Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meditation Hills



Halfway between Roxas City and Kalibo is the town of Sapian, Capiz which is the home of the lush gardens of Meditation Hills. Yes, it is a great place to meditate amidst nature's beauty and bounty.


What I like best about the Healing Chapel is its location halfway up the hill. It has a commanding view of the surrounding countryside and the hills across the road below. 


This uphill path leads to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. I didn't venture the climb as we were there at midday and it was really too hot and the sun had sapped away my energy. All I wanted to do was take a nap. The best time to attempt this climb would be early morning or late afternoon. Bring a hat or parasol and suntan lotion. 


The grounds are well manicured and the trees seem to have grown and recovered easily after the devastation of the super typhoon, Yolanda.  Above the grotto and many more steps to hurdle is a big white cross which can be seen for miles around. That cross was damaged by Yolanda's fury. It was recently restored by the Capiz Cyclists Club to its rightful place.


This is a place of worship.  Let us respect these grounds. 

“Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, silent remembering and pure intention raises the heart to that supreme Power.”  Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

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Images by TravelswithCharie



Monday, March 09, 2015

Sweet Pandan

Exploring our island has led to many wonderful discoveries. On this day trip to Pandan, Antique, we drove from Roxas City to the coastal town of Buruanga in Malay then continued on paved roads to this rustic beach town. We realized soon enough that we should stay longer as there was quite a bit to see and do but we'll have to save that for another day. We'll come back to this laid back and friendly niche, that's thankfully off the grid, soon enough.

Eat, beach, relax, repeat

This is the first thing that greeted us when we entered the resort. Two hammocks beckoning us to rest from the midday sun. How easy it is to surrender to the whisper of the sea, swaying palm fronds and clear blue skies!

Not a wave in sight 

It was the calmest sea. And though my room was just across from the beach, it was blissfully quiet except for the whir of the ceiling fan.

Glorious sunset

I started my walk on the beach at 4:30 p.m. The sun was still high on the horizon but it was slightly cooler. Fisherfolks were cleaning their nets while an X Factor wannabe was singing karaoke in the distance. There's are signs of a thriving village life here - colorful laundry hanging from clotheslines and palay (grain of rice) left to dry on a large mat on the sand.

Silhouettes

The children came out to frolic on the shore as the sun slid down the expanse of sky.  It was a joyful time with kids returning from school and playtime for the little ones.

A magical evening 

And when the sun graciously gave the moon some breathing space, the resort was lit up in the most romantic way. It was magical! Then I heard a knock on my door. Dinner was ready. Light dinner for me after a day of eating local delicacies.

24 hours was all the "real" vacation I had within my hectic vacation. So glad I came his way.

Pandan Beach Resort
Pandan, Antique
Panay Island, Philippines
pandanbeachresort.org

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Images by travelswithcharie 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January

Yosemite in Winter

January by John Updike

The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace

The sky is low
The wind is gray
The radiator
Purrs all day.

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Image by TravelswithCharie


Saturday, January 10, 2015

We Mourn the Loss of Lives


We mourn the loss of lives in the recent terror attack at Charlie Hebdo and the taking of hostages at a kosher supermarket, both incidents in Paris.  We pray for the victims and their families and for peace and tolerance in our increasingly fragile world.  

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Image by TravelswithCharie

Top Travel Destinations in 2015

Milan Cathedral, Milan 

New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2015
Milan, Cuba, Philadelphia, Yellowstone National Park, Elqui Valley in Chile, Singapore, Bolivia, Faroe Islands, Macedonia
For more of the 52 Places to Go in 2015 check this link: 

Lonely Planet Top 10 Countries

El Nido, Philippines

Singapore, Namibia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Republic of Congo, Serbia, Ireland, Philippines, St. Lucia, Morocco

For more on these countries and other top travel lists from Lonely Planet click here:

National Geographic Best Trips 2015

Mont St. Michel, France

Corsica
Medellin, Colombia
Koyasan, Japan
Maramures, Romania
Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia 
Oklahoma City
Tunis, Tunisia
Choquequirao, Peru
Sark, Channel Islands
Hyderabad, India
Port San Antonio
Taiwan
Zermatt, Switzerland
Presidio, San Francisco
Merqui Archipelago, Myanmar
Sea Islands, South Carolina
Mont Saint Michel, France
National Mall, Washington DC
Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Esters del Iberá, Argentina

For detailed information about these destinations go to this link: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2015/

There are many top travel destinations lists for 2015 available on the net but one worth reviewing is the Afar Magazine list. Read it here: http://www.afar.com/wheretogo2015

Where will you go in 2015?  Happy travels.

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Images by TravelswithCharie


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy 2015!


Wishing all of you a happy and safe crossover to 2015!

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Image by TravelswithCharie


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saint Malo


Ramparts of Saint Malo

The stone ramparts of Saint Malo stretches 1,754 meters and wrap around the old town known as the intra-muros. A stroll along these ramparts is a walk through the history of this city which traces its origin to the arrival of Maclow, a monk from Wales, in the 6th century. Saint Malo is named after him. 

Le Grand Bé

There are exits to the beach below from the ramparts. It's possible to walk to the islands of Fort National, Le Petit Bé and Le Grand Bé when it's low tide. But high tide has a way of rushing in and leaving unsuspecting visitors stranded on the islands. It's best to check with the tourist office for the times when it's safe to walk to the islands. The waters of La Manche may rise as high as thirteen meters and pound the walls of Saint Malo. The oak tree trunks lining the seashore and which form the breakwater can attest to the might of the waves. 

Grande Plage

On a cold and intermittently wet November day, the Grande Plage was bereft of people. I hesitated a bit before stepping foot on the sand which was packed rather than sugary loose. The waters had receded far out to sea. Only a man walking his dog was about. The three of us owned the vast shoreline for a spell.  When I returned a day later, the shore was nowhere to be seen. And Fort National was once again an island bobbing in the distance.

Rose Window at St. Vincent

Construction of the Cathedral of Saint Vincent began in the 12th century. It was partially damaged during World War II (as was most of the old town) and carefully restored after the war with beautiful stained glass windows and a spire reaching 72 meters to the sky. The spire is so high that it can be seen above the fortications. Inside the cathedral, the light emanating from the rose window behind the altar is a sight to see.

La Houssaye

It is said that Anne de Bretagne, the Duchess of Brittany, may have slept in this turreted stone house when she visited Saint Malo. Anne became the Queen of France twice - first after her marriage to Charles VIII and later to Louis XII after the death of Charles.


Saint Malo is a maritime city so it's only fitting that shop windows hail the mariner look and style. Even the bébé has his/her own marine inspired clothing. 

Where to stay:
Hotel Best Western Balmoral
24 Rue Théodore Monod
35400 Saint Malo
Contact@balmoral.fr
www.balmoralsaintmalo.fr

I stayed at the Balmoral because it is across from the train station and I was going to Mont St. Michel early in the morning. I was happily surprised to have had a spacious and modern room which included a full breakfast. And the location is safe and quiet. It is a 20 minute walk to the old town or you may take the bus. There's a supermarket, several restaurants and a bakery close by. My favorite find was the Nutella panini at the bakery in front of the train station. It was the best. 

How to get to St. Malo:
Take the TGV from Paris Montparnasse. It is a 3 hour ride and there's no need to change trains depending on the time of departure from Paris.

Bretagne cuisine:
Brittany is of course famous for its crêpes. There are many different fillings to choose from--sugar, orange, Nutella, ham and cheese, and a host of others. Saint Malo is on the coast so seafood choices abound. 

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Images by TravelswithCharie