Author Archives: carolinehelbig

A fresh look at my “same old” parks in West Vancouver

Social distancing sign at Capilano River Regional Park

I wasn’t going to write about parks in my West Vancouver neighbourhood as it seemed so “same old,” but two things changed my mind. One was a chat I had with a woman originally from Spain who is a participant in my Zoom English Conversation Club. She was gushing about our local parks. Her enthusiasm was infectious and it reminded me that these parks may be “same old” to me, but they’re also incredibly beautiful. The other was the creative social distancing signage at a favourite park. The bald eagle image showing the 2 metre/6 feet wingspan made me smile.

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Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 51 Comments

The grand cycling approach to Normandy’s Mont-Saint-Michel

Cycling approach to Mont-Saint-Michel

I can barely contain my excitement as Mont-Saint-Michel gets closer with every pedal rotation. Much has been written about France’s iconic abbey, but this post is as much about the approach as it is about the final destination. Those who follow my blog will know that Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the star attractions along the V4 cycling route and it marks the end of our time in Brittany and the start of our onward journey in Normandy.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

20 views from our bikes on Brittany’s V4 cycling route

The V4 near Pointe de Primel

The V4 cycling route that we rode from Morlaix to Mont-Saint-Michel, in northern France, has its share of A-list attractions, but we quickly found out that the “stuff” in-between is pretty special too: charming towns, impressive cathedrals, historical sites, locals-only beaches… This post pays homage to the journey— roadside views and unexpected treasures depicted in 20 photos taken directly on Brittany’s V4 cycle route.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

Oyster extravaganza and medieval splendours in Brittany

Dinan, Brittany

On our cycling journey along the North Brittany coast we don’t detour too far off the V4 cycling route. We make exceptions for the towns of Dinan and Cancale. Dinan is one of the best preserved medieval period towns in Brittany, and Cancale is the oyster capital of the region. For those with a car and limited time, both towns can be easily visited as day trips from Saint-Malo. Even on a bike, this is doable, but spending a night in each of romantic Dinan and delicious Cancale is a real treat.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , , | 45 Comments

Wanderings along Brittany’s north coast

Ploumanac’h lighthouse: Pink Granite Coast, Brittany

Although our journey along Brittany’s north coast was cycling focused, I’m glad we took time to explore some of the area’s great coastal walks. They serve up a dramatic display of rugged cliffs, pink rock, white sand beaches, heather-covered moorland, and a castle straight out of a story book. Wandering the well-maintained trails at Côte de Granit Rose, Cap d’Erquy and Cap Fréhel is a joy. These places are not far from each other, but they have distinctly different charms.

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Categories: France, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 41 Comments

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

No offence to my hubby

I think back over the last three weeks. How is it possible that so little time has elapsed but so much has changed? The worldwide COVID-19 situation, our response, even our vocabulary (social distancing, self isolation…) are in constant flux. I have gone from no worries to big worries mixed with confusion, guilt, reflection and gratitude. I’ve had a frustrating number of false starts on this post. I don’t usually deviate from my travel and hiking themes but I feel the need to get a few things off my chest.

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Categories: British Columbia, Places | Tags: , , , | 52 Comments

Saint-Malo: My most anticipated stop in Brittany

Saint-Malo in Brittany, France

I became obsessed with visiting Saint-Malo, a seaside city in northern France, after reading Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See. It tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in Saint-Malo during WWII. The story is riveting, but it’s the author’s description of the ancient walled city, perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the English Channel (la Manche) that totally captivated me. Saint-Malo was my most anticipated stop on our cycling trip in northern Brittany and it did not disappoint.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

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