Tag Archives: travel

Planning a trip to Sydney anytime soon?

If you are, have you thought about the best places to grab a bite or rest your head? Sydney is an amazing city that has a lot to offer and saying that your options are numerous is a bit of an understatement. If you need advice on how to go about your Sydney stay, keep on reading. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your favorite spots that you’ll want to visit again and again.

Eat

With a city as big and diverse as Sydney, you really won’t have to worry about where to find food and drinks that will suit your taste. However, if you have no idea where to stop by, you may want to check out the following places. 10 William Street in Paddington will make it to the top of your list. Simple yet friendly atmosphere spiced up with delicious wine, and Italian cuisine is a pure delight. If you want grandeur, pay a visit to 12-Micron where you’ll be able to taste desserts late into the night. A personal favorite is the Boathouse in Palm Beach, where the laid-back atmosphere and the food and drinks,  out of this world. There’s an excellent Greek restaurant called 1821, so if you want something different for your palate, this should be your stop. 1989 Kitchen & Arcade will get you into the old-school groove with burgers and games while 2KF is the hotspot of the city if you want a great cup of coffee.

boathouse

image courtesy of The Boathouse, Palm Beach

Sleep

Again, there’s something for every character and every budget in Sydney. If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay, Airbnb is the best option for you. After all, you’ll get to stay with the locals and get the first-hand info on the best places for fun in Sydney. If you’re into camping, you can always opt for a Cockatoo Island camping site. Sydney Harbour YHA is one of the most popular yet very reasonably-priced hostels with an incredible view. Royal Hotel in Randwick is an excellent middle-ground option when it comes to price as well as the location. If you can’t decide whether you want to be closer to the outer city beaches, this is the place to book your room. Of course, if you want real luxury on your trip, you can’t go wrong with The Park Hyatt in The Rocks or the  InterContinental. For some more privacy, consider booking a secluded Palm Beach holiday house to get a real high-end experience and a breathtaking view just for yourself.

Sydney

Sydney is a city of a thousand beaches but if your stay there is limited, make sure to at least visit Bondi Beach, which offers numerous attractions, fun activities, water sports and, of course, pristine waters and relaxing stretches of sand. If you can squeeze in the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, you'll love it! An obvious choice would be to head to the iconic Sydney Opera House and witness the legendary architectural gem yourself and see a play if possible. If you’re a nature lover, Sydney Botanic Gardens won’t leave you disappointed. For travelers who want to learn more about the city, Government House should be a must-stop. For the ultimate shopping experience, visit the Queen Victoria Building. And if you want to observe the city’s landscape in the most mesmerizing way possible, go straight to the Sydney Tower Eye.

Repeat

The only flaw that the city of Sydney has is the fact that there’s just too many incredible sights to see and places to visit. However, this only means that you’ll always have a reason to come back. Many restaurants and cafes are waiting for you to discover them. Moreover, Sydney’s nightlife is undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime. Explore more of the popular as well as locals’ favorite beaches. Visit the National Maritime Museum and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Absorb the magical atmosphere of Blue Mountains and explore the mysteries of Jenolan Caves. And every time you come back, there will always be some new experience to look forward to.

To make the most out of your trip to Sydney, make sure that you plan your itinerary properly. It can be tempting to try and fit everything of interest in one go, but if you want to truly enjoy your stay, you have to be realistic. There’s always the next time, the one after that, the one after that, and so on.

Travel well in Sydney, my friends!


Roxana Oliver is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant and a frequent contributor to followsummer.  She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family way 'down under'! Find out more about her writing, by following her on twitter and facebook. She is also one of the editors at Highstylife Magazine.

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.

Canada is now 150 years old,

but I will be celebrating the anniversary of Confederation all year long. In celebration of Canada150, Parks Canada has offered its Discovery Pass where you can have unlimited visits to its national sites. I hope these books inspire you to visit some of the places mentioned within its pages during Canada150.

FollowSummer reviews The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Lightkeeper's Daughters is an amazing book that shows the beauty of Lake Superior.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters

The Lightkeeper's Daughters is written by Thunder Bay resident Jean E. Pendziwol, who spent much of her childhood on her family's sailboat, exploring the islands and bays of Lake Superior. And you can tell: Pendziwol not only loves the largest of the great lakes, but she also respects it.

In her author's note about some of the liberties she takes with her story, Pendziwol writes: “Lake Superior appears in full iconic truth; temperamental, beautiful, vast, magnificent, and moody.”

The LightKeeper's Daughters ($26.99, HarperCollins) is a story about Elizabeth, whose mind is sharp, but her eyes no longer see. She fills the void with music and memories of her family, a past that becomes present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries. Entry by entry, the pair are drawn deep into to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse 70 years before.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters pulled me in from the moment I opened the book, with each chapter telling you whose perspective you were reading including Arnie Richardson, who describes Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Thunder Bay this way: “It is a mystical place, this peninsula, jutting into Lake Superior; chiseled rocky cliffs and worn ridges, mysteriously carved by wind and rain and time, take the form of a giant slumbering in a cradle of icy gray water. Legends speak of an Ojibwe god, Nanibijou, lying down at the entrance to Thunder Bay, his magnificent form turning to stone, eternally protecting rich silver deposits.”

The characters are wonderful, even those who played small parts, and the story is amazing with a mystery I didn't solve. The descriptions, particularly of the lake, are beautiful and you come to know this part of Canada's north a little better.

FollowSummer reviews A Sea Glass Journey and the hunt for sea glass in Canada's oceans.

A Sea Glass Journey makes me want to spend the day looking for treasure.

A Sea Glass Journey Ebb and Flow

A Sea Glass Journey Ebb and Flow by Teri Hall ($24.95, Nimbus Publishing) is the book that made me want to visit the ocean and hunt for sea glass, which I did with my family last year. We spent a couple of weeks searching for sea glass.

Hunting for sea glass in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.

My favourite find - blue sea glass from the Bay of Fundy at Bay in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick.

Sea Glass Journey, with a foreword by Chef Michael Smith, offers a look what sea glass is and the life it takes on afterward. The pictures make me happy and wish I was again hunting for treasures of the sea this summer.

“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choices as beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

~ Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is That Travel Guide to Canada offers a different look at travel writing

This is That is not your typical travel guide.

This is That Travel Guide to Canada

This is That Travel Guide to Canada ($19.95, Raincoast Books, The Tite Group).

I didn't hear of This is That, the CBC Radio show, hosted by Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, until I picked up the book by the same name.

“We set out to write the most thorough, comprehensive, and accurate travel guide ever published about Canada. After reading this book, we believe you'll agree – we tried,” wrote the pair in the introduction.

I then should have known This is That would offer more jokes than stories about Canada and its people, more teasing to those who don't know us than practical ideas of the best places to see.

I will give the book this, I will have to check out the destinations mentioned in the book simply to figure out if anything said is true.

Happy Canada150, everyone! Now get out and explore!

 

Copies of the books were provided by Raincoast Books, HarperCollins Canada, and Nimbus Publishing for honest review.

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.

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.

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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.

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