Barcelo Premium Marina Palace and Cayo Libertad – Checking out the resort
One of the benefits of the direct flight from Ottawa was our arrival time. After checking in and taking a look at our room, we still had most of the afternoon to look around the resort in daylight hours.
It has been almost 44 years since I passed through White River, Ontario on my way from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Montreal, Quebec in 1967 to see Expo ’67. For one thing, I no longer drive a 100cc Yamaha motorcycle but in those days that was my mode of transportation. One very noticeable change has occurred in White River as well. In 1967, visitors arriving in White River were greeted with a sign announcing that they had just arrived in the coldest place in the country (-58C). I remember thinking about this while shivering on my motorcycle as I passed through White River on my way home to Winnipeg. The outside temperature at the time was just around the freezing mark but it certainly felt like -58C on the back of that motorcycle and I still had a very long way to travel.
For the highway traveler today, White River still has a restaurant at the east end which has changed hands over the years and is now an A&W, a couple of motels which often display a “No Vacancy” sign, and a busy Robins Donut outlet for the donut lovers among us.
What has really changed though is the sign greeting visitors to the area. Gone is the “Lowest temperature …” sign. In its place is a much friendlier Winnie-the-Pooh sign, signaling to all travelers that White River played an important role in the saga of Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie-the-Pooh history
After wandering around the many trails of the nearby Beaver Lake Nature Center; getting rained on many times during the day; and then staying up half the night listening to the vicious wind and rain of a passing storm; I was rather reluctant to head back onto woodland trails with more rain forecast for the morning so, instead, I decided to head into Syracuse to visit their zoo.
That was the plan until I took a wrong turn and ended up heading into downtown Syracuse instead.
A great place to visit but I certainly don’t get there as often as I would like to. This day in June, seemed like a good time as any to pack up my camera gear and head across the river for another visit to this museum. A number of years ago, I met a tour guide of Haidan ancestry at the UBC Museum of Anthropology who said that she would like to see pictures of the Museum of Civilization’s Grand Hall. She was particularly interested in the Haidan house because much of the exhibit came from a location of her youth and her grandmother’s village.
The grand hall is indeed grand. Because the totem poles are so tall and the buildings are so wide it is a bit tough to photograph the whole area.
Today, I was a tourist going on a tour of Santo Domingo. (location) Our tour bus would be our mobile home-away-from-home from 6AM to 8PM. – 17 adults, a guide and a driver – THE FAMILY! Look Ma – No Washroom – No problem FAMILY – we’ll just stop at the next tourist shop!!! How convenient. There’s one now —– A comfortable ride but a long ride in each direction. Up before dawn and arriving back at the resort after dark.
Welcome To Verona! A city by any other name would still be the setting for which Romeo and Juliet was based. We rolled into this small but tourist crowed Italian town on a cloudy day, fortunately staving off rain for our visit.
We had to walk towards Juliet’s Balcony, the end-goal of our short stop over. Across cobble stone roads and past coliseums and quaint buildings.
Juliet’s Balcony is in a small courtyard off a merchant street, and it is buzzing with tourists, its nice balcony with only a view of the court for which its located; due to the high nature of all the surrounding buildings. Not 100% sure where Romeo was suppose to hid out here to meet with her in the play, but alas I digress.
After the balcony, the other tourist activity is to line up to touch the statue of Juliet; rub her bosom to be exact, an apparent local culture task for luck in love.
On our way back we pasted by some additional sculptures, it seems people riding horses continues to be a popular theme in European road statues.
Finally we had to wait on the bus for our pick-up, it did sprinkle a little bit but tall buildings and being on the protected side allowed up to stay mostly dry.
Having landed in New Orleans, wandered the streets a bit at night and then greeted the sunrise, acting like a tourist and going from statue to statue was a necessary step in getting acquainted with the history of New Orleans and the French Quarter. At the first statue, I learned that the official founder of New Orleans (founded in 1717) was one Jean Baptiste de Bienville who was born in Montreal in 1680 and died in Paris in 1767. After learnign that information it was off along Decatur Street to Jackson Square, a beautiful park with the sun shining and flowers blooming.
Major General Andrew Jackson – Commander of the American Forces in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. This battle is considered to have been the last major battle of the War of 1812. Jackson went on to become 7th President of the United States.
Paris – getting there was half the fun or at least it should have been 🙁 . Unfortunately, the day of our flight, there was a switch to daylight saving time zone or some such occurrence and the North American airlines forgot to tell the European Airlines. The result, flight schedules didn’t match and the wild scramble at the airports to re-book flights, shuffle passengers onto other airlines, re-book connecting flights many miles away by standing in airport queues, etc., just to get across the ocean and then redo the whole process once on the ground in Europe, began in earnest. I realized fairly quickly what had happened with our flight arrangements and rushed to start the re-booking process to make sure that we had a connecting flight booked when we eventually got across the Atlantic. The easy part was estimating that we would be one hour later in arriving. The more difficult part was booking without knowing the schedules or what complications we might encounter on the other side of the Atlantic. I was able to get connecting flights booked so ended up in Paris only an hour or two later than planned. I can assume that others were not so lucky.
I had traveled to Vancouver to visit my brother and had hoped that Vancouver weather, being generally warmer than the rest of the country, would give me a bit of an extension on the season, with respect to photographing my favourite wildlife subjects. As is evident from my other blog entries for this Vancouver trip, I found lots to photograph but it wasn’t pretty butterflies. When my brother asked me where we should go today, I suggested the Vancouver Aquarium where I could photograph in slightly warmer, drier surroundings. It had been a number of years since either of us had been to the Vancouver Aquarium so we agreed that that would be our destination of the day and off we went.
The Vancouver Aquarium is located on the edge of Stanley Park in a beautiful setting surrounded by towering Douglas Fir. It has an indoor portion as well as outdoor areas where dolphins fly through the air and put on quite a display for the visiting public. With plenty of seals and walruses and a Beluga Whale tank, it would have been easy to spend most of our time just looking at the outdoor exhibits.
Inside the main building there are vibrant displays of colour in the Marine tanks and a large assortment of creatures in the freshwater aquariums. Jelly fish intrigue me and they certainly had lots of jelly fish to look at.
Seeing a large display of starfish brought memories of a long ago visit to the Tofino beach area on the west coast of Vancouver Island And the indoor reef displays were excellent.
After I spent a bit of time photographing the coral reef displays we headed back outside to wander around Stanley Park.
The Press Building was one of the buildings which was open to the public for viewing and photographing as part of the “Doors Open” event in Toronto and we were making the circuit with members of the Ontario Photo Collective (OPC).
UPDATE: Mark the calendar – “Doors Open” 2011 dates are: Starts: May 28, 2011 Ends: May 29, 2011