Category Archives: travel

friday favourite – packing cube follow-up

I love them! We arrived in the Azores, I opened my suitcase to three neatly packed cubes, and then some other stuff squished around them. I really liked how it helped me think about what to bring and get organized before we left.

When I was packing my things to go home, I wasn’t as motivated to neatly fold my shirts into their cube so I shoved things in. Plus on the return trip I usually wrap the small pottery bowls I invariably buy in my soft t-shirts.

 

At the last minute, I tucked the Aeropress coffee maker between two packing cubes in my suitcase. Smart idea! The house we rented only had a large espresso pot. With two decaf and four high-test coffee drinkers in the house, the aeropress allowed everyone to make their own fresh cup, at the strength they liked, whenever they liked. If you don’t own one, pick one up, it even comes with a travel case!

And in case you are curious, the Azores were amazing…hiking, fresh fish, inexpensive good wine and incredible scenery! I’ll have more information and photos on my travel blog shortly.

IMG_2628HAR

 

friday favourite – packing cubes

I am always looking for ways to make my travel more streamlined.

I use a clear carry-on kit from Flight 001 that makes it really easy to find my liquids and gels in my bag and get through security at the airport.

I have a clear zipper pouch from the drugstore that I use for all my charging cables.

And now, I have packing cubes!

A fellow traveler introduced me to them as a way to keep her clothing organized.  I met her on my recent safari trip to Botswana where we had to use a soft-sided bag because they needed to be able to squish our luggage into a small airplane! The packing cubes kept the contents of her bag slightly more protected and made unpacking much easier.

On my recent trip to Guelph, CJR and I were browsing the local travel store and saw Eagle Creek packing cubes on display. We each bought the medium cubes, they only weigh 1 oz each and are made of a poly micro-weave mesh. They have a handle on top, are water repellent and washable. What more could you ask for?!

I am heading to the Azores and I’m excited to give the bags a test run. I’ll let you know if they live up to my expectations!

HAR

trails

We love trails of all types. There are the outdoor ones that involve hiking and reading maps. And then there are the other types of trails – the ones that have you following a theme. Like butter tarts or gin. They all require map reading, with the payoff of a great vista, a great pastry or a great cocktail.

Between us, we’ve hiked the Bruce Trail, Cinque Terre, Mt Kuchumaa, Mt Wachusett and countless other trails.

 

We’ve made and eaten our share of homemade butter tarts.

 

And now, we’re eyeing up a Gin Trail trip to Scotland. After all, I only have two Scottish gins in my gin collection – The Botanist and Hendrick’s – so it must be time to spread my taste buds to some new botanical combinations. Doesn’t hurt at all that there’s a stop on Shetland.

CJR

 

friday favourite – traveling with my sister

We are off again! We seem to enjoy traveling together because we keep doing it.

 

There’s our bi-annual wellness week at Rancho la Puerta and hiking in Cinque Terre,

 

fondue in Switzerland and cafes in Venice,

 

lobster rolls in Martha’s Vineyard and Prince Edward Island. And lots of laughs, cocktails and various styles of glasses and hair along the way. We are heading to Nevis for a week and will be off the grid but we will let you know the highlights in an upcoming blog. And we are talking about where to next…the Shetland Islands and Norway keep appearing on our radar screen…we’ll let you know!

HAR & CJR

 

 

friday favourite – 2018 travel reading list

I stumbled on a travel blog called Traveling with MJ and her Jan 1st post was a travel reading challenge. It caught my eye since many of us tend to read more when we are on vacation and I usually try to read a book that takes place in a country that I’m visiting. The initial list has 24 different ideas, if you do the math that’s 2 books per month. Don’t let that scare you, feel free to make yours the 2018/19 travel reading list! Here’s the list. It’s a creative idea and our friday favourite.

THE 2018 BASIC TRAVEL READING LIST

  1. A book that takes place in the country of your origin
  2. A book that takes place in a destination you’d like to visit
  3. A book with a type of food in the title
  4. A book that takes place somewhere you’ve always dreamed of living
  5. A book that takes place in your hometown
  6. A book that is set in a period of history in which you are interested
  7. A book recommended by a friend
  8. A book that you read years ago and want to re-read
  9. A book with an animal in the title
  10. A book with a type of plant in the title
  11. A book set in the future
  12. A book set in your favorite country or region
  13. A book that is an adventure story
  14. A book by an author whose last name starts with the same letter as your last name
  15. A book by an author who is not of the same gender as you
  16. A book with a silly title
  17. A book that’s perfect for reading over lunch
  18. A book from a genre you don’t typically read
  19. A book with a purple cover
  20. A book published in 2018
  21. A book that is also a movie
  22. A guidebook
  23. A book that is written by or is about a famous person
  24. A book that inspires you to make a change

Let us know if you take the challenge, I expect ACC (Alison) to be the first one done!

HAR

 

costa rican coffee

Before boarding our small ship for a week off the coast of Costa Rica, we found a coffee plantation tour that we could just squeeze in during our one free morning.

Britt Coffee has a small plantation at their roasting facility that was about 45 minutes from our hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica. The hotel arranged a taxi for us, we paid for the tour and lunch and we were on our way.

The tour was very entertaining with two hosts who must have a background in theatre! Throughout the plantation there were coffee stations so by the end of the tour we had tasted most of their blends, and had a caffeine buzz!

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IMG_1159I wanted to buy some coffee but didn’t really want to carry it with me all week on a boat. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this way since they made it very easy to ship coffee home. I placed my order, it arrived last night and this morning I ground my Costa Rican beans and drank my coffee watching the snow fall!

 

HAR

 

 

 

new islands

A couple weeks after HAR had discovered Quebec City on foot – and had a selfie with Bill and Hilary — I arrived for a two-day conference on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, at the battle site of the Plains of Abraham.

The first day took us across the bridge, just north of the city, to the amazing microclimate world of Ile d’Orleans. The mostly agricultural island sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and captures a unique growing environment. Salt water flows in this fresh water river until about Quebec City.

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It reminded me of other islands we love, that create a world within a world – Prince Edward Island and Nevis.

I would love to go back as soon as I finish the amazing samples I brought back — the ultimate artisanal Le Paillasson cheese from Les fromages de l’isle d’Orleans that was gently grilled and served warm, and a fortified black currant wine from Cassis Monna & Filles that tastes like port.

Thank you to the farmers of Ile d’Orleans – keep creating!

CJR

 

Island feasts

Here’s a sampling of the amazing meals we dined around PEI on last week. We actually barely skimmed the surface of all the great fresh food – but did a pretty good job in the eastern end of the island where we stayed.

Breakfasts at Inn at Bay Fortune were all served in mason jars and on cast iron. There’s something about the presentation that made everything more yummy. Like the trio of fresh squeezed OJ, fruit smoothie, and yogurt and granola. Perfect portions. Good thing, cause there was beef brisket hash with a poached egg coming right up.

Lunch time often found us at The Lobster Shack in Souris for shucked oysters and the best lobster roll. The clam platter at Shipwreck Point Café was also perfect.

A six-course plus apps FireWorks feast at the Inn is worth the price tag. It came complete with a sketched map of the property and food stations. Take your best eating game to this one, I didn’t make it through dessert. But I was ready to chow down on a steamer pot the next night at Point Prim Chowder House.

I love eating local. Just wish there was a little local lobster in southern Ontario right about now.

Read more about our trip on HAR’s travel blog.

CJR

islands

There’s something so very “vacationy” about travelling to an island.

If you fly in, there’s the stunning banked approach as the airplane slants towards the sea on one side and reaches straight up into the sky on the other side. If you drive to your island destination, there’s inevitably a spectacular bridge crossing.

Last week, HAR and I took at trip to Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast. My sister, her husband and another couple did the drive, including a crossing of Confederation Bridge, and I flew into Charlottetown.

PEI is known for it’s red sand (high iron-oxide content), amazing seafood, beaches, lighthouses and potatoes. Lots of potatoes fields. Beautiful potato fields that run into the Atlantic Ocean.

We packed a lot of lobster, beaches, shucked oysters, and kayaking into our three days on the island. We stayed at the Inn at Bay Fortune – chef Michael Smith’s cedar shake inn that sits atop of the gentle hill looking down into Fortune Bay.

If you go – splurge on a room at the top of the north or south tower building. Stunning sun rises await.

Take a paddle up the Fortune River with Paddles, a brand new paddling/kayaking business just steps from the Inn. Our morning kayak took up just far enough to spot a bald eagle, perched along the tree-lined salt water river.

And make the drive to Greenwich National Park where you are likely to have the beach to yourself after an amazing walk across the boardwalk to the dunes…and the ocean.

We’ll have more on all the great food stops later this week.

CJR

 

 

Shetland

My sister and I are Netflix binge watchers. I think you know what I am talking about. Gone are the days of watching one episode each week at a set time. Netflix makes it easy to sit down, get absorbed and before you know it, two or three seasons are done!

We both binged our way through Shetland a BBC Scotland crime drama that takes place on the Shetland islands…“where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.” The series is based on the novels by Ann Cleeves.

The incredible scenery caught our attention and we both started reading more about the archipelago that is located just 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle. We discovered Shetland Wool Week, a celebration of northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands. We’ve been talking about a trip to Shetland, in the meantime, we can at least make the official Shetland Wool Week hat with the free pattern on their website. Join us and make the hat and send us a picture!

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HAR & CJR