The Marble Church: A Piece of Canadian History in Northern Wales

imageAfter finishing up our exploration of Whitby, we made the 4.5 hour drive to North Wales, stopping briefly to explore the beautiful town of York. Having enjoyed a wonderful welcome to Wales by way of Betws-y-coed, I was now looking forward to a glorious afternoon spent discovering the city of Chester- famous for good shopping among a many other thing.

Before heading out however, I decided to stretch my legs and sneak out for a run, leaving the baby in capable hands while I escaped for a breath of fresh air. Given how much I love exploring a new town on foot, I thought this would be the perfect time to see whatever was attached to the steeple I could see from the road on the way in.

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Exploring the seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire

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In the county of North Yorkshire, travelers can find the small town of Whitby. An old seaside resort town made popular when family holidays meant trips to the nearest beach, residents are the first to tell you that little has changed over the course last hundred years – and that’s just the way they like it.

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Hiking Route Closed! Finding Alternatives in the Cinque Terre

Written by: Alison Eckhardt

This past December, I made a plan to visit the glorious five villages of the Italian Liguria region, the Cinque Terre. To wander the isolated, cliff-topping villages and hike the rugged trails over-looking the Mediterranean had always been on my wish list since seeing a friend’s photos of the region while she was spending time in the neighbouring “big city,” La Spezia. The hiking trails of the Cinque Terre were constructed by local “sea people” as a means to get to nearby villages quicker for supplies. Walking the same paths as locals did to me was the authentic traveling experience I was looking for, and I wanted to take in every bit of it.

Doing some pre-departure research, I was well aware that strong rains often accompany the winter season in the Cinque Terre. This was the case in 2011, where severe landslides took a toll on the 11th  century construction, devastating one village especially, Vernazza. Potential risk of landslides often causes such famous hiking routes like Via del Amore to close. During my time on the Liguria Coast, this was indeed the case not with one, but with all of the hiking trails in the Cinque Terre!

Still determined to find a way around the closed trails, I attempted what locals call the “higher route” from Manarole to the highest situated village of the five, Corniglia. According to the city information kiosk, this route was also dangerous. Twenty minutes into my hike, pouring rain had coated the sleek steps. What looked like piled broken branches blocked my pathway and my barely-there grip footwear had me second-guessing my decision. Flashbacks started, bringing me back to the evening earlier; two plaques are stationed on a rock wall in Manarole to commemorate the life of a Canadian who accidently drowned, and an American who, as it says, was swept away by her husband, the Via del Amore. Gut overtook my adventurous side. After standing soaking wet from head to toe so short into my 1.5 hour hike, I decided to call it a day and take the local trains. I would try an alternate path tomorrow.

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