As soon as we got on the trail, I knew it. All the street noise has suddenly ceased, the only family we passed by got quiet, the silent forest enveloped us in its magic touch, and then I knew I’m going to love the place. Was it the park itself, or just my desire to get out after so much social distancing, time will say.
After a torrid month we’ve had some rain in the forecast, which made us decide to start with the most difficult day hike of the park: The Crack.
Even though Spring has given us promising signs earlier this month, the temperatures dropped in the past week or so. What a better time to dig into my coffer, and find some blooming memories😊 – The Butchart Gardens, that we have visited back in 2016 when we did a road trip across half North America.
After an amazing ride by ferry from Vancouver, we arrived in Vancouver Island, planning to go to Victoria, the capital of the Canadian province British Columbia. As soon as we got down from the ferry, we wondered what if we could take a little detour to these gardens I was reading occasionally about. We found the entrance tickets were a bit expensive, but why not, since we are here already!
The winter in Canada lasts between 3 and 5 months, in general. In most of the country, the winter is marked by snow, ice, blizzards, and winds. Lots of winds. But when the sun shines, everybody is out. So we were these past amazing few weekends, as we’ve been so fortunate to have in February, in Southern Ontario.
The region of Halton is about 1 hours Northwest of Toronto and has a big variety of parks one can enjoy in the winter, not only in the summer, or other seasons. We I decided to go to Hilton Falls, as I am in love with frozen falls. I will let you decide if I am right or not.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Getting over the anxiety I managed to acquire a couple of days before our departure, due to some rumors about kidnappings and pick pocketing in Lima airport, I found myself in the same mentioned airport waiting in the line to obtain my tourist visa beside few other hundred tourists. The fact we landed a little bit more after midnight didn’t take away my excitement, and, while I was standing for a photo session by the airport officer, I remembered a similar situation when we were taken pictures entering to Cuba. Tourists from all over the world, backpackers, bikers, in groups or alone, there was such a variety of people in that enclosed space I haven’t really seen anywhere before. I suddenly felt at ease, one more crumb beside over 4 million tourists that visit Peru annually. Continue reading →
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 →