Friday, March 29, 2013

Four more sleeps!

As most of you are already aware, it doesn't take much to convince me to get on a plane. So, when random chit-chat with friends the other evening turned into, "You should come to Maui!".... well heck, twist my rubber arm.... barely! LOL!

I couldn't resist! I've been there before and totally loved it. And in just a few days, I'll be heading back! Can't wait!!

A couple of pics from my last visit to Maui.

In the interim, I'm enjoying a bit of outside time in Canmore, where it appears that spring may really have sprung! Today was awesome, and the rest of the weekend is shaping up to be even more fun!

Happy Easter everybody!

Monday, March 25, 2013

In Like a Lion....

EEEEEEEK!!! I just checked EnviroCan for the Banff forecast, and OH.... EM.... GEE....

I couldn't resist posting this, because it is going to be one friggin amazing weekend to be in the mountains! In the words of my favorite 9-year-old kid, "There are suns across the whole page!"

Skiing, hiking, more skiing.... I can't wait!! March was in like a lion, but it looks as though it's definitely going out like a lamb. Nice!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Land of the Midnight Sun

They are on the same continent, but they're over 5000 km apart.... I've seen one, enjoyed it immensely, and now I think it's high time I see the other.

What the heck am I talking about?? Tombstones. Yes, you heard me correctly. No, not the thrash metal rock band, and no, not the kind that are often found toppled over in creepy graveyards. Of the Tombstones I'm referring to, one is a famous desert town - Tombstone, Arizona.... and the other is an amazing wilderness area - Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon.

Tombstone, Arizona

My sister lives in Phoenix, so on more than one occasion I've visited the cool, historical, wild wild west which has been so awesomely preserved in Tombstone, AZ.

Late this summer, I'm hoping to head in the opposite direction.... and backpack through Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon. The 9-day trek that I am considering signing up for will venture through surreal, remote, breathtaking landscape.

Image courtesy of Yukon Wild
Image courtesy of Fritz Mueller
This adventure would immediately precede my West Coast Trail trip, so August and September could end up being busy! But it's my favorite kind of busy - traveling to new places, meeting new people, with some extraordinary hiking thrown in as a major bonus! Hell yeah!

A few details still need to be worked out.... but the thought of all this sight seeing is super exciting! Love it! Stay tuned.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time well spent....

What a holiday! I am now home from Cuba.... such a beautiful place, filled with beautiful people. Not surprisingly, internet cafes were non-existent.... and the computer and internet access at the hotel we stayed at were archaic to say the least.... so I wasn't able to post while I was away.

But the vacation was amazing! The beaches around Varadero are gorgeous - soft, white sand and stunning turquoise water. The Cubans are definitely a happy bunch - always smiling and chatty and very approachable.

Of course we enjoyed the unlimited sun and rum at the resort.....

Life is good! On the beach at Brisas del Caribe.

Besties enjoying the sun and fun!

Hotel lobby - Brisas del Caribe.
Probably the busiest place in the hotel - the lobby bar!

Brisas del Caribe, Varadero


Artwork in the piano bar at the hotel.

It's official - I was there!

And aside from lovin' life on the beach, we checked out many, many cool things. We hopped the bus and went into Varadero a few times....

Riding the double-decker 'red' bus.

Streets of Varadero

The Beatles Club - way too fun!

Most excellent band at The Beatles Club

Live Cuban music at La Calle 62 - awesome!

Lunch and beverages at El Rancho

We went on a jeep safari, which took us on a totally cool, 150km adventure through the rural areas between Varadero and Havana....

Cassidy and Kathy joined us to make a foursome for the jeep. I drove.
The others probably regretted that by the end of the day. LOL!

The crew of 'jeeps' - such a fun time!

Gnarly conditions - we stopped here to snorkel, but had
had to settle for pina coladas at a beach-side stand instead.

Cool cave!

Snorkelling IN the cave! The water was ~22m deep.

Sugar cane growing on the farm.

On the farm - a barn, me on a bull (yes that's right), and horseback rides.

Groovy sky on the riverboat ride at the end of the jeep safari day.

Lucky for us, the hottest day of the entire week was the day we went sailing....
The new marina on the east end of the Varadero peninsula.
A quick swim with the dolphins.
Jessica! These creatures are smart!
Cayo Blanco - where we docked for the afternoon.
How could I not be ecstatic to be here!!
A fantastic day on the boat!
I have to say that my favorite day of all was the day we spent in Havana. It is an incredible city, and I've written a separate post about it.
Well I'm pretty sure there are still so many fabulous things to see and do in Cuba, and it is a place that I would love to go back to. The country has a certain 'charm' if you will, that I've not experienced elsewhere in my travels, and I highly recommend visiting Cuba. And do it soon!

Monday, March 18, 2013

La Vida Buena - La Habana

I just returned from Cuba - an island that intrigues me and one to which I'm certain I will go back. I traveled with my bestest friend, with whom I've been buds since childhood, and I had a most excellent holiday!

BFF's in Cuba - too fun!!

The day we went into Havana was my favorite; the city is home to over 2.2 million people and you'd swear that time literally stopped in about 1960. Most buildings are in need of repairs or at least a fresh coat of paint, and about 90% of the vehicles are circa 1950's. But almost everybody you meet is friendly, and laughter and music are everywhere! The history is incredible, and I came away with a huge respect for living the simple life and appreciating every single moment for what it is, rather than being so concerned with what I have (or don't have). Humbling.

Old Town Havana

Time warp!

The Capitol Building

Old Town Havana

Bruce, Kathy, Deb, Herb, Cher, Jynelle, Randy, Wendy


View from the top of the Jose Marti monument.

Museum inside the monument.

La Catedral de La Habana - largest cathedral in Havana.

View across the bay from the Fortress.

Street performer - super cool!

The Cemetary

Cervesas at the end of the day!

The white van was our sweet ride from Varadero to Havana.
I'm convinced it used to be an ambulance.

I loved everything about my trip to Cuba - seeing a new country, experiencing a different culture, relaxing on stellar beaches, drinking lots of rum, catching up and hanging out with a great friend, and of course meeting new friends. We did a ton of stuff during our stay, and even though it's hard to come back to reality, I know I'm super fortunate to have such an awesome life and to have the opportunity to explore the planet at will. La vida buena!