My favourite beaches from around the world

Some of my happiest memories from early childhood is when my parents announced we’d be spending the day at the beach. Mom would prepare thickly buttered salami on rye sandwiches; dad would pack up the Oldsmobile. Off we’d drive to Long Sault, a park along the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario. The beach was no great shakes, but at the time I thought it was the best place in the world. While my taste in beaches has changed (some might call me a beach snob), I’m still delighted by a great day at the beach. Here are some of my favourite beaches.

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Categories: France, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, United States | Tags: , , | 53 Comments

Staying local: Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

As British Columbia’s travel restrictions remain in place, I continue to discover or rediscover local treasures. Last week’s excursion took me to Queen Elizabeth Park, a horticultural jewel in the middle of Vancouver. As I gazed over the resplendent spring gardens with views to the city skyline and snow-covered North Shore Mountains, I was shocked that I hadn’t been to Queen Elizabeth Park since we moved to Vancouver over 20 years ago.

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Categories: British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

Finding Stanley in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s crowning glory. Its dense rainforest and pristine coastline belie its location at the doorstep of one of Canada’s largest cities. I visit the park often, usually for cycling, but I rarely take the time to truly appreciate how the park came to be and what it has to offer. I realized how little I knew about the park, including who this Stanley guy is. So, last week, I spent a slow, relaxed day in Stanley Park, on and off my bike, stopping at monuments, reading plaques, strolling through gardens, riding along lesser used trails, and finding Stanley, among other notable people.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , , | 49 Comments

Vancouver cycling: Stanley Park-UBC-Fraser River-Arbutus Greenway route

Last weekend, we cobbled together an awesome cycling route around Vancouver’s West Side. The ride provides exceptional diversity: beautiful beaches, rivers and parks, lovely neighbourhoods, giant cedar forests, equestrian centres, First Nations communities and the University of British Columbia (UBC). It’s mind-boggling that we saw all this, and more, in only a 46 km (29 mi) loop (technically, a lollipop). Most of the route is on dedicated bike paths, and the majority of on-road sections have bike lanes. The unseasonably warm weather and spring blooms added to make this a perfect day on our bikes.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

Memories of Namibia

When asked about my favourite travel experiences, Namibia always comes to mind. I’ve never done justice to Namibia on my blog because the trip was in 2008, long before my blogging days, and many of my photos are stored cumbersomely on CD-ROM. Well, I finally dug out our shoe boxes of discs, waded through countless images, and transferred them to my photo library. Too much time has elapsed for me to provide a detailed travel report, but I hope you enjoy my photo memories of this stunning country.

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Categories: Namibia, Places | Tags: , , , , | 60 Comments

My 10 most memorable wild animal encounters

On my morning walk I passed a sign that read Warning: Bear in Area. My first thought was that it’s awfully early in the season. I didn’t end up meeting any big furry creatures, but it got me thinking about the wild animals I’ve seen during my travels abroad and on local adventures in western Canada. Just like memorable monuments, landscapes, or people, wild animals encounters have left indelible impressions on me—most of them positive, and a few not. So, in no particular order, here are my most memorable critter experiences.

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Categories: Wildlife Viewing | Tags: , , , | 61 Comments

Why did I never turn right? Hiking in Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia

For year now, when I need an easy, no-fuss hike, I just walk out my door to a trailhead about 10-minutes away. The path immediately gets me into the deep forest above Horseshoe Bay. After 500 m of uphill grunting, there’s an intersection. I’ve always turned left. It’s like I’m on autopilot. Left is to Whyte Lake, a pretty, little lake that makes the perfect one hour, door-to-door outing—a reliable and predictable bit of fresh air and exercise. A few months ago, I bucked the routine and turned right.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

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