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, September 30, 2023

We've been here a full month!

Man, we've had some great weather this month. It's one of the reasons we like coming to Canada in September. The kids are back in school, the mosquitoes are pretty much done... and the weather is usually decent.

We're actually ending the month (and starting October) with a bit of a heat wave... high today of 24C (75F) and increasing to 28C (82F) by the time we fly out on Tuesday!

Friday, September 29, 2023

Richie Rich houses

We had a visitor yesterday afternoon. Blog reader Monique lives in the east end of Ottawa and made the drive over to say hello. She even brought desert, so we sat outside and had coffee and dessert with her!

We took Monique for a walk around the neighborhood. The area has been developed with two acre plus "estate" lots. The house we are sitting is located in the first part of the development that was started probably 30 years ago. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Speed walking

There aren't a lot of great hiking opportunities here in the Ottawa area unless you go to Gatineau Park which is well across the river on the Quebec side. And that's too far to go on a daily basis.

So, as regular readers know, we do a "power walk" every day while we're house sitting here in Manotick. We've got several routes that we try, and one of them is almost exactly 5 kms (3 miles).

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Visiting with old friends

Yesterday, Ruth and I drove about 20 minutes into the city where we met up with my older sister Elaine, and went for a 5 km (3 mile) power walk with her. Nice to switch things up and get a change of scenery.

Didn't take any photos though. It was just a middle class residential neighborhood, so nothing really photo worthy.

Heading to Paris? Here's How You Should Spend Your Time

Paris, often called the "City of Love" or the "City of Lights," is undoubtedly one of the most iconic destinations in the world. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum, the city is bursting with cultural and historical treasures. But when planning your trip to this enchanting metropolis, don't overlook some of the lesser-known gems and experiences that can truly make your visit unforgettable.

While we're not going to number these suggestions, we'll start with a magical experience: Disneyland Paris.

Unravelling Airalo: The eSIM Revolution and Its Top 7 Standout Features

In the world of telecommunication, every new development promises more flexibility, better connectivity, and enhanced user experience. But amidst this whirlwind of technological innovations, there emerges a hero every once in a while – a solution that genuinely changes the game. 

Enter Airalo. A leading figure in the realm of eSIM technology, Airalo promises a transformative experience for the global traveller and the tech-savvy individual alike. In this detailed Airalo eSIM review, we dissect the top seven features that set this eSIM apart from the rest.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

More travel planning done

We're going to be on six different airplanes during the month of October. Possibly even seven.

A week from today, we fly from Ottawa to Halifax, Nova Scotia to spend 11 days with our daughter and her family.

Monday, September 25, 2023

How was Ruth's Weekend?

So someone on our Facebook group was wondering how I filled up my weekend. So today you will get a rare post from me (Ruth).

I enjoyed a quiet afternoon and night by myself on Thursday and then on Friday afternoon my sister Lesley and her friend Lynn arrived to spend the weekend with me. They drove up from Hamilton, Ontario.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

End of another great weekend

Saturday was another nice day, although with a few high clouds we didn't have quite as much sunshine. Still, it was certainly a nice enough day for a hike in nearby Bon Echo Provincial Park.

There is a figure 8 loop we wanted to do, with the lower part of the loop being about 3.5 kms and if we included the upper part of the loop the total would be 7.5 kms.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

The perfect time to be in this part of the world...

Had some fun yesterday playing with the camera in our new phone. Bottom line is, I am thrilled. So much versatility in such a small package. 

As forecast, it was a gorgeous fall day. Other than the fact that I had a self inflicted minor hangover (all better today though!), it was perfect! And it looks like that is going to continue for the next week or so. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Absolutely perfect!

Yesterday, I left Ruth by herself and drove two hours west to the shore of Mazinaw Lake, just south of Bon Echo Provincial Park.

My guys weekend away this year is a long weekend. We all decided that two nights wasn't long enough, so we added on a Thursday.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

"When are you going to settle down?"

This is one of the questions we get on a regular basis.

When we started out, we were only 45 years old. We didn't have a lot of money, and we had a two year plan. Worst case scenario, we had to go back to work. But two years came and went and we didn't want to go back to a "normal" life.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Country list update

I posted a list here a few years ago, but I want to keep it more current so that it's easier for me to go back to and update. 

There are 193 countries in the United Nations. And there are another bunch of countries that are not recognized by other countries as being countries. That brings the total up to 215.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The camera on our new phone

I'm pretty impressed!

We bought a new smartphone... a very expensive one. The main reason we bought it is because we want to travel with as little as possible. It's just so much easier that way. So I wanted to ditch our big camera. And I figured that if I'm going to travel with a phone anyhow, then why not get a phone that has a really good camera in it. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Back in Ottawa

Sunday morning, we said goodbye to Alex, CJ, and Lucy the dog at around 11:00am and did the long drive back to Manotick (Ottawa). It was pouring rain for the first two hours or so of the drive.

We took the route that goes through Algonquin Provincial Park. Would have liked to have stopped for a hike, but with the mandatory $21 daily pass to stop at a trailhead, it's just not worth it.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

A beautiful day in cottage country

We woke up to an absolutely beautiful fall day here in "cottage country".

They call this part of Ontario "cottage country" because it's located about an hour and a half north of Toronto and since about the 1950's, the more affluent would build a weekend getaway in this area. It used to be a pretty quiet area, but of course it's getting more and more built up over the years, and lakefront property is now ridiculously expensive.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Our new smartphone arrived!

Well, our new smartphone showed up at just after 10:00am, right on schedule. Ordered on Monday morning, and arrived at the house on Friday morning. All the way from Hong Kong. Quite amazing, really.

But, that really didn't give me any time to get it set up and play with it. We were on our way to visit our son, and had to leave just after 11:00am. I unpacked the box and put it on the charger for a half an hour, but I figured I might as well leave it behind because it's probably going to take a few hours to get it properly set up!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Road trip!

When I ordered our new phone on Monday morning, it was scheduled to arrive at our door on Friday the 15th. Today. And, it looks like it will.

But while it takes two days to go from Hong Kong to Cincinnati to Montreal to Ottawa, it turns out that it also takes two days to go from the Ottawa distribution center to the house!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

It's all about the adventure!

I've been spending a lot of time planning how we are going to get to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

We arrive in Paris October 15th. And we need to get to Ashgabat by the morning of the 19th at the latest. Turkmenistan is one of the least visited countries on the planet, so there aren't many flight choices to get there. The most common is a Turkish Airlines flight that departs from Istanbul.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Final details on the sale of Max, our most recent motorhome

As regular readers know, we've always been very open about our monthly expenses. But when we buy a campervan or motorhome, it's difficult to include the true cost per night of that as part of the monthly expenses.

We've actually had people question our generally low overnight expenses as not being accurate because we do a lot of boondocking so our overnight expenses appear as artificially low. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Into the province of Quebec

Our friend Kim is house sitting across the river near Wakefield, Quebec and she invited us over there for a hike and a meal. 

So we hopped in the car around noon, and it  took exactly an hour to do the 57 km (35 mile) drive. The route is fairly direct, but we have to drive right through the center of the city of Ottawa, so it's a bit slow going.

Monday, September 11, 2023

How odd is it?

In the off the beaten path travel world, there are five Central Asian countries that are collectively known as The Five Stans.

They are Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

Now that our visas have been approved for Turkmenistan, we've been doing some serious research on this part of the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Well that was a worthwhile end to the story!

If you haven't been following along, I'll give you the short version of the whole story, starting at the beginning. If you have, you can skip the next couple of paragraphs to the most recent part!

We had booked flights with Air France from Paris to Ottawa direct. When we went to check in, they told us the flight was overbooked, but they offered us €600 ($875 CA, $642 USD) each in cash to switch our flights to arrive in Montreal, with an Air Canada connection to Ottawa. 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Camera sold!

The other day, I mentioned I wanted to sell our big Nikon P900 camera and instead get a smartphone with a good quality camera so that we could reduce the amount of stuff we have when we travel.

So the other morning, I listed the Nikon for sale on the kijiji website. And it sold within six minutes!

Friday, September 8, 2023

Another adventure coming up!

About two months ago, we signed up for a trip to Turkmenistan. But I haven't talked about it very much because we had to apply for visa approval in advance, and Turkmenistan has a totalitarian regime that doesn't care about tourism, so many visa applications are rejected without any apparent reason.

We woke up this morning to an email... visas approved!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Decision made!

Well, I made a decision on the new smartphone, and I'm actually going to order it here in Canada rather than waiting until we get to Asia. It's the Honor Magic5 Pro 12GB/512GB.

Spent a ton of time yesterday perusing reviews and learning about all of the different characteristics of these high end smartphones. Two things are important to mention. First, when comparing the high end phones, they are all really good. And second, none of them (sorry iPhone fans) are perfect.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

What a deal!

We were out and about for a few hours yesterday afternoon. It was pretty warm. The thermometer in the car said it was 35C (95F) which is definitely warm for this area at time of year. But, we had the windows down and didn't put the air conditioning on. I didn't think it felt that bad. Felt like a nice warm summer day to me. 

But then this is the first real warm day we've had in a long time! I wouldn't want to live in a place where it's like that every day, but I sure don't mind it for a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

I want to buy a very expensive smartphone!

Our current cell phone is over three years old. Almost an antique! 

Considering it was just an inexpensive Motorola phone, it's been great and it has totally served our purposes. We paid under $200 for it, and at the time I wrote "If I get three years out of it the way we did with my much more expensive Samsung, I'll be totally happy."

Monday, September 4, 2023

Future travel plans

We are headed to SE Asia this coming winter. 

Although we have made absolutely zero firm plans, and done very little research on what we want to see or do, we want to visit Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam over a period of about six months. And knowing us, that won't be nearly enough time. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Our first grocery shop back in Canada

Jet lag has never really bothered us that much because we think it's important to adapt to the new time zone as quickly as possible. So when arriving in a new country we try and immediately put ourselves into the new time. That means forcing ourselves to stay awake until at least 10pm even if we're really tired..

Of course our sleep schedules are a little off though. The first night, I woke up at about 3am and ended up getting up at 4:30am. Last night was a little better and I woke up at 4:30am and got up at 5:30am. A couple more nights and we should be back on track. Ruth slept a little better, but still up very early.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

August Expenses - an expensive month, with a big bonus at the end!

At the end of July, I had mentioned that we were expecting an expensive month in August, with a forecast budget of $4,500 CAD ($3,400 USD).

We ended up coming in only slightly higher than forecast, which is pretty good because there were a lot of variables in my original guess. But then, right at the end of the month we received a big bonus which dropped us well below budget!

Finally, back in Ottawa!

We originally planned on three legs to this trip back to Ottawa. Leg 1 from Dulmen to Dusseldorf, leg 2 from Dusseldorf to Paris, and leg 3 from Paris to Ottawa.

But leg 4 turned up when we volunteered to be bumped from our original Paris to Ottawa flight.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Well that was an eventful and profitable travel day!

We caught our shuttle bus from our hotel to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport Thursday morning at 9:30am right on schedule. 

What a maze CDG airport is! We have never flown in or out of there, so had no experience. There are three terminals, and each terminal has several mini terminals that in themselves are large. Glad we didn't send grandson Cameron off on his own into this airport. We had a hard time figuring out parts of it ourselves!