What’s Been Happening | March 2023

I’ve been away for about two weeks and have some catching up to do. Reflecting on the month just passed, here’s what’s been happening and what I enjoyed in March.

1. Sisters Time

My sisters and I had a fabulous reunion in the first week of March in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States. We had fun catching up, exploring and discovering Charleston together. I am grateful for the wonderful quality time we shared.

2. Friends Time

Last year I started my Tour of Indie Cafés and enjoyed discovering a dozen cafés with family and friends. I decided to do a second tour with a selection of new-to-me indie cafés this year. A friend joined me for a 8K walk then we kicked off the 2023 tour at Neo Coffee Bar known for their coffee drinks, tea and pastries.

3. Winter Stations

I cycled to Woodbine Beach for a beach and art walk on a gorgeous sunny day. I enjoyed viewing the Winter Stations public art exhibition with the theme Radiance. To see the winners of the 2023 Winter Stations competition, use the arrows to move through the following 7 slides.

2023 winners include Delighthouse, the (Home), Winter-net, 3 Surfaces Pavilion, Ripple Hut, Life Line and Conrad. For more information on each design, click on the design name in italic. I have no photo of the eighth winner, WE[AR], as it is an interactive virtual installation. Which Winter Station design do you like?

4. Spring Arrival

In my corner of the world, Spring officially arrived on March 20 with sunny skies and daytime high 6C (43F). I was delighted to spot some pretty crocus flowers, dwarf irises, snowdrops and winter aconites on the first day of Spring. Birds are active and their vocals fill the air. I’ve been enjoying longer bike rides and long walks. Time in nature is always a happy time for me.

5. Exploring Portugal

I recently returned from Portugal. I had a wonderful time revisiting this beautiful country. On my previous trip, I explored Lisbon, Sintra and the Algarve. On this trip, I revisited Lisbon and Sintra, then continued north with a few stops until reaching Porto. Watch this space for my travel ‘postcards’.

Views of Lisbon from St. George Castle

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, a few of my planned trips were cancelled. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel abroad again. I look forward to enjoying more travel adventures this year.

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #113 InLinkz below.

Happy April!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Copyright © 2023 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

72 thoughts on “What’s Been Happening | March 2023

  1. Suzanne@PictureRetirement April 7, 2023 / 8:28 am

    Hi Natalie, you visited another of my favorite places this past month – Portugal. I have yet to get to the Algarve, but will one day. Porto was my favorite destination of the ones you mentioned, followed closely by Lisbon. As it turns out, I may be in Charleston next month. I’ll let you know if that comes about.

    Of the winners, I like ‘Home’ best. Something about the stained glass and overlay of wood carvings. I assume those are all places in Canada? Delighthouse was my 2nd choice as it is so bright and colorful. Some of the others were very industrial, and not appealing to me, but I’m sure they were interesting to study in person.

    I am glad that Spring has officially arrived for you. Longer bike rides and walks are a joy this time of year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 12:13 pm

      Hi Suzanne, Portugal is charming and it’s a destination that’s easy for me to visit (direct and frequent flights from Toronto to Lisbon, Porto or Faro in the Algarve). I look forward to hearing about your visit to Charleston if you go. The “Home” design shows names of neighbourhoods in Toronto. I like it and the Delighthouse design, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. leannelc April 7, 2023 / 8:30 am

    Hi Natalie – lovely to have you and the party back again this week. March looks like it was a great month for you – and to finish it off with a trip to Portugal would have been quite a treat. Glad you can get back to travelling again now the covid situation is more under control.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 12:18 pm

      Hi Leanne, I feel grateful to be able to do what I enjoy (e.g. travel). I hope covid continues to be less threatening as time progresses.


    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Shari. Happy Easter long weekend to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanne April 7, 2023 / 2:29 pm

    Yay for getting back to Portugal and “real” travel again! It looks like you have had a wonderful March.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 3:36 pm

      Yay, indeed. April is off to a good start.


  4. Thistles and Kiwis April 7, 2023 / 3:34 pm

    Looks like you have had a great month Natalie! The Winter Stations look interesting. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip to Portugal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 3:40 pm

      March was full and April is off to a good start. I’ll go through my photos and start writing about my trip to Portugal when things are still fresh in my mind.


  5. Liesbet @ Roaming About April 7, 2023 / 6:15 pm

    Wow, you’ve had a busy month! I love your spring flowers and can just sense that Toronto is awakening and that you will have a fantastic spring and summer! The winter installation that looks like a bear is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 6:32 pm

      Hi Liesbet, Awakening is a good description. Today is a beautiful and sunny spring day. The installation that you like is a raccoon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 6:33 pm

      Thanks, Dan. March ended well and April is off to a good start.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 8:08 pm

      Teresa, My March turned out better than expected. April is looking good. Thank you for your PPAC contribution, I got to see an Australian pelican sculpture and a nice mural by the sea.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin April 7, 2023 / 6:59 pm

    Hi Natalie.
    I’ve been visiting the Winter Station for a number of years. This year my favourite is the Home display.
    Recently, I visited the Rainbow Tunnel next to the DVP. Have you been?
    Keep your adventures coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 8:13 pm

      Hi Kevin, The Home display is so cool with the cutout names of Toronto’s neighbourhoods on its sides. I haven’t been to the Rainbow Tunnel this year yet. I hope to head that way this coming week. Thank you for reminding me about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Easin' Along April 7, 2023 / 6:59 pm

    It’s very difficult to have better experiences than Charleston with family and a trip to Portugal. Looking forward to reading more about your Portugal trip. I lived in Europe for three years but never made it to Portugal. Spring has arrived in the South, and blossoms are bustin’ out all over. Have a great weekend! Joe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 8:24 pm

      Joe, I count my blessings to go on two wonderful international trips in one month. 3 years in Europe sounds like a great opportunity to explore and discover what the continent offers. When I was in Charleston in early March, the azaleas were blooming and I remember seeing notices of an upcoming flower festival. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!


  8. Karen April 7, 2023 / 7:20 pm

    Crocuses are a welcoming site to spring. I would choose the Delighthouse, it’s colorful. #Weekendcoffeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 7, 2023 / 8:25 pm

      Crocuses are usually the first spring flowers to pop up here. I like the Delighthouse, too.


  9. ganga1996 April 7, 2023 / 9:52 pm

    Happy you had a great trip to Portugal. Anything above 32 degrees in spring according to me. I love coffee and your picture makes my mouth water. We too traveled last weekend.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:35 am

      It’s a beautiful spring week here with more flowers appear in the gardens. The coffee at Neo Coffee Bar was very good. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Denyse Whelan Blogs April 7, 2023 / 10:21 pm

    What fun that all sounded Natalie. A wonderful mix of family and places in your catch ups and experiences missed while Covid and travelling was such a challenge. I’m glad to be back here today posting about Easter Memories. I really enjoyed seeing “spring” pics from where you are too. Thanks for the link up. Denyse


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:37 am

      Denyse, Thank you for linking up. I hope you’re enjoying the Easter weekend in your new home.


  11. Maria April 8, 2023 / 12:55 am

    WOW! Your month sounds amazing! And you went to Portugal?! That is a big trip. I hope we get to see more photos and hear stories from your trip. Thank you for sharing this lovely, positive month.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:40 am

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, I took a blogging break and went to Portugal. I’ll write and post about my trip soon. Before COVID started, I traveled frequently. I hope to travel more while I still can.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennifer Jones April 8, 2023 / 2:05 am

    I’d love to see more photos of your Portugal trip Natalie. I’m quite keen to go there to walk the Camino Portugese. I love the art installations. The Home is my favourite.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:44 am

      Jennifer, I’ll share some photos of my Portugal trip soon. I saw part of the Camino Portuguese and some camino participants when I was in Porto. I like the Home design, too. The cutout names on its sides are names of neighnourhoods in Toronto.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:48 am

      Sofia, Thank you for your PPAC contribution. I took a lot of photos while I was in Portugal and will post some on my blog soon. Toronto has a large and well-established Portuguese community. There are direct and frequent flights from Toronto to Lisbon, Porto and Faro. I’m glad you like the Home design. The cutout names on its sides are names of neighnourhoods in Toronto.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. trentpmcd April 8, 2023 / 7:48 am

    Sounds like quite the month! Traveling to Charleston to meet your sisters sounds wonderful, but when you throw in a trip to Portugal in that same month, you begin to get back into your “Explorer” mode. Looking forward to trip pictures.
    Have a great weekend!


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 7:56 am

      Yes, it took about three years for me to get back to Explorer mode due to the pandemic. I’ll share some trip pictures once I sort them out. Have a great weekend, Trent!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ally Bean April 8, 2023 / 9:12 am

    I’ve wanted to visit Portugal for some time. It looks beautiful. Your photos do it proud. Do you travel by yourself? Or are you with other people you know?


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 9:23 am

      I made this trip to Portugal by myself. I’ve done a lot of solo travel and I’m comfortable with it. I make friends along the way. Sometimes I travel with family or friends when the timing and logistics work out for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Michelle April 8, 2023 / 9:55 am

    What an amazing March! The Winter Stations are all so interesting. As far as being pleasing to the eye Delighthouse and The House are my favorites. But I like the concept of Lifeline, and Conrad is intriguing. Portugal always looks so beautiful! It’s wonderful that you got to go again.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 11:53 am

      Thank you, Michelle, for your comment. I also like the Home and Delighthouse designs. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel abroad and visit Portugal again.


  16. Marsha April 8, 2023 / 11:53 am

    Hi Natalie, welcome back! I didn’t know you were going to Portugal. How fun. I’ve never been there, but I’d love to visit and see Restless Jo along the way. I love your Delighthouse best, although Conrad was a close second. Glad you had time with your sisters. I don’t know what you could do this month to top March! 🙂 Have a happy Easter.


    • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 11:57 am

      Thank you, Marsha. This trip to Portugal was kind of last minute. I’d have got in touch with Jo, except I knew she was heading to the UK until next week. April is off to a good start. The weather is sunny and beautiful this week so I’m enjoying time outdoors and catching up at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha April 8, 2023 / 12:16 pm

        I’m sorry you missed her. She’s one of the joys on the internet world. Our weather is getting better as well, and I’m excited to see what April brings. 🙂 Happy Easter, my friend. 🙂


        • Natalie April 8, 2023 / 12:21 pm

          I’m also sorry I missed Jo. Thank you for linking up. I’ll be over to your blog to catch up. Hope all’s well with you. Happy Easter to you, my friend 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Gary A Wilson April 9, 2023 / 10:51 am

    Hi Natalie,
    I share your celebration of travel, and other areas of life, becoming less covid-ated. This virus needs to be pushed down to the status of being merely ‘historical’ ASAP.
    Thanks again for hosting our weekend meet-ups.


    • Natalie April 9, 2023 / 4:23 pm

      Gary, Thank you for your comment. Good to see you link up this weekend.


  18. Janet Alcorn April 9, 2023 / 1:05 pm

    Lovely photos as always! The spring flowers are so pretty–and so welcome after a long, cold winter. Looking forward to seeing your photos from Portugal!


    • Natalie April 9, 2023 / 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Janet. I’m glad you liked my photos. The weather is beautiful this weekend and next week so more spring flowers show up in the gardens over here. Will share some of my photos from Portugal after I select which ones.


  19. csuhpat1 April 9, 2023 / 3:09 pm

    Looks like you had a great March. That is so cool, going to Portugal. Very nice. Happy for you. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.


    • Natalie April 9, 2023 / 4:26 pm

      Patrick, Thank you for your comment and for linking up. Have a great weekend!


  20. Julie April 10, 2023 / 12:49 am

    Wow! Looks like you had a month full of exciting travels. I’ve never been to South Carolina and Portugal. I am looking forward to my trip to France in June — my first international trip since pre-pandemic. This trip has been planned for months, I was tempted to cancel but I believe going there would be healing.


    • Natalie April 10, 2023 / 9:44 am

      France is a beautiful and wonderful country to visit. If you go, there are many things to explore, discover and occupy your mind.


    • Natalie April 10, 2023 / 4:59 pm

      March was delightful and interesting. April is off to a good start. Thank you for stopping by.


    • Natalie April 11, 2023 / 8:21 am

      Hi Sarah, Cheers to more travels to come 🙂 Thank you for your PPAC contribution. I love the vibrant colours and unique decorative designs.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. JT Twissel April 12, 2023 / 5:50 pm

    Charleston would be a great place for a reunion. Coincidentally I heard on the radio that this is anniversary of the start of the Civil War.Or as they say in Charleston, The War of Northern Aggression. Lovely pics – you have been gettin’ out!


    • Natalie April 12, 2023 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you JT for stopping by. I’m glad you liked my photos. My sisters and I had a wonderful reunion in Charleston.


  22. Kirstin Troyer April 14, 2023 / 11:40 pm

    I enjoyed your catch up post. Life got away from me and I never got back to comment on peoples posts. Doing that now and hoping I get my post up for this weekend.


    • Natalie April 15, 2023 / 8:06 am

      Thank you, Kirstin, for stopping by. I look forward to reading your post. Have a great weekend!


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