Middle Class Traveler

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Western Canada Road Trip

This summer was spent travelling inside Canada. We did a Western Canada road trip and what a good time it was. I am making a series of blogs about my time out west and so far I have completed two. I thought I might as well outline the trip we went on city by city and as I write more blogs you will know what to look forward to. My first two blogs where about Stanley Park in Vancouver and Lake Louise, Alberta.   So we flew into Vancouver and back home from Edmonton. This was haw we went in between.

Vancouver.

Whistler.

Sydney.

Ucluelet/Tofino.

Hope. (Hells Gate)

Hope.

Kelowna.

Revelstoke

Lake Louise and Banff.

Hinton / Miette Hot Springs.

 

Edmonton.

 

 

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

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/

Across The Border



“Should we cross the border / Going Beyond / Without missteps / Discover what is behind…” (Donoré – Passer la Frontière). Let’s cross the border and discover the Bolivian Altiplano, seemingly “the region” to discover. The Altiplano or high plain is located in west-central South America, lying between Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. It is the second largest plateau in the world after the Tibetan plateau. The Bolivian Altiplano is beyond anyone’s imagination, at least, mine and probably yours: an endless, magnificent journey amidst surrealist scenery straight from another planet, and an arduous journey as well. A region with an arid climate where the mountain tops and Salars de Uyuni stretch to infinity. The scenery of the Bolivian Altiplano is among the most beautiful in the world!


Just after crossing into Southwestern Bolivia, the Laguna Verde, a salt lake with blue-green hues, appears at an elevation of 14,100 feet nestled at the foot of the magnificent volcano Licancabur, which rises to 19,252 feet. The lake offers a colorful panorama of breathtaking beauty. The magnificent colors result from a high concentration of lead carbonate, arsenic, calcium, and sulfur. You just want to jump right in. At daybreak, as the sediment in the lake is stirred by the wind, the lake’s colors can change from deep brown to emerald green in a second. Between noon and 2 P.M. green is the most striking color. The region is, during the day, constantly exposed to an icy wind, whipping the surface of the water into white caps. Next to Laguna Verde, across a narrow strip of land, is the Laguna Bianca. Like Laguna Verde, Laguna Bianca at an elevation of 14,270 feet on the Altiplano is named for color created by the high concentration of minerals in its waters. The play of colors and reflections on the lake waters is everything but wearisome.

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The Bolivian Altiplano is characterized by a clear, deep blue sky, blinding, high-altitude sunshine, ultraviolet rays that burn the skin, and rarefied oxygen where the slightest movement requires great effort. In the colorful barren landscape stretching to infinity, only the snow-covered mountain peaks mountains shimmering at the horizon catch your eye. Here water boils at 158° Fahrenheit. In such scenery, the experienced Bolivian tour guides and drivers seem to have their itineraries engraved in their brains like road maps. Soon we cross the Dali Desert, also known as the Deli Valley in Southwestern Bolivia, located at an elevation of 15,584 feet. This is a surreal moon-like landscape. The minerals give the supernatural landscape colors that resemble the surrealist paintings by Salvador Dali. Rock formations eroded by strong wind could not be more surprising as if were sculpted by the artist himself!
In this desert, apparently hostile to all life, we find wild herds of hoofed vicuñas from camelid family— a kind of camel without a hump—and also their predator, Mister Fox. As Sting sang, “The Fox had done running / And the beast is at bay / He’d run them in circles / By the end of the day” (Sting – The End of the Game).

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

At the foot of Cerro Polques lies a small hot-spring pool, the “Thermas del Polques,” with a temperature reaching 86 °Fahrenheit, while outside temperatures are much lower… We are still at 14,108 above sea level! For fun, you can bathe or just dip your feet in the warm water rich in minerals while marveling at the landscape of the Laguna Salada.

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Fifty kilometers away at 15,978 feet above sea level lies Solfataras, a geothermal field in the Sol de Manana, “Morning Sun” in Spanish. It is an impressive two square kilometers of steam pools with bubbling mud and hellish fumaroles. The Sol de Manana has a splendid landscape of colors and sounds. Listen carefully: the area whistles, smokes, bubbles like a pressure cooker! Be careful where you put your feet because there is no protection. You need caution with every step. A thick smell of sulfur hovers over The Sol de Manana. As usual, we are warm inside, but cold outside! Remnants of winter surround the Sol de Manana, extraordinary peaks waiting for Spring’s final frost !

014_laguna-colorada

We arrive at the Laguna Colorada, a shallow salt lake in the Southwest of Bolivia’s Altiplano near the Chilean border, a moment we have been waiting for since the beginning of the trip. We are stunned and dazzled by the splendor. Even though I had previously seen a few photographs, the reality is quite different. The waters of the lake have a stunning bright reddish color resulting from the wind disturbing the red sediment and the pigmentation of some algae. This shallow lake, only about 3 feet deep, and surrounded by mountains, covers an area of 23 square miles at 14,035 feet. Algae and plankton thrive in the mineral-rich waters. The lagoon hosts numerous colonies of flamingos that proliferate because of a lack of predators. In the Andes, there are three endemic species of flamingos: the Chilean flamingo, distinguished by its grayish legs with pink joints and a white and black beak, is 43-51 inches high and feeds on crustaceans; the James’ flamingo, the smallest of the three, and the Andean flamingo, the largest with a pale yellow and black beak, and which, like the James’ Flamingo, feeds on algae. In addition, to the colonies of pink flamingos, lamas (small and large) graze peacefully on the edge of the lagoon. Dream or reality… we do not quite know where to look, it makes your head spin and hurt… the joys of high altitude!


This Blog was created by http://www.c-ludik.fr/en/ for www.middleclasstraveler.com. Please visit the above website for more exiting travels!

Picking Your First Camera for Travel Photography



Picking Your First Camera for Travel Photography

 

By Ryan Ellis

 

I hear it all the time from people looking to start out in the photography world:

“There are so many cameras out there! How does a first time buyer know how to make the right choice?”

 

Well if you are reading this article on Middle Class Traveler, chances are you are in the same boat and you are probably looking for something to do a little travel photography with. For a lot of people, it comes down to balancing some key ingredients:

 

  1. Cost
  2. Performance
  3. Size and weight
  4. Objective

 

Not necessarily in that order but a good chance that cost is going to be at or near the top of the list for those just starting out. Let’s quickly take a look at each of those and then I have a couple of suggestions that could be right for you!

 

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Let’s work backwards and ask yourself “What is my objective here?” This question alone will lead you to exclude about half the field right off the bat. If your answer to this question doesn’t include professional wedding photography or publication in a major magazine or large format art gallery printing then you can and probably should exclude all the full format cameras.

 

But what is a full format camera? If at this stage in the game you don’t know, you probably don’t need one. It basically is a larger sensor to give you a larger frame similar to what 35 mm film would give you. Some cameras have a full frame sensor and other have a crop frame. This is a smaller frame size and is significantly cheaper, but that doesn’t mean it can’t produce some really fantastic images. An easy way to tell the difference is that full frame cameras will usually cost in the thousands of dollars. Crop frames cost in the hundreds. If by budget constrictions alone you have chosen the crop frame, you are in the right place!

 

Choosing a crop frame also takes care of size and weight because they are lighter and smaller. This is what you want if you are going to use it for travel. The last thing you need is to be trudging up the stairs of Cinque Terre lugging a 5 pound beast and all its accessories around.

 

Well we already have taken into account objective, cost, size and weight so let’s get to the meat of it. Performance. In the photography world, brand does matter. No two brands have dominated the space more than Nikon and Canon. You will find staunch supporters on both sides. I happen to shoot with Nikon. Usually whatever the brand you first purchase is, will be the brand you stick with out of these two forever.

 

Lately Sony has been making a big push with mirrorless cameras which can be even smaller and lighter than the DSLR cameras offered by Nikon and Canon. The mirrorless lack a view finder so everything is shot live off the screen. I am so used to shooting with a view finder I couldn’t imagine making the switch but you can’t argue with the results. They are really good.

 

Whatever brand you choose, you don’t have to shoot for the moon with your first purchase. I would argue that the right camera is only about 10 percent of the battle. Whatever brand you choose, your photography education is the most important thing that you can invest in to make your pictures look better. Throwing the camera into automatic and hitting the button isn’t going to get great results. Focus, ISO, shutter speed, aperature, lens type, and 1000 other things all matter more than the type of camera you are shooting with.

 

That being said here are the three cameras I think the travel photographer should first look into and all run in the $300-$400 range:

 

 

All of these will get you to where you want to be, with all the functions you will need. For now the kit lens will do just fine. I will outline the first lenses to buy in another post. If you have questions post them in the comments or email me at ryan@raleightraveler.com.

 

This article was written exclusively for Middle Class Traveler. You can find more of my work over at Raleigh Traveler or have more articles like this delivered to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter here!

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!

3 Must See Sights in Cornwall



Cornwall, the most southwest part of England is in one word, stunning. Often dubbed the Cornish Riviera, it is known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque countryside and seaside towns. I’ve decided to compile a list of my three must see spots when in Cornwall. If you only have a day to visit Cornwall, I highly recommend utilizing Plusbus tickets if traveling by train. It gives you unlimited use of the buses in either your departure or arrival town. I also suggest traveling by train because of the view. Traveling through Devon and Cornwall on a coastal route is probably one of the more picturesque train routes I’ve taken in the U.K. The journey itself is worth it!

Starbucks

 1. St. Micahel’s Mount in Marazion. St. Michael’s Mount is a massive castle, atop an island that sits across the water. There are no words or pictures that can adequately justify the beauty of this castle. The only way to reach it is to cross a causeway during low tide, or take a boat across the water to the castle during high tide. Be sure to check their website as there is a handy tool that lets you know when the tides are expected to be low so you can cross the causeway. The Castle closes one day a week, and turns out the day is a Saturday, so keep that in mind when taking a day trip. Due to its location on the Southern Coast, the Castle maintains a subtropical atmosphere and has many beautiful gardens year round. There is actually a sister castle directly across the way off the coast of France called Mont St. Michel. Definitely a must add for your next trip!

cornwall2

2. Minack Theater near the town of St. Levan, is an open air theater, oceanside. The theater looks like it was plucked from the past and plopped into our time. It costs £4.50 to enter the theater to view, and there is pretty much no getting around it as its quite impossible to see the theater from outside since it sits at the top of a cliff and is built into the cliffside. Regardless, it is worth the fee. How many people can say they’ve seen a show or band, oceanside on a cliff?! Note: the theatre closes at 4pm in the winter season.

cornwall3

3. Porthcurno Beach is directly below the Minack Theatre cliff and is absolutely breathtaking. Its hard to believe its a beach in England, as opposed to a warm Caribbean beach. The sand was soft and white, with clear and bright blue waters. Looking back on my photos it’s truly hard to believe that they aren’t paintings. Why not spend a day surfing or fishing? Pro tip: if hike halfway up to the Minack Theatre on the cliff – you get astonishing views of Porthcurno Beach.

cornwall4

Total Cost: £5.80

Minack Theatre: £4.50 , Plusbus Ticket: £1.30

 

 

For just £5.80 you could be seeing all these views as well! So what’s stopping you? Be sure to comment your favorite places in Cornwall! Cheers xx

 

 

This blog post was written for www.middleclasstraveler.com, and you can find more of my work at www.youngbrokeandwandering.wordpress.com.

 

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St.John's

Fun in St.John’s Newfoundland



In the beginning of June in 2014  we decided to take a vacation. I had won 2 passes at an auction/fundraiser to fly anywhere Porter Flies. Me and my wife decided to go and have some fun in St. John’s Newfoundland. So we flew from a warm June Sudbury, Ontario…. to a freezing cold June St.John’s Newfoundland.

We started our trip off flying out of Sudbury and our flight was as such. Sudbury to Toronto, Toronto to Ottawa, Ottawa to Halifax and Halifax to St.John’s. When we landed in St.Johns I had rented a car so we could get around. The car we ended up getting was a Ford Taurus but it was all good and surprisingly to me, who drives foreign cars, it was a really good ride.

First Day in St.John’s

We went from the airport in St.John’s to our accommodations. While on this trip we decided to stay at three B&B’s and for the last night we decided to stay at a traditional hotel. So we left the airport and headed towards the Bed and Breakfast. The first B&B we stayed at was the Banberry House within walking distance to the heart of St.John’s. This place was in a great location and we were able to walk everywhere no problem.

Banbury House Bed and BreakfastBanberry House

Our first day in St.John’s was coming to an end because of the travel time there and the time change so we decided to grab a quick meal. While we were on our way to St.John’s we decided that we would eat at one of the restaurants that was features on You Gotta Eat Here Canada. Did you know that a number of restaurants in St.John’s have been featured on the show? I had no idea but when I tried to google which one we ate at I couldn’t find it because of that.


FlightHub

Our first night in St.John’s was awesome. Our visit at the Banberry House was exceptional. This was the first time for me to stay in a bed and breakfast and it really impressed me. I was surprised about the breakfast that you get and the hosts were extremely friendly. The place was clean and cozy, all in all it was great.

Second Day in Newfoundland

Now we wake up the first day and we decide to drive up to Signal Hill to do some exploring of St.John’s before we head to Bay Bulls where we will be spending our second night. The view from signal hill was amazing and considering I have yet to see a iceberg on the trip I was looking forward to seeing one from there. If I could see one from the distance the trip would be a success, I never knew how close I would get to seeing one either.

Signal HillSignal HillView From Signal Hill

We made it up to Signal Hill and seen the beautiful landscape of St.John’s and the outlook over the ocean. While we were there we walked the boardwalk they have made all the way to a gully where we turned around and came back to the car.

Now we were on our way to Bay Bulls. This place wasn’t far at all from St.John’s. We took the ride up the highway and we stayed at another B&B. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was amazing. We had amazing views right from the room. While there, we were able to go on a little hike through the property and along the Ocean front. These little towns are amazing. Nothing like it anywhere and I recommend going and seeing this atleast once in your life.

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Third Day in Newfoundland

After spending a wonderful evening in Bay Bulls we woke up to a beautiful breakfast. After breakfast we had decided to go on a iceberg tour and on the tour we would see Puffins. The name of the Tour was O’Briens Puffins Whales and Iceberg Tours. This tour was amazing and if you ever want to go see icebergs or whales this is the tour for you. I totally recommend it and you need to do this if you are in the area. Even if you are just in St.John’s it is worth the short drive over to BayBulls to take this tour.

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On the tour we seen so many icebergs and got real close to them. If you like Birds we seen thousands of Puffins. Puffins live there and are a nice looking bird. On our adventure we actually seen a Puffin caught in plastic and our tour guide pulled up to the bird and actually scooped it up from the water and saved it. What a remarkable bunch at the O’Briens Tours. While on the trip they were ready to do some screeching in. If you have never heard of what it means to be screeched in then click the link here but, in general it is an initiation into the Newfoundland Culture, awesome!

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Once we finished the tour we decided to stop at a little dinner to have a quick bite to eat then headed over to Dildo, Newfoundland. The trip was about 82km West and it was a beautiful drive as the weather was crisp and clear. When we arrived in Dildo we checked in to our Bed And Breakfast for the evening. We stayed at the George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast. This place had a wonderful view of the ocean and a large frontward set up with Muskoka Chairs to watch the sunset. While here we decided to relax and enjoy the time there.

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While in Dildo we did take a drive and found a diner where I had enjoyed the Newfoundland dish Scrunchions. I found them great and would have them again if I was ever there. Something to try if you are ever in Newfoundland.

Final Day in Newfoundland

Iceberg Beer

Iceberg Beer From Quidi Vidi Brewery

We woke up early the next day and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast before we made the trek back to St.John’s. When arriving in St.Johns, since it was so early, we decided to do a couple things before we checked into our hotel. The first thing we decided to do was hit the Quidi Vidi Brewery for a tour of the Island Brewery. If you have never done this and have been in St.John’s then you have definitely missed out. Not only is this place awesome but it is the home of Iceberg Beer. Now coming from Ontario I had never heard of Iceberg Beer. Now that I have I think it just happens to be my favourite beer hands down. I actually brought some home to Ontario with me.

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Now that we finished our tour of the brewery we decided to go to where the sun reaches first upon sunrise, Cape Spear Light House. In case you didn’t know, when the sun first hits North America the first place the sun rises is at the Cape Spear Light House in St.John’s Newfoundland. I never knew this until travelling here but it was an interesting fact. The views and history that you will learn at the Light House is very knowledgeable especially about the history of our great country. You have to go there if you are ever in St.John’s, it’s a must do.

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When we travelled back from Cape Spear we decided to check into our hotel. For the last night of our trip we did decide to stay at a traditional hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on Cavendish Square. The hotel was very nice and refreshing as we had stayed at B&B’s the entire trip so far. In our hotel we stayed in a Signature Club room which gave us the luxury of having some drinks and food for free.

St.John'sThe Gypsy Tea Room

After we checked into our room we decided to go out for dinner. For our last dinner in St.John’s we decided to eat at The Gypsy Tea Room. This restaurant is top notch with a combination of excellent food in a relaxing atmosphere it was nothing short of a beauty and a great way to end the trip. After we had our final meal we did go down to George Street and hit a little bar so we could have a few drinks. While we were there I did do my shot of screech and loved it.

The one great thing I found in St.John’s was how friendly everyone was. When walking down the street and wanting to cross, the cars would just stop and let you go. That was something I found very remarkable, especially coming from Ontario.

Our flight home had a little snag because of an inflight emergency on another plane and our connection was delayed in Halifax so we spent the afternoon in the airport and by the time we got to Toronto we missed our final flight home to Sudbury. Porter airlines was very accommodating and gave us a room at the Fairmont Royal York. We caught our flight home the next morning and all was good!

These are definite must do’s for anyone who plans to vacation on the East Coast of Canada!

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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?


FlightHub

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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