Thursday, October 12, 2017

Off to Croatia and Slovenia


  • Well I haven't yet written up my trip to Montreal this spring but now I am off soon to Croatia and am going to try to do my blog as I go.  Today I am just setting the stage by letting you know where I am going and a bit about where I am going!!!  We will be flying straight to Amsterdam from here and then to Venice and then by ground transport to Opatija.  Stay tuned!!!

    Your Itinerary for Oct 14, 2017 - Oct 25, 2017

    Please note: tour inclusions and available options may vary based on departure date. Please select a date above for more details.
    Overnight Flight
    Join us and explore Croatia and the countries of the Adriatic. This is a “must see” region filled with ancient cities, medieval architecture, unique cultures, rolling hills and stunning coastal scenery.

      Opatija, Croatia - Tour Begins
      Your tour begins in the seaside resort of Opatija. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers during a special welcome dinner.

      • Dinner
      •  
      • High  67°  Low  53°
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      • 3"
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      • Hotel Bristol Opatija
      Opatija
      Opatija, known as “Croatia’s Riviera,” was once the summer retreat for Roman Caesars and Hapsburg Monarchs. Spend the day exploring the town on your own.

      • Breakfast
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      • High  67°  Low  53°
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      • 3"
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      • Hotel Bristol Opatija
      Opatija - Plitvice Lakes
      After breakfast, travel to Croatia’s most beautiful national park, Plitvice Lakes. This UNESCO World Heritage site promises inspiring scenery as you travel among its 16 terraced lakes and dense forests. A series of waterfalls and free flowing cascades connects each lake to the other. Complete the experience with a short cruise that takes you into the heart of this natural wonder.

      • Breakfast & Dinner
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      • High  68°  Low  57°
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      • 3"
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      • Jezero Hotel
      Plitvice Lakes - Dubrovnik
      This morning, continue south through the heart of Croatia, towards the medieval city of Dubrovnik. Along the way, enjoy magnificent views of the sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.

      • Breakfast & Dinner
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      • High  68°  Low  57°
      •  
      • 5"
      •  
      • Valamar Lacroma Resort
      Dubrovnik
      Join an expert local guide on a tour of “Old Dubrovnik,” a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Franciscan Monastery, where Europe’s oldest pharmacy lies, and see Rector’s Palace, the City Walls, and many more historical sites. During your stay in Dubrovnik you have the special opportunity to personalize your tour and partake in one of two inclusions: Elaphiti Islands* cruise (today) or Montenegro excursion (tomorrow). This afternoon features either your first choice or leisure time to relax or independently explore Dubrovnik on your own. Those who have chosen today’s option will set out on a cruise around the Elaphiti Islands, stopping along the way at a local fishing village to get a taste of island life. The name of these islands comes from the ancient Greek word for deer, which used to inhabit the islands in large numbers. Today, they remain an oasis of traditional Croatian coastal living just off the bustling coast. This evening, travel to the culturally-rich Konavle region to Cilipi for a family-style dinner in a locally-owned restaurant. While visiting with the local family you’ll learn about life in the Croatian heartland and sample regional wines. At dinner, servers introduce you to a culinary feast, prepared in the way of their ancestors.

      • Breakfast & Dinner
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      • High  68°  Low  57°
      •  
      • 5"
      •  
      • Valamar Lacroma Resort
      Dubrovnik
      For those who selected the Elaphiti Islands cruise yesterday, today is a day at leisure to relax or independently explore Dubrovnik. Those who have chosen the Montenegro excursion will leave in the morning to cross the border to Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor (or “the Boka”). Once known as Europe’s southernmost fjord, it is in fact a ria (a long, narrow inlet). Your guide will introduce you to the deep history of the region and will share stories of the many cultures and empires that have left their marks here. Enjoy some free time before returning to Dubrovnik for an evening at leisure.

      • Breakfast
      •  
      • High  68°  Low  57°
      •  
      • 5"
      •  
      • Valamar Lacroma Resort
      Dubrovnik - Split
      Today, savor stunning sea views as you travel up the winding coastal road, hugging the sheer cliffs that drop into the aquamarine Adriatic Sea. Enjoy a stop in a quaint village in the Croatian countryside. You will have time to taste the local specialties and perhaps walk through the village square. Upon arrival in Split, set out on a walking tour featuring the impressive Diocletian's Palace, one of the most significant late-Roman historical monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, see the peristyle of the palace and the Temple of Jupiter. Then, continue to your hotel located in the center of Split.

      • Breakfast
      •  
      • High  68°  Low  57°
      •  
      • 5"
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      • Atrium Hotel
      Split - Ljubljana, Slovenia
      Your adventure continues as you travel up the coast, into Slovenia, and on to today’s destination – the quaint capital of Ljubljana. During the drive, take in the spectacular scenery. Arriving in Ljubljana, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to relax. This evening, soak up the stunning views of the city as you ride a funicular to Ljubljana Castle where you will savor a dinner of local specialties within the castle walls.

      • Breakfast & Dinner
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      • High  58°  Low  41°
      •  
      • Hotel Lev
      Ljubljana - Lake Bled - Ljubljana
      This morning you will be met by a local expert who will introduce you to this lovely town nestled along the banks of the river. Your tour includes the impressive City Hall and a visit to the magnificent Cathedral of St. Nicholas. After free time for lunch, drive a short distance to tranquil Lake Bled. Experience the old-world charm that comes with taking a “pletna” boat to the picturesque island in the center of Lake Bled. Spend time exploring the 17th-century cathedral, St. Mary’s Church, and the “wishing bell.” Enjoy some time to stroll the quiet paths of this lakeside community at your own pace.

      • Breakfast
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      • High  58°  Low  41°
      •  
      • Hotel Lev
      Ljubljana - Zagreb, Croatia
      Today you travel to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and embark on a fascinating tour. Continue your exploration your way with free time this afternoon. Tonight, celebrate the end of an unforgettable trip with dinner in one of Zagreb’s most famous restaurants.

      • Breakfast & Dinner
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      • High  59°  Low  47°
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      • 2"
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      • Sheraton Zagreb Hotel
      Zagreb - Tour Ends
      Your tour comes to a close in Zagreb this morning.

      • Breakfast

    Monday, September 25, 2017

    Last Day in Palm Desert, January 5, 2017


    Hard to believe it was our last day in Palm Desert


    But I did wake  up in time for another beautiful sunrise

    But after breakfast time to pack up and leave 

    Our first stop was the Palm Desert branch of Palm Springs Art museum and sculpture garden

    Above is a couple of Chihuli vases part of a really interesting glass exhibit

    The sculpture garden was lovely as well

    We might have gone to the Palm Springs main art museum but it was closed for a film festival event  and sadly this small one didn't have a gift shop...

    Sandy had read about this exhibit of the art of actor, Anthony Hopkins in the local paper so although it wasn't officially opening Friday, we were able to go to the preview for collectors but prices were too high for us.  Even the catalogue which was fascinating about his life was $250!!!! 
     Next we went to Indio to for a free lunch at Jackalope Ranch thanks to vouchers I got for an update about my timeshare. 

     We sat outside in the most beautiful setting and it was such a nice day


    Lunch was delicious
     Then we were off to airport to return car and check in-our flight was a little late but this is a lovely small airport and we had a lovely courtyard in which to wait and enjoy a glass of wine


    We had a nice flight home again scoring an empty seat between us and actually roomy seats-Westjet is doing better with me currently than Air Canada, and a direct two hour flight is great! 

    Thanks to Lois who had to leave the championship Junior Hockey tournament game in overtime to pick us up, here I was back in the snow!!!!  Ms Holly, my cat,  was throughly spoiled by her babysitters.  

    Thanks for coming along on my trip-such a great way to greet 2017!!!!

    Thousand Palms-Day 4 part 2-Palm Desert, January 4, 2017






    We crossed San Andres Fault going to Joshua Tree National Park but Wednesday we saw more evidence of platonic movement as we visited Thousand Palms

    First it was real Desert 🌵 and then

    A literal oasis in the desert, Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve.


    I liked teaching Earth Science in 7th grade


    And exciting to see nature at work

    Earlier we went from Desert to snow and now I felt as if I was in Jurassic Park



     It was very neat and when we got "home" and I put my feet up and then went for a swim and in hot tub 
    I knew I would miss this view when I returned home
    and those neat sunsets!!

    We had a nice dinner at Vicki and Gavin's unit and enjoyed baby Lola and a starry walk "home"

    Sunday, September 24, 2017

    Wednesday, January 4, 2017-part one


    Another fun day...




    This time I did catch sunrise just before seven
     It was beautiful then we had breakfast and set off for the Palm Springs Aerial tramway


    And there were no line ups and it was an amazing ride

    Taking us back to a winter environment due to elevation which I think was around 9000 feet 


    People were actually snowshoeing and sliding in San Jacinto State Park.

     Going down 



    Here is the gondola which actually does rotate so you don't have to move to get different views-more Swiss engineering, reminding of my trip up Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio.

    Lunch stop was in Palm Springs at Ace hotel.  Here's Sandy looking pleased to be here!


    In a mid century style King's Highway diner

    Here is the menu just in case you decide to drop in


     It was a full day with more to come so stay tuned for part 2...




    Tuesday in Palm Springs, January 3, 2017, a trip to Joshua Tree National Park




    Yesterday we got out bright and early

    To go to Joshua Tree National Park

     About an hour plus away



    It was really awesome 

     Huge rocks so we would drive stop walk


    We were quite hungry when we left but found a Mexican restaurant along the way


    We went back to ritzy Palm Desert shopping area but made no purchases

    Beautiful street El Paseo

    Back to resort and then we walked over to nearby shopping mall and had dinner in restaurant bar where it was happy hour so our meal was half price, which was good as it was quite an expensive steak house.  It was a lovely evening although I was glad to have a warm jacket.  But no snow!


    And then I walked over to see old friends, Vicki and Gavin, and their daughter Jane and granddaughter baby Lola, who had arrived, having driven from Los Vegas.  We hadn't lived in the same neighbourhood since Montreal long ago so very fun.  


    Monday, January 2, 2017 in Palm Desert, California





    Rumour had it that it was snowy and icy in Vancouver but not here in Palm Desert

     The view from our deck this  morning


    I went for a walk then an update with member services where I scored some dining discount vouchers
    this is was  in the town of Palm Springs


    And then we attempted to go up the mountains above Palm Springs on the aerial tramway but we got there and were lined up for awhile and then told it was a three hour wait so we went into the town of Palm Springs and eventually had lunch using a 25 dollar discount so it was a cheap lunch...the Palm Springs film festival has just begun and lots of stars in town but we didn't spot any-Palm Desert is  about half an hour away.  



    Next stop was The Living Desert which isn't far from where we were staying-I had enjoyed going there 30 years ago when it was mainly an interpretive centre about North American deserts but it has now really expanded.  Above gives you an idea of the topography.  

    There is an African section and here is a Meerkat.


    And a zebra…



    A cheetah (he was a bit shy).
    and a particular favourite of mine- the black footed cat who is Africa's smallest wild cat.  


    Now we are back to the desert, American variety, with a type of heron

    And this rather tubby badger!

     You can see a short video I took of a jaguar above.   I decided I could capture him more easily that way.  We saw lots more animals but  there is a limit on how much I can bore you!!!
     I think this is a desert sunflower-I have lots more pictures and since I did something like 11000 steps  there was lots to see…


    Back at our place, the sun was setting around 5 and temperature dropping and I did manage to get in the hot tub.  The pool seemed a bit cool for me but kids were enjoying it…There are several pools but the near one to us is a family pool and school isn't back yet in some places.  In Palm Springs area it was the last day of holidays here like in BC.

    It was a rather nice sunset!