Remembering Vieste, Italy

I had a few friends over for a dinner party last night, and they were commenting on all my photographs around my condo. They


all were displays of some of my favorite landscapes I fell in love with during my travels.

One panorama was of the town of Vieste, Italy that I visited 2 summers ago. Right in the ‘spur’ of Italy.

We got to talking about my adventure there, and found it quite fitting, that, the pasta being made for our dinner originated from the Vieste area – orrichette, or ‘small ear’.

What was so great about this part of my trip in Italy was that my 2 companions and I did not have a road map. We had no clue where we were driving, but, wow was it gorgeous at every turn.

Coming from Pescara, we ended up stopping for the first time in Vieste after driving the Italian way through multi-lane highways around Bari (and an Ikea!), to long country roads, to the curviest roads I have ever seen. Thank goodness my friend was so great at driving stick.

Driving into the town, from above was absolutely breath-taking. You can see the white wash buildings practically growing straight out of the rocky cliffs and hanging over the Adriatic Sea. I couldn’t wait to jump out of the car and explore this amazing city.

Speaking of jumping out, a lovely cricket friend about the size of my fist decided to jump IN to our car, and land on my leg…in which, my companions discovered my bizarre scream/laughing fit that I am somewhat famous for.

Anyway, once we finally found this cricket which decided to hang in for a 10 minute ride with us, my one friend carefully placed the cricket on the ground beside the car when we parked….ummm…unfortunately it was right in the lane of moped traffic. And, well….moment of silence….

After exploring this quaint city on foot, it was evident that this was a gateway for trade all around the world. The small shops that lined up along the narrowest alley ways housed some of the most unique jewelry from all around the world. One pair of banana wood earrings from Indonesia were my favorite by far.

Also on this walking adventure, we discovered possibly the most delicious olives I have ever tasted. We purchased a few scoops of olives and carried them around as we shopped. At the end of a 2 hour tour, sadly, those olives in the picture were toast.

Two amazing things will always be remembered fondly in my mind about this town (if you know me well, you will know I am a typical geographer when it comes to reflecting on my travels).

The first thing was this gigantic ROCK sticking out of the shallow water towering over the town.

The second, was the crazy tides that came in and out right below our hotel. At one moment, we were walking along a soft sandy beach, the next moment, we were wading through the clearest water I have ever seen.


What a rock!

Tides, a view from our room

From above

Please, can I go back?

Photo of the Day – Mr. Pronghorn hates tourists.

This little guy, Mr. Pronghorn, was discovered in Custer State Park, South Dakota on the final leg of my summer adventure this year. He was watching all the tourists from across the road play with the donkeys, and shaking his head at them in disgust as they fed them popcorn and chips.

Photograph of the day – Pot of Gold

This photo is not so much about the quality, but about the memory from the moment I snapped it.

I had just returned from my 1.5 month camping trip across the US and Canada and was feeling quite sad that it was all over. As I mentioned before, one of my favorite things is violent thunderstorms. Well, this fine August day, as I was folding up the 20 billionth load of laundry, and sulking away.

Suddenly the bright room I was in quickly dimmed, and I glanced outside to see huge thunderhead clouds quickly rolling in. My eyes widened in excitement and I ran to grab my camera. Crash bang BOOM, it left me within 5 minutes, but left this beautiful double rainbow behind.

The pots of gold apparently chose the tallest buildings to hide in.

Fantasy Friday…

Listen to this excerpt from Fodors, and guess where it is:

Eighty percent of ‘this place’ is forested, and since cities are few and far between, the interior of ‘this place’ is a rural playground for leaf peepers and widely considered to have the most intense range of foliage colors anywhere on the continent. The few distractions from the dark reds and yellow, oranges and russets—the tiny towns and hamlets—are as pristine as nature itself.

Sounds delightful, right? And autumn is my favorite time of the year, so this place would be perfect to visit.

Where is it?


Guess what else, for those of you in Toronto? Porter Airlines now flies out of Toronto.

Now to wait for a deal from Porter again…..

Sign Language

My quest continues as I search far and wide for random signs. These ones, on my road trip to the Rockies, did not disappoint me!

The town of Oshkosh!

A bear and her 3 cubs had just walked by this sign 2 seconds before...

Like so....

"Danger, thermal area" Prepare to burn your hiking stick!

Theeee're CRAZY!

What do I choose??

It was actually a great hotel, y'all!


Isn't that how you dress when hiking in a national park?! Of course you wouldn't bring your briefcase though.

I'm confused!

Welcome to the town of Welcome!


Missing Yellowstone


Game On!

One of the essential ingredients to a good road trip, aside from an actual vehicle and gas, (oh, and a drivers license), is a way to entertain yourself on those long hauls. Hence, my boyfriend and I tested out a few popular games for road travel. Yes, we are both actually just big kids.


One of the most popular and exciting game was called “The License Plate Game”. The one where, when you visit a very tourist friendly place such as Yellowstone, you see if you can get all the US states, and we added all the Canadian provinces. Of course when we started the game, miracles began to happen. First, our rules considered that we could exclude Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the Canadian territories. But, lo and behold, HAWAII drove by us. Not once, not twice, but THREE times! So thus began the quest to add on Alaska. Which we did (a grand total of 14 times) and before we even spotted Rhode Island and West Virginia. At one picnic rest stop we uncovered a delicious smell of BBQ, followed by a group of men cooking beside their truck from MEXICO! Next, when we entered the Canadian parks, we spotted Yukon, then NUNAVUT of all places. Toward the end of our trip, my boyfriend picked out Northwest Territories to complete the north.

Can you guess the one place that we did not see once on our journey? No? Because I would have thought it impossible to see Hawaii personally.

It was actually another island. Prince Edward Island (PEI).

Time to make a stop this summer to that lovely and tiny island to complete our game…possibly our lives.

Need some other road trip game/activity ideas to play? We tested out a few:

1. Take pictures of funny sounding town/city/street names. Some amazing finds were a town called Welcome, Minnesota; Paw Paw, Michigan; and Keister, Minnesota.

2. Create a song about the landscape. One person starts, the next person has to make it rhyme. Be glad you were not in my vehicle to hear my singing voice trying to rhyme to a story about sage brush or hoodoos.

3. Watch some people in other cars, make up stories about them (be nice). We had some great people names and occupations. I wonder how ol Torrence is doing on his yam farm right now…

4. Also to do with license plates, since we were forever focusing on them this trip, create a saying out of the letters (And sometimes numbers) from the plate. PRTS 731 = People roam the stars. No sorry, that didn’t make sense. But a lot of ours didn’t. I am actually curious if we started to go a little mad at the end of the trip from all the hours clocked in the car.

5. Count the _______________. I declared, once we passed the gate into Yellowstone, that I was going to count all the bison in the park. I got up to 101 and then saw a huuuuuuge gathering of black dots ahead on the right. So I just decided that there were 101 bison in the park, and they kept circling around to the area we were driving at that moment. So, moral of the story, pick something more rare than bison in Yellowstone.

Un-bear-ably Cute

On my adventures this summer (US and Canada National Parks), I came across some amazing animals. Check out the extremely adorable and enamouring wildlife I stumbled upon. This is just a beginning, I am currently in the editing process with the over 3,000 photos I took on my trip.

Alpha female wolf in Yellowstone (Hayden Valley)

Bison drinking in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

Beaver in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

"Sedgehog" in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

Marmot in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

Elk...I think this one was in Yellowstone. Better one in Jasper to come!

A black bear we call 'Scruffy', Yellowstone

Grizzly bear #610 and her 2 cubs in Grand Teton

I have way more pictures to add in the future. This is really just a beginning. Shooting pictures in RAW format takes a lot of time to sort, as I have discovered! Stay tuned for more bears and their cubs, wolves, proghorn, river otter, coyotes…way more!

The Outhouse – A Comparison

I thought one of my posts since my return from a month and a half in wilderness should fittingly be on camping comforts. One such comfort I became very familiar with was the outhouse. One place I was careful not to come in contact with the seat.

One huge difference I noticed when traveling from the US (Wyoming and Montana mostly) to Canada (Jasper, Kananaskis, and Waterton) was the smell in those lovely waste heaps. It is amazing how fresh and clean these ‘houses in Wyoming and Montana are. Some had fresheners trying to mask the dirties, but others, it was a mystery…they just didn’t smell at all.

Canada, on the other hand….phewwww. I could barely do it. The tall grasses looked more appealing when I was there. I saw the fresheners in Canada, tried to appreciate the cedar wood smell featured it some of the ‘houses. But POW in the face when you went to one in Canada.

Please tell Parks Canada your secret National Parks Service of the USA. My nose will be better for it.


Stop and smell the roses…

R.I.P. Mr. Tomato Plant

So long buddy....

I just returned from my month and a half long adventure off in the American and Canadian wilderness. One of the first things I had to check when I returned to my home was to check on my poor poor Mr. Tomato plant who had been neglected. I had forgotten to give Mr. Tomato plant a cozy home while I could not care and eat all the wonderful presents it would deliver to me this summer.

Alas, when I saw those poor dried out leaves, the pot tipped over sideways on my balcony, my eyes were drawn toward the bright red TOMATOES growing on the defunct plant. It was a sign.

“Don’t give up”, it said…”wait until next year when you can enlist some help to nurture me. I have hope for you yet, traveler.”

Rest easy Mr. Tomato plant…I will remember you until I throw you down the garbage chute tomorrow and remember that you gave me hope that I might still develop a green thumb some day.