Before I go on with a commentary about exploring the great and historic city of Lisbon, I have to comment on our accommodation at the Hotel Portugal. It is located in the Bairro Alta district near the Chiado shopping area. We were very happy with the location of our hotel and it provided a very convenient base for walking tours. However, one of the most unique things about the refurbished hotel was the television in our room.

I have never before seen a television in a large circular mirror on the wall.

On our first full day in Lisbon, we did what we often do when visiting a city for the first time. We took some local tours to get the lay of the land (thanks Mike) and to try to scope out attractions and interesting sites for further exploration.

Our first excursion was on one of the old trolleys that ply the city. This one was operated by Yellow Bus Tours.

Lisbon is a vibrant city, both steeped in history and very much the modern capital of Portugal. For us, learning more about Lisbon’s rich history as a world powerhouse and exploration leader in the 15th Century was high on our agenda during our short stay.

For those of us who remember our history lessons in school, names like Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco da Gama are familiar. Lisbon is rich with historical references for those who wish to learn more about when Portugal was at the forefront of global exploration.

During our two day exploration, we visited the Praça do Comércio on the waterfront of the Tagus estuary, near the location from where these historic voyages set sail and returned with riches from around the world.

(For a short video scan of this plaza click on this link and make sure to expand the screen to get the best view.)

One of the most striking things about the urban architecture of Lisbon is the extensive use of tile in the construction of pedestrian byways and buildings.

Following a day of walking and riding around the city, we stopped at Restaurante Figus for some liquid sustenance and tapas.

More exploration of Lisbon to come on Day 7.

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On day four we struck out on our own to visit the city of Arles which is south-west from Avignon, about a one hour drive away. While we had rented a nice vehicle in Avignon a couple of days earlier and we were given a Garmin by Hugh, I had forgotten how many roundabouts there were in France. To make matters worse, we did the drive in a major thunderstorm. That was unusual weather for that part of the country at that time of year.

Arles is a city, like many others in France, that is steeped in tradition and has seen multiple political and religious regimes. (Click on this link to see some of the history courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Our purpose in heading to Arles was to see a major photographic and art exhibit and ironically because it was raining so hard we did not take any exterior shots. We did take some photos inside the exhibit space but you can see them in this attached link to the Rencontres d’Arles. This year one of the featured photographers was Walker Evans, a prominent American photographer whose pictures of the depression era are considered iconic. Later in his career, he was a staff writer for Time magazine and editor at Fortune magazine.

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Many of the other installations were very avant-garde and challenging to the viewer. All in all it was a rainy day well spent.

Later that day we joined our friends Hugh and Margo for another stellar meal, this time at Auberge des Carrieres in Taillades. The menu was varied, the wine cellar vast and the company superb.

On to Portugal tomorrow.

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It is our last day visiting our good friends Hugh and Margo at their beautiful home in Provence. We leave for Lisbon this afternoon and in one sense we are a little sad to go. On the other hand, we are keen to set out on our own on a new adventure.

Naturally, we had to spend a long lunch with our friends at an outdoor cafe in L’Isle Sur-la-Sorgue. This is a gem of a town with an amazing history.

The small town of L’Isle Sur-la-Sorgue is famous for its many antique shops and hosts antique markets most Sundays. It has many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Its many attractive water wheels throughout the town are still in working order.

Lunch was fun, but now it was time to go to Marseille to board a plane for Lisbon.


We arrived at the airport in Marseille on time but unfortunately, our plane did not.

There was a two-hour delay in departure and unfortunately, this meant that we arrived at the airport in Lisbon at almost 10 p.m. We recovered our baggage and then after some delay we got a cab to our hotel in the Castillo area of Lisbon. This is one of the older neighbourhoods in the city and it is steeped in Moorish influence. We chose this area on account of it’s historical and architectural significance and because it was great for walking around.

We arrived at the Hotel Portugal and don’t you know it, the bar was still open. After a couple of glasses of wine we retired and looked forward to our adventure tomorrow.

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Some random photos of the market.

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On our arrival in Avignon in the south of France we were met at the train station by our good friend Hugh. We rented a car and then followed him east to his beautiful home in the country west of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Hugh and his wife Margo have lived in Europe for about 20 years. Their home is situated in a rural setting surrounded by olive groves and fruit orchards. Vera and I thoroughly enjoyed their warm hospitality and local knowledge.

During our stay the temperature in Provence during the day was 25 – 30 degrees Celsius and the nights would cool down to about 16 degrees. We noticed that the winds were strong but my friend Hugh said that they were not yet the typical Mistral winds that blow out of the Rhone River valley.

On the day following our arrival, Hugh took us to a market in the town of Saint Remy-de-Provence. Weekly local markets are a staple in Provence, providing the locals with the much need daily staples of food and produce. As well they are a significant draw for tourists like us who can gain some insight into local customs and lifestyle. On the day we visited the market was very crowded, even though technically the summer tourist season had passed.

More on the market in the next installment.

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Picking up after we landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris we gathered up our baggage and started across the terminal to the attached Train Grand Vitesse (TGV) station to catch our train to Avignon in the south of France.

Imagine our surprise when we found out that Peter had mistakenly made the reservations from Gare de Lyon in downtown Paris and that we would have to take the metro train from de Gaulle into Paris to catch the TGV. We had a window of about two and a half hours to do this. Neither of us speaks French and therefore we had to rely on the kindness of strangers and the very helpful Metro information services. We bought our tickets, had to switch trains once, switch lines once and then find the departure point at Gare de Lyon for our TGV train to Avignon.

Thankfully we managed to do all this and locate our proper train in time.

The departure halls at Gare de Lyon were amazing; very large and remarkably laid out for efficiency once you know the system. There are high-speed trains leaving from Paris to many points in France. Travel by car from Paris to Avignon in the Provence Region of France can take about six hours and thirty minutes. The modern re-designed TGV’s have a top speed of 320 KPH and are incredibly smooth riding. Our train ran non-stop from Paris to Avignon and took about two hours and forty minutes!

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And it started out so well…

Convenient long-term parking at Jet Set at the Vancouver Airport.

a late brunch in one of the lounges at YVR then at 12:45 p.m. departure Vancouver to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Not bad service and the upgrade to Premium Economy was well worth the added expense. Larger seats, more attentive service and more leg room – what’s not to like. And – we arrived 30 minutes early in Paris.

I saw this little man pushing this rolling case by himself. I could not resist.

But then the real adventure began…

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On the road again, this time to the end of the road — literally!

Lund sits at Mile 0 on Highway 101.  Locally the highway is know as the Sunshine Coast Highway.  It is two ferry rides north of the Lower Mainland Region of British Columbia.


The Sunshine Coast Highway is part of the world’s longest highway, the Pan-American (also named Highway 101 in parts of the United States and Canada), and it stretches 9,312 miles (15,020 km) from Castro on Chile’s south coast to Lund on BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Our travels took us by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Langdale on the Sechelt Penninsula.  From there we travelled north through Gibsons and Sechelt to Earls Cove on the Jarvis Inlet. We then sailed across the inlet to Saltery Bay and got back on Highway 101.

We stopped for lunch at Powell River at Coastal Cookery.  This bistro has been around since 2016 and offers west coast style cuisine, local craft beer (recommended) and friendly, efficient service.  We sat outside on the back deck and looked out over the Strait of Georgia toward Vancouver Island.

Our light meal of crispy won tons,


and lightly battered calamari and sliced jalapeño peppers was just the ticket.


The craft beer from Townsite Brewing was the perfect compliment.


Following lunch we took to the road for the final drive to Lund.

On our arrival in Lund we stopped in at Pollen Sweaters to drop of a sweater that had been purchased many years ago. It was in need of repair to the elbows and cuffs. This was cheerfully done and returned to us two days later for a charge of $5. We should have expected this level of service from the folks at Pollen. They offer a great product and are reasonable in repairing their garments.

We had booked accommodation at the Lund Seaside Inn so we contacted the proprietor Gord.

[To be continued in the next instalment.]

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Yes, that’s bacon!

Almost ready…


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Looking forward to having our family dinner early this year.

For the first time it will be at the home of one of our children.  This marks a transition for our family.

This will be part of our contribution.

and this

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