Siena Duomo, Tuscany

Small wonder the historic centre of Siena in Tuscany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Across the rooftops of the UNESCO World Heritage historic centre of Siena, with the Duomo on the left and the Palazzo Publico’s Torre del Mangia on the right

And at its heart, in more ways than one, is the Duomo… Siena’s noble and iconic cathedral.

The grandiose Siena Duomo

The current building was begun in 1136, on the site of an earlier church. Over the next 250 years it gradually grew into the magnificent black and white marble edifice we see today.

The nave of the Duomo vanishing into the distance

The Duomo is filled with repeating patterns

In fact, ambitious plans in the 14th Century would have seen cathedral expanded still further, to become the largest Christian church in existence. Sadly, these were abandoned after the Black Death decimated Siena’s population in 1348.

The angular interior of the cathedral’s dome

The Gothic vaulted ceiling of the nave

Yet walking around and within the magnificent Siena Duomo, it’s difficult to imagine a more impressive structure.

Siena Duomo at dusk from the City Walls

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Award-Winning Travel Adventures for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s post was inspired by the themes Black and White from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Noble from Fandango, Repeating Patterns from Jenn of Travelling at Wits End, Angle from Ragtag Daily Prompt, and Vanishing Point from Nancy of Nancy Merrill Photography.

 

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The Pitons UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Lucia

Together, the Pitons of St. Lucia are one of the most recognisable sights in the whole Caribbean.

Our first view of St. Lucia and the Pitons in the dawn

The Pitons rise above the town of Soufriere

Petit Piton (on the right) and Gros Piton (on the left)

Gros Piton, the larger of the two, is 2530 feet high, while Petit Piton is a smidge shorter, at 2438 feet.

The pair form part of the Pitons Management Area

In terms of height, less than 100 feet separates the two peaks

The Pitons are the remnants of volcanic plugs, which formed within volcanic vents around 200-300 thousand years ago. Over time, the softer rock of the original vents has been eroded, to leave behind the harder, more resistant lava plugs of the Pitons.

Petit Piton from Soufriere beach

Idyllic stuff, isn’t it?

Life can be tough sometimes!

Gros and Petit Piton lie within the Pitons Management Area, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Petit Piton and the UNESCO World Heritage Site sign

Petit Piton

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Award-Winning Travel Adventures for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s post was inspired by the themes Pairs from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and On the Horizon from Nancy of Nancy Merrill Photography.

 

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Rush Hour in North Wales

Driving the country lanes of North Wales, you really never know what could be around the corner. We came upon this particular traffic jam near the village where Rich grew up.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Award-Winning Travel Adventures for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s post was inspired by the themes Farm Animals from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and White from Debbie’s Travel With Intent.

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Bees at Butchart

I love bees. And the Butchart Gardens outside Victoria on Vancouver Island are a paradise for them.

Even in late summer when we were there, bees buzzed around, tirelessly going from flower to flower, collecting up pollen. I could have happily watched them for hours!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Award-Winning Travel Adventures for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s post was inspired by the themes Close Up or Macro from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Macro from Bren of Ryan Photography, and Things With Wings from Nancy of Nancy Merrill Photography.

 

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Old Town Montreal in the COLD!

Montreal Old Town is a pleasure to visit at anytime of the year. But I have to admit that in the cold it can be a bit of a challenge, like anywhere.

And the last time I was in Montreal in the winter it wasn’t just cold, it was COLD!

There’s point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales cross. A value where you don’t need to specify which scale you’re using. You can just say the temperature and it’s the same on either scale.

The last time I was in Montreal in the winter, we reached that crossover point.

Minus 42 degrees!

Unsurprisingly, you can’t spend too much time walking around outside in temperatures like that. But with quite a few cafe breaks, we still managed a pretty good wander…

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal in Place d’Armes

Looking across Place d’Armes from Notre-Dame Basilica

Saint-Sulpice Seminary in Place d’Armes, the second oldest building in Montreal

Old Montreal Stock Exchange, now a theatre

Rue Saint-Paul

Quiet side alley (at least in this weather)

The Old Customs House in Place Royale

A Ses-eye view of Rue Saint-Paul

Place Jacques-Cartier

The top of Place Jacques-Cartier, with Montreal City Hall in the background

Bonsecours Market

Sound advice

Even the locals were cold!

Where Rue Saint-Paul crosses Place Jacques-Cartier

When it’s this cold, sometimes you just have to dip indoors

Inside Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

And of course, Old Town Montreal is pretty spectacular at night… but like anywhere else, much too cold at minus 42!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Award-Winning Travel Adventures for Kids 8 – 80!This week’s post was inspired by the themes Cold from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Walk from Ragtag Daily Prompt and Jo’s Monday Walk, of course.

 

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Canada 150 Northern Lights Show, Ottawa

On summer evenings since 2015, the imposing façade of the Canadian Parliament Building in Ottawa has been transformed into a gigantic screen 470 feet long and 30 stories high. Just after dark, crowds are wowed by a magnificent multimedia presentation commemorating the history of Canada, in English and French.

I was particularly lucky to experience the Northern Lights Show in 2017, the year that Canada celebrated its 150th birthday!

(Rich was disappointed not to have his proper camera with him, but the follow snaps taken with his phone will hopefully give you an idea of the spectacle.)

As I understand it, next year will be the final season of the current version of Northern Lights. So make sure to add Ottawa to your travel plans for 2019!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s post was inspired by the themes Lights from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Remembrance from Patrick of Pix to Words, Video from Fandango, Past from Ragtag Daily Prompt.

 

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Remember, Remember, The Fifth Of November

In the UK, November 5th is affectionately known as either Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It commemorates the so-called Gun Powder Plot, a failed attempt to blow up Parliament over 400 years ago.
On this day I always think back to the evening I spent witnessing the dramatic, fire-filled celebrations that take place around the streets of Lewes in Southern England…

Jaspa's Journal

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I know of no reason

Why Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot.

Barrels about to roll on Cliffe High Street, Lewes Barrels about to roll on Cliffe High Street, Lewes

Last Thursday was Halloween. In North America, where I now live, it’s a huge deal. But in Britain, where parts of Halloween actually originated, it’s completely overshadowed by another celebration: Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night.

Here come the crosses... Here come the crosses…

The short  version of the story behind Bonfire Night goes something like this… In 1605, a group of men plotted to assassinate King James during the Opening of Parliament on November 5th, by blowing up the House of Lords in London. But the plan was foiled when, at midnight on November 4th, 36 barrels of gunpowder  were discovered in the cellars beneath Parliament, along with the man in charge of them, Guy…

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