April 29, 2016

Gaudi’s Masterpiece: The Church of the Sagrada Familia

Follow us on Facebook! Our 2009 trans-Atlantic cruise ended in Barcelona. We stayed three extra days there before flying back to Canada and covered a lot of ground in those three days. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia. Its history goes back to Roman times. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, it is known for its warm climate, beautiful beaches, vibrant retaurants and entertainment and most of all, for its stunning architecture, particularly that of Antoni Gaudi, a pioneer of Catalan Modernism. After leaving the ship, Janis and I and our friends Chris and Sheila took a shuttle bus to our respective hotels, then met…

April 25, 2016

Malaga: A Tale of Two Castles

Follow us on Facebook! The fourth stop on our 2009 cruise was Malaga, a small Spanish city on the Mediterranean 134 kilometres from Gibraltar. As we did in Cadiz, we decided to explore Malaga on our own rather than take an organized excursion. The city is a short hop by bus from the port. Malaga is an ancient city with a history spanning 2800 years. It was founded by the Phoenicians in 770 BC.  Like Cadiz, it is also within the autonomous region of Andalusia. Upon leaving the ship, we took a short bus ride to the city. We were dropped off at the Paseo Parque, a broad boulevard spanned by parks on…

April 22, 2016

Old Lisbon

Follow us on Facebook! The second port of call on our 2009 trans-Atlantic cruise was Lisbon, Portugal. While had taken a shore excursion on our first stop, Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we opted to check out Lisbon on our own. Upon disembarking, there were free shuttle buses to transport us to the Baixa and surrounding districts which make up the historic centre of Lisbon, much like the 20 arrondissements make up the historic centre of Paris. Lisbon has a lot of history behind it. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, predating London, Paris and Rome by centuries. The bus dropped us off at outside the Rua Augusta Arch…

April 19, 2016

The Cats of Cadiz

Follow us on Facebook! Cadiz, Spain was the third port of call on the trans-Atlantic cruise we took in April 2009. It lies along the coast of Spain  on the Atlantic about 150 kilometres from Gibraltar (119 km via the inland route), not quite two thirds of the way from Portugal to Gibraltar. It lies on a narrow spit of land, a peninsula, jutting out from the mainland to enclose a large bay, though it looks more like an island connected by a causeway to the mainland. The city is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. It is the capital of the province of…

April 12, 2016

Abbotsford Tulip Festival

Follow us on Facebook! The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival south of the line in Mount Vernon, Washington has been a huge annual event for years. Now a local Abbotsford farm has created the Abbotsford Tulip Festival, also running throughout the month of April. Last Friday my wife and I decided to check it out. Compared to the Skagit event which comprises many farms and covers 300 acres, the Abbotsford event is a small affair – around ten acres. And there is an admission charge of $5 a person. Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable visit and it is worth checking out if you want to see fields of tulips but…