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Ann Wallace

Ann and Nigel spent last winter sailing the Caribbean and Florida before settling into a comfy stay on the Thames in central London for seven months. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better the intrepid pair are heading for Europe.  Stay tuned.

RECENT ARTICLES

A JOURNEY THROUGH NORTHERN SPAIN
28 NOV 2016: It’s high time I returned to the account of our road travels through Spain and Portugal earlier this year. Our first destination was the ancient walled city of Salamanca, reached from the Portuguese border via a good road across the vast plain of the western province known as Castilla y Leon.   MORE

LETTER FROM PARIS
22 SEP 2016: With recent news that air-traffic controllers are exacerbating France’s tourism problems once again, and remembering my promise of a month or so ago that I would report on the atmosphere here in the capital once we had settled in, I thought the time right to send a few words. MORE

A LONG DRIVE THROUGH PORTUGAL
07 SEP 2016:  Driving through Portugal’s Douro Valley in late summer or fall must be one of the world’s most spectacular drives.  Why, you may wonder, do I write “must be” when I would not be writing about it if I had not experienced this drive myself.    MORE

LETTER FROM FRANCE
17 AUG 2016:  I have been tardy, of late, telling of our travels. It is high summer here in France and there is much to see and do.  But, because we are in France, I thought a few words on a far more serious subject would be in order.  Namely, how we are finding being here in light of the terrible terrorist attacks that have taken place in this country over the past months. MORE

INTO SPAIN
30 MAY 2016: It was early this year when I finished a column on this site with the words “… but now we have plans to travel farther afield via a different mode of transport. Stay tuned!” So, as promised, I now take up that story. MORE

PAUSE IN LYON
11 MAY 2016: With the news that Air Canada is to fly from Toronto to Lyon this summer, I promised some information on this fine French town in an earlier column. It is likely that travellers with a ticket to Lyon’s Saint Exupery airport are heading elsewhere in France, for this city is the gateway to both southern France and close to the Alps. Beautiful rural areas, ancient towns (including ‘our own’ Valence, where our boat has been moored all winter) and the delights of the coast of the South of France lie within driving distance. MORE

MEMORIES OF KEUKENHOF
01 MAR 2016: Now is the time of year when most people’s thoughts start to turn to spring. And for us, on our journeys in Europe, spring last year provided us with our most spectacular springtime memory ever.  This is no exaggeration, because on a lovely April day we left Amsterdam to visit the Keukenhof gardens located in the Dutch town of Lisse. MORE

FILLING IN THE GAPS
03 FEB 2016: I hope the regular readers of my columns have been enjoying the news of our travels and experiences of last summer. But it’s a new year now (Happy New Year all!), and perhaps some of you are wondering where we are. So here’s a column to ‘fill in the gap’. MORE

THE BRIDGE TO SWEDEN
24 DEC 2015: Bridges are inspiring things. For centuries they have shortened travel times, facilitated wars, inspired architects and engineers, and linked communities. But when they link two countries they take on a special significance. On 14 August 1999, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden met midway across a very special bridge to mark its completion. The following year, on 1 July 2000, a Queen and a King met. The occasion was the official dedication of the same bridge, with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden as the host and hostess of the ceremony. MORE

BEYOND COPENHAGEN
14 DEC 2015: Our wonderful three weeks in Copenhagen, described in my last column were not, in fact, confined to the city alone. Many of the region’s major attractions lie beyond the city limits and these excursions are worth bearing in mind when visitors are contemplating how long their Copenhagen visit should be. During our stay we rented a car for three days, but the day trips we made can easily be achieved by public transit too. Train and bus links are comprehensive and easy to navigate. In fact, in addition to our three driving days we made several excursions by train. MORE

THREE WEEKS IN COPENHAGEN
10 NOV 2015: Almost everyone was on their decks helping us in, hand over hand, boat to boat.   A beautifully-varnished flag pole loomed in our path; but on that boat nobody was on board.  There was nothing I could do except lean down, remove it and place it as carefully as I could in their cockpit, whereupon a little dog, apoplectic with rage that I would dare to touch ‘his’ boat, leapt from his hiding place to admonish me noisily. MORE

SUMMER IN DENMARK
19 OCT 2015: Swinging at anchor in the Flensburg Fijord, one evening early in July, we wondered aloud if we were in Germany or Denmark.  The border runs down this pretty inlet, so as the breeze moved our boat perhaps we were enjoying our main course in Germany and our dessert in Denmark! Whichever was the case, we were happy.  We’d reached the Baltic and were about to explore Denmark, the most northern country on our itinerary. We also had family and friends to meet in Copenhagen, so knew we had to keep an eye on the calendar.   MORE

A GERMAN INTERLUDE
24 AUG 2015:  For those readers who were following news of our retirement cruising adventure before we paused in Amsterdam, it’s high time I returned to our itinerary.  So here goes. After our long and enjoyable winter stay, we left Amsterdam as planned late in the spring, re-tracing our steps across the Markermeer and Ijsselmeer and then into the canals of Friesland and Groningen, which offer yet more fascinating Dutch towns such as Leeuwarden and Groningen.  Our final Dutch town was Delfzijl, where we stocked up with our favourite Dutch goodies in the grocery stores and prepared to head out into the North Sea and Germany. MORE

DAY TRIPS FROM AMSTERDAM
10 AUG 2015:  Those of you who were following our travels by boat last year will, I hope, be pleased to know that I will soon resume our cruising news in these columns, with tales of our travels from Amsterdam through Germany and southern Denmark to Copenhagen, where we arrived last week. MORE

AMSTERDAM SECRETS
13  JUL 2015: Well, not really secrets, but you don’t need me to point you towards Amsterdam’s most renowned visitor attractions.  Whether you have been to this city or not, you will have heard of the splendid Rijksmuseum, the beautiful Van Gogh gallery and the tragic Anne Frank house.  What I would like to do in this column is mention some other places I discovered in my five-month stay, and share some tips, in the hope it will enable you to enjoy Amsterdam even more. MORE

PLANNING FOR AMSTERDAM
21 MAY 2015: Spring is springing here in Amsterdam. The canals are filling with boats, the trees are a delicate filigree green, window boxes are bursting with spring blooms, and patio bars are crowded although the tables in the shade are not popular. It’s time for me to find a place in the sun myself, computer on knee, to look back in words over the past few months in the hope that I can encourage you to visit lovely Amsterdam.   MORE

EXPLORING FRIESLAND
20 MAR 2015:  At the close of my last Dutch column I left you in Den Helder, the northernmost town in the province of North Holland.  We were back at sea level and beside the sea.  Den Helder is unlikely to be on the itinerary of many overseas tourists, although it does boast a fine Maritime Museum.  It is the home port of the Dutch Navy and therefore something of an industrial town with shipbuilding and associated industries, and it was the first town where we noticed more cars than bicycles and even a traffic jam or two!   MORE

A VERY GOOD YEAR
Hong Kong tourism goes from strength to strength
27 FEB 2015:  It’s a new record!  Hong Kong welcomed over 60.8 million visitors to its shores in 2014, a growth rate of 12 percent over the previous year.  Canadians played their part in this impressive new figure, with arrivals from Canada totalling 354,408.   MORE

INTO THE HEART OF HOLLAND
20 FEB 2015:  After the wide, watery spaces of Zeeland, where we enjoyed our first weeks cruising in The Netherlands (described in my last column), we crossed the regional border into the province of South Holland which, together with North Holland, gives this country its popular name.  And it is in Holland that many of the country’s famed towns and cities lie.  MORE

EXPLORING ZEELAND
29 JAN 2015: I am hoping some stories about our late summer and fall cruise through The Netherlands will provide some sunny reading for you during these chilly months. It will certainly bring back happy memories for us. And I hope it will make some readers consider putting The Netherlands on their travel wish-list. You won’t regret it. MORE

DUTCH TREAT
A journey through the Netherlands
16 DEC 2014: We have now been in The Netherlands for over three months, settling down to life in this delightful small country. Well, ‘settling down’ are hardly the right words, since we have been travelling for much of the time, from the town of Breskens in the south to Texel, the most westerly of the West Frisian Islands in the north. (Yes, if you are interested in my stories, you may like to get out the family atlas! “That’s old-fashioned,” says my skipper, “everywhere can be found on Google Maps!”) MORE

BEAUTIFUL BRUSSELS AND BRUGES
03 OCT 2013: “We’re going to Belgium for our vacation,” is probably a sentence that is rarely heard in Canada, which is a shame.  Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that people should fly across the Atlantic to sit on a North Sea beach, but at least two of Belgium’s cities should be on every ‘culture-vulture’s’ wish list, and these two destinations alone make a visit to Belgium in the ‘off-season’ a delight. MORE

ON TO CONTINENTAL EUROPE
22 AUG 2014:  “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium!”  That was a joke that used to be aimed at whistle-stop tours of Europe.  Perhaps it still is. It’s understandable, as it is a small continent full of very small countries. And although our travels can hardly be described as ‘whistle-stop’ (our boat travels at about 7 knots, or 13 kph) we have felt rather like the joke as we’ve crossed unseen borders at sea and unfurled three different courtesy flags within a space of about ten days. MORE

HEADING OUT OF LONDON
Making a day of it
11 JUL 2014: At the height of a glorious English spring, we took a Canadian guest ‘down into Surrey’, as locals say when heading out of London into the nearest county south. After two lovely days, our guest, who’d been to the capital several times before, remarked, “I didn’t realize there was such beautiful scenery so close to the city.”  It made me think that all visitors to London should be encouraged to venture a little farther afield, if only for one day.   MORE

LONDON UPDATE
Spring is here
25 APR 2014: The days are lengthening, the rain has stopped, the clocks have sprung forward and those famous English daffodils really are dancing in the breeze! Yes, spring has arrived in London and parts farther afield, though winter has sadly left its mark on many in the shape of the season’s devastating floods. MORE
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