June 14, 2018

Historic Fremantle

The City of Fremantle in Western Australia teems with history. Founded by Swan River colonists in 1829, it officially became a city a century later. Indeed, much of the architecture in downtown Fremantle dates from the 19th century. The Esplanade Hotel shown above, for example, was originally used to house convicts while the Fremantle Prison was built. In 1892 it became a hotel. It underwent numerous renovations and expansions over the years including 1985 for the America’s Cup. It now has 300 rooms and is designated as a heritage site. Fremantle is a quaint little city of just 27,000, but it is a bustling one. Located at the mouth of…

December 5, 2017

Les Jardins de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! My last post covered our visit to le Château de Versailles.  That grand old palace, built by Louis XIV, and now a museum is certainly amazing. But equally extraordinary are the surrounding grounds and gardens. The entire estate covers over 800 hectares or almost 2000 acres. That’s about twice the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park or Perth’s King’s Park. It’s also larger than San Diego’s Balboa Park (1200 acres) or New York’s Central Park (843 acres). Louis the XIV commissioned the brilliant landscape architect André Le Nôtre to design the gardens and work began simultaneously with the Château. It took forty years to complete. The picture…

October 27, 2017

Le Château de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! Most of central Paris is within walking distance. And on the afternoon we arrived, we did just that, walked around the old city – from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysées to the Louvre, and back along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower again. Many other attractions are within easy reach. But the next day, our first full day, we ventured out of the city center to see the fabulous Château de Versailles. This palace and its surrounding gardens are about twenty kilometres from the city center and easily reached by train. Leaving the train station we walked a block…

October 27, 2017

Photo Gallery: Le Château de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! Here are some additional photos of our visit to the Palace at Versailles. These were taken with an older camera and if we should be fortunate enough to visit Paris again, I’ll replace them with better pictures taken with my newer camera. Follow us on Facebook!

January 28, 2017

Great Scot! It’s the Great Gatsby!

Follow us on Facebook! Rowena’s Inn on the River is a delightful trip back in time. It’s an old homestead built by a pioneer logger in the area for his family. Charles Nelson Pretty was a businessman and entrepreneur. In the 1920s he had an opportunity to buy a 160 acre parcel of land in Harrison Mills. That land became, among other things, a dairy farm, a silvertip fox farm and a logging operation. At one time, Pretty’s operation was the largest privately owned logging company in all of British Columbia. When the home was built, there was no road. The Pretty family took the train to Harrison Mills and…

November 24, 2016

Busselton Jetty

Follow us on Facebook! Although Margaret River is actually a small town located on a broad spur sticking out from the southwestern end of Western Australia, that whole region is widely known as Margaret River. It is wine country. It’s also an area of rolling hills, farms, forests and some great surfing beaches. On the north end of this spur is the town of Busselton which has a claim to fame all its own. It is the home of the Busselton Jetty, the second longest wooden pile jetty in the world and the longest in the southern hemisphere. Built in 1865, it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015.   Originally entirely…

October 5, 2016

Fremantle Prison Torchlight Tour

Follow us on Facebook!   There is something foreboding about prisons. There used to be two large ones, right smack in urban settings in Vancouver, the old B.C. Penitentiary in New Westminster and the Oakalla Jail in Burnaby. Both now torn down. Before they tore it down, Oakalla was open for tours. We took the kids and it was grimly fascinating. One large historical prison that is still standing is the Fremantle Prison in Fremantle, Western Australia. Australia was originally a penal colony and the Convict Establishment, as it was then known, was built by convict labour between 1851 and 1859. It is a large prison built to house up to a…

September 25, 2016

Historic Powell River

Follow us on Facebook! A couple of weeks ago Janis and I visited our friends Paul and Cheryl for the weekend. They recently retired to Powell River, though Cheryl still telecommutes. A lot of people think the Sunshine Coast is just the Sechelt Peninsula, but that’s only about half of it. It actually extends all the way to Lund, about a half hour north of Powell River. When you take the ferry from Earl’s Cove, there’s a big sign greeting you at Saltery Bay that says, “Welcome dude, you’ve like totally made it up to the Top of the Sunshine Coast!” Yeah, the Sunshine Coast is pretty laid back, dude! To get…