Home Again…

Hello everyone!

I’m back from my adventure. The jetlag has worn off, the laundry is (mostly) done, and the holiday seems almost like a dream.

Yet it was real, and it was fantastic – I saw so much and have so much to write about I hardly know where to begin (there will be many blog posts!). New York was everything I’d imagined. I felt immediately at home there, perhaps because it’s a city that’s so pervasive in popular culture – yet it felt as though I knew it, as though I’d been before and was just being reminded of where everything was.

We wandered as much as we could in four days, including a walk through Central Park, where we took in the amazing skyline and I found the obelisk, partner to London’s Cleopatra’s Needle. We saw sights large and small, and didn’t let the weather, which included torrential rain and a snowstorm, stop us from getting outside and experiencing as much as we could.

The weather followed us, snow falling in Toronto on our first day there, Niagara Falls creating ice sculptures, the sun peering out from behind shifting clouds. Yet I basked in the warmth of family and old friends (and by old I mean fabulous), reforging connections and visiting familiar haunts, sad to leave when the time came.

But Boston, and the New England coast beckoned. We walked the Freedom trail, spent time in Salem, then followed the coast southwest through Plymouth, Newport, Mystic and Milford, finally ending up back in New York on a hot and sunny afternoon, ready to catch our overnight flight home.

And now it’s back to reality. The recent warm weather was a wonderful welcome home, and I’m away again this weekend, on a long-planned writing retreat with friends. Stories beckon….

It’s nice to be home x

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Wednesday Wander – If You Could Be Anywhere…

if-you-could-be-anywhereIt’s Wednesday, so time for my usual Wander, and it’s also day twenty-eight of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. Today’s prompt is: If.

Initially, I considered the Rudyard Kipling poem If, and doing a Wander related to that. But Kipling was so well-travelled I couldn’t really settle on one place, and unfortunately I’ve not yet been to India, the place with which he is most often associated. Then I considered – if I could be anywhere, where would I be?

This was a tough question to answer. At the moment, I’m pretty happy where I am. And if I did go anywhere it would be somewhere I’ve not visited before, so I couldn’t post about it anyway. I decided to look back through my posts for inspiration, and realised I’ve taken 54 Wednesday Wanders so far – just over a year’s worth of posts! So, as it’s the last Wander of 2016, I decided to look back at the top ten most popular posts, based upon the number of likes, and leave the answer up to you. If you could be anywhere, where would you be?

Starting with the tenth most popular, here is the list of favourites for the year:

The Lion Monument, Lucerne, Switzerland

The Twelve Apostles, Australia

Surfers Paradise, Australia

Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England

El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Manyana Beach, Australia

Stonehenge, England

Paris, France

Ancient Rome, Italy

And the number one post was:

Niagara Falls, Canada

Thanks for coming along with me on my Wednesday Wanders – I’ve seen a bit of the world but there’s still a lot for me to see, so I’ll keep posting as long as I have places to share

See you next year! xx

If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,ย  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Wednesday Wander – Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls 1When I lived in Ontario, I used to live not too far from Niagara Falls. Close enough that I remember going on a couple of dates there during high school, close enough that it was where we took all our visitors whenever they came to stay.

It was no different when I went back to Canada for a visit with my now-husband. We had a few days in my old hometown before heading to Vancouver, so I took him (and his brother) to see the Falls.

Niagara Falls 2Because they are pretty impressive. Despite all the tackiness that has sprung up around them, the Horseshoe Falls are truly a wonder of nature. We were there in winter, as you can see, and the ice was thick on the river, hanging in icicles from the viewing area below. We also went in the tunnels behind the Falls. I still pause when I think about it. You see, the tunnels simply open out to the Falls. Literally, the water is falling at the open end of the tunnel. And the only thing there (or at least at the time we went) to stop you or anyone from just stepping out, is a wooden bar fixed about half way along the tunnel, waist height from the floor. So, not really a deterrent at all. I think I screamed when I saw it, the noise and proximity quite overwhelming.

And that’s the other thing about the Falls. They are very open. You can drive a little way along the Parkway and just… step into the river. Literally park, walk a few metres, and step in. No wonder so many people have tried the barrel stunt over the years. And the railing at the edge of the Falls itself is, as you can see, about waist height.

This is quite an old photo, looking back along the gorge to the Peace Bridge and the American Falls. There are a lot more buildings there now.

This is quite an old photo, looking back along the gorge to the Peace Bridge and the American Falls. There are a lot more buildings there nowadays.

And of course this is how it should be. This is nature, unfettered. To fence it and put up high nets and keep people away from it would destroy the experience. It’s up to us to be careful. To not lean over the railing or go beyond the wooden bar in the tunnels. And it’s part of the thrill, too.

Thank you for coming along on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time ๐Ÿ™‚