Travels

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Friends in Florence

There are very few down sides to long term travel.  One is lack of decent peanut butter and the other is that our daughter Lyla misses her friends more than Monica Lewinsky misses her privacy.  Being eleven and hanging out with your parents, and only your parents, every waking and sleeping moment for seven months straight is awesome, right?  My husband and I think of this journey as a rich interlude between the busy working chapters of our lives.  A great big recess.  She seems to think of it, occasionally, as way too long.  There have been hundreds of conversations that begin with ‘When we get home…”  So, to say we were all very excited when our dear friends “Family G” decided to travel the great distance to Italy for their Spring Break holiday would be an enormous understatement.  We considered this a super-human effort on their part.  Continue Reading →

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Turn Down the Heat and Open Your Eyes – Paris

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First glimpse of Paris

Being back in France after almost three month in the tropics was a shocker.  That 39 degree temperature swing actually hurt my face and I had to venture out wearing every layer of t-shirt, sweater and hoodie in my bag to search for an affordable coat.  I figured I’d only need it for about a month.  Six weeks’ tops.  But still, in Paris one has to at least try to look reasonably fashionable so it was good old Zara to the rescue. 

The winter in flip-flops had Lyla’s toes curled up inside her old smelly runners like a bird gripping it’s perch so we splurged on a nice pair of trendy boots for her.  I offered to cut off the tips of her old shoes to make more toe room but that wasn’t a popular idea (eye roll) with the little fashionista.  This kind of shopping would never be a big deal at home where we had exotic possessions like closets and regular paycheques.  Now each purchase had to be carefully considered and strategized.  Do we really need this?  Will it fit in your bag?  What can you remove from said bag to make room? Can’t you just wear extra socks?  We hadn’t worn socks for months either.  We were noticing and appreciating the differences. Continue Reading →

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Oh, The Places We Go! Where to Stay (and not stay) in Mauritius

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The grand finale at Otentic Eco Camping

We have been travelling for six months now and in the process have learned a thing or two about finding good places to stay.  We use several different methods.  AirBnB, booking.com, Ms. Google, recommendations from the dude in the café and signs in windows have all worked.  Unique, charming and funky are what we hope for.  Clean, affordable and a primo location are what we need.  These methods don’t always work out perfectly.  You may find this helpful when booking your next travel agenda.  There’s so much pressure to find just the right spot isn’t there?  So, in chronological order, our six diverse Mauritian abodes.  Continue Reading →

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Mauritius – By Land and Sea

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One of many volcanic mountains

The African country of Mauritius deals up a wonderful recipe of cultures and landscapes.  Like a complicated dish, it’s hard to put your finger exactly on the specific ingredient that makes it so special.  Call it  alchemy.  The result is delicious.  Because of several changes in (let’s call it) ’ownership’ and some fairly huge cultural shifts, like the abolition of slavery for example, this gorgeous island has a bad case of multiple personality disorder.  In a very good way.  You can see and feel the colourful mingling of French, Dutch (who brought sugar and killed the Dodo), African, Creole and Indian influences in the people  along with their Hinduism, Christianity and Muslim faiths. The remarkable thing is that everyone seems to get along peacefully like it’s no big deal.  Take note world!  This ethnic margarita makes for some very interesting food, history and people.  The varied terrain makes for some outstanding outdoor exploration.  After the storm we were itching to get out and have a look around this ruggedly beautiful tropical island.

*note: Speaking of itching, mosquitos chase us inside each evening at dusk in a cloud of bug spray but the itchiness never lasts longer than an hour or so.  For this reason, I like Mauritian mosquitos way better than Canadian ones. Continue Reading →