Middle Class Traveler

Adventures of the Middle Class

Tag: Canada (Page 1 of 2)

5 American Cities Canadians Will Want To Visit

As the Canadian dollar seems to be slipping we find ourselves with less and less cheap travel options, but have no fear. If you are looking for travel into the US than here are 5 American cities Canadians will want to visit. Some might not want to venture south of the border because the Canadian dollar is so low, but if you don’t mind that, there is still lots to see.

First off Canada is a beautiful country with so much to see and I have dedicated my personal travels over the next little while to seeing this country. Nonetheless if you do want to go to the States, you will want to see these cities.


1) Los Angeles (Round trip flight from Toronto $435-$700) – La La Land as they call it is a beautiful city with a nice climate and tons to do. You can fly from direct from any major Canadian airport. The one thing I remember about landing at LAX is flying over the bicycle casino because they have the neon lights lit up on the roof and it’s pretty cool. So what will you want to do when in Los Angeles? If and when you travel to L.A. you will want to check out the  Hollywood Sign. The sign is big and bold and you have seen it in many movies, but to see it in real life is supper neat.

Most people will want to rent a car when they arrive to see some things just outside the city limits. Once you are driving a destination in LA you will want to see is the Vasquez Mountains, they filmed StarTrek. So much to do in LA you will also want to check out the Hollywood walk of fame where you can see the stars of all your past and present notible people.

You will also find things to do outside of Hollywood. You will want to go to Venice Beach where they have a great path filled with all type of shops and street performers. You can also check out muscle beach when you are there. That’s a workout area on the walkway. So these are just a few things to do when in L.A..


New York (Round trip flight from Toronto $240-$400 ) – New York City is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world and. Has so much to see. You can either fly into Newark, New Jersey, which I did when I visited the city or fly intonnew your altogether. Once in New York you won’t find a shortage of places to visit. Some things you may want to experience may include Madison Square Garden, Broadway, Central Park, Time Square and much much more. I wrote a blog about a weekend I spent there so you can check that out here. Weekend In New York Flying Porter.


Chicago (Round trip flight from Toronto $270-$400) – The Windy City as they call it. The Chicago landscape is just amazing and you will find so much to do. You can walk on the waterfront or take in a number of the large city parks that they have. When in Chicago you can visit the iconic Wrigley Field or any number of sporting attractions in any season. I’m a sports fan so this city is a must and you have lots to do. Depending on what season you are traveling to Chicago you can see the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, or if you are a football fan Da Bears. Chicago is a must see destination and if you are short on ideas where to go when there you can check out my recent blog Top 5 Must Do Chicago Attractions.


San Francisco (Round trip flight from Toronto $460-$600 ) – San Francisco and the Bay Area is a beautiful city that everyone will find amazing. If you haven’t been to SanFran as they call it you will want to visit a number of destinations. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is one of architectural magnificent. Another trip in SanFran, dating myself here, is to check out the street and area where they filmed Full House. That was an iconic 90’s era sitcom that was very funny. Also for history buffs you will want to take the tour of Alkatraz. The Alkatraz Island Jail housed some of Americas worst criminals. No one ever escaped that place!


Detroit (Round trip flight from Toronto $375-$450 ) – Motown has a history almost like no other American city, actually like no other. Motown was home to the lucrative boom of the auto industry and the industrial revolution. You can find so much to do in Detroit and you won’t miss the GM buildings shaped like engine pistons! When in Detroit you will want to take a Red Wings game in at the Joe Louis Arena. Again Detroit is rich with sports history. Whether it’s the Pistons, Tigers or Lions you will find no shortage of sporting events int he city. I always find it ironic that Isaiah Thomas won multiple championships with the Pistons in the 90’s and now they have another start called Isaiah Thomas playing for them.

Canadians enjoy wonderful scenery at home but if we love to travel and don’t mind our neighbours south of the border, we can find some pretty amazing places to go. This little list is just the ice berg and if you are a sports fan like me you can see any number of cities in the States!

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Top 5 Bucket List Destinations in Canada

Canada is the most beautiful country in the world and from coast to coast to coast we have everything to offer. My list of the Top 5 Bucket List Destinations in Canada will be very authentic. If you ever want to travel to Canada this will give you a great start to where to go.

I have assembled this list and I hope you find it helpful. The Top 5 Bucket List Destinations in Canada:

  1. Signal Hill, St.John’s, Newfoundland – The most eastern point in North America, you will want to see this place. You can sit at the top of the hill and be the first in the western world to see the sun rise. This place is also home of iceberg alley. Should you come here at the right time of the year, you will see icebergs coming down from the arctic. You can read my recent trip to Signal Hill and St.John’s Newfoundland here.
  2. Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario – Ottawa, Ontario which is the nations capital and is one of the nicest cities in the entire country. This place has a beautiful setting and borders Gatineau, Quebec. If you go to Ottawa in the winter the Rideau Canal is frozen over and people skate up and down the canal. The area which is steps from the Parliament Buildings is a great spot for tourist. Ottawa offers so much to do and is reasonably priced. The best Shawarma’s in Canada are at the Shawarma King on Rideau. You will not go wrong eating at this place. There is so much to do in Ottawa that I may have to write a separate blog on it all together. In the mean time check out this one. Check out the Rideau Canal tourism website here.
  3. Calgary, Alberta – Calgary Alberta is home to a number of beautiful attractions. Whether you are planning a winter getaway or a summer retreat Calgary has plenty to offer. I was recently in Calgary for the Stampede and wrote a number of blogs about it that can be found here. If you do go to the Stampede you will be pleasantly surprised buy the cost of everything. Unlike Toronto, in my opinion, you will find great prices on everything from beer to hotel rooms. If you like winter than this city has it all. They were the host of the 1988 winter Olympics so they have plenty of attractions for everyone. Calgary Tourism Website can help you discover tons of information right here.
  4. Banff, Alberta – Banff Alberta is a resort town and has tons of amazing things to do and see. If you love to ski or snowboard it will definitely be somewhere you want to go atlas once in your life. Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest park and has breathtaking scenery that will leave you speechless. Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Lake Louise are just a few of the lakes you will want to view. Skiing and snowboarding at Lake Louise in Banff is spectacular and a must do for avid winter outdoors people. Check out Banff Travel and Tourism Website here.
  5. Victoria, British Columbia – Victoria is one of the most unique and wonderful places on the West Coast. Once you take the fairy to Victoria Island over from Vancouver, you will find loads of things to do. Victoria Island is home to numerous Craft Beer Breweries and festivals so if that is your thing you will love this place. Also Victoria has a number of Spas, Restaurants and festivals year round that will leave you ecstatic that you chose this as your next travel destination. Check out Victoria Travel and Tourism Website here for more information.

Taking a trip to any of these destinations will be nothing short of fantastic and you will love what all have to offer. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter which will provide you with some of the most amazing travel deals out there.

Share and Like this post if you found it helpful! Cheers!

Horseshoe Ski Resort

Horseshoe Valley ski resort is located about 20 minutes north of Barrie, Ontario. We do not live in Barrie though so it was about a 3 hour drive for us. We decided to go to this resort because of the price compared to others such as Blue Mountain in Collingwood.

Skiing in Ontario, Canada is one of the greatest experiences you will have. The snow is plentiful and usually the weather is great. The snow belt which it is often called is located between Toronto, Ontario and Perry Sound, Ontario. The weather in this part is usually snowing and with the mild temperatures and mountainous terrane it makes for perfect ski weather.

 

The resort we stayed at was the Horseshoe Resort and the part of the resort we stayed in was the Slopeside Condos. We rented a 2 bedroom slope side condo for 5 days and it happened to be on the 3rd of 5 floors. The resort is very pet friendly and we brought our big black lab with us for the trip. I would say though that they should have more garbages located on the resort because there is only few places you can throw away your dogs poop.

The condos were very dated to 1990’s or even earlier but while we were there I enquired and they are renovating top to bottom the condos and are selling them at the end of this ski year. I would suspect the price to sky rocket after that. I was surprised about the skiing there though and considering the price of the condos.

While we were there we needed to get some stuff and there is a grocery store and beer/liquor store within a 5 minute drive up the road. So that isn’t to bad. What is on the resort is 2 restaurants and a cafeteria. The restaurants are great and not that pricey considering where you are. I would definitely recommend eating at the Crazy Horse Sports Bar. This place has an abundance of TV’s and has a very good atmosphere. if you like to eat a bit more of a fancy meal than I would recommend the Inn Steakhouse which is good but a little bit more formal.

 

The meals we had were all good and the fact we had our own condo makes these types of get aways even better because its a lot more convenient to wake up in the morning and brew your coffee, get your kid a bowl of cereal and make some bacon and eggs. If thats your thing than condos are the way to go!

Now for what we went for, the skiing and snow tubing! The Snow tubing was excellent and the hill appeared to be very high. The top was a little disorganized and you kinda just pick whatever line you want and hope for the best. to get to the top you take a conveyor belt so thats a bonus as you don’t have to do any walking. While we were there the price was great. The day we went it was $10 unlimited riding but the regular price is $4 a ride. That isn’t to bad because how many times are you really going to go down? Really?

On to the skiing at Horseshoe Resort. This hill is excellent for beginners. I haven’t skied in about 20 years so I didn’t know what to expect at all. When we arrived we ended up renting skis which was extremely costly. My wife and son both took lessons and for the 5 year old it was expensive but definitely worth it. He took group lessons which were pretty much 1 on 1 and they lasted 2 hours, we signed him up 2 days in a row. My wife on the other hand took one 2 hour lesson and learned a lot as well. She had never skied before and it was her first time so it was good for her to get a lesson in.

Now the hill is small but they do have or did have 4 chair lifts operational while we were there. I know when I say small that doesn’t sound like it but and it is bigger than some of the other hills in Ontario but if you have ever been to Mont Tremblant or skiing in British Columbia than you would know what I mean. Nonetheless this hill is perfect for beginners and the kids or bunny hill is amazing for the tykes with lots of room and its own chair lift. So when they try this one and get comfortable it should just be a progression over to the main ones.

Well this was the trip in a nutshell and you can visit my Facebook page, Twitter Account, Instagram or Pinterest to see more incredible journey’s! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Great Travel Deals And Products For The New Year










As 2016 comes to an end I thought I’d throw up some great travel deals and products to get your year started off on the right foot. To celebrate the new year I will include some of the best deals on products and travel destinations. Have you thought about going to the Atlantis or a Sandals Resort? Now don’t look further.

Over the past year I have traveled to some very beautiful destinations but the one that stood out far above the others is our time at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. You can read about that incredible destination here. Now if you are looking for a great vacation to the Bahamas with family or couples this place is ideal. Below are some really spectacular links you can take advantage of if you choose.

Reserve Ahora y Ahorre – Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Warm up this Winter – Save up to 55% off nighty rates PLUS up to a $450 resort credit & Kids Eat Free! Book by January 31st.

One of the most beautiful resorts I have ever wanted to stay at was the Sandals Resorts. These resorts from what I hear are some of the most luxurious resorts on the planet. For people who work hard and want to enjoy some time in a very friendly atmosphere they may be perfect for you.

Save up to 55% at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

Save up 65% + Receive an Instant Air Credit of up to $1,000 At Sandals Resorts.

One of the best things I’ve ever done is travel to Las Vegas. I have been going there regularly for over a decade now. The first time I graced Vegas was in a motor home but the first time I went with a friend we stayed at the Flamingo. Like I said, I have been going for over a decade and I have stayed in numerous locations. Most recently I stayed at the Bellagio but I’ve also stayed at the Venetian, Ceasers Palace, Golden Nugget and hopefully one day soon I’ll be at the Wynne. I wrote a couple of blogs this year on Las Vegas. One I wrote was on Downtown Vegas and the other about the famous Las Vegas Strip. You can read either of those in my blog by clicking the highlighted links above. If you want superb Vegas deals I have them for you below. Take it from me, I love Vegas so I love these deals!

Cheap Flights to Las Vegas from $67 on Expedia!

Book a Las Vegas Package with Expedia.ca and Save up to 40% on Your Stay!

Now I told you I would provide you with some great deals for the new year and these are a great start if you are planning a vacation. These deals won’t last forever though so take advantage of them while you can.

Now what would traveling be without traveling in comfort? When you do hit the blue highway you may want take one of the most frequently sold items for travel that is out there. You may be wondering what that is? Well it’s the travel pillow. Below you can find some amazing deals on travel pillows!

Also if you are traveling you may want some earphones for the flight. I know when I travel I always use my Beats by Dre headphones but at the end of the day any noise cancelling headphones work for those loud flights.

Now that you have a few destinations and some great travel deals, not to mention some awesome accessories you are going to wanna get going. Hurry up and book that trip before these deals are gone.

Feel free to like and share this post on your social media platforms. Also like my Facebook page to see more travel deals and to read the journey myself and my family take across the world. Last but not least sign up for my newsletter which you will be updated with travel deals regularly! Cheers!

I Dreamed of Another World


A last glance at the Laguna Colorada in the early morning: this shallow salty lake has regained its serenity and lost its intense red color, but still offers striking reflections. We head toward the desert of Siloli in Southwestern Bolivia, a desert dominated by magnificent ocher colors and surrealist landscape. The Siloli desert features unusual natural sculptures. The most stunning rock formation is the must see Arbol del Piedra known as the stone tree. A fragile-looking geomorphological rock formation, it is an impressive 16 feet high. It marks the entrance to the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve established in 1953 in Sur Lipez Province in the far Southwestern region of Bolivia. From there we begin our journey along the “Ruta de Las Joyas,” crossing successively several lagoons: Honda, Chiar Kota, Hedionda, and Cañapa.

Starbucks

In a landscape surrounded by volcanoes in the distance, Laguna Honda, whose name means “deep lake”, is in fact only 2 inches deep. But this shallow lagoon is particularly calm, and the bright blue sky is reflected in this true natural mirror. Laguna Cañapa is an endorheic salt lake with a surface area of 1.4 km2 is also surrounded by volcanoes and home to significant wildlife such as flamingos. It is a breathtaking sight, especially when the colonies of pink flamingos take flight… Two flamingos (speaking Walloon together), dress in pink, gently shake a leg and hobble in steps hushed by the water of the lagoon. They peck at salt larva, then evaporate in a few strokes of feathers… magical!

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Following the Las Joyas road, we reach the Salar de Chiguana (415 km2), at over 11,810 feet above sea level. The railway line connecting Uyuni to the Chilean coast crosses the Salar de Chiguana. After the War of the Pacific in 1884 with Chile, Bolivia lost the Atacama Desert, thereby becoming a landlocked country. Under the peace treaty of 1904, Chile guaranteed freedom of transit for Bolivian commerce to the ports of Angofasta and built the Arica-La Paz Railroad, connecting the Bolivian capital to the coast. In the Salar de Chiguana there are small boron mineral deposits that were mined in the early 1990s and exported to Europe. This amazing landscape of salt stretches endlessly to the horizon with the giant volcano Ollagüe looming in the background. The volcano is situated at the border between Chile and Bolivia (height 19,252 feet). It is one of the most active volcanoes in the entire Cordillera Occidental. Although the landscape recalls the Southwestern of the United States, the Salar de Chiguana has a strange omnipresent succulent, the Yareta, which resembles moss stuck on large stones. In fact, the plant is as hard as a rock and grows concentrically extremely slowly for centuries. Locals in remote villages of the Altiplano used this succulent, full of resin, to heat their homes.

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Turning to the villages, we arrive at San Juan Rosarion, usually called San Juan, a tiny place, but a semblance of a return to civilization where travelers can spend the night in hotels or, more commonly, shelters built entirely of salt. Walls are made of salt bricks as are tables, chairs, and beds. The floors are grains of salt.

Virgin Atlantic

Up very early for another highlight of the trip: the sunrise over the Salar de Uyuni. The “White Ténéré” at 4,086 square miles is the world’s largest salt flat and lies near the crest of the Andes at 11,995 feet. “I dreamed of another world / Who remain a mystery / A landless mundane / Yes, I wanted to jump into the air” (Free translation of the lyrics by the French singer Téléphone – Je rêvais d’un autre monde). All limits fall away in this other world of extreme climatic conditions. It is a timeless and spaceless journey to discover the Salar de Uyuni. As Alphonse Lamartine wrote, “O time Suspend your flight, and you, propitious hours, suspend your course: Let us savor the fleeting delights / The most beautiful today!” The desert plains, desperately flat and blindingly white, stretches out as far as our eyes can see. The Salar de Uyuni is a unique show, a landscape both lunar and solar, cold and sparkling. Only passengers on the space shuttles can see the whole desert.

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This natural marvel of the end of the world is, like Titicaca, one of the remains of a vast inland sea that stretched between two mountain ranges and then evaporated. A brief geological history of the Salar tells us that tens of thousand years ago Lake Minchin covered the area. Instead, now we have a desert of salt composed of billions of salt crystals. But there is another version of the story, a charming local legend about the formation of the Salar de Uyuni is linked to the dormant Tunupa Volcano on the Northern side of the Salar de Uyuni rising to 17,457 feet above sea level. Legend says that the Altiplano’s volcanoes could speak and move. Only Tunupa was female. One day Tunupa became pregnant, but the child’s father was unknown. Male volcanoes talked all night and took the decision to remove the small volcano from his mother. This decision infuriated the gods, and they withdrew the right to move, talk and meet from the volcanoes. Tunupa volcano wept so much that her tears mixed with her milk spread on the dry ground; thus was born the Salar de Uyuni.

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Amid this white area stands the Isla Incahuasi Quechua “the Inca house.” It is also called “Isla de los Pescadores” in reference to the neighboring island “Isla del Pescado” featuring giant cacti on an area of 61 acres and forming a hilly and rocky projection in the middle of the Salar – salt flat. There are walking trails allowing tourists to hike easily to the summit for a superb view of the vast white Salar with Tunapa in the distance. In addition to cactus in bloom, the island is also inhabited by the Bolivian vizcacha, Andean rabbits of the Chinchillidae family.


The Salar is composed of 10,000 billion tons of salt of which more than 25,000 tons are extracted annually. It is also rich in minerals, and its crust covers a pool of brine, exceptionally rich in lithium, an estimated 140 million tons and a large part of the world’s reserve. The depth of this salt flat is 460 feet. It consists of 11 distinct layers of salt whose thicknesses varies between 2 and 10 meters. To be in the middle of the Salar is like being in the midst of an infinite mirror; visual perceptions will surprise you. Fresh and salt water rivers underlie the surface of the Salar. This water, which passes under the salt crust, carries with it air that will find a way out. Ojos de Agua are round holes forming small eyes in the heart of the Salar where air and water well up from under the salt crust.

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The train graveyard, the “cimenterio de los trenes”, Uyuni, is the last stop on this Bolivian journey. It is located 2 miles outside the city of Ulyni. A legacy of the age of steam, dozens of old steam locomotives from the early years of the last century peacefully end their lives in the middle of the Salar. From the late 19th century to Mid-twenty century, Bolivia knew a golden age as a result of silver mining. When the silver era dried up, there was no need for a train network. Uyuni, in Southwestern Bolivia, was a transportation hub for trains carrying silver and other minerals from the surrounding mines to the Pacific Ocean. Another early departure at dawn to enjoy a Bolivian landscape like no other !
Hasta pronto

This blog post was written for www.middleclasstraveler.com by http://www.c-ludik.fr/en/

Liebster Award 2016


Today I received a Facebook message from the travel blogger Mike Still at www.livetravelteach.com and he notified me that he has nominated me for the Liebster Award 2016! So what is the Liebster Award 2016 you may ask? Well, the Liebster award is an online award that is given to bloggers from other bloggers! The 2016 Liebster Award also only exists on the internet and by accepting this award I am required to nominate 5 other bloggers!

1. What was the first time you remember traveling and what made it memorable?

The first time I can remember travelling was when I was about 4 or 5 years old. We travelled to Orlando, Florida and went to Disney! I still have the little mouse hat around here somewhere, lol. As if Disney wasn’t memorable enough with the small world after all ride, the most memorable part of that trip was how my parents were able to delay the plane because my sister forgot her stuffed animal at the hotel. Could you imagine today? They would never delay a plane for something like that.

2. If you could travel with any celebrity as your travel partner who would it be and where would you go?

Which celebrity would I travel with and where would I go is a tough question to answer. I guess if I had to pick one celebrity it would have to be Dave Chapelle because he is the funniest person in the world in my books. So its just me and Chapelle travelling, where would we go? I’d have to say to Australia and thats because I want to go to Australia and to have Chapelle telling me jokes for the whole 30 hour plane ride would be the best.

3. What is one place that you could travel to over and over again?

Canada! I live here and the country is so large. I really recommend everyone to come and check it out. I do want to travel the world and have been to so many places more than once but every time I go somewhere there is no feeling like stepping back on Canadian Soil. It truly is the best country in the world.

4. If you suddenly got an unlimited travel budget but could only go to 1 destination, where would you go?

This is a tough question and their really is two places I’d love to go but since I’m going with Chapelle to Australia, right, I would have to say Russia. I’d love to check out Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Both destinations are really expensive to travel to so either one really.

5. What is your favorite travel memory?

I have some pretty good memories about travelling the world. If I wasn’t so young when I went to East Germany I would say that would be the best but I’d have to say my honeymoon in France. I didn’t necessarily like France so much but it was my honeymoon so cheers to that!

6. Do you prefer solo travel, group travel or traveling with a buddy?

I love travelling with my significant other. We both love traveling so its fun. I have only really travelled once alone and it was to Germany and it was kinda boring.

7. Where are you headed next and what are you most excited about going there?

Whoot Whoot we are going to Horseshoe Valley Resort in Barrie, Ontario to go skiing and have some fun over New Years!

8. Have you ever lived in a different country? If yes, where, what was the best part of it and would you do it again? If no, is there a reason you haven’t or a place that you want to live in?

I have never lived in another country and its very odd because I started my career right out of school and never had time to move. If I did move I have always wanted to move to California. The weather is perfect and I have family that lives on the golden coast!

9. What is your favorite way to pass the time on long buses, planes & trains?

Watch movies. I remember flying from Frankfurt to Toronto and watching The Hangover for the first time, maybe it was the wine but I laughed so hard that it made the flight one of the best I ever taken.

10. Do you have any travel horror stories? What happened?

Yes! I once booked a trip online piecemeal and we booked our hotel through hotwire and when we arrived to our hotel in Valencia, California the hotel didn’t have record of our reservations. It took 3 days to get it all sorted out but that was a complete stress that was uncalled for. They also never apologized and we almost got stuck with the bill twice. It wasn’t cool. I never booked a hotel through them again and will never do so.

11. Do you have any special travel routine for before, after or during a trip? If so, what is it?

Nah! Just pack the night before and getup and to the airport early. I like to get there early for some strange reason. I love the airport!

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I am now suppose to nominate 5 blogs for this award and the 5 I have chosen are:

  1. http://www.raleightraveler.com
  2. www.youngbrokeandwandering.wordpress.com
  3. www.traveldefinition.com
  4. http://lifeuntraveled.com
  5. http://www.snorkelstosnow.com

These 5 bloggers, if they accept, will have to nominate another 5 bloggers and answer the same questions as I had to! I was going to change the questions up a bit as my nominator did but the questions are great so I decided to keep them the same!

Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Races Day 2

Day two of our trip to the Calgary Stampede started off an early one, but we were eager to see the chuckwagon races. We were awoken to the band practicing in the park across the street from our hotel and since our room was facing the park it just went right through. So we decided to get out of bed a little early and go see what was up around town.

When we decided to leave the hotel and venture out the Calgary Stampede Parade was just about to start and the streets were packed. We tried to get a spot somewhere that was close enough to see. The spot we did get wasn’t the greatest but it  worked and we got to catch a good portion of the parade. 

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When we decided to leave the parade we walked a couple blocks down and through some back lanes to get to the other side but the parade was so massive we weren’t able and we would have to wait. We decided to take a walk down by the Bow River and since it was just behind our hotel we didn’t have far to walk. The views were nice and the bike path that they have installed in that section is pretty remarkable. Coming from a city with one bike path and narrow streets because of the geology I enjoyed the sight, it was a good change.

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We decided to head back over to the parade sight to see if we could find a way through and by the time we came back the parade was almost done. When the parade finished at our end it had to make its way around which took about an hour and a half to two hours so we had lots of time to see the close attractions by our hotel before we could make our way to the Stampede Grounds. 


Hotels.com: $99 or Less

The art that was available to see was pretty remarkable. All of the parks had statues and sculptures and they were all packed with visitors who undoubtably finished a free breakfast that was being served daily! The hospitality the city gives is unlike something I have yet to see. It is really almost every park, and there is lots, that gives out pancake breakfast everyday during the stampede. 


Once the parade was done we were able to make it over to McLeod street which would bring us right to Stampede Park. Before we came to the stampede we had purchased the Chaps and Chucks package and we were scheduled to see chuckwagon races at 7:45 p.m. so we had all day to do some exploring.

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We arrived at the Stampede grounds around 1 p.m. and we had entry because of our package. When we got inside we were blown away. Food truck after food truck after food truck all with funky foods! You could get chicken on a stick breaded in Frosted Flakes and deep fried, which I did on day 3 to deep fried cookie dough. The food was amazing and the first thing I got was a foot long hotdog, wrapped in bacon with onions, pizza sauce and pepperoni! mouth watering yet?! It was all out and the prices were awesome. I paid $14 for this hotdog and it was worth it. Most of the stuff ranged between $6-$14 with the exception of freshly squeezed lemon-aid which was $3.75 or something like that! Can you imagine? a festival like this and not being gouged. It is unheard of in Ontario, seriously. 

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Maybe it was the price of oil and the organizers wanted to attract people to the events, who knows, but we found it inexpensive for what it was. Later in the afternoon while finishing up on gluttonous behaviour we walked around the grounds and made our way to the Saddledome. They had some horse stuff inside and decided to check it out. We entered the Saddledome through a country and western bar, at least that is how it felt. We then made our way through the dinning are to the arena. Once in the arena we had amazing seats about 10 rows up to watch some horse competitions.

After spending some time here we decided to go get something to drink and eat in the bar. We had a couple drinks and some deep fried pickles and it couldn’t have came to $20 with tip. Really nice atmosphere in the bar and once we were done there we decided to head back to the hotel for a rest before we would come back for the evening at the chuckwagon races.

Later on that evening we walked back to the grounds which was about 20 minutes from the Delta. We seen PETA outside protesting and ironically they had a woman protesting while holding a leather purse, fail! So we entered the grounds and headed to our event. When we arrived at the Stampede Stadium we entered the South Entrance and with no wait at all and about 30 minutes early at the most we headed to the second level to grab some drinks and check out our seats. we had some pretty good seats and we enjoyed the chuckwagon races. 

The chuckwagon races ran without any incident. I was a little surprised to be honest. One tip if you ever see chuckwagon races, never take the outside lane because for some reason they tend to line them up in a manor that makes it impossible for them to win. I also found it odd there was no gambling on who would win. Maybe there was but we didn’t see it. The 50/50 draw was also over $30,000 so it was nice to see that. 

Once the chuckwagon races were complete we headed in to look around at the gift store which is located on the first floor. After we did this we got a few more drinks and headed inside to watch the evening entertainment and the fireworks. The one thing I found very surprising was the comradely with the people of Alberta. During the show they had bits about the Wild Fires in Fort Mcmurray and some were crying and some were giving a standing ovation to the fire fighters. It was nice to see the pride and spirt of Albertans. You don’t see that now days. 

The show we seen after the Chuckwagons had everything from Motocross Bikes doing back flips and superman tricks to piano’s being carried through the air while being played. This was a production in a half and was very well done. They also had the roughnecks, which is what they call the oil and gas workers, assemble an oil rig in a competition to see who could do it the fastest. Awesome stuff if you like the entertainment. Last but not least the evening ended with a fireworks display that would top Ottawa on Canada Day. I swear all I could think is Oil Money when the show was going off. It was loud and continuous for 20 minutes maybe and it was one after the other, great stuff. 

My next blog about the stampede will be my final one and will be about day three and the bull riding. If you would like to see a complete album of the trip please visit my Facebook page HERE. If you ever go to Calgary I would say go during this time. It is truly breathtaking.

 

Wine Tour

Niagara Falls Wine Tour

Niagara Falls Wine Tour

While in Niagara Falls, Ontario a few years back we decided to check out a full day wine tour. This Niagara Falls wine tour was amazing. The hotel we stayed at called The Sterling Inn had set the whole thing up in one of there packages.

Wine Tour Niagara Falls IMG_0387_2This hotel all came to be by accident. One time in Niagara Falls myself and my wife were driving around and deciding if we should stay at Fallsview Casino or another hotel and we got lost. This was the best getting lost decision ever! If it is a decision. Nonetheless we stumbled upon this unique looking hotel with a giant milk jug covered in stucco. We decided to stop in and see if there was anything available and there was. Now overtime we visit the city we always stay there.

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Back to the adventure that leads this post. Myself and my wife decided on visiting Niagara and called the hotel to see if there was any types of winery tours or anything that they set up and luck would have it there was. We decided to go with the full day guided wine tour that provided a lunch at one of the beautiful wineries at Niagara on the Lake. This is a beautiful place as well if you ever get a chance to be in the area.

Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

To start the wine tour the driver picked us up first so we did get amazing seats on the bus. The good thing that happened is it wasn’t a party bus but we all had a good time. I can assure you if you like wine tours this is the one. The wine tour stopped at two wineries in the morning and then we stopped for lunch. Once we had an amazing lunch we ended up at two more wineries before heading back to the hotel. Once we arrived back at the hotel we were privileged to have an excellent multi course dinner in the hotel restaurant which is top notch.

Dinner at AG Inspired IMG_00000692 IMG_00000696 IMG_00000697 (1) IMG_00000698 IMG_00000699 (1) IMG_00000700 IMG_00000701 (1) IMG_00000702 IMG_00000706 IMG_00000708

The restaurant at the Sterling Inn is called AG Inspired Cuisine and is a hidden gem for tourists in the city. If you ever want to be blown away in Niagara Falls while having a romantic get away, this is it.

This whole entire experience happened because of being lost in a city that you shouldn’t get lost in. We had decided to return a number of times and we have stayed here every time. This is one of the greatest places to stay in Niagara Falls that you will find.

IMG_00000629Konzelmann Estate WineryBetween The Lines WineryIMG_00000635

A couple of places we had visited was Between The Lines, Peller Estates, Konzelmann Estate Winery and Pillitteri Estates. The wine tour brings you to some of the best wineries in the world, believe it or not. The wineries we went to had wine masters that had won multiple awards. The awards were won for ice wine mostly. So if you like that kind of wine I will say go! The climate in Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake is pristine for ice wine so take advantage of these conditions and enjoy your wine.

Wine Cellar

The next time you are in Niagara Falls with your significant other or are deciding what to do for a weekend you will not be disappointed with doing anything in this post. If you want a great wine tour experience the one at Sterling Inn is magnificent and if you want to visit a spa they also have those facilities as well. This is a reasonable priced destination and you will surely have a blast.

Until next time Cheers!

Mexico, Riviera Maya

El Dorado Royale, MexicoMexicoFlying from Sudbury, Ontario to Cancun, Mexico was a great experience. We left Sudbury the day after boxing day to go to the Maya Riviera and while we were there we stayed at the resort El Dorado Royale. This resort is an adults only resort and is very very nice, Gourmet Inclusive they call it. For me it was my first time in Mexico and actually my first time on an all inclusive vacation. Before then and ever since I have never been to an all inclusive resort.

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When arriving in Mexico we were one of the lucky randoms to have our bags checked. When you arrive you have to walk through a metal detector and press a button and if its green you go and red they check your stuff. I am not quite sure what they are looking for because what are you gonna bring into Mexico? Really?


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The type of traveller I am when going to an all inclusive resort is to sit down and drink and eat but we decided to do some sight seeing. If you remember correctly I do believe there was a travel advisory at that time for Canadians in Mexico so I was a little nervous. I remember when we got on the tour bus from our resort in Playa Del Carmen and headed towards Tulum I thought we were going direct so for our tour bus to pull over in the middle of the highway and the driver to exit to go for a walk really freaked me out, LOL. Nonetheless we were waiting for another bus to catch up so we travelled together.

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On our day adventure we went snorkelling at a place called Xel Ha and it was a great time. While there it was extremely busy but at the end of the day it wasn’t that expensive and it was a good snorkelling experience. After that we boarded the bus and headed to Tulum to see the ruins. This was nice as architecture interests me and I would definitely recommend going to see it if you are ever in that part of the world.

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After our day out in Mexico when we returned to the resort we decided to go to Playa Del Carmen for the evening to do some shopping and whatever. We went down to the strip there and on the way I can remember all the check points we went through to get there. It is really something different to see as coming from Canada we don’t really see that… ever. I actually have never seen anything like that since. Nonetheless while in Playa Del Carmen there was some amazing bars and shops. The funniest thing that happened to us was we were sitting at our table having some authentic Mexican food when a truck pulls up and takes a hose about 6 inch diameter and runs it through the restaurant and starts pumping. Not sure if they were sucking out grease or something else! So that amused us for a while.

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Back at the Resort we had a swim up room. This was an amazing room where you open the patio door and you have a hammock area with some chairs then you step down into the water where its about a foot deep and then the lazy river is connected to that. If you ever go to a hotel with a swim up room I would definitely recommend it. It was great to walk out the room and hop in the lazy river and float/walk to the swim up bar to grab a drink.

El Dorado RoyaleMexico

This resort was huge and had golf cart shuttle from everywhere on the resort. What we did was wait at a bus stop type and the servers would come around and pick you up and bring you where you needed to go. I do have to say this though being in our early 30’s we were by far the youngest at this resort as I do remember looking around and thinking its all older people here. The resort had a number of walk up bars, swim up bars, restaurants and a breakfast buffet. The one thing that I did love about the resort was the restaurants were all the type that you order off the menu. They call it Gourmet Inclusive and I can tell you it is Gourmet! When we were there in 2010-2011 the resort had 24 hour room service which was awesome and fast, the drinks were real and not watered down and the service was top notch.

El Dorado RoyaleMexico Beach

While on the beach there  we did rent a Sea-Doo for some of the time and that was fun and really not that expensive but you don’t have the sales people hounding you up and down the beach either so that was a good thing. While there the one thing we did do that I never do is go see the time share program. We didn’t buy into it but by going we got a nice message on the beach one of the night and that rocked! The pictures in this post are from a camera not a phone lol sorry!

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All and all this is an awesome resort for someone on a Middle Class budget who like to live the Luxury Life.

 

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Weekend in Toronto


IMG_4454If you ever wanted to go to Toronto, Ontario there is so much to see. I had just had the pleasure of going to “the big smoke” as they like to call it over the past weekend. So where I’m from Toronto is a 4 hour drive South and on the way there a majority of the road is four lanes and they are working to get the highway completed sometime in my life time. Another option if you do decide to travel to Toronto is to fly and depending on where you are flying from I would definitely look into using Porter Airlines. Porter flies right downtown Toronto to Billy Bishop Airport and you will ample options to get to the heart of downtown for $10 from there.

IMG_4418When in Toronto this weekend we stayed at One King West which is right in the heart of downtown. If you do stay there you are a 10 minute walk north to the Eaton Centre and 5 – 10 minute walk South to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The one thing I personally like about staying at 1 King West is they are all condos, so you get a fridge, stovetop, microwave, dishwasher etc. all in the room.


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So while in Toronto there is so much to do. As mentioned above you can go shopping and see the Hockey Hall of Fame within a stones throw from this hotel. This weekend I went to a Toronto Blue Jays game and it was great. If you do stay at 1 King West you can walk there in a matter of 15-20 minutes or you can take the TTC street car West 5 stops and you will be a 2 minute walk away from the Sky Dome.

IMG_4435This place is just spectacular and our seats were section 113C Row 14 seat 101-103 and it did not disappoint. The one thing I do caution on is when sitting along the first base line when the dome is open during an afternoon game bring sunscreen, a hat and sun glasses because you will get pounded by the heat! So the game was great and the Jays did beat the Baltimore Orioles that day! Edwin Encarnación owned the Orioles on the weekend hammering some good homers.

After the game we went for dinner at the Marche Restaurant which is between 1 King West and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Its awesome and economical, when you go you grab a card and check out all the different foods they have. You decide on what you want and you give the card to the attendant they swipe it and you pay after. To give you an idea we had pizza, mushrooms, fruit, steak, beer, mashed potatoes and some drinks and it was under $80. Thats pretty awesome in downtown Toronto where breakfast can cost you $50. Nonetheless there is so much to do in Toronto that you will see as we move along with the blog all the fun things we do there. This was 1 thing and we were there for a weekend.

Until next time happy travels!

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