Mount Fuji, Japan and the springtime cherry blossoms

Mount Fuji, Japan and the springtime cherry blossoms

While perusing my itinerary for my upcoming trip to the UK to see my husband, I got thinking about my travel wishlist. It does change from time to time but several destinations never seem to drop off the list. Friends and family always say I’ve traveled “extensively” and while I certainly have gotten on a plane, train or into a car numerous times, the list of my travel destinations isn’t really that long when I compare to people that have *really* traveled far and wide.

Positano, on the Amalfi coast of Italy, One of the locations in Only You

Positano, on the Amalfi coast of Italy. Almost the furthest away from Home I’ve been

Google is a wonderful thing. You can ask it pretty much anything and according to them, the distance between where I live and Amalfi in Italy is 6153 km which is the farthest away from home I’ve managed, making Italy the country furthest from home for me, so far. We plan to go to Hawaii either next year or the year after and that will break my record by close to 2500 km. Excellent!

The majority of my travel has been to the U.K. since I’ve been in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend/fiance/husband who is making plans to emigrate to Canada soon. We’ve driven around Great Britain a bit, visited London a number of times and flown out to a few places on the Continent and to Ireland as well. Some of those places are on my list to revisit some day. We nearly made it to Paris last year but that had to be canceled.

It’s tough, really, trying to decide between going back to a place you really enjoy and trying somewhere new. My husband hadn’t traveled very far afield before he met me so many of the places we’ve gone together were new to him, with some new to me as well,  and there will  be trips to take to show him more of Canada when he moves here, both places I’ve been and some I haven’t.

My own personal wish list currently looks like this, in no particular order:

  • A river cruise in Eastern Europe
  • Iceland
  • Portugal – Lisbon and Porto
  • China and Japan
  • New Zealand and Australia
  • Barcelona and Madrid

It’s not that likely that we’ll ever get to the other side of the world but who knows? One of the main impediments is, as most people find, money but the other that intimidates me is that long flight. Even breaking it up into segments gives you some very long hours in the air. If money was no object (ha!) then we could be a lot more comfortable in business class or first class but the odds are not in our favour. The other destinations are possible, though. We have direct flights to Iceland from here in Halifax during the spring to fall season, and the cruise, Portugal or Spain definitely an add on to a visit to family and friends in the UK sometime.

Return destinations include Paris, Copenhagen, Boston, New York, New England, Scotland and Ireland. The first trip we ever took together was to a wedding in Ireland as it happens and it would be fun to go back and do a road trip around the country. I’m probably going to retire in 3 or 4 years, maybe a goal could be to take a post-retirement trip of a lifetime. I’ve always thought it would be cool to fly around the world and stop off various places. That’s probably a bit much to finance I suppose but it costs nothing to dream!

Travel Theme: Toys

Where’s My Backpack is looking for photos of toys this week.

My first two photos were taken at the Arnhem Open Air museum in the Netherlands. It’s a lovely outdoor museum comprised of buildings brought there from all over the country from various historical eras, – cottages, a dairy, a brewery, a general store, a chapel, a barn where they’re building boats, several windmills, too.  They have lots of interesting items in the buildings, shops are set up like old shops might have been and the staff all dress in period costume. They have an antique tram car that circles the park so you don’t have to walk quite so far. Another building is filled with collections, one of which is a collection of volumes of Pinnochio. That’s where the first photo was taken. The second photo is one of the buildings in the village setting where I spied a couple of dolls in an upstairs window.


In the bakery window

This last photo of the nutcrackers was taken in Manchester at the Christmas markets.

Nutcracker, sweet!

DP challenge: Half and Half

This week’s Daily Post challenge here on WordPress is “half and half”, where you take a photo that embodies the spirit, whether by composition or spirit. Most of my photos today were taken in Rome a few years ago, with a new one from the other day at the end, taken locally and included because it’s my recent new favourite.

Colosseum, looking up from the hypogeum (the “basement”, so to speak)

Colosseum detail, Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

An “aerial” view outside our hotel, Rome

Trevi fountain detail. Rome

Boats belonging to the schooner Bluenose II, Halifax Waterfront

Boats belonging to the schooner Bluenose II, Halifax Waterfront


Travel theme: Land Meets Water

Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack has a weekly travel theme and this week’s challenge is Land Meets Water.  I’m sure there will be plenty of examples taken on exotic and lush, tropical beaches but that’s not my sort of travel. I like to drive along rocky coastline. I do visit beaches for a walk once in awhile, to stick my toes in the water if it’s a hot day or bask in the brisk breeze blowing off the water if it’s not.

Here’s a few photos from the archives:

Halifax waterfront and the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry

Halifax waterfront and the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry

Lincolnville beach, Maine

Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island

Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia

The Island of Iona, Scotland

DP Challenge – Symbol

Canada flag HMCS TorontoThis week, Daily Post is asking to see examples of a symbol. From a travel perspective, countries have flags, that becomes the overall symbol for the country. A few are more well known than others – the Japanese Rising Sun, the Russian Hammer and Sickle, the Union Jack or, more properly, the Union flag of the United Kingdom. Yes, Ok, the American Stars and Stripes and my own personal favourite (for obvious reasons) the Canadian Flag.

Coats of arms are also symbols of countries, cities, institutions such as universities, families and individuals as well. Coats of arms have very old origins. We think of them as medieval, where knights would have them to represent themselves and their families but did you know that Romans also used simiar types of symbols? They were more military in use, identifying battalions and legions. Coats of arms are often seen on country and city flags, these days and you could make a case for a coat of arms being the precursor to modern day product and company logos.

Below is the symbol/coat of arms of the city of Amsterdam. The crosses are Saint Andrew’s crosses. You see the triple X symbol everywhere though the proper full coat of arms actually has a lion on either side.

The coat of arms of Amsterdam

Another symbol of a city might be an iconic building or structure. Everyone knows that the Statue of Liberty symbolizes New York City even more than the Empire State Building. The Colosseum instantly identifies Rome. The Eiffel Tower, is, of course Paris.

The Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris

London has several buildings and structures, the Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye to name a few.

British Houses of Parliament, with “Big Ben”, which is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower.

More interpretations of symbols here.

DP Challenge – Doors

Doors, another of my favourite things to photograph. Such a simple thing, a door or a window.  Someone once commented that perhaps I take pictures of doors and windows because I wonder what’s behind them. Perhaps that’s part of it. But I also find there’s often a lot of wonderful decoration around these architectural features.  Sometimes you see a door or a window in an odd location. Doors often have windows in them, too. Here’s a few of my favourites from my travels:

My absolute favourite, seen in Paris in the Montmartre district

Brighton, UK, behind a shop in the Lanes, the oldest part of Brighton

Seen while walking through Fowey, in Cornwall. Gives “below stairs” a different meaning.

St. Bernard, large stone church in a tiny village near St. Ann’s, Nova Scotia along the French speaking North Shore of the province

More doors on the WordPress weekly challenge.

Day Trips: Blackpool

Blackpool is a seaside town in the northwest of England. It has been a firm and traditional summer holiday destination for well over a century. It has all the seaside traditions – sand, donkey rides, arcades, piers (three!) with attractions and there’s lots of shops and places to have fish and chips along the seafront. There are streets upon streets of small hotels, guest houses and B&Bs. There are Bingo Halls, theatres, exhibitions (some tacky, some not) and there’s a huge theme park filled with rides and games called the Pleasure Beach. They even have the Blackpool tower, a mini-Eiffel like structure on the seafront that has a grand ballroom in it and an observation deck high in the sky.

My husband spent many a happy holiday there as a child. They took the bus, or “charabanc”, “chara” for short. They did all the things families do. There were many great memories. He’ll be emmigrating to Canada and wants to see Blackpool one last time so we’ll jump in the rental car and drive up from Salford, just about an hour’s ride away by car.

I’ll confess. Blackpool has always felt a bit tacky to me, a tourist trap, but I’m not British and these seaside wonders are not ingrained into my psyche.  Also, I grew up in a city by the sea so the ocean isn’t as much of a novelty. We did go once before, for an afternoon and we went up in the Tower, found a Doctor Who exhibit and had a walk along the seafront for a bit.

In September, I think the weather will be a bit warmer than it was on the day in the month of May when we went last time. Maybe a paddle in the sea while walking on the beach might be something we’ll do. I think I’d like to walk out along one of the piers, perhaps take the tram to the Pleasure Beach (though you won’t get me on those enormous roller coasters for love or money) and see what other interesting or dubious things to do away from the sea front streets.

One thing I do want to see is the Illuminations. The Blackpool Front (the seafront) and streets are lit up with neon decor, some of it very artful, from the beginning of September through early November so whatever day we decide to go, I want to stay late enough to see the lights turned on. There are indoor illuminations too, at Illuminasia in the Winter Garden.

Other possibilities, if we have the time include a peek into the Winter Garden Opera House, and the Grand Theatre, two wonderful old Victorian theatres.  There’s the World Fireworks Championships on several dates in September, that would be pretty amazing, I would think. We shall see what we have the energy to do! I anticipate plenty of rests with cups of tea/coffee, maybe a fish and chip meal and a sit down to watch the sea.