Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

December Expenses and 2022 Expenses Review

We had a budget of $1,600 CAD ($1,180 USD) for the month of December and how much did we spend? 

We spent $1,598 CAD! I don't think we've ever come that close to being right on the money as far as our projected expenses for the month go. Of course you couldn't come much closer if you tried. So, we're pretty happy with the way we ended off the year, from a budget perspective.

Exploring Guadix, Spain

We got up and did some driving right at sunrise. It was only a half hour or so to Guadix on the main highway, so we figured that by the time we got there the sun would be high enough to keep us warm. Daytime temperatures inland are pleasant with the sunshine, but it's chilly enough overnight and it takes a while for things to warm up.

One of the reasons we came to Guadix is to match up another of my dad's photographs from his trip here in 1954.

Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 Year in Review

2022 was a good year for us!

We spent a lot of time touring in Max, in fact we pretty much lived in Max for about nine months of the year. And we had a really good vacation back to Canada that included four provinces.

We warmed up soon enough due to the exercise

Had to put the furnace on again yesterday morning. It was a little chilly due to the altitude. And although it was a beautiful spot, I knew that we wouldn't see any sun until about 11:00am because there was a big mountain ridge blocking it. But we had stayed there overnight anyhow because we wanted to do a hike before we left.

Once the sun appeared, we set off up the mountain behind us.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

So nice to not have much of a schedule to keep.

We had showers and used the dump and fill facilities at the free motorhome aire in Casas Nuevas. We were in no rush, and we didn't get going until after 11:00am. Then we set off on the backroads heading southwest.

Not going far, and if we saw something worth stopping at then we would. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Out for dinner in rural Spain

Just a relaxing day yesterday. Of course we did get out for a short walk in the afternoon just to stretch our legs. 

Along the way, we stopped in at the local pub to check and see if we could go for dinner. Turns out they close at 6:00pm, so we went for a very early dinner!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

I think today will be a day of rest!

We were due for some exercise, so we set off walking directly from the motorhome aire and into Sierra Espuna Regional Park. 

Not much in the way of actual marked trails, but I saw a circular route on the map that looked like it might be a trail. Most of it turned out to be a gravel road, but we did almost 14 kms (9 miles) and never saw a vehicle.

Monday, December 26, 2022

We had a great Christmas Day!

After hot drinks and breakfast we got out fairly early for a hike before things warmed up too much. In fact, we needed our sweaters for the first part because it was only 12C (54F) and there was a cool breeze. But there was a lot of blue sky and sunshine.

And, we were headed uphill so it didn't take long for us to warm up.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas from Spain!

I was looking back at where we have been the past few years on Christmas morning. Last year we were in Greece, and Christmas day 2020 we were at the hospital in Antalya, Turkiye having eye surgery! 2019 and 2018 we were at different places in Mexico. 2017 in Texas, and 2016 we had returned to Canada for Christmas in the cold. 

This year, we are parked beside an orange grove in Ulea, Spain.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Palm trees and sunshine

Seems most of Canada and the U.S. are experiencing a major blast of winter for this Christmas weekend. Most have either snowing or ridiculously cold, or both. Friends in British Columbia just went through an icy deep freeze. It was -40C (-40F) at the park we used to work at in Cabri, SK. And our home town of Ottawa is having a major winter blizzard. Our daughter in Nova Scotia is doing well though with a high of 10C (50F) yesterday!

Not meaning to rub it in, but here in southern Spain, we are having our best weather yet. Palm trees and sunshine and a high of 24C (75F).

Friday, December 23, 2022

The sky was on fire!

We had a nice relaxing day yesterday. Max took a day off from driving, and he just sat in the desert enjoying the sunshine and blue sky. Ruth and I did get out for a walk though, just to explore the area and see some of the desert scenery.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Wild camping (boondocking) in the desert

When we read about how crowded it is on the south coast with free camping van and motorhome people, we are glad that we are not beach people! We are only about 50 kms inland from the coast, and not another van in sight.

Funny enough, we've been in Spain for almost three weeks now, and while we've been following the coast south we have yet to walk on a beach.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Steep hike to a cave

With nice weather in the forecast, we decided to head to higher elevation to do some hiking. There is a recreation park only about 10 kms (6 miles) from Castalla called Sierra del Maigmo and I had read of an area where we could park overnight.

The road up was steep in places, with signs warning of a 20% grade. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

We got up there, but nobody was home!

Got an email back yesterday confirming our vehicle insurance for Morocco. We're under a new insurer this year and when I had read the paperwork I had noticed that insurance was only valid in Morocco "with prior approval of the insurance company".

In Europe, you're generally covered for all of the typical European countries. But depending on the insurer there can be exclusions. In our case, we need to get prior approval for Tunisia, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova, Bosnia,... and Morocco.

Monday, December 19, 2022

It's all a bit unorganized

Woke up Sunday morning at the cemetery outside of Bocairent. Peaceful night, even with three other motorhomes parked nearby. But the cemetery soon got busy. We would have thought that people would be in church Sunday morning, but I guess some of them visit their dead relatives on a Sunday morning. At one point, we didn't think we were going to be able to get out of the parking lot.

We left at about 10:30am. Not headed very far though. I love short driving days!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

We did lots of exploring yesterday

The weather guessers didn't do a very good job yesterday. We were supposed to have sunshine with cloudy breaks, but it was more the other way around. Cloudy, with sunny breaks. And we even had some rain drops in the morning. Oh well. 

But, when the rain had passed, we got out and did some exploring. Twice!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Back into the mountains

Because it's a little warmer, most people stick to the coast in the southern area of Spain. And that's totally logical. But boy, we sure do enjoy the interior more. We find the coast very busy and industrial, and really not that scenic. And if you want free motorhome parking, it's not that easy to come by, and you likely won't be alone.

Yes, there are also a lot of campgrounds along the coast. But they're not cheap, and we remember from past experience when we were here doing a motorhome exchange in 2017 that they can be very crowded, with not much space between sites.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Into the big city of Valencia, Spain

Valencia is a big port city on the east coast of Spain. It's actually a bigger city than I thought it was, with a population of just under 800,000.

Unfortunately the coast of Spain has a reputation for motorhomes and camper vans getting broken into, so you have to be cautious about where you leave them. We have read lots of reviews where people have had problems, so we've decided to take the cautious approach and pay for secure parking when we visit cities.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Glad we stayed put!

It turned out that this area is exactly up our alley, and we're glad we stayed put for another night. Lots of exploring to do on foot... with hiking trails, caves, and waterfalls!

And it turned out to be a nice day as well. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

We headed out, but not very far!

Still dealing with some showers throughout the day yesterday, but at least the temperatures are decent. It's supposed to hit 20C (68F) today, and we no longer have to use the furnace in the evening. Forecast for the next week calls for lots of sunshine, so we are finally into some decent weather.

We said goodbye to hosts Mirella and Bart, and of course Diezel the dog. And we headed out... but not very far!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Back on the road

The rain stopped yesterday morning and we finally made it out for a walk around the neighborhood. The area we are staying is called an "urbanización". There are hundreds of these types of developments in Spain. 

They are essentially private communities, normally located outside of a town with monthly fees that go towards maintenance and public areas. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Through the ages...

We never left the house yesterday. It drizzled with rain the entire day! So rather than show you photos of us at our laptops, or us playing backgammon, we'll take this opportunity to show you some photos that you've never seen before!

We met in March of 1983, and by September of that year we did our first trip together... to England!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Thinking we might have to put a fire on!

It turned into a beautiful blue sky day with a high of about 17C (63F), but it was really windy which kind of took away from what was otherwise a really nice day.

Our plan was to get out for a walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon, but we just never got to it!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Arrived at our house sit assignment

We still had a couple of hours to drive to get to our house sit location, and we had to do a big grocery shop along the way. 

I saw a big Mercadona grocery store in the next town only 6 kms away from where we had spent the night, so we decided to go there first and get that done.

Friday, December 9, 2022

What's the plan for this winter?

Yesterday was a bit of a dreary day with rain on and off, although the temperature was warm enough. Things look like they're improved this morning though, with some blue sky peaking through. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice though, with a high of 20C (68F). Not quite shorts and t-shirt weather, but we're getting there.

We did some driving to get closer to our house sitting assignment. Still about two hours to go today, but that's fine because they don't want us to arrive until 4:00pm.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

This ferry is unlike anything you've ever seen before!

We got up and drove as soon as it was light, at about 8am. Where we are right now, sunset is at 5:30pm and sunrise is at 8:10am. 

We weren't going very far... only about 30 kms (18 miles) further inland to a little village near a castle. My thinking was that we would have some breakfast, do some computer work, visit the castle, and then do some more driving after lunch. That's not quite what happened.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Good news!

We left the university parking lot in Tarragona at about 8am. Paid the €5.95 ($8.50 CAD, $6.25 USD) at the automatic pay machine, and that was that. Nice peaceful night. Certainly a reasonable cost for 24 hours of secure parking in the city.

And, Tuesday was the Constitution Day public holiday in Spain. Oddly, Thursday will also be a public holiday. So we need to make sure we stop at a grocery store today because they will be closed tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Busy day in Tarragona, Spain

We did an early drive down to the coastal city of Tarragona and got ourselves parked up in a paid parking area near the university... from there, it's an easy walk to go in and explore the city. We were there just before 9am.

The woman at the parking booth said that it's guarded from 8am to 10pm, but that we could stay overnight at our own risk. There are lots of security cameras as well, and we had read of other motorhomes doing the same thing, so we felt pretty comfortable.

The Top 4 Places for Digital Nomads to Live in Post-COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. For many of us, working from home has become the new normal. And for some of us, that's not such a bad thing. 

If you've been itching to get out of the city and set up shop in a more peaceful, remote location, now is the time to do it. Check out our list of the top 7 places for digital nomads to live post-COVID.

Monday, December 5, 2022

The medieval town of Montblanc, Spain

The weather turned out better than forecast, so we decided to stay in Montblanc a second night. This would allow us to go for a walk around the town and see what there is to see.

Montblanc is a fortified medieval town. People have been living here since around 1100... almost a thousand years!

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Grocery shopping in Spain

We woke up at our gorgeous overnight spot and it was cold. -4C (25F), to be exact. I had Max's furnace set for 12C (54F) overnight, so we were comfortable enough sleeping. 

But rather than use up more propane to warm things up, we decided to drive back down to the motorhome area and empty our tanks and do some driving and let the engine heat warm us up.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

A perfect overnight spot

There was clear blue sky, but it sure did take a while for things to warm up in the morning. The sun didn't come over the mountains until after 9am, and even then it took a while. 

But, we bundled up and set out on a nice hike up to some pools of water that are a popular swimming area during the summer.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Welcome to Spain!

Spain is not a new country for us. We were first in Spain in 2007 as part of a Portugal visit with Helen and Tony. Then again in early 2017 when we were here for two months doing a motorhome exchange.

This time, we plan to be here for between five and six weeks as we make out way slowly across the south of the country towards Gibraltar on our way to Morocco sometime between January 5th and 10th.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Welcome to Andorra... country number 57

Andorra is a tiny country located high up in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border between France and Spain. It is the 17th smallest country in the world. 

We came here simply to add another country to our country list. It's not really a place you would make an effort to visit unless you're an enthusiastic skier in the winter, or hiker in the summer. So we figured that since we were so close anyhow, now was the time to go!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November Expenses

We had a budget of $2,200 CAD for the month and we spent $2,287 CAD ($1,635 USD). So we're pretty happy with that.

No real surprises from an expenses perspective. We started the month in Prizren, Kosovo and ended the month in the tiny mountainous country of Andorra on the border between France and Spain.

It's finally working!

Last month around this time I told you about the Tiekom SIM card that is a great deal for European travelers.

I had ordered one of these SIM cards while we were in Albania, and had it delivered to the dealership where Max was. But they misplaced the envelope, and so we couldn't pick it up when we arrived there. However a week later they found it, and mailed it to where we were staying in France.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

We went through a couple of villages where things were a little tight!

Well, we put in a good driving day on Monday. It poured with rain the whole time! We drove right by a few things that we would have normally wanted to stop and see, but there was just no point.

It was a good day to put on some miles. But when it came time to stop, things just didn't go our way.

Monday, November 28, 2022

It's honestly embarrassing...

Ruth thanks everybody for the birthday wishes. She says she had a good day! We started off by going for a hike. The weather was pleasant, calling for a high of 14C (57F), although it didn't reach that until towards the end of the day.

Obviously a busy spot for hiking. Cars started showing up just after breakfast to take advantage of a nice Sunday.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Heading south through the Rhone River Valley in France

We had a good driving day yesterday as we did about 200 kms (124 miles) through the Rhone River Valley. We are purposely staying away from mountainous areas, although the route we are taking is probably the most direct anyhow. 

There is snow at higher elevations, though it's still a little early in the season to be concerned about it. However, they do warn of needing tire chains starting November 1st, although we do not have any.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

On the road again!

So, yesterday around noon I saw a postal van drive by, and minutes later the doorbell rang. Sure enough, it was the delivery we had been waiting for! A couple of hours after that, the tracking number was updated to say our package had been delivered. Too funny. There had been no updates at all since Tuesday when they said it had arrived in France. Not a great system.

But it was a little too late in the day to get any driving done. Plus, it was Black Friday so we were busy with that. Amazon had a lot of record low prices, which in times of high inflation is actually quite surprising.

Friday, November 25, 2022

I knew this was going to happen

So, we are sitting here in Versonnex, France waiting for an envelope to show up. It's all well and good, because it's a pretty spot, and it's been fun visiting with my cousins daughter and her husband. But we would rather be heading further south!

It brings back memories of when we were waiting for a package in Albania last year around this time.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

It was a great day in Geneva, up until...

A few stories to tell you today!

The letter we are waiting for still hasn't arrived (!!), so we decided to go into the city of Geneva just for something to do. Also, we had one more of my dad's photos to match up there.

My cousin's daughter Tehya's house is in the village of Versonnex, in France but walking distance to the border of Switzerland, and in total about 12 kms (7.5 miles) from the center of Geneva.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A productive day

We stayed close to the house yesterday, although we did get out for a decent walk without getting very wet. Just a few sprinkles of rain, but it was cool with a high of only about 7C (45F).

Part of our walk was to scout out a route to be able to catch the bus to Geneva. There is a bus stop close by the house, but that one will only take you to the train so you have to connect. But there is another bus on the other side of a big field that will take us directly into Geneva.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Morges, Switzerland, and south to Geneva

Monday morning, we were happy to take advantage of the nice hot shower at Katja and Yves apartment. We were all laughing about how funny it is when you live in a van for weeks or months on end how much you appreciate things that others take for granted... like a real shower and easy access to laundry! 

Yves had already gone to work, but we said goodbye to Katja and got on the road back on the lakeshore towards Geneva. Thanks again for the invite, it was great seeing you guys again. We wonder where it will be in the world that we meet again!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Gorgeous day in Switzerland

We woke up to a cool overcast morning, but the forecast was for clearing skies so the four of us decided to hop in Yves and Katja's little car and they took us for a tour of the lakeshore.

The north shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) belongs to Switzerland, while the south shore belongs to France.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Welcome to Switzerland!

Switzerland is not a new country for us. When we were flying Montreal to Bucharest in November 2016, we had a five hour layover at Zurich airport so we took the train into Zurich for a couple of hours. But while we have officially been to Switzerland before, we haven't really seen much of it.

And we weren't expecting to visit with the motorhome at this time of year, but here we are!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A dull dreary driving day

Sticking to the backroads, we managed to put on 180 kms (112 miles) yesterday. 

The weather is exactly as we expected it to be... wet, and cool with a high of about 8C (47F).

Friday, November 18, 2022

Change of plans

Not that we really have plans... just a loose idea to continue driving sort of south west to somewhere warmer!

But now, it seems we are taking a little detour into Switzerland!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Welcome to France!

France is not a new country for us, even though we have spent very little time here. We were in Nice, France (right at the south east corner of the country, near Monaco) back in 2017 for a couple of days.

Yesterday, we left Redange, Luxembourg, and had to drive through Belgium to get to the France border. Along the way, we filled up Max's fuel tank because prices are cheaper in Luxembourg. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The city of Luxembourg... more photo matching

Yesterday morning, we took the bus from the town of Redange into the city of Luxembourg. And the one hour bus ride bus was totally free. Since 29 February 2020, public transportations has been free for everybody, residents as well as tourists. This is the case for trains, trams and buses!

We were there to match up some more of my dad's photographs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Welcome to Luxembourg, country number 56

Winter has arrived. Or at least that's the way it feels. Yesterday's high might have been around 6C (43F) although it warmed up in the evening to 10C (50F). This is actually the weather we had been expecting when we arrived back in Europe, and is quite average for this time of year.

Our first stop yesterday was in the town of Bastogne... still in Belgium, but near the Luxembourg border. There, my father had taken one single photo back in 1954, and we wanted to see if we could match it up.

Monday, November 14, 2022

We've been lucky with the weather, but that's about to change

First order of business bright and early on Sunday morning was to vacate the big city of Brussels before there was any traffic. So as soon as it was light enough, we got out of bed and hit the road.

We've been back in Max for nine days now and his tanks are starting to get full. And nine days is about the limit for his fresh water tank as well, so it's getting low. Free motorhome service points are really common in Germany and France, but apparently not so much in Belgium!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

It was a great day in Brussels, up until...

At this time of year, Brussels has an average daytime high of 10C (50F). So we were very lucky that the day we chose to go in and explore the big city, the forecast high was 18C, and it actually ended up hitting a balmy 20C (68F). 

Ruth packed us a lunch, and we rode our bikes the 7 kms (4 miles) or so into the city center.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Such a civilized society!

Surprised there weren't more comments on yesterday's post. That's the way it goes sometimes though. We think it's odd when we post something really interesting (fossilized lightning!?) and it just doesn't get much attention, but when you post a photo of a puppy... well, everybody loves puppies.

And only two people ventured forth to guess what our guide was holding in his hand. And yes, one of them was right.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Interesting day at the Natural Sciences Museum in Brussels

Thursday morning, we drove from Antwerp down to Brussels on the motorway. No point in taking photos because you don't see much except for truck traffic. Definitely not an enjoyable way to drive in our mind, although if you have to get somewhere in a hurry, then I suppose it's the way to go.

And we were in a bit of a hurry because we had arranged to meet our friend Freya who works at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Fantastic architecture in Antwerp, Belgium

Yesterday we hopped on the bikes and rode into the city of Antwerp. (Lots of photos... be warned!)

We haven't been on the bikes in over three months, so it felt good to get back to it. And Antwerp is so bicycle friendly, in fact the entire 7 kms (4 miles) from where Max is parked to the city center is all on dedicated cycle paths.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Booked some more flight tickets!

Bit of a quiet day yesterday. I hadn't had a good night sleep for a while, and I think it finally caught up to me. 

We did drive down to another overnight spot located about 6 kms (4 miles) outside of the city center of Antwerp with the intention of riding our bikes into the central area. Then, we were invited over to Bjorn and Freya's for dinner, but we ended up putting both experiences off until today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Welcome to Belgium, country number 55

We had an interesting day yesterday!

The sun doesn't come up until about 7:45am, but as soon as it was light enough we set off to see a nearby castle. It's used as an event center and restaurant now, and unfortunately it was too early and we couldn't go inside.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Back on the road, and into Netherlands

On the road early, and on a Sunday morning there was no traffic at all. Very pleasant driving through the Germany countryside.

We made a breakfast stop at a forest parking lot for walkers, then we went for a walk ourselves.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Reunited with our motorhome Max!

When we left you on the previous blog post, we were sitting at the boarding gate for our early morning flight from Tirana, Albania to Dortmund, Germany.

They were telling us that our flight would be ten minutes late leaving, and twenty minutes late arriving. Not a big deal, since we had lots of time. Or so I thought!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Well Albania, it's been great!

What a fantastic time we had here in Albania and Kosovo. The first two weeks touring Albania with Helen and Tony, and the last two and a half weeks on and off with David and Mirsie.

But it's time to move on, and we're excited to be heading back to Germany and picking up our motorhome Max for an extended tour.

Friday, November 4, 2022

This time, we were successful!

We had made a rough plan to hike up the mountain opposite Lake Shkodra. I had a clear view of it out our bedroom window while I was sitting on the bed writing yesterday's blog post. I could see the antenna towers at the top.

Ruth and I had made a half hearted effort to get up there when we were here a year ago, but when we got to the first ridge it was really windy and actually a bit chilly so we had turned around without reaching the top. This time, we were successful.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The gorgeous village of Theth in the Albanian Alps

Ruth and I had spent a week in the village of Bogë at the end of May last year. At the time, we had driven part of the road towards Theth but parts were still under construction. Plus there was still a lot of snow up there!

Well the road is now finished, so yesterday we took Mirsie and David for a drive up into the mountains.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Back in Albania

We left Prizren at about 10:00am and made our way through the maze of inner city one way streets. What a circus. Finally got out to the main highway where there was very little traffic.

Not long after, we were at the border of Kosovo and Albania. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

High above Prizren

We published out October expense report earlier today. You can read it here.

Yet another gorgeous day yesterday. We've been so lucky with the weather. Ruth was mentioning that when we came through Montenegro last year around this time it was pouring with rain. 

Yesterday we climbed up to the Fortress that overlooks the city of Prizren.

October expenses. We kind of blew the budget!

We started the month in England, and ended it in Kosovo with a bunch of time in Albania in between. It was a great month!

But the expenses came in a fair bit higher than planned. We spent more than expected on both meals out and accommodation. But then after all, we were on holiday for the first two weeks of the month!

We spent a total of $2,872 CAD ($2,115 USD) during October.

Monday, October 31, 2022

We keep our expectations low so that we're not disappointed!

On Sunday, we drove from Pristina to Prizren. Not a long distance, so we asked our new host if we could get early check in, and that was no problem. An easy hour and a half drive, and we arrived in Prizren about 11:30am.

We're pretty low maintenance when it comes to accommodation. And you have to be when you don't want to spend a lot of money. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

It doesn't take much for things to get out of control

We decided to do a little day trip up to northern Kosovo.

I'm sure most of you know about the war between Kosovo and Serbia. The conflict has been ongoing for centuries, and even now is only stable because of the NATO peacekeeping forces that are in the area. There have been recent problems at the border regarding license plates, which sounds trivial... but it doesn't take much for things to get out of control.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

I found a deal on Cellular data geared towards travelers in Europe

One of the things that we have to deal with as nomads is trying to get online in whatever country we're visiting. It's not so difficult when we're staying in rental accommodation because they usually have decent WiFi included. Not always though, and we've learned that even if the WiFi is working, it's not always working very well.

It's especially important when you do work online. So I always make sure that we have a secondary source, such as a good cellular data connection. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Driving in Pristina. Every man for himself!

We've been really lucky with the weather here in Kosovo. Highs of around 20C (68F) with lots of blue sky and sunshine. 

But we better enjoy it while we've got it because it certainly won't be that warm when we get back to Max on November 5th! The long term forecast for that area in Germany is calling for highs around 10C (50F) and lows around 4C (39F).

Thursday, October 27, 2022

We have no intention of settling down! And, new registration for Max.

It occurred to us the other day that we missed our nomadiversary! It was 15 years ago on October 15, 2007 that we took off in our motorhome Sherman for what was planned to be a two year adventure. You can read our very first blog post here... We're cookin' with gas now

Well two years went by and we didn't want to stop. So we just found ways to make it work. And here we are now into our 16th year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The restaurant bears of Albania

Overall, a kind of a depressing story, but at least it has a happy ending.

It used to be a "thing" for several restaurants in Albania to keep bears as caged pets and to use them as a tourist attraction. The bears were always in ridiculously small cages, and not well looked after. 

Until the practice was outlawed in 2010. But even then, it took a couple of years for enforcement to take place, and then of course what to do with the bears?

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Kosovo's love of the USA

We did quite a few kilometres of walking around Pristina yesterday. It was a nice warm day, with a high of about 25C (77F). But really hazy.

The city of Pristina is not a tourist hot spot, that's for sure. However, there are some interesting things that are worth seeing, one of which is the obvious infatuation with the United States.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Our huge apartment in Pristina, Kosovo!

It was moving day yesterday as we made our way from Peja to Kosovo's capital city of Pristina. 

I had sent a note to our new accommodation asking if could have earlier access than the standard 2:00pm arrival time, but hadn't heard back from her. So we just took off, hoping that when we arrived at about 12:30pm that we would be able to get in.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Last day in Peja, Kosovo

We needed a rest day, so we didn't even leave the apartment until after lunch. We never have a hard time keeping busy on the internet though. That can easily waste away half a day. There's always something to do, mostly involved with researching future travel.

And I'm watching airfares every day. I actually found a decent deal from Spain to Cuba. We were in Cuba way back in 2002, but it was only for a week and we'd definitely like to go back and explore a bit more than we did back then.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Gorgeous day hike on a small section of the Peaks of the Balkans trail

This week seems to have flown by. We probably should have stayed here two weeks! But, we've already booked our onward accommodation in the capital city of Pristina and so we head out tomorrow.

Yesterday, we made arrangements to do a hike with David and Mircie. We have a car, so they left their van at a secure parking and hopped in the car with us.

Friday, October 21, 2022

High on the cliffs of the Accursed Mountains

We had done a via ferrata route in Norway back in June and really enjoyed it. Myself more than Ruth, but she was sure proud of herself when she accomplished it. And we wanted to do another one. Again, myself more than Ruth, but although she was hesitant, she didn't say no.

So we met with our new friends David and Mirsie at the Balkan N Adventure location just at the entrance to the National Park where we rented the safety equipment for the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Puppies, waterfalls, caves, bats, and new friends!

We had a 10:00am rendezvous set up with David and Mirsie, a couple from Scotland who have been following this blog and are currently in Kosovo with their van. We were meeting at the parking lot of the short hike to the Withe Drin Waterfall.

But while the waterfall was nice enough, the real surprise was the nearby cave that we hadn't planned on!

Checklist to follow when you travel by air

Traveling by air is one of the most widely used forms of transportation for long distances. It's not only fast but also safe. The process of traveling is seamless when you plan properly. This guide will highlight some things to add to your checklist before your flight. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Amazing history and paintings at the Patriarchate of Peja Monastery

Another gorgeous blue sky day. Would have loved to go up into the mountains again, but we're here for a week so we have lots of time. Besides, we needed to give our legs a rest from the hike the day before. So we decided to stay in town and see what there is to see. That still involved some walking, but at least it wasn't uphill.

First stop was the Rugova Canyon visitors center. They have four different via ferrata routes in the canyon and we want to do some of them. We really enjoyed when we did the via ferrata in Norway and have been looking forward to doing another one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

What a great welcome for a couple of tourists!

It was after 10:30am when we set off through the city of Peja and up into the hills behind the city.

There are sooo many hiking trails to choose from. We're going to have an active week here! But we haven't done a decent hike in quite a few weeks, so we figured we'd start off with a fairly short one. It didn't turn out that way though!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Welcome to Kosovo, country number 54

It was a long driving day! We were on the road just after 8am in order to get up to Tirana airport to drop off Tony and Helen for their flight back to England. Then at the airport we were switching cars (more on that below) and then doing the three hour drive from Tirana, Albania to Peja, Kosovo.

But first, a quick stop at the beach!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Wonderful day trip to Osumi Canyon

This was the third time Ruth and I have been to Osumi Canyon. The first time, we did a river rafting trip. Then the next day, we drove back to explore the top of the canyon. It's a really pretty part of Albania, and we wanted to show it off to Helen and Tony.

And, it was a beautiful blue sky day!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Hmm. This is kind of creepy.

We managed to get out for a nice walk in the hills behind Berat despite the threat of rain. And in fact it did rain for a fair bit of the afternoon. It looks like that is all done with now though as the sunshine and blue skies have returned for the next week.

5 Essential Practices for Safer Travels

Traveling can be an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. However, don’t let yourself get swept up by the excitement and forget about security and safety considerations on your vacation, especially if you’re taking an overseas trip. This is even more important if you’re a first-time traveler. After all, it could cause you more than a few headaches and negatively impact your adventure. To that end, here are some essential practices to keep in mind when traveling abroad.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Here's where we're going next!

Yesterday was supposed to be a rain day, and actually it was... it just didn't start until later than they forecast. So we did end up walking up to Berat Castle with Helen and Tony and showing them around a bit before Ruth and I headed back down for our 11:00am dentist appointment.

Nobody likes going to the dentist. But if you have to go, this kind of experience makes it a little more likeable.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Return to Berat... but where next...?

Yesterday morning we did the three hour drive from Gjirokaster to Berat. Mixed weather the whole way with a few rain showers and a high of about 22C (72F).

Ruth and I have spent quite a lot of time in Berat. We were here for two weeks in the spring of last year and almost three more weeks when we were here with Max last November.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Upcoming travel decisions

Yesterday was a busy work day, so Ruth and I didn't even leave the house. Which was okay in the morning because it also started off being a rain day! Helen and Tony managed to get out for a walk around the village though.

Besides doing some internet work, I was also doing some future travel research and planning. The problem is that we can't decide where to go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Busy day with some beach time

We were up and on the road just after 9am Monday morning. Lots of exploring to do. They were all to places Ruth and I had been to before, but we wanted to show Helen and Tony some of these attractions.

It was about a 45 minute drive through the mountains to the popular Blue Eye. Ruth and I had been here in April of last year and it's an interesting natural geographical feature. What a lot of changes in a year and a half though!

Monday, October 10, 2022

Tepelena and the Peshtures Waterfall

Ruth and I had visited the Peshtures Waterfall a year and a half ago. It's known as the most beautiful waterfall in Albania, and both the drive up and the hike to get to it are pretty spectacular as well. 

We were worried that we might get up there and there wouldn't be any water at this time of year!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Gjirokaster, and dinner with the lamb master!

Really enjoying the weather. Beautiful high of 27C (81F) in Gjirokaster yesterday, although in the morning we drove up into the mountains at 4,000' and it was certainly a bit cooler up there.

Ruth and I had done a drive and hike up the mountain when we were here last year. The views are spectacular, and the mountain road is a fun drive.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

We love these kinds of travel experiences!

We woke up to absolutely perfect blue sky and sunshine and it stayed that way all day. With a high of 27C (81F). No complaints here!

It was supposed to be a relax day where we just went for a walk in the area, and it pretty much was except for one detour Tony and I took to go investigate an old monastery well hidden in the forest.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Long scenic drive to our next destination!

We were up and out of our apartment at 8:00am yesterday morning. It's only 235 kms (146 miles), but most of it is on a twisty windy narrow road leading through the mountains. And there is no direct way. So it's about a five hour drive!

But we broke it up with a couple of stops along the way, including a long lunch break in the town of Permet.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The three borders area of Albania, North Macedonia, and Greece

Yesterday, we hopped in the car and did a day trip to the area where the borders of Albania, North Macedonia, and Greece meet. 

The actual border point is located in the center of Lake Prespa.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Day trip to North Macedonia. Country number 53

There is a monastery complex located just across the border between Albania and North Macedonia that Helen and Tony wanted to see, so we drove the short distance to the border, and walked across. 

We could have driven the rental car across, but we would have had to pay €40 extra for insurance coverage so we didn't feel it was worth it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

It's always good to stop and smell the roses

We were all up early as we looked forward to sitting on our balcony patio to watch the sun come up over the mountains.

Pogradec is a popular beach town in the summer, even though the beach is on a lake and not the sea. Beach season here has pretty much passed though because Pogradec gets a little cooler by October whereas the seaside is still warmer.

Monday, October 3, 2022

We're on holiday for the next two weeks!

Sunday morning, we were up at silly o'clock (3am) for the two and a half hour drive from Tony and Helen's place to London's Gatwick airport in order to make our 9am flight to Tirana, Albania.

What a great day to be leaving England. It rained most of the way to the airport and was pouring down as we got on the plane.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

We had a fair bit of travel expenses for the month

Well, another month has gone by and here we are at October 1st!

Just a recap... we started September in Nova Scotia and then flew to Ottawa for a ten day visit. From there, we flew Montreal to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to London. We spent 4 nights in London, then took the bus to Leeds where we bounced around for just over a week. Then took the bus to Bristol and spent a week in the village of Keinton Mandeville.

5 Fun Activities to Do in Ontario During the Fall Season

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t spell the end of great outdoor activities in Ontario. The province boasts plenty of fun things to do that are specific to the fall season. 

Discover a few of the awesome activities autumn in Ontario has to offer!

Friday, September 30, 2022

We love visiting castles!

So with our new English Heritage pass in hand, Helen drove us all over to Old Wardour Castle near Tisbury, England. 

Just to give you some basic history of the building... Old Wardour Castle was built in the 1390's. It was partially destroyed and abandoned during the English Civil War of 1644. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

What's a castle without a moat?

We had been to the town of Sherborne before... when we visited Helen and Tony way back in 1987. But that was 35 years ago! So we wanted to return.

Tony is still working this week, but Helen took us for a drive. Our first stop was the old castle ruins. We have a few photos from when we were there in 1987, and it probably hasn't changed at all, but we like castles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The cliffs on England's Jurassic Coast

England's Jurassic Coast is a 95 mile (153 km) stretch of cliffs on the south western coast of England. It is so named because of the number of fossils and rock formations that date from the Jurassic period around 150 million years ago.

There are a lot of walking trails in the area, in fact you can walk the entire 95 miles if you wish, staying at accommodation in villages along the way. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Good news, and glorious views!

We'll get the good news out of the way first! The tax refund credit for our new laptops that we bought in Norway finally came through. 

One of the reasons we bought our laptops in Norway was because we could claim back a credit of the big 25% tax rate there. It turned out that because of the forced involvement of a third party company (Global Blue) that supposedly makes things easier, you only get back a portion of what you should have got back. But it was still enough to make the final purchase price better than what we would have had buying the same items in Canada.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Great food and lots of laughs

Sunday was roast lunch day, so we spent the morning visiting with Helen and Tony and their son Stu and his girlfriend Harriet. Then their daughter Kelly showed up with her boyfriend Wayne.

The roast pork was smelling delicious and we were all hungry when lunch was served!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

I had just about given up

On Saturday, we did the long bus ride from Leeds to Bristol. But first, we had to get from the village of Wyke back to the city of Leeds. So at 9:45am we said goodbye to Steve and Glen, and their daughter Claire and her husband Richard. We had a great week, thanks again for having us! We wonder when and where we will meet up again!

Our bus came on time and it was £2 ($2.95 CAD, $2.20 USD) each for the one hour ride back to the Leeds city bus station.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Sights around Halifax, England

The four of us were on the bus just after 9:30am heading east to the small city of Halifax, Yorkshire (pop 88,000).

On the outskirts of Halifax is an estate property called Shibden Hall. The original part of the house was built in 1420, and it was continuously occupied for over 500 years from 1420 to 1933.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Reuniting with Max

It was a rain day yesterday, and I had to work for a couple of hours so we never left the house. Even sat and watched a few trivia game shows on the television in the afternoon! 

But, I also got our trip back to Germany organized.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

A good day sightseeing around the city of Bradford, England

We went with Glen and Steve yesterday morning and took the local bus into the city of Bradford. It's £2 per ride, but they have a full day pass for £4.50 ($6.85 CAD, $5.10 USD) each so we bought two day passes with the idea that we might do more than two rides.

We started off with a walk in Peel Park, then a wander around the central downtown area, then lunch out, then a walk up to Lister Park and Cartwright Hall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

You have to watch out for these things

So we're out for another walk yesterday afternoon and a young guy rides up on a bicycle and asks directions to somewhere. He's got no backpack or things with him, so he's obviously local. 

My immediate response was to say "We're not from here, sorry I can't help you". 

But there was no way I was taking my phone out. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The curry capital of Britain

It was a bit of a drizzly morning here in Wyke, England and with the Queen's funeral taking place it seemed like a good time to do some computer work while glancing up at the television every now and then.

It was interesting watching the procession running through areas where we had been walking only a week or so ago.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Back together with Glen and Steve

Cousin Beryl cooked up a nice English breakfast for us... bacon and sausage and eggs and beans and toast. Nice to set off on a full stomach, and we wouldn't need much lunch. 

Our bus to Leeds left at 10:15am, but that gave us a few minutes where she could drive us around town for a bit of a sightseeing tour before dropping us off at the bus station.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A quick trip to Hull

We took the train from Leeds to Hull yesterday. About an hour ride, and the cost was about £7 ($10.60 CAD, $8 USD) each. Given the choice, we do enjoy the train more than the bus, but the bus is often cheaper. 

We were in Hull to meet up with my mother's cousin Beryl and some of her family. I don't have many relatives on my mother's side of the family since she was an only child, so it's good to keep in touch with the more distant relatives.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

This was unexpected...

We had been told of a different kind of walking tour here in Leeds called the Leeds Owl Trail. Apparently there are at least 25 different owls located around the central area in statues and often well hidden in ornamental displays. You can download a map, which I did, but it was difficult to follow, so we stopped by the tourist info office where they sell you a paper one for £1.

So we set off looking for owls.

Friday, September 16, 2022

London to Leeds by bus

I had bought our bus tickets back in mid July. Very often there are some good discounts involved when you buy that far in advance, and that was definitely the case this time. We paid only £7.14 ($10.75 CAD, $8.15 USD) each for the four and a half hour ride with Megabus. And that included £2 each extra for reserved seating so that we were guaranteed to sit together.

Departure time was 11:00am from Victoria Coach Station in downtown London. We left Auntie Nice's house just after 9:30am and that gave us lots of time to get to the bus using train and underground.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Regent's Park flower gardens and more London architecture

You would think that our legs would be tired from all the walking we've been doing here in London. And you would be correct! But yesterday we set off walking again anyhow, this time towards The Regent's Park to see all the flower gardens.

It had rained much of the morning, but it cleared up nicely after lunch. Which was good news for all the people with the ambition to see the King and his sons walk behind the Queen's casket as it made its way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. We had no such ambition. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Regent's Canal, and off to the theater

We walked over to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the 2012 summer Olympic Games were held in London.

It's an interesting walk to get over there from where Ruth's aunt lives in Hackney because you follow the Regent Canal almost the whole way and there are people living on house boats.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

An interesting day in London

Slept like a rock on Sunday night, as was expected after a long travel day and a five hour time change. 

We tried to get out of the house in time to get to Buckingham Palace for the 11:00am changing of the guard ceremony, but it was so busy that we would have probably had to get there at 7:00am in order to get a decent spot to view it. Yes, Buckingham Palace was crazy busy.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Arrived in London, England

Our British Airways flight from Amsterdam to London was right on time. That was the 8th different airplane we've been on since August 5th, and other than a couple of minor delays, they have all gone smoothly. 

So considering the horror stories we all read about with regards to flight delays and cancellations this summer, I guess we were pretty lucky. Especially considering we connected through both Amsterdam and Toronto airports which were two of the worst offenders.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Made it back to Amsterdam

Writing this at Amsterdam airport waiting for our flight to London, England.

When we originally booked these flights back in mid March, we had no idea what we were doing or where we were going upon our return to Europe, so making our way back to Amsterdam left us with a lot of choices. You can get to just about anywhere from Amsterdam. Then of course, we decided to head to England for a few weeks, and needed a little puddle jumper flight from Amsterdam to London, a forty five minute flight.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

We are off to London to visit the King

Our vacation to Canada is over, and it's time to get back to our normal life. For most people, that sentence means heading back home and going back to work! But for us, it means heading to a different country, and returning to our life of full time travel.

So, this evening we get on a flight from Montreal to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we have a six hour wait for our 45 minute connecting flight to London City Airport.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Back to the old neighborhood

We headed to the Ottawa suburb of Orleans yesterday afternoon. This is where we lived and brought up our family for about 18 years from 1989 to 2007. We actually lived at three different places during that time, but the most recent and longest one was the house we bought and owned from 1993 to 2007.

But first, we made a stop at the bank.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Bought some tickets to the theater

We had more visitors over for lunch yesterday, but before they came we wanted to get out and do our power walk for the day. They've got one road on our route blocked off for new culvert, so we decided to take a different route for a change. 

But I didn't plan it in advance, we just sort of took off.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Lots to talk about with friends...

We're having great weather here for our visit to Ottawa. Highs of between 24C to 28C (75F to 82F) for the week! We'll take it. The kids may be back in school, but it's still summer for a little while yet.

We're only here until Saturday, and it's been an abnormally short visit to Ottawa since we spent so much time in Nova Scotia. But we've been busy every day seeing friends or family, and sometimes both friends and family.

Monday, September 5, 2022

How we travel long term with carry on luggage only

We belong to a facebook group called Senior Nomads. One of the discussions that often arises is how people travel long term using only carry on luggage. And there are lots of people who manage to do it, but there are still lots of people who travel with what we would consider to be too much stuff.

But of course it's a personal choice, and a lot depends on your travel style. Many people travel long term and stay for a month or more at each location. This means they are not often having to lug all of their stuff around. But when they do have to move, most of them will readily admit that it's a difficult and frustrating thing to do.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Working at McDonald's?

We're not doing anything super exciting, so I've been taking a bit of a break from the daily blog writing. Don't worry though... we will get back to our regular routine of travel in a week or so!

I also haven't been taking many photos. We're just kind of taking it easy and visiting some family and friends here in Ottawa. But there are a few I'd like to show you...

Friday, September 2, 2022

Mexico this winter?

Yesterday we said goodbye to Lindsey and family in Nova Scotia. 

Our flight from Halifax to Ottawa was uneventful. It's only a short flight, about an hour and forty five minutes but we were on an older Bombardier 400 turboprop with 76 seats. Its really not the most comfortable airplane, and it's noisy.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

September is here!

Wow, here we are at the start of September. August feels like it just flew by, and September will likely feel the same for us. We have lots of fun stuff planned for September. 

And, our time here in Nova Scotia is up. We've had lots of fun with daughter Lindsey and her family. The grandkids kept us busy. In fact yesterday we went to really cool swimming hole.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August Expenses

As we expected it to be, August was an expensive month. 

We spent $4,729 CAD ($3,602 USD) for the month. And we had predicted that it would be a $4,000 month, but it came in slightly higher than that. 

We started the month near Max's home base of Dulmen, Germany and ended it near Halifax, Nova Scotia. And in between, we were in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Cabri, Saskatchewan, and Calgary, Alberta!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A fun day at Atlantic Splash Adventure

It was granddaughter Sadie's 9th birthday on Monday, so we packed a lunch and drove over to Halifax to the Atlantic Splash Adventure amusement park about 50 minutes away.

The weather for this type of activity was perfect. Sunny, with highs about 26C (79F). Even I went on the waterslides a couple of times, and I'm not much of a water person!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

This kept the grandkids busy for a few hours

Ruth and I took the grandkids for the day to give Lindsey and Justin some free time to get the house set up the way they want. We packed a lunch at set off to the Ross Farm Museum.

This was our third visit to Ross Farm. We first came here in May 2011 when we were here for grandson Cameron's birth. That visit was just Ruth and I with our dog Whiskey when we had our motorhome Sherman

Saturday, August 27, 2022

The highest tides in the world

Yesterday, Ruth and I took a drive up to Hall's Harbour. It's just a tiny fishing village on the north shore of Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy.

The Bay of Fundy hosts the highest tides in the world, and they are most evident at Hall's Harbour because of the way the docks are designed. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

The fog lifted, and we had a great hike to Cape Split

Our daughter Lindsey and her friend Tina arrived about 9pm on Wednesday night. At 16 hours, a long drive for them from Ottawa but they both said they felt it went by fairly quickly.

Tina is only staying two nights then she is flying back to Ottawa Friday afternoon. She really only came to keep Lindsey company on the drive. But she still wanted to see some of the area, so we decided to go do the popular Cape Split Trail.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Fun with foreign exchange

Nothing special going on. We're just hanging out in Greenwich, Nova Scotia waiting for our daughter to arrive. She's driving here from Ottawa today. It's a long (15 hours) drive to do in one day, but she's coming with a friend of hers, so they are sharing the driving.

Yesterday we drove to the nearby town of Berwick with granddaughter Sadie. Grandson Cameron went to visit with his other grandfather for the night. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

I think if we lived here I'd buy a season pass!

We were trying to find something different to do with the grandkids. We looked into whale watching, but most of the tours leave from the area west of Digby and it's too long of a drive to do there and back the same day. We also looked at go karts, but the only facility is near Halifax and it's closed for renovations.

Until we came across this...

Monday, August 22, 2022

Trail closed

Son in law Justin took the kids to his sisters place yesterday after lunch, so we had some peace and quiet around the house. It was a warm afternoon, but later in the day we decided to go for a walk on the popular ravine trail in nearby Kentville.

We were surprised when we got there that there was nobody around. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Off to the beach

We've got some summer weather on the go here in Nova Scotia this weekend. Highs of around 28C (82F) with blue skies and sunshine. 

So yesterday, we took the grandkids to the beach!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

I found another great option for travel medical and trip insurance

I've been a big proponent of Heymondo travel insurance for the last couple of years, but that company has recently changed their program so that the plan that we want isn't available to our age group. So I've been shopping around.

They make this stuff so complicated and time consuming to figure out. You have to read through all of the options and then the fine print to know what you're covered for and what you're not. I've spent a lot of time on this, and here's what I found...

Friday, August 19, 2022

Having fun with the grandkids

Took the grandkids to the park yesterday. While we love traveling, we also miss them and are happy to see them. Hopefully this winter they'll be able to visit us wherever we happen to be so that our time apart won't be so long. 

It had been ten months since we last saw them!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Made it to Nova Scotia

Well so far, we've been impressed with the punctuality of our flights. We've been on five different airplanes in the last ten days, and other than our Amsterdam to Montreal flight which was delayed by about an hour, the rest have all been pretty much right on time.

Even our connection flights through Toronto's Pearson Airport went really well yesterday. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Made it to Ottawa

But we're not staying. 

Writing this at Ottawa airport as an overnight connection. We flew in from Calgary last night, arriving at just after midnight, and our connecting flight to Toronto leaves at 6:45am this morning. Then we have another connecting flight to Halifax later this morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Another beautiful drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains

The boys were all up early, and we had decided to go out for breakfast before we left Jasper. We went back to the same restaurant we had dinner at on Saturday night. Dinner had been overall good, and the reviews said that breakfast was good as well.

Unfortunately, the breakfast was not the same experience. Very average, and our waitress wasn't very good. And at $21.50 CAD ($16.70 USD) for a very average coffee, bacon, eggs, home fries, and toast, it was definitely overpriced. 

3 Excellent Reasons to Have a Destination Event

Everyone enjoys events. Whether it is a birthday, wedding, a get-together of friends, or a company affair, events are celebrations and a chance to enjoy in the company of other guests. An event is even more unique and fun when held in a different location, away from the usual venues. A destination event is something most people look forward to with eager anticipation, an opportunity to experience something new, relax, and have fun.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Fun times in Jasper with the guys

Just to give you some background, I worked at a summer family camp when I was 16 years old in 1978. There was a group of about ten of us guys who worked at that same camp who got along really well, and we were close friends back in the day. 

We have kept in touch over the years, and have attended each others weddings and kept in touch through family events and children and sometimes divorce. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Drive to Jasper with the guys.

I got on the road at 9'00am with the boys for the drive to Jasper. It's just over five hours from Calgary to Jasper taking the route through the mountains on the Icefields Parkway.

Absolutely spectacular scenery, and of course I love the mountains to begin with. Only one problem... I was doing the driving, so I wasn't taking pictures along the way, so don't have too many to share. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

An interesting stop in the town of Vulcan, Alberta

We had a great breakfast with Barry and Jeannie, then headed towards Calgary. There were three different routes we could have taken, and they were all about the same distance and time. However, one of the routes held a small attraction... at the town of Vulcan, Alberta.

Anybody who knows anything about the old Star Trek television series knows that one of the lead characters, Mr. Spock, was from the planet Vulcan. Well, the town of Vulcan, Alberta has capitalized on its name and made a small tourist attraction based on the tv series.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Back to Alberta

We had a nice three day visit to the park, and the perfect weather continued yesterday for our drive to Alberta. We were off to the town of Taber where friends Barry and Jeannie had moved to. They had been in our Mexico RV caravan tour in the winter of 2018-2019.

We got going about 11:00am for the three hour drive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Just a few pics around the park

Just a nice relaxing day yesterday. It was gorgeous sunny hot weather. Temperature got up to about 34C (93F) but there is no humidity at all, and there was a nice breeze all day. We went and sat down by the waterfront in the afternoon, and it was hot, but not uncomfortable.

We also went out for a morning walk up above the park.

Monday, August 8, 2022

We finally found summer!

One thing you can pretty much count on is that early August in Saskatchewan is going to feel like summer! Yesterday was a high of about 30C (86F) but with very low humidity. It was just a beautiful shorts and t-shirt summer day! And today they are calling for more of the same, but a little bit warmer.

We went out for breakfast yesterday morning. The guy running the canteen here at the park makes a pretty good meal, and so we splurged on breakfast.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

It's all a bit of a blur, but we're getting caught up now.

Some of you caught on that it didn't make sense that I had a bad toe injury and then proceeded to walk 10 kms or so around Amsterdam.

That's because I screwed up the timeline of events! We were pretty tired and I was rushing trying to get a blog post out to you before we got too far behind. And I inadvertently put a comment in the blog post about my toe injury the day before it actually happened! 

Amsterdam to Montreal

We didn't sleep very well on the houseboat. It was set up like a hostel, so there were too many people coming and going, and the doors to the rooms were noisy, so every time someone got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night you'd get woken up. And with all 8 rooms full, it seemed like there was someone getting up every twenty minutes throughout the night. 

Oh well, it was only one night. We could sleep on the plane.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Amsterdam is pretty neat!

Thursday morning we left Max in the storage area at the dealer in Germany, and did the 20 minute walk over to the train station. Our departure was scheduled for 9:20am, with a connection in Munster for our train to Amsterdam. 

We made it to Munster okay, but when we went to get our connecting train, it wasn't on the platform that it should have been.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Spent the last two days just getting organized

Getting organized to leave Max here in Germany for the next three months or so, and getting organized for us to live out of a carry on bag each for the same time frame.

Yesterday, we just hung around here and did some tidying up. But today, we got up bright and early at 6:00am to do the half hour drive into the small city of Munster.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Back at Max's home base in Dulmen, Germany

Dulmen, Germany is the town where the dealer is located where we bought Max. One of the benefits of our purchase includes free unlimited secure storage where Max can sit and rest while we're off doing other things for weeks or months at a time. 

And it's really convenient for us because they also look after any minor maintenance issues while we're gone so that he is in tip top shape for another adventure when we return.

Monday, August 1, 2022

August is going to be a busy month for us

Today, we will arrive at Max's home base here in Germany where he will take a break for the next three months or so. Tomorrow will be a bit of a day off for us. Well, sort of. At least there won't be any driving involved. I feel like I need a break from driving.

Then Wednesday we drive up to Munster. It's only a half an hour or so, but it's the nearest location that has a laundromat! 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

July Expenses

We started the month in Geiranger, Norway which was about as far north as we went in Norway. And we finished the month close to Max's "home base" in Germany. So we did a fair bit of driving in the month of July!

This means that our fuel expenses were quite high, and of course everybody knows about the price of fuel lately. Especially the price of fuel in one of the most expensive countries in the world!

Putting on the miles

Or the kilometers, in this case. We're doing about 150 kms (93 miles) per day and that will get us to our destination as planned on Monday August 1st. I know that doesn't sound like a lot to most of you, but we are sticking to the back roads so it's still about two and a half hours of driving each day which is enough for us.

We spent last night beside the wide Elbe River that leads from Hamburg to the Atlantic Ocean.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Ladelund Concentration Camp

A somewhat depressing, but interesting, story today.

Many tourists to Europe make an effort to visit the famous Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz in German occupied Southern Poland. But Germany was itself a land of concentration camps, even before the second World War had begun. In fact, Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January of 1933, and by October 1934 he had already established camps that held 2,400 prisoners. By 1938, there were 24,000 prisoners. By 1944 there were 524,000 prisoners.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Engelsholm Castle

We actually slept in yesterday morning. Didn't get up until almost 8am! That rarely happens, but I guess we just needed the extra sleep. It sure makes the morning go by fast though... kind of a waste.

Still, we managed to get an hour or so driving in before lunch. And then another hour after lunch. We ended up near the village of Nørup and Engelsholm Castle.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Got the new laptops set up!

First thing I did Tuesday morning was walk over to a computer supply store in Hirtshals. 

Now, Hirtshals isn't a very big place, with a population of about 5,500 people so I wasn't expecting very much from a computer store located there. But I was pleasantly surprised and the guy who was running the place knew exactly what I was talking about, and he even had what I needed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Back in Denmark

Monday was our last full day in Norway. And it was wet. Yes, we managed to make it out for a walk around the town of Vigeland, but that was it. Otherwise, it was just wet.

Then on Tuesday, we actually got some sunshine for our ferry crossing to Denmark. We went into Kristiansand early and found some free parking about 3 kms from the center of town, then walked into town. Our ferry departure wasn't until 4:30pm, so we had lots of time to wander around.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Norway trip complete!

Almost. Our ferry departs Norway at 4:30pm this afternoon so tonight we will once again be sleeping in Denmark. 

We were reflecting on our time in Norway, country number 52 for us. It's been a great trip. The only thing that could have made it better was a little more sunshine! 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Parking, or camping?

While looking for possible overnight spots, we often come across warning signs at the entrance to whatever parking area we're considering overnighting at.

Here in Europe, they are quite distinct about the differences between parking and camping. This is especially true in the country of Spain, but also here in Norway.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

More travel plans finalized!

We drove into the town of Lyngdal. There's not much to see there, but they do have a really nice culture center with a library, so we sat and used their fast free internet for a while. They also have small private soundproof study rooms, so we used one of them to do a video call with Ruth's cousin Helen and her husband Tony. 

We wanted to firm up our plans with them for the end of September and early October.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

It feels great to be booking some travel again!

We decided to stay a second night at our free campsite in the forest. It was just a really quiet, peaceful spot. The German couple left in the morning, but the family from Belgium also decided to stay another night. 

So what did we do all day? Well, not much of anything! It's good to take a day like that every now and then.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Camping for a couple of nights!

Up before 6:30am Thursday morning, and we hit the road right away to the next town of Flekkefjord. 

We had noticed the day before that the hill heading up the road from where we had been parked at Ana Sira is very narrow and we saw vehicles having to reverse to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. So we figured we would avoid any traffic problems by leaving early, and that's exactly what happened.

4 hobbies you can take on holiday

As adults, we rarely find the time to indulge in hobbies

Between the demands of family life, the bustling world of work and any other constraints you might face on your time, it often feels as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. 

Our holidays are a fantastic opportunity to relax and indulge in those activities we so rarely get to make time for. With that in mind, these are just four hobbies you can take on holiday – or anywhere. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

We were well prepared for the "expert" part of the trail.

I know I sound like a broken record, but Norway is such a gorgeous country. And so many fantastic hiking opportunities. Yesterday we were back on the trails again.

This time, we drove to the small town of Ana Sira and found nice day use parking at their small marina. I had read that the parking lot nearer to the hiking trail gets really busy and it was a beautiful day so we just decided to walk right from the marina.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

There is absolutely nothing worse...

Once again we got up and drove at 6:30am. And once again, we didn't go very far... only 9 kms (5.5 miles) to our next stop!

There's a lot to see and do in this area, and we've still got six days until we get to our ferry departure in Kristiansand which is only 150 kms (93 miles) from here. So there is no need to do much driving everyday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

We decided to get to the main road and try to hitchhike back to Max!

Monday was one of our warmest days yet in Norway with a forecast high of 23C (73F) and cloudy with sunny periods. It actually felt like summer! We had a good hike planned, so it was the perfect day for it.

The hike was 10.8 kms (6.7 miles) round trip. We were trying to figure out if we should bring a lunch, and Ruth asked how long I thought it would take. There wasn't a whole lot of elevation involved, so I figured maybe three hours. Boy, was I off!

Monday, July 18, 2022

The pretty little village of Sogndalstrand, Norway

We got up early and drove into Sogndalstrand right away. I had read that they have a really nice parking area, but it is closed to motorhomes between midnight and 6am. So they don't want you staying overnight. But I figured if we arrive at 7am on a Sunday morning, there wouldn't be anybody there and we could get our laundry done while enjoying the nice view.

And that's exactly what happened.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Fruit and vegetable prices in Norway

We got up at 6:30am and left Stavanger right away. It's nice driving when there's absolutely no traffic. 

Saturday was a bit of a maintenance day. We headed directly to a motorhome dealership where they have a free dump station and fresh water fill, free overnight parking with electric, and free WiFi. It's not scenic by any means, located in an industrial park, but it suited us for a couple of hours of unlimited internet use.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Made it into the old port city of Stavanger, Norway

We waited for the rain to clear up enough to get the bicycles ready for the 7km (4.5 mile) ride into Stavanger. And we packed both the umbrellas and the rain coats because they were still calling for showers on and off.

Stavanger has a fantastic network of cycling routes. Probably the best cycling city we've seen anywhere. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

We kind of feel like we're missing out on summer

It's the middle of July, and the high temperature yesterday was 17C (63F).

Now, we realize that some of you have been baking and would gladly trade places with us... for a few days. And we also realize and appreciate that our current temperatures are great when you're out hiking in the sunshine. The problem is that we could count on one hand the number of days we've had like that during the last month and a half here in Norway.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

More future travel planning!

We've got a busy four months or so ahead of us!

We head back to Canada between August 5th and Sept 10th. We'll be visiting Montreal, Calgary, Nova Scotia, and Ottawa. It's going to be a hectic five weeks, but we're looking forward to seeing all of our friends and family!

But when we arrive back in Amsterdam on September 11th, we won't be going back to Max. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Not much sun, but Max's batteries are doing fine.

Yesterday was a work day.... Prime Day is probably the busiest day of the year for us with our Amazon group on Facebook.  So we found a decent parking spot for Max with a strong cell signal and spent a lot of time on our laptops!

We are parked beside a nice walking trail that goes around a small pond, so we did take time off to go and get some exercise...

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

A worthwhile detour!

Monday was a beautiful day with a high of about 22C (72F), and I had read about the interesting Himakana hike that was about 30 kms (18 miles) off our route, but it seemed like a worthwhile detour... and it was!

Remember a month or so ago when we did the via ferrata to Trolltunga? Well Himakana is being billed by some as the "mini" Trolltunga because it also has a rock overhang that people stand on to get a photo of themselves with the view.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Well, that was a good day!

So glad we moved south. The weather has been much better. I don't think it rained at all yesterday!

We had been parked at a trailhead overnight, but didn't know anything about the hike itself. But we were overdue, so we had some breakfast and hit the trail not knowing where it was taking us.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

We got our invoices for the ferries we've been taking...

We woke up to a bit of blue sky Saturday morning. It didn't last... but it was nice to see for a change! Overall, the day was just okay. It still rained on and off, but at least we managed to get outside without getting soaked.

We're just meandering our way south now. No special plans until we get to Kristiansand for our ferry departure to Denmark on the 26th. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Two new laptops... but we can't use them yet!

First order of business yesterday was to go laptop shopping. I had already done quite a lot of research online, so I had a good idea of what we were looking for. It was more a matter of what kind of deal we could get, and if they had the ones we wanted in stock.

Power Electronics is a big chain store in Norway. We went to their largest location just south of Bergen.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Into the city of Bergen, Norway

You don't get anywhere fast in Norway, and we still had 140 kms (87 miles) to get to Bergen. That's about three hours. Most roads you're between 60 and 80 km/h (36 to 50 mph) and then of course you're on a ferry or two and they take extra time as well.

We left Vadheim at 9:15am. Yes, it was raining.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Heading for Bergen

The weather forecast for the next two weeks was terrible, so we decided to flee to the south of Norway where it looks much better. We're heading for the city of Bergen first (to possibly purchase two new laptops) and then further south to Stavanger. There, we should find better weather.

When we left Flatraket, our first stop was Maloy. There, we had to wait for a ferry to take us to Oldeide. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Change of plans

The weather where we are currently is horrible. And the forecast for the next two weeks in this area is more of the same... horrible.

For example, the high yesterday was 10C (50F) with wind and pretty steady rain. We could handle the temperature... but along with the steady rain? Nope. It's not nice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Laundry and laptop problems

Yes, problems with both laundry, and laptops!

First of all, the laptops. My Asus 15.6" laptop has done me well. I bought it five years ago so in laptop years it's pretty much an antique! But it's become really slow to start up, and the network adapter is acting up and it takes several tries and resets to connect to WiFi. It's still working, but it's annoying and I've tried all the easy fixes. Not worth paying someone to look at it. Time for a new one.

Monday, July 4, 2022

We might have rain, but at least we don't have bugs

Because the location of Norway is close to that of northern Canada, and they have similar climates, we assumed there must be the same type of black fly and mosquito problem that Canada has. 

How happy we are that this is not the case! In fact, we haven't had a single issue with bugs of any kind. Even since we left Turkiye. No bugs at all!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

A little frustrated with our travel medical insurance

We thought we had found the perfect solution to our travel medical insurance last year when we started with Heymondo. It was relatively inexpensive, and valid for anyone up to age 70 so we figured this would be our "go to" insurance for the next ten years or so.

Unfortunately it was too good to be true! They have now changed the terms and conditions so that the long term policies are only good up to age 50. You can still buy a short term policy for a trip of up to 30 days that is up to age 70, but that doesn't do us any good.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Tourist ferry from Geiranger to Hellesylt, Norway

Many of Norway's ferries are part of the highway system. Others are part of the tourist ferry system, yet they also allow a number of vehicles. We took one such ferry yesterday.

The route from Geiranger to Hellesylt leads through Geirangerfjord, one of the most scenic fjords in the world, and of course this is the fjord that is very popular with the cruise ships.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Behind the waterfall

Another gorgeous day in Norway. 

So to take advantage of it, we planned a hike up to a waterfall. But this waterfall is somewhat special because you can actually walk behind the falls. It's really quite something!

The hike was not that far in distance... but it's quite a bit of altitude gain. Only 4 kms (2.4 miles) from where Max was parked, but it gains 553 meters (1,800') so it's a bit of a climb. 

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Australia at Least Once in Your Life

 A trip begins when we consider our options and try to decide where we are going to go. This is not as fun or easy as it might sound because the amount of destinations available can be overwhelming. 

As you might have already guessed from the title, we passionately believe that a trip to Australia is a safe and awesome choice. We have to be clear and say that most of the time it is pretty expensive and tiring to fly there, but it is totally worth it. Australia should be on every self-respecting tourist’s travel bucket list. Why? 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

June Expenses

Norway is well known to be one of the most expensive countries in the world. 

And we are normally known to be "budget" travelers. But there is nothing saying that you can't do an expensive country on a budget! And by bringing our house with us, at least we don't have to pay for accommodation, which is a category that can really add up in an expensive country.

We were in Norway the entire month of June, so let's see how we did on the expenses...

This is as far north as we go

We got up at 6:30am Wednesday morning and started driving right away. It's so much nicer without as many vehicles on the road. 

We didn't have far to go... only 79 kms (49 miles) from Stryn to Geranger. But it's a varied route with a lot to see!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Every drive is a scenic drive

There isn't a road we've been on in Norway that wouldn't be considered a scenic drive in any other country. 

And of course, that's what we came here for. We didn't come to Norway for the local cuisine, or the culture, or the people. We came for the scenery and the hiking. And the scenery impresses us... every single day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

To go, or not to go...

We woke up to rain and fog Monday morning. And the forecast for the rest of the day was calling for 90% chance of precipitation. We contemplated simply moving on, but we really wanted to do the bike ride along the fjord.

For the balance of the morning, we tossed around the idea of leaving. To go, or not to go?

Monday, June 27, 2022

Just enough for a change of scenery

We're finding it hard to get anywhere fast here in Norway. Not that it matters really! Yesterday, we managed to do 56 kms (35 miles)! Just enough for a change of scenery.

But we ended up at the prettiest little village, with the prettiest view from our overnight spot.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

There is so much to see and do

Saturday was a bit of a rest day. We liked our spot at the ski hill. There were very few people coming and going, and even overnight we only had one other motorhome and they were parked quite far away. 

So we decided to just hang out for the day. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The amazing 900 year old wooden stave church of Urnes, Norway

A stave church is a type of medieval wooden church that used to be widespread throughout Europe. Most of them were built between the years 800 to 1400. But due to a variety of reasons including poor original building techniques very few remain in existence today.

And the vast majority of the remaining stave churches are located in Norway. In fact, they think there used to be as many as 1,000 of them spread across the country, but now only 28 remain.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The pretty little town of Laerdal, Norway

We used to think that Iceland was the most photogenic country we had ever been to. But Norway has now taken over first place in that category! The gorgeous scenery just never stops. It's just simply beautiful here. In fact, someone mentioned the other day that I'm running out of descriptive terms to express what we're experiencing.

So we found ourselves in the town of Laerdal, and decided to take a relax day and just hang out. But of course for us that means we only did a short 6 km (3.7 mile) hike on a trail above the town!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Cruise ships in the fjord

We were parked at the trailhead and the weather turned out better than expected. We weren't originally planning to do the Prest Mountain trail, but I did some reading on the internet and even though it's a fairly short hike, it sounded like it was a good one just for the views of the fjord.

So we set off at 10:00am, headed uphill.

Tips for Selling Your Home and Prepare for RV Living

You’ve lived in a comfortable home your entire life. Whether that be a cozy apartment or a full-sized house, you’re well-acquainted with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living room set up. Up until recently, this has felt just fine, but perhaps the need for some sort of adventure has captured your mind. You wouldn't be the first person to feel like this, and you most certainly won’t be the last. In an era where everyone is ditching their conventional living spaces for time exploring, trading your house for a life in an RV isn’t that far out of an idea. If this has been buzzing in your mind, we have some tips for selling your house and preparing to live in an RV!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Finally had to put some fuel in Max

We had arrived in Norway with a full tank, knowing that Norway is probably the most expensive place in the world to buy fuel. But we knew that full tank wouldn't last us for our entire time here, and yesterday was the day to pay up.

Like most other places in the world, the price at the pump tends to fluctuate with the world price of oil. I've noticed here in Norway there is a bit of a delay in implementing that fluctuation, and the oil price is now off its peak. But the price at the pump here hasn't dropped.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

We had a beautiful blue sky day!

Based on the past three weeks, a blue sky day doesn't happen very often in Norway! We woke up and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. And it lasted like that pretty much all day. Wonderful.

We went and did some more grocery shopping before doing the short drive to the tiny fjord port of Gudvangen. 

Discover America’s Secrets on Your Next Holiday

Why a holiday to America is a must

America is a wonderful country that never ceases to amaze. It has something for any kind of travelling or holiday experience. Whether you want a lazy beach holiday or hike across mountains, it has it all.

The country is often in the news for the wrong reasons, making it is easy to believe the American people are at each other’s throats all the time. However, this is largely media driven with most Americans being level headed, friendly people who are very happy to see you, especially after the two year lockdown. You’ll find this out for yourself when you discover the United States.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Max's one year anniversary, and a beautiful bike ride

First off, we celebrated our one year anniversary with Max. Yes, it was one year ago yesterday that we introduced you to our new European motorhome. Hard to believe it's been a year already isn't it? And even harder to believe is the fact that Max has already been to 17 different countries!

Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkiye, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, Denmark, and Norway.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

We made our way to the popular tourist town of Voss, Norway.

We arrived here in Norway June 1st, and we depart July 26th. So we have a total of 56 days here. You'd think that's a lot of time, but for us it's not. We travel slowly. The half way point for this visit is June 28th.

Our plan was (and still is) to travel as far north as we can until the half way date, and then turn around and start heading south on the coastal route.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Too many motorhomes!

Now that we are in the fjord areas of Norway, we notice just how many motorhomes and campervans there are up here. Too many, and almost not enough places to park them all! I would expect that it is normally busy with motorhomes in June, July, and August in Norway, however I figure that this year is worse due to pent up demand caused by the Covid shutdowns the last two summers.

So we've had to adapt how we do things a little bit.