My Favourite Place?

I find myself having some difficulty in selecting one place to call my favourite. After sifting through many pictures and memories, I still didn’t feel that I was  any closer to nailing down a favourite. Until…..

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Would my favourite place require travelling by plane?
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Newfoundland. Would it start here?
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The snows of winter makes for an inviting adventure, but…..
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This is so relaxing, it could be my favourite………..

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So many places, so little time. I have had the opportunity to travel this country from shore to shore. You can turn your world upside down looking, but…………

No matter how attractive or enticing a place is, there is simply no place like home. It is that place where you “are”, both emotionally and physically.DSC_0614

And my own back yard.DSC_0988

It doesn’t matter whether I am seeking mountains or the sea, I am here, and they are only a glance away. And the best part, I don’t have to do it alone. I have come home to  my favourite place. Cheers.DSC_0383

“When the uniqueness of a place sings to us like a melody, then we will know, at last, what it means to be at home”

Paul Gruchow, American author and conservationist.

Favorite Place

Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

No stay in Puerto Vallarta is complete without a visit to their botanical gardens. We have been annual visitors and never disappointed.

Founded in 2004 and open to the public in 2005, it is situated about a 45 minute bus ride into the Sierra Madre Mountains on a winding road. The Gardens is situated on 64 acres at an altitude of 1300 feet above sea level.

The Gardens was selected by the Canadian Garden Tourism Council in 2013 as one of the top ten gardens in North America worthy of a visit, it lived up to that reputation.

Abundant in greenery, many flowers, trails and a top notch open air restaurant, it is very easy to spend the better part of the day. With so much to take in, it can seem at first a bit daunting to get a grasp on all that it has to offer. It doesn’t take long to get lost in the beauty all around you.

Armed with insect repellant and our cameras, we set out. For the first time since purchasing, I took the opportunity to try out new lens extenders; these allow you to get great close up shots. A bit of focusing problems at first, but when I switched over to manual focus, (read, trial and error) I liked what I saw. With 3 separate pieces at 12mm, 20mm and 30mm, they can be used singularly or in combination. These are attached next to the camera body and the barrel mounted to that. Some of the pictures that follow were taken with the 20mm lens in place, camera hand held. A tripod (it was at home) and a remote release are essential for this kind of shooting. Next time.

The pictures below are just a small portion of the 100s that were taken. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them. Cheers.DSC_0089

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When the flowers bloom, the bees come uninvited.      Ramakrishna
Grasp

A Bust and a Blow.

On our trek last summer from Ontario to Vancouver Island, we opted to travel through the upper United States. Our intension was to check out various attractions along our route. One of our must do stops along the way was Yellowstone National Park. DSC_0689

As you can see, we had a cool, wet cloudy day, but that did not slow us down.

And now for a bit of history. Formed over 10 million years ago, Yellowstone was created by volcanic activity, and the resulting caldera contains the largest super volcano on the continent. The park covers the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, for a total of some 3500 square miles.

The geothermal activity still continues today, with old faithful being the big drawing card. For us, this old blow horse was a bit of a bust. It went off on schedule, but being a cool day, so much steam was created, and it was difficult to see the actual geyser. DSC_0923

 The rest of our walk did not disappoint. The geothermal activity painted a picture that was eerie and out of this world. At times the steam was so thick that my wife, who was ahead of me, took on a rather ghost like appearance.

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Out of This World

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson.

I love a Parade.

 

This song was written in 1931 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and appeared in the 1932 film of the same name.

Parades can and do take many forms. They do not always include people. Ducks and geese are sometimes seen parading about, but their faces are all the same, and they do not respond well to the music. So we will stick with people, they do it best.

Last year Puerto Vallarta hosted the Folkloric Dance Festival. Dance troupes from Mexico, Chile, Peru and Columbia competed.  But before that started, they put on a parade, and it was a dandy.

In keeping with this weeks photo challenge, the pics that follow are just a small sample of the colour and the talent that we were treated to. DSC_0279

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A Face in the Crowd

How Sweet it is.

This brilliant eye catcher is known as the primavera tree. It is very prominent in Puerto Vallarta at this time of year, even though it is not a native species to this countryDSC_0018

These large trees are actually native to South America, and is the national flower of Brazil and Venezuela. Once the blooms are finished, leaves will emerge, usually in the rainy season.

Their sweet fragrance attracts both bees and hummingbirds, and the large flowers, 1-3″, are pollinated by visiting bats. The wood is also prized for it’s few knots and very straight grain.DSC_0077DSC_0073DSC_0081

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When I saw the word for this weeks photo challenge, the title for this blog just popped into my head. The phrase really does not have anything to do with flowers ,but was uttered by Jackie Gleason in the 1963 movie Papa’s Delicate Condition.

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Bougainvillea
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Mexican Honey Suckle

 Next week we plan a trip to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. This seems to have become an annual event, but one that never disappoints. Pictures to follow. Until then, cheers.

And now for a totally different kind of sweet. A child’s delight, and a dentists nightmare.IMG_1612

Sweet

Caught in a Time Warp.

Last week we took a trip to a small town about 80k from Puerto Vallarta via taxi and bus. A town virtually untouched by time. A town rich in history. A history that goes back over 300 years. So journey along  as we discover, in words and pictures a town caught  up in time. The town of San Sebastian Del Oeste, Mexico.DSC_0992

Getting there from the coast is a steady climb on winding roads (and a detour) until you reach an elevation of 4850 feet above sea level. Shortly after we got there we took a 9k taxi ride to the top of one of the road accessible mountains outside of town. After we hiked to the top of “La Bufa”, my altimeter peaked out at 8228 feet. This picture was taken from that sight.

Founded by Spaniards in the early 1600s, it was soon to prove a rich gold and silver source for the town, and Spain. The town has gone through several name changes over the centuries. More than likely influenced by the powers in place at the moment. It was first dubbed Real San Sebastian, then just San Sebastian, and finally in 1983, its current name.

At its peak, the town boasted over 30 gold and silver mines. Declared a city in 1812, it had a population of over 20,000. After the 1910 military revolution, production was halted, though mining activity had already declined steadily during the 19th century.The last mine closed in 1921. Today the town is mainly a tourist attraction, with a population of around 1000. This is where we come in.

Enough with the words. Enjoy the pictures. If you stand in just the right part of town, you will find yourself being transported back in time.

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Thank you for letting me be your tour guide. There are hundreds more pictures, but time and space are the restriction. The town’s people, and the town itself beckons you to come.  I will be back. Cheers.
Tour Guide

Down the Hatch.

Pelicans are rather entertaining creatures. One of the few animals that is almost a caricature of itself.

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Down on the beach in Puerto Vallarta this week while downing a cold one, we were entertained by a flock of pelicans on a feeding frenzy.

Having a front row seat, our cameras went into overtime. What follows is but a small sample of the pics that were taken.

This fellow was having difficulty swallowing a rather awkward piece from a cleaned fish. Their beak, over a foot long has smooth edges, but once the food is in the pouch, the tongue is controlled by a number of muscles that allow the pelican to manipulate the food. This one struggled for over 10 minutes before flying off.

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Since our photo challenge this week deals with variations, I could not help but to add this fellow to the collection. Cheers.

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The “Stone Eater.”

Variations on a Theme

That Weathered Look.

While strolling around Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, it is easy to come across dwellings that have braved the elements over the decades. Most do better than others, but not if it is wood.

The preferred building materials here are steel and concrete. Wood is subject to the ravishes of wind, salt and insects, termites in particular. Come to think about it, some of the locals here look like they have had their fair share of battles with the environment. But that is a story for another blog.

These two pictures were taken last year while on our winter escape. I think they capture the essence of the photo challenge rather nicely.

Cheers.

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Weathered