April 2023 Highlights

The last weekend of the month is when I do my monthly review. What have you been up to this past month? Here’s what’s been happening in my corner of the world and what I enjoyed in April.


Week 1 of April was the second half of my adventures in Portugal that I started in the last week of March. I had good weather throughout my trip, with daytime high temperatures ranged from 20C to 27C (68F to 81F). My itinerary included Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra, Evora, Fatima, Tomar, Coimbra and Porto.

I used local transportation systems to get around, walked to explore every day, visited several incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites, met other travellers, savoured Portuguese cuisine and enjoyed Port wine tasting in Porto. I returned home with wonderful memories and many photos. I’ll publish my ‘Postcards from Portugal‘ starting next week.


Week 2 was a fantastic homecoming week. The highlights include Easter weekend with family and catching up with friends. During week 2, Toronto set new temperature highs (26C-28C) a few days in a row. Suddenly we had summer weather in mid-April. I enjoyed seven consecutive fun outings that include bike rides, walks with friends, bird and turtle watching, and seeing spring flowers in bloom.


Week 3 highlight was the viewing of cherry blossoms or Hanami Sakura. The warm temperatures in week 2 encouraged cherry trees to bloom early this year. The cherry blossoms are spectacular but peak bloom lasts only about a week. Such fleeting beauty. I feel grateful to see these delicate flowers every spring.

April 16: Individual blossoms are clearly seen
April 20-27: Gorgeous cherry blossoms at peak bloom


Week 4 highlight was an evening walk to see public art at the Lumière: The Art of Light festival. This free outdoor light exhibition allows visitors to explore Trillium Park and experience sixteen light art installations developed by Ontario artists. The theme Renewal of the exhibition celebrates the change of seasons from winter to spring.

To see some of the light exhibits, use the arrows to move through the following 8 slides. For more information about the artwork and artists, click here.

On the Blog

The weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge have been going well in April. Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for April’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

For more blogging fun, I’m linking up with Sue’s #WBOYC and Ju-Lyn’s #TheChangingSeasons.

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 #116 InLinkz below.

Happy May!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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

119 thoughts on “April 2023 Highlights

  1. dawnkinster April 28, 2023 / 8:11 am

    Well you sure had a wonderful April!!! Loved the luminaries! Did you use a tripod for those images? They are beautiful!


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 8:15 am

      Dawn, Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you like the Lumière light art exhibits. I didn’t use a tripod, just my cellphone camera and my hands 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawnkinster April 28, 2023 / 8:21 am

        Cellphone cameras are soooo good now! I think my cell phone does better in low light situations than my camera.


        • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 8:49 am

          I’ve been taking all my photos with a cellphone for several years and my cellphone is an older model even when I bought it. It meets my needs for portability, multi-function and hobby photography.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene April 28, 2023 / 8:17 am

    You had a great April. Lumière looks awesome! So glad you enjoyed your trip to Portugal.


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 8:52 am

      Darlene, Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked Lumière. I hope to return to Spain later this year. If I do get to go there and close to your area, will contact you for a meetup. Have a wonderful weekend!


  3. leannelc April 28, 2023 / 8:52 am

    Hi Natalie – loved the Lumière light show pics – all so very pretty. I also noticed that we both has swans in our monthly wrap up posts – just different colours (we don’t have white swans in Western Australia – except at the zoo).


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 9:58 am

      Hi Leanne, We sure have opposite seasons and animals. White swans and Canada geese are common here and since it’s spring here, they are nesting so I expect to see cute, fuzzy ducklings and goslings in May.


  4. Bernie April 28, 2023 / 10:48 am

    Gosh all of your photos are amazing but I especially love the blossoms. The Lumiere light show also looks very interesting. Is it a temporary thing?


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 2:22 pm

      Thank you Bernie. The cherry blossoms are spectacular this week. The Lumière event is temporary from March 10 to May 7.


  5. Michelle April 28, 2023 / 11:49 am

    Portugal has always seemed like an amazing destination. I am looking forward to hearing about it in detail. The cherry blossoms are so pretty. And the Lumiere light show is amazing!


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 2:23 pm

      Thank you Michelle for your comment. My first Portugal post is coming up next week. I hope you’ll enjoy it.


  6. Gail Is This Mutton April 28, 2023 / 11:52 am

    So glad you had good weather in Portugal and also when you got back to Canada. Our weather has been appalling in the UK! Very cold. I love seeing the blossom, and one day hope to go to Japan for Hanami Sakura. Thanks for the link-up, enjoy your weekend


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 2:27 pm

      Gail, Thank you for your comment. Japan gifted Toronto with cherry blossom trees years ago and those trees have been giving us spectacular blossoms every spring. Japan is a beautiful and fascinating country. I visited it once and always want to return for another visit. I hope the weather in the UK improves. Have a wonderful weekend!


  7. Joanne April 28, 2023 / 3:18 pm

    So many wonderful highlights this month! I can’t wait to hear more about Portugal. We enjoyed some real summer-like temperatures for just a couple of days in April too and I’m anxiously awaiting their return.


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 5:37 pm

      I look forward to having consistently warm weather, too.


  8. Thistles and Kiwis April 28, 2023 / 3:39 pm

    What a fantastic month Natalie! I’m looking forward to your postcards from Portugal.


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 5:38 pm

      The first postcard is expected to arrive next Friday 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. margaret21 April 28, 2023 / 3:52 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing your Postcards from Portugal: and thanks for sharing the Art of Light Festival too!


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 5:39 pm

      You’re welcome, Margaret. My first ‘postcard from Portugal’ is expected to arrive next Friday.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:50 pm

          Margaret, Your PPAC pingback worked fine. All comments with links are moderated so they may not appear on my blog right away. Thank you for your PPAC contribution that took me to France. I used to visit France quite often before COVID started. I resumed international travel this year and hope to return to France soon.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. tidalscribe.com April 28, 2023 / 6:21 pm

    A month for travelling, the holiday to Portugal sounded great. My highlight was eleven of us family get together holiday in the lovely Lake District far from my home.


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 7:00 pm

      Your family get-together sounds fantastic. It’s usually a challenge to find date(s) that work for everyone. Well done! I hope you have a wonderful May.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tidalscribe.com April 29, 2023 / 8:04 am

        That’s for sure, coming from four different parts of the country and with four school children and a teacher it had to be at Easter when everyone was travelling.


        • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 2:03 pm

          Wow, extra stars and rounds of applause for all eleven of you to make it happen.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Writing Sparkle April 28, 2023 / 6:35 pm

    Lumière: The Art of Light festival would be a lot of fun. Hope you have a great weekend, Natalie.


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks, Shari. The Art of Light festival is a nice way to say goodbye to winter and welcome to spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lydia C. Lee April 28, 2023 / 7:26 pm

    Wow! You really have been living large! How fabulous! Portugal. And I love light art. Ours is coming up soon!


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 7:42 pm

      It was wonderful to revisit Portugal. I look forward to seeing your light art photos.


  13. Debbie April 28, 2023 / 7:46 pm

    This is great Natalie because we’ve been discussing popping over to Portugal for a few days when we’re in the UK and Porto was one place that was mentioned. How serendipitous! I love all the spring flowers and things that are happening like the light show. Thanks for taking us with you 🙂


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 8:03 pm

      Debbie, There’s plenty to explore and enjoy in Porto. I had a wonderful time in Portugal and would return for another visit. Thank you for linking up. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Karen April 28, 2023 / 7:59 pm

    The cherry blossoms are gorgeous. Lots of fun & good things for April. #Weekendcoffeeshare


    • Natalie April 28, 2023 / 8:22 pm

      The cherry blossoms are spectacular this week. I never get tired of seeing them.


  15. Marsha April 29, 2023 / 12:59 am

    You have had a busy and fulfilling month, Natalie. You really are Natalie the Explorer. I’m trying to choose my favorite photo of yours this month, and I’m having a very hard time with it. I love the way you arranged the ducks next to the flower pictures. The purple globes are amazing looking. And the cherry blossoms are such a beautiful color I want to eat them. 🙂 I’ll be back tomorrow to visit more of your links. My husband is already snoring. 🙂


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:22 pm

      Marsha, I’m glad you liked my photos and how I arranged them in this post. I tried hard not to include too many photos and arranging them on my blog is my hobby of ‘digital collage’. I wanted to eat the cherry blossoms, too. They’re spectacular this week. We had rain yesterday and this weekend so some of the blossoms will not be around next week. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha April 29, 2023 / 7:39 pm

        I didn’t realize they disappeared so quickly but it makes sense – a little rain, wind, hail, and they are gone! Have a great weekend and another busy week next week.


        • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 7:52 pm

          Cherry blossoms are weather-dependent. At the end of the peak bloom, the petals drop and look like soft pink and white confetti on the ground. Have a great weekend!

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Sofia Alves April 29, 2023 / 4:07 am

    I’m looking forward to your postcards from Portugal, I didn’t realise you’ve visited so many different locations.
    Our blossoms have been and gone… right on time for this part of the world. Yours were lovely, it’s a shame they don’t last long.
    Lumière looks amazing, I love all of them.
    Here is mine for this week:


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:30 pm

      Sofia, Portugal is a small country so I was able to cover many different locations by train and on foot. The metro in Lisbon and train system in Portugal are both easy to use. I’m glad you contributed a mural from Lisbon this week. I love seeing public art in different places around the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:32 pm

      You’re welcome, PTP. That Umbra Transit light exhibit changes colours, from white to yellow, orange, blue, to different shades of purple. It’s quite beautiful to see IRL.


  17. Jennifer Jones April 29, 2023 / 6:45 am

    Natalie the light exhibits are amazing. Such beautiful colours. I love the blossoms too


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:34 pm

      Thank you, Jennifer, for your comment. I love colours and flowers. Both the Art of Light exhibits and the cherry blossoms check off those boxes for me.


  18. Easin' Along April 29, 2023 / 7:39 am

    Hi, Natalie,
    Your cherry trees are gorgeous and hold out the promise of a lovely spring in Toronto. Thanks for sharing. We’re well into spring here, and we kick off the Dogwood Arts Festival this weekend, which runs for two weeks and celebrates both visual and performing arts. I love this time of the year! Have a great weekend. Eagerly looking forward to Friday’s postcard. Joe


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:36 pm

      Joe, The Dogwood Arts Festival sounds like a lot of fun. If you go, I hope you share some photos. Spring is a beautiful season, full of new beginnings and renewal. Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead!


  19. trentpmcd April 29, 2023 / 7:43 am

    Sounds like quite the month. Starting in Portugal makes it special right there, then Easter with family, visiting friends, a warm start to spring, etc. Hope you have a wonderful week and that May is special as well 🙂


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:38 pm

      Thank you, Trent. April has been wonderful. We got rain showers this weekend so I expect lots of green grass and flowers in bloom in May 🙂 Have a great weekend and week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd April 30, 2023 / 7:57 am

        It is cold and rainy here today, so I expect these April showers will turn into May flowers next week…


          • trentpmcd April 30, 2023 / 8:08 am

            The weather often moves west to east, so we do get Great Lake weather a day or two later (I have family in Cleveland…) Often, though, our weather comes up the coast to stop that pattern.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. ganga1996 April 29, 2023 / 8:13 am

    The luminaries are beautiful. This something different and you captured well. Enjoyed looking at them.


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 1:41 pm

      Thank you Ganga. I’m glad you liked my photos. My night photos are usually not as good as my daytime photos but those light art ones turned out OK to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 3:00 pm

      Yes, the DC area has beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 April 29, 2023 / 7:35 pm

    Hello Natalie! It is so lovely to read your post again and have you join us for the WBOYC link up. We stayed in Portugal (Lisbon) for a couple of days before our Spain tour about 4 years ago. I would love to revisit one day although there are so many places to visit in the world. Gorgeous Spring photos of the cherry blossoms so thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful May and I look forward to reading what you have been up to. xx


    • Natalie April 29, 2023 / 7:48 pm

      Hi Sue, True that there are so many places to visit in the world. This spring I revisited Portugal since I like it from my previous visit and explored new places in Portugal. Have a wonderful May! I look forward to reading your monthly wrap-up posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Kirstin Troyer April 30, 2023 / 12:22 am

    Great update natalie. Those light exhibits are beautiful.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 7:55 am

      Thank you, Kirstin. The artists did a good job on those light art exhibits. I’m glad you liked them.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 7:56 am

      Thank you Sophie for your visit and comment. I love those mushroom lights. They are located on a small hill with a great view of Lake Ontario and the city’s skyline.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Diana April 30, 2023 / 3:11 am

    Hi Natalie, what a beautiful and fun April! I love all your photos. I saw in the comments you use your cell phone for your photos and so do I as well. I’m happy with them and am happy I’m not alone using my phone camera. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 😍


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 7:59 am

      Hi Diana, I’ve been using my cellphone camera for all of my photos for several years. I’m glad to hear you’re happy with your phone camera, too. It’s great to see you at the linkup this weekend. I’ll visit your blog shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Janet Alcorn April 30, 2023 / 10:00 am

    Those cherry blossoms are gorgeous! Loved the light exhibits too, and I’m looking forward to your postcards from Portugal.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 11:37 am

      The first postcard is expected to arrive next Friday 🙂


  25. Maria April 30, 2023 / 10:55 am

    I can’t wait to see more photos from Portugal and hear about your trip! The cherry blossoms are wonderful.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 11:38 am

      My first postcard from Portugal should be here next Friday 🙂


  26. csuhpat1 April 30, 2023 / 11:53 am

    Such a great April you had. Very nice. The trip to Portugal is super cool.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 3:23 pm

      Thank you, Patrick. I hope April has been good to you, too. Happy May!


  27. Liesbet @ Roaming About April 30, 2023 / 1:33 pm

    I’m happy to read you had another wonderful, happy, diverse, social, healthy, and beautiful month, Natalie. The light exhibit is amazing – subtle yet attractive and impressive.


    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 3:25 pm

      Thank you, Liesbet. I hope April has been good overall to you, Mark and Maya, too. We’ve had rain showers this weekend so I look forward to green grass and lots of flowers in May.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liesbet @ Roaming About April 30, 2023 / 4:25 pm

        April in Colombia has been mostly good, when you don’t count the times when people stuck a metal tube in our tire, which deflated it within seconds and ruined it and the road barricade we got stuck in for five hours the other day. 🙂


        • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 5:00 pm

          I have no kind words for people who intentionally damage other people’s properties or vehicles. The road barricade incident must have been frustrating. Wishing you three safe and happy travels.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 30, 2023 / 5:02 pm

      Beth, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. I love your bird and flower photos. I hope you have a wonderful May and look forward to reading about your month.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 1, 2023 / 8:24 am

      Thank you Jez for your PPAC contribution. I got to see pretty painted stones at Barassie Beach, South Ayrshire. They’re delightful finds.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 1, 2023 / 8:32 am

      Teresa, Thank you for your PPAC contribution that took me to scenic Emerald Lake in Australia. The murals are beautiful, colourful and carry a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Ju-Lyn May 1, 2023 / 11:24 pm

    Deliciously power packed post, Natalie, capturing an extremely varied and exciting April!

    Your image of Porto reminds me so much of my memory of La Rochelle, France. Portugal is definitely on my list of Places to Plan Towards.

    Yes, Sakura! I love that I can look forward to this stunning pink season each year in your space – and neither of us has to go to Japan! Do you see any sakura-flavoured or sakura-inspired treats during the season?

    💗💗💗 Lumiere! I love night light festivals and this one looks so fun! My firm favourite is the Numerology of Mushrooms.


    • Natalie May 2, 2023 / 8:08 am

      Ju-Lyn, Good question about sakura-inspired treats. Sakura petals are edible and there are sakura recipes online. I should check what Japanese coffee shops and stores in downtown Toronto offer next spring. I also love the Numerology of Mushrooms. It’s located on a small hill overlooking Lake Ontario and the city’s skyline.


      • Ju-Lyn May 10, 2023 / 6:27 pm

        I’ve only recently realised that Sakura petals actually do impart a gentle floral fragrance to a treat; I always thought it was just the colour & shape of a treat that made it sakura-inspired😆

        Ah! Art with a view – lovely!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 3, 2023 / 9:15 am

      A fun-filled week 🙂 Thank you Margaret for your PPAC contribution that took me to Spain. I love seeing public art around the world and those that carry traditions like the Gegants of Catalonia are extra-special.

      Liked by 1 person

      • margaret21 May 3, 2023 / 11:12 am

        I think they’re special, by being made by locals mucking in together and pooling their talents.


  29. Retirement Reflections May 3, 2023 / 1:53 pm

    Hi, Natalie – Your adventures in Portugual sound fantastic. I greatly look forward to seeing your posting of ‘postcards’ from there. And it looks like you returned home to delightful weather in Toronto. While we were away, our Vancouver Island weather was really at its worst. It has been better on our return, but still very up and down. Bring on summer!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.