I woke up to a little creature stepping with needle-like precision all over my body. Chester, our once tiny kitten, now pained us with his elephant legs with every step he took on our fragile body. It was 4:30 in the morning. I got up to give him his wet food. Purr Chan is spoiled. I know.

Normally, I would go back to bed, but not today. Today we’re driving to the Olympic Peninsula to camp at Lake Crescent. It’s a 4 hrs drive that includes a short ferry (if you don’t have to wait in the often-crowded ferry lines, that is). Ugh… why am I doing this again? I thought to myself. 4:30 in the morning is the perfect time to start thinking about all the “responsibilities” adulthood crams down your throat: a looming presentation to the regulators the Monday after the trip, a delinquent book to put together, finances to put in order, house repairs to complete, mountains to climb, oceans to swim across, cheeseburgers to devour, and so on and so on.

Despite the lethargic start, we managed to get to the ferry in time to watch it leave the dock. Perfect timing. Luckily, we scored a sweet spot at the front of the line, which, as a consolation prize, felt oddly satisfying. 50 minutes later, we drove aboard the Spokane (name of the ferry) and off we went.

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If you are thinking about where to go during your next holiday, search no more. France is brimming with picturesque sights which are bound to leave you breathless. I was lucky to visit Canal du Midi where my relatives live, and you will hardly find a better region in this beautiful area. This area stretches from Toulouse to the Mediterranean port of Sète. The moment you reach it, the scenery will fill you with everlasting joy and excitement.

The idyllic region of Canal du Midi boasts some of the most unique and breathtaking landscapes in the world. The canal has clear green waters with many contours which are bordered by numerous trees. Near the canal there are a lot of vineyards, and you can check out a few of them such as the Aude, the Herault and Corbieres. The canal meanders through little villages and fields full of sunflowers. There are many aqueducts and bridges to see. I immediately understood why this place was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 – simply stunning and worthy of preserving for generations to come. If you are visiting it for the first time, you will definitely be amazed by its magnificence. Even some of the old hands can find something new to admire. Every time I go there, there seems to be something new that leaves me absolutely enchanted.

canaldumidi2

how incredible is this?!

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Only an hour into our drive from Banff to Golden and already we have seen a fiery sunset streaking across the sky, filling the valley and beaming an orange beacon on the mountainside. Was I in the Lord of the Rings? And just before that, a black bear graced us with his presence on the side of the road, meandering about on a green hill. He was in no rush. This was his home, his sanctuary, and we were mere visitors to his kingdom. I wanted give him a high five and perhaps engage in a pillow fight with tickles and giggles. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t participate in a cuddle battle with the bear; getting mauled this early into the trip would have been a bummer.

We kept driving.

Hours later, we arrived in Golden, a small town in a sleepy valley surrounded by imposing mountains. But the GPS lady in all her wisdom told us to keep going. I swore I booked a cabin in Golden. Were we to appear on the local news the next day as one of those hilarious and sad tragedies involving cars driving off the cliffs by GPS command?

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