Hopkins River, Warrnambool.

This is one of my favourite spots on the river for thinking, writing, or enjoying a cup of coffee before work.

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A good morning for reflection!

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The cutest little boat!

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Pelicans often enjoy the protection of this quiet stretch of the river.

The river meanders down to the coast where it meets the Southern Ocean at Logan’s Beach.

 

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Near the river mouth and shore, the Hopkins has a wide beach of its own.

 

 

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Charlottetown, PEI.

Oh my goodness. 
I don’t think I have ever seen a prettier city. Vintage brick buildings, gorgeously painted shop fronts, charming houses and a beautiful harbour combine to make Charlettetown absolutely picturesque. Every way you turn, it lookalike a postcard. 

City Hall is magnificent. This building tells you that the people of Charlottetown are proud of their city and the province of which it is the capital.  

   
Another noticeable feature is that it’s clean. Every corner has bins for recycle, waste, and food/organically for composting. There’s no litter, no mess, no smelly embarrassing places. Clean. 

The harbour is also a sight to behold. Boats bob gently, the water sparkles, and the lighthouse on the island in the middle of the harbour stands boldly, as if it were making sure all the boats were behaving themselves properly. 

As the sun sink slow in the sky, we leave the harbour and head to a restaurant nearby where we are meeting friends for dinner. I have been looking forward to meeting these wonderful people for a very long time. 

At this moment, my heart is so full of happiness. I have already seen such beauty on this island, and I’ve only been here a few hours. I know there is more beauty and more happiness to come. 

   
 

Port Dalhousie

Port Dalhousie sits on Lake Ontario near St Catherine’s, Ontario. It’s a gorgeous place with a beautiful beach, marina and waterfront area that boasts not one, but two, lighthouses. It also has a carousel with a calliope!

  

We visited fairly late in the afternoon, so the carousel was closed, but we walked along the pier in golden autumn sunshine and watched the sailboats, fishermen in small boats, and windsurfers enjoying the beautiful weather. 

   
 
My first impression walking along the pier was that the waterway and marina reminded me a lot of Port Fairy in Victoria, Australia, not far from Warrnambool, where I work. It’s another very pretty spot with a marina on the moth of the Moyne River that I have blogged about before

After walking along the pier, we sat on the beach and had the most Canadian of sandwiches: crusty white bread, old cheddar and Montreal smoked beef with mustard. Those sandwiches were incredibly good.

 
Our picnic was also attended by a lone seagull and a very attentive wasp. Thankfully, we did not provide any food for either one of them. 

Having just finished winter in south-eastern Australia, this was my first opportunity to enjoy time on a beach. It felt so good to get my bare feet in the warm sand and squidge it between my toes.  That’s one of the things I love about summer afternoons, even though I don’t really like hot weather. Yesterday’s 23C was just perfect for a beach picnic. 

Driving out, we passed some lovely pubs and shops that I would love to go and visit sometime. A very old brick building serves as a coffee house that looked incredibly inviting. 

I am already thinking that I’m going to have to make another trip to Canada. 

Damn. That’s just heartbreaking. 

Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls is nothing short of amazing. Powerful, inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful, this is one place that stole a piece of my heart the moment I set foot here eighteen months ago. 

Then, it was at the tail end of winter. There was snow on the ground and parts of the cascades were frozen. There were icebergs in the river. The purity of the glistening whiteness only added to the majesty of the falls. 

  
This time, it’s early autumn and the trees are just beginning to try on the fashionable shades of the season, although the leaves are still mostly green. A blue sky, cheerful sunshine and 24C made for a magnificent day for visiting the falls. 

  
It’s not easy to even get close to describing the falls in words. There is a constant rumble of water tumbling over the cliffs, while a plume of mist rises into the sky from the base of the Horseshoe Falls, the name given to the Canadian side of the falls. 

There are cruises which depart from either side of the falls. The American one is named Maid of the Mist, while the Canadian is named Hornblower. The cruises don’t run in the winter, so it wasn’t an option to experience one last time I was here. This time, though, I was very keen to experience the falls up close and personal, so to speak. 

I donned my complimentary rain poncho and boarded the boat with my friends Sean and Jenn. In the interests of looking all mature and sensible. I said I was excited; internally, though, I was squealing like a six year old on a roller coaster. We set off, and I have a vague suspicion that some of those excited squeals may have escaped as we got nearer to the falls. 

  
What a mind-blowing experience. The power of the water, the tingling coolness of the mist, the overwhelming humility of realising how big those falls are and how small I am, and the joy of being so close to something so magnificent all combined to be almost overwhelming in the most incredibly pleasant of ways.  

 
Later in the day, as we stood on a balcony just above the top of the Horseshoe Falls, I reflected on my love for this place and the exhilaration of the sheer joy that I feel here. I can’t explain it, but both emotions are very real. 

  
This is truly an experience and a day I will never forget.  Niagara Falls, I love you.