Sunday, March 31, 2013

Destination of the Week (again!) - Charleston, South Carolina

I visited the Southern U.S. for the first time in early 2008.  I headed south on the Greyhound - or the "hound" as I like to call it.and had a six week Greyhound Discovery pass which was the second time I had done this. I had done it previously in Sept/Oct of 05 which I called my "Rock and Roll Groupie tour" due to the amount of concerts I went to - I discovered I liked it so planned another long holiday.  Sadly the Discovery Pass is no more and not only that but they have terminated the Winnipeg link to the U.S. which means I now have to go to either Vancouver or Toronto to hound it to the U.S.   I am glad I took advantage of it however and I had a wonderful trip heading down from Canada to as far as Alabama and northern Florida doing lots of visiting, walking and eating!  I managed to sneak in a trip to Costa Rica (previous post) on that trip as well!  

I made my long time friend Linda's new home in Wilmington, North Carolina my base and traveled from there.  While in Wilmington Linda, her husband, daughter Sarah and myself drove down for a weekend in Charleston, South Carolina and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I hope there is another visit to Charleston in my future and I hope to do the 10km walk there as well.  You can always see more on a good long walk!!!

Custom House

Fancy Ravenel bridge on the Cooper river which connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant.  it is the third largest cable stayed  bridge in the western hemisphere.   8 lanes!!!

Pralines - oh yeah!!!

Peek into a gracious downtown hotel lobby.

Charleston waterfront

One of many beautiful homes in the area.

Now that's a big one!!

The owner was outside so I had to ask him - turns out he is the (now retired) owner of the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in the south!!! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Destination of the week - Manual Antonio Park, Costa Rica

Well being as I have missed a few there may be a couple of these 'destinations of the week' catch ups happening this just never know...

One of my favourite travel bloggers A Dangerous Business posted pictures from Manuel Antonio national park recently and it got me thinking of my two trips there.

The first one was at the very end of 2002 - I went to Costa Rica at Christmas/New Years with my sister and niece for two weeks and we spent a few days at a B and B in Quepos.   The second trip was in January 2008 with my friend Pat of Steppin Out of my Shoes.   The pictures below will be of the January 2008 trip because well I'm feeling lazy and don't feel like digging out the first Costa Rican trip's photo album from my disaster of a storage room.  So these pictures will be taken from a day trip to Manuel Antonio park.  Manuel Antonio National Park is 132 km from the capital city of San Jose and has 109 species of animals and 184 species of birds.  It is pure paradise. Enjoy!!!

One of the beautiful beaches in the park.

Howler monkey way up in the trees

Our tour guide ended the park tour at a real estate place that had nonstop monkeys.

The beaches are the most beautiful I've seen in the world - and warm like bath water!

A monkey we encountered on the trail

If you leave the park after the tide comes in you must either wade through waist deep water or take a boat - we opted for the boat!!!

Vendors outside the park.

One of the many stray dogs -  I could not resist that face and I quietly gave her some of my meal.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Singapore's Little India

One of my favourite places in Singapore is Little India.  I call it "India Lite".  No cows wandering the streets, no beggars, no piles of garbage but lots of Indian restaurants, temples and the lively street culture.  A win win!!!  As I mentioned in a previous post...I would stay there again but just not at the weekend when thousands of Indian men come to seriously party.  Not quiet!!!   However I did enjoy wandering around the area and only wish I had more time. Sadly the first two nights I was there after Cambodia I had a tummy bug and could only manage a veggie sandwich the first night and soup the next night.  Tragic!  Luckily I was able to indulge in some vegetable biryani during my stay on the way to Cambodia in January.   

Here are some of the highlights...

Isn't it colourful?  I passed by this former merchant house (now a restaurant) every day on the way to Little India metro. I took this photo to show the contrast between the old and the new in Singapore. 


Shophouses are very colourful as well.

I think you will agree that Little India is a great place to wander around - oh Singapore, I really do miss you.  Next time we will spend at least a week together....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Destination of the week - Santa Monica, California!

As I look out the window at this dull cold (will Spring ever get here?) Sunday morning my thoughts can't help but turn to warm sunny holidays.  One of my favourite places without a doubt is Southern California.  Would I want to live there?  No thanks but it is sure fun to visit.  This week I will highlight one of my favourite places to stay. 

I stayed in Santa Monica at the end of a couple of weeks in California in the fall of 2007.   The HI-Santa Monica was fantastic.  Clean and had everything I wanted AND two blocks from the beach!  I would stay there again in a heartbeat.

One of the highlights?  Heading over to Jinky's Cafe for breakfast the first morning and while enjoying my delicious pumpkin pancakes who walks in but Ron Howard!!!  Okay George Clooney would have been WAY more exciting but I will take whatever Hollywood star I can get.  I was certain it was him and a quick internet search back at the hotel confirmed it.  And my stay there just got better and better!!!  At the end of my stay I took the blue bus off to LAX and back home.

Santa Monica...I really really like you and I'll be back!!!  Enjoy my time in Santa Monica through, as always, through my pictures....

Santa Monica Pier

On the pier

Some "cool" California kids
Multi-purpose trail between Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Venice Beach - you see everything here!!!

Another view of Venice Beach

Another killer California sunset

Bopping around Budapest - The Old Town of Buda

F riends had raved about Budapest and having read quite a bit about it I knew it was on my "to visit" list. And I knew it was goi...