A visit to Marrakesh

After a rather wet fall and cold winter in Lisbon we decided to head south in search of sun. We opted for Marrakesh, to enjoy the hamans and spas, as well as, of course, explore the city itself.  My earliest memories of Marrakesh come from the song Marrakesh Express by Crosby Stills & Nash. I listened to that album over and over again as a teenager, charmed by lyrics and the excitement of taking a train from Casablanca to Marrakesh.

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Exploring Obidos, Portugal

We were in need of a weekend getaway so we decided to head north and visit the town of Obidos that we’d been hearing so much about. And we weren’t let down! Obidos is a captivating medieval walled town an hour or so north of Lisbon, surrounded by rolling hills covered with orchards and vineyards. It’s set on a hillside, along a narrow ridge, allowing just a couple of streets barely wide enough for a car to run its length, and which are connected by a number of steep alleys and staircases.

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Flojohn Travel Magazine

This magazine is something I recently created from the content of this blog, which is about our travels and what we’ve been up to over the past year. In my previous life I was a magazine publisher and frankly, I’ve missed the process of putting a magazine together. So I decided to make one from all the photography I’ve gathered and stories I’ve posted on this blog. Thanks to short-run printing, I’ve also printed a few copies, but just for family.

Biking Portugal

Anyone considering biking in Portugal, there’s an essential tool you must have and that’s the National Cycling Network guidebook, which maps out nearly 5,000 km of routes and includes GPS tracks in KML and GPX file formats, so you can follow the routes on your smartphone. As well, the guide has great photography and descriptions, so you have a really good idea of what your trip will entail before you begin.

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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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