Visit to Cinque Terre

The week before we were to head to Cinque Terre from Nice, the weather forecast said it would be raining the whole time we’d be there. And the day before we left it did, indeed, rain. But then the skies opened up, the weather Gods looked fondly upon us, and we ended up with clear blue skies during our whole trip, until we returned and the clouds started rolling back in. Lucky again.

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Train (and bike) Ride to Tende, France

We’ve been wanting to venture farther from the coast with our bikes, but not having a car to take them has made that difficult. So we looked into taking a train and found one that goes leaves to Tende, a small town that sits alongside the Italian border in the national Mercantour park, and allows bikes on board. The train follows what was the old “Route de Sel” or salt route.

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Our time in Nice has come to an end

Most of our outdoor activities have involved walks, hikes, and biking. We’ve walked most of the coastal “sentier” trails along the Cote d’Azure, which I covered here and here and here. Once we had done those we started hiking up into the hills, which I covered here and here and here. When we were done with that we started biking, first along the coast and then up into the hills, which I covered here and here and here and here . And there are just so many great hilltop villages to visit, such as St. Paul de Vence, Gourdon, Eze, St. Agnes and so many more. In the winter (when we were in Europe) we went skiing in Auron or Valberg.  Although we’ve done a lot, we’ve really just barely touched upon all that there is to do in and around Nice.

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L’Ile de Noirmoutier

For more than 20 years we have returned each summer to the island of Noirmoutier, (just off the French coast, a little south of Nantes), spending the month of August visiting family and enjoying a very laid-back style of life, a welcome change for many years from our otherwise busy business lifestyle. For the kids it was a time to reconnect with their cousins and polish up on their French. This past August I brought my drone along and did a little filming of the island. Shooting with a drone on Noirmoutier can be difficult as it is often quite windy and the weather can change quickly. Here’s the results.

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British Columbia Summer Visit

For the past few years I’ve been spending the month of July in Canada visiting family and old friends, staying primarily in Vancouver, but also visiting the central region of British Columbia known as the Okanagan, as well as Vancouver Island. I love returning to cosmopolitan Vancouver for so many reasons – many shared also by Condé Nast Traveler readers who continually rate it as one ten best cities in the world. Surrounded by mountains and ocean, its rugged beauty attracts people from around the world, to both live and visit. Vancouver is a city of ethnic diversity. A short walk down any street will have you hearing languages and seeing people from around the globe. And those that have come have brought their culture, especially their cuisine, making it a great food city as well.

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Weekend in Provence

Franck & Paco, (Les Garçons), friends from Mexico and Paris, have a home in Fontveille, Provence and each year in June they hold a party that extends over three days. We drove down from Nice on Friday and stayed close by with friends at their lovely farm house on the outskirts of the village. Friday night was a served dinner for 16, Saturday night was a themed (Black & White) party of about 50, and Sunday afternoon was back down to 16, before we headed back to Nice. Most who attended held in common that they spend time in Mexico, actually that’s where most of us met. As June is quite hot in Puerto Vallarta, Provence was a much better choice of venue for the event!

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Puerto Vallarta Aerial Video

These images were taken last winter while in Puerto Vallarta, and I recently brought them all together to create a short video, accompanied by a wonderful song (Samba de Puerto Vallarta) about Puerto Vallarta by Alberto Perez of La Palapa Restaurant. Puerto Vallarta is situated inside the Bay of Banderas in Mexico and this video takes you from its southern shores to its most northerly point, covering all the most popular places in between.

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Drone-Filmed Bike Ride to Forte Revere

This past winter I bought a drone (Mavic Pro) so I could update the aerial images we have on our MLS real estate website back in Mexico. On our return to Europe I brought the drone with me as I really wanted to film one of my favorite bike rides and take advantage of the “tracking” the drone can do. By that I mean you can launch the drone, select a target on the screen, (in this case, me on a bike), and it will follow you.

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Visit to Lake Garda, Italy

Our 20th anniversary was coming up so I decided to surprise my wife with a getaway trip to Lake Garda in Italy. I didn’t tell her about my plans, just let her know a couple of hours before we had to catch our plane. This would be our second trip to Italy’s northern lake district, as we visited Lake Como last fall. Everything went quite smoothly… until we arrived at the car rental agency in Venice.

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Aging and the Brain…

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This post is a little different than those previously posted, but it’s relevant for all of us, no matter what age you may be at.

A couple years ago a friend recommended a book called “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and researcher at the faculty of Columbia University. Dru had stumbled upon the book when investigating how one could recuperate from brain damage caused by a stroke, as her father had recently suffered one. Although that was her principle area of interest, she found the book to contain much more. In fact, each chapter is a journey undertaken by Doidge who travels to discuss with medical experts and neuroscientists what they have learned about the brain’s ability to change itself.

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