning in Lima found us asking the street vendors for some change near the Ricardo Palma station in Miraflores, where we had to take the Metropolitan bus to Lima district. Taking another public transportation was out of discussion, as we couldn’t manage to deal with the chaotic system of private (mini)buses. Since this was The Palm Sunday, grabbing a cab was also out of discussion because Arequipa Ave is closed as every other Sunday, which left us to the only rapid and easy solution to take the Metro, a rapid bus that runs from Barranco district up to Lima district in North. Purchasing a card for a ride would double the cost of it, but the need of more change was more of an issue, since we had to have the exact amount of money for the vending machine located at the entrance of the platform. Since no street vendor was willing to spare their change, we decided to ask a local to swipe their prepaid card and let us enter one by one. Offering an extra sol, and using the international sign language, we kindly asked a lady with her son to help us enter the gate while showing her the 6 soles for both of us. Glad we could resolve so easy the issue of getting in, we headed to the front of the bus to have a full view of the route. In about half an hour we arrived in Lima district, not before acknowledging the fact that we would never dare to drive a car in Lima, after watching the drivers’ attitude and recklessness on the streets.

Lima - riding Metro bus

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CA, Ontario: A visual history, Pembroke Heritage murals

Eager for a getaway, I was very happy when my dear friend O. invited us over, in the city where she’s been living for a while: Pembroke. Five hours from Toronto didn’t seem too long when the landscape we passed by was amazing, especially after we got off the main Highway 401. Nestled on the shores of the highlands of Ottawa River, the little and cozy city of Pembroke was first settled in 1828, due to the developing logging industry, as the first settlers found a rich region of white and red pines.

Pembroke mural - POINTER BOATS
POINTER BOATS painted by Craig Campbell 1990 In 1858 John Cockburn, an immigrant from England, established a boat building business on Pembroke’s waterfront: it was family run for 100 years. The Pointer boat was designed with two high pointed ends, and ranged from 18 feet to 50 feet. A fifty foot Pointer weighed 1/2 ton and could float in one and a half inches of water: known as the ‘boat that could float on heavy dew’. It was stable, tough, easy to handle, had quick response yet graceful in appearance.

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CA, Ontario: Photo essay – An idyllic winter wonderland

The winter might not be over yet in Ontario, but the last couple of days have been sunny, letting us hope the spring is around of corner. Canadians are pretty much used with harsh weather, but this winter especially was generous in snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, etc. But that is over, and who wants to remember tough moments, when the birds are out, chirping, and calling out for spring time?

I was overjoyed this morning when I could hear the birds in the whole neighbourhood, even though the snow sits generously on the sides of the street, waiting for higher temperatures to melt away. I couldn’t see the birds, but I could hear them singing on different voices from different directions. Pure bliss! Continue reading

RO, Alba – Freezing in the summer @ Scarisoara Ice Cave

After we visited Bear’s Cave and a local museum the day before in Chiscau, I was the first one to wake up (after a sleepless night) and explore the surroundings. I could talk a lot about my morning walk, watching the people doing their daily chores, listening the happy birds chirping in that glorious morning, and admiring the rich greenery surrounding the village. But the plan of the day was to visit another cave from this area, and by the evening to visit Corvin Castle in Hunedoara.

 

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RO, Bihor – Romania, a land of hidden gems: Bear’s Cave

It was a regular work day for Traian Curta, when, back in 1975 he was in charge with dynamiting a new area while working in a local mining exploitation company, when suddenly, a big grotto had opened beneath the ground. He didn’t want to get famous for being the first person to be lowered into that grotto, but he did it, and he was the first person who “visited” the cave up to the main gallery. After 5 years of explorations by amateur and professional speleologists, and building a basic infrastructure, the cave was opened for visitors in 1980.

Bears’ Cave is located in the Apuseni National Park, in the western side of the Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, on the outskirts of Chiscau village, Bihor County, Romania.

Bear's cave - walking through the galleries Continue reading