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It has been a while since we posted, so thought we would get an update out to everyone on some recent travels and stories from the amazing summer we have had.
We spent a few weeks back in Canada seeing friends and family, and then took a 3-week vacation in August to visit 4 countries in Europe alone the French Riviera. Literally, travelled via planes, trains, and automobiles...combined with some boating and bicycling. Loved the new experiences!
There are also a few random pics from fun we have had in the Middle East throughout the summer.
Enjoy the stories and pics...
Back to Canada
We went back to Canada in July. Lisa spent a week in Ontario with her Mom, enjoying Canada Day, a Blue Jays game, and a Shania Twain concert.
Lisa then flew to Calgary and got to spend a few days in Calgary, going to the Calgary Stampede with friends before Jeff joined the party.
It was great to catch up with our great friends and to even get a visit from Jeff's dad, brother, and nephew.
Miss all these amazing people!
August vacation - Barcelona, French Riviera, Milan
We spent 3 days in Barcelona. We had heard many great things about this city and it did not disappoint!
It has so many amazing places to see with great architecture and history, combined with some fantastic restaurants and bars.
Jeff loved the paella that is available at almost every restaurant!
We stayed on La Rambla street, which is busy as hell, loaded with tourists so the people watching is great and it is very central to all the sites and areas you want to visit. We took the Hop On, Hop Off bus to visit many beautiful areas of the city.
Some of our favourite highlights include:
- Sagrada Familia basilica - part of a UNESCO world heritage site, construction started in 1882, estimated to finish in 2026
- Park Guell - a beautiful park with many mosaic artworks from Gaudi that began construction in 1900
- the Gothic area - it's Cathedral and some great bars (La Burnessa mojitos)
- MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) and the Magic Fountain
- Olympic stadium
- Barcelona beach
Marseille is a beautiful port city with an incredible marina surrounded by bars and restaurants. Up on top of the hill overlooking the city and port is the incredible Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. We just stopped for lunch and a couple beers but definitely a place we want to visit again!
After Marseille, we drove along the French Riviera coast to St.Tropez. It is quite a place. Like what you would expect - lots of massive yachts in the harbour and on the water, lots of expensive shops, but some beautiful scenery, amazing seafood, nice beaches, and several wineries. We stayed at the Toison D'Or resort, which had a private beach, for a couple days. Visited the Chateau Minuty winery for some tasty breakfast samples.
After driving along the coast, we stopped in Cannes for lunch, beers, and some sightseeing. We walked along the famous boardwalk called Boulevard de la Croissette and saw the hotels where all the Cannes Film Festival stars stay. Even got some pics on the red carpet for the theatre. Also, a classic story where Jeff was called an "asshole" by some asian tourists.
Nice instantly became a favourite of ours. It is a beautiful place, filled with incredible buildings with French and Italian influence. There is a kick ass Old Town area filled with many great restaurants and bars.
We enjoyed both the Hop On, Hop Off bus and Le Petit Train, which took us to the cool tourist areas of the city, as well as neighbouring Villefranche-sur-Mer. Jeff even got in trouble on the public beach...once he realized it wasn't a "clothing optional" beach! Jackass!
Some highlights included:
- Castle Cremat - mountaintop winery in a church
- Parc de la Colline du Chateau with beautiful hilltop waterfalls
- the Acropolis statue
- Cathedrale Russe St.Nicolas - a very cool Russian cathedral in the middle of Nice
Monaco is the 2nd smallest country in the world and has just under 40,000 people. It's famous city is Monte-Carlo, home of the famous Monte-Carlo Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Casino. The casino was insane. Gold all over the place! Quite a place to see...nothing but money here! Could not believe the yachts here - many with helicopter pads and additional speed boats on them. Crazy! We took a boat ride in the harbour to check it all out.
We took the train from Monte-Carlo to Ventimiglia and up to Milan for our last couple of vacation days.
We arrived at the Milan train station (Stazione Centrale) and saw another incredible building. Could've been a museum or cathedral with how impressive it was. We quickly checked into our hotel and went out to check out the city.
We took a bike tour and saw:
- Milan Cathedral - 3rd largest church in the world, took over 6 centuries to build
- Castella Sforzesco - a 15th century castle
- Arco della Pace - the city gate to Milan
- the L.O.V.E. statue in Piazza Affari - a middle finger salute to the bankers
Finished the day in the local area called Brera with a kick ass meal (and massive calzone) at Il Kaimano.
Other summer stories...
We had lots of fun this summer while in the Middle East. Some highlights include:
- a fun yacht adventure in Bahrain in early July
- 2 going away parties (Masalama) for our Aussie friends Toni & Jim who have left Saudi to go home
- many pool parties, both at our place and in Bahrain
- visits to The Hydration Station
- we even found a way to get over to Dubai with friends for our September long weekend
We have a few trips booked - hoping to have some friends come join us...
November 2018 - Thailand - spending a couple days in Bangkok, then on to Phuket to celebrate Lisa's birthday with friends from Canada, Anita, Nicole, and Dennis. Should be some wild times, including some island pub crawls.
December 2018 - We are heading to Frankfurt, Germany and area for an extended long weekend at the end of December. Very excited to do a tour to Neuschwanstein Castle near Austria. This is the castle that inspired Disney's famous castle. May have to break out the winter coats!
May 2019 - Greece - booked into Santorini for a few days, then over to Crete
June 2019 - Uganda - going to do a day of gorilla trekking, a day of chimpanzee trekking, and then a carnivore trekking day. Should be quite an adventure.
August 2019 - still finalizing plans but it's looking like Portugal, south France, and Croatia.
November/December 2019 - South Africa - wine tasting, shark cage diving, safaris, and enjoying Cape Town.
Thanks for checking out our summer stories and pics everyone! Will post an update once we return from Thailand.
Have a great US Thanksgiving everyone!!!
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa