Sunday, 24 March 2019

Casa De Serenidad

In March it got hot. With the sun beating down it became very difficult to do anything outside, We were still running up to Playa Norte (North Beach) every couple of days, but as soon as we left the water it became uncomfortable. Deb was having difficulty coping.

We decided to give ourselves a break. We found a house on the windy side of the island that was available for four days. It was expensive but we decided to splurge. The two extra bedrooms will just have to sit empty. Here the wind is always blowing. There are shady spaces at any time of the day. The views are amazing. In the evening, Debby starts to don layers of clothing because she is getting cool. This is Casa De Serenidad.

Welcome home

From the Street

First steps in the pool

Always shady under a palapa

Lounging spaces in the sunshine

Outdoor eating and lounging spaces in the shade
Idyllic spot over the water

Living room wall opens to the outside

Open everything up if you are hot. Close everything up if you are getting cool.

Amazing artwork everywhere
Second Level has two bedrooms, a second full bath, and an amazing deck.

Debby woke up to catch the sunrise from our bedroom

The water side in the morning light

Our Neighbourhood

We are living in the centre of the island, in a neighbourhood which is mostly Mexican.

Pride of Ownership - YO Y MI CASA means "Me and my castle".

This little yellow house is just a few houses away.

Around the corner is what Debby calls "The Place With the Cats". This yard contains six or seven cats along with dogs, chickens, roosters, ducks, and who knows what else. It's hard to see how they find space amidst the junk.

Just a few doors away is a much larger, much tidier home.

In the same block is this more natural home.

This fully lit pathway encircles "Salina Grande".

Salina Grande - A salt water lake. Frigate birds are often flying overhead.

Some streets are a riot of colour.

Some houses are a riot of colour.

Then there is our place. Lool Beh means "Hidden Flower".

Playa Lonchero

Over a few weeks we visited several of our favourite restaurants and then found a few new ones.

Playa Lonchero is a beach club and it is a restaurant. Because it is on the Eastern side of the island we decided to be there at sunset. When we arrived (six-ish), the waiter explained that the kitchen was closed, so we could only order something cold. Deb ordered a shrimp salad and I ordered an octopus cocktail. Each was large enough to be a full meal and each was wonderful.

Of course a beach club has its own beach,

Beside the dock is a little enclosure with a few woebegone sharks.

The sunset was beautiful.

Deb is always getting in the way.

 Before we had finished eating, we discovered why they close early. The mosquitoes came out in masses. I discovered that I could kill two or three with one swat. We got some takeaway containers for out food and we made our escape.

We will have to go back a little earlier in the day so we can enjoy their signature tikin-xic fish (barbecued with Mexican spices)

Isla Mujeres 2019

Here we are again. This time we flew on AeroMexico and were quite impressed. It was very inexpensive. Because of the weather, we were about an hour late in leaving Toronto.

The plane was wonderful: new, roomier than usual, and we shared three seats. (We now believe it was a Boeing 737 Max 8) The first leg was to Mexico City. They gave us a full meal and offered us free drinks.

Because we were late arriving, we were quite sure we would miss our connecting flight to Cancun. Twenty minutes seemed impossible, but...

An agent met us as we deplaned. He scooted us immediately to customs and dropped us in a fast line to security. Another agent met us after we passed through security, plopped us on a cart and rushed us to our gate. We were the last to board and the plane took off on time.

In Cancun a third agent met us as we approached the luggage carousel. I'm sure he picked us out because of Debby's cane. He apologized and explained that one of our bags did not come on our plane. At this point, we hadn't even reached the baggage claimed. We filled out a form. He explained that the bag would be arriving in two hours. Within four hours it would be delivered to our condo. It was.

A taxi, a ferry and another taxi delivered us to the Lool Beh Condominos.

Graham's unit is very comfortable.

Double Sinks and a Big Walk-in Shower

Fully Equipped Kitchen

We settled in and met our new neighbours (same as the old neighbours). For all of February the weather was wonderful. It was warm, but not too hot. We spent time roaming the island and visiting the beaches. We actually found it was comfortable to just relax. We didn't have to go somewhere or do something every day. For a long time I didn't even take my camera out of the bag.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

On the Way Home

Right now we are sitting in the British Airways Lounge at London's Heathrow Airport (not as nice as the lounge in Toronto). After a little something from the buffet we are relaxing and sipping glasses of wine. The buffet is in front of us, but we can't eat to much. They will feed us as soon as our plane takes off (about three hours). The wine bar is across the room with about a dozen options. Around the corner is the bar, There is no bartender. but instead it is self-serve. There is a pretty good selection, but again, we will have champagne and drinks in the air. There are large lounge areas with easy chairs and couches for relaxing.

Yesterday was pleasant enough. It was a day to relax. We got up fairly early in Bergen and waited for the airport bus. We met a lovely young lady who regaled us with tales of progressive Norwegian policies (free education, one year maternity leave, subsidies for continuing education, etc., etc., etc. We really are quite jealous.

Upon arriving in Oslo we went straight to our hotel. It is a very large, very new convention centre which is almost completely empty. We looked around quickly and then had a nap. We went to the restaurant for dinner, then we made sure we were packed, then we watched TV and went to bed. In the morning we were presented with perhaps the largest and best breakfast buffet that we have ever seen. The dining room could have held a couple of hundred people. There were perhaps a dozen guests. We were concerned about how much food they must throw away. I suspect that this is either their off season, or the hotel is just too new to have built up a clientele.

Anyway, we took a shuttle to the airport and caught our first flight. We are now in London. We will be home much later tonight (tomorrow morning).

Friday, 14 December 2018

Last Day in Bergen

Tomorrow morning early, we will begin our trip home. It will take two days because we will be staying one night in Oslo. This morning we bought tickets for the airport bus. Then we just wandered around.

This is our street, all of it. Deb loves the patterns in the cobblestones.

Some Final Pictures of Bryggen......

Many people live on nearby island and commute via ferry.

Manhole covers show Bryggen sights.

Just a wall around a construction site.
Narrow pathways and stairways go up and up between the buildings.

These final days in Bergen have felt like some of the coldest days we have had in Norway. It is not really colder than it was up north, but we have spent much more time outdoors and seem to have felt it more.

The Norwegians seem unperturbed by the cold. They just bundle up and get outside. In the evenings the streets are crowded with walkers. Sidewalk patios are open and people do not hesitate to sit outside. Chairs and benches have caribou hides or fur throws. Blankets are spread over knees. Heaters and fires are abundant and the people just seem comfortable.

Home in Bergen

Well, today has certainly started slowly. It is almost noon and we have not yet been outdoors. Okay, so I just went to the window to look outside. The sun is shining and the sky is blue again.

I'm looking around this little apartment and I like what I see. All is not perfect, but it is comfortable. There is no central heating, so there are several space heaters. You worry mostly about warming the room you are in. Furniture and fixings are Ikea. White is the colour of the day. Appliances are new and shiny. There are some touches of luxury.

The floor in the bathroom is heated ceramic tile (as is every bathroom we have been in). The coffee maker in the kitchen is Nespresso, but there is also a kettle and a plunger coffee maker. The heater which moves from room to room with us is one of the new Dyson models. The framed pictures on all of the walls are signed limited edition prints. There are ceramic bowls and flower pots here and there. It actually seems like it could be somebody's home.