Saturday, October 31, 2020


 September 29, 2018

On our second day in Ontario we drove along the Bruce Peninsula. Toronto, our starting point (marked with a red oval below), is on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Bruce Peninsula (the red pin on the map) pokes out into the Canadian portion of Lake Huron, almost dividing that lake into two parts.

At the far northern end of the peninsula lies Bruce Peninsula National Park, shown on the map from Wikipedia below. Covering 60 square miles, it forms the core of UNESCO's Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. (That's a totally new UNESCO category for me.)

But first, we had a drive of about 290 miles to get there, and like just about every road trip we've ever taken, there was a lot to see along the way.

This was a definite first for us. We've never seen a turtle crossing sign before.
Bruce Peninsula

Thursday, October 29, 2020


September 28, 2018

(NOTE: The only advantage of not being able to travel because of the COVID pandemic is that it gives me some space to go back and catch up on recording some of our previous travels that I had not been able to get to. This is one such trip.)

In September 2018 Bob had a Friday business meeting in Toronto, Canada. I wanted to go along, so we decided to add an extra day, then fly home on Sunday. We took a red-eye flight from LAX to Toronto, arriving at 6:46 am. We had time to check into our hotel and shower before heading to Bob's meeting, which was held at Trinity College, part of the University of Toronto.

While Bob was in his meeting, I had a couple of hours to wander around. I started by going off the campus to see what was nearby. 

1. The Church of the Redeemer is an Anglican Church that was built in 1879. Sadly, the church administration had to sell of some of its land in the 1980s, and a massive Four Seasons Hotel was built on the property. However, the money from the sale allowed the church to remain solvent and to complete necessary renovations.
The Church of the Redeemer

The Church of the Redeemer

It doesn't have a particularly spectacular interior, but it does have some really beautiful stained glass windows. They were gifts to the church during the early 20th century.
The Church of the Redeemer

The central window behind the altar depicts Christ on the Road to Emmaus.
The Church of the Redeemer

These are the windows on either side of the above window. They show scenes from the life of Christ and parables: Christ and the children, Christ in the house of Mary and Martha, and the Good Samaritan.
The Church of the Redeemer

Saturday, October 24, 2020


March 19, 2018

Well, all good things trips do actually have to come to an end, and we were at the end of a glorious Mexican viaje. On our last morning in Mexico City, we had time to eat one more incredible breakfast, this time at Casino Español. I can't get enough of the chocolate milk in Mexico, and the fruit plate was fresh and yummy (even the papaya, which I am trying to make myself like, wasn't too bad).

I had an egg, beef steak, nopales (cactus), and beans:

Bob had red chilaquiles with a beef steak:

Thursday, October 22, 2020


 March 18, 2018

Unlike many of the tourist spots of inland Mexico, the city of Puebla was not built on the ruins of an indigenous settlement. Instead, the conquering Spaniards decided to build a "modern" city 9 miles east of Cholula. It was founded in 1531, which I guess is much more modern than when Cholula was founded roughly 2,000 years earlier. 

The original site of Puebla kept getting flooded, so most of the settlers moved to higher ground within a few years. Within about 70 years, the city comprised 120 blocks and a partially-constructed cathedral.

In 1987, the historic city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Puebla is a wonderful walking city with lots to look at in the old town area. 

The Museum of the Revolution was once the home of  the Serdán family, who opposed the "re-election" of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz and supported the revolution led by Francisco Madero. A raid was carried out on this house on November 18, 1910. After more than three hours of gunfire between the members of the household and 500 soldiers, almost all of the revolutionaries inside the house were dead.  This event is considered the start of the Mexican Revolution. The bullet holes from the exchange still pepper the exterior walls.  
Museum of the Revolution

A huge carved head of Aquiles Serdán Alatriste, the owner of the home and one of the murdered revolutionaries, sits on a pedestal in the entryway.
Museum of the Revolution, Aquiles Serdan

I include a photo of another beautiful building, the Museo Casa del Alfẽnique, because it is named after the Mexican version of marzipan--alfẽnique. It is an 18th century home built in a style characterized by over-the-top stucco ornamentation. Today it is a museum that celebrates Mexican culture and heritage. (Shouldn't it be a candy museum?)
Museo Casa del Alfenique

I love the vibrant colors and crisp details of the Puebla buildings.

Saturday, October 10, 2020


 March 18, 2018

Our last day with our guide Arnold Pedroza in Mexico was very full. The map below shows our starting point, Mexico City, on the left. The two black circles mark the two Volcanos Popo and Ixta (which we had already visited), and the three red circles on the bottom right are our three destinations of the day: Huejotzingo, Cholula, and Puebla.

Our first stop was Huejotzingo (see my last post), so our next stop was Cholula, population 120,000. Arnold told us it is the oldest still-inhabited city in the Americas, having been populated since the 2nd century BC. 

It is said that Cholula has 365 churches, one for every day of the year or, alternately, one for every pre-Hispanic temple that used to be in the area. The truth is there are only a tenth that many churches--37 (or 159 if you want to be generous and include all the small chapels on the local haciendas). 

There were two main sites we were interested in: The San Gabriel Franciscan Monastery and the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies) Church.  

We started at San Gabriel, built in the 1540s on top of a destroyed temple to Quetzalcoatl. The atrium, aka courtyard, enclosed by the monastery walls is huge.
San Gabriel Monastery

There were several vendors set up in the atrium, and we (okay, I) couldn't resist this frothy cold cacao milk. Notice that there are TWO straws. It was so good that later on I bought a molinillo, or a hand-carved tool used to create the froth, hoping to duplicate this drink at home. 

Two churches are part of the monastery. The Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) was built in the 17th century, replacing the original chapel built here in 1540. I loved the brilliant gold color of this and the other churches we saw in Cholula.
Capilla Real