Recent Posts by followsummergreg

Summer is the perfect time

to explore some crazy places you’ve never been. And what’s better than going out into the wilderness and spending some quality time with Mother Nature? If you’re feeling adventurous, here are some places you might want to take a trip to this summer.

Alaska

Alaska just might be the top wilderness destination in the USA. It offers camping for every sort of explorer, whether you prefer to be in a camper or cabin or out in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Alaska also has some of the best hunting and fishing you’ll find anywhere, as well as avid boating and ATV industries.

If you want something pretty unique to Alaska, sign up to get the dog sledding experience. You can be pulled through the forest yourself, talk to Iditarod racers and hear all about what they went through and see how the dogs are trained. Plus, there’s basically a guarantee that you’ll get to pet some adorable puppies. Who’d want to miss out on that?

Montana

Montana is a great place to really explore what the Wild West of the US has to offer. Bozeman and the surrounding area is a go-to spot for rock climbing. It’s also a popular hunting and camping destination and it offers some seriously awesome whitewater rafting. A Google search of Montana whitewater rafting turns up multiple rafting companies with 5-star ratings.

If you really want to experience the Wild West, consider taking a working-ranch vacation. It’s a step up from the usual dude ranch vacation, giving you a truly personalized experience as the only guests on the ranch. You help with the work of ranch life and in return have local guides for excursions to explore the true western wilderness.

Costa Rica

There’s an entire planned trip for Costa Rica called the Costa Rica Wilderness Explorer. And it actually highlights some of the best parts about this place. Stay right in the middle of the rainforest and go to some of the more remote places in the country for a truly wild experience away from the crowds.

Hiking is one of the best ways to see Costa Rica. You can get more up close and personal with nature and see things that you definitely can’t see while driving. The best way to explore this country is to be in the middle of the rainforest, in a truly unique climate seeing animals and sights you can’t get anywhere else.

Connecticut

While it may not be the first place you think of when you hear wilderness, the Connecticut state park system is pretty amazing. You can stay in one of their rustic log cabins. While they have sturdy shelter, they don’t have kitchens or bathrooms, so you can rough it without having to sleep in a tent. Try staying at Lake Waramaug State Park or Hammonasset Beach State Park. Both of these have rustic cabin living and ample trees and wildlife, but they also have water to explore. The Lake is a picturesque spot for kayaking and the beach at Hammonasset lets you enjoy Long Island Sound.

Northern California

California may be famous for Hollywood, but its northern parts are more famous for something else—giant redwood trees. The Redwood National and state parks are some of the most popular, offering four developed campgrounds for you to stay in, or backcountry places you can hike to if you want a more remote location.

There are multiple other parks to explore these gorgeous forests, too. Though it’s thankfully no longer allowed, it used to be popular to cut a hole in these trees so cars could drive through, and some still survive. There’s also a petrified redwood forest at the north end of Napa Valley, so you can experience a different kind of forest.

Chile

Chile is almost entirely covered by mountains, making it the perfect place for an adventure. It’s home to the famous Patagonia, home of one of the world’s few temperate rainforests. Yendegaia National Park is a 95,000-acre former cattle ranch that became a national park a few years ago. It’s another area that shouldn’t be missed.

Chile is another popular spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking, as well as hiking. It’s also popular for mountain biking, horse trekking, and fly-fishing, too. One of the most interesting things to do in Chile is climb. With so many mountains, there are endless possibilities. Not feeling mountains? You can try climbing a volcano instead. That’s something for your bucket list.

The world is a wonderful place and it’s time to start discovering what it has to offer! Head into the wilderness this summer and explore.

Kacey Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us and a frequent contributor to followsummer.  You can follow Kacey on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Summer is often framed

as the right time to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life. This is usually to look good in your swimsuit on the beach, but the change to a warm season can make anyone want to watch what they eat for a variety of reasons.

Taking a road trip is also a key aspect of summer, and they don’t typically go well for people wanting to eat healthier. Snack aisles are packed with potato and corn chips, and when you try to load up a cooler with drinks for the road, what greets you at the store are endless soda flavors. Think you might find something good at a gas station? Good luck searching for something healthy between the plastic-wrapped doughnuts and deep fried pork skins.

Don’t let the idea of a road trip intimidate you away from your plan to eat better this summer. There are lots of ways to keep you on track with your diet no matter where you are. It’ll take a bit of planning ahead, but if you’re eating healthy meals, aren’t you doing that already?

Snap Peas and Carrots

This snack is like the holy grail of summer road trips for people who are health conscious. They add practically no calories to your daily diet and provide that satisfying feeling of having a crunchy snack. They also trick the tongue into thinking you’re eating something sugary. Just try a snap pea and try to think about anything other than how sweet it is.

Peanut Butter Banana Energy Bites

There’s no reason to compromise on your morning energy boost just because you’re not cracking open a can full of caffeine. Make peanut butter banana energy bites instead! This snack will energize and doesn't need to be baked. It’s the perfect snack for those of us who’ll miss our favorite chocolate and peanut butter candies, too.

Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars 

Healthy Snacks for Your Summer Road Trip

Missing your favorite brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast?

Missing your favorite brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast? These apple cinnamon granola bars will fill that hole in your heart. By quickly combining just a few ingredients, you’ll have a sweet and chewy snack to keep you company while you hit the road. Or after you’ve been on the road for a while. At 127 calories per bar, you could eat them all day long.

Trail Mix

One of the biggest issues that comes along with having a summer road trip is that you might not have time to do everything you’d like. Maybe you’ll get to just some of the homemade snacks you’d like to take with you, or maybe none at all. If you’re in a rush, there are always healthy snack options like trail mix that are already pre-packaged and ready to eat, as well as packaged energy bars, granola bites, and other nutritiously dense options that won’t compromise your time. No one will be able to resist reaching in for a handful of your snack.

Healthy Snacks for Your Summer Road Trip

Trail mix is an easy option for snacking on the road

Almonds

If you’re not allergic to nuts, take advantage of all their health benefits and stick a couple bags in your cooler. Nuts—especially almonds—have a lot of protein, which means you’ll hold off your hunger without paying a lot for meat or protein powder. Plus, they’ll last the whole trip without going bad.

Fruit Smoothie

Smoothies are really easy to make at home. If you have a blender, all you need is some frozen fruit (bought with no added sugar), ice and whatever liquid you’d like to add. This can be water, milk, or even your favorite fruit juice. A fabulous summer fruit smoothie is a great drink to add to your trip since they’ll fill you up and add variety to your diet.

When it gets closer to your road trip this summer, don’t worry about having to eat unhealthy foods in order to enjoy some time away from home. Healthy snacks are easy to make and include in any vacation, even road trips. As long as you plan ahead for what you want to eat, you won’t have to break a sweat—or your diet.

 

Kacey Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us and a frequent contributor to followsummer.  You can follow Kacey on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Our Italian friends asked us what part of Italy we were going to: 'Sicily', I replied.

'No, no, what part of ITALY are you going to?'

Apparently, Italians feel superior to Sicilians. Having been robbed of its National Treasury in 1860 by an occupying Italian Army, Sicily has been an impoverished region, her factories shuttered and moved to the north. Without a manufacturing base, the island relied upon grapes, olives, almonds, oranges, and grapes for survival. Unfortunately, due to an erupting Etna and other volcanoes, much of Sicily's crops were buried under lava, prompting waves of immigration to the Americas. And "Southern Italian" means a more relaxed, informal way of living life.  And indeed we found a welcoming, warm people; eager and happy to help with directions or a communication issue. Here are some of followsummer's favorite photos from our Sicilian experience, photos that we hope share the feeling of excitement we still feel from our incredible 10-day road trip around Sicily, ITALY!

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Beautiful views of Castellammare Del Golfo from the Belvedere.

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Views down to Taormina from the beautiful 4-Star Hotel Villa Angela

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Sunset Square: The Piazza Duomo on beautiful Ortygia, in Siracusa

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

The sun-splashed Piazza Duomo on beautiful Ortigia, in Siracusa

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

The UNESCO-listed Temple of Concordia in Agrigento's Valley of the Temples

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Sun-baked History: the UNESCO-listed Temple of Concordia in Agrigento's Valley of the Temples

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

High in the Mountains: Castelbuono

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Castelbuono Idyll

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Monumental Mosaics at the Duomo do Monreale, high above Palermo

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

La Fontana della Vergogna, or the Fountain of Shame in Palmero's Piazza Pretoria

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Palermo's multi-styled Norman Cathedral, erected in 1185

Glorious Sicily in 12 Pictures

Ancient Palermo Icons

 

There is confusion at 6:30 a.m. 

Haluk tells us this is the Turkish way. The shuttle that has arrived to take us to the public bus station is too full to fit the 8 of us. We stand around waiting while mobile calls get made and mobiles ring, and finally a 2nd shuttle appears. Haluk is confident that the bus to Çanakkale will not leave without us, and he is right. We arrive at the station, we get on the bus, and off we go, later than scheduled. We will be taking buses for our tour of Turkey – Haluk tells us that Turkey has good roads, but doesn't have good trains and that flying here is still very expensive. The day certainly proves him right as to the condition of the roads.

The Hellespont

We have to go across Istanbul, and the traffic is not bad – much easier than yesterday evening. The city doesn’t go on forever in the manner of western cities but ends very quickly, and soon we can see the Sea of Marmara, on our left. The land is absolutely lush with the myriad greens that signal late spring. We drive through Thrace, following the coast for a couple of hours, and then the highway veers inland. 3 hours later we come over a hill and there are the Dardanelles – the Hellespont. It is amazing to me to see them, they are so famous, both from Greek mythology and from many wars fought to control access to Istanbul and the Black Sea. We drive to the little town on the European side of the Dardanelles, where the bus will get on a ferry to cross to Çanakkale. Our group gets off because we are taking a tour of Gallipoli, and so we transfer to a smaller bus. After a nice lunch in a restaurant with a view of the bend in the Dardanelles – you think you could see all the way back to Istanbul – we head off.

The Dardanelles, Objective of the Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli is overwhelming. An extended campaign to gain control of the Dardanelles, and thereby to force Turkey out of WWI and gain a year-long shipping route to Allied Russia, well over 100,000 people died on these hills, about equally divided between the Expeditionary Forces (chiefly Australians and New Zealanders – the ANZACs, with a few others – British, Newfoundlanders – thrown in for good measure) and the Turks. After 9 months of intense, protracted battle, with high casualties on both sides, the advances made by the Expeditionary Force were minuscule, and the Expeditionary Forces were finally ordered out. Everyone should visit this place to see the uselessness and futility of war. Frank says that he wishes that Bush and Blair had visited before starting the war in Iraq, and notes that that situation has some striking similarities to Gallipoli.

The Retired Turkish Navy Colonel

It is also interesting to see with Ali, our guide for Gallipoli, who is a retired Turkish Navy Colonel. He presented the events from a Turkish point of view. Clearly not a fan of war, he also had some wisdom that I wish had been thought about in Washington and London: The Turkish view of the defeat of the Expeditionary Forces is not that the British blundered significantly, which is the western side of the story. It is that the Turks were fighting for their homeland and that despite the Expeditionary Forces having a significantly better technology and supplies than the Turks, the Turks could not be beaten because of what they were fighting for.

It is an emotional first day in Turkey: Gallipoli indeed, is overwhelming.

The morning has arrived

with a high, flat cloud cover, much different from the clear, sunny brightness of the last two days. I awake feeling much better although I still have some stomach issues. The ferry is scheduled to leave for Mykonos from the new port at 11:10 and we don’t have much packing to do since we really didn't unpack when our bags finally arrived. Our star bag porter arrives and further impresses us by carrying both big bags back up the gazillion steps to the lobby and then through the cobbled streets of Santorini to the taxi stop. Well worth the €5 tip, I say.

Our ferry is on time and we are traveling on the fast boat this morning. Four hours to Mykonos instead of 6. Our trip is uneventful and we arrive in Mykonos with a group of 25 students from Virginia studying the classics. Pandemonium ensues as we realize that we are all staying at the same hotel and management hasn't sent a big enough bus to transfer all of us. Two trips and a car ride later, John somehow gets to the head of the line for check-in and we are given a quaint room with a small patio and a lovely view overlooking Mykonos Town, no more than a 5-minute walk up the hill from the town center.

Sharing Our View

We share our view with a local slice of Mykonos flavour: an elderly gentleman’s green garden, not yet planted, his ground preparation at a snail-like pace; an over-zealous rooster who cannot tell the time with his close friends, the barking dogs. Further up the hill, some young Greek “guys”, tight jeans, mirrored sunglasses all, under-employed, rev-revving their Honda motorbikes.  And of course the standard Greek grandmother, probably the saintly wife of the green gardener, her scarfed head protected from the hilly wind. I watch with fascination and try to figure how they all interconnect. Other than the occasional burst of blue sky, the weather is cool, overcast and rainy.

Exploring the Labyrinth

We completely unpack. This is the first time we have done that since we left Bali. It is cool and seems like Fall to us. I am actually enjoying it; John finds it “cold”. Long pants and long sleeves.We walk into the labyrinth of streets and alleys that is Mykonos Town and quickly get lost. We pass Diesel and DKNY shops huddled beside kitschy Greek souvenir shops. High-end clothes with low-end junk. Smutty T-shirts abound. Tavernas and hole-in-the-walls selling cigarettes and worry beads. The occasional white-laced window, someone’s home, anticipating the warm weather to open up and welcome or curse the tourists. Lots of dirty-apron-ed old women in slippers sitting on stools, watching and waiting for summer to begin. We keep heading to our left and eventually end up by the water in Little Venice for a quick beer (2 small beers = €12!!! Another huge change from Asia).

A 24 Hour Change

Even this early in the season people don’t eat until later so we do the 10-minute glute workout back up the hill to our hotel and grab quick naps and extra layers of clothes and head out about 8 o’clock in search of supper. I, in particular, have noticed how a change in diet can affect your physical well-being even in a 24 hour period. Gone are the spicy paneers, alloos and tandooris of 2 days ago, replaced by olive oil and feta cheese. Roast chicken and moussaka are the predictable and reliable foods on the menus here. I generally love Greek food but after India and Thailand, it is very boring. No heat and, in particular, no variety. But it quickly takes the form of comfort food in this familiar but strange cold climate and we gobble it down with a .5 litre of the house red. Just enough to wet our whistles. We wander a bit and stumble upon a deserted bar called Katerina's, named in honour of the first female ship captain in Greece, managed by Darren, a wonderful guy from Toronto, who is full of useful information about life on Mykonos.

We watch the full moon lunar eclipse from the small balcony at Katerina's, overlooking the bay, wrapped and warm in our extra layers.

Last evening was spent looking at the stars

over a beer on one of the hotel’s patios. It was lovely and cool, just like an early Canadian summer evening – not too warm and not too cold. A soothing breeze cooled whatever heat remained from the stone terrace as we sipped our Kingfisher beers. We couldn't believe that we were in India! Suddenly, how cool, how livable, how not unbearably hot! We glanced up at the star-filled sky and thought of Ruth, John’s sister, who could tell us where we were in the celestial sky. We reveled in the noiseless, honk-less, people-less-ness of it all. No noise, no pollution, no crowds….no nothing! We don’t dally with this euphoria because we have a wake-up call for 4:30 for our first day of Safari in Corbett National Park.  The Tigers await!

Canceled!

John shakes me out of sleep at 4:50 am. “Greg, we've missed the wake-up call…what the hell’s going on?” I, of course, being completely engaged in what I do so well – sleep - have missed the tumultuous thunder and lightning storm that has engulfed the park overnight. Just our luck – not a lick of rain or even a cloud in the sky for the entire two weeks that we have been in India. Not even a chance of rain in the forecast. It is at least 6 weeks till the monsoon starts. There has been constant comment on the heat and dryness of the country, and we arrive for our first day of Safari and it rains. The phone rings at 5:00 and a stilted voice tells us that our Safari is canceled due to rain and to hang on for further information. Ok. I roll over and pull the pillow over my head and proceed as soon as possible back to ZZZZZ land. My favorite place to visit. Hope to live there one day.

The phone rings at 8:15. It's our stilted friend again telling us that we can do a full day safari today but we must be prepared to be out for the entire day, which is 9:30 – 7:00 and do we have rain coats with us, etc, etc. etc. I agree and roll over again for another half hour. We get up, have breakfast and head out into what is now a completely different weather pattern.

followAUTUMN.com

We officially decide to change our trip to followautumn.com. I have to put on two layers and my rain jacket. I wear short pants on safari and justify it by wearing the two layers and rain gear on top for the trip. I’m a hardy Canadian. My bare legs can take it. It’s India for God’s sake. Everything feels smells and looks like our annual Labour Day retreat to Bluesea Lake in the Gatineau region of Quebec with our friends Bob and Brian. All of a sudden we are in a beautiful, wet, late autumn with hints of a glorious Indian summer. It is the foot hills of the Himalayas after all. Talk about a brain fart. By the end of the day, we are both shivering and completely cold with the rain and wind. Our safari vehicle is a big open truck with seats in the back with no windows and no protection. Of course, this viewing situation would be perfect when it is hot and sunny. Just enough protection from the sun but still able to let a nice cooling breeze flow through.

Scenes from a Safari

We have seen langur monkeys, rhesus monkeys, deer, both spotted and not, sambar, eagles, herds of wild elephants, mongoose, 2 species of crocodiles, beautiful long-tailed flycatchers, hornbills, peafowl, pheasants, forest fowl, and wild boars, but no tigers! At the mid-point lunch break, a group of Indian tourists out for a Sunday drive in the park say they experienced a “first class sighting” of a tiger. The base camp suddenly springs into action; each guide wanting his client to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bengal Tiger. This, despite the pouring rain. 4X4’s roar into gear and head out in search of the tigers. To no avail, it seems. John and I wonder that if all this sudden action actually scares the Tigers away.

The Beating Rain Lulls Us to Sleep

We arrive back to our hotel by 7:00. We have driven over torturous muddy, wet and rut-filled roads. The thunder and lighting are tremendous and we grab hot showers and begin the familiar ritual of packing for the next leg of our journey to Greece and Turkey. We have a quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant. Our lights are out early (as usual) and we listen to the beating rain on the roof of our bungalow.

 

I do not sleep well in Noventa di Piave.

This will prove to be a recurring problem over our four nights here. Interestingly enough, John, who woke very early every morning at Neil's house in London while I slept like a baby, has no trouble sleeping here in Italy. I awake with sand in my eyes and slowly, ever so slowly, get up. John has already been up and gone down for breakfast: orange juice, fresh croissant, and coffee. I opt for the pillow.

Approaching Venice from the Water

Stephano, one of our hosts, has told us of one of the many options for traveling to Venezia. We had been planning to drive into Mestre and then taking the train, to avoid the parking hassles. Stephano suggests that we drive to Punta Sabbione, the tiny finger-like peninsula which is across from Venezia, and then take one of the many ferries into the city. Noventa di Piave is already halfway there, and we quickly agree that that sounds like a wonderful idea. When we came to Venezia 4 years ago, we took the shuttle boat from the airport to Piazza San Marco and it was wonderful to approach the magical city by water. We anticipate the same. On the road and out of Noventa di Piave by 10 a.m., we expect the 40-kilometer drive to the ferry to be fast. It is, after all, a Tuesday and who would be traveling these roads this early in the week? Stephano neglected to tell us that this is major beach country, that the lido along the coast is lined with hotels and pensions full of summer beach tourists. Our road is crammed with not only beach tourists but also all the tourists who have been told of this wonderful alternative for getting to Venezia. We are bumper to bumper for an hour and three-quarters before we arrive to find expensive parking and even more expensive ferries to San Marco. We cram onto a boat with everybody else and head out for a slightly overcast trip to Venezia. As we round the point and see our first glimpse of the spires of San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore and La Salute, the impatient and curious tourists surge to the top of the boat, cameras, video cams and squawking children in tow, blocking all attempts at picture taking. The sun breaks through, hot and intense, welcoming us to Venezia.

Leaving All the Venice Virgins Behind

Our return ticket says 6 pm so we walk with purpose and knowledge of where to go. We leave all the Venetian Virgins behind to let them savour their first glimpses of the rolling gondolas and the tacky paintings, the Doges' Palace and the prize of all, the Piazza San Marco. As we pass through the Piazza, I hear an American woman say to her family, wide-eyed and full of wonder: "Can you believe that we are actually here?" We both stop and realize how lucky we are to be traveling the way we are and remember our first time in Venezia. We consciously slow our pace, trying to see this magical place through a Venetian Virgin's eyes. We join some English tourists in the lift to the top of the campanile for a spectacular view of the city and the lagoons. From this vantage point, you can clearly see how Venetia is situated and its dominance of the water. It is a lovely view punctuated by a single but very loud bell clap, announcing the half hour.

Three More Venice Churches

John wants to see 3 churches on this trip, San Giorgio Maggiore, La Salute, and Redentore, which we didn't get a chance to explore when we were here before. We agree to do the 1st 2 today and grab Vaporetto 82 to start with San Giorgio, the masterpiece of Palladio. The inside is a cool, calm white interior, so understated and peaceful, and we enjoy the quiet. We make our way down and back across the canal to San Marco and walk to la Salute, the Cathedral of Health, built to celebrate and commemorate the end of one of the many plagues that devastated Venezia. We walk through familiar streets, finding our way around easily to cross the Canal Grande at the Ponte di Accademia, and so are now in Dorsoduro. There are two major canal restorations on our way and we stop and watch in amazement the painstaking process of renewal. We walk past the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and finally, the campo rises up to greet us. Soon we are inside. Like San Giorgio, la Salute is a clean, white interior punctuated with works of art by great Venetian painters like Tintoretto, Titian, and Tiziano. It has a round interior and is not like a standard roman cross style of church. In fact,

there is no seating available to its parishioners.

 A Slow Venetian Roam

Slowly, we roam the streets and campos as we make our way back to San Marco to catch our ferry. We come across La Fenice, still not totally completed despite the reopening ceremonies held last Christmas. 4 years ago, on our last trip, the theatre was still in ruins years after it was devastated by fire, the huge sums spent to restore it disappearing into the pockets of politicians and builders, with little making its way into the actual building, until Rome took control of the project, after which it moved forward quickly.

At the ferry stop, we look at the crowd and there are so many of us that we think it will be an unpleasant, sardine-like, trip home. But halfway through boarding, it becomes apparent a 2nd ferry is waiting and will take 1/2 the crowd, so we end up with seats on the bow, enjoying the sun on our faces and the views of the Lido and Venice as we head home.

Two glorious Spring weeks touring England,  mostly the southwest starting in Reigate, with day trips into London, hiking on the North Downs Way, onto Bath, Cornwall, Dartmoor, Exeter, Devonshire, Dartmouth and finally back to London for some galleries, shopping, plays, and dinners out with good friends.

Enjoy an early Spring in England! Summer, believe it or not, is just around the corner!

It's the weekend

and we are finishing itinerary planning and starting the first 'pack' for our 10-day trip to Sicily next week. Have you been? Tell us your favourite Sicilian memories in the comment section below. And where are you traveling to this summer?  Start your planning with Kacey Bradley's  What Summer Travel Looks Like for 2017. And have a look at our own  Ten Places You Should Really Visit This Summer for a more international perspective.  In the meantime enjoy this spring weekend and get caught up on current travel trends and news. #TravelWell!

6 Epic Destinations With Long (Really Long) Summer Days

Get close enough to the Arctic Circle in the summer and you can experience the midnight sun, so-called because the sun sets after the clock strikes 12 a.m. (if it sets at all). There’s plenty to do and even more to see, whether you’re a city person or prefer the wild outdoors. Either way, pack your sunscreen and sunglasses and head to one of these six destinations.

Read more here:

Air Transat adds Tampa, San Juan flights for winter 2017-18

Air Transat’s winter 2017-18 flight program covers 36 sun destinations from 22 Canadian cities plus an ever-expanding lineup of European destinations.New destinations for the winter – Tampa, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico – will be available from Toronto and Montreal.

Read more here:

Air Canada Leaving Aeroplan.Launching New Loyalty Program in 2020 

In a shocking announcement, Air Canada said that it will end the airline’s exclusive contract with Aeroplan provider, Aimia, and go it alone, launching a new program in 2020. “Strengthening Air Canada’s customer relationships” and being able to “deliver a more consistent end-to-end customer experience” were cited as reasons for the decision.

Read more here

U.S. Electronics Ban Likely to Extend to Flights From Europe

Two weeks after sources revealed that the U.S. government was considering expanding the electronic device ban to U.S.-bound flights traveling from the U.K., European security officials have informed the Daily Beast that the ban will soon include all flights from Europe to the U.S.

Read more here:

 

 

When you think about Paris,

which followsummer does ALOT, you probably think about the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Mouches rides on the Seine or perhaps un café or demi-litre of white wine in cozy, cobbled pavement cafés –the usual, touristy things to do in Paris. Why not wander away from the 'usual suspects' and explore some of the more unusual things to do in Paris, experiencing a taste of what local Parisians enjoy every day. Here are 10 followsummer recommendations:

A Paris Education

Never been to Paris, or been numerous times? Either way, a visit to the Musée Carnavalet is a must. The Musée documents the history of Paris from its beginnings through modern times and will give the Paris neophyte an incredibly interesting and insightful overview of the entire history of le Capital. When your education lesson is finished, stroll over to the newly re-opened Musée National Picasso-Paris to discover some of the artist’s finest works.

High Tea “À la FRANÇAISE”

at the Four Seasons George V:  Ahhh the simple joys of a wonderful cup of tea, served in the splendour of  the Four Seasons George V, located mere steps from the Champs-Elysées. Don't let the address throw you off your quest for a little pampering and experiencing luxe Paris. Make your reservation, shine your shoes, put on a jacket or perhaps a hat, and enjoy this truly unique experience in style.Cheer yourself with a tall flute of champagne (Tête de Cuvée), and finish with a sumptuous, in-house made macaroon. Pop by La Galerie between 3-6 for afternoon tea while enjoying the light and sure fingers of the house pianist.  As you savour your experience, take in the elegance of the magnificent Flemish tapestries, and ornate clocks, originally made for the Palace Versailles. Spoil your luxe in Four Seasons serenity with their renowned service, opulent surroundings and white glove attention.

Fashion Loyalty & Royalty

A visit to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, is a must for fashion lovers, no matter what’s on. This tour of the Yves Saint Laurent studio in Paris gives you a behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest names in fashion history. The Fondation conserves 5,000 garments, 1,000 rive gauche models, 15,000 accessories and 35,000 sketches, all bearing witness to the fashion icon’s creativity.

Lunch (or dinner) with a View:

The 56st floor of the Tour Montparnasse offers designer and interior architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance's recently re-imagined Ciel de Paris' jaw-dropping views (whatever the weather) of the Eiffel Tower and the street plan of the Paris of today after Haussmann re-imagined it. Take in the view with a coupe of Deutz Blanc de Blancs Champagne and savour a fabulous lunch by Chef Christophe Marchais,  the decadent desserts (ohh those Parisians LOVE their dessert!) of Pastry Chef Baptiste Methivier and the incredible view.

Florals to Brighten Your Stay

To live like a Parisian while stopping to smell the flowers, a stroll and amble through the Art Nouveau pavilions (C 1900) plant stalls is a must. In the Île de la Cité’s Marché aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II, experience exotic orchids, all manner of florals, plants and shrubs. On Sundays, the market converts into the Marché aux Oiseaux, where locals shop for their summer gardens and winter tables.

Off the beaten path

and definitely worth a visit are the wander-ful Les Passages couverts de Paris. Many have fallen into neglect, but are certainly worth a stroll through to view the unique shops, wine bars, petits-restos, and libraries anciens that were originally designed to give nineteenth-century Parisians protection from mud and horse-drawn vehicles. There is an extensive network that runs from the rue St-Marc which includes Les Passages des Panoramas all the way up to le Passage Verdeau on the rue de Faubourg Montmartre. Keep your eyes open as their entrances are easy to miss and many are closed nights and on Sundays.

Window Shopping along Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the Marais

You’ll find great ‘au courant’ Parisian designs to ogle while window shopping throughout the city, then make the comparison (and much cheaper) purchase at Printemps, Galeries Lafayette or perhaps Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. Finish your window shop/stroll at the somewhat touristy Place des Vosges, Paris’ first ‘urban planning’ project, and one of the last remaining vistas of what the Paris of old looked like. Worth a visit and a fine place to people watch from the park.

Get away

from the Grand Museums of Paris with visits to several ‘musées insolites’ (unusual) including Musée du Quai Branly for indigenous art (we totally enjoyed the exhibit 'Tatouers, Tatoués' which later transferred to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum in April 2016), Musée Jacquemart-André for ‘Frick/Family-Style, private collection viewing, le Musée de la Magie,  le Musée du Vin,  le Musée du Perfume (also known as the Fragonard Musée du Parfum), and followsummer’s favorite, the Musée Arts-Forains with a focus on the Belle Epoque. Once inside, watch for le Théatre du Merveilleux and le Salon Vénitien.

Life Less Ordinary

Spend some time with the joggers and lunch time office workers enjoying their takeaway brown bags on Paris’ original older sister version of New York’s High Line, the Promenade of Le Viaduc des Arts. Starting in the Faubourg St-Antoine, stroll the elevated entire length and enjoy some classic Paris views before circling back at street level, stop and shop the many ateliers and shops nestled underneath the rose-coloured archways.

Enjoy the open markets

at the top and bottom ends of le Canal St Martin where you will find fresh fish, produce, wonderful cheeses, beautiful flowers, (expertly arranged in gorgeous bouquets 'while you wait' by a handsome Frenchman) to brick-a-brac and consignment clothing. Linger over coffee, lunch or 'une coupe de champagne' in one of the charming little cafés that ring the covered canal.

If you like this followsummer itinerary, simply click on the link below and Go on this Paris trip yourself! 

Go on this trip yourself

It's all about getting off that well-worn, tourist path and exploring some of the hidden delights of one of followsummer's favorite cities in the world.

 Paris well, my friends!

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