Who needs sleep when you’re in Paris?

Let the trip of a lifetime story begin :).

After flying overnight from Toronto to Paris, we were tired.  Dragging our luggage to the train station, travelling into the city, and then walking from the Saint-Michel Notre Dame RER station to our hotel in the Latin Quarter left us exhausted.  However, when I walked out onto the street from the RER and looked up to see Notre Dame Cathedral right in front of me, it hit me that I was actually in Paris, and intense emotions suddenly welled up inside me as I realized that my dream was actually coming true. At that point, we didn’t care that we hadn’t slept in over 24 hours.  It was time to explore!!

We checked into our hotel, the Villa Pantheon, and were immediately enchanted.  As expected, our room was tiny as they all are in Europe, but the charm, tradition, and atmosphere of this hotel was just what we had hoped for.  Walking into our room, we threw open the large windows and gazed in amazement up and down the rue des Écoles and listened with smiles on our faces to the sounds of Paris.  Here are some photos of our hotel:

Paris 1

Paris 2

Paris 3

Paris 4

Paris 5

Paris 6

Paris 7

As we headed out onto the street to start our Paris adventure, it started to rain (the only rain we got while in Paris I might add), so we made a dinner detour just down the street. Our hotel and the Pizza Roma restaurant had been recommended by my blogging buddy, TBM, and I can’t thank her enough because her recommendations were awesome!  At Pizza Roma we were seated in the window under an awning – not near the window but IN the window – so that we could hear, see, and smell the city around us.  It was so damn romantic, just like you always expect Paris to be.

Paris 8


Paris 9


Stay tuned for scenes from our first stroll around Paris, but until then let me leave you with one of the first photos I took from our hotel room which I fell in love with.  It just has Paris written all over it don’t you think?

Paris 10

Posted in Adventure, Atmosphere, Blogging, Dreams, Emotions, Excitement, Memories, Paris, France, Photography, Travel, Vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s get a little Outlandish!!

Fall is upon us and as usual that means that life tends to slow down a bit, so I have spent a lot of time reviewing my trip photos this weekend.  I have pretty much decided to post everything chronologically, but this post is going to be a little bit different.

Do we have any Outlander fans out there?  For those of you who aren’t, Wikipedia describes it as follows:  “Outlander is the first in a series of eight historical multi-genre novels by Diana Gabaldon. Published in 1991, it focuses on 20th century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser.”  Outlander is a hugely popular series, and any woman who reads the series quickly falls in love with Jamie.  As part of the promotion for the Outlander TV series, a Pocket Jamie was created that fans could print and cut out, and they were encouraged to take pictures with him and share them on social media.

I saw Diana Gabaldon at a book signing in Barrie, Ontario in June of this year which was thrilling.  I met her and had her autograph her latest book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, as well as my Pocket Jamie.  Then I went straight to the local Staples store and had my Pocket Jamie laminated.  Then he joined Mike and I on our trip of a lifetime to Paris, London, and Scotland.  Mike was a really good sport holding Pocket Jamie for photos whenever we remembered to (although we did forget some places), and I now want to share them with you.  I am also going to send a link for this post to Diana Gabaldon in hopes that she will be happy to hear all about Pocket Jamie’s adventures with the Taylors :).  I know many of you are now thinking that I have finally lost my mind, but this is Outlander folks!!  It’s huge, trust me!  Here we go, and don’t forget these photos are just for fun, so they are not particularly good quality :).

Jamie 1

The journey begins at Toronto Airport

Jamie 2

One of the love lock bridges in Paris.

Jamie 3

Jamie’s new friends at The Paris Catacombs

Jamie 4

The Paris Catacombs. Jamie thinks this guy might need a little dental work :).

Jamie 5

Jamie loved The Louvre!!

Jamie 6

Was Jamie a little nervous around the Beefeaters at the Tower of London?

Jamie 7

Tower Bridge, London

Jamie 8

Westminster Abbey, London

Jamie 9

Jamie in front of Buckingham Palace, London.

Jamie 10

Jamie loved his trip on the London Eye :).

Jamie 12

Even Jamie couldn’t get this guard at Windsor Castle to crack a smile.

Jamie 11

Jamie travelling back in time at the Roman Baths in Bath, England.

Jamie 13

Jamie wanted to time travel at Stonehenge, but I wouldn’t let him touch the stones. Read the synopsis for Outlander if you don’t get this one.

Jamie 14

Jamie contemplating whether or not to climb to the top of Scott’s Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a hell of a climb!

Jamie 15

Jamie wanted to fire the canon at Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland. Don’t worry, Mikey wasn’t cranky. He just rarely smiles for photos.

Jamie 16

Jamie and our tour guide, Scott, at Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Jamie 18

Look out Jamie!!! I think Nessie is coming! Loch Ness, Scotland.

Jamie 18

Walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jamie 19

A view of Edinburgh from the top of the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jamie 20

The view from the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland.  This climb was a lot easier for Jamie than it was for me!

Jamie 21

Jamie taming a Highland Steer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jamie 22

After all these adventures, Jamie deserved a treat :).

Jamie 23

Now I’ve heard of eating haggis, but haggis potato crisps?? Do you think Jamie is brave enough to try them.

Posted in Adventure, Airplanes/Airports, Blogging, Books, Castles, Churches, Edinburgh, Scotland, Exploring, Humour, London, England, Memories, Mountains, Paris, France, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Just a quicky :)

Hey there blogging family :).  How’s your weekend going?  As I promised myself, I have been having a “me” weekend with as few chores as possible and tons of reading, snuggled up on the couch.  It has been wonderfully relaxing, and I feel totally content.

You may recall that Mikey and I went on a photo walk a couple of weekends ago.  Other people from the walk have been posting their photos on Facebook, and the leader of our group posted a shot today of a scene that we had experimented with and discussed during the walk, so I decided to post a similar shot of mine.  It was taken looking out over a section of the Elora Gorge.  We were standing in a heavily treed and therefore shady area, and the scene through the trees ended up looking extremely blown out because the sun was so bright. This was also handheld because I didn’t have enough time to set up a tripod. I tried different angles and exposures, and after a little bit of editing (because I seriously only know a little bit about editing LOL) I have a result that I’m pretty happy with.  It’s not perfect by any means, and if I had more time I might have considered HDR, but I think it’s still a beautiful representation of Fall.  What do you think?

Elora Gorge

Posted in Blogging, Camera Settings, Contrast, Elora, Ontario, Exploring, Fall, Fall Colours, Nature, Photographic Challenges, Photography, Photography Experiments, Rural Photography, Scenery, Weekend Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Mystery Photo #150

When they say time flies, they really aren’t kidding.  I received a message last night to say that it was three years ago that I registered with WordPress.  Three years?!?!  On the one hand, it feels like just yesterday that I sat listening to a professional photographer talk about how he posts a photo to his blog every day, and I asked myself why I couldn’t do the same thing.  I didn’t have to be a professional to share my accomplishments.  On the other hand, I feel like my blogging friends are family that I have known forever.

I may not blog regularly all the time, but when I do it’s the best feeling in the world to read all of the wonderful comments I receive.  Those comments (praise and hints) have given me the self-confidence to continue and have helped me to grow as a photographer, teaching me things I would probably never have learned on my own.  Thank you to my WordPress blogging family for making the last three years so amazing!

Now that I’m done with the mushy stuff :), let’s play the mystery photo game.  This is a really bizarre one, so let me give you a bit of a hint.  Don’t try to think of something you’ve seen before.

Mystery Photo #150

Posted in Blogging, Mystery Photo, Photography | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

The Beginning of the Journey

Sometimes you can carefully plan a trip for months, but it just doesn’t live up to your expectations.  Maybe one of your hotel rooms ends up being a dive, maybe you get miserably lost in a foreign city and can’t find anyone willing to help, or maybe a tour you were really looking forward to ends up being a huge disappointment.  Well, I’m happy to report that this was not the case with our trip of a lifetime in August to Paris, London, and Scotland.  I can honestly say that we did not encounter a single glitch – our flights, hotel rooms, train rides, and tours were amazing.  Yes, we got lost a few times, and trying to remember high school French in Paris was challenging, but we found everyone we encountered along the way so friendly and helpful that none of that mattered. We went in with open minds and soaked up everything around us.  We crammed more into 16 days than I ever thought possible, and I have so many memories to share with you.

But where should I start?  I guess the best place is usually the beginning.  Our flight to Paris was scheduled to leave Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at 11:35 pm on August 1, 2014.  We didn’t actually depart until much later, but we were so excited, yet relaxed at the same time, that it didn’t bother us at all.  Our adventure had begun.

This really was an exciting adventure for us because the last time we were on a plane together was the day after our wedding 25 years ago, and Mike had not been on a plane at all since that day.  As a result, Mike was as excited as a small child on Christmas morning and insisted on having the window seat.  So, I must give credit to all these photos of our flight to my hubby.

Flight 1

Flight 2

Flight 3

Flight 4

Flight 5

Flight 6

Flight 7

Flight 8

Flight 9

Posted in Adventure, Airplanes/Airports, Blogging, Clouds, Excitement, Flight, Happiness, Life Experiences, Memories, Photography, Travel, Vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk 2014

I’m backkkkkkkk!!!  Other than my weekly mystery photos, I have been greatly neglecting my blog.  Our summer was extremely busy, and although I took just under 6000 photos on our trip to Europe in August, I had other photos I had to deal with before I could even think about editing our travel photos.  This week I finally finished editing my niece’s wedding photos, so I can now start posting about our trip of a lifetime.

Before I do though, I want to share with you the wonderful experience that Mike and I had today.  We participated in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk for the first time, and it was fantastic.  Although there were a few locations within driving distance for us, I chose the Elora, Ontario walk because I know it’s a wonderful town for photography.  The walk was led by Janette Gajic, a professional photographer, and 50 participants with varying photography skills met her for a group photo at 9am.  There was a planned route to follow, but it was a very easygoing morning, where you could just walk around at your own pace, with other people from the group, or wander off on your own.  Then we all met up afterwards at a small restaurant where we reviewed our photos and enjoyed the best crepes I have ever tasted!

I snapped photos for two hours straight, but here are my favourite photos of the day.

Photo Walk 1

Photo Walk 2

Photo Walk 3

Photo Walk 4

Photo Walk 5

Photo Walk 6


Photo Walk 7



Posted in Blogging, Country Living, Elora, Ontario, Fall, Fall Colours, Motivation/Inspiration, Nature, Old Mills & Inns, Photography, Photography Experiments, Reflections, Rural Photography, Scenery, Shadows, Weekend Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Mystery Photo #149

Gobble, gobble, gobble :).  It’s not only the start of the weekend here in Canada, but it’s also Thanksgiving weekend, time to stuff the turkey and ourselves.  I love eating turkey and stuffing and yummy pies for dessert, but most of all I’m looking forward to three days off.

Tomorrow Mike and I are heading to Elora, Ontario to take part in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk.  I found out about it after it had already taken place last year, so I was determined to go this year because it looks like a lot of fun.  Now, some of you may be surprised that I was able to convince my hubby to go with me because he’s not into photography as much as I am, but it will probably make a lot more sense when I tell you that there is a casino in the Town of Elora.  So, you see, Mikey has an ulterior motive :).  On Sunday, we have family coming for Thanksgiving dinner, and with my husband cooking, I am quite sure that none of us will be able to move off the couch after we’re done.  Monday will hopefully be a day of total relaxation.  I hope all of my fellow Canadians have wonderful plans for this holiday weekend too.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Before I start getting ready for my turkey coma, let’s play the mystery photo game.  Ok, ready, set, go…….

Mystery Photo #149


Posted in Blogging, Mystery Photo, Photography | Tagged , , | 39 Comments