Saskatchewan Canada (10) – Prince Albert National Park – Boundary Bog Trail

A day trip to Prince Albert National Park included the final moments with a 2 km loop walk at Boundary Bog.  A soft carpet of greenery under a boreal forest.  The gorgeous surroundings was enhanced by the perfect weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching the lake at the end of the loop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A closer look at the natural beauty

 

 

Homeward Bound

Edinburgh Scotland (1) – The Forth Bridges

On a clear day and soaring around 35,000 feet above ground, you can capture some wonderful land patterns.  All my years of air travel, this part of the journey has always captivated me.  It was the fall of 2015, when we caught the redeye to Amsterdam from Toronto via Reykjavik.   This was always a favourite route of mine with the stopover in Iceland.  It allowed us to stretch our legs and grab some expensive Icelandic snacks before we catch our connecting flight.  Most cases it’s a 60 minute layover, give or take 15/20 minutes. However, with a mandatory visit at the EU border security, we’re not given much time to be selective at the snack bar.  It’s a bit of an adrenalin rush mixed with anxiety as we make our choices.  However, we have never missed a good snack and our flight.

With only three hours remaining to our destination, I decided to get some shut eye while we crossed the Atlantic.   A couple of hours later, I awoke to see bits of landscape through a heavy clouded sky.

I decided to take the time and get some photos if the opportunity presented itself with a cloudless moment.  With the knowledge that we were over Scotland, I had no clue to the actual location.  I just snapped away with hopes of capturing some beautiful terrain.

I don’t normally view my photos until I return home where I can sort and label everything.  Even then, my focus is zeroed in on the various cities and their local attractions.

It wasn’t until COVID struck that I was able to spend more time deleting any photos that I didn’t want.  I came across these and was very surprised at what I had captured.  After some research,I discovered that I had taken a photo of a historic structure in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Three bridges crossing over the Firth of Forth.  Each bridge was built in a different century.  The Forth Bridge opened in 1890 and is now considered as a World Heritage site in Scotland.  It holds the record as the world’s longest cantilever bridge.  The Forth Road Bridge, aka Guid Passage was completed in 1964.  The suspension bridge spans over 2.5 km in length.  Queensbury Crossing opened traffic in 2017 (still incomplete in the photo).  2.7 km in length, it is the longest three-tower cable bridge in the world.

It was a surprising aerial photo.  Just too bad it took me about 5 years to discover it.

 

l to r  Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and Queensbury Crossing

 

 

These photos were taken in 2015 and the Queensbury Bridge was not completed until 2017.

Saskatchewan Canada (9) – Shekinah Retreat Centre

Shekinah Retreat Centre is located about 45 minutes north of Saskatoon along the North Saskatchewan River.

A gorgeous day, we spent a couple of hours wandering to the edge of the river and then climbing up Quill Hill.  There are 14 trails with different physical levels for hiking, biking and skiing.  I’m hoping to return later autumn to capture the color changes in the foliage.  So peaceful, it was a true experience in the beauty of nature.

The following photos captures only a small portion of this wonderful area.

The Playing Field with Quill Hill, in the background

 

Thick foliage walk towards the river.  This really wasn’t a true trail.  We kind of went off course for a few meters.

 

So many different shades of greenery

 

From the tower, we get a panoramic view

 

North Saskatchewan River is split by Redekopp Island (on the left)

 

Redekopp Island

 

A closer look at some summer foliage

 

On their map they called this a swimming/skating lake.  I’m not sure about the swimming part.

 

 

 

My grandson, Beckett sits on the seating available around the Amphitheatre.  Timber Lodge on the background.

 

From Quill Hill looking back towards Timber Lodge (green rooftop on the right)

 

The creek runs through the valley.  You can hike along either side on Ravine Trail.

 

From Quill Hill, you can see the North Saskatchewan River.  My daughter Amber is ahead of me.  You should be able to see Beckett and my husband, Rod, on the trail in the distance.

 

Saskatoon SK, Canada (13) – Boffins Garden

Located within the University grounds, this garden setting is peaceful and beautiful.  We had always known its’ existence but never visited it until last week.  Tranquil ponds with numerous gold fish, both large and small.  We even came across a solitary frog basking in the 30+ heat.  A number of tables and chairs surrounds the pond, giving people an opportunity to enjoy their lunch in splendour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saskatoon, SK Canada (12) – Views from my Window

My current home is a 17th floor apartment beside the South Saskatchewan River.  Over the last 14 years (except 2016, when we lived elsewhere), we have witnessed spectacular natural sights.  The sun, clouds, rain and snow, each participate separately and together to bring me beauties that I can never imagine.  Each photo tells a story.  Harsh winters that bring out the steam from the river, different cloud formations that can bring beauty or danger, rainy weather that creates an artistic vision, and sunsets that can be haunting and profound.  The colours of these photos have not been altered, what you see is what I saw.  I have also put them in a chronological order starting in 2006 to present 2020.

The last photo depicts the stark reality of COVID-19.  All the years living here, I have never witnessed such emptiness on the streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panama City, Panama (10) – Westin Playa Bonita

The last two days of our Panama vacation was spent at the Westin Playa Bonita.  This resort is located approximately 15 kms southwest of city centre.  It was great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of city.   With the food and service so absolutely fantastic, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  With reported sightings of Stingrays, we were not allowed in the water.

Another aspect of the resort is an interesting natural environment that was great to explore.  We could have spent hours collecting  the vast variety of seashells on the beach and exploring the forests.  The small communities of  Panama Pacifico and Veracruz are located within a few kilometres.  With the heat and limited time, we didn’t get to visit these places.

From the beach, we see the resort (foreground) and condos (background).  A thick forested area was great for exploring interesting foliage and wildlife

 

 

Main hotel on the left and an “Adults Only” area on the right

 

 

From the balcony of our hotel room, the off-season reveals a quiet swimming area.  Looking north into the distance, you can see ships waiting their turn to pass through the Canal (located to the left).

 

 

 

 

 

Looking south, we see the next resort, “Dreams”.  Pass “Dreams”, a walkable 3k through the forest would take you to Veracruz.

 

 

Watching the setting sun and distant ships

 

 

Pool area closed down for the night

 

 

 

 

 

Night view of the hotel

 

 

Crashing a wedding party at the “Dreams” resort

 

 

We came across a large group of hermit crabs on our night walk  on the beach

 

 

In the forested area, we find rough lava strewn terrain

 

 

Looking back to the hotel

 

 

We come across a couple of birds taking refuge in the shallow water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was difficult navigating our footing on the above ground roots

 

 

The beach had many large deposits of seashells

 

 

A closer look at the variety

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panama City, Panama (9) – Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces of Panama City that didn’t fit under any of my previous post headings

Parking is a premium in Panama.  Not much for on street parking, people rely on strip malls.  This photo depicts a common occurance…double parking.  During our visit to Starbucks, we witnessed a couple of people waiting for the owner of the vehicle that blocked them in.  Interesting factor was that the people didn’t appear to be upset.  It just seems to be a way of life.

 

Estacion Iglesia del Carmen Metro Station.  We took many trips from this station as it was located a couple of blocks from our hotel.   At .35 cents per trip, our $5.00 pass card lasted the whole week and we still had money left over on the card.

 

Salida Station

 

 

Overhead metro tracks are common outside the city centre

 

 

Dismantling a scaffolding set that was used for a previous day event in the park.  Many outside work related jobs are done in the late afternoon to evening to keep the crew cool.

 

 

Busy intersections like this use overhead walkways (where this photo was taken from) instead of on-the-street pedestrian lights.  We were heading to the Multiplaza Panama that is located just to the left after the curve.  We needed to cross the curved street and found it was manned by a crossing guard.  With temperatures in the high 30C, this young guy was dressed in a black uniform stopping vehicles so pedestrians can cross the street.  I don’t know how long his shift was, but I couldn’t do it.

 

Contrast between highrise condos and single-family dwellings

 

 

Large carousel inside the Albrook Mall

 

 

Terminal de Albrook, main bus station that is next to the Albrook Mall.  We pass through the terminal to catch the bus that took us to the Miraflores Locks.

 

 

Regional buses waiting for their passengers

 

 

These buses are being replaced with new air-conditioned buses.  On some city routes, you can use one of the newer buses at .35 cents or one of these for .25.  Many locals still enjoy using these.

 

Vendor Lane in Casco Viejo

 

 

Water’s edge of Casco Viejo.  I think this is the only beach in the city.

 

 

Panama City, Panama (8) – Skyscrapers

Panama City is a deception when you see these towering structures within the central core of the city.   All sparkly and clean when you look upwards, but unfortunately not when you look down.  Most street infrastructure consisted of uneven or broken sidewalks littered with garbage.   I had not taken any photos street level to show the contrast.

Click on a photo and arrow through for larger views.

 

From our hotel rooftop, Hyatt Place Panama City

 

Evening views from our hotel rooftop

 

Along the Alvenida Balboa

 

 

 

Panama City, Panama (7) – Cinta Costera III

Cinta Costera III is the extension of Cinta Costera that includes vehicular travel.   It is a 5.2 km loop that wraps around the neighborhood of Casco Viejo with one end at Calidonia (north) and the other end at El Chorillo (south).  It provides vehicle travellers a quick and easy access from one neighbourhood to the other without having to maneuver through heavy traffic.

At sunset, we ventured out starting on the Calidonia end and walk about one-third into the loop and return back.

Muelle Fiscal, Avenida Eloy Alfaro, San Felipe Ciudad De Panama

The loop entrance is to the right and the Port Authority is to the left

 

From the path entrance looking to the left, a view of the city skyline (north)

 

 

Looking to the right (south), we see Casco Viejo

 

 

There were many sitting benches available on this long stretch.  Bikers use the left path and pedestrians use the right path

 

 

To the far left is the vehicular road.  On the right you can see the distant lights of the loop that extends out into the Bay

 

 

Looking back to where we started our walk

 

 

From a lookout (about 1/3 into the loop), we see Casco Viejo.  El Chorrillo would be to the left and Calidonia would be to the right

 

 

A couple of nights before, this view is taken from the point in Casco Viejo (see  previous photo).  The middle row of lights is the loop.  The bottom row is a water reflection of the middle row.  The top distant lights are from the Amador Causeway that takes you deeper into the bay.

 

Panama City, Panama (6) – Cinta Costera, Along the Water’s Edge

Along the Panama Bay, there is a great 13km pedestrian/bike pathway, called Cinta Costera.  It stretches from the south edge of the city in the district of El Chorrillo to the north end of the city at Santa Elena.   Time constraints and heat prevented us from walking the whole 13km distance.  However, we did get to spend a number of times on portions of this route that was close to our hotel.  There were plenty of sights and activities in the short distant travelled.

People were very respectful with the rules of the road, separating themselves from bikers and walkers/runners

 

 

There were plenty of vendors with cold drinks to help ease the heat

 

 

Feral cats get snacks from a kind animal lover

 

 

Small soccer game

 

 

Nighttime vendors use the popular pathway to sell souvenirs and snacks

 

 

Skateboarding challenges

 

 

Open to the public, this exercise area is well used.

 

 

Large outside eatery located at the fish market