In July, my family went on a trip to Regina, the capital city of the Province of Saskatchewan, located about 3 to 3.5 hours by plane west of Toronto. During our stay, I took a day out to explore some of the sights located in the heart of Regina.
The Saskatchewan Legislative Building
Known as the marble palace, the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is one of the largest legislative buildings in Canada. It was erected between 1908-1911. Walter Scott, first premier of Saskatchewan, envisioned the Legislative Building in a park-like setting with grounds that would reflect the grandeur of the building.
Tours of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building are available seven days a week (except Good Friday, Christmas Day, and New Years Day) and are conducted on the hour. I took a guided tour to learn more about the architecture and history of the building. I highly recommend it. Why?
During the free, fun, and interesting guided tour that lasted about thirty minutes, I got to:
Visit the same building Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited on May 25, 1939.
Stand in the same spot in the rotunda where Queen Elizabeth II stood to view the Northern Traditions and Transitions murals.
Touch the beautiful green marble columns and look up to see the dome of the building.
Enter the legislative chamber and the library, where the Confederation table is kept. This table was used during the meeting of the Fathers of Confederation in Quebec City in 1864.
View numerous sculpture and artworks, including fifteen Portraits of Indian Leaders, all pastel on paper, completed by Edmund Harris during 1910 and 1911.
Queen Elizabeth II Gardens
Located in front of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, Queen Elizabeth II Gardens was dedicated by Her Majesty the Queen on May 18, 2005 on the occasion of the Centennial of the Province of Saskatchewan 1905-2005. A statue of the monarch on her favourite Saskatchewan-born horse, Burmese, was designed by Susan Velder and unveiled by Her Majesty in 2005.
The Saskatchewan Legislative Building and its grounds were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005. After the indoor guided tour, I picked up a booklet at the information desk and completed a self-guided outdoor tour that takes me through approximately 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) of the beautiful legislative grounds.
Wascana Centre features a 930-hectare urban park built around a 120-hectare lake. The trails around the lake are accessible for walking, cycling, and rollerblading. It was a sunny and warm day so I appreciated the shades provided by the trees, the water fountains in and around Wascana Centre, and the light breeze from Wascana Lake.
MacKenzie Art Gallery
From Wascana Centre, I walked further south to explore the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Outdoor Sculpture Garden. Some of the artworks that are on display on the grounds around the Gallery caught my attention. Joe Fafard’s bronze cow statues reminded me of his work, The Pasture, in Toronto.
It was a wonderful and educational outing on a gorgeous summer day. I walked about 8 kilometres (5 miles) outdoors, learned a bit of history in Regina, and saw some beautiful architecture and artworks.
I mentioned in myIn and Around Munich post that my cousin took me to see Neuschwanstein Castle. I was spoiled again when my friends who live near Stuttgart took me to Heidelberg to visit this charming German town and Heidelberg Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Germany.
Heidelberg is located about 120 km north west of Stuttgart, right on the Neckar River. The town is known for Heidelberg University, Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386, and the red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle.
HEIDELBERG OLD TOWN
Upon arriving in Heidelberg, we strolled in the Old Town and admired the beautiful buildings. The Gothic Heiliggeistkirche church towers over the vibrant town centre Marktplatz. One can spend many days in this town to examine its architectural details. From the main square, we could see Heidelberg Castle standing on Königstuhl hill.
To conserve our energy and time, we took the funicular from the ground level to Heidelberg Castle. Below are some of my photos during our exploration of the various buildings on the castle site. I organized them in chronological order with the earliest structure first.
The Ruprecht Building single-story, simple medieval structure was built under King Ruprecht I, who ruled between 1400 and 1410. It is the oldest surviving residential palace within Heidelberg Castle.
The Powder Tower (aka the ‘Exploded’ Tower) was built under Prince Ludwig V, who ruled between 1508 and 1544. It once functioned as a gun turret. “Kraut,” or powder, specifically gunpowder, was stored in the basement. French mines destroyed the roughly 7-meter-thick wall during the war between 1688 and 1697.
The Hall of Glass was named for its magnificent second-story hall, once adorned with Venetian mirror glass. It was constructed by Prince Friedrich II, who ruled between 1544 and 1556. Its Italian arcades connect the two most beautiful buildings within Heidelberg Castle: the Friedrich Building (left) and the Ottheinrich Building (right).
The Ottheinrich Building was erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559). The elaborate decorative figures on the stately facade were created by sculptor Alexander Colin. The roof was damaged by fire from French troops in 1693 and was finally destroyed by a lightning strike in 1764.
The German Apothecary Museum has resided in the basement of the Ottheinrich Building since 1958. The castle admission ticket includes a visit to this interesting exhibition on the history of pharmaceutics.
The Friedrich Building and its lavishly decorated facade was built during the rule of Friedrich IV (1583–1610) by his architect, Johannes Schoch, between 1601 and 1607. The electoral family lived on the two top floors. The attic floor was reserved for the servants.
The Bell Tower seen next to Scheffel Terrace was originally constructed as a gun turret in the early 15th century. Over the centuries it was reinforced, built up, and finally converted into a bell tower and lookout tower.
The English Building was built between 1612 and 1614 during the rule of Friedrich V (1613–1619) for his English bride Elizabeth Stuart. The surviving window facade is on the left in the photo below.
The Barrel Building was constructed in the 16th century. A giant barrel was installed in the building’s basement in 1591, holding 130,000 liters of wine. In 1664, it was replaced by an even larger barrel with 200,000 liters capacity. Nearly 100 years later, Prince Carl Theodor had the third and current Great Barrel constructed. 220,000 liters of wine were stored here.
After visiting the beautiful Heidelberg Castle, we strolled in the castle gardens, and took the stairs (some 300 steps) to get down to Heidelberg Old Town. Walking with my longtime friends made the descent from the summit seem shorter.
I’m hosting the Wellness Wednesday link up on August 14. The optional prompt is Friends with regards to how they affect our well-being. Since I’ve written my Health updates in my July Wrap-Uppost, I’m sharing my wonderful outing in Heidelberg with my friends for Wellness Wednesday. Please click here to join in on the fun.
Hello August and goodbye July! July was a fun summer month filled with warm days, plenty of leisure activities, a family trip to Regina, and a blogger meeting. Let me share my July highlights with you and I invite you to tell me yours.
I visited the 58th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair where over 300 artists participated and displayed their arts for sale over three days. It’s a wonderful annual event to see so much artistic talent in one location.
On one of my outdoor walks, I saw the Ordinary Men sculpture exhibit by Thomas J. Price who lives and works in London, UK. This is his first solo exhibition in Canada. His sculpture ranges in size from small busts to monumental bronze statues.
I had a fun walk along Toronto’s waterfront with my new blogger friend Joanne (My Life Lived Full). I wrote about where we explored and what we had for lunch here. We saw a number of interesting public art installations during our 5 km walk.
I read five fine books in July. Although there is a lot of human suffering, especially in the first three novels, all of them show human resilience, love, and all have a hopeful or happy ending:
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
The Kite Runner also by Khaled Hosseini.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman).
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan.
I attended five outdoor concerts in July. Simply great music of different genres and powerful vocals heard in an urban setting on warm summer days. I always feel so fortunate to have easy access to these free events:
Jordan John & Denis Keldie
The Métis Fiddler Quartet
Tyler Yarema & Allison Young
My family clan held a get-together in July. It took place on the weekend that we had a heat wave so we were all thankful for air-conditioning. As usual, we enjoyed good food and fun conversations. I love chatting with my siblings, nieces, and nephews. Our next gathering will be in August.
I did a gym workout with one of my friends and met two other friends by the farmer’s market for coffee catch-ups in Toronto. I also had fun catching up with our family friends in Regina when we were there.
In July, I meditated and walked daily. I also completed seven yoga classes, fourteen workouts in the gym, and four swimming sessions. On warm and humid days I tried to do my physical activities early in the morning before it became too hot. I missed two instructor-led yoga classes when I was away and made up for them by practicing the yoga poses by myself.
I did my French and Spanish lessons every day in July. There is always something new to learn, from the daily language lessons that I take on Duolingo, to what I learn from my health and leisure pursuits.
I enjoyed watching the new Spider-man Far from Home movie in the theatre, and two in-flight movies The Mule and How To Train The Dragon II.
My family went on a trip to Regina in Saskatchewan. Regina is about 3 to 3.5 hours west of Toronto by plane. We spent some time catching up with our friends and enjoyed our visit to the beautifully landscaped Wascana Park surrounding a 120-hectare lake located in the heart of Regina. More on this trip in a future post.
I enjoyed July very much. It was a summer month packed with fun activities with family and friends. If anything, it went by a bit too fast for a month of thirty-one days.
How was your July? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.
I wrote in May that I had my first blogger date with Ann, a fellow Canadian blogger from the West Coast. Following that fun date, I reached out to Joanne, another fellow Canadian blogger in Toronto. We agreed to meet on a Friday in July for a walk along the waterfront. A heat wave derailed our initial plan and made us postpone our date to the following week. Our second attempt was a go!
Even though we’ve just recently followed each other’s blog, we recognized each other in person right away. The weather was sunny and warm so after our introduction hug and smiles, we started heading west, making brief stops along the way to explore some of Toronto’s gems:
By the time we reached Coronation Park, it was getting warmer and close to lunch time so we turned around. A quick consultation with Joanne prompted me to suggest Gonoe Sushi for lunch. Aside from its location being on our route, I had a good meal there before and both of us haven’t had sushi recently.
Gonoe Sushi interior was nice and cool with the air conditioning humming. We got a table right away. Our food orders arrived shortly after. I had a sushi and maki roll combo while Joanne went for a dynamite sushi combo. Her verdict: “This was a good choice!“.
After lunch, we walked to Union Station before saying goodbye. Altogether we completed five kilometers under sunny skies, chatted about our blogging experiences, blogger’s meet-ups, family, fitness tips, future plans, outdoor activities, travel stories, and solved our hunger with a nice sushi lunch…All within three hours 🙂
When I was in Munich in June, one of the day trips that my cousin and I took together was to Salzburg in Austria. Salzburg is known as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and home to the “Sound of Music”. Salzburg lies about 145 km south east of Munich. With the German ‘recommended’ highway speed of 130 km per hour, it took us just a little bit over an hour to get there by car.
Upon our arrival in Salzburg, the weather was sunny, warm, 32 Celsius, and humid. We managed to see five of the top sights in Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress, Mozart’s Birthplace, Mozart’s Residence, Salzburg Old Town, and Salzburg Cathedral Quarter.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is the biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe. Construction of the Hohensalzburg Fortress started in the year 1077 and ongoing development of the fortress architecture continued until 1500. The fortress is open year round and can be reached on foot or by funicular. It’s worth visiting if you’re interested in historical exhibits, including original furnishings from the year 1501/ 1502.
Mozart’s Birthplace and Residence, both of which are now museums, provide a glimpse into his extraordinary childhood:
The yellow-walled Geburthaus (or Mozart’s Birthplace) at 9 Getreidegasse where Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 and lived there until 1773.
The soft pink-walled WohnHaus (or Mozart’s Residence) at 8 Markatplatz where he lived with his family from 1773.
Salzburg Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the left side of the Salzach River which divides Salzburg into two halves. The pedestrian-only streets in the Old Town are lined with shops, all with decorative metal works above the entrances. We enjoyed exploring the maze of streets leading to and from several main public squares.
Salzburg Cathedral and Cathedral Square (Domplatz): Of its numerous churches, the cathedral is Salzburg’s most important sacred building. The façade is made of marble. Looking down from it are four monumental statues: Apostles Peter and Paul holding a key and a sword, as well as Salzburg’s two patron saints, Rupert and Virgil, clasping a salt vessel and a model of the church. The two statues at the top of the gable commemorate the two builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron. The cathedral interior is also stunning to see.
Cathedral Square connects with Residence Square (Residenceplatz) which is surrounded by the Residence building (left in the photo below) and Salzburg Museum (right in the photo below).
In the centre of Residence Square is the beautiful baroque Residence Fountain created by the Italian sculptor, Tommasso di Garone. At the base of the fountain, four snorting horses seem to spring forth from the spouting rock. Giants rooted in the rock carry the lower basin, in which three dolphins balance the scalloped upper basin. The upper basin holds a Triton, a jet of water shooting into the air from his conch-shell trumpet. It’s truly magnificent artwork.
From Residence Square, we walked to Salzburg Market to pick up fresh snacks and to browse all kinds of food products, traditional folk wear, and souvenirs. Then it was time to head back to Munich.
I had a wonderful day trip to Salzburg. I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting (or revisiting) Salzburg through my lens.
In June I visited my cousin and his family in Munich, the third largest city in Germany, about 585 km (363 miles) south of Berlin. I had visited Munich once before so on this trip, I set aside one day for sightseeing in Munich to revisit some of the main sights and to explore two new-to-me attractions (Munich Residence and Olympic Park). On the remaining days, my cousin and I made day trips to a few places located south east and south west of Munich and to Salzburg in Austria.
Below is a map with blue markers to give you an idea where we were. Munich is the top marker, Tegernsee and Chiemsee Lakes are near the centre, Salzburg is far right, Füssen and Neuschwanstein Castle are lower left.
SIGHTSEEING IN MUNICH
Marienplatz, located in the heart of Munich, is an optimal starting point to get to know the city. In 1854, this square was named after the Marian column that stands in the middle of it. On the day that I was there, the square was packed with people out to celebrate Munich’s 861st anniversary festival.
On the right in the photo below is the tower of the New Town Hall. At noon, the Glockenspiel chimes and the figures appear in the windows of the tower. Munich’s glockenspiel is the largest in Germany and the 4th largest in Europe.
On the left in the photo below, the two green domes belong to the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady (Frauenkirche) which dates back to the 15th century. The nearly 100-metre high towers (also known as the onion towers) are inspired by the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
I walked for a couple of hours re-visiting other main sights in Munich, such as Karlsplatz (Stachus), Odeonsplatz, and the Victuals market (Viktualienmarkt). The market has more than 140 stands and shops offering local and exotic products.
In the afternoon, I explored a new-to-me attraction: the Munich Residence (Residenz). The Munich Residence is the biggest inner-city palace in Germany. From 1508 to 1918 it served as seat of residence and government to the Bavarian rulers.
The various Bavarian rulers furnished and extended the rooms to suit their own personal tastes, engaging important artists for the purpose. Some of the most impressive rooms that I saw include the Antiquarium (photo below), Stone Rooms (Steinzimmer), the Green Gallery, and the Treasury (Schatzkammer) where crowns and jewels of the last 10 centuries are displayed.
I was surprised at the inside size of the Residence, room after room on several floors, with huge amount of furnishings. Two words came to my mind “excessive opulence” as I kept walking and listening to the audio commentaries. The Munich Residence is well worth a visit and one would need at least three hours to see it all.
In the evening, my cousin and I went to Munich Olympic Park. We took the lift ride up to the 185-metre high Olympic Tower to see magnificent views over the city of Munich. It was a clear and calm night with a handful of visitors at the lookout level. We had a coffee break at the on-site revolving restaurant to soak in the views of the tented roof stadium, the BMW Museum, various sport facilities, and Munich by night. It was a beautiful end of this day in Munich.
DAY TRIP TO THE LAKES
On another gorgeous day, we spent time visiting the lakes near Munich. Tegernsee Lake is about 51 km south of Munich, and Chiemsee Lake is about 55 km east from Tegernsee Lake.
First stop was at Tegernsee Lake where we had a delicious lakeside brunch. On the platter was fresh pretzels served with cheese, eggs, cured ham, salami, and pickles. The Weisswursts (white sausages) are traditional Bavarian sausages made from minced veal and pork back bacon. They were served with sweet mustard and soft pretzels. The cappuccino came in a cute cup, just what I needed for the morning.
It was peaceful by Tegernsee Lake without any noise except the sounds of birds and water movements. After brunch, we walked around the lake perimeter for some exercise and enjoyed the lake views. The surrounding gardens, houses with timber sidings and hanging flower baskets were lovely.
In the afternoon we went swimming in Chiemsee Lake. The cool lake water was a refreshing relief from a warm and humid day with high temperature around 31 Celsius (or 88F). From the sandy beach, we could walk pretty far out into the lake as its slope was gentle and the water was so clear that we could see our feet.
DAY TRIP TO FÜSSEN
Füssen is located about 133 km south west of Munich. It’s a pretty town, easy to walk around to explore the shops and local scenes. We strolled in the town centre for about an hour, took a coffee break, and picked up our reserved tickets at the Tourist Office to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.
VISITING NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited palaces in Europe, with around 1.5 million visitors a year. King Ludwig II based the design of the castle on the medieval paintings of Romanesque knight castles and an interpretation of the musical mythology of Richard Wagner, whom he admired greatly.
Construction of Neuschwanstein Castle commenced in September 1869 and never completed when the King died on June 13, 1886 in Lake Starnberg.
We booked our tickets in advance to avoid the long line up. The castle is easily reached on foot at a distance of 1.5 km with upward slope, mostly in the shades of the surrounding trees. Horse-drawn carriages are available for hire as well. Unfortunately the horse poops attract a lot of flies.
Ticket holders enter the castle as per the reserved time on their ticket to take the 30-minute guided tour in German or English. A tour guide walks the group through the castle to see the various rooms. Audio device is provided so everyone can hear the commentaries. No photography or video recording is allowed in the castle.
At first sight, Neuschwanstein Castle looks like a fairy tale with the green mountains in the background. I was most impressed with the Throne Hall and the amazing views from the castle, which includes a bridge above a canyon, the lakes, and Hohenschwangau Castle with its yellow walls.
EATING OUT AT A BEER GARDEN
On a warm summer evening, my cousin and his wife took me to a local beer garden for dinner. Picnic tables and benches are set up under white umbrellas. Customers pick up their food and drinks from food huts and pay at the cash counters before sitting down. We shared roasted chicken, ribs, and warm pretzels which went down well with the local beer.
I had a wonderful time in and around Munich. There are plenty to see and do in the Bavaria region. I was glad I could make this trip a reality and create new memories with my cousin and his family.
From Munich, we took a day trip to Salzburg, Austria. I also took the inter-city trains to Stuttgart to meet my friend and her husband and together we did more sightseeing. More on these day trips in my future posts. Stay tuned!
Thank you for travelling with me. I’d love to hear your comments.
I’ve been co-hosting a monthly Wellness link up on the second Wednesday of each month in 2019 with my blogger friend, Leslie, at Once Upon A Time & Happily Ever After blog. The optional prompt for July is Family health.
Since I’ve provided my Health updates in my June Wrap-Up post here, in this post, I’m sharing a walk that my family and I did together.
On Canada Day weekend, we started our celebrations with a home-made pancake breakfast, served with Canadian maple syrup and Ontario-grown fresh strawberries. It was yummy and gave us plenty of energy.
We went for a 5 km walk along the waterfront to see the tall ships that were participating in the Tall Ships Challenge Race Series 2019 and at the Redpath Waterfront festival. Below is the explanation of the series from the Tall Ships Ontario web site:
THE TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE
“The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes Series is a race series organized by Tall Ships America that travels through the Great Lakes stopping in US and Canadian cities throughout the summer of 2019. The race involves (on average) 15 international tall ships that race from port to port and are timed. The launch port for the 2019 Great Lakes Series will be in Toronto at the Redpath Waterfront Festival on Canada Day weekend. The Canadian portion of the tour is referred to as TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® ONTARIO.”
THE TALL SHIPS
The first tall ship we saw was EmpireSandy. This tall ship was originally built as a deep-sea tug in the UK in 1943. In the late 1970’s, she was transformed from a tug to the magnificent tall ship she is today. She was launched in 1982 right on Toronto’s waterfront, and is now Canada’s largest passenger sailing ship.
Walking along the waterfront, we saw Kajama cruising in the Toronto Harbour. This tall ship was built in Germany in 1930 as a cargo vessel. She sailed in the North Atlantic for three decades through western Europe, Norway, and Russia before being sold to a man in Denmark, who gave her the name “Kajama”. She’s been a permanent attraction on Toronto’s waterfront since 1999.
In the next stretch of our walk, six more magnificent tall ships greeted us. Their names and brief descriptions were provided where they docked. Each tall ship is a beauty with very interesting history. Feel free to read more about them and where they are going next on the Tall Ships Challenge web site. I grouped their images into a photo collage below.
Playfair (top row, left): The first Canadian tall ship to be christened by a reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, in 1973.
Fair Jeanne (top row, centre) A tall ship designed and built by a Canadian naval war hero and was named after his wife.
US Brig Niagara (top row, right) A third reconstruction of an American flagship that fought in the War of 1812’s Battle of Lake Erie.
Pride of Baltimore II (bottom row, right): An American tall ship that has logged over 250,000 nautical miles and has docked in more than 40 countries.
Blue Nose II (bottom row, centre): A Canadian tall ship whose image was adorned on the Canadian dime and remains on the coin today.
St. Lawrence II (bottom row, left): Another Canadian tall ship who is home to one of the oldest sailing-training programs in North America.
The tall ships were open for deck tours. Most of them required tickets to board and tour, except the HMCS Oriole (HMCS stands for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship). It was pretty cool to tour the Navy’s longest serving commissioned ship.
All in all, it was a fun family 5K walk on a nice summer day. We saw several beautiful tall ships, watched the crew members’ activities on their vessels, toured the HMCS Oriole, and learned about the tall ships’ interesting history. The combination of family, festivity, fitness, and fun made our Canada Day weekend a fabulous one. I gave this walk a five out of five!
ABOUT THE WELLNESS WEDNESDAY LINK-UP
Please feel free to join in today or on any of the remaining Wellness Wednesday link-up dates in 2019. Optional prompts are as follows: