Category: Voyage

Cape Horn Cruise

23 day trip, started in Buenos Aires, where we spent 5 days, followed by a 14 day cruise on the Norvegian Star, 2,300 passengers, which took us around Cape Horn to the port of San Antonio at Chile, from there transfer to Santiago to take the plane back.

Cruise

Our cruise

We really liked Buenos Aires, a very beautiful city that reminded us a lot of Paris. Very beautiful avenues, buildings with architecture from the beginning of the 20th century, very beautiful parks, beautiful statues everywhere.

Our hotel was in a great location, opposite the obelisk, very close to the Colon Theater and near a superb park, Lavalle. We have adopted a charming bistro a stone’s throw from the hotel “Le Petit Colon” for our coffee breaks.

Took a city tour, visit the famous Recoleta cemetery, the La Boca district and a superb 3 De Febrero garden. Went to  a Tango dinner show

One day, we went to see the Iguazu Falls, 2 hours by plane, very impressive. A tiring day, we walked for almost 4 hours under a blazing sun.

Igazu

Iguazu Falls

We really enjoyed the cruise, the boat was very good, food, in general excellent, courteous and kind services, high quality shows, lots of activities every day to keep you busy if you wanted. We had a cabin with balcony on deck number nine, very comfortable and well designed.

Norvegian Star

Norvegian Star

The boat made 6 stops, Montevideo in Uruguay, Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Stantley in the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt in Chile. We took 6 excursions, 4 were excellent, one was OK and one bad.

In Montevideo we did not take an excursion but went down for a walk, we ended up on a corniche which reminded us a lot of that of Alexandria.

In Puerto Madryn and the In Puerto Madryn and the Falklands we visited penguin colonies, saw an albino penguin, something very rare.

 

pingouins

Pingouins

Flaklands

At the Falklands

In Punta Arenas we went to a sheep farm, where we were treated to demonstrations; shepherd dog, swimming and shearing sheep.  We were welcomed with Pisco Sour cocktail and an excellent meal of braised mutton was served with Chiliean wines.

Shearing

Shearing of a sheep

Berger

Berger avec chien

In Ushuaia and Puerto Montt we are we went on catamaran trips and visited national parks, perfect weather (incredible! We were told to dress warmly, but it was not really necessary) and breathtaking landscapes

Volcan

Volcan

Magda and I were a great team taking  a lot of photos.

The weather was ideal during the whole trip, which is remarkable because it is often windy, the sea is rough and it rains in this corner of the world. At Cape Horn, where the weather was superb, the captain, who was Greek, said “This is what happens when the captain speaks the language of Poseidon“.

At Cape Horn

At the Cape Horn

In 2 places, at Cape Horn and in front of the Chilean fjords the captain had the boat made a 360 degrees so that everyone could admire the view.

Taken nearly 2,000 photos, we had 2 cameras, the Nikon D750 with 2 lenses, including the 200-500, The CyberShot and my Galaxy phone.

In Santiago again the hotel was very well located. Took a city tour and then stroll a bit to the Plaza de Armas. We witnessed a shoplifting theft in a pharmacy, where the security guard caught the thieves. ”

Santiago is a beautiful city unfortunately disfigured by graffiti, the result of violent demonstrations that took place in the fall.

Quelques photos du voyage

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Our fiftieth wedding anniversary at Manoir Hatley

On June 3rd we celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary!

Fifty years ago our best friends, Mona and Claude Nahmias were married a few days apart from us and we went on honeymoon together.

So we decided to celebrate our fiftieth together again!

We stayed for 2 nights at Manoir Hovey in Notrh Hatley in the Eastern Townships. What a beautiful experience !!

It must be said that the Manor is a five stars establishment  part of  «Relais et chateaux ». The staff was super nice, the service impeccable , the food exceptional, a real treat.

The first evening was memorable; it happened that we were five couples celebrating our fiftieth at the same time in the dining room that day, it was the first time that it happened to the manor. In addition we discovered that the MâîtreD had spent 10 years in Egypt had attended the same school as Claude and spoke a little Arabic! We exchange memories and jokes and the whole evening was spent in a good mood, really a very nice memory.

Trip to Peru

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

In a nutshell:

Beautiful trip, but tiring (more than the brochure led to believe). 18 days including travel days.

Our favorites: visit the Uros on Lake Titicaca, the condors, the breathtaking landscapes, the Machu Pichu, the Nazca lines.

The disappointments: the lodge in Amazonia (Tours Chanteclerc changed the original lodge, and the one chosen was of a lower category). Parrots that we did not see. Missing theThe Ballestas Islands due to rough seas.

 

Sur l’île de Taquile

Very good guide from Arequipa to Cusco. The local guides were, generally good.

We were a group of twelve people.  The rest of the group took American Airlines and had a lot of problems (the flights to and from Lima were canceled!). We decided to take Air Canada which forced us to stay an extra, very pleasant, day in Lima at the end. The flights were Montreal – Toronto – Lima / Lima – Toronto – Montreal.

We absolutely wanted to see Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca, Nazca lines, and the Ballestas Islands.

Ligne de Nasca

Ligne de Nasca

Alpaga

Alpaga

Condor

Condor

Au Marché

Au Marché

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour in Peru was: Lima – Arequipa – Chivay –Puno – Cusco – Puerto Maldonado – Lima – Paracas – Lima. See the map. We spent more than a week above 3,800 meters and crossed a pass at 4,900 meters!

As far as I am concerned, photography was one of the main goals of the trip. I thought a lot about the gear to take. Finally I decided to take 2 cameras, a zoom, a flash and a portable tripod, I did not use the flash.  Here is the equipment I took: Nikon D750 Camera with Nikon 24-85 mm lens  and a 200-500 f5.6 Nikon Zoom, Sony RX100 Camera, Nikon SB 600 flash, Trident TaI456 tripod.

 

 

Pélican

Pélican

Flamand Rose

Flamand Rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tissage

Tissage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted 2 camera bodies, not to have to change lenses when the zoom was mounted on the D750. I chose the Sony camera because it takes photos in RAW at 21 Megapixels and I do not need a powerful zoom with it. I was very pleasantly surprised by the photos it took. The tripod allowed me to take (for the first time) photos of stars

More details are in my daily log (to come later).

The slide shows

 

Trip to Portugal

We just spent 12 days in Portugal, a country  we did not know.

Our journey took us from Porto to Pinhao through Amarante, from Pinhão to Nazaré via Coimbra, Fatima, Evora, Lagos with a trip to Sagres and Cape St. Vincent, and finally Lisbon with excursions to Sintra and Cascais.

We planned our trip with the help of a Portuguese agency “Portugal Trails” that made the hotel reservations, car rental, and provided us with several useful documents like a 300-page guide on Portugal, equivalent to a Michelin guide and a “Tour Book” where our trip was planned day by day with the itineraries, suggestions of things to do and restaurants to try. In addition they provided us with a GPS with all destinations already programmed; this helped us a lot.

We drove more than 1700km which allowed us to really get to know Portugal. We did not expect to see that many forests and mountains! I was very impressed with the quality of their roads and highways.

Notre Voyage

Notre Voyage

(Click on any photo to enlarge it)

The Portuguese are lovely people, friendly and very helpful. Between French, English, Spanish and some Portuguese words we had no communication problems. We ate a lot of fish and drank a lot of Porto …

The weather was really hot, most days the temperature was above 30 degrees.

Porto : colorful and charming city with many churches covered with Azulejos (ceramics decorated with blue drawings). About this, the main hall of the train station is completely covered with azulejos; spectacular!

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Gare de Porto

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Église avec Azullejos

You need strong legs to visit Porto; everything is up and down! We stayed at the Grand Hotel Do Porto, we fell in love with it, a real gem! The King of Portugal and the Duke of Windsor stayed there. Very well located in a pedestrian street almost opposite the superb Café Majestic, a landmark and fine example of the Belle Epoque style.

We visited the Lello bookshop that inspired JK Rowling for some of  the sets of Harry Potter  as she lived for a while in Porto. We went to a McDonald’s located in an old café where the original decor, Art Deco, has been preserved. Took a boat trip on the River Douro. Took the tram (very nice) to spend an afternoon at the ocean. Had lunch at the Bolhao market and ate fish. Tasted the “Francesinha” local specialty that requires a good stomach!

 

Tram à Porto

Tram à Porto

Porto

Porto

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Porto – Ribeira

Lunch au marché Bilhao

Lunch au marché Bilhao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amarante

Amarante

 

 

On to Pinhão via Amarante, a picturesque little town on the Douro, one of the jewels of northern Portugal. From there we left the highway to take the scenic route 101 that meanders though hills covered with terraced vineyards used to produce port. This road reminded me of the Lebanon mountain roads …

Pinhão : small town nestled in the hills. We had dinner in a very nice little restaurant, Cais da Foz, where we saw firsthand how much the Portuguese are kind and welcoming. The owner offered us a port of his own making, delicious!

 

Coimbra

Coimbra

From Pinhão to Nazare via Coimbra seat of the oldest university in Portugal. Again, as in most of the cities visited, the streets are up and down. Fortunately, the Portuguese built lifts and cable cars everywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

Nazaré

Nazaré

Nazaré

Nazaré

Nazare : small bustling seaside town. We chose it because we wanted to spend 2 nights near the beach and it is close to Fatima where we wanted to make a pilgrimage. Unfortunately when we arrived at Nazare the weather was foggy and it was barely 15 degrees in the morning. The hotel location was great but one of the nights we slept very badly because of the noise in the street as Portugal had won its match of EURO 2016 that day! It is also on the cliffs of Nazare that the biggest waves in the world were observed.

Click here to see surfing on Huge waves in Nazare

A cable car provides access to the cliff where you can walk up to the point where the waves crash.

Dans le funiculaire à Nazaré

Dans le funiculaire à Nazaré

From Nazaré long road to Evora on beautiful highways.

Évora - Ruines & Poussada

Évora – Ruines & Poussada

Evora : medieval city in the heart of Portugal in the region of Alentenjo. The wall surrounding the city is intact.

Chênes Liège

Chênes Liège

The topography is very different, no more mountains but it is on a plateau. Drier climate. Country of cork oaks, Menhirs and Cromlechs that we visited. We spent the night in the Poussada Evora Convento, a former convent, and another place we fell in love with. Just in front you can see well preserved Roman ruins.

 

 

Menhir près d'Évora

Menhir près d’Évora

From Evora to Lagos in the Algarve on excellent highways.

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À Sagres

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Falaises au Cap St-Vincent

Lagos : very touristy town with a very large marina. We stayed in a huge hotel complex in front of one of the longest beaches in the region. We summoned our courage and dove into the Atlantic, just seconds !! Brrr… Visited caves by boat. Made a trip to Sagres, a beautiful seaside resort with impressive cliffs and pushed to Cape St Vincent at the extreme western tip of Portugal. Again the cliffs are spectacular.

 

 

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Au cap St-Vincent

Lisbonne - rue dans Alfama

Lisbonne – rue dans Alfama

Grottes à Lagos

Grottes à Lagos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lagos to Lisbon by motorway. Returned the car on arrival in Lisbon, where we took public transportation, Metro and the famous and  very touristy  TRAM 28.

Lisbonne - Ascenseur

Lisbonne – Ascenseur

Lisbonne- Alfama

Lisbonne- Alfama

Lisbon : big city, where as in Porto you need good legs to walk and climb! Fortunately there are elevators and cable cars …

We wandered around the old town and spent some time in the picturesque Alfama district.

From Lisbon we made two day trips, one to Sintra and the other to Cascais. In both cases we took the train. We were warned against pickpockets, fortunately we have had no misadventure of the sort.

 

Sintra Palais Pena

Sintra Palais Pena

Sintra is situated in the nearby hills of Lisbon and was the vacation resort of the royal family. There are several palaces and a Moorish Castle. We visited the National Palace, Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira. Fortunately there is a bus that goes around because the whole area is very hilly and the climbs are steep!

 

 

 

Cascaïs

Cascaïs

Cascaïs is on the ocean, a very pretty resort, but it’s really mainly the beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Montreal from Lisbon.

Click here to see more photos of this trip on the HIL-AIR site in the photography section

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