Category Archives: Travel

This is what’s next

camino

 

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Cozy Victoria Weekend

Easter weekend Jeff and I visited the island for a half family, half chill-out weekend.  On the Sunday we checked into an amazing little carriage house I found through airbnb (have I mentioned how much I love that site?).

This place was perfect.  It was just behind the parliament buildings and only about a 10 minute walk from downtown.  We ended up spending more time in our little mini-house than I expected.  It was so cozy and cute with it’s own little kitchen, and a mini staircase up to our loft bedroom with queen sized bed.  It even had a little gas fireplace on the main floor.

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When we did manage to tear ourselves from our hide-away, we pretty much just meandered around town.  Day one we had a late lunch/early dinner at Cafe Mexico.  I loved the atmosphere here, the food was decent, service was friendly – although a little forgetful.  Maybe our server was new.  It didn’t really matter after our double margaritas.

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Day two it was a little overcast and we decided to check out Miniature World.  A full on tacky tourist choice.  We were entertained.  I think the admission is a bit steep, but it didn’t seem to keep people away.  I have a vague memory of a miniature world I visited with my family when we were in either Holland or Germany.  That one was definitely more impressive than this one – more of a fully conceptualized outdoor setup. This one had different displays, put together by various individuals at different times, and with different models.  Best part of this miniature world, in my opinion, was the train from Vancouver to Toronto that faded to ‘nighttime’ for 30 seconds at a time.

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For lunch on Day 2, the sun had started to come out, so we chose to eat on the heated patio of 10 Acres.  A downtown restaurant that sources mostly from their local farm.  I felt like we were in a Portlandia episode.

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Night two we visited a good friend, ordered in pizza and hung out.  We left the next morning, late, and took our time to get to the 1pm ferry.  The sun came out for us and we were able to enjoy an hour on the waterfront in Sydney.

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All in all it wasn’t the most adventurous of weekends, but it was exactly how we wanted to spend our time. Chill and easy.

Planning and Dreaming

I’ve been under the weather for too long, and hence, have not done much or gone anywhere.  Sitting in bed has, however, allowed me to plan out our short summer vacation (Luckily we have a Toronto wedding as an excuse to travel!! Thanks cousin!!) and lust over listing after listing on Air B&B.

In June, Jeff and I will be staying (hopefully) 2 nights in East Harlem, 2 nights in Williamsburg (confirmed), 4 nights right downtown Toronto, and the remainder of our Toronto time most likely in Roncesvalles with a best friend.

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I can’t wait.  I love city neighborhoods.  I love cities.  And Air B&B feels like the best invention since ride-sharing.  I just hope that it’s not somehow outlawed one day due to pressure from big hotels.

Low Maintenance Whistler Afternoon

This weekend Jeff and I stayed a couple nights at the Executive Suites in Squamish for the sake of getting out of our apartment and avoiding the temptation to work, clean and/or watch way too much Netflix.  We were mostly successful…. well… partially successful.

Sunday we slept in, lazily made our way up to Whistler with the thought of ice skating and/or cross country skiing.  Both of us were uninterested in having an itinerary filled weekend, so taking it an hour at a time seemed to work.  We stopped into La Brasserie for lunch (super cozy and kitchy), then, thanks to a very helpful Info booth woman, were directed toward Green Lake for some pristine oh-so-Canadian ice skating.

Green Lake was the highlight of our non-action packed weekend.  We put on our snow pants and bad-ass ice skates we got for Christmas, and enjoyed the perfectly clear lake, sunshine and mountains.  This experience actually topped skating at Idabel Lake (in the Okanagan) which is always a highlight to my winter.  I don’t know if I can handle skating on an indoor rink ever again.

green lake

Inspirational Bike Routes Here and There

bikes kelowna

I have put much thought into The Ride to Conquer Cancer next June and training routes.  The RTCC route from Vancouver to Seattle is about 120km each way, which I’m estimating will take me about 6 hours.  The last time I did a ride of this length was the Kettle Valley Railway in 2010 and 2009.  I did minimal training for the KVR ride, and definitely felt pretty achy during and after.   This time around, I plan to work on a slow build of distance rides.  If I can set a long ride once a month, with shorter rides in between, I think I’ll be in better condition come June.  I have 8 months to prepare, and have already done a couple 20km rides, so the next step will be a 30 – 40km route.  I’m thinking of joining the celebration ride on October 26th as a way to get accustomed to riding along-side do many other cyclists. I then may need to take it indoors for winter, and step into some spinning classes if the roads get too slippery.

Although most of my training will take place at home, I’ve made a list of my favourite routes in five of the cities I’ve cycled in or around for inspiration.  I am planning to revisit all but one of these cities before next June – so I am now making a pact with myself to make these routes a priority as a way to motivate myself as the big ride approaches.

1. McCulloch Road/Spears Road Route: Kelowna, BC

The fall is probably the best time to explore this route as you can see and smell the apples during harvesting season.  Not to mention the colours of fall are beautiful in the valley at this time of year.  This can be a long or medium ride depending on where you begin and end.  For me I’ll start near downtown, make my way to K.L.O road for a nice long warm up on the flat valley bottom, then make the climb up to the top of McCulloch road, where I get a spectacular view of the Harvest Golf Course and the valley before making my descent.

       2. Don Valley/ Lakeshore Route: Toronto, ON

When I lived in Toronto, this was my favourite option for a long ride.  This route is great because the only stops are when the Don Valley pathway intersects the Lakeshore bike path.   I tend to favour the east route, as it takes you to The Beaches, which has a long history of recreation that seems to hang in the air as you cycle through.  It’s also a route you can manage without too much meandering or tourist-in-your-own-town-ing which tends to happen to me on other bike routes in the city.

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  • 3. Seawall/ Stanley Park: Vancouver, BC

This is a route that requires either a hybrid or mountain bike.  Best to try this route during the week, as it’s also a top meandering destination for tourists and locals. Be sure to start out on the Coal Harbour side, or you’ll be going against traffic – it’s a one-way route!  The ride around Stanley Park is one of a kind, and you can then make your way along English Bay and around False Creek. Spectacular.

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4. Point Pleasant Park: Halifax

This is the one route I will not get a chance to visit this year, but I thought I’d mention it as it had an impact.  Also a great route to visit in autumn, although you’ll have to dodge all the leaf-watchers. The park has all sorts of paths throughout and is hilly, so good for pushing those leg muscles.  If you’re lucky, you might even see or hear a whale on its way to or from the Bedford Basin.

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5. Parque Aztlan eco-reserve / Playa Linda: Ixtapa Mexico

This is route takes you through a little bit of jungle and ends with spectacular pay-off of a gorgeous palm-tree lined beach. I have made the mistake in the past of starting out to late in the day, and end up speed cycling back at dusk as large unidentified insects smash into my face and my imagination runs wild with crocodile attacks.  It’s best to hit this fantastic route up first thing in the morning, which means limiting your tequila intake the night before.

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If I’ve sparked your interest in cycling, why not check out the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  It’s always great to have a goal to motivate yourself to get out and be active.

For More information on the RTCC Vancouver, Click Here.

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Check them out on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BCRide

Luzerne in a Flash

One of two day-trips I had time for during my Basel Tattoo experience, was a day trip to the lovely Luzerne, Switzerland and surroundings.  The entire dance team and entourage took a very early bus from Basel and returned a few hours before our evening performance.  Needless to say, I was completely wiped out the following day – but managed to pull it together for the show.

A few ferry stops away from the city of Lucerne
A few ferry stops away from the city of Lucerne

Normally I’m not a fan of bus-tours, or any kind of group tour or group travel for that matter, but with team-spirit in mind, I quite enjoyed our excursion, and even happened upon a friendship with one of the other dancers that was, until that day, just an aquaintance.  Lucky me!  Two of the best things to have when traveling is 1. A friendship, and 2. A flirtation.  Since I am happily in a relationship, the friendship will prevail, and prerequisite for a flirtation has to be “harmless”.

Our first stop was a lovely, family run cheese making business up high among the rolling

Dairy Cow - I forget her name...
Dairy Cow – I forget her name…

 

 

hills.  We were greeted by the owner who told us a little of their history, and let us sample their delicious cheese.  One of the things they prided themselves on was that each of their dairy cows had names!

Next stop was lunch at a nearby hotel – very important – with the most spectacular view I have seen.   I wished we had a week to hang around and hike and lay on checkered picnic blankets and eat cheese.

After lunch we headed to Luzerne via train then boat (all spectacular and gorgeous).  We stayed in town for a couple of hours, where my new friend and I ate ice cream, sat by the water, and then walked around the town until we had to hop back on the bus.

Lucerne City
Lucerne City

 

bodum store in Luzerne.  I didn't know this existed!
bodum store in Luzerne. I didn’t know this existed!

Fountain in Lucerne

Fountain in Lucerne