More from Waterton

Waterton Lake, Alberta

On one of our trips to Waterton last year we took the boat that cruises along the shores of Waterton Lake and into the US. The stop at Goat Haunt is just 1/2 hour, so no customs clearance to worry about and no passports are needed.

The M.V. International, which takes you to the other end of Waterton Lake into the US

On our last trip I managed to catch the M.V. International as she came in from her final journey for the day. The classical vessel has been in service since 1927. If you visit Waterton during the summer months I would highly recommend take this tour; it is very informative and the sights (when there is no smoke) are just great, and if you are lucky you might spot some wildlife on the way!

Waterton’s small harbour

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Waterton in the smoke

The town of Waterton, Alberta

A couple of weekends ago we drove down to Waterton for an overnight stay. The Waterton Lakes National Park suffered greatly last year due to the Kenow Wildfire (for more info visit the Park’s website on the subject). The town of Waterton lost it’s Visitor Centre during this fire, as well as a campground, buildings, staff housing and associated infrastructure and Alpine Stables. Due to the fire areas such as the Akamina and Red Rock Canyon Parkways are both closed.

 

More smoke coming in

 

Knowing all this we weren’t sure what to expect and how much damage was there? Well, the weekend we drove down the whole of Southern Alberta was under a blanket of smoke, which drifted in from the wildfires in British Columbia, so the mountain views were almost non-existent. However, the ones we did see showed the signs of the wildfire and gave us a good idea on how close to the townsite it came. We spoke to one lady who told us that they don’t talk about the fire, as it was such a traumatic experience for everyone.

Despite the smoke haze we had a great time in Waterton and it was good to see that the damage surrounding the town has not stopped people from visiting the area.

The Prince of Wales Hotel standing out through the smoke

A calm smokey morning at Waterton Lake

 

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The smoke came to town

This past 2 and a bit weeks we have suffered with smoke from the wildfires that burn in British Columbia. Calgary and Southern Alberta have been under air quality advisories for the best part of 2 weeks, with last Wednesday reaching 10+ on the scale of 1-10 in Calgary.

Given that it was also very hot on some of those days, it made for uncomfortable living.

Last weekend I went out on the back deck to capture this shot. It was early in the morning and it felt like a different planet at that stage.

This was taken from the back of our garden in the morning as the sun was rising

Our Foothills (and the Rockies) are enveloped in a smokey haze and have robbed us of the wonderful mountain views we are so used to.

The smokey haze that envelopes the Alberta Foothills

The sun is trying to break through…

While the temperature has dropped for today, the smoke is still around with no immediate end in sight!

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A Thank you to Mr. T

A rare photo of Mr. T making the most of the available Wi-Fi at the Marina Hemingway, Santa Fe, Cuba

The long-suffering Mr. T does not usually feature in my blog posts, but I thought it was time he did.

I took up photography as a proper hobby about 10 years ago. Up to that point I had mainly taken holiday photos, memories of our daughter and other family members. Having bought my first DSLR I proceeded to read everything there was about photography, learning the functions of my camera, and photographing anything that stood still long enough. Mr. T was happy that I had found a new interest and left me to learn.

10 years on and he has become my driver, my equipment holder, my safety guy, caterer and caffeine provider, and I sometimes even listen to his ideas for a shot. I am just a hobbyist, but I can always count on Mr. T’s help and support. He has learned that sometimes it is just best to let me shoot away; he is used to walking, talking and then turning to find me some ways behind having stopped to take photos; he has gotten used to me taking at least two lenses with me and that I will swap lenses at a moments notice; he will patiently stand with me while I wait for the perfect moment to take the shot; he will build anything I need for indoor shots; and he doesn’t mind when I sit in front of my laptop for hours working on those photos and this blog.

So, thank you Mr. T for all your support in my pursuit of this hobby!

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Four-legged holiday friend

One thing I noted in Cuba was the number of people that owned dogs. We saw them in Havana, sitting outside their house while their dog roamed not to far away from home and in Playa Larga there was a whole troupe that would get together every morning on the beach. One of them kept coming round to our casa to say hello from afar. I couldn’t help but take some photos.

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Rugged coastline

The bay in Playa Larga, aside from the nice sandy beach, is very rugged and presents some great photo opportunities.

The rugged, but beautiful coastline just outside of our casa in Playa Larga, Cuba

It also made a great spot for viewing some of the birds that call this part of Cuba their home.

Not sure if this is an eagle or a hawk, in any case, just happy I got a sharp image!

Terns on the hunt for fish

A tern trying to make off with a leaf?

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Playa Larga – much more than we expected

When I started to plan our Cuba trip last year I wasn’t sure about going to Playa Larga, which is a 3-hour car ride south of Havana. Mr T wanted to go there due to the history (Bay of Pigs), so it was put on the plan. I was fairly sure that the accommodation I had booked would be fine, but was the rest worth this trip down?

Playa Larga’s bay

Oh yes! Not only was our accommodation fantastic (as per my previous post on this), but it was the most relaxing 5 days I have ever spent anywhere! As this is not really on the usual tourist path it was a fairly quiet place with a small beach; perfect for us.

The view for breakfast and dinner (dog visits cannot be guaranteed for all!)

So, if you are going down to Cienfuegos and/or Trinidad, make sure you stay at least one night in Playa Larga (message me if you need the details of the casa we used!).

The beginnings of a rain shower

The rugged, but beautiful coastline just outside of our casa in Playa Larga, Cuba

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Final photos from Havana

The Saratoga Hotel on Paseo di Martí in Havana, Cuba

Well, this is my last collection of photos from Havana; there are a few more from Playa Larga and Santa Fe which I will share in the next few days, but that’s it from Havana. We loved our time here; around every corner there was something new to discover. Hopefully we will be back in Cuba sometime next year.

I hope that some of these photos will inspire you to visit this country before it loses its charm, and please, do me a favour, if you do travel to Cuba, don’t spent all your time in an all-inclusive resort, go and experience all that Cuba has to offer by doing some independent travel (which is much easier than you think – and don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the resorts, but perhaps just for a few days of relaxation at the beach).

The classic combo, an old Lada, a classic American car, and the bike taxi

I love the gates and colour combo

The bill for your meal arrives in this cute little tin at the restaurant Lamparilla 361

Looking down Paseo de Martí

Havana’s Chinatown

Looking at El Capitolio and Paseo de Martí, Havana, Cuba

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El Bosque de La Habana

As part of our classic car tour through Havana we also stopped at the El Bosque de La Habana park. This green oasis along the Rio Almendares is home to some huge trees and often referred to as Havana’s lungs.

El Bosque de La Habana

We didn’t have enough time to take a walk, but I would definitely do so on our next visit. Our guide told us that those who follow the Santeria religion use the river in these parts for some of their rituals, and as it happened there seemed to be one going on as we looked on from further away.

A Santeria ritual in progress in El Bosque de La Habana

All around the park we found lots of large trees, some of them huge banyan trees.

Classic tour cars parked at the El Bosque de La Habana

El Bosque de La Habana

El Bosque de La Habana

Around El Bosque de La Habana

A large banyan tree near El Bosque de La Habana

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Around Havana – More buildings

There are so many interesting looking buildings in this city, it was hard for me to walk past one without taking a photo. In fact, Mr T would argue that I pretty much stopped at every one to take some photos! So this is in honour of my long-suffering husband, who has the patience of a saint when it comes to me taking photos – thank you Mr T!

Capitolio Nacional de Cuba

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