Friday, 25 May 2018

Sakura in Kariya Park

Seriously! How does this happen? 

One minute we are freezing, icing up our house windows as we stare longingly outdoors, straining to spot signs of spring...and hope...and renewal...and most importantly warmth! Then, next thing you see the trees fully laden with leaves, flowers are bursting with blooms and baby animals are scurrying around trying to catch up to mom and dad. 

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

This year, I somehow missed the transition period of winter to spring. And it's actually my most favourite time of year, because it has so much exciting hope wrapped up in each new bud and each sprouting stem. I too feel like I'm getting a rebirth with the transition of the seasons. Sure, I make New Year's resolution-like plans each January, but in the dark, cold months of winter those plans, as well intentioned as they may be, don't feel possible until the weather starts to change and people start getting outside more. There just feels to be so much possibility in the spring. Is it just me?

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

To start off my season of hope, for the last two year, I've been partaking in Hanami, which is the act of enjoying the sakura (cherry blossoms) usually with a picnic under the trees. This is a tradition from Japan that is wildly popular and with clusters of these cherry trees all over the GTA (and Canada generally) it is likewise here too. Last year I spotted some of these trees on the side of a road in Brampton and stopped by to enjoy them in my own city. The year before I went to High Park to join everyone else in seeing them there.

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

Like spring, the sakura are super ephemeral and disappear as quickly as they come. Kariya Park in Mississauga will already look so different from when I took these photos just a couple weeks ago.

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

{Erin Out and About} Sakura in Kariya Park

There are enough places to enjoy sakura in Toronto and the area, that I think for the next few years I'm set for different places to go for this very brief spring happening.

Do you have a springtime ritual?



Don't miss a post! 
Sign up for email posts (found on the sidebar), like my facebook page, or follow me on bloglovin'. You can also keep up with my instagram feed and I occasionally tweet.

Let's get social

Thursday, 17 May 2018

What I learned in Texas

I still have posts from Newfoundland that I want to do, but writing about Texas last week has got me on a kick. I really did enjoy my time there, but I do feel a bit ripped off weather wise. It was overcast and cool most days. This Canadian was not prepared for the single digit temps so far south. Not prepared mentally or vestment-ly.


I learned that Texas isn’t always hot and this lead me to take note of other things I learned in Texas. 

1.Longhorns’ horns are longer than I had imagined 
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

Thanks to the rodeo being in town, I got to meet a real-live longhorn cattle. I was massively impressed by the length of the horns and equals parts not understanding how they function with such large things jutting from their heads.

2. I don’t hate country music as much as I thought I did
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

Part of the rodeo was a concert of Brett Eldredge. I have never heard of him or his music before, but I did find myself clapping along. I particularly like his one about whiskey. True story.

3. Friends are important 
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas
Bathroom selfie in the wine bar Selena took me to right after I landed.

Now this one I did know, but it’s good to be reminded of this every once and awhile. My 2018 is including more self-care and as I’m figuring out what that means exactly to me, I know that carving out time to spend with friends is good for my soul and I need more of it.

4. Cactuses are super cool
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

I’ve seen them on tv before, but never really in actual life. Like in the wild. Even on my trip to Las Vegas, I didn’t come across too many cactus in the city, but in Texas they were all over. Each time I saw one, I was delighted (clapping and giggling like a child!). They are sooooo weird! How are they a thing?


I’m realizing now that I did see some in the desert in Bolivia, I remember a particular moment when Eimear touched one thinking it was a normal soft plant and we laughed at her silliness. Cactus are prickly! (Yes, I said cactuses)

5. Sweet tea is the nectar of the gods
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

Seriously, no wonder childhood obesity is such a problem, I would be a fat kid too if I had sweet tea growing up. How is this not a thing in Canada!! 
Hot Tip: Don’t want it too sweet? Mix unsweeted tea with sweet tea to taste. Damn! So good!

6. Texas has a distinct gastronomy
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

I didn’t particularly think of Texas having a distinct food pallet. I had assumed portion sizes were going to be giant because America, and I wasn’t wrong there, however I was still introduced to some great food. Texas BBQ is now my most favourite thing. 

Barbecued meat? Good. 

Beans? Gooooood. 

Creamed corn? Gooooooooooood. 

We need more Texas BBQs in Ontario.  I also had actual Texas Tex-Mex which included breakfast tacos, tamales, and other delicious Mexican inspired foods.

Also did you know that The Phoenix Saloon in New Braunfels is the home of chili powder?!

{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

7. Everything is soooooo spread out
{Erin Out and About} What I learned in Texas

One of the best reasons about visiting places where friends live, is having access to some home conveniences, like a car. No need to rent, take a bus, or waste money on cabs. 

San Antonio is VERY spread out. A car is a must! A big thank you to Selena for letting me borrow her car!!



Have you ever gone somewhere with preconceived ideas and were immediately humbled by how much you really didn't know?

Don't miss a post! 
Sign up for email posts (found on the sidebar), like my facebook page, or follow me on bloglovin'. You can also keep up with my instagram feed and I occasionally tweet.

Let's get social

Saturday, 12 May 2018

6 Things To Do In and Around San Antonio, Tx

I have itchy feet. Always in the spring my feet begin to get really itchy and it’s not due to allergies. It’s a classic symptom of Travel Bug. Other symptoms include compulsively Googling flights and hotels in exotic destinations, big sighs when you hear about someone else’s upcoming trip, and twitching thumbs as you like every travel photo on Instagram.  To sometimes help with the travel bug, short of booking a trip, I look back on some of my previous trips that I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken.

The last time I had a bad case of the travel bug, I was able to take advantage of some Boxing Day seat sales and began planning my trip to San Antonio, Texas in February to visit my dear friend Selena.

I’ve been to Texas once before as a very young child, the last impression I had of the place was that the grass was really spiky as I tottered around and a dog ate my Barbie, obviously it was a traumatic trip.

I knew going back was going to be entirely different experience, but I was surprised by how much I actually liked the Lone Star State. I think I had a particular image (read stereotype) in mind of what I would encounter while in San Antonio and not only did it not exist it was even better than what I had anticipated. That said, I’m still slightly devastated by the lack of cowboy hats I encountered on a daily basis.

These are the things I most liked about my trip to San Antonio


Pearl Weekend Market
{Erin Out and About} Pearl Weekend Market, San Antonio

This place reminds me of one of my favourite places in Toronto, The Distillery District, except this place is much cooler and has a weekend market. The vendors are from within a 150 mile radius and sell local produce and artisan foods. There are also some trendy restaurants, retails shops and a fabulous looking hotel, all located within walking distance to the San Antonio River. We spent a good chunk of our day here, checking out all the stalls, popping into the stores, eating market food for breakfast and people watching.


Riverwalk
{Erin Out and About} The River Walk, San Antonio

In the heart of San Antonio is The River Walk, located one story below street level along the banks of the San Antonio River. This area reminded me of the canal system in East London, but on steroids. It is certainly a tourist destination and very cool to spend time along, but be aware that it is more of a tourist trap than an authentic experience. That said, I had a great time doing a bit of bar hopping and walking the length of the "River Walk" area, watching the barges filled with people. It was Mardi Gras when I was there and a big party atmosphere, but I was told that this is a normal vibe for the walk.

San Antonio Rodeo
{Erin Out and About} San Antonio Rodeo, San Antonio

{Erin Out and About} San Antonio Rodeo, San Antonio

"Let's rodeo, San Antonio!" When Selena told me she got us tickets to the rodeo I honestly didn't know how I felt about it. I'm all for doing new things, but I wondered if I was going to have issues with watching. It was the same trepidation I felt when Eimear and I planned to see the Cholitas wrestling in Bolivia. Turns out I loved this too. It was exciting to watch, no animals appeared to be hurt or stressed and by the end I wasn't sure if I was cheering for the people or the animals. Mutton Bustin' broke my heart though, every single 3-4 year old cried when the fell off the sheep.

{Erin Out and About} San Antonio Rodeo, San Antonio


Mission Churches
{Erin Out and About} Mission Churches, San Antonio

{Erin Out and About} Mission Churches, San Antonio

First thing people asked when I told them I was going to San Antonio, was if I was going to go see The Alamo. The answer was obvious, I wouldn't go all that way and not go to the Alamo. But did you know there are actually five mission churches from the same time period and some in better condition. I spent an afternoon exploring each of them. It's possible to walk the 14.5 km Mission Trail from The Alamo to Mission Espada. I was short on time and had the use of a car. It made the trek much more enjoyable especially considering for one reason or another I could only get inside two of the missions.

{Erin Out and About} Mission Churches, San Antonio


New Braunfels
{Erin Out and About} New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels is a city northeast of downtown San Antonio, and has an interesting history. In 1845 Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany established the town named after his home town, and organzied hundreds of Germans to immigrate to Texas. To this day the area maintains its German heritage, even hosting Wurstfest to honour the humble sausage. The popularity of this festival has certainly grown since its inception in 1961. 

I was already enamoured with this little city and then Selena brought me to Krause's Biergarten and Cafe and then I was in love. I felt like I was back in Europe and could see this place being a fun time on a warmer day. They even had many of my new obsession on tap, Austin Eastcider. OH WHY can't I get it in Ontario?!


{Erin Out and About} New Braunfels, Texas


Gruene Hall
{Erin Out and About} Gruene Historic District, New Braunfels, Texas

Gruene is a historic district now part of New Braunfels and dependant on the tourist economy, but it's worth a visit. It's tiny but it packs a lot in there. We managed to only visit the General Store, Gruene Hall, Mozie's and The Grapevine. Had we had more time, I could have spent the afternoon at Gruene Hall listening to the music and dining at the old gristmill turned into a restaurant with a view of the river. 

{Erin Out and About} Gruene Historic District, New Braunfels, Texas

Do you get itchy travel feet? What do you do to scratch that itch?

{Erin Out and About} Things to do in and around San Antonio


Don't miss a post! 
Sign up for email posts (found on the sidebar), like my facebook page, or follow me on bloglovin'. You can also keep up with my instagram feed and I occasionally tweet.

Let's get social



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...