I’ve never been to Mexico in September. The warm weather trips are usually reserved for January or February. This trip proved to be everything and more! After several months of restricted travel, it was nice to get out again. Flying, and navigating airports is easy. Having a smart phone at your disposal can speed things up in regard to filling in health questionnaires, but it’s not completely necessary.
I’ve always loved the fact that beaches in Mexico are not private to each resort. So, long beach walks are always a possibility. Finding spots along the walk to swim in the ocean is definitely a bonus.
7 nights at the Ocean Riviera Paradise was a fantastic stay! The resort offers plenty of activities throughout the day and evening. There’s even a bowling alley. This is a perfect place for families, couples, single adults…everyone!
Restaurants were available to book via the H10 app provided by the hotel. This was quick and easy every day, and there were no limits to how many times you’d like to go to any of them. A favorite was Sakura which offers Teppanyaki style cooking. It’s not only fun to watch, but quite delicious! Other restaurants included Italian, Steak house, Mexican, a burger place, and a Caribbean restaurant. There is also a buffet available for breakfast and lunch, and dinner a few times a week. There is one more lunch buffet by the beach for lunch. Mikes Coffee shop, and an ice cream shop are open at various times of the day.
If you’re ready to travel again, the world awaits! It looks a little different than before, but doors are opening!
This trip started out as a visit to see family, and became an adventure that surprised me to say the least. Winnipeg and the area has some of the most unique restaurants I’ve been to. The first stop was Pineridge Hollow. This beautiful Farm to Table restaurant offers amazing food, as well as beautiful grounds to wander around and enjoy before or after dining. It’s located near Oakbank, Manitoba, just east of Winnipeg. It is also very close to Birds Hill Park, where you can take in the Winnipeg Folk Festival every July.
After eating, it’s always important to get in some exercise. This afternoons adventure took us to Assiniboine Park with a stroll through the beautiful Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. The Assiniboine Park Zoo is right next to these gardens. It’s also worth a look if you’ve got time.
It’s been quite some time that I’ve seen a real prairie thunder storm. And luckily, we finished our garden walk just in time to hear the thunder roll, and to see some amazing bolts of lightning.
Saturday started with coffee of course. Then, on to the Manitoba Legislative Building. This building was completed in 1920, and stands 77 meters high. It is famous for its Golden Boy statue at the top. It’s a gold covered bronze statue based on the Roman god Mercury, or the Greek god Hermes. The “Bears on Broadway” decorate the grounds of the Legislature. The bears celebrate the 75th anniversary of Cancer Care Manitoba.
So, now we’ve walked, we can eat again. On to Baked Expectations on Osborne Street. Do not miss this!
A little more walking back to the car and on to The Forks. You’ll find a wide array of shops and restaurants here. We enjoyed a Cinnamon Bun from the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company. Of course we shared all of these items so there would be room for more! The area around the Forks will offer a lot of photo opportunities.
Our next stop is the Human Rights Museum. This is a must for any visitor to Winnipeg. The purpose of the museum is to “explore the subject of human rights with a special but not exclusive reference to Canada, to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”
This has already been a full day, but, one more stop at Blondies for one more dining experience. Sandy Doyle has been running this place for almost 30 years. People come here for the burgers, shakes, fries and ambiance. She offers a 9 lb burger that requires a $100 damage deposit. If you finish the burger, you’ll get your $100 back. I wasn’t so brave. I shared an 1/8 lb burger with my sister.
Today we travel to Gimli, Manitoba. It is located on the west side of Lake Winnipeg. The community’s first European settlers were from Iceland. They became part of the New Iceland settlement in Manitoba. The settlers sustained themselves primarily from agriculture and fishing.
Gimli beach is a popular summer spot, and every year you can head there for Islendingadagurinn (Icelandic Festival). 2020 will offer a virtual Festival, but definitely keep this in mind for your future adventures. And, of course, food in Gimli… our stop today was at K.F.C., Kris’ Fish & Chips. I planned ahead and shared some delicious pickerel and chips, so that I could join in for the dessert, Eyjafjallajokull. This Island mountain glacier volcano includes my favorite Vinarterta (Icelandic Cake), along with soft vanilla ice cream and more!
If you find yourself in the Winnipeg area, please be sure to check out as much as you can. I was fascinated by the beauty of the wide open prairie, the incredible food, and the friendly people everywhere we went. Add this to your bucket list for 2020!
I’ve been to Greece twice. The first trip was focused on Athens, followed by a seven night cruise to visit Mykonos, Crete, Patmos, Kusadasi (Turkey), and finally Santorini. All of the islands and Kusadasi have so much history to offer. Flying into Athens is the best place to start. Taking the time to see the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus, many museums, and simply wandering the streets is well worth a few days here.
The cruise ship port is located in Piraeus, the chief sea port of Athens. There are many options to get around the Greek Islands. A cruise ship is always nice, as you’ll be able to unpack and settle in for a few days to discover a few of the islands. Most cruises will include the stop at Kusadasi in Turkey where a visit to Ephesus is a must. The ruins here are high on the list of my favourites in the world.
Of course, Greece has so much more to offer than just their islands. Perhaps you’ve watched the Olympics on TV. In Greece, you can walk among the ruins in Olympia where the Olympics began in 776 BC. In Corinth, you can visit the stunning canal, and in Delphi there is much to learn about the Oracle and how people in ancient times would travel there to seek her wisdom.
A highlight for me was seeing Meteora. The word Meteora translates to “hovering in the air”. There are six monasteries built on the very tops of these geological phenomenons.
Both trips to Greece were fantastic. There are places and experiences there that really stand out to me but I will say that so far, my favorite place in Greece is the island of Santorini, officially known as Thira.
I was lucky enough to spend four nights on this island, and could easily have spent a week or more. It is a place for relaxation, and for some great touring and food. The donkey ride up the hill is exhilarating.
Santorini is high on my list to revisit. I stayed in the town of Fira, which is located centrally on the island. There are buses that can take you to Oia, the beaches, or wherever you’d like to explore. Car rentals are also an option. I always find that walking is the nicest way to get around, as you’ll see and experience so much more.
I have to say, I love this place! January 9-16, 2020 was my fourth year in a row to the Azul Ixtapa Grand. The resort just gets better and better all the time. Our group of 26 all enjoyed this week and managed to get in a variety of excursions and relaxation. 7 days goes by quickly.
While the beach in front of the hotel is small, there is a beach to the right, and to the left of the Azul that anyone can access for long walks in the sand, or even some fun swimming time in the ocean. A short walk along the boardwalk joins up with a beach that connects you to the Ferry dock for Ixtapa Island. 50 pesos will get you over to the island and back. You’ll also find Playa Linda at that end of the beach. The little village offers a few restaurants, and some opportunities for shopping. Or maybe a massage? Some are available for 250 pesos!
Nearby the village is the Crocodile Reserve. Be sure to stop in to see a lot of crocs, and some great varieties of birds.
Ixtapa is just a short bus, or cab ride away if you’re looking for more shops and restaurants. Franks Bar is a popular hang out in Ixtapa and worth stopping by while you wait for your friends to finish their shopping.
The resort offers 3 pools, including an adults only quiet pool, a swim up pool bar, and an activity pool. You’ll also find a very nice gym if you are so inclined. Kayaking to Ixtapa Island is included, along with cycling tours. This resort offers so much! The disco opens at 11:00pm, so I have yet to experience that!
There are a lot of dining options to choose from. The Buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. A la carte restaurants include Italian, Asian, and Mexican, as well as the Oyster Bar. The snack bar near the infinity pool is a personal fave for lunch.
Sunsets, or watching the moon set..all rooms have an ocean view, so you’ll never miss all the beauty this resort has to offer! Ixtapa 2021 prices are coming soon
This was actually my first time in Cabo San Lucas. Years ago, I had spent part of a day here while on a Mexican Riviera cruise. We spent a week at the RIU Palace Baja California this time.
This resort is directly on the beach and also allows access to the RIU Santa Fe and the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas. There are 600 rooms at this resort and it’s set up quite nicely, so you’re never really going too far to get to the 4 pools, 6 restaurants, 5 bars and even the pool parties next door at the RIU Santa Fe. We walked on the beach every day. There are a lot of beach vendors selling pretty much everything. We didn’t purchase anything, but had a lot of great conversations. It’s about a 45 minute walk to the beautiful Cabo San Lucas Marina. Once there, you’ll find a great variety of shops and restaurants, including the famous Cabo Wabo. And if you don’t feel like walking, a cab is $14 USD each way.
Like anywhere, there are plenty of tours to take in. One of the most popular is a trip via boat to the Arch of Cabo San Lucas. This is a distinctive rock formation that is used in advertising Cabo. We had a great view of the arch from our hotel. It’s a busy area and has a lot to offer. Other interesting tours that might intrigue you….Camel rides, ATV’s, swimming with whale sharks just to mention a few.
Having access to 2 other resorts was great. If we walked along the beach, we could stop in at either resort for a snack, or something to drink. The Santa Fe has a water park with several waterslides for those that are interested.
All in all, it was a great week. Relaxing and enjoying everything around us, and meeting new people.
If this destination, or any other in the world intrigues you, I’d love to get you there!
What does a travel agent do when they aren’t able to travel for a while? They dream about places to go, and live vicariously through clients that are booking their trips!
When I was finally more mobile and able to do something, I took a road trip to Montana. Total driving time to our destination is about 11 hours. We decided to break up the trip by stopping in Ritzville, Washington on the way there, and Moses Lake, Washington on the way home.
Ritzville is a very small place along the I-90. The population is around 2000 people, but they’ve got a lot of restaurants, including a starbucks. Great hotel options as well. We spent one night at the Best Western Bronco Inn. I love the scenery around this area.
With such a diverse landscape, it’s great area to just go for a drive. You may have to make more than one trip to see it all. Some of the best things to check out along the way include basalt canyons, rolling pasturelands, the Yakima River, peaceful forests, mountains and the mighty Columbia River.
Once we arrived at our destination, we stayed with family and enjoyed our accommodations immensely. They will be offering this as an Air B&B in the future, so if you ever find yourself in the Kalispell area, this might be the perfect place for you to stay. It’s a short drive to Glacier National Park, and many beautiful lakes. With it’s close proximity to Blacktail ski resort, and Whitefish, this would be a great winter destination as well.
All in all, this was a fantastic journey. It was great to get out in the world again.
Now…planning the next trip!
This is the biggest cruise ship to ever visit Vancouver! The Bliss can accommodate about 4200 passengers. They have sailed to Alaska all summer and are able to make this stop on Sunday September 30. The ship will have to wait to depart until 1:30am, the following day in order to fit under the Lions Gate Bridge. This will allow for the tides to drop enough for them to cruise under it.
After departing Vancouver, the Bliss will cruise to Victoria, BC, San Francisco, and then Los Angeles. On a ship this size, you may never want to leave! They offer go karts on the largest race track at sea.
Complimentary dining options include 3 main dining rooms, a buffet and a variety of casual cafes, grills and on-the-go choices, you will never find yourself hungry. You’ll also find some great specialty restaurants on board. They may have a la carte pricing or a per person fee. You can buy specialty dining packages in advance for 3-14 specialty meals. You can often find special promotions which include the specialty dining for free!
Vegas never disappoints! 3 Nights is a great amount of time for this city. I stayed at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. The hotel is great. I was traveling with a friend who was celebrating a birthday, and they upgraded our room to include views of the strip. The rooms here are spacious, with very comfy beds. The hotel is easy to get around, which makes coming back at the end of some long days, quite easy.
Day 1 started early, and we arrived into Vegas at 11:30am. The main reason for this trip was to see Enrique Iglesias at the Colosseum. The bulk of the day was spent wandering through casinos on the way up to Caesars Palace. I never miss wandering through the Conservatory at the Bellagio. It changes with the seasons, and always has something beautiful to see.
I think one of the best places to see a favorite artist, is in Las Vegas. The showrooms/theaters are designed to ensure that everyone has a great seat. Enrique performed at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. It was a high energy show that I loved. He has sold over 137 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling Latin artists ever.
Our free day was for sleeping a little later, and then heading to the Las Vegas North Premium Outlet mall for some retail therapy. Keeping in mind that the temperatures in Vegas were 38 Celsius while we were there, so a lot of outdoor walking was limited. There are a few ways to get to this mall. A bus will take you from the strip right to the mall, and then you could add in a stop at Fremont street before or after. A taxi will cost about $25 USD, and Uber can be booked for around $11 USD.
Another highlight for this trip was a helicopter tour into the Grand Canyon. This took us over the Hoover Dam, and then into the canyon where we landed, and enjoyed some champagne and snacks. This is something that would be a great addition to any Vegas trip. Coming back, we flew toward Fremont, and then down the strip back to the airport.
Our last evening, we saw La Reve at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. I’ve seen a few Cirque shows, and La Reve is equally as entertaining. There are so many shows to choose from!
Las Vegas is ever changing. It’s one of those destinations that you can go back to over and over again, and almost always see or experience something new.
Prices will vary depending on when you book, and when you travel.
When your flight is delayed, choose to make the best of it. The airline we were flying with experienced a delay the morning we were to fly out of Montreal. I went to ask if there was another flight we could get on, and there were none. So, they offered a night in a hotel, with meal vouchers, and we decided that we would take this offer and explore a bit of Montreal for the day before flying out the next morning.
We hopped on a bus, then a short train ride to Place-d’Armes which put us in beautiful Old Montreal. A short stroll up the hill brought us right in front of Basilique Notre-Dame. We quickly found a horse and carriage driver, who took us for a spin around this part of the city. He filled us in on the history of the buildings we were passing. Afterwards, we strolled through cobble stone streets to see this beautiful area, and ended up at Place Jacques Cartier. It’s a great area to wander through. We stopped in at a local restaurant, and couldn’t resist having some poutine.
While this was a very quick visit of Old Montreal, we loved every minute! Delays aren’t always so bad. Remember that they can be a part of your traveling experience, and there is almost always a silver lining!
This small Canadian island is a place to add to your bucket list. It’s small enough that you could cover all of it in about 4-5 days. I’d suggest staying longer, so that you can get a real feel for the island lifestyle. This island is known as the Birthplace of Confederation and you’ll find a lot of historical information and buildings all over the island.
A great place to base your stay is in the capital, Charlottetown. It is the largest city on the island, but still small enough to easily get around. It is a cruise ship stop in the summer time and offers a ton of restaurants, offering mussels, lobster and a huge array of other seafoods. Not into seafood, no worries, there’s something for every palate! Walking along Great George Street, you’ll find the Great George Hotel. All of the buildings on this block have been here since before 1864.
Day trips from Charlottetown can take you all around the island. The North Cape Coastal drive will take you west of the city, as far as North Cape. The Central Coastal Drive will cover some amazing sites including Green Gables Shore, where you’ll be able to visit the famous Green Gables farm, the setting for Anne of Green Gables. Be sure to include a stop at Cavendish beach, and on the south shore of the island, you’ll have some great views of the Confederation Bridge. This 8 mile, or 12.9 km bridge, joins PEI to New Brunswick. It took 4 years to complete, at a cost of $1.3 Billion. The Points East Coastal will take you to the East Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1867, and still operates today. This drive includes over 50 beaches to check out. My fave is Basin Head, or the Singing Sands beach.
One stop on this drive took us into Murray Harbour, where we had a bite to eat at #5Cafe.
This restaurant is in an old converted church. The food was outstanding! We loved the ambiance of the whole place, and Murray Harbour is a beautiful spot to wander through. Be sure to add this to your list of stops!
Ask me how you can get to PEI! And while you’re out east, let’s build an itinerary that can include some more of the Atlantic provinces. Good food, good fun, Great people!