Hiking: Owl’s Head

More hiking was set for us on that week of staycation we had. With a little research, we found our second location which is rather nearby to Montreal also at a offseason ski resort, Owl’s Head. I’ve only ever heard of it before. Owl’s Head, just like most ski locations but hiking spots in the summer/fall, are really another type of beast. They have some designated paths but mostly, its a free walk uphill. Owl’s Head was no different. In fact, the trek up was pretty intense. it was incredibly steep and pretty tiring for such a short walk. We didn’t make it all the way but we did get almost there except for a winding path that went up to a booth or ski station or something. However, the view along the way opened up over a lake and with the leaves changing colors, it was really breathtaking.

Here are some shots of what we saw. It gives an idea of how steep it was and also the views we saw. On our way down, we actually encountered a cute little fellow and I took a little video of it.

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

And for our little porcupine encounter. This porcupine is definitely not full grown but then I’m not a porcupine expert. It was adorable as heck as it walked around forward and in circles and forward more and then went up the hill. It was a slightly windy day so sorry about all the windy  noises.

A lovely  little location for a short but challenging hike. It was getting cooler that day and on the hills near where we saw the porcupine, there was frost forming on the grass. Still, we enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes, hiking can really get to us and we want to give up but when we turn around and see all the natural beauty around us, it gets us all pumped up again to go higher and makes it all worth it!

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End of Cruise & Last Day in Seattle!

The Alaska Cruise lands on the Day 10 where basically its breakfast and scurrying off the boat with our luggage. We had packed light so we just needed to carry everything in one shot without having to wait.

We took a final walk around the ship before leaving and took a lovely farewell shot of Seattle.

Seattle

Our only stop scheduled before our evening flight back home was to the Museum of Glass.  Remember where I went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass on the day before boarding the cruise ship HERE? Well, this is where all the art work happens.  Its supposed to be a highlight location.  At a certain time, they open for the workshop to show how they make certain pieces of art.  We sat there for a good bit of time looking at them craft a whale tail and this other piece which I can’t even remember what it was.

Museum of Glass

Museum of Glass Settle

The rest of the museum featured works from certain programs they have.  One of them was for kids creative pieces that they adapted into these glass works. And there were other art designs and forms from Mr. Chihuly himself.  It was a colorful adventure to say the least.

Museum of Glass Seattle

Museum of Glass Seattle

Museum of Glass Seattle

Museum of Glass Seattle

The Museum of Glass is a little dark so a lot of pictures didn’t turn out great.  Here are the selected ones that were rather decent. Its some nice work.  Some are rather abstract but I think the glass designs are really beautiful and intricate. The detail on them is just amazing.

Onward to the airport and heading home afterwards.  We took a little plane what some would call air taxi over to Vancouver and had  a little layover before heading back home to Montreal on a red eye flight.  I’m not a huge fan of red eye flights and I think I did get a few movies watched as well but I did catch a shut eye for two hours or so.  At least I had a few days off when I got home so as usual, I would just pass out from minor jet lag and just the adrenaline rush of vacation leaving my system and getting back to my normal life 😉

Recap on the first cruise

Cruises are really fun.  I’m not going to lie though.  The first two to three days of the cruise were so tough. It was being trapped in a boat with my mom and her elderly friends.  They are super nice but would also feel a lack of freedom until I found a way to just walk off and do my own thing.  However, as the cruise went by and a certain routine set in, it was really fun to board and see a lovely city and explore, take pictures and all that great stuff.  The cruise helped instill some good habits because of the boredom and the evenings were always something I’d look forward to because there were shows and events and music.  The food was also pretty decent even in the buffet, it had really great choices.  The free dining options were very accommodating and that is always a plus.  There is a feeling of being pampered on a cruise.  Someone cooks and cleans for you.  Its uber relaxed and there’s just so much time to lounge around.  That is good and bad.  For the most part, I didn’t have to make any decisions and it was just all set out and eventually that was very nice.  It may have taken me a few days to adapt to the cruise life but there is no doubt that at the end of it, I did miss it quite a bit.  Reality is awesome, being home is great but feeling relaxed and pampered and being able to have time to do everything I wanted, have a night life, meet new people also was really fun.  That’s the great thing about vacation, right?  That is why I love it so much.  If it was my everyday, it would sound good but I’m guessing I’d probably grow tired of it.  Cruising is a good way to travel and its definitely something that should be experienced.  It definitely has its perks. However, there is no doubt that when the bill came in, being on a cruise is a luxurious way to travel. Everything is pretty pricey and there’s the daily service fee charges and while its all inclusive, many activities do cost money, especially shore excursions.  Plus, next time I’d get a beverage package because that would be more cost efficient as well.  You pay with a swipe of your room key and your life is basically  there for whatever days you have the trip. Still, I’d do another cruise if I had the money 😉

Have you gone a cruise before? Did you enjoy your experience? 

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 8&9]: At Sea and Victoria, Canada

We’re nearing the end of the cruise here.  Victoria is the last stop before we board back in Seattle and have a half day before our flight to wander around.

Day 8 At Sea

Day 8 was back on the boat.  The night before all the way to mid day of Day 8 at sea, the tides were ridiculous.  The ship rocked like crazy. I didn’t end up eating a lot for breakfast or lunch but still more than the previous days since not eating is not really something that lasts too long.  Especially since I was working out a whole lot along with a lot of walking during the shore excursions and around the boat to fill up time. Day 8 at sea was the final bit.  It was the goodbyes because some people departed in Victoria (mostly Canadians living on the West coast) and there was a ton of farewells at dinner and for the last show.  During the day, I enjoyed some of the nice weather and did one more time of the hot tubs and went to workout two times.  I remember those days since I rarely do that back at home 😉 Oh and to not focus on the rocking ship in the morning, we played a bit of mahjong. I was literally tracked down at the gym at the beginning of my workout and asked to join in their mahjong game. It was kind of funny.

We had our last dinner on the cruise over at the Tsar’s Palace.

My mom and I also dressed up a little so that we could take some pictures with the professional photographers to keep some memories. Unfortunately, I think there’s like some copyright thing that I can’t post that up or whatever so just to be safe, I’ll keep it for my own decoration. We did take some nice pictures around the ship.

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Day 9 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

This trip seems a whole lot going in and out of Canada and then finally landing back home in Canada of course. It was one of the things that had us baffled with all the going in and out of borders of what to put on our customs papers when we were leaving.  Either way, I’ve been to Victoria before on a bus tour with my mom back in 2009 (or so). This time, I really wanted to meet up with one of my friends who moved out here.  Crazy thing is that my phone’s battery decided to die on that same day.  When we landed, I frantically went searching for a Fido store but I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 so of course, no replacement batteries anymore since everyone’s using the S4 or S5.  I did manage to write down her number before the phone died completely and borrowed the phone there. Stressful and crazy, yes. At least, the phone worked when it was on charge so I was able to contact the fiance when I got to the airport the next day give him the landing info again. But, we’re not there yet.

I did meet up with my friend and her and her husband took us to Butchart Gardens for a nice walk to see the different flowers of ending of Spring heading  almost into summer flowers.  If you haven’t been to Butchart Gardens, that place is gorgeous.  We were in between seasons and the flowers were great but still, its designed so well.

We had dinner afterwards at the Victoria harbor area at this cute little restaurant called The Flying Otter Grill. That place had great service and some really good food. It also felt good to not be eating on the ship and be with friends.

After that we took a walk around the area and took some pics along the harbor and the legislative building before having them drive us back to where the port for where cruise ships are.

Victoria

Victoria

And with that, we’re back on the ship and packing up and prepping for disembarkment tomorrow in Seattle the next morning! 🙂

A beautiful cruise comes to an end!

**I’ll be doing a little recap and feelings about the first cruise experience with the next week’s post along with the half day at Seattle.**

Have you been to Victoria, BC? How about Butchart Gardens?

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 7]: Icy Point Strait, Alaska

We’re almost nearing the end of the vacation.  Second last stop before we arrive back in Seattle and finish off that half of a day before going home.  But, let’s not jump ahead too much. These vacation posts are in delay and I did do a few little day trips afterwards so I’ll be probably posting about those after this series 🙂

After a beautiful day in Glacier Bay National Park, we arrived early morning at Icy Point Strait, which seems like a little island.  We didn’t have any shore excursions for this one so we just wanted to do a walk around the island and explore. For the first time, we needed to get a ticket sort of thing and have a shuttle boat or whatever you call those things get us from the cruise ship to the shore.  New experiences, right?

Right when our boat was about to head to shore, a whale popped up right in front of it. Obviously, it was a split second deal so my eyes captured it and not my camera.  Throughout that day, it was fabulous weather in Icy Point Strait and the island had a little trail that we took a walk around and then just explored the little museum area.

Along the waterside, I took a ton of close-up shots of shells, waves, stones, seaweed.  Stuff that doesn’t matter but I really like taking close-up shots and thing finding focus and adjusting what is the key of the photo and whatnot. That’s just the learning photographer side of me.  Here’s just a few selected ones that I thought was pretty good.

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

We ended up going back to the cruise ship relatively early and having some time to finally enjoy some time in the hot tubs with my mom.  While I was reluctant and first to do it at first, it was remarkably comfortable and relaxing.  Plus, from where we were, we could see humpback whales playing in the water everywhere.  It was pure awesomeness! We didn’t get any whale watching shore excursions but we still got to see it as a bonus 😉

Icy Point Strait

It was a great day.  The next one would be spent at sea before we head on board back in Canada at Victoria, British Columbia.  I have a friend that moved out there so I was pretty excited to meet up with her.

Drop by next week to see the post on Victoria, BC 🙂

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 6]: Glacier Bay National Park

We’re at Day 6 everyone! Glacier Bay National Park is possibly the most anticipated in this whole trip.  We get to see glaciers and on top of that, we got fantastic sunny weather.  It was a little chilly in the morning and I had to get into a few layers since I was stupid and brought a ton of t-shirts and a sweater, fall scarf and a zip-up cardigan.  What can I say? I ended up doing a tank top, t-shirt, sweater, cardigan and scarf mix to accommodate the weather which I eventually took off the sweater by midday because it started heating up.  It may sound like a lot but I was in my 3/4 yoga pants since I was going to do workout and whatnot.  Still, we ended up running from the sun deck to the front of the ship that they opened up specifically for this area to take pictures and whatnot.

Glacier Bay National Park

It was breathtaking! And, we heard the glacier shift.  It was super far away and I barely saw it because I’m height challenged but it was this gigantic sound that just echoed in the wilderness.

This post, nothing much happens since we had fabulous weather and basically went in, did a turn and the captain took us for another turn because it was just so smooth.  Bonus on the trip, always a great thing 😉

So, here we go! Some of the best shots that I took 🙂

If any of the shore excursions didn’t work for anyone, I’m positive that this was worth full ticket price. We were surrounded by some of the most pure and breathtaking scenery that I’ve ever seen.  I may have grown up surrounded by snow in Montreal where its 6 months of the year in winter but nothing quite beats that moment where I heard the glacier crack and saw the ice in the water and the sun and landscape reflecting on the beautiful water.  That feeling..I just can’t even describe! 🙂

For the rest of the day, we pretty much traveled back into non-snowy areas, heading for Icy Point Strait. I don’t have much pictures for the rest of the day.  I probably saw a show, ate at the buffet because I was super tired of overeating, and working out like a beast like the rest of the trip before that.  There was always a show in the evenings at the lounge and I’d sometimes see people I met there from previous days.  Cruise life can be pretty routine as well but just so relaxing! 🙂

That’s it for Day 6! Check back next week for Day 7 at Icy Point Strait! 🙂

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 5]: Skagway, Alaska

At this point in the cruise, I’m thinking that its going really fast.  Look at this, Day 5 already.  I’m also thinking that I’m super tired because the night before I slept late chatting with some acquaintances and then woke up early to get on a specific time for the Skagway shore excursions. It was costly but also one of the must-sees of the trip. It was a lot of jumping through borders.  We crossed the US back to Canada then back to US.  It was kind of funny and fun all at the same time.

Shore Excursion: White Pass Railway

White Pass Scenic Railway is one of those must-sees.  It is super pretty and although I think I did a pretty decent job on the pictures, it doesn’t even come close to what its like to just take in the whole experience.  Its over an hour on the train ride but there’s an actual conductor and you get to take in a good part of the history which of course, is over my head now but I have all the information pamphlets and whatnot that we got during the trip.  Its not quite so special to see snow but the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking.

On the way to the next site, we took a stop at the Welcome to  Alaska sign after we crossed back into US from the northern parts of British Columbia.

Alaska

Shore Excursion: Klondike Gold Mines & Gold Panning

 Our next (and final) stop for the shore excursion was going back to Klondike Gold Mines.  We go through the history of mining for gold and how it all works from the evolution of the machinery.  I had a field day going around taking macro pictures and blurring backgrounds and whatnot.  I apparently like weird things but the photos turned out pretty cool.

Klondike Gold Fields

Klondike Gold Fields

Klondike Gold Fields

We ended this little trip with our own little try and sifting for gold and the whole procedure from how to swirl the pan and have the gold surface.  We got to weigh our gold afterwards and take it home.  Of course, its nothing crazy but mine came to $13 (at the gold levels then, I guess).

Walk around Skagway

After going back and having a little lunch, we went back out to take a little walk around Skagway and the interesting symbols of the cruises on the rocks across from the harbor.

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Evening on the Cruise

That evening, there was probably a show that I can’t remember what it was.  Some music probably.  Every night its about the same so it probably was workout when I got back, dinner at the buffet area since at this point, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed from all the eating. And then that night, there was The Beatles Tribute or was it Rock Night (I think) in the lounge.  At least I think so. Regardless, this was the group on the cruise.  They are called Next Stage (I believe).

Norwegian Jewel

I might be getting that rest of the day all mixed up but somewhere in there I took a little walk around the boat.  All I remember was that it was REALLY windy but the scenery was A-MAZING! Just look at this…

Alaska

Alaska, on the way to Glacier Bay National Park

Okay, no joke here.  I was thoroughly excited about going into Glacier Bay National Park.  It was a day at sea but it was going to Glacier Bay National Parks to see actual glaciers and if this was just going into Glacier Bay and we were even there, can you imagine how beautiful it would be?

Drop by next week for Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park! 🙂

My Weekly Adventures!

Instead of boring you with my little details, this time, I spaced it out deliberately to two weeks.  I had nothing to report back with so it just makes sense to get this in now with a little bit more activities. This time around, its slowed down quite a bit.  I’m trying to clear up my schedule a little and just relax, catch up on some sleep and find back some energy.  Plus, I need to get ahead with the blog so its all a work in progress. We are also trying to get the house in order and looking nice enough for any relatives that come and want to visit 😉

1) Second visit to Poutineville

As mentioned in the last Weekly Adventures, we went on our second visit and I met even more of my fiance’s friends.  Crazy stuff, eh? This wedding, I tell you. Its making life colorful.  And I mean, his friends are really colorful like their personality and their thoughts are hard to catch up with.

Anyways, I finally had the poutine at Poutineville.  Its not so much real as I wasn’t sure about the gravy so they suggested the Italian meat sauce instead. Its kind of what we call Michigan-style (instead of hot dogs, we have fries and cheese).

Poutineville

Chicken & Bacon Poutine with Dairy-free Cheese and Meat Sauce

Then, like the last time, a visit to Chocolate Favoris.

Chocolat Favoris

Gelato choices

Sorbet choices

Sorbet choices

chocolats favoris

Ice Cream with Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Dip

chocolats favoris

Banana Mango Strawberry Sorbet

Its turning into something of a tradition.  I just might want to refrain from Poutineville for the next few weeks until after the big day. So that, all my hard work is not put to waste, right?

2) Nike Re-Run

Last weekend, Nike Running app sent me an email telling me that on Saturday, a run that we did would give us the chance to have a Nike Re-run video.  Now, that sounds awesome and what’s great about having this blog is I love trying out new little things.  So, I got in an afternoon run on Saturday even though I was so not feeling like it.  But I did it and kept to my workout goals. I was thinking that maybe I wouldn’t get it because the run wasn’t all that great.  My time was a little meh. But on Sunday, I ended up getting the email prompt to get the video.  We got to choose the time log and pick whichever one.  My routes are more or less the same.  It varies in direction, side of the street or going through the park or whatever small streets.  I actually need to map out a new path to explore the other side of the new neighborhood I moved in.  Still, here is what I yield.

That is my fastest time I’ve done so far. I haven’t quite beat that time yet as an average.

http://nrcre-run.nike.com/us/en_us/nrcre-run/shared/0a8b587cc02123dd6fb2a56cc3af1f4e/1

Oh right, and I run against traffic because it feels safer for me and the lights don’t change when I plan on crossing the road or whatever.  I just like to run with as little interruptions as possible. On a side note, a few days later, I ran my fastest km…but still, this is my best average pace.  Lets hope it improves 😉

3) Quantico’s Set

If anyone is interested in seeing the new series Quantico, they have been shooting in Old Montreal right in front of the old Royal Bank building. They had done filming on and off for 2-3 weeks at least.  It looks really impressive and my guess is that its going to be the series headquarters or something.  The series already has me intrigued.  Its right up my alley of what I usually watch for TV series and with it being filmed so nearby, it has me even more interested 🙂

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4) Vist at Seigneurie de l’ile d’Orleans (and some spontaneous stops)

We bought a voucher for a visit to this garden at l’ile d’Orleans a while back and its edging near expiry and we even missed the peak season to see the lavender gardens but we did buy it so we took a little day trip out to l’ile d’Orleans and visited a rather green garden 😉  I apologize but I only have my fiance’s pictures.  My pictures haven’t quite made it in the computer yet. However, I will be doing a full post on this if the pictures do turn out good.  I think I did some artsy stuff playing with the focus and whatnot. Not sure how it turned out.

Seigneurie de l'ile d'orleans

seigneurie de l'Ile d'Orleans

L’ile d’Orleans in summer is definitely different from winter.  It was full of people.  We did end up stopping at a newly opened La Nougaterie which is a place that I love which makes amazing soft nougats.  Apparently, they just moved to this location for two weeks and I caught it completely spontaneously.  We bought some little nougats and had some tasting.  If you haven’t tasted these nougats, you have to.  I look forward to getting it at the arts and crafts show for their Christmas flavored one.  Its like heaven in my mouth.

The last stop we made before we left was at Cassis Mona et Filles which is a winery that focuses on blackcurrant wines and liqueurs.  They have a really awesome recipe using one of their Fruité liqueur and the syrup based one along with club soda and fruits that makes THE BEST sangria I’ve ever tasted. We, of course, got that. They also sell some more dry wines like their Port.  I almost couldn’t swallow that one because it was rather dry.

5) Garden Updates

Its almost time to close the gardens but we had a surge of heat wave and my plants are all confused.  Its good though.  We’re getting our big batch of strawberries and raspberries.  I’m considering to get a blueberry plant for next year.  I have a bit of space next to all these berries but it might not work so well because sun doesn’t hit that corner as much.  Anyways, next year’s projects aren’t anything to discuss now.  Look at those strawberries and raspberries 🙂

Raspberry plant

Raspberry plant

STRAWBERRY

Strawberry plant

Confused plant doesn’t get any more than my clematis.  It has the hardest time staying alive in that spot.  I was starting to think about moving it again but didn’t know where just yet.  Then the heat wave hit and its having a ton of buds.  I sure hope the weather holds up so that it can bloom.  I haven’t seen one flower bloom on it yet.  Better late than never, right? 😉

Clematis

Clematis

Finally, we are seeing signs of the fall chrysanthemums coming out.  Its budding and about to bloom.  The big one is from the previous owners and my little ones last year, only one survived but its more than enough with whats there now since the marigolds are still blooming.

Fall Chrysanthemum

Fall Chrysanthemum

6) What’s Next…

  • Netflix A-Z: I-L movies (next two weeks)
  • The Classics Adventures: book review and corresponding movie review
  • Alaska Cruise: Day 5 & 6
  • PRIORITY: Baking Through Disney: recipe & next movie

That’s it for this time’s Weekly Adventures! Short and sweet! 🙂
Happy Friday, my lovelies! Enjoy your weekend!