Sunday, 29 December 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - COSTA DEL SOL

The pale gray skies are weighted with rain that comes down in a slow drizzle. The air is cool and damp, so much that you can both smell and feel it. A peek of sun is wanted yet I must rely on my imagination for now. Today is the last of the sunshine series and we head off to the Costa del Sol of Spain.

The south of Spain is home to this region of 300 days of sunshine in the province of Malaga. A rich history fills the area's past. Tourism slowly made its impact on the Costa del Sol in the early part of the 20th century, increased in the sixties and seventies and boomed in the later years of the 1900s and current 2000s.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons - Olaf Tausch

Thursday, 26 December 2013

AND THE DOWNSIZING BEGINS

Season's Greetings everyone (that includes all holidays at this time year, not just Christmas). I hope this finds you all well and happy. I had a very good Christmas which was spent with friends who I consider family. And of course, I did go to the movies on Christmas day, as per my tradition. FYI, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is good and has some sensational scenery!

As it is Boxing Day here in Canada I am spending the day at home eating leftovers, putting away the Christmas decorations (hey, I have a very small apartment and am craving the space the tree takes up!) and going through some of my items. I will begin sifting through things I do not need and will tote them up the street to the local Salvation Army. It is their annual Boxing Day 50% off sale so I know they are open. This actually marks the start of my downsizing before I leave on my RTW trip in 2014. Why am I doing this you ask? It is a two-fold situation. The main reason is it will save me time. If I did it all at once I will be inundated with choices and feel the pressure of everything else going on. I want to feel the excitement of my upcoming trip and have less stress. Secondly, I will have the time to sell items online that may fetch me some extra cash and/or give some items to friends who will find use for them. 

There you have it. I am beginning to downsize as of today. Starting with a number of Christmas decorations and some clothing. Look out Salvation Army as I will be donating on a regular basis!!  


Monday, 23 December 2013

BRIGHT LIGHTS

Welcome
A couple of weeks ago I was given two free passes to the Canyon Lights at North Vancouver's Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Naturally, my BFF Trina was on top of the list to ask and she was all for it. We headed out on an early Sunday eve, catching the free shuttle that they offer year round. We boarded the shuttle bus (a very comfortable motor coach) at its initial stop at Canada Place. It then wound its way around to various hotels in the city centre before heading through Stanley Park, onto the The Lion's Gate Bridge and finally into North Vancouver. Our driver not only ensured that we arrived safely to the park but also informed of us some interesting tidbits about The Lion's Gate Bridge (it was originally built by the Guinness company) and how the suspension bridge came to be. 


Lights and Totems
Thirty minutes later we were entering the park. The air was crisp and clean with scent of pine. A brisk night, I was happy I decided to wear my long johns and chose my thick scarf. We were met by a symphony of lights twinkling and illuminating the space before us. Children raced from display to display of bright LED lights in white, red, blue and green. Park visitors snapped photos of one another in a classic red sleigh just as we did. Along the paths we saw First Nations totems, more lights and eventually the suspension bridge itself. Towering beside it was the enormous 154 ft Christmas tree that was hard to miss.  In front of the large gift shop a trio played holiday songs that filled the evening air. It was all so glittery. We stepped onto the bridge with a bit of trepidation as it was a bit slick from the ice, soon, however we were walking (or bouncing) along with ease, noticing how black the canyon below us was. With the tree and bridge lights illuminating our way, we crossed the bridge and explored the next phase of the park. The boardwalk around the small frozen pond had globes of light dangling from
branches above and Christmas trees and reindeer made of wire and light surrounded us. We saw a 1300 year old tree and gave it a hearty hug.


After touring the pond we started the Tree Top Canopy. Made up of miniature suspension bridges with lookouts between trees, we admired the white lights that shone like stars. I attempted to take photos with my sad, barely working point-and-shoot camera with only minor success. I knew my flash was not very strong and the lights were only specks in the dark sky but I attempted it anyway. We wound our way above the ground, through the trees and finally back to the boardwalks. Another pass across the bridge and to the Cliffwalk. This is where my nerves set in. It did not bother me one iota to cross the wood and rope suspension bridge that spanned a deep canyon while it bounced with every step. Perhaps because the dark below it appeared endless. Yet, one foot on this concrete and securely built walk with chest-high railings and my stomach began to churn. I did not understand why my fear of heights set in then. Was it because the coloured lights at the base highlighted not only the Cliffwalk, the rain forest vegetation but also the rocky and treacherous terrain and swiftly flowing river? Possibly that, although protected, I viewed it as a ledge? Or some other ridiculous reason? Whatever it was I was glad to have my feet on terra firma once that aspect was done. Incredible as it was to see it was uneasy. To calm my butterfly stomach (none of this even fazed Trina) we headed to concession stand. We ended our bright lights tour with tasty hot chocolate and Bailey's. Yum!


**All photos in this post were taken by and owned by me.

Friday, 20 December 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - JAMAICA

As the fluffy snow has gently fallen over Greater Vancouver under gray skies I am envisioning tropical locales with increased frequency. As picturesque as this winter scene appears I am saddened and desperately praying it melts quickly, as snow is my nemesis. Snowboarders and skiers alike can have it all they want so long as it only falls on the mountains. The white I prefer to see is that of white sand beaches...

Jamaica, synonymous with lush tropical landscape, reggae beats and delectable spicy foods, is where we head today. I visited Jamaica a number or years ago and have not easy forgotten it's beauty and the warmth of the Caribbean sun on my skin. A resort haven, Jamaica has easily become a honeymoon mecca for newly weds. But do not let that stop you. This, the third largest island in the Caribbean, has much to offer vacationers of every type. Their tourism board even has a "Meet The People" program if you want a more local feel and learn about the Jamaican way of life.


Doctor's Cave Beach Club, Montego Bay, Jamaica


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

Monday, 16 December 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - AUSTRALIA'S GOLD COAST

Want surfing, sun and excitement? Then head to Australia's Gold Coast in the state of Queensland. A 40km (24.85 mile) stretch of beach, it became famous in the 1920s and 30s with the rise in popularity of Surfer's Paradise and riding the waves. A glittering city, Gold Coast has been compared to many world renown coastal cities like Miami. With a plentitude of activities, festivals and sunshine there little time to be bored.

Surfer's Paradise


Surfer's Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia

Photo credit: Flickr - Stan Paczkowski









Wednesday, 11 December 2013

CHANGES A COMIN'

A short while ago I attempted (and failed) to make some changes to my blog. I changed the name along with the URL here on Blogger. I assumed that doing so would not only be easy but come with the 'how to' of having a re-direct for the webpage. It did not. I also ran into some snags with Bloglovin' (which is one of the ways that you can follow my blog).

The reason I wanted to change my blog name was because if you do a search of blogs with "Wandering(s)"  you will get an enormous number of hits. So, I wanted something more original. Ends up I am not the creative and most of what I chose was taken or had similar titles. Still, I changed it. Big mistake!! After a few months I changed it back as my original name and URL on Blogger was still available. I apologize for any inconvenience that caused you, my loyal readers.

BUT...

I still want to change. This time around I am doing it differently, should I decide to do it at all. Tonight I am going to a (free) course at the public library on using Wordpress for a blog platform. If I like it better than Blogger I will be switching. I will see if I can keep a similar name and have a re-direct page. I am taking the course so I can, ideally, make the transition smoothly and with ease. Not to worry, I will certainly make a post here, unlike previously, so that you can make the adjustments as needed. I hope that you keep following me and recommend me to your friends and family. My aim is to grow this blog a bit more as I learn more about this form or social media.

Here's to new things and positive change.

Cheers!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Kitty Love

One year ago today I adopted a rescue kitten from Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). Earlier that year I had put my 19 year old black Siamese-Burmese cross to sleep. He was very old and had stopped eating and drinking. He had a good life yet letting him go was one of the hardest things I have ever done. No cat could compare with Cairo - he was the best, so I was bound and determined not to get another cat for some time. I missed him terribly but still refused to adopt another.  Soon after, I realized that the life that an animal brings into ones home is amazing and knew I needed another fur baby. Despite that I tried to make it difficult for myself -after so many years I felt I was betraying the memory of beloved black fur ball. So I set out to adopt a cat but only if all the criteria was met. Below are the conditions I had set out:

  • Had to be a rescue 
  • Had to be a kitten
  • Had to be a silver tabby with white on him/her
  • Had to have a pink nose 
Hey, I told you I was making this difficult...
  • Did not have to be adopted with a sibling (VOKRA encourages many of its adoptees to be taken with their siblings)
  • Had to be short-haired
I was convinced that I would be searching for weeks, if not months for this cat (famous last thoughts). This was towards the end of November. I perused VOKRA's website and saw some cute kittens but none of them qualified under EVERY specification. I then went on vacation for a week. Upon my return I searched again (it was a Thursday), again thinking I would never find "the one".  There were some cute and sweet little kittens on that website but I knew I would not find...click...THERE SHE WAS! The cutest, demure looking silver tabby with a white chest and a pink nose! THERE SHE WAS! My heart leapt - it was kitty love at first sight. I read her "bio" and quickly scrolled down, praying she could be adopted on her own. She was! I immediately filled out the paperwork and emailed it in. I was so thrilled to have found a cat that met all my conditions. I was filled with anticipation as I waited for my adoption application to be approved. I also begged the Universe to not have anyone else want her. She was so cute at 6 months old I could not believe she had not been adopted yet. It was a tense 24 hours but finally word came - I was approved. Next, I needed to contact her foster home and set up a meeting. Shy this little one was but I was certain she was the kitten for me. Her foster told me that she was very shy and may stay in hiding for several weeks as she did when she arrived at the foster home. I guess my fur baby felt comfortable with me as she was only in hiding for 6 hours. The following evening she jumped into my lap. The next day I woke in the morning to find her lying on my stomach. Yep, this cat and I bonded. She filled a void in my heart that was left when Cairo passed away. I was surprised at how quickly I became attached to her. She is nothing like Cairo and I would not have it any other way. It always amazes me the different personalities they have. It took a bit of getting used to having an energized kitten who lives to play after being owned by a senior cat for so long, though, they both have brought so much love into my life. Piper still climbs up the drapes (good thing they are old), races around at top speed and strews her toys all over the place and I expect this will be the case for several years to come. I look forward to it. I realized later that the second I saw her picture all my resolve to not get another cat has vanished. Funny eh?

Oh, and for those wondering where she will be while I travel, have not fear. She will be cared for by my bestie Trina. :)


Ain't she pretty?!





Sunday, 8 December 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - GOA

This week's 'hot spot' is none other than Goa, India. Despite being the smallest state in India, it is favoured by many for its beach life, blend of Indian and Portuguese history, pilgrims and lifestyle suited to expats from around the globe. Located on India's west coast, near the Arabian Sea, this tropical haven beckons. 

Goa

Aaahhh... the perfect spot to relax and unwind.

Photo credit: Flickr - Aaron Geddes

Monday, 2 December 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - FULL MOON PARTIES IN THAILAND

**Oops...maybe this post should be called "Monday's Magic Moment" - sorry for the delay**

-------------------
"Baby it's cold outside". Well it is officially December and a frosty winter season for Northern Hemisphere countries. Even moderately weathered Vancouver has been a bit chillier than normal. To help warm your souls I will be posting warmer destinations for the next several weeks. Enjoy! I know I will.
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I have, over the years, heard many things about Thailand. Mouthwatering food, pristine beaches, tropical weather, inexpensive traveling, and steeped in history it offers something for most anyone. Often included in the descriptions and lists of "what to do" of Thailand is the infamous Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. Although this is not a "spot", so to speak, it is something that is synonymous with this SE Asian locale.

What started out as a small party on the eve of the full moon in 1985 has turned into an enormous beach dance party (or rave) of over 10,000 - 20,000 fluorescent painted Western party-goers. World-class deejay's mix music over dozens of sound systems, food stalls line the beaches and cheap drinks are available everywhere. It is one big party from sunset to sunrise with plenty of fun to had and memories made. Information and guidelines can be found on several websites. I guess with a party of this scale it is prudent and always use common sense and overindulging is best kept at bay. Check out Rough Guides Survivor Guide and Full Moon website for info, tips and survival know-how.

Drop In Bar, Full Moon Party Night


It is not for everyone that is certain, however, it would be a sight to see. Would I attend? I can not say. Dancing on the beach would be fun but 10,000+ people may be too big of a crowd for my tastes. Perhaps if the opportunity presented itself I would decide then. I will just wait and see.

Photo credit: Flickr - Brendan007


Friday, 29 November 2013

'Tis The Season of Giving

For those who celebrate it (as I do) the Christmas season fast approaches. Often touted as a 'season of giving' it seems that the modern holiday season is more apt to be the 'season of buying'. Enticing commercials give proclamations of need for this product or that. Stores boldly announce that they carry items for everyone on your list. The list they announce includes everyone you may possibly encounter in your daily life. It truly is the 'season of buying' even with the intention of giving. I find this time of year a bit overwhelming in that aspect. I prefer to make memories, share laughs, break bread and partake in merriment with my friends and loved ones. 

Now I am not posting this to pass judgement or tell you how you should spend your money or what to buy. I am just sharing a bit of how I have seen the season in recent years. I enjoy aspects of the holidays yet part of me is concerned of the effects of such mass consumerism. That is why I delight in the initiatives and ideas that I have heard of over the years. Giving in a different way. Two examples come to mind. One I have been aware of for several years as it is a campaign put on by Metro Vancouver. The other I learned of the other day as it making its debut in Canada on Tuesday December 3: Giving Tuesday.

For the past several years, Metro Vancouver's Holiday Campaign promotes alternatives to buying products as gifts. With the burden of mounting garbage and environmental damage that occurs during Christmas, their clever campaign sets awareness to creating memories and being a "green angel". Using light humour they cast ideas of all sorts. Here is just one example:



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I learned of Giving Tuesday in one the daily papers in Vancouver. It announced its arrival in Canada this very year. What began in the USA in 2012 as counter-measure to the consumer buying frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Mondays is now making its way to countries worldwide. As part of the UN Foundation, Giving Tuesday has now added Australia, Canada, Latin America, Mexico and Singapore to its roster. This global movement is an incredible opportunity for people to give back to charities of all sorts: local, national and international. A time for us to learn of these varied and needed charities and if able, to give to them. There are many ways to help: money, time, spreading the word and so much more.  Below I have listed the links to the country-specific websites. Please take a look, learn and if able, give in whatever way you can. I know I will. If you would like to promote Giving Tuesday please use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie. Post pictures of yourself and why you want to give. Post it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook along with the hashtags. It is good to give back. Giving Tuesday USA - Australia - Canada - Latin America - Mexico - Singapore

Saturday, 23 November 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - COLOGNE CATHEDRAL, GERMANY

My first trip to Europe was with my dear friend Izabela. After spending three weeks in England I met up with her in Amsterdam. That began our super fast fun 3.5 week tour of The Continent. One of our stops was in city of Cologne (Koln), Germany. The hostel we stayed in was on one side of The Rhine River and we crossed a bridge twice daily. One our way to the city centre we would amble past the stately gothic Cologne Cathedral. This stunning building that took centuries to build looms along the Rhine and is a source of pride for its cities inhabitants. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the most visited sites in all of Germany. 

Cologne Cathedral @Nite...

Although I found the exterior intricate and stunning, it was the inside that wowed me. Ornate, elaborate and a bit foreboding I found myself looking skyward to its detailed ceilings, in awe of the art of its architecture. A small person in a giant world. 

Photo credit: Flickr - Sanjib Behera

Monday, 18 November 2013

Gray Days

So dreary
I do not know if it the shortened days with less sunlight, SAD, hormones or that I am just ready to leave but things just seem so gray and dull. There is no sunshine. I need daylight. All I want to do is leave. Go. Go somewhere where it is not the same old same old. I get up for work and it is the same routine. Now do no get me wrong. I like my work - I just do not like going to work. I am happier on my days off. I am even tired of seeing people. Now that is a big one because I enjoy being around people. It seems to be the same thing over and over and over. Same activities, same conversations, same city. I want change. I want to go. Then there seems to be the influx of farewell parties. Stupid Couchsurfing - people show up, become your friend and then they leave. I want a farewell party. I want to be the one to leave. God I can't wait to leave. 








These words to Vince Vaccaro's song (as I posted the video here) "Costa Rica" spin endlessly in my head:

"I wanna leave this place yeah never to be found,
I wanna leave my old life far behind
Can I lose my name be someone new
And I'll throw my trouble deep in the wild blue"

Sunday, 17 November 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - MARRAKESH

Noisy, bustling, colourful, spicy, cultural - a beauty within a hectic design draws people into the magic of Marrakesh. Not the largest of Morocco's cities (Casablanca, Fes and Rabat precede it in size) yet possibly the most recognized. The souks (covered markets) alone come to mind when I think of this captivating city.  The maze of stalls filled with tasty foods, exquisite fabrics, colourful glassware, and enticing spices all the while honing haggling skills can make one's head spin, I imagine. Add ancient city walls, stately mosques, numerous palaces and beautiful gardens, one can see why travelers flock there.  Even French fashion designer Yves St Laurent owned a home here. In 2008, his ashes were scattered in Majorelle Gardens after his death.



Marrakech

I expect I will be wowed and overwhelmed by this incredible city when I finally visit.

Photo credit: Flickr - Ivan Serra

Friday, 15 November 2013

50 Questions

50 Questions eh? Sure, why not?! I am obliging to Jules request over at My Mom Is A Whack Job to copy and answer these and link back to her. Keeping in the same spirit, you do the same. 

Okay, here goes:


1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes yes yes! On stuff, alone, mixed in a pasta sauce etc. I love most every cheese and have an unnatural addiction to it


2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? Yeah, a few times. I Always felt like crap later - ends up I'm allergic to tobacco. 

3. Do you own a gun?  Of course not. Handguns are illegal in Canada (and I feel much safer with that - no guns = no shootings). I don't hunt so I do not own a riffle.

4. What flavour do you add to your drink at Sonic? I have never been to Sonic and there are none in my area, that I am aware of.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Nope.

6. Do you like hot-dogs? Sure. Oddly enough, Vancouver is well known for Japa Dogs but I have never had one.

7. What is your lucky number?  9 - The fact that it is 5 times in my birth date seems significant to me (that's including the century, year, month, day and hour)

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water and tea (tea usually on days off so I can enjoy it and not gulp it down).

9.
Can you do push-ups? I can usually do some modified ones (knees bent) and maybe 1 military style one. But many years ago when I was slim and strong I could do 30 - 50 military style push-ups ~sigh~

10. What's your favourite meal? Oh so many to choose from. Of dishes I make myself it would be my variation of chicken piccata with rice and warm green beans in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. As for restaurants, probably the (veggie) tacos at La Taqueira. 

11. What's your favourite piece of jewelry? Uh...I dunno. I do not really wear jewelry (I'd be such a cheap girlfriend/wife). I guess my nose ring, which is actually an $8 piece of glass, cause I wear it all the time.

12. Favourite hobby? Hobby? Does going to the movies count - that is a fav pastime of mine. Recently I have been doing some hot yoga.

13. Do you work with people who idolize you? I would guess so. I am an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) and my patients always tell me they love coming to see me.

14. Name a trait that you hate about yourself? That I have no follow through on things that I want to accomplish. I try and plan and my resolve lasts only a short while. I annoy myself all the time.

15. Middle name? Liisa
16. Name 3 thoughts at this moment: Holy crap it's windy outside! I should go to bed. Maybe I should check on the items on my balcony to see if they are still there?

17. Name 3 things you bought yesterday: chocolate Timbits, lunch (it was gross - not from Tim's), a diet pop.

18. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: Water, Diet Coke, Beer (namely IPAs - that is India Pale Ale for you non-beer drinking freaks)

19. Current worry right now? A friend's health.

20. Current hate right now? Lack of daylight since the time change - I swear I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

21. Favourite place to be? Where I am wanted.


22. How did you bring in New Years? At a house party with friends - my cigars that I bought in Cuba were a big hit too.

23. Favorite place to go? The whole wide world

24. What is your most recurring dream? I have two. One used to be never getting on a plane for some reason or other - it was an awful dream. That has since changed in the past couple months and I dream of visiting other countries. The second one is that my friends hate me and want nothing more to do with me.

25. Introvert or extrovert? Both, I love being around people but I need my time away from the people I know. But I can not be without some sort of contact with people even if that means the transit driver or store clerk etc


26. What colour shirt are you wearing? Not a shirt - pj top that is gray

27. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No - too slippery. Just give some good ole cotton ones, higher thread count preferred

28. Can you whistle? Yeah I am not to bad at it


29. Favorite colour?  Blue


30. Would you be a pirate?  Meh - maybe for Hallowe'en

31. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't

32. Favorite girl’s name? Piper - I liked it so much I named my cat that (after all she is a very pretty and "girly" cat).

33. Favorite boy’s name? Dane but I liked that name before I ever heard of Dane Cook and I can't stand him.

34. Who is your loudest friend?  I have several.

35. What’s in your pocket right now?  N/A as I have no pockets on my pj's

36. Last thing that made you laugh? News clip about Rob Ford getting enough to "eat"

37. Bed sheets as a child?  I don't remember

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Whiplash from a car accident

39. Do you love where you live? Apartment wise - I like it and it works for now. City wise - yes, I love Vancouver but am ready to see the world.

40. How many TVs are in your house? One and it takes up a lot of room in my small space

41. What is your worst habit? Eating junk food waaay too much.


42. How many dogs do you have?  Zero - I am a cat person

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Oh come on...nobody like the big fat girl (I've actually been told that...more than once). At least it keeps the *ssholes away

44. Do you own slippers? No 

45. What is your favorite book?  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith and the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

46. What is your favorite candy? Peanut M&Ms but I am not supposed to eat them 'cuz I am allergic to red and yellow food dye (my system does not like that at all) so basically Dairy Milk and Lindt chocolates.

47. What is your favorite sports team?  Vancouver Canucks 

48. What song do you want played at your funeral I have never thought about it.

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? sleeping

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?  "Move cat, cuz I really need to pee."


YOUR TURN!!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Art schmart - what is the deal with it?

What is big deal about art? I mean really, come on! Someone puts paint on a canvas or hits a piece of stone with a chisel and we call it "art". We say it means something. 

So what does it mean?

Well, it means a whole lot of things. Humans have been carving and painting since we were cave dwellers. We, as a race, have followed this need to record our lives and it always began with images, with art. It also sets us apart from other mammals. We record. We express. We share. Art is so much more than just notes from an instrument, steps in a dance or colours on canvas. It is a recording of our history. Art, in its numerous forms, is a narrative. A human narrative. This narrative is even viewed from an anthropological point. Beliefs, history, culture, ceremonies, wars, portraits, nature, and celebrations are expressed in art. Susanne K Langer describes its importance succinctly here.  Even the recent discovery of the "art find of the century" has made headlines. Discovery of over 1,400 lost or unknown works in Munich, Germany has caused excitement beyond the art world. The story of these stolen paintings from Nazi Germany is now part of our history. 

Yes, art in all its forms is important. It is not just leisure or an extravagance. Art and its history matters. Additionally, one does not need to be an artist to appreciate the arts. Who doesn't like music (in its numerous styles) or marvel at skilled dancers. I myself, although not an artist by any means, have been moved by paintings, cried to touching music and been in awe of spectacular dance. I have also been puzzled by art (not sure I understand modern art but realize that it is about perspective) and even bored by it, yet I do understand its importance. It speaks of us.

That is what art means, at least to me.

Below are pictures of a few of my favourites. I have seen all of these except the one by Klimt.

Etombment of Atala by Girodet-Trioson
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Detail of Dying Slave (The Captive) by Michaelangelo
Photo taken by myself.




SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT: PIAZZA NAVONA

The city square was a central meeting place in ancient cities. Even in a more recent histories they have maintained that social aspect - a place for citizens to eat, drink, sing, dance, discuss and formulate ideas. In 15th century Rome, over its first stadium, Piazza Navona was built. Later, during his papacy, Pope Innocent X shaped it into a tribute for his family, who's palace faced the piazza. Restoration of both his family palace and the Sant'Agnese in Agone church along with the commissioning of Bernini's famous Fountain of Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) boasted the baroque style of the time.  Additional fountains at either end of the piazza add to its architectural beauty. 


Piazza Navona

Today this stunning plaza remains a (pedestrian) gathering place filled with restaurants, cafes, artists and a place to share memories with family and friends 

Photo credit: Flickr - O Snail



Sunday, 3 November 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - COSTA RICA

Today's special spot is inspired by a favourite song: "Costa Rica" by Vince Vaccaro.

Costa Rica is a lush country situated from coast to coast of Central America. It is a country that has achieved amazing environmental and human development objectives. In addition to being known for exciting ecotours, sensational nature, pristine beaches, and outstandingly diverse flora and fauna, this tropical country is a leader in sustainability and peace. Despite it's tropical climate (it is only 12 degrees north of the equator) its geography provides different weather pending the region. 

Costa Rica February-March 2011

Beautiful!!

Photo credit: Flickr - Luc Van der Biest

As a bonus I have included the video by Vince Vaccaro that inspired today's post:




Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Need To Know - Discount Airlines

Note: I apologize for the delay in this series for the first-time or novice traveler. I will try to post more often.

Back in the sixties, flying was an elegant luxury. Airlines such as Pan-Am ruled the skies with top notch service and comfort, whisking its passengers to far-off exotic locations. As time wore on changes came about. More competition, price wars, de-regulation to increased fuel costs, consumer demand for lower prices and crazy service fees. The airline industry has not only expanded to a billion dollar industry it is constant. Rarely, if at all, planes are not flying somewhere in the atmosphere. 

This vast global industry gives passengers a few types  of air carriers, depending on the region. There is the "regular" airline where prices points and seating range from coach to business to first class, each having its own perks. Most of these are the big airlines. Many of them may also have smaller regional airlines under their umbrellas.  Another form is the charter flights which are primarily used by tour operators selling package holidays. Then there is the discount airline. 

Discount airlines can offer some amazing deals. Incredible low fares that almost seem to good to be true. Though, they are true! That is the great thing about these discount carriers. They offer cut throat rates and can help you save money. The thing is, that you need to be aware of the extra fees and charges that are the ever present sidekick of these low price "heroes".  Read the fine print and learn what their extra charges are since they will be plenty. It is the abundance of these extra fees that allow them to have lower fares. The other way they can offer inexpensive fares is by flying into smaller airports, often far from the city centre. For example, Allegiant Air has numerous flights from Bellingham, WA (USA) instead of Seattle, WA. Another is Ryan Air's service from London-Stansted (UK), about 1.15 hours from London. It just costs less to land a planes at these airports. These savings are then passed onto the passengers. You just need to allot time and money to get to these airports.

So, when you see that amazing deal offered by a discount carrier, remember to look into their extra fees. These may include but are not limited to: 


  • checked baggage within their weight and size restrictions*
  • excess baggage fees*
  • overweight/over-sized baggage fees*
  • cost of paying for checked baggage at time of booking vs at airport check-in
  • paying with a debit card vs paying with a credit card
  • exceeding the number of carry-on and personal items in cabin
  • booking online vs booking over the phone
  • advance seat selection*
  • overhead compartment use
  • purchasing of food/snacks and drinks on-board*
  • purchasing of headphones/blankets/pillows*
*Common with 'regular' airlines as well
Discount airlines can offer you some fabulous prices that can not be beat. Just do your homework to find out how to get to these smaller airports, if that is the case and know what you will be paying in total. That will leave you with less surprises. And one more thing, do your homework with the non-discount carriers as well. Sometimes they have a few charges you were not expecting either.

Happy traveling!!

One last thing. I have included a video for your entertainment. A bit of comedy about discount air carriers. It is all in fun!







Disclaimer: The information provided on "Eeva's Wanderings" is meant only as tips and suggestions. I, the author, am not responsible for any harm, injury, loss of life or property or any other misfortune that may occur should anyone act on, re-use or their interpretation of the information provided. I will try to provide up-to-date (at time of posting) information but am not responsible should it be out-of-date or incorrect. All opinions are my own and in no way are meant to mislead, defame, harm, humiliate or injure anyone.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - TRANSYLVANIA

Hallowe'en is just around the corner and this will be the finale of my eerie series. So why not end off where Bram Stoker began his infamous tale (despite the fact that he never visited Transylvania).

Transylvania is found in the central region of Romania, encompassed to the east and south by the stunning Carpathian Mountains. It is dotted with some amazing medieval towns filled with Gothic castles, historic fortresses and stunning natural beauty.

Bram Castle Transylvania 5

The hauntingly exquisite Bran Castle. Known as "Dracula's Castle".

Photo Credit: Flickr - Vince Dovey



Thursday, 24 October 2013

THESE ARE FEW OF MY FAVOURITE BLOGS

These are a few of my favourite things blogs (at the moment).
I admit that some of the blogs I read fall out of my favour. Or the authors do not write something for quite some time (that holds a familiar tone..LOL). What can I say, I'm flighty at times.

Nonetheless, these are the blogs that I am enjoying. Some do belong to friends and others do not. Perhaps you will some in here that can enjoy.

My favourite blogs:

1. Bootsnall - Actually, I prefer their website as it is a cornucopia of information for the indie traveler. Their blog is usually a brief statement of their Twitter chats or snippets of what is on their website

2. So Many Places - This is, by far, my favourite blog to read. I have been following Kim for over a year and even read all her archived posts. Kim and her husband Brian sold everything and took off to travel. I enjoy her writing style and keeping up with their adventures. 

3.  Love The Fold - I came across this blog by accident. Posted by "Oldy on Foldly" it chronicles his group trips in SE Asia on folding bikes. Although I do not cycle, I appreciate his writing, photos and zeal for these journey's when they happen. 

4. Wandering Dragon - Jennifer is a good friend if mine, which is why I began reading her blog. Ends up she is a talented writer who paints a picture in my mind's eye with her words.

5. E-Tramping - I learned of this blog from Instagram. The duo of Agness and Cez posted some great photos there and I began to follow them. Their profile has a link to their blog and here I am, a fan of their work.

Others I enjoy:

6. Chrystal Clear - Another blog that I stumbled upon. I initially took interest in it because the author, Chrystal, is from the city I grew up in. Sadly though, she has not written as often as previously.

7. Wandering Sasquatch - Inspired by his wife's blog (So Many Places, mentioned above) Brian started his own blog about their travel and the ever elusive sasquatch.
8. World Wide Walkaboot - Written by one of my Couch Surfing friends, Ryan and his GF Christie, I have followed their adventures over the past year.

9. Cape to Kathmandu - Alpheus is an acquaintance I made through a mutual Couch Surfing friend and learned of his blog on Facebook. He traveled a portion of this trip with his friends through Africa. The photos alone make this blog worth reading.

10. The Bright Side - Another Couch Surfing aquaintance, Chloe has a refreshing and funny writing style. Although I have not seen her in years I do enjoy reading about her life tales.

11. Secrets In My Suitcase - Just as I was getting to know Rolla she packs up her husband and herself all the way to Paris. Partly jealous and partly sad she left I am following her on her blog.

There you have it. My rather extensive list of blogs I follow. Now they are not all updated daily, which is actually good as I would never keep up. I read these mainly on my phone on my long commute to work - great way to pass the time.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - EDINBURGH CASTLE

Carrying forward with the eerie, the city of Edinburgh, Scotland is considered the most haunted in all of Europe. Within it is the most haunted spot in Scotland - Edinburgh Castle. Encompassing a history that spans centuries, this remarkable castle has seen the some of the the worst in torture, battles and imprisonment. It is not surprising that such a macabre past would elicit the notion of ghostly sightings.



Built on Castle Rock, this 'haunted' locale has been the subject of paranormal studies and ghost hunts. Reported spectral 'sightings' and 'phenomenon' include phantom prisoners, a headless drummer, drops in temperature, feelings of clothing being tugged or skin brushed when nothing is around. It is enough to send shivers down your spine. Do you dare to explore the dank, grim corridors and corners of this infamous haunt?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, owned by Kim Traynor

Sunday, 13 October 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - HIGHGATE CEMETARY, LONDON

October is a well-loved month of mine as I am able to partake in two holidays this month. First is (Canadian) Thanksgiving. A fantastical feast of delectable treats for the palate. YUM! Then comes Hallowe'en (a.k.a. Samhain). A time to dress up, eat chocolate and participate in related activities. Visiting haunted attractions, costume parties and more chocolate is plenty fun. That being said, I must admit that I am not a die-hard Hallowe'en participant. Some years I dress up and go out, others I do not. But I am rather staunch about my chocolate intake -LOL. Since we are in the scary-boo season the next several locations will be honoring the spookiness of this season.

Old headstones covered in moss and sitting askew, winds whistling through the trees and the idea that a lost soul may still linger can make a cemetery seem eerie. See them on a foggy fall day and you may be set up to get a chill. London's Highgate Cemetery is known for its old yet beautiful mausoleums, statues and headstones. It was established in 1839 but fell into a state of decay and disrepair. The 1970s saw a The Friends of Highgate Cemetery help to bring about restoration and maintenance of this historic spot.


Highgate Cemetery, North London


Photo Credit: Flickr - Seymour Krelborne

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Music and Video

Travel without music is well, like not getting dessert. It just adds to the experience. Whether you have your own playlist or a song plays randomly at that right moment, music cements those incredible moments and people into our hearts and minds for lifetime. No matter where I am I am transported back in time to a magical travel place just by hearing a song. REM's "Shiny Happy People" places a smile on my face and whisks me back to Heidelberg, Germany. "Hey Baby" by DJ Otzi has me back in Mallorca with my bestie. More recently, Kanye's "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD" has me roadtrippin' to Tofino. The power of music is indefinable.

How many times have you concocted a playlist for that weekend road trip? Have a travel playlist on your iPod or MP3 player? Or listen to music that leads you to envision yourself on your next trip? That is what I have been doing lately. A few songs come to mind. I have selected some and I have posted below. One because of the lyrics and another because of the video. Finally, a non-music video that a friend uploaded to Facebook and I love it!  Here you go:

CUPS (WHEN I'M GONE) by Anna Kendricks:




I COULD BE THE ONE by Avicii vs Nicky Romero (**has images some may find offensive**)
I like the video and think it is hilarious, except the ending.





WE ARE BACKPAKCERS (non-music video)



This is the non-music video that I saw on my friend's FB page and I so get it! This RTW trip scares the crap out of me but what is that saying..."If your dreams don't scare you then they are not big enough."


HAPPY TRAVELING!!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - SANTORINI, GREECE

Any moment that Greece is mentioned my mind inevitably thinks of the white washed, blue domed buildings of the island of Santorini. One of the Cyclades island group, Santorini is without doubt the most familiar of all the Greek Isles. It is located in the Aegean Sea, 200km/120mi south of the Greek mainland. It was created from a volcanic blast that destroyed what once was a lone island and created this caldera.

Santorini Photos
This photo of Santorini is courtesy of TripAdvisor


History, an arid climate, good food, stunning views and beaches of white, black and red makes this a locale one that is heaven to the senses.

Photo credit: Trip Advisor

Sunday, 29 September 2013

SUNDAY'S SPECIAL SPOT - MADAGASCAR

No, this is not about the Dreamworks film of the same name. It is about the island country of the Republic of Madagascar.  With indigenous wildlife making upwards of 90% of that found on the island it is a bio-diverse locale indeed. However, years of human consumption has caused an increase in de-forestation and many animals are endangered or extinct. We really are a destructive lot (my personal opinion).



The majestic Baobabs (Adansonia) trees towering over the land. A island filled with beaches, tropical forests, highlands, escarpments, lakes and incredible flora and fauna, I imagine Madagascar a place like no other.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, owned by: Attis 1979

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Happy Thursday!

And why not? Actually I have been in a good mood all week (despite the fact that I have an infected spider bite on my left leg). Nothing out of the ordinary has occurred. My day-to-day routine has remained at the status-quo. A few perks are in the works (Vegas for $220 all-in for January to celebrate bestie Trina's bday) and I am off work after today for three days with plans for yoga, a free art show and some yummy cooking times. But that is not why I am in a good mood. 

Not that I need a reason to be happy, however, I suspect it is due to a few choices I have made internally. The other day my other bestie R (I am blessed and thankful to have several close friends, both near and far) sent a text of an article about intention, vibration and visualizing your life. I liked what it said. I have thinking and vocalizing my RTW trip as if it is all organized and going to happen - which it is in my mind. I am making choices to affect it coming to fruition.  That is the deciding factor. That has made it happen. What an incredible, powerful intention. 

Happy Thursday everyone. 

This is what she sent...sounds good to me




















Photo credit: Wordly Minds