Braga: Historical, Architectural, and Natural Beauty abound!

Well, this happened a few (or more) weeks ago, but we’ve been having so much fun!

Using Porto as our base, we decided to take the regional train for some day trips. Braga was an easy hour or so trip north and appears on so many of the must see lists.

A beautiful fountain as you approach the old section of the city.
A church dating back to the 900s, like so many old churches here, it had been updated, but not for a century or so.
The interior of the church. I am waiting to see if I will ever not be surprised by how ornate they are.
A major attraction here is the Bom Jesus which presides over the city from the hilltop. First, you walk over halfway up the hill, then you start up a path, then you get to the steps. Needless to say, Fitbit says we climbed a lot of flights this day.
A view back to Braga from the plaza. My camera was not really up to the task of getting good photos of the many small buildings that hold life-size depictions of the Crucifiction and Stations of the Cross.
The church, just a few more flights.
Another ornate interior. There was a wedding later in the day.
Another view from the top. Did I mention how much climbing we did?
The city gate, taking you back in to the old city center. As we spent most of our time climbing a hill and stairs, we have to return to see more of this lovely city.

Salamanca and Cuidad Rodrigo, walled cities and churches and storks, so many storks.

We passed this bell towers on our way from the train to our hotel, it was just the first of many towers sporting huge nests and multiple pairs of storks!

We took the slow train from Madrid to Salamanca, which was nice because the countryside was lovely and the regular speed allowed us to catch more than just a quick glimpse of the stone walls and villages, as well as some cows and blooming fields. The train had two stops in Salamanca and the second was closer to our hotel. What we didn’t know was that the stop was just that. The train stopped, there was a platform, but no signs, no buildings; so it was a good thing some guy on the train told the people in front of us that we were at the last stop and should exit. We followed them. I don’t remember what exactly our plan was for getting to the hotel, a short two kilometers away, but it is good we pack so we can make those walks.

When we were planning the trip we came across several suggestions to add Salamanca to our itinerary, so we did. But, as we walked along a nice but nondescript commercial strip, I admitted to Dan that I forgot why we put the city on the list of places to stop. His response “I’m sure there is something worthwhile here.” That’s why he is the best of travel companions (and husbands). As we got closer to the hotel we started to pass by the amazing buildings the city is famous for and I remembered why we came!

Salamanca is home to two major cathedrals, a university, monasteries and cloisters. The city still has much of the medieval walls intact and a bridge dating back to the days Spain was part of the Roman Empire. We enjoyed several days wandering around looking at the buildings and enjoying the end of term vibe given off by the students. One day as we finished our (too early by Spanish standards) lunch, we realized that all of the folks we’d seen walking around in various costumes were following some musicians down the street in an impromptu parade. Apparently it’s a thing, but we couldn’t find many details about it.

The dome of a University of Salamanca building behind some other lovely structures.
An entrance to the “new” Cathedral, built a mere few hundred years after the “old” Cathedral, which still stands. Salamanca is unusual in that it has two Cathedrals. And they are connected.
The “new” Cathedral, done well before the United States declared independence, in the early 1700s. The “old” Cathedral was at least 100 years old at that point.

We took the “tower tour” and made sure we got there early to avoid the lines. We were the first to enter and enjoyed poking around the stairways, rooftop walkways, and various rooms and exhibits with very few others. Good timing too, because as we made our way down and out there were several large groups working their way up to the bell tower.

A view from a lower terrace (3 or 4 steep flights up) at the towers of both cathedrals. The shorter, sharper tower is to the Old Cathedral, and the dome is for the New Cathedral.
The tower tour does not include the nave in either Cathedral, but you do walk across a narrow and very high balcony overlooking the main space of the New Cathedral.
The walkway over the roofs of both Cathedrals.
The balcony on the other side and some of the stained glass.
A view into the old city from one of the many terraces on our way to the bell tower.
The bells in the bell tower. They chime every quarter hour, we managed to be NOT in the tower when that occurred. The stairs were circular, very steep, and winding. They had a set of timed red and green lights to manage traffic and it worked really well.
This room housed the gears for the clock. These gears no longer keep the time on the clock.
The Roman Bridge, built when the Iberian Penninsula was part of the empire, so yep it’s old.

Cuidad Rodrigo

Our original plans for the trip through Spain included Vigo on the west coast, but the transportation just didn’t work out. So, faced with a need to find a way to get to Porto we came across a private tour where a driver would take us! It was only a little more than the other options and took way less time. There was an option to add a “tour” and Dan signed us up for the stop at the town of Cuidad Rodrigo. It was perfect! Marta was friendly, knowledgeable, and was almost s excited we were going to Porto (her home town) as we were.

Your random flowering tree for this post. They smelled really good too!
Still defending the town! The fortification walls still surround the town. The walls are very thick. We didn’t get a photo, but we drove through a gate and it was at least twenty feet in that section.
A bell tower with more nesting storks!

On the drive to reach Ciudad Rodrigo we passed so many more nesting storks. I started pointing out the ones I saw and Marta, our delightful Portugese driver, was so impressed that when I dubbed myself “stork spotter” she agreed! Dan mumbled something along the lines: they can’t be storks, there aren’t anywhere near enough babies…

A view of the Cathedral from the walking path along the wall. This is one of the few spots where there weren’t locals out getting their steps in!

Madrid, Spain-where everybody had to be out and about!

We took the high speed train from Barcelona to Madrid, and it was fast! With only 2 short stops, the trip was easy. It helped that I took advantage of the onboard free wifi to put up a blog post. What a great way to travel, too bad we can’t do that in the US because a train like that to Pittsburgh or Indianapolis would allow me to really annoy some of my favorite family members!

If you have ever heard my dad tell stories of our travels through England in 1972, you will get why I sent this photo to him and my sister with the caption “looks like Wisconsin.” You can also see from the way the tracks look that we were moving pretty fast!
These are some of the train cars, they look a little fast…
Dan took a screenshot, this was not the fastest we were going, but close!

We arrived to a rainy Madrid a few hours before we could check in to our accommodations, so we decided to store our bags and check out some of the city. There was a place to store bags a few hundred meters from the station, so we headed over stash our stuff. The whole thing was automated, just select the size locker you need (S,M,L), choose how many hours, a locker magically opens and they email you the code you need to open it with later. Easy peasy! Again, why isn’t this a thing in the US?

We wandered away from the train station and found ourselves near the botanical garden, which those of you who remember the posts from Australia and New Zealand know we are susceptible to, but it was closed for some event. We carried on and found a large city park and spent time wandering there. It was lovely.

The Madrid Atocha Train Station. This station has high speed rail connections to many Eurpean cities.
A plaza at the park. Yes, it was very rainy, yes were very wet by the time we were ready to head to our accommodations. I am a bit surprised the cab driver didn’t charge us extra for the puddles we must have left in the cab…

We stayed in the “Times Square of Madrid” full of theaters, neon billboards, shops, and action. It was located near many of the highlights of old Madrid, so it was a great, if noisy, location! We inquired at the i-Site (tourist information center) about the Hop on Hop off bus on Saturday but they advised that we should avoid it on Saturday due to a “labor demonstration” and on Sunday for the Madrid Marathon. So, we just started wandering around. We ended up in a local market and decided to buy some cheese and wine at a booth. While waiting in line a man asked me something in rapid fire Spanish. At my befuddled look, he immediately asked me in un-accented English if I was in line. I said yes and then asked him to repeat slowly which he did. He asked where I was from, and then because I said Ohio, he admitted to being from Indianapolis! He said he usually says Chicago because it’s easier. Nice Midwestern chat ensued where I learned he had followed a woman to Madrid (and introduced me to the 6ish year old result of that who was with him). Small world indeed.

The next few days we walked around Madrid, took the Hop on Hop off, found some “outside the tourist district” neighborhoods for low key, yummy food. We also learned that sometimes you need to pre buy the tickets! Oh well, we will just have to go back to Madrid so we can tour the palace next time!

Lots of monuments in Madrid.
The Cathedral, and the crowds in the square it shares with the castle, so you can see the need to pre-book.
One of the many impressive doors to the Cathedral.
Just one example of the buildings along the Via Grande. Many had large sculptures adorning the roofs.
Madrid is a very large and busy city, but there are parks, fountains and public art scattered everywhere, so you are always able to stop and take a deep, appreciative breath.
I don’t only make Dan visit government buildings in US.
The main square in Madrid. This was taken on our second visit, the first was on a weekend and it was full of people!
The lake in the middle of the main city park on our rainy arrival day.
The same view of the lake a few days later, when the sun was out. Between the Madrid Marathon, the good weather and the weekend, I would have sworn the city passed an ordinance saying no one was allowed to stay home!

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

We departed our ocean going transport early on Easter Sunday and made our way to our hotel in Barcelona. The hotel, located right on Las Ramblas, was in the heart of the tourist district. This proved to be a good base to wander the city. As our room was not ready, we left our bags and moseyed up Las Ramblas to see what was there. We came across the Hop on Hop off bus and bought a 2 day ticket. That way we could use day one to get the lay of the land and day two to see the major highlights.

One of many buildings designed by Barcelona’s favorite architect, Gaudy.
Just a really cool building!

The tour allowed us to figure out where various places were, what was walkable versus what wasn’t, and see what things were crowded by mid afternoon. One intriguing area, Montjuic, had a cable car, a castle, a park, the Olympic Stadium, and huge lines by 2 pm. So, we made a plan to be on the early bus and get off there, tomorrow! The plan worked, the cable car line had not really started, and the castle was not yet overrun when we got there the next morning.

The view from the cable car. It took a 90 degree turn half way to the top!
The view from the walls of the castle.
The port-cruise ships dock below us, the freight ships hang out. While shipping has been a major thing in Barcelona for hundreds of years, this port was built out in the last 200 years or so and is huge.

We enjoyed a variety of views from the castle and learned that it began as a look out station, but when the city was attacked the defenders were able to quickly fortify it from a land attack and it became a major player in up to, and including the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and World War II.

Plazas along the center square of the fort.
Vaulted ceiling leading in to the central square.
Pretty flowers blooming near where the moat was.

We took the cable car back down to the station, which is about half way up the mountain, and started to walk the rest of the way down. We entered a park and meandered along various paths, mostly just making sure we were going more down than up.

Lovely blooms on a pergola along the path.
Neat embellishments on the roof of a building being renovated along the path. And, a view of the city.
A view of the museum building.

Our goal was to reach the bottom of the path near a plaza with a large fountain so we could hop in the bus to head back closer to our hotel. As we did that, it became apparent the fountain was really part of a series of water features we would see in our trek down.

The fountain near the museum.
The cascading water at the next plaza.
More water at another plaza. Catalonia celebrates Easter Monday, it was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people enjoying the sights.
And, the fountain at the bottom.

We went to see La Segruda Familia, which is the building Gaudy devoted decades of his life to designing, and which continues to be constructed over 100 years after his death. There is a lot going on at the site, both visually and physically. It is worth looking the place up, and I am not up to the task of really explaining. We didn’t take a tour as the crowds were more than we wanted to interact with.

Each side of the building has different scenes and embellishments.
Part of Gaudy’s style incorporates nature themes and a variety of textures.
In part due to the lengthy construction process you can see how the stone has aged compared to the matching design on the more recently completed area.
There are many spires and each has a different top. Like I said, there is a lot going on on this building.

The beautiful weather of the first few days gave way to more cloudy skies and some rain, but we were able to see a fair amount on foot and took a morning to visit the Maritime museum. The museum is housed in a building that had been the Naval ship yard and in continuous use for 600 years. The displays were amazing and the building itself definitely worth the visit.

We walked through a large park in town and came across this impressive monument.
These sculptures were at every gate. I found the snails to be a nice feature.
The Arch de Triomp-we never did find out which triumph was being celebrated.
When we first saw this from the Hop on Hop off I wondered if it was a Roy Lichtenstein. When we were able to walk over and check it out we confirmed it was! We will now need to revisit the Lichtenstein at John Glenn International Airport when we get back to Columbus.
A replica of a Royal Galley at the Maritime Museum, but mostly the building.
Another angle of the Royal Galley and the building.

Spain! Málaga and Alicante, ports of call for our ship.

Each of these beautiful coastal cities likely deserves it’s own post, but since our behavior in each was so similar I worry that folks might get confused about which one they are reading!

The port in Malaga on the Costa del Sol. This area was developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s to be the “Florida of Spain.”

We made port in Málaga on the Thursday of Easter week and were warned to be aware of an Easter Procession that might impact how long it would take to make it back. The main procession was scheduled for 5 pm, but folks were already lining up near the port at 9 am, many of the main roads were closed and people were pouring in to the city center as Dan and I began our meandering exploration. We spotted a castle high on a hill overlooking town and headed that direction.

Lots of interesting buildings in town.
As we climbed higher we saw a variety of rooftops.

The city was bustling and had a very holiday vibe, even early in the day. We continued to climb on a nicely laid out path with several good places to stop and “enjoy the view” (take a break from the climbing). As we neared the top, we heard a marching band from below and noticed a grouping of boats near where the crowd had been gathering earlier. The many trees lining in the park that went along side the main street kept us from seeing the parade, but is was well attended!

The view from an overlook, we are not done climbing yet!

We arrived at the end of the trail and the signs said the castle was a twenty minute climb up the hill. Dan joked that we’d already made a big climb, so we might as well buy the combination ticket to see both the fort and the castle! We spent a fun 40 minutes or so poking around the stone fortifications, parade grounds and in the big hall looking at the armor and uniforms. We also took advantage of the small cafe to enjoy a really good lunch of a queso bocadillo, a small baguette type loaf of really good bread and delicious cheese melted on it.

The stonework everywhere in the city was nicely done.
This is the ceiling of a vaulted chamber about 3 stories high.t
The walls, they are high and about 4 feet wide.

After out lunch we felt energized enough to head the 20 minutes up hill to the castle! We started looking for the path to take, but it wasn’t very well marked. I took my little tourist map over to the security guard and asked how to get to the castle. She gave me a strange look and I was worried I might have to try in Spanish which wasn’t going to be much of an improvement. Then she pointed down the hill and said we should tour the fort next. Yep, we had no clue which big stone structure was which!

Back down the path we went. Sure was a lot easier than we anticipated! The fort was right in town, surrounded by a bustling neighborhood and overlooking a Roman Theatre archeological site. The Fort actually seemed a bit fancier and more livable than the castle.

Just some cool stuff in the fort.
One of several structures in the fort. It was home to an exhibit on an ancient method of pottery while we were there.
The stonework in the fort was more elaborate than what we saw in the castle.
The Roman Theatre, and the sidewalk there is part of the surrounding neighborhood.

During the day we heard and saw a few parrots, including several flying by with branches which seemed pretty big-the nests must be impressive!

A pair of parrots near the fort.

Alicante – another hilly walk up to the castle!

We landed in Alicante on Good Friday and there was going to be some big to do at the Cathedral, but apparently no traffic impacting processions.

From the port we could see a hilltop fortification and Dan has a theory about forts which means we usually visit. They always have a good view. So off we went to find a way up the hill. Walking along the beach we saw a large queue of folks taking over the sidewalk near where we thought the path began. Ugh, maybe the castle/fort is too popular. As we approached we found out it was to take the elevators to the castle. We put on our intrepid attitudes and kept walking.

The view of Alicante from the port. That’s the castle on top of the hill.

We followed some steep and winding streets, saw some stairs and a few other other tourists obviously trying to do the same as us. Finally one of the other folks started up the steps as if they knew the way so, with a shrug, we followed. The city has a nice park that is really just a well structured path with various plazas and resting places at the switchbacks that delivers you to the castle.

That’s where we’re headed! We are about half way up at this point

The castle was very crowded, but Dan was right, the views were amazing! There were several buildings still standing and the walls were still very protective!

Just outside the walls of the castle, some cool plants and a cat.
Some details in the castle.
One of the amazing views that made the climb well worth the effort.

As we worked our way back to the ship we ran in to a couple from Cornwall in the UK. As we stood chatting they mentioned they had made their way up to the castle the day before. They also had a crowd and the gentleman admitted that he had had his pocket picked while there. He had a good attitude about it though, he had lost some cash and had to cancel a credit card, but he “could still buy a drink” with the Euros left in his pocket. They also recommended the converted convent where they were staying and hoped we got as good a room as they did if we made it back there. Just another one of those lovely, random interactions that add something special to your travels.

Funchal, Madeira

Madeira is an island off of the coast of North Africa and is a self governing region of Portugal. It is also a really pretty place. There were spring flowers in bloom and lots of great views, especially if you went up the steep streets. You’ll have to trust me on the views, apparently I enjoyed them so much I didn’t take a photo.

A tower of flowers!
This street name appealed to me, the climb was not bad at all.

We had several fun retail experiences as we meandered through the streets of the main part of town. We stopped at one shop with lots of souvenirs and an older gentleman sitting near the front. I greeted him with “bom dia” (good morning) and looked around. There was a lot of stuff and most of it was very nice, but we are terrible tourists and seldom buy things. As I left, I said “obrigada!” (Thank you). He then began to tell me something he seemed to think I should know. Alas, I had to admit that my Portugese did not extend much past the meager greetings I had recently offered. He smiled, and told me we should check out the basement where we could taste Madeira, sweet cakes and chocolate. It was pretty early in the day, so we continued on our walk.

Many buildings had beautiful, whimsical, and interesting murals and other art.
More flowers at a little park.

As we worked our way through town we found a bustling two story market. Part of the reason it was bustling was there were two cruise ships in town and it was easily accessed from the port. In addition, the Easter holidays were underway so there were a lot of tourists enjoying the beautiful weather. It was a regular market that also catered to tourists and had an eclectic collection of items. One very enterprising salesperson plied us with samples of dried fruit, flowers, and nuts. She was pretty good at her job and we left with a bag of dried hibiscus flowers.

Dried Hibiscus.

After that, I convinced Dan to head back to the first little shop and try some of the fortified wine named for the island. I have always thought Madeira was a sweet wine, but it is a fortified wine, Port is another example of fortified wine, the fermentation is stopped and more alcohol is added. We got there, selected some postcards and an older woman, I assume the wife of the man from our earlier stop, counted them out and carefully wrote the total on a scrap of paper and pointed me to my friend from earlier. He collected our payment with a smile. We asked if the wine tasting was still happening and he sent us down with his lovely assistant.

The basement sales space, upstairs was very similar, but with more suff against the walls instead of all of wine that was down here.

She poured us tastes of both sweet and dry Madeira to compare. They were sufficiently enjoyable that we purchased a bottle of the dry. With no idea how to determine what we got, we are assuming it was a pretty middle of the road option. We will likely try some more in the future. There was also Madeira Cake. I asked what is was and the response was “like Christmas cake” which I took to mean fruit cake. I took a little slice and it was pretty yummy and a good fruitcake. It is also known as cane sugar syrup cake we learned later. Yes, we bought some chocolate, yes it was good.

Another view from the cellar with some of the dusty wine bottles behind the barrels. There was a wide array of wine stored down there, with Ports and Madeira going back many years.
Enough said.
Funchal, Madeira

Bermuda

We are taking a cruise ship to Europe. Repositioning cruises can be a bargain and are a fun way get somewhere. We like the slow aspect because it helps you understand how far you’re really going.

Our first port of call was Bermuda. We took the free boat ride from the port to the other end of the Island to see St. George. While we didn’t go up to the fort, we enjoyed walking around the area.

A lovely park.
This ruin is an unfinished church. It was mostly constructed by the late 1800’s, including the roof. It was abandoned by the congregation before it was ever in use. Alas, it was damaged in a storm in the 1920s. It sits toward the top of a hill and is visible from lots of places.
These gateposts are just another reminder of how long this area was a British Settlement, Since 1609, so a little over 400 years.

Unfortunately most of the museums here have not resumed regular hours; so I will have to learn about the history of the area, including the role Bermuda played in the US Civil War, some other time. As good a reason to return as any, I guess.

Regular followers of the blog know I like to post photos of random flowers we see. No, I have no idea what it is, if you find out please share in the comments!
One several parrot fish we saw near the warf. Yes, the water is that clear and the fish is even brighter!
Cuttlefish lined up in a row.

The people here are very nice! As Dan and I walked along a street we got into single file so the car coming at us would have plenty of room as the streets are pretty narrow. Then we realized we were crossing the drive to the lot they wanted to turn into. We gave the “sorry” wave and hustled along. They smiled and told us “you’re fine, have a great day in Bermuda!”

It was an overnight stop so we had a second day to explore the Royal Naval Dockyards which are the cruiseport. It includes an old fort which is now a museum. Learned about how Bermuda was “discovered” and how important it was for the British in maintaining their colonization in the US. Nothing on the Civil War though, so my excuse to return remains, phew!

Just a little decor near the prison cells.
The sheep were unexpected.

The fort was built primarily with convict labor as the British were very fond of this source of free labor. Even after outlawing prison labor in the 1850s, the Fort was still used as a prison of some sort through the Boer War which ended in 1902. The display on the use as a prison was very informative and included reports from both the people imprisonered there and the officers in charge. The difference in perspective was stark.

As we walked the grounds we came across some workers getting ready to move a cannon.
Phew! Made it, a mishap would have resulted in a very wet cannon and the need for a lot longer rope.

Heading out to Sea!

Having the time to travel by ship is one of the things we love about our life! We boarded the NCL Epic today and will spend the next two weeks working our way to Spain! We will be disconnected during most of that time, but the posts will resume once we leave the ship in mid-April!

The view of Manhattan from our stateroom while we’re in port.
Another view, this one from the pool deck.
One of the water slides. It won’t need to be too much warmer out for me to start thinking this is a good idea!
An interior view.
Home sweet home for the next 15 nights.

Hunting Lionfish and enjoying the waterfalls of Dominica

The divers were able to help with the scourge of Lionfish, a Pacific fish that is invasive in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Cousin Ann has been trained in “culling” them, and takes great delight in protecting the local fish and coral from them. Also, they are yummy! The hotel accepted her haul one day and made ceviche and fritters for us one night!

Ann, spearing a Lionfish!
Ann showing off her catch!
The Lionfish ceviche. I am not usually a fan of uncooked fish, but this spicy, tangy concoction was pretty good.

We went to dinner at the Jungle Bay Resort one night based on the recommendation of the dive boat team “they have amazing views of the sunset!” That was very true. The meal was good too. We all got the catch of the day and agreed it was a great choice after we enjoyed a cocktail and watched the sun set!

Going Down (photo credit to cousin Angel).
The colors after the sun dipped below the horizon.

We took a tour up to Trafalger Falls and the Titou Gorge on our last day. The falls are an impressive pair in the National Park and the walk to get to them is lovely!

This little guy was just hanging out on his leafy deck, soaking up some sun.
This plant is related to the banana plant.
Trafalgar Falls, did I mention the British claimed this Island? When they didn’t party too hard and lose battles to the French that is.
A wild orchid.

Titou Gorge is amazing! It is a very narrow Gorge with the falls about 100 meters upriver. To see the falls you swim through the Gorge! Yes, the water starts out pretty chilly, but it is so worth the effort.

The group swimming through the Gorge after we saw the waterfall. (Photo credit to our fun guide, Clem)

And, an underwater photo or two since this was a dive trip.

A shrimp hanging out with an anenome. (Photo credit to Angel)
Dan enjoying an underwater adventure! (Photo credit to Angel)

Beautiful Dominica

We have been pronouncing it wrong! It is dah min E ka, not doe MIN I ka.

Part of the sustainability plan for the new blog involves an easier process for posting photos. Most will be from my phone, not Dan’s camera, so sorry about that as he is a much better photographer. He will be providing photos though, so please don’t dispair.

This bright rainbow greeted us on our first morning!

The divers headed out on the first day and enjoyed a fun day underwater. The Fort Young hotel is perfectly situated on the water and the dive boat picked them up at the attached pier! I was able to watch the process from our balcony right above! The afternoon activity was a whale watching trip to try to spy some of the resident sperm whales. After over an hour of fruitless searching my amazing cousin Kelly let out a shout, grabbed her binoculars and got the boat to make a turn. We spotted our first sperm whale, a juvenile. Then, a little bit later, some more spouts were spotted and we came across two adult females. The took in some oxygen and prepared to take a deep dive.

Two Sperm Whale flukes! Photo credit to my other amazing cousin Ann!

Not to be out done, Dan and I saw some activity to port and we headed that way for a while without seeing any more whale signs. But then we came across a bunch of dolphins feeding on flying fish. There were even some spinner dolphins. They swam and jumped around the boat for quite a while. Then the crew broke out the juice and rum punch! When we reported what we saw to various locals their reaction made it clear we had a great day! Several advised us to purchase lottery tickets!

Just a little sample of the dolphins antics!

The next afternoon, we set out on a tour of parts of the island. Dominica is a volcanic island and has several peaks over 4,000 feet. The roads are narrow and take lots of tight turns, they were a British territory and drive on the other side of the road, so always “interesting” driving. We drove out to Scot’s Head to see where the Atlantic and Pacific meet and enjoy the amazing views. We also learned how French Settlers got the English soldiers stationed at a nearby fort drunk and spiked the cannons with sand so French troops from a nearby island could attack and take over.

The water on the left is the Caribbean and the water to the right is the Atlantic.

From there we wound our way up, and up to the rainforest toward Emerald Pool. We left the blue and sunny skies and got a rainy inland walk toward a lovely waterfall. Dan and I, always looking ahead to Adventures, had brought our rain coats but the cousins didn’t. Fortunately there were vendors at the park entrance who were able to supply Ann, Kelly, and Angel with coats to keep them dry.

We’re all so stylish and dry by the waterfall!
The lower part of the falls.
Alas, after some rain Emerald Pool is not quite as clear, but still lovely.
A fern waiting to unfurl.
A small splash of color in a verdant landscape.
For my friend from Ohio who posts so many photos of fungi-this made me think of you and smile!