A Travellerspoint blog

VISITING ONTARIO AND NEW YORK CITY, DEC 6,2012-JAN 9,2013

My second Christmas season with Heather in Oakville including a few side trips.

semi-overcast 3 °C

Once again I had a marvelous time with Heather visiting friends, eating out, entertaining at home, walking and talking. We went to dinner with The International Wine and Food Association in Toronto and attended the Rotary Christmas dinner. And we went to a concert in Toronto and a hockey game in Brampton. My great-grandson Ethan is the goalie on his team, his Dad Powin is the coach and his Mom Tanya along with his Grandfather Doug, Heather and I were his cheerleaders. And they won!

After the hockey game Heather and I went skating on the great skating path in a Brampton park and visited their museum. Not in any particular order we spent Christmas Eve with son Doug's family----wife Linda and all six kids and four grandkids as well as sons-in-law and a couple of girlfriends. Another emotional event for me. Then Christmas day we had Heather's daughter Briana and husband Rim as well as her other daughter Amelie for dinner. Spontaneously Heather invited three friends of Briana's and their father to join us which made for a very joyous meal. And went to Penetang to visit friends of Heather stopping en route to visit another friend in Creemore. While in Penetang I had a chance to ride Jane's Icelandic pony which was a thrill since I hadn't ridden in years.

But that wasn't all since we spent a week in NYC in Briana's apartment while she and Rim vacationed in Grand Cayman......what a deal! And this trip gave us the opportunity to visit and have lunch with my sisters-in-law Bev and Fran in St Catharines and Welland on the way. We went to three Broadway shows, had a terrific dinner out on New Year's Eve, walked across Brooklyn Bridge both ways and visited more friends in Old Greenwich. Of course we went to the Museum of Modern Art and this trip we also visited The Metropolitan Museum. Both were very busy but shouldn't be missed on a trip to New York.

Jan 13,2013 Added pictures taken by Heather Christmas Eve, at Ethan's hockey game and of me skating.

Tree cutting in Hillsburg, Ontario   2012

Tree cutting in Hillsburg, Ontario 2012

The house in which my Grandfather Williamson was born in 1879.      St Catharines, Ontario, Dec 2012

The house in which my Grandfather Williamson was born in 1879. St Catharines, Ontario, Dec 2012

Heather's house, Christmas, 2012

Heather's house, Christmas, 2012

Heather's house       Dec 2012

Heather's house Dec 2012

Riding Jane's Icelandic Pony, Penetang 2012

Riding Jane's Icelandic Pony, Penetang 2012

Kerrs' Boxing Day skating party.  2012

Kerrs' Boxing Day skating party. 2012

Kerrs' Boxing Day skating party, 2012

Kerrs' Boxing Day skating party, 2012

NYC January, 2013

NYC January, 2013

NYC January, 2013

NYC January, 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013

NYC January 2013


Son and Father at Ethan's Hockey Game  2012

Son and Father at Ethan's Hockey Game 2012

Ethan in goal  2012

Ethan in goal 2012

Christmas Eve  2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve 2012 #5

Christmas Eve 2012 #5

Christmas Eve 2012 #4

Christmas Eve 2012 #4

Christmas Eve 2012 #3

Christmas Eve 2012 #3

Brampton Ontario    2012

Brampton Ontario 2012

Posted by douglasw 12:39 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

VANCOUVER TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA ON MS OOSTERDAM

An 8000 nautical mile cruise with stops in Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia

sunny 28 °C

This cruise on Holland America Line was special since the ship crossed both the International Date Line and the equator. After five days at sea we spent a day in Hilo and a day in Honolulu before another five sea days until we arrived in Apea, Samoa.

While there we rented a cab and took a seven hour tour stopping to swim in an cave and then at a beach. The scenery is beautiful and the island is relatively unspoiled. Before returning to the ship we stopped at the home of Robert Louis Stevenson which has been perfectly maintained. He is revered by the people of Samoa for writing stories about their myths. Both here and in Tonga, our next stop after another sea day we found the local people gracious, helpful and very friendly.

In Tonga we kayaked to a small island for snorkeling and a beach lunch. I don't know the name of the island but apart from the restaurant it seemed virtually uninhabited. Tonga is the only south sea island to have never been colonized which sets it apart.

Then after two more days at sea we arrived at the French possession of New Caledonia. Our first day was at Easo, Lifou where the facilities are very basic but interesting. We took a cab to tour places of interest and walked up to a church high on a hill. Also we snorkeled in a little cove which some of our group thought was the best they had ever experienced. On this island the ship had to anchor and use life boats to ferry us to the rickety landing. Then our ship started dragging anchor and came within 50 feet of a bed of coral. It was the first time the Oosterdam had come to this island and the captain was on shore to receive some sort of plaque. But it all ended well and neither the ship nor the coral was damaged. The next day we docked in Noumea, New Caledonia and it was a shock to be in this modern resort. We did visit a great museum there, the Tjiabou Cultural Centre designed by Renzo Piano who also designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris, showing ancient village life of the original inhabitants.

Then another two days at sea and we sailed into Sydney harbour early in the morning. With a fire boat spraying and the sight of the Opera house, skyline and the famous bridge it was really a sight to behold.

We had a very busy couple of days in Sydney, attending the opera for Lucia di Lammermoor, walking through the Botanical Garden and going to the Art Gallery. Also we shopped and went to Darling Harbour where we visited the Aquarium and the Wild Life Park. So we saw what the Great Barrier Reef is like without travelling to Cairns and of course the Australian animals and snakes are unique to that continent. Then we took the ferry to Manly Beach where we had dinner on the beach and watched people surfing. Australia is a wonderful place to visit and we wished we had more time there. All of the following photos are courtesy of Heather Donaldson.

Leaving_Va..g_to_Sydney.jpgHeading_for_Australia.jpgHilo Hawaii    2011

Hilo Hawaii 2011

Honolulu   2012

Honolulu 2012

AT SEA

AT SEA

Daily workout aboard ship 2012

Daily workout aboard ship 2012

Our cabin MV Oosterdam 2012

Our cabin MV Oosterdam 2012

Our veranda MV Oosterdam 2012

Our veranda MV Oosterdam 2012

Crossing the equator   2012

Crossing the equator 2012

Samoa 2012   #2

Samoa 2012 #2

Samoa 2012  #3

Samoa 2012 #3

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Samoa 2012 #4

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Samoa 2012 #5

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Samoa 2012 #6

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Samoa 2012 #7

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Samoa 2012 #8

Samoa 2012 #9

Samoa 2012 #9

Samoa 2012 #10

Samoa 2012 #10

Samoa   2012

Samoa 2012

Robert Louis Stevenson's home  Samoa  2012.  #2

Robert Louis Stevenson's home Samoa 2012. #2

Robert Louis Stevenson's home  Samoa  2012

Robert Louis Stevenson's home Samoa 2012

Special dinner on MV Oosterdam 2012

Special dinner on MV Oosterdam 2012

En route to Australia       October 2012

En route to Australia October 2012

Graveyard   Tonga   2012

Graveyard Tonga 2012

Snorkeling in Tonga 2012

Snorkeling in Tonga 2012

Tonga 2012  #2

Tonga 2012 #2

Tonga 2012  #3

Tonga 2012 #3

Tonga 2012 #4

Tonga 2012 #4

Tonga 2012 #5

Tonga 2012 #5

Tonga   2012

Tonga 2012

New Caledonia  2012

New Caledonia 2012

New Caledonia  2012.jpg  #2

New Caledonia 2012.jpg #2

New Caledonia  2012.jpg  #5

New Caledonia 2012.jpg #5

Snorkeling in New Caledonia  2012

Snorkeling in New Caledonia 2012

Snorkeling in New Caledonia  2012.jpg #2

Snorkeling in New Caledonia 2012.jpg #2

Arriving in Sydney  2012

Arriving in Sydney 2012

Arriving in Sydney  2012.jpg #2

Arriving in Sydney 2012.jpg #2

On Mrs MacQuarrie's chair Sydney 2012

On Mrs MacQuarrie's chair Sydney 2012

Sydney 2012

Sydney 2012

Sydney Art Gallery 2012

Sydney Art Gallery 2012

Visiting Manly Beach, Sydney 2012

Visiting Manly Beach, Sydney 2012

Posted by douglasw 21:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

SIZZLING SUMMER----AUGUST 15-SEPTEMBER 30, 2012

Including a cruise to Alaska

all seasons in one day

Heather arrived August 15th and her son Tait, his wife Sego and their daughter Leopoldine came from Austria on the 17th for two weeks. Briana, Heather's daughter also came from NYC for a week. Because Heather has two sisters in BC as well as two sisters-in law in Vancouver they had great places to stay and we all had many happy get-togethers.

After her children left we visited her sister Janet on Vancouver Island, swam regularly at Sunset beach near my apartment, walked and cycled, ate out and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves before cruising from Vancouver through the Inside Passage to Alaska. I highly recommend this trip which included visits to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan as well as a day cruising in Glacier Bay. We went whale watching and rode on a narrow gauge railway along the same trail prospectors took heading for the Yukon over 100 years ago. When we returned from Alaska Heather attended three days of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of graduating from high school. My car has the same colors as her school and her old classmates had fun pretending to get in it.

Visiting Sooke Aug 2012(Heather's sister Janet and partner Bob)

Visiting Sooke Aug 2012(Heather's sister Janet and partner Bob)

Summer, 2012 019

Summer, 2012 019

Summer, 2012 017

Summer, 2012 017

Summer, 2012 015

Summer, 2012 015

Summer, 2012 014

Summer, 2012 014

Summer, 2012 013

Summer, 2012 013

Summer, 2012 011

Summer, 2012 011

More family pics August 2012

More family pics August 2012

Heather, Briana, Tait, Sego and Leo Aug 2012

Heather, Briana, Tait, Sego and Leo Aug 2012

Heather's High School Graduating Class

Heather's High School Graduating Class

Heather's 1962 High School  Reunion

Heather's 1962 High School Reunion

Heather and family Aug 2012

Heather and family Aug 2012

Comox, 2012

Comox, 2012

Alaska Cruise #8

Alaska Cruise #8

Alaska Cruise  2012 #11

Alaska Cruise 2012 #11

Alaska Cruise  2012 #10

Alaska Cruise 2012 #10

Alaska Cruise  2012 #9

Alaska Cruise 2012 #9

Alaska Cruise 2012 #7

Alaska Cruise 2012 #7

Alaska Cruise 2012 #6

Alaska Cruise 2012 #6

Alaska Cruise 2012 #5

Alaska Cruise 2012 #5

Alaska Cruise 2012 #4

Alaska Cruise 2012 #4

Alaska Cruise 2012 #3 pg

Alaska Cruise 2012 #3 pg

Alaska Cruise 2012 #2 pg

Alaska Cruise 2012 #2 pg

Alaska Cruise 2012 #1

Alaska Cruise 2012 #1

Posted by douglasw 11:09 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

ONTARIO AND QUEBEC JUNE 14-JULY 14, 2012

Oakville,Toronto, Pt Weller, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratford, Rice Lake, Peterborough and Montreal with a stop in Kingston too.

sunny -33 °C

First stop on this trip was Oakville......a reasonable thing considering the only reason for going was to spend time with Heather. I bought a bike to leave there and joined the Y so I could have my regular swim and work out. So we cycled, walked and ate out and in. There were many highlights including dinner with The International Wine and Food Association and hors d'oeuvres or canapes while listening to The Oakville Chamber Orchestra. Both these events were in the backyards (only what magnificent yards they are) of splendid homes. I cycled with granddaughter Shannon, her husband Kyle and their son and daughter, Spencer and Riley then we met Heather who had volunteered to work at the Rotary Ribfest where we all had our share.

In Toronto Heather and I went to a Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, attended the annual Pride Parade including a bar-be-cue in Cabbagetown with friends of a couple who were staying at Heather's bed and breakfast and who came to Toronto especially for the parade. I took the GO train from Oakville to take in a Bluejays game with son Doug and his grandsons Justin and Ethan. And what a dinner we had before the game! Heather and I went to a family bar-be-cue at Linda and Doug's place with most of their family. Doug and I went up to Muskoka one day to take grandson Cameron to join his brothers at a camp and saw Chris and Geoff who couldn't get down for the bar-be-cue. Then on another day Doug and I had lunch on the top floor of the TD tower.

This was a trip for refreshing old memories too and we went to the Port Weller lighthouse which my parents ran for 25 years. I hadn't seen it since they retired in 1970. It's now a Coast Guard station and we were made very welcome. Then we went on to Niagara-on-the Lake to the Shaw Festival theatre to see a Noel Coward play. Another day we drove to Stratford to see Shakespeare's Henry The Fifth. Both of these plays were terrific .

We next spent three days at Heather's friend Jan's cottage on an island in Rice Lake. She is a relaxed and great hostess and we thoroughly enjoyed the company, food and swimming. I even took the kayak out. Then we stayed in Peterborough with another of Heather's friends and saw the famous lift lock. Also we had dinner in Fenelon Falls where I had vacationed with my Mom and her parents when I was 10. Next it was off to Montreal where we rented bikes and visited both Westmount and Dollard Des Ormeaux where we had lived (but not together) many long years ago. We also joined in a student march protesting increased tuition. But perhaps the highlight of our visit was two extraordinary dinners in Old Montreal where we attended the Cirque du Soleil whose tents were on one of the piers. On the way back to Oakville we stopped in Kingston to visit one of Heather's oldest friends. They have been close since grade one. So it was time for me to return to Vancouver where I am looking forward to Heather's arrival in August.

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Posted by douglasw 17:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE APRIL 1-28, 2012

Another four weeks at Institut de Francais with ten days in Oakville en route

sunny 15 °C

After a great time in Oakville including some gardening, winery visits, a trip to Edwards' Gardens for a rhododendron show and a gourmet dinner with the International Wine and Food Society we headed for France and hopefully benefited from all the hard work there. I won't repeat what I've already covered on previous sessions but we managed two interesting day-trips by train. The first to Tende wound back and forth through mountains between Italy and France. The scenery was delightful and we visited the Musee des Merveilles in Tende which has petroglyphs from the area. The second trip was to Digne along the valley of the Var river. It was spectacular but it was a long (too long) day. We would have enjoyed it more if we had stayed over-night before heading back. Overall we had a marvellous time and when I came home Heather visited her son Tait, daughter-in-law Sego and granddaughter Leopoldine in Salzburg before joining me here in Vancouver for a couple of weeks before returning to Oakville.

VILLEFRANCHE    2012 035

VILLEFRANCHE 2012 035

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 032

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 030

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 028

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 026

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 020

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VILLEFRANCHE 2012 005

VILLEFRANCHE    2012 003

VILLEFRANCHE 2012 003


Classmates, Institut de Francais    April, 2012

Classmates, Institut de Francais April, 2012

large_Where_we_connected_.jpgVillefranche   #10  April, 2012

Villefranche #10 April, 2012

7Villefranc..l__2012.jpgVillefranche   #9    April, 2012

Villefranche #9 April, 2012

Villefranche   #8 April, 2012

Villefranche #8 April, 2012

Villefranche   #7 April, 2012

Villefranche #7 April, 2012

Villefranche   #6 April, 2012

Villefranche #6 April, 2012

Villefranche   #5 April, 2012

Villefranche #5 April, 2012

Tende, France, 2012

Tende, France, 2012

Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 2012

Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 2012

Nice, France,   2012

Nice, France, 2012

Institut de Francais,  April 2012

Institut de Francais, April 2012

Institut de Francais    #2 April,2012

Institut de Francais #2 April,2012

En route to Digne Les Bains   2012

En route to Digne Les Bains 2012

Edward's Gardens, Toronto,  2012

Edward's Gardens, Toronto, 2012

Cap Ferrat  2012

Cap Ferrat 2012

Posted by douglasw 10:08 Archived in France Comments (0)

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