Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vancouver - A-Boot Time for Fun!

Recovery Pride Cruise with my new friends!
How about an extremely livable destination – with beautiful, sunny summers? Vancouver offers a lot – from its breathtaking mountain and harbor views to close-knit gay life. This extension north from the “left-coast” strikes an even better balance than its hippie, environmentally-friendly, brother cities to the south (Seattle, Portland, San Fran). Combining both a very artsy feel with a “business professional” sense; it’s home to one of Canada’s (and the worlds) best schools, UBC (for example). Somehow, in the span of two weeks, Vancouver won out San Francisco – and became my favorite west coast city, because of its (summer) weather – along with all the great things that San Fran offers, only smaller, cleaner and warmer. You can have a smaller-town feel inside a big city in a gorgeous location – And you like sushi right? Outdoorsy rice-queens, eat-up!

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The gay center is Davie Street – and the gayborhood that surrounds, Davie Village – where shops, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs all share pink bus stops and trash bins. Plus, there's a rainbow-painted intersection at Davie and Bute Street and permanent rainbow LED lights line the sidewalks! This street alone is adequate for your city/urban entertainment needs, but you’ll want to get out and enjoy the mountains in North Vancouver (and beyond) as well as the beaches of English Bay. You would think the water is ice-cold – but it’s more refreshing (of course, in the summer only). Despite the fact that during winter months – October to April – it is cloudy 70% of the time, outside of winter (and especially July and August) you can expect sun almost always; in 2013 it did not rain all of July.
Davie & Bute Street

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Greek Isles: Ferries Galore - Fairies Explore

When you set out on your Blue Star Ferry – the style doesn’t match the view. These incredible islands with bright, white-washed homes contrasted against the deep, magnificent blue sea likely make for some of the most beautiful scenes in the world. It’s surprising that ferries are not more comfortable – yet when you see these islands you realize, you don’t need luxury to provide luxuriousness. Here nature provides. After spending time in Thessoloniki and Athens (my previous blog), I set out to sea!

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An eruption over 3600 years
ago caused this beautiful
exposed rock
Santorini (or Thira to the locals) comprises the most incredible, dramatic views that I have ever seen. Some theorize that this is the site of the famed ancient city of Atlantis that fell into the sea. The island imploded due to a powerful volcanic eruption 3600 years ago, destroying the Minoan Civilization. The explosion exposed beautiful colored rock and this contrast between blue sea, red rock and white-washed homes makes Santorini the most beautiful place in the world.

View from our beautiful "cave" hotel
Thus, the best place in the world to view Sunset:  Franco’s Café in Pyrgos, Santorini (if you’re just a couple) or out at the northern tip of the island at Oia (Ee-ya) – if you don't mind a crowd. You can also head down the cliff (though you have to watch your step, instead of the view, along the donkey-poo lined path). Eat at the restaurant to the far left for some exquisite grilled squid or octopus as the sky turns purple. During the daytime, come for a swim or take a ferry to take in views from the other side of the caldera or the volcano.