Finally, after a very busy and stressful few months, we can relax (with drinks in hand) on our own big terrace, with an amazing view of the Alboran Sea, Gibraltar, and Africa.

La vida es buena!



It’s been a hectic month, packing up and saying goodbye to all our friends and family in Jelenia Góra. Big changes like this are always bittersweet …we were so excited about this beautiful apartment, and honestly thought it would be where we would spend the rest of our lives. We met so many wonderful people, and had some really amazing experiences. Alas, life has a way of throwing you curveballs that you’re in no way prepared to catch. We will *not* miss the asshole upstairs, or the drug-dealing bully next door. Nor will we miss the grey skies of winter and the terrible pollution.

It’s the beginning of a sunny new chapter in our lives, and we’re very excited to see what the next few years have in store for us.



One of the best things about spending summers in Jelenia Góra (Poland) are the day trips you can take, as the town is conveniently located in the center of The Valley of Palaces and Gardens and near the Czech and German borders.

Few pictures below.



Summer’s end heralds a new cultural season, in Jelenia Góra. The philharmonic orchestra begins its season, and there are a plethora of other events to entertain people. This year we enjoyed the Street Wars graffiti competition, the Antiques & Curiosities Fair, a couple of photography exhibitions, an art exhibition by our friend, Han Bakker, and then the annual Krokus Jazz Festival.

Good times but we’re ready for a break, lol.



Another weekend with a few friends at the mountain hut run by the Mountaineering Club in Jelenia Góra, in Karkonosze. We did some repairs, built a new deck, collected some firewood for the coming winter and (of course) partied a lot, hahaha. The event, as usual was organized by Maciej. Thanks man!



Autumn in Poland is truly spectacular. The forests come alive with a riot of colours and, unlike where I come from (Alberta, Canada), it lasts for several weeks. Even in the city parks, it’s magical to see the leaves changing colours. The weather can be perfect for long walks and hiking, and we always enjoy taking Felix so he can find some good sticks. There are numerous places near the city where you can really appreciate the season; Karpniki, Bukowiec, Chojnik, just to name a few.



I spent a long weekend at the annual Lądek Mountain Festival. As always, there were a lot of interesting films, books, slide-shows, and workshops. Many famous mountaineers, climbers, authors, and film producers from around the world were taking part. The special event this year: The Piolet d'Or ceremony (first time in Poland), considered to be the "Oscars" of mountaineering and climbing. The Slovenian mountaineering legend, Andrej Štremfelj was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award this year. Four days of watching films, listening to interesting stories, running (Annapurna Run) and rock climbing events, and (of course) hard partying.

Lots of fun.



So, I had kind of a fun thing happen to me the other day. I was contacted by a couple from the U.S., David and Blonnie, through my Meanwhile in Jelenia Góra page on Facebook, and asked if I would like to do an interview with them. They are VLoggers who do videos about all sorts of things, including about Poles in the U.S. and foreigners in Poland. I thought, sure, why not?! I was a bit nervous, I've never really been on camera like that, before. But, they were so much fun, they made it easy for me, and we had a great chat about how life is in Poland, for me as a foreigner, and how Andrzej and I ended up living in Jelenia Góra. Not sure I would do it again, lol, but I'm happy I did it and I think they were happy with how it turned out.



I took part in the Piast Summer Running Festival, a running equivalent of the famous winter cross-country race festival held since 1976,  in Jakuszyce (Izerskie Mountains, Poland). It’s a very demanding mountain race at 3 distances: 12k, 21k and 50k. I choose 21k and somehow I survived (barely)! My time: 02h, 20m, 05s.



Summers in Jelenia Góra are never boring. There are so many cultural events to enjoy, and most of them are free! My personal favourite is the annual Art & Glass Festival and, as usual, I took lots of photos and bought some beautiful handmade jewellery, and then there’s the famous International Street Theatre Festival, which was fantastic this year. There are always some free concerts put on by the city, and there’s also a fabulous modern art gallery, BWA, that puts on amazing exhibitions.

We enjoy every summer in this wonderful city, and this year was no exception!



It’s always fun to visit Wrocław. It’s a very cosmopolitan city, with a unique atmosphere and interesting historical and modern architecture.



After a blissful winter in the sun, we’re back in Jelenia Góra, Poland. We missed our beautiful old apartment but not the neighbours, lol. Felix has already staked his claim on the balcony and it’s time for us to get the apartment spruced up as we’ve decided to put it up for sale! So, lots of stuff to keep us busy for the next little while, but there will still be plenty of time left to spend on our favourite patios in the main square.

Na zdrowie!



We had some time to kill before we had to head back to Poland, so we decided to do a road-trip to Portugal. Nothing too adventurous, just a few weeks relaxing and enjoying our second visit to the Algarve. The Algarve region of Portugal is truly spectacular, and has something to offer everyone. And the Portuguese are incredibly friendly, probably the friendliest people in all of Europe. We spent a few days near Albufeira, using it as a base to explore other villages and beaches in the area. Besides wandering around Albufeira, we visited Armação de Pêra, Carvoeiro, Praia da Galé, and walked a portion of the EcoVia (which is actually a bike route but you can still walk parts of it).

We then made our way to the Tavira area, where we visited Tavira, Cabanas de Tavira, and Praia do Barril. Finally we spent a few days in Altura, which was a virtual ghost town but had beautiful, empty beaches.

It was a glorious few weeks!



I took a part in the XXXII Bahia de Cadiz half-marathon, from San Fernando to Cadiz.  My first run in Spain, and hopefully not the last one. The weather was very un-Spanish-like, with rain and a very strong headwind. My time: 01h, 59m, 46s.
Could be worse …hahaha!



Canuto (canyon) De La Utrera is a very picturesque hiking and rock climbing spot near Manilva. Below, a few shots taken by Shona during our "little" climbing outing.



Another Sierra Nevada trek, this time a winter one. The weather was spectacular, with strong winds and low temperatures, but no snowfall. I spent a few nights in almost-empty, and very useful, mountain huts (Carihuela and Villa Vientos), and managed to reached the summits of Mulhacen (3479m, my second ascent, first winter), Veleta (3396m), and Loma Pelada (3187m).

More pictures in gallery: Sierra Nevada.



Our latest road trip was to the village of Gaucín, in Málaga province. This beautiful white village is just half an hour inland from the coast, and is situated high above River Genal valley, with the imposing Sierra del Hacho mountain in the background. It is famous for its artists’ community, and I absolutely adored the handmade geckos that adorn many of the whitewashed walls. It’s a pretty small village but there was plenty to catch our eye as we wandered around, cameras in hand, including an impressive castle that dates back to the Roman times and was later reinforced by the Moors.

This might be my favourite village so far!



We decided to take advantage of the continuing nice January weather, and we drove all the way to Olvera, which is about 2 hours inland from where we’re staying, near Sotogrande. It was a beautiful drive through the hills …except for the part where we got stuck on a narrow street in some little village, with our big van. Lol, life is an adventure! Olvera is one of Andalusia’s beautiful white villages, part of the Ronda ‘Pueblos Blancos’ route, with a beautiful church and 13th-century Moorish castle.

On the way back, we stopped at another of the famous white villages, Setenil de las Bodegas. This village is particularly interesting because of the way it’s built right into massive rock overhangs. Nothing was open when were were there (siesta!) but normally you can enjoy a drink and some tapas under the overhangs.

What a great day.



Another day, another day trip. Yesterday’s trip was to Marbella. I was in Marbella back in 1991 (yikes!) and I was curious to see how much had changed. A lot, as it turned out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a nice city with a beautiful old town, and lovely beach, but it’s much more commercial and touristy now. We enjoyed wandering around the old town but it’s definitely lacking the character it had almost 30 years ago. A bit sad but to be expected, I suppose.



Another visit to Gibraltar. It's such an interesting, cosmopolitan place. We visited Europa Point, the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque (it's the southernmost mosque in continental Europe, and is one of the largest mosques in a non-Muslim country), but just stroling through The Rock's winding, colorful, and crowded streets was a lot of fun.



What a way to kick off 2018 and celebrate my birthday, on the beach! I went for a swim with friends …a wee bit chilly but it was fun …followed by a wonderful lunch at the port in Sotogrande. My friend even baked me a cake (thanks, Lynn!). We’ve been in our little rental by the sea for a couple of months now, and we are all loving the beach life. Sun, sea, sand, flip flops …and no snow!

What more could we ask for?!