Monday, August 18, 2014

Povoacao, Azores

Our holiday so far has been lovely and relaxing!  we are in the village of Pavoacao on San Miguel island in the Azores.  The village is about 50km away from the capital city of Ponta Delgada.  It is so quiet and lovely.  We are staying at the Hotel do Mar, right on the Atlantic Ocean, ocean view room and calming sea waves all day long to lull you into a sense of calm.  Everyone we have met are so friendly and lovely..... food is so amazing and really cheap!  we feel like we are getting great value, it is so reasonable.  we just about fell over the first night, our dinner including a bottle of wine and appetizer was only 23 euros! The local beer is delicious, I have enjoyed in particular a beer that is infused with lime and ginger, so refreshing.  Weather is great!  will post again in a few days when we get to Faial :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Backpack, A Camera and A Passport.....

We are ready to go to the Azores!  The backpack is ready to go, packed very minimalistic, the camera is fully charged, the converter & charger are packed for recharging! 'cause you all know I will be clicking away madly capturing every moment, and my passport is open, waiting for the next "stamp" of arrival in another country.

I'm so excited about this trip - it has been 4 months in the planning and now it's actually here!  I have been surprised at the number of people that do not know of their existence, I had dinner with friends on Tuesday evening and all of them asked me "where" are the Azores.

Don't know yourself?.... here you go. The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about 1,500 km west of Lisbon and about 1,900 km southeast of Newfoundland.
Quick Facts:
  • Average Temperature in summer = 24C
  • 1/4 of the land is protected natural space
  • Population - 26% Male, 24% Female 50% Bovine!
  • many UNESCO world heritage sites
  • 41 different bird areas to view a large variety of birds - 30 viewing sites on land, 11 viewing sites at sea
Things to do:
  • Bird Watching
  • Sailing
  • Diving, Swimming, surfing etc.
  • Whale watching
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking and walking
  • Canyoning
  • ....and just plain ol' relaxation!
Watch the blog during September, I'll be posting all about our adventures, with photos too!



Friday, August 08, 2014

A few more collages

These are photos from around the property and house in Großenaspe :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"A" for Adventure - Germany - Part 3

Sights - Smells - Sounds
I made a conscious effort to take in the "Three S's" on this trip.  A lot of the time, one gets all caught up in the sights and  goings on around, happily snapping photos and we forget about the smells and sounds around.  So this post is about the Three S's - These are just a few - enjoy!!

First up - Kordes Rosengarten - Sight -my goodness! look at all those colorful roses, still in full bloom in July!  Stunning.  Smell - As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were hit with the most amazing "perfume" in the air!  You knew you were at a rose garden, the smells were absolutely incredible.  I took the time to stop and smell the roses! Sound - what's a garden without bees!  Buzz Buzz Buzz - you could hear them busily working away.  Another sound that caught my attention - in the background there were two gentlemen playing and singing music.  One a Bass player and the other a guitarist.  It was great! they wandered around the gardens and stopped at various points to serenade everyone.  The music was fun and funky!  I took a short video of them when we stopped for coffee.


Boken Muhle - Sight, beautiful lake setting, lush greens, swans and ducks. Smell, the food from the nearby hotel on the lake smelled amazing! Made us hungry! Sound, the swans were calling out to each other, the ducks were quacking away, people were chatting and laughing, the lake water plashing up again the hulls of the row boats.

Lange Anna - Sight, the amazing views from the red cliff tops, the thousands of birds perched upon the cliff sides. Smell, before getting to the Lange Anna, the ocean salty sea air was lovely, once we got closer to the Lange Anna - it stunk! That bird shit stinks! Sound, the birds... non stop screeching and calling out... almost deafening.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

"A" for Adventure - Germany Part 2

Andrea, Kilian, Kester and I spent a Sunday taking a tour of the Altes Land, Glückstadt and Stade.  As I mentioned in my "pre-journaling" I had hoped that we'd go to Stade.  I really like this place, it's old world charm and history fascinate me.  It has been 10 years since I was last in Stade and it did not disappoint, not a lot has changed, thank goodness! who would want to ruin its charm?  We had a fantastic day, the weather wasn't amazing, but that didn't stop us from heading out with our picnic basket and having a fun day!
Kester - he's all grown up now!

Andrea and Kilian

Soul Sisters
It's a bit windy on the boat!

What's a picnic without Sekt? (Sekt = Champagne)

One of my favorite buildings in Stade

Stade - the old world charm is still there!
This is what amazes me about Stade - can you imagine, this place has been around since 994.... that's not a typo people! 994!

Hökerstraße is the main street of the old town. You stroll along the street past the town hall, admiring the amazing half-timbered houses and then end up strolling into the entrance to the churchyard of St Cosmae. 
"Höker" in German is the word for "merchant".  The name refers to the merchants who built their houses along this street. It is now Stade's shopping area and has some nice little shops, which by the way are closed on Sundays.  *That's the nice thing about small towns in Germany - none of the 24/7 shopping that you find in the large cities.  Sunday is really a day of rest! and the shops are closed.  Cafes and restaurants remain open though.
The half-timbered houses have amazing facades. This house in particular, you can see the date above the door, 1650, is a medieval house. Amazingly it survived a fire in 1659 and is one of the older houses in town. It is now the Altstadt Cafe.

Can you see why I like Stade?  Madly clicking away with my camera.... yes again! I think it will be great fun to look at the photos I took 10 years ago and compare them.  I don't imagine I'll see much change.  And you never know.... I may have captured something this time, that I missed on my first visit. Actually, I know I did!  I was thrilled to explore a couple of nooks and crannies that I don't recall seeing before :)  and as a "tourist" I poked my nose into all sorts of places!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

“A” for Adventure (in Germany)

Some of you may recall that back in early June I posted some "Pre-Journaling" in preparation for my trip to Germany. Here's the link - Pack me up

Now that I'm back and I think...(hopefully) over some serious jet lag, I'm going to do my "post-journaling".  I managed to journal everyday in my 'paper' journal (I also did some doodles and zentangles too!), it's completely full now!

Thanks Diane for the lovely journal with handmade paper.... it was a joy to write in.

Since I wrote so much... I think that I'll break my 'post-journaling' up into sections.  Otherwise this will be the longest post ever!  So here is something for today.... Enjoy!

The actual flight over was very good, I had my favorite seat and settled in. I was entertained and slightly appalled at the eating & drinking habits of the English woman sat across the aisle from me.  (I journaled three pages about the whole thing!)  In a nut shell (no pun intended here) I have never seen anyone scarf down dry roasted nuts so quickly and then use a Gin & Tonic like mouth wash to clear out ones mouth! Her manners didn't improve at any point, from snacks, appetizer, main, dessert.... it was an entirely disgusting and sometimes comedic event to see.  At one point I thought she might choke, at the rate the food was being shoveled in and swallowed whole (sans chewing), I really wasn't surprised when she stopped to come up for air.... no one could possible continue to eat at that rate and in that manner, without suffering some discomfort.  Anyway... flight to London was good, uneventful and I had no troubles with my connection to Hamburg.  

Ingrid was waiting for me at arrivals and we dashed out of the airport and headed directly home to Großenaspe.  It was about 6pm, so I had a quiet evening with my own 'personal bartender', so to speak.... Louis was thrilled to see me.... can you guess what the first words out of his 5 year old mouth were?
'Was hast du mir aus Kanada bringen?' - What did you bring me from Canada"? LOL   I asked him to bring me a beer while I went and unpacked my suitcase ;) I had a bit of fun with Louis... Beer #1 = Gift #1 and Beer #2 = Gift #2 - he was so excited! LOL  

I slid into the usual routine of life in the 'village' - rolled up my sleeves and pitched in -  like I'd never left! It's nice to go somewhere and feel right at home.  Several people at the bakery the following morning welcomed me back. The neighbors and Lars' work crew welcomed me back with smiles, hugs, hand shakes and genuine joy at seeing me. 

Many mini adventures took place, some planned and some quite spontaneous. 

One morning while sitting at breakfast and chatting about a friend of Ingrid's whom I'd met last year, we decided on a whim to call Heidrun and ask if she was free to go out to lunch.  Heidrun  has a lovely home in Laboe and instead of us taking her out to lunch she invited us to come up for the day and join her at the beach and stay for dinner. Fabulous!

A little about Laboe - It is situated on the Baltic Sea coast, it's about a 45 minute drive from Großenaspe.  It's very popular in the summer time as a 'day beach' destination and some holiday makers rent places a week at a time.  The Naval Memorial is located here as well as the submarine U-995.

The city coat of arms depicts a swan and is based on its name,  Laboe which means "swan".

The tall structure is the Laboe Naval Memorial and below is the U-995 submarine.

"Strandkorb" - these are Beach Baskets, literally! fabulous to sit at and if you need to get a bit of shade put your feet up you can!  The ones with numbers on them are 'owned' by people. You can rent others for the day or the week. Heidrun has one of her own, which we enjoyed!
Hostess with the most-est! "Heidrun

Lots of cruise ships going to Denmark, Sweden, Norway etc. pass by the beach.  There were three passing by while I was there.
"Selfie" Me at the beach :)

That's it for today folks.... I'll get some more of my adventures posted in a few days.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Düne - The island measures 0.78 mile in length and 0.53 mile in width - we walked around it in no time flat! Then enjoyed some beach time, sun and relaxation!  The water was amazingly clear and warmer than I expected.  I thought the North Sea would be freezing cold, but it was really nice!

I found this aerial photo online, this is Düne from the air and Helgoland is in the back ground.  As you can see, they are not very big and easy to walk around. The beaches are pristine!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Helgoland and The Northern Gannet

I suppose I should tell you where Helgoland is and a little info. I realized after I posted earlier photos that I forgot to mention anything about it. Call me sleep deprived!

Helgoland is located 70 kilometres off the German coastline in the North Sea and consists of two islands: the main island is about 1 km2 and the Dune  is somewhat smaller 0.7 km2, and surrounded by sand beaches. The main island is divided into the Unterland at sea level, the Oberland consisting of a plateau and the Mittelland between them on one side of the island.
Helgoland's famous landmark, The Lange Anna, is a free standing rock column, 47 metres high.
The Dune is a paradise, no one lives there and you get to it by small ferry, only about 10 minutes.

While strolling along the red cliffs on Helgoland, I could see and hear in the distance many sea birds.  What a wonderful sound it was, but unlike anything I'd heard before.  As we began to approach closer to the Lange Anna, I could see the birds nesting in the red cliffs.... now I'm getting excited and really curious!

These are not seagulls!  These are a bird called the Northern Gannet, 
I have never seen one before, and I could tell as I got closer there were little baby gannets! squweee!
Ingrid tells me that they breed here in very large numbers and the babies literally learn to fly by jumping off the cliffs toward the ocean.  There must have been thousands of these birds all along the cliffs.

So here are some of my photos of the Northern Gannet and you'll see a couple of  babies in there too!

Stayed tuned for photos from the Dune.... coming tomorrow!