After quite a long time with travel restrictions in place, the Spanish government gave the people a Christmas gift, which allowed us to move freely around Andalusia. Ronda had been on our to-do list for a couple of years, so we decided to seize the opportunity and make a day trip. Ronda is a historic city, first settled by the early Celts in the 6th century BC. The city is split by the Guadalevín river and the steep El Tajo canyon, and its most famous and picturesque landmark is the Puente Nuevo bridge, which towers 120 m above the canyon floor.



I think (personal opinion) that the best beaches in mainland Spain are on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in Cadiz and Huelva provinces. One of the closest to us is the popular Bolonia beach. From there (a short drive) you can visit the interesting city of Barbate, and further north the beautiful Vejer de la Frontera.

A very nice drive…



2020 has been pretty crappy for us, in more ways than just Covid, as I'm sure it has been for many people. We normally travel around Europe quite a lot throughout the year, so it’s been hard to sit around not being able to go anywhere. Having said that, we did luck out at the end of August, and we managed a short road trip to Amsterdam, via Germany.

Our original idea was to camp. We planned to stop near Cologne, Germany, for a couple of days, before moving on to the Netherlands. It felt so good to get out on the road but, unfortunately, our enthusiasm for camping quickly disappeared when the weather turned nasty. We did manage a day in Cologne with okay conditions but that was the end of that.

Camping in Amsterdam was no longer an option, so we stayed at a hotel in Zaandam, which is just a short train ride to the centre of Amsterdam. The weather was horrendous the first day, cold and rainy, but we managed to walk around a bit and see the Van Gogh museum (highly recommended). The second day was better, with a wee bit of sun, thank goodness. We walked around much more and visited the Moco Museum, also highly recommended. They even had a Banksy exhibition, so that was cool to see.

Walking around Amsterdam is truly a beautiful experience, especially if you're a photographer. There's something interesting to see around every corner. There were very few tourists, which was both good and bad. It was nice to not fight for every cm of sidewalk space, but the atmosphere was far more subdued than I'm sure it normally is. Even so, the city was colourful and vibrant, and people were friendly.

You'll see plenty of tourist shops touting cannabis products, but we had done our research and knew not to fall for anything like that. We walked a long way to find the best place in the city for some special cakes. And they were definitely worth the effort.

To top off our road trip, we visited the famous Zaanse Schans, which is a neighbourhood of Zaandam. I can tell you that we would not want to visit there in the middle of a normal summer but, because of Covid, it wasn't too busy. Zaanse Schans is almost like a living museum, with historic windmills, several small museums, and artisans practicing traditional methods. If you're pressed for time, it's a great place to go to see some windmills.

One day, we'd love to go back to the Netherlands as there is so much more to see. In fact, seeing the tulips in bloom is on my personal bucket list. Perhaps when things return to (semi) normal, we'll manage another road trip.



On our way to Amsterdam we made a short stop in a beautiful city of Cologne (Germany). No, the Kolner Dom is not the only interesting thing in the city, but, of course a central point of everybody’s sight-seeing tour.

Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 but was halted in the years around 1560, and left unfinished. Work did not restart until the 1840s, and the edifice was completed to its original Medieval plan in 1880. At 157 m (515 ft), the cathedral is currently the tallest twin-spired church in the world, the second tallest church in Europe, after Ulm Minster, and the third tallest church in the world. It is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, and the towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest facade of any church in the world.

Very impressive…



Location is the best thing about Jelenia Góra, Poland. It lies a short driving distance from the German and Czech borders, a perfect base for day trips. The region has a very rich and turbulent history, so there are many interesting tourist attractions in all three countries.

Below are pictures from a few places we have visited lately.



We are back in Jelenia Góra, Poland for the summer. The city seems to be much more relaxed than Spain. Not very many people take social distancing or wearing masks too seriously. Bars, restaurants and shopping centers are open, like nothing is happening. I just hope that they won’t pay a huge price for this later in the year.

Weird times man, weird times…



After almost 2 months of couch surfing, beer drinking, and doing push-ups, we can finally go outside for exercise. Scary shit! The first time out, I felt confused and overwhelmed by all that space and fresh air, ha, ha, ha… Walking on the beach and doing some bouldering was very relaxing. Not sure how I will survive trying to get back to running. Yay, running!



After 7 weeks of literally not being allowed to leave the house, we've been given permission to go outside for 1 hour a day, with conditions. Gee, thanks. I started to celebrate but then I thought to myself, "How crazy is it that I would celebrate being *allowed* to leave the house for some exercise?!" Very crazy. I've frankly had enough, seriously.

This has been the strangest, toughest period of time that I can remember. While we are fortunate to have a nice terrace with beautiful views, being confined to home like this has been really hard on our mental state. At first we shrugged our shoulders, and had a drink, but then the reality started to sink in and it got a bit scary. We've lost a lot of money (I know, who hasn't?!) and we have no idea what happens next. We don't know if we can go anywhere, and going to Canada for a visit is completely out of the question. There has been so much worry, so much uncertainty, so much frustration, but hey, we've managed to get through this without a single fight ...so there's that.

Bottom line is that it's all out of our control, so all we can do is take it one day at a time, and be grateful that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table. And wine, we've got lots of wine.

Below is a sampling of our FB lockdown diary.



Life in paradise in three pictures taken in just one day. A sunrise, a beach and a sunset. It would be difficult to imagine a more spectacular place to live.