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n this issue, we start our travels by celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday; first we head for adventure and the beautiful natural setting of Golden, BC, before going to the wonderful prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Next stop is Southern Ontario for some fabulous bird watching. So far away but so close to Canadians, we commemorate the fallen at Vimy Ridge, France, and lastly we relax at two great Charlevoix hotels. Heading south of the border we find some of the best Foodie places New York City has to offer before we mosey into the quaint Texan town of Fredericksburg. Next in the USA we go bask in the warm, sunny Florida sun for some of the best this state has to offer. From here, we head for relaxing adventures in Cuba, the ‘Rising Star’. While there, we take a wonderful cruise that circumnavigates this great island. Still in the Caribbean, we fly out to the Dominican Republic and kick back at the ultra-luxurious Puntacana Resort & Club. Continuing in The Americas, we now head to
Buenos Aires to partake in the best this worldly city has to offer. Next we jet off to Melbourne to taste its wonderful cuisine, including the exceptional Vegan restaurants offered. Our whirl-wind tour continues as we now find ourselves in Asia and travel to the four corners of ‘Beautiful China’ to discover the fascinating, historic and important land and maritime silk routes that connected this land to the world. While in China, we also visit Hong Kong to discover the ‘Heritage, Arts, Culture & Cuisine’ of this exciting city. To conclude our trip in Asia we go to northern India for a motorcycle ride through the picturesque mountainous region of Leh-Ladakh. In Africa, we find ‘The Urban Renaissance of Johannesburg’. In Europe we find the best Turkey has to offer in the field of medical treatments, and finally in Spain we raise a toast to the wonderful grape harvesting season. Happy Travels!
Advertising Department Leo Santini Marketing Department Tania Tassone Distribution Royce Dillon Senior Travel Writers: Susan Campbell Steve Gillick Regular Contributors: Habeeb Salloum Jennifer Merrick Natalie Ayotte Johanna Read Ron Paquet Cherie Delory Alan G. luke Jasmine Morcos Olivia Balsinger Ilona Kauremszky Mike Cohen Mathieu Morcos Gregory Caltabanis Rohit Agarwal Contributors This Issue: Jessica Percy-Campbell Daniel Smajovits Disclaimer: World Traveler has made every effort to verify that the information provided in this publication is as accurate as possible. However, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from the information contained herein nor for any information provided by our advertisers.
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Cuba 8 Golden, BC 12 Buenos Aires 14 Beautiful China Section 34 Winnipeg 44 Vimy Memorial, France 60
Birding in Ontario 62
Cruising Cuba with Celestyal’s Crystal
NYC Foodie 74 I n a u g u r a l Vo y a g e s
Fredericksburg, TX 76
Cruising with Tully Luxury Travel
Golden, BC 12 Winnipeg 44
Vimy Memorial 60
Birding in Ontario 62
Stay & Play - 64
Charlevoix Hotels 70
A ro u n d t h e Wo r l d 1 6
Adventures in Holguin Province
CUBA Article & Photography by Steve Gillick
hristopher Columbus slept here! Holguin Province in Cubaâ€™s southeast has three sites that claim to be the place where Admiral Christopher Columbus landed his three ships; the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. In Guardalavaca, there is a statue of Columbus by the ocean. In Gibara, tour guides tell the tale of the three ships being stranded in a storm and forced to settle in that area for a number of weeks. But in Cayo Bariay, archeological evidence combined with excerpts from Columbusâ€™ diary about the beaches, the shape of the coastline and an Indian Village, all seem to have convinced historians that this was indeed the place where the expedition landed. see follwing page
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And today at Cayo Bariay there are four sites that pay homage to the arrivals in the New World and their effects on the indigenous Taino people. The first is a recreation of a Spanish fort from 1492 where two soldiers would have lived and safeguarded the area. The second site features a monument known as ‘Punta de Sabaneta’, or ‘Encounter of Two Cultures’, that was built for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in 1492. A reproduction of European ruins in the shape of the prow of a ship, symbolically heads toward a circle of red earth-colored statues that embody the values and beliefs of the Taino and Guanajatabeyes people, who lived in the area for 10,000 years before Columbus’ arrival. The statues, reminiscent of the Moai on Easter Island, represent community, family, good luck, rain, sun, fire, bad luck, fertility, tobacco and Yaya, the god of gods. A third site at Cayo Bairya lies under a thatched roof at the edge of a cliff overlooking Holguin’s coast line of sandy beaches, rugged rocks, crashing waves and smooth, calm, ‘bag’ bays (bays that are shaped like an inflated bag with a narrow opening and a wide deep lobe). Columbus is noted for his declaration that the land that would become Cuba was “the most beautiful place human eyes have ever seen” and 525 years later this beauty has not diminished at all. Here under the thatched roof, there is a strange statue, and a man dressed in the loincloth and paint of one of the Taino people explains its meaning. The circular shape at the top of the statue is a ‘guira’ or gourd (the same type used to make maracas), with irregular-shaped sticks that appear to be falling from the gourd, representing fish. It’s a visual depiction of a myth that relates to Yaya, the god of gods and his son Yayael. By the time Yayael reached his teen years, he became rebellious and disrespectful toward this father. In a fit of rage, Yaya killed his son and placed his body inside a guira. But Yayael’s mother missed her son and wanted to see him again so she decided to pick up the guira and open it. By accident she
dropped it and water and fish flowed out and covered the earth. The Taino people were able to sustain themselves on the fish and seafood that lived in the waters, thanks to Yayael. (And when you think about it, travelers today also sustain themselves—in Cuba—in the ocean waters and by relishing fresh seafood and fish!) The last of the four sites at Cayo Bariya features the actual place that Columbus landed. There’s an archeological display and a recreation of the village that Admiral Columbus found. A short skit depicts the Taino’s reaction to the arrival of the Europeans and then, because this is a tourism spot, a traditional dance with log drumming is performed, before samples of Cuban rum are distributed and photos taken. It’s a fun and educational adventure that’s suitable for the family (except for the rum) and pays tribute to the indigenous people of Cuba. But in Holguin there are many Eco-parks, National Parks and activities that ‘connect’ the traveler with the destination. And of course what would any day in Cuba be like without singers and guitarists? At Eco-Park Rocazul, a short distance from Playa Pesquera’s three beach resorts (Playa Pesquera, Playa Costa Verde, and Blau Costa Verde), we were greeted with drinks the colour of the deep blue sky, made with Curacao and Sprite, and then ushered over to the porch of the family farm house to be serenaded by the song ‘Chan Chan’, the unofficial (Buena Vista Social Club) anthem of Cuba. Nearby a very large pig was being roasted on a wooden spit for our lunch. We were told that a pig this size would feed upwards of 80 people and that during the 5 hour roasting process, a marinade of sour orange, garlic and ‘secret’ spices was used to enhance the flavour. After a short Catamaran cruise on a bag bay lined with mangroves, another musical group greeted us, and once seated at the restaurant, the musicians took song requests (Commandante Che Guevara, Que Sas, Ceilito Lindo, and more) while
lunch was served: Fresh salad, traditional rice and beans, grilled Yellow-tail Snapper, Roast Pig, and juicy pineapple and papaya, along with a selection of Chilean Red and White wines as well as beer (Buccanero or Cristal are the popular choices). The festive meal could only be outdone by an actual Festival and because this was May 3, there happened to be one taking place in Holguin City. Romarías de Mayo, or the Pilgrimages of May, is an annual event celebrating the day in 1790 when the Franciscan Friar, Antonio Joseph Alegría, ascended the steep hill in Holguin City, carrying a large cross. He planted it on the summit, as was the Spanish custom, in order to protect the surrounding lands from epidemics, witchcraft and natural disasters. The hill became known as La Cruz Hillock and a tradition began for people to celebrate in the city and then climb the hill. On May 3, 2017 for example, the Festival parade was under way when we arrived in in the late afternoon. Crowds were huddled under trees and umbrellas for shade on this sunny, hot day, while others enjoyed the scenery from roof tops and the balconies of nearby buildings. And the parade itself was a cavalcade of color, music, dancing, singing, costumes and flag waving, with Chinese Dragon dancing, baton twirlers, stilt walkers, horse carts festooned with flags and youth groups carrying jumbosized Cuban and Revolutionary flags. Every few minutes the procession halted as entertainers took to the main stage and wowed spectators with bouncy Cha Cha and Samba rhythms and sing-a-long local folk songs. It was one smile after another. Following the Parade, many of the spectators headed to the base of La Cruz Hillock and climbed the 548 steps, some slowly, such as the man balancing the full bottle of dark rum on his head as he ascended the hill (the bottle made it to the top, intact) and some energetically, such as the youth groups who bounded to the summit, carrying the giant flags. And at the top of the hill there was more musical entertainment, enhanced by the lights of Holguin City
sparking below, and a million stars twinkling in the sky overhead.
Music comes in all shapes and sizes in Holguin Province, and many visitors find it hard to walk to breakfast at their all-inclusive resort without hearing the songs of the Northern Mockingbird or the Red-legged Thrush, or the whistling of Grackles or the ominous overhead fly-past of Turkey Vultures. One morning after a rainfall, a lounge of Curly-tailed Lizards ran silently through the grasses and perched themselves on a clump of rocks to dry off. But if you’re looking for more familiar animals and birds, then Cayo Saetia is the place to go. A day excursion is offered by some resorts, where after a 90-minute drive to the town of Antilla, you board a Catamaran for the one-hour ride on the smooth bag bay to the sandy beach at Cayo Saetia to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, horseback riding and jeep safaris. After a fresh, tasty buffet lunch in the restaurant that featured yet another roasted pig, we hopped into one of the jeeps and set out for our adventure. As the jeep bounced along the red-earth road we saw a large, fluffy ball of feathers, supported by two skinny legs, in the shade up ahead. It turned out to be an Ostrich (!) (not exactly a bird endemic to Cuba). The Ostrich gleefully ran toward the jeep, looking for a handout. Down the road we spotted antelope and deer, a gang of buffalo, a few horses and their foals, some zebra who had been rolling in the red earth (what’s white and black and red all over?), two Jurassic-size Iguanas and a friendly red Macaw. It was another fun adventure. Holguin Province is in a lot of ways a microcosm of what visitors can expect when they explore Cuba. The emphasis is on the people, history and natural attractions, along with the inescapable opportunity for relaxation, adventure and fun, and even a bit of serendipity thrown in for good measure.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Fa l l i n L o v e w i t h G o l d e n , B C
Article & Photography by Jennifer Merrick
Celebrating Canadaâ€™s 150th
Think this is beautiful? Just wait till you get to the top,” said Emile Lavoie, a Sherbrooke, QC native who now makes his home in Golden. “It’s an infinity pool of mountains.” We were riding up the gondola at Kicking Horse Resort, up to a height of 7700 feet on a blue-sky spring morning. When we got off the ride, not even Emile’s description prepared us for the view that awaited. Peak after peak of snow-capped mountains surrounded us in every direction, stretching out endlessly. It felt as though we had stepped into a postcard of the heavens above. Mountains are what define the small town of Golden, British Columbia, situated in the Columbia Valley between the Rockies to the east and the Columbia Mountains to the west. There are no less than six national parks within a two-hour drive: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke. The town attracts a lot of folks like Emile, outdoor enthusiasts who come for a visit and never leave. I can relate. After a visit filled with hikes, wildlife sightings, friendly people and most of all, the ever-present mountains, it was hard to even think about getting on a plane home. But before I left, I consoled myself by buying a lottery ticket, planning to come back the next day if I won. I would wager that if you visit, you’ll fall in love with the region, too. And while you’re there, try some of these Golden activities. Wear Georgia’s Pants at Glacier National Park Canada’s second largest park, Glacier, is located in the Selkirk range of the Columbia Mountains, 80 kilometres west of Golden. It’s home to the historic Rogers Pass, a route discovered in 1881 through the ‘impenetrable peaks’ that now connect our nation from coast to coast. A lesserknown slice of history is the park’s role in the beginnings of alpine tourism and
mountaineering. It was advertised as ’50 Switzerlands in one’, and the Canadian Pacific Railway even brought in Swiss guides to lead affluent Edwardians through the peaks. For the next few decades, Glacier House hosted many a guests, including one intrepid climber, Georgia Engelhard. Despite public criticism, she wore men’s pants while climbing and Swiss guides joked about putting rocks in her pack to keep up with her. One summer, she summited no less than 24 peaks in the Selkirk Mountains in just three weeks. Modern-day tourists can pose with a metal sculpture of her pants with the steep, jagged peaks as a backdrop, and be inspired to do their own hikes. We enjoyed an easy walk on the Hemlock Grove Trail, which showcases the interior rainforest fauna, and explored some of the historical remnants like railway pillars on the Loop Brook Trail. Paddle the Rivers Golden is at the junction of the Kicking Horse and Columbia rivers, both designated BC Heritage Rivers and both offering an abundance of recreational activities. True adrenaline junkies can be helicoptered in for a wild ride on the Kicking Horse River through the lower canyon, famed for its long stretch of class four white water and vertical rock walls. This summer promises to be one of the most exhilarating ever due to the large amount of snowfall. A more peaceful but equally breathtaking paddling adventure is kayaking through the Columbia Wetlands. At over 180 kilometers in length, the protected tract of land is home to over 300 species of birds, fish and other wildlife. Columbia Wetlands Adventures offers guided tours of this ecological treasure. One of the most magical moments of our Golden trip was paddling on water so still it reflected the mountains that surrounded us. Explore Yoho National Park Yoho comes from a Cree word meaning ‘awe and wonder’, and there are plenty of spots to do just that in this national park,
located 60 kilometers east of Golden. 13 There are over 400km of hiking trails within its boundaries, and natural highlights include Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in western Canada and Lake O’Hara, a jewel-blue lake that has captured the imagination of generations of visitors. Emerald Lake is the largest of the park’s 61 lakes and lives up to its name with a shimmering deep turquoise colour. We walked the Emerald Lake Circuit, which is an easy 5km loop, although we did find it difficult not to stop every five minutes for yet another photo. Our next hike took us to Wapta Falls, which at 490 feet wide is the largest on the Kicking Horse River and also very photogenic. Be sure to empty your memory card before you go. Recharge in Golden Every adventure in the surrounding mountains and rivers deserves a reward, and there are plenty of establishments in town, where you can digest your adventures as well as good food and drink. Whitetooth Brewing Company is a good place to begin. Opened recently, these craft brews inspired by Belgium-styled beers were an instant hit. Refreshing cocktails and delicious food can be found at Eleven22, a local favourite. This renovated home with seating inside and outside has a casual atmosphere, and its locally-sourced original menu is spot on. To start the day, you can’t go wrong with Bluebird Café, a casual eatery with homemade breakfast and lunch options and in-house bakery treats. Their packed lunches are ideal to take on your day’s adventures. And there’s one more spot not to be missed – Eagle’s Eye Restaurant. Remember the infinity pool of mountains the gondola took us up to at Kicking House Resort? It’s also the location of Canada’s highest restaurant and almost every seat has an awe-inspiring view. A perfect place to fall in love with the mountains.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Best of Buenos Aires
View from Palacio Barolo: KaitlinM/iStock
Views, Romance, and People-Watching
BEST VIEWS PALACIO BAROLO Take the guided tour of this stunning palace for a chance to survey the city skyline during the day or at night. Once the tallest building in South America, Palacio Barolo is a magnificent piece of architecture whose design was influenced by Dante’s Divine Comedy. RESERVA ECOLÓGICA COSTANERA SUR Look back at the city from this nature reserve to observe the dramatic contrast between nature and the towering skyscrapers. It is a favorite place for residents, who use the area for walking, jogging, and bird-watching. A number of guided tours are available, all of which are free!
BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL Recline on a comfy chair on the fifth floor of the national library while surveying the northern section of the city. Housing the largest library collection in Argentina, the building took over 20 years to build and is elevated by vast columns, giving it the appearance of hovering over the surrounding parks. ZIRKEL Make sure to ask for a window seat at this 21st-floor restaurant in the middle of Centro. SKY BAR Watch the sunset from this 13th-floor night spot while live jazz plays in the background. Sky Bar is only open between October and April if you want to enjoy the swanky surroundings. PURO REMO Head out into the Río de la Plata with this outfitter to see the city from a boat.
Plaza de Mayo: tiagofernandezphotography/123rf
SOCCER STADIUMS The highest tier inside the stadium of the city’s most popular soccer teams, Boca Juniors and River Plate, afford splendid views of the surrounding neighborhoods.
BEST FOR ROMANCE STARGAZING Wander around the docks of Puerto Madero at night, where the moon reflects off the water and lovers canoodle on benches. For an JARDÍN BOTÁNICO Find a shady bench among the wild plants and cats that wander among the foliage in this botanical garden. Five ornamental greenhouses—one of which is in art nouveau style, thought to be the only version of its kind in the world—contain thousands of plants. ROSEDAL This rose garden, with its 20,000 roses, a lake, fountains, pergolas, swans, wooden bridges, and busts of poets, provides an ideal location for meandering hand in hand. October through April is the best time to visit, when the explosion of color is overwhelming, although there are species in bloom throughout the year. DINING AT LA CABRERA Reserve an intimate table at this gourmet parrilla and share one of their oversize melt-in-your-mouth steaks.
WATCHING A TANGO SHOW While options are endless for watching tango dancers, Bar Sur is of the most intimate venues, while La Catedral is one of the most unique and bohemian. La Catedral is notable for the relaxed and information atmosphere, making it perfect for unsure foreigners and beginner dancers. Bar Sur transforms at night into a cozy affair where dancers pass within inches of the tables. LISTENING TO MUSIC Let the musicians at tiny Lo de Roberto charm you with their romantic laments. PARQUE TRES DE FEBRERO Hire a tandem and roam this park on a sunny afternoon. Jules Charles Thays, a French landscape architect born in Versaille during 1934, added lakes, curved paths, and bridges to the park. He dreamed of transforming Parque Tres de Febrero into the Buenos Aires version of Paris’s Bois de Boulogne.
tree-filled Plaza San Martín draw a diverse mix of people. One of the largest green spaces in an area otherwise deprived of open land, Parque Centenario fills with people over the weekend.
SHOPPERS’ HAVEN The hardest part of people-watching in the crowded shopping district of Once is finding somewhere to sit down. Prepare to be amazed at the variety of purchases you’ll see tucked under people’s arms when you do find an unoccupied bench. Adapted from Moon Buenos Aires by Nick Mills. Copyright © 2017. Available from Avalon Travel, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Puerto Madero: Saiko3p/Dreamstime.com
BEST PEOPLE-WATCHING THE CITY CENTER It’s the obvious choice: Plaza de Mayo is a gathering place for residents and is often the site of political protests. It’s also a good starting point to explore the historic city center, with its cobbled streets and crumbling houses sitting alongside sweeping avenues and glass skyscrapers. IN A SQUARE Sit at one of the tables in Plaza Dorrego on any day but Sunday (when the popular Feria de San Pedro Telmo makes it impractical) and you’re sure to pass hours watching the passersby. AMONG THE ROSES With the sheer quantity of people around the lake in Parque Tres de Febrero’s Rosedal over the weekend, almost anywhere will do, but setting up near the Greek Bridge will ensure you see an endless stream of people taking photos on the peculiar structure. CAFÉ WITH A VIEW There are few café patios that provide such an ideal spot for people-watching as La Biela, where lavishly dressed women sweep down the adjoining avenue alongside wandering musicians and artisans selling homemade bread. GREEN SPACES During the day, the shaded benches in the Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
A r o u n d T h e Wo r l d
(in 18 pages)
Grape Harvest Festivals Across Spain
Hong Kong’s “Old Town Central” is a Living Museum of Heritage, Arts, Culture & Cuisine
September and October mark the arrival of autumn and also the period when grapes are picked. Every year, the harvest signals the end of the grape-growing season and after the work is done, it's time to celebrate the good crop in style. The grape harvest festivals that are held in many places in Spain offer a sample of what the world of wine is like and of its typical popular customs. You are sure to have a memorable time during these festivities because the mood of merriment that prevails is contagious. You will also have the chance to see first-hand some of the tasks involved in the winemaking process.
Central is full of history and stories, and is the birthplace of colonial Hong Kong. It reflects the evolution of Hong Kong from a sleepy British colony to one of the world’s great cities. Central is well-known as a glitzy financial district, jam-packed with skyscrapers, but beneath the stunning skyline, history, art, food and culture take hold in this once colonial neighborhood, where East and West, past and present, tradition and innovation, and bustle and tranquility coexist, blend and collide.
These naturally include the traditional treading of the grapes and the tasting of the first must. Wine-related events are often organised as well such as tasting sessions, al fresco meals or open days at wineries. The programme usually includes other activities of a cultural nature, such as competitions, folk dances, parades or theatrical productions. The Rioja Grape Harvest Festivals and the Autumn Festivals are among the most famous ones; however, visitors will find that these celebrations are held in many locations in each of Spain's winemaking areas. Autumn in Spain brings the opportunity to enjoy this country's wine culture in an easy and fun way and surely not to be missed.
To provide visitors with a unique perspective when exploring Central and neighbouring Sheung Wan area, five themed walking routes have been thoughtfully designed to reveal over 100 years of Hong Kong history. The routes take visitors to colonial monuments, temples, art galleries, street art display, antique stores, hip boutiques, trending restaurants, and bars and local delicacies, with hidden gems at every turn. Five “Old Town Central” Walking Routes: 1. Heritage: Time Traveller The Central and Sheung Wan areas were where the story of modern Hong Kong began. From Possession Point, where the British flag was first officially raised, to the Tai Ping Shan area, where many Chinese first settled in the 1840s, this journey leads you through some of the city’s oldest streets and offers glimpses of what life was like when the future world city was still in its infancy. 2. Art: Crazy for Art Take a stroll down the Hollywood Road, one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong, lined with galleries offering a huge range of artworks, from ancient to contemporary and from Asian to Western. Enjoy the creative graffiti art on the walls of the many side alleys leading off the street.
China Tourism Introduces New Brand Logo China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has made “Beautiful China” the tag line of its tourism and introduced a new global brand logo. With an overall look as a stamp, the new logo integrates modern messaging with the ancient Chinese art form of calligraphy. The hieroglyph in the background means “travel” in ancient Chinese language, which shows a flag guiding a couple around.
3. Dining: Tasting Hong Kong Central is a paradise for food lovers, offering a world of choices only steps from each other. From traditional dim sum and international and fusion cuisine to local dai pai dongs and street food, there’s something to appeal to every taste. 4. Treasure Hunt: Hidden Gems in Back Alleys This route takes you to Upper Lascar Row, which has a fascinating mix of antiques; a blooming creative neighborhood on Tai Ping Shan Street and in the PoHo area, where design studios are nestled between teahouses; and the Bridges Street area, where visitors can find second-hand books, knickknacks and reminders of the city’s past.
The blue color represents the sky, delivering China tourism’s concepts - vitality, harmony and thousands of years. Illustrating an international vision, the “Beautiful China” logo represents
5. Something for Everyone This walk covers the top landmarks and points of interests from each thematic route and is perfect for visitors who have limited time to explore the area.
China’s promising and welcoming tourism industry.
green travel. The red color gives tribute to the Chinese civilization that has been going on for
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Good to Go! Great Travel Gear and Gadgets
Weâ€™ve asked our globetrotting contributors what they must have when on the go; here are a few of their suggestionsâ€Ś
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G Adventures Adds Five New Social Enterprise Projects to its Tours
travellers a unique experience. The 21 two-hour ride embraces the island’s motto of ‘go slow’ and highlights the area’s idyllic nature, history, and culture.
Photos this page: G Adventures
El Hongo Community Restaurant Playa del Carmen, Mexico - Playa del
New meal, wheel, and homestay experiences that give back in 2017
eading small-group adventure operator G Adventures announces new sustainable travel experiences in Belize, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, and Nepal for 2017, empowering travellers to support local communities while offering them a truly local experience. The five new social enterprise projects include a guided bike tour on Caye Caulker, Belize, local meals at restaurants in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and Nakuru, Kenya, and homestays near Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and inside Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park in Java, Indonesia. The initiatives, known as G Adventures for Good projects, aim to support women, indigenous communities and at-risk youth, while offering travellers immersive experiences in culturally unique parts of the world. G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip believes travel and tourism can be a force for good in developing nations where tourism is one of the most important means of income. “When we travel the right way, with likeminded people who care about making a positive impact on the places they travel to,
we can do a world of good. Our new projects are examples of the sharing economy our world needs, and the sharing economy I want to see thrive. “The United Nations has designated 2017 as its Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and with increased awareness I believe tourism can be the biggest form of wealth distribution the world has seen,” says Poon Tip. The five new experiences join G Adventures’ list of 31 projects around the world and are part of its commitment to launch 50 new projects by 2020 – 10 per year – also known as its “50 in 5” campaign. More details on the projects and how travellers can experience them follow:
Bike with Purpose - Caye Caulker, Belize - On Caye Caulker, children often drop out from school by age 12. G Adventures sends 4,000 travellers a year to the island, and by taking a Bike with Purpose tour, travellers give students from the Ocean Academy (the island’s only community high school) the opportunity to practice their guiding skills while offering
Carmen has become built-up by mass tourism and this project takes travellers to see ‘the other side’ with a home-style meal at volunteer-run restaurant El Hongo. G Adventures groups enjoy a meal at the restaurant and tour the neighbourhood, learning about the vivid street art the kids created with support from this social enterprise.
Unbutu Training Cafe - Maai Mahiu, Kenya - This training café empowers communities and creates jobs along the only route to the Maasai Mara. Travellers enjoy a delicious lunch sourced from local organic farms. The café also provides a market for marginalised women to learn to make, and sell handicrafts as meaningful souvenirs. Proceeds from the businesses help support the nearby Ubuntu School, which serves children with special needs by providing therapy, education, and vocational training.
Barauli Community Homestay Chitwan National Park, Nepal - G Adventures travellers visit the Barauli Community Homestay while they are in the Chitwan region, learning about the traditions of the Tharu people. Over 1,500 travellers visit this region annually, bringing sustainable tourism revenue for the community. The homestay project aims to diversify the income of women in the region.
Tengger Community Homestay - Java, Indonesia - G Adventures travellers to stay in a traditional home inside Bromo-TenggerSemeru National Park and enjoy day trips as part of a community developed hike. The new homestays will be fully owned and managed by the Tengger tribe and allow for older residents to diversify their income, while creating jobs for the next generation. Select tours that will empower travellers to contribute to this community’s well-being.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
What’s Trending in Melbourne: Eating Vegan Article & Photography by Jessica Percy-Campbell
Dessert at Girls & Boys
orgeous weather, high-end coffee culture and innovative culinary trends are just a few reasons why Melbourne has been named one of the world’s most livable cities. With an influx of veggie-friendly restaurants popping up everywhere you look, creative vegan cuisine is what’s hot in Melbourne right now. To prove it, Melbourne’s Big Vegan Market was a massive success this year, with over 10,000 guests and 150 vendors displaying a wide range of plant-based items including skincare products, organic clothing, home décor, speciality meals and desserts. Melbourne Café Culture One fabulous tourist destination is St. Kilda, and not only for its wild penguins, kite surfers, and sunset views along the pier, but also for brunch! Brunch is all the rage in Melbourne, and with so many locally owned cafes, each one brings something unique to the table. Matcha Mylk Bar offers plant-based poached
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
“eggs” made from coconut, turmeric and sweet potato. They taste a little sweeter, but look just like the real thing, runny yellow yolk and all. For those who love to indulge, this café serves Mr. and Mrs. Banks cruffins, a hybrid between a croissant and a muffin stuffed with hazelnut chocolate filling. Richmond’s Serotonin takes a holistic approach to healthy living and thematically revolves its menu around the concept of happiness itself. Melbourne takes coffee very seriously, but here, the cappuccinos are served with smiling faces drawn into the foam. Like every other dish on the menu, the frozen Galaxy Acai Bowl incorporates all colors of the rainbow. Sit in a swing by the window surrounded by greenery, or take a picnic basket out into the park across the road and enjoy the sunshine.
dishes such as “sausage” empanadas and “seafood” stew. Down the block there’s Vegie Bar for tacos, burritos, and gourmet pizza; and Girls & Boys for dessert, with dairy-free gelato, sorbet, soft-serve, doughnuts and pumpkin pie. All vegan and all without the use of refined sugar, this little sweet shop caters to nut allergies and gluten intolerance as well. Taking the reigns as a world-class destination for Instagram-worthy cuisine, the sheer number of extraordinary choices is reason enough for anyone to visit Melbourne. For an optimal snowbird vacation, travel to Australia in their summer months of December – February and explore as many cafes as possible. For more info on Melbourne:
Fitzroy is for Foodies
At the heart of the vegan community is Fitzroy, a fashionable inner suburb not far from the Central Business District (CBD). An extremely popular take-away lunch spot is Smith and Deli. Picture the Aussie version of New York style sandwiches filled with a huge variety of deli “meats”, “cheeses”, and “eggs” on freshly baked sourdough. Around the corner is their sister location Smith and Daughters, a self-proclaimed “vegan bar and eatery with a rock and roll vibe” specializing in traditional Spanish
For more vegan-friendly spots around the world:
enthralling panorama will leave you astounded. You will be under the spell of this place’s beauty long after the trip has ended.
10 Reasons to Experience the Leh-Ladakh trail as a Motorcycle road trip
Pangong lake, Photo by Jeevan, CC0 1.0
6. To Collect Unrivalled Travel Tales As you cross through one destination after another, you will gather experiences and stories to last you a lifetime. The amicable locals, the sumptuous food, the friends you make along the way, the challenges you overcome on the road trip and the enchanting sights will leave you with inexhaustible pictures and tales. 7. To Indulge in Some Soul-Searching There is no better way to spend some time away from the clamour of the cities and reflect back on your life than a road trip to this tranquil place. It is ideal for a solo bike trip to give yourself that much needed break, away from the mad rush of life. 8. An Insight into the Local Essence
t is a dream come true to finally be able to witness the immense beauty and splendour of Ladakh. This unimaginably picturesque and idyllic land has been captured in movies, travel stories on social media pages, and written about in almost every travel magazine out there. If there is something more breathtaking than this place, it can only be the journey to this abode of peace, especially if it is a road trip on a bike! A ride through this terrain is nothing like you have ever experienced or seen before. Here are just a handful of reasons why every true adventurer and traveler must embark on this unique expedition. 1. The Inexplicably Stunning Routes The journey usually starts from the national capital of the country, Delhi, and crosses various states and cities before leading to the final destination. The voyage through long stretches of green fields, far away from the hustle and bustle, will leave you refreshed and reinvigorated for the ride ahead. Filled with abundant scenic views that make the trip worthwhile, there was not even one moment of boredom or disappointment, as every mile you cross competes with the last in impressiveness. 2. A Road Trip of a Lifetime You might have taken some amazing road trips before, but this one is sure to beat nearly all of the others. This one makes it onto every wanderer’s bucket list and every biker’s wish list. Whether taking your Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
beloved bike or renting one, this road trip is a part of every rover’s dream. The cool breeze, the endless roads, and the sightseeing through different states make this an unforgettable and incomparable trip on a bike. The best time to visit Ladakh is from April to June. 3. The Adventure and Exhilaration
There is a certain amount of immediacy and familiarity a world traveller develops with a place when one travels towards or through it. You get to comprehend and appreciate the local culture, local cuisine and the kindness of the local people you meet along your way. This road trip is going to give you a unique perspective to the way of life in this land of cold desert.
Is there anything better than an adventurefilled trip that leads to an extraordinary climax for someone who loves bikes and has been bitten by the travel bug too? Well, for all those thrill-seekers, this road trip has been custom-made for you. You will cross a plethora of mind-blowing locales and tough corridors before landing into the serene land of your dreams.
9. Unexplored Territories
4. Pleasing Plains to Captivating Valleys
To be able to navigate through the challenging routes, to survive the road journey on a bike, and to be able to immerse yourself in the milieus and culture of the place, makes this one of the most interesting and coveted road trips in the world.
The landscapes will keep changing from avenues with vast meadows to thick forests and from plains to mesmerising valleys. Throughout your journey, before reaching Leh and while passing through Ladakh, and on your journey back home, you will be left speechless by the ever changing backdrops. 5. The Ride Across the “Land of High Passes” When you actually reach Ladakh and ride through the sights there, the journey takes an altogether different turn. The striking colours, beautiful monasteries and the
Biking in India means stopping by any place you find interesting and beguiling enough. You will have visited and experienced more places than just the regular tourist haunts. 10. One of the Most Exciting Getaways
Pack that rucksack, get your bike ready, and start your journey to Leh- Ladakh. It is an experience that shouldn’t be missed or delayed at any cost. Author Bio: A keen traveler and adventure enthusiast, read more about Rohit’s travel journeys in his blog Trans India Travels.
northern suburbs, leaving vacancy for squatters to move in to buildings and dangerous conditions. With all of this in consideration, it may seem like a high stakes bet for property developer Jonathan Liebmann to have the vision to convert this ghost town into a bustling artistic community.
The Urban Renaissance of Johannesburg Article & Photography by Olivia Balsinger
fter about two decades of considerable setbacks in it economy and socio-politics, Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa, has been experiencing a rapid progress akin to a new age urban renaissance. This rebirth is the result of its post-apartheid initiatives, focused on forming a new and loquacious unity among all of its people, leading to developments in its urban planning, economic structure, artistic scene, and its proactive measures to promote tourism. Its success cannot be understated, and it has assumed the role as the heart of the South African nation. A visit to Johannesburg is an eclectic experience, as it offers the chance to discover its vast and varied culture. You will learn about its controversial past, celebrate its inspiring transition and relish experiencing its new identity as a rather chic and progressive urban hub. The key to Johannesburg's impressive progress is perhaps its hyper awareness to illuminate its past. The approach itself is rather optimistic, highlighting the heroes of apartheid, without detracting from the realities of its heinousness. The best place to get an overview is the renowned Apartheid Museum, which condenses the narrative to its core timeline from its veritable beginnings in 1948 to its triumphant end in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected president of the republic.
Its comprehensive program delves into the catalysts and consequences of this dark era, emitting a beacon of hope by illustrating its gradual ascent to liberation -- a modern example of triumph in the arena of human rights. For a more curated experience on the liberation movement, tourists are also enjoined to visit the Mandela Museum, which was converted from the house where Mandela’s family lived from 1946 to 1962. Perhaps the most emotive excursion for history buffs, however is Constitution Hill, where once the Old Fort Prison Complex stood, which housed revolutionary heroes, such as Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, when they were incarcerated. The city’s rich history echoes with numinous vibrations, which have over the years motivated a movement that seeks to replace the air of a repressed past with an open an honest art scene. Looking to the world’s more metropolitan cities like as Berlin, New York, and Paris as models of thriving urban hubs, Johannesburg has found its own voice in reimagining its cultural landscape by implementing conscious and focused redevelopment of its inner city neighborhoods. This reinvigoration of Newtown and Braamfontein, for example, has been extremely successful in cultivating a hip and thriving artistic climate, becoming home to some of the world’s most famous street art, such as The Shadow Boxer. Of particular note in transitioning the concrete jungle of Johannesburg’s inner city precincts is the neighborhood of Maboneng. Like the rest of the precincts in the inner city, Maboneng was once a no-go area. It in fact was plagued with particular danger at the end of apartheid in 1994, due to the uncertainty and anxiety that the transition would inevitably incur: It faced crime waves as businesses relocated to the
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With his company, Propertuity, Liebmann sought to attract artists and professionals back to the precinct, drawing parallels between derelict industrial spaces to those in other gentrified cities such as Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for example, where chic boutiques and art galleries now occupy disused warehouses. Speaking of warehouses, the nucleus of this buzzing urban destination is Arts on Main, operating out of a bonded warehouse dates back to 1911, and expands four blocks in diameter. Shops, galleries, vendors, and restaurants line the white-wash, high-ceilinged interior. Meanwhile, messages and testaments to Maboneng’s new identity are literally written on the walls, which is splayed with graffiti of lines such as “Love your work,’ adjacent to images executed by some of the cities most talented new residents. In order to attract more artists, the precinct offers discounted studios and apartments to up-and-coming creatives, with the most renowned being the multimedia giant William Kentridge. Propertuity has truly given new meaning to Maboneng, which itself is translated to “Place of Light.” It has indeed brought it out of the shadows of a darker era to shine with the potential to change the future of the city, country, and the world by becoming the headquarters for artistic expression and discourse. When you visit this truly incredible neighborhood, be sure to stay in the boutique hotel Hallmark House, which is owned and developed by Propertuity. A landmark of a new chapter in African architecture, The Hallmark Hotel is a luxurious, curated living spaces (penthouses, apartments, and hotel rooms) for visitors and permanent residents alike. It captures the constantly elevating ambiance of Maboneng main streets to an indoor venue, converting an intangible culture into veritable lifestyle, where art and progressive thinking pervades.
Tu r k e y
Your Partner in Healthcare
ourism takes many forms, from the youthful backpacker in Germany to the sophisticated sightseer in Paris to family vacationers in Disney. Turkey has become a leader in another category: Health Tourism! Health tourism as a concept was introduced to the Turkish healthcare sector in the early 2000s. Turkey began welcoming international patients thanks to its strong political and economic structure, geographical position, medical expertise and the highly developed healthcare system. The Turkish Health Transformation Plan (HTP) was implemented by the Ministry of Health between 2003 – 2013, aiming to increase the quality and access to healthcare in Turkey. As a result, it has boosted domestic demand, added state-of-the-artmedical technology and offering highquality treatments at reasonable prices. Turkey’s private healthcare sector has been marketing its advantages to foreign patients and within the last decade, the health tourism sector has been increased gradually and the global revenue has now garnered over $100 billion. The Turkish private clinics are host to a wide range of international patients from every corner of the world. On a yearly basis, close to 300,000 international patients chose to get their medical treatment in Turkey, the majority of whom come from Germany, Libya, Russia, Iraq, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan and the UK, benefit from the high quality and affordable healthcare treatments available in Turkey.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Good health is your most valuable asset and deserves the very best treatment, and Turkey offers that from start to finish. They offer the best airline in Europe (according to the 2016 Skytrax survey, Turkish Airlines was chosen as "Europe's Best Airline" for a sixth and "Best Airline in Southern Europe" for the eighth consecutive time) and Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, flying to over 120 countries and 299 international destinations, which is more countries and destinations than any other airline. Besides the cutting-edge technology, globally experienced physicians and state of the art infrastructure, private hospitals in Turkey saw the need to develop a process that works for international patients. The institutions that play a major role in the healthtourism industry now have high quality staff that includes patient care coordinators speaking more than 15 languages to assist patients through their medical journey in their native language! Turkish international health services are now a collection of services including nonmedical issues like providing concierge services, transportation, translation of medical documents, travel assistance, visas and accommodation. There are many factors when choosing Turkey as a destination for health tourism and not just for their low-cost treatment but also their high standards of quality in medical services, staff expertise, technical equipment, global accreditations. Oh, and being a great place for tourist attractions is also a major supporting factor!
While you are undergoing recovery or waiting for the procedure, patients can visit anywhere they wish in Turkey. Imagine flying into Istanbul and visiting the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome or the Egyptian obelisks while waiting for Cardiovascular surgery. Driving around Turkey’s cosmopolitan capital Ankara, sightseeing the opera house and going up to the lookout in Anitkabir, the enormous hilltop mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk while awaiting state-of the art cancer treatments (Medical & Surgical and Radiation including Gammaknife and Cyberknife technology) Breaking the mold, Turkey’s state-of-the-art medical technology and infrastructure, top quality services, competitive prices, easy access to medical services and central geographical location make it the destination of choice for people who need top notch medical services at an affordable price. Come for the surgery and stay for the sites!
Experience the Seasonal Allure of Au t u m n , Wi n t e r a n d S p r i n g i n E u r o p e w i t h Tr a f a l g a r
avouring spiced gingerbread at traditional Christmas Markets, admiring majestic alpine peaks, and following the tempting aromas of warm gluhwein; fall, winter and spring in Europe are a treasure trove for all the senses. Trafalgar’s new 2017-18 Autumn Winter & Spring program showcases 34 guided vacation itineraries to 26 European countries, including two new trips - Delights of London and Paris and Festive St Petersburg and Moscow. “There really is no better place in the world to experience different seasons than Europe, and we’ve made it easy for travellers to discover the festive flavours and allure of some of our favourite destinations from November 2017 to April 2018, says Wolf Paunic, president of Trafalgar Canada. “We’ve carefully crafted each
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guided vacation to include authentic experiences and moments of magic to ensure our guests’ enjoyment.” Trafalgar’s Delights of London and Paris trip is a guest favourite, so this new 9-day guided vacation has been introduced into this year’s seasonal offering, allowing travellers to explore these beautiful cities in a whole new way. High streets and laneways in London and Paris dressed in fall colours, bustling Parisian farmers’ markets brimming with seasonal specialities, and London’s parks glistening with frost. Travellers will enjoy excursions to Bath and Stonehenge and a visit to the Palace of Versailles with a Local Specialist. Another new introduction to this year’s program is the new 7-day Festive St Petersburg and Moscow Christmas Spectacular travel
style, where travellers will have the opportunity to watch these Russian cities transform for the Christmas season. Guests will be steeped in Christmas spirit during Moscow’s magical ‘Journey into Christmas’ festival, complete with ice rinks, snow sculptures and light installations before they delve into the history books in St Petersburg. In addition to two new itineraries, Trafalgar has made its 15-day tailored European White Christmas Delights & New Year Lights trip available to travellers for the first time ever. Guests will discover the secrets of champagne production, experience a white Christmas in St Moritz and ring in the New Year over regional food and wine in Tuscany.
Tr o p i c a l Ti d b i t s by Sue C Travel
Off-Radar & Fabulous Florida Fun It’s summertime and a great season for a road trip throughout Florida. I’ve sleuthed out some new and very cool and off-radar things to do in the Sunshine State for this edition of Tropical Tidbits… so let’s go! Jacksonville is Jumping! “JaxBeach” is what the locals call the trendy new surfside community, and it’s chock full of brand new avant garde eateries like TacoLu for gourmet tacos, and scads of little strip malls full of shops and bars catering to the masses of young visitors riding
coaster bikes along the beach. Enjoy the friendly surf and a full calendar of beachfront music festivals all summer long. We had planned to stay at the spiffy new One Ocean Resort & Spa- but it was full- so we opted for Casa Marina Hotel-a historic Spanish colonial style complex with an inviting beachfront courtyard and a great rooftop bar. They have also developed the Jax Ale Trail- a tour of no less than 15 craft breweries in the area- we only made it to one, Green Room Brewing, but it didn’t disappoint. (Ask about their “passport program” for the brewpubs.) The new vibe has also begun seeping into
downtown Jacksonville as they have exciting plans for restoration of many abandoned historic landmark buildings into cosmopolitan entertainment centers. Take a stroll through the business section with AdLibber Walking Tours to see the offbeat new outdoor art murals and sculptures, and sate your sweet tooth with a factory tour and sampling at Sweet Pete’s gourmet chocolate and candy store. Lunch at their Candy Apple Café also offers up both sweet and savory delights. Another trendy new restaurant worth a stop just outside of downtown is Moxie Kitchen for a twist on American comfort food. And for the latest in modern golf practice head to the new
Bike riding on Anastasia State Park Beach St. Augustine, Image provided by FloridasHistoricCoast.com
multi-level TopGolf high-tech driving range and entertainment center. Awesome St. Augustine The oldest city in America is certainly worth a few days exploration and easy to do on foot if you stay at the brand new Collector’s Inn (see Page 69 in our ‘Stay & Play’ section) a gorgeous little boutique luxury oasis right in the heart of the old quarter. Not to be missed is a guided tour through the epic 17th century Spanish fort Castillo de San Marcos for fascinating history and a trek to the famed Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. (You can even
drink the water and see if it works!) There’s also one of the best pirate museums in the country, and their spooky Ghosts and Gravestones night tour is one of the best I’ve ever taken. ( Are you ready to get locked in an ancient jail?) Other spirits well worth seeking out are in the liquid form like the ones at The St. Augustine Distillery – take a guided tour and sample their wares, and also seek out offbeat bars like Odd Birds for killer craft cocktails. Foodies will adore the many cool cafes and eclectic cuisine at romantic hideaways like Raintree Restaurant, and an ideal way to sample many of them is via Savory Fare Food Tour City Walks. Outside of the downtown grid, you will need a car to explore St. Augustine Beach, and Anastasia State Park -a protected wildlife sanctuary, and a trip to the historic lighthouse and museum on Anastasia Island are all well worth the drive. Cocoa Beach & Space Coast Stars If you have a need for speed, drop into the famous Daytona International Speedway and see the progress on their new megavillage across the road, which will be a small resort community in its own right. Take a tour of the famous track and visit the museum full of vintage cars, too. While in the area, drive on to Titusville for a rare lunch of rock shrimp- they are famous for them at Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant. Next check into Doubletree by Hilton on Cocoa Beach – it’s ocean front and handy to some great casual pier dining like Fishlips Waterfront Grill and Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. It’s also a great base for everything space related- plan an entire day to visit the Kennedy Space Centrethere’s a LOT to see and do, and reserve lunch with a real astronaut as an exciting side dish. And for a unique outing to the official launch sites, take a guided bus tour of Cape Canaveral within the restricted military base- bring your passport and photo ID- and wear closed-toe shoes if you also want to climb the historic lighthouse on site.
Melbourne Metamorphosis After Cocoa Beach, head to Melbourne’s Brevard Zoo for some unique kayaking adventures with the animals. Glide by the giraffes, gazelles, rhinos, and lemurs cavorting in their open installations. Very cool! And the only zoo in the US to have kayaking within. Then, lunch at legendary The Mansion-choose their top deck for marina views. To tour the main downtown area in a unique way, hop aboard a fun tour with TOTO Pedicabs. ( Their drivers do all the pedaling!) You’ll soon see how the once sleepy little town is beginning to morph into an uber trendy outpost. Old gas stations and post offices have turned into crazy bars, and gourmet candy shops and trendy cafes have all moved in. And don’t miss Hell N Blazes Brewery- an excellent local brewpub with a games room and fab beer. Also of note in town is the charming lemon yellow house surrounded by a white picket fence where Jim Morrison of The Doors grew up before he decided to “break on through to the other side” of the country to study film at UCLA. www.VisitFlorida.com
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Beautiful China Silk Road Sites & Sounds For thousands of years, silk has been a commodity that has connected China with the far-reaching parts of the world. Whether through traders, sellers or diplomats, the sale of silk is part and parcel of Chinese cultural and social heritage. Now on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, many historical sites along the road offer the World Traveler a taste of various provinces in this amazing land. We start our journey in Jiangsu. As always, there is too much to see and do when you are visiting somewhere, but this trip was all about the Silk Road, so we concentrated on learning more.
Edited by David J. Cox
Gansu Province, China
his coastal province is part of the Silk Road marine route and has been long known for its prosperity and opulence, and with sights like the linked network of pools, pagodas and pavilions at the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Lion Grove Garden’s tall, rocky maze, and the World Heritage listed Chinese classical gardens of Suzhou, it is easy to see why! As with most destinations, there is far too much to do and see. Jiangsu is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations located on a stretch of the Yellow Sea on China’s east coast. Old China and new come together to offer a great trip to visitors. After exploring the ancient walls and tombs from the Ming Dynasty era, you can treat yourself to some Huaiyang cuisine, considered one of the Four Great Traditions of the culinary heritage of China, along with Cantonese cuisine, Shandong cuisine and Sichuan cuisine. A sight to behold is China’s ancient engineering Wonder of the World, the Grand Canal, which is the world’s longest canal and is still a vital and well used waterway that stretches almost 2,000 km between Hangzhou and Beijing. The mighty Yangtze River flows here as well, with
Jiangsu many tours and cruises available for viewing the incredible features in this province. Jiangsu is also the best place to see the unique living water villages of the Yangtze River delta! So many of the most famous tourist locales can are found here. For fans of meditation and meditative spaces there is the Confucius Temple in Nanjing, consecrated to the famous philosopher and educator of ancient China. Over the years, it has undergone many changes and expanded into a complex that now contains the Confucius Temple, the China Imperial Examination Museum and the Xue Gong - the impressive Imperial Academy.
Other treasures include the Terracotta warriors of Xuzhou, who are actually just one part of a huge museum complex. Visitors can get great pictures of most of the warriors and are introduced to the restoration process. It is a large museum, and includes a large excavated tomb, a "Liu Ancestral Hall" that pays tribute to the Liu clan (including Liu Bang, the founder of the Han Dynasty), and some Buddhist temples. Nanjing is also a must see, as it is not only the capital of Jiangsu Province and capital to 6 Chinese Dynasties, but is also capital of the Republic of China! Surprises abound at the Presidential palace, as this complex of buildings is an amazing mix of architectural styles from it's long history, and the audio tour is well worth it. The grounds are a wonderful and are an ideal place to walk around and enjoy, especially when the gardens are in bloom. The Nanjing City Museum hosts historical exhibitions inside the grounds of an imperial examination center where you can visit exhibitions of jewellery and silken clothing from many different dynasties. Other prefectures of the province offer other diversions, such as Nantong and its major river port near Shanghai, the industrial mecca of Wuxi and Zhenjiang, another major tourist attraction for its temples and museums! Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
province that has seen six dynasties, Zhejiang offers hour after hour of delightful visitor sights and sounds. Starting in Hangzhou, Zhejiangâ€™s capital and the former capital of China, travellers will see that this city is China's busiest destination for domestic tourism and is renown for tea, silk and its Great West Lake. Whether on a cruise or on foot, West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a perfect place to spend a day. This part natural and part man made lake offers photo ops and amazing views, and the tales, stories and legends about it make a visit to the lake even more interesting. Other areas to visit include one of the most renowned Buddhist temples in China, the Lingyin Temple, where visitors can admire fascinating and intricate Buddhist carvings. Enjoy the sunset at the Dragon Well Tea Plantation, where history and flavour combine as you can drink tea in a shaded pavilion offering spectacular views. In the fascinating historic district of Anji, Huzhou there are very advanced ecological ideals and industries. This ecological philosophy covers tourism and the bamboo industry. Anji responsibly produces 12 million commercial bamboo poles every year, and also has China's largest bam-
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Zhejiang boo nursery, recognised worldwide as having the widest variety of bamboo. Moving on to Jiaxing, where the food will satisfy all tastes and the engineering will knock your socks off! Fresh fish and rice are staples that are turned into magical dishes to satisfy all tastes. The marvels of
the resting-on-water towns Wuzhen and Xitang are as fascinating as they are interesting. In Wuzhen, most tourists often prefer to visit Dongzha, a sector that maintains the basic original layout of the town, and Xizha, which reproduces the ancient appearance of a old fashioned water town! The city of Yiwu is a perfect example of how the Silk Road has brought together cultures, as it is a city vibrant with Middle Eastern flavour due to a large Islamic business community. Yiwu also has a large Korean population and a huge Christian Church. Fun fact - Yiwu is also known as "sock townâ€?, as it produces over three billion pairs of socks annually. For history buffs, the Guyue Bridge, a stone arch bridge built in 1213, is one of the few bridges of that era still standing. Ningbo city has a 7000-year long history, and it served as one of the starting points of the Marine Silk Road along with Guangzhou during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Aside from the old temples and buildings, Ningbo has the XikouXuedoushan Scenic Area, a beautiful scenic area renown for its historical links and beautiful scenery filled with lakes and mountains. The area is most renowned for its ancient cultural atmosphere.
handong is considered a birthplace of China's pottery, porcelain and silk industries. A part of the Silk Road, it is subdivided into Lowland Shandong, the river-filled area in the west of the province, Highland Shandong which is the hilly central region and Coastal Shandong in the east where the Shandong Peninsula is located. The province is heavily involved in trade and tourists can find many items like exacting Yantai timepieces, beautiful Zibo porcelain and the majestic kites of Weifang. But Shandong is also well recognized for it’s cuisine, another of the ‘traditions’ of Chinese cuisine. It can be divided into ‘inland’ Shandong cuisine, the seafoodcentered Jiaodong cuisine in the peninsula, and Confucius's Mansion cuisine, an elaborate tradition originally intended for Imperial feasts. As a traveller, your palate will be pleased with the variety of styles and flavours! Shandong is also filled with beautiful landscapes, including Mount Taishan which is on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List by UNESCO, and its museum is filled with cultural relics, works of art and stone carvings. Besides these historic relics, the mountain provides unique natural scenery with tall peaks, low valleys, waterfalls, and the centuries-old
Shandong pines and cypresses will invite visitors to walk and breath in the clean, forest air. Mt. Laoshan is a sacred place for Taoists and at the belief’s peak of popularity, it
was said that there were nine palaces, eight Temples and seventy-two nunneries on the mountain! Many have fallen into ruin, but of those that remain, the Taiqing Palace is the largest. It also has the has the longest history, spanning more than two thousand years and has been well preserved, which is rare for its form of architecture! A treat for history and religion fans. Though it may surprise some, Shandong also boasts Coastal Vineyards, and the production of wine has become the second largest industry in the Shandong Province Second only to agriculture, there are more than one hundred wineries along the Shandong Peninsula. History also runs through the province, and many ancient treasures have been found here. Researchers who unearthed clay pots at Dawenkou and Dinggongcun believe that the inscriptions on them are actually an example of the earliest written language of the country. There are also the fascinating ruins of ancient Longshan City, which many believe was one of China’s earliest cities. And finally, the portions of the Great Wall built here are believed to be the oldest parts in the country.
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uangxi is a highly scenic area in southern China blessed with a significant coastline on the South China Sea. UNESCO has placed two locations in this province on its list. The first is the unique and stunning Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, which is a huge assembly of historical rock art painted on limestone cliff faces over many centuries. An amazing sight to see in person, almost beyond belief! The second UNESCO site is the South China Karst, which is described as "unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes”. The Karst is filled with underground drainage systems, sinkholes and caves. The South China Karst is considered one of the world’s most spectacular humid karst landscapes, and it is easy to see why! A hiker’s paradise, this area contains the most familiar types of karst landforms, including tower karst, pinnacle karst and cone karst formations, and also offers natural bridges, gorges and large cave systems. This is really a unique tourist stop and opportunity to view something really different! Aside from these wonders, there are many other places for a world traveller to investigate in this province. Yangshuo is a famous scenic town near the karst mountains, and visitors have plenty to enjoy. The Yangdi-
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Guangxi Xingping scenic area offers a "raft experience", that has become a new industry and there is also a 24km easy hike along the Li river. Guilin city is nestled within a stunning landscape and the city has a kind of uniqueness that is all its own. In the centre of the city lie 2 lakes, Shanhu and Ronghu, remaining from a medieval-era moat that once surrounded the city. The beautiful crystal clear waters reflect the bamboo trees and strangely shaped karst hills are complimented by wonderful caverns and caves. The 2000-year history has led to it being a culturally and historically significant city, as it has been the political, economic and cultural center of Guangxi for many years.
Nanning is capital of the Guangxi region and with its warm tropical climate, it is known for parks such as People's Park, which includes expansive White Dragon Lake, a hilltop fort and a botanical garden. The city bustles with energy and has many attractions for visitors. Museum lovers have over 20 to choose from and shoppers will be delighted with the choices and variety of goods and foods available. Local cuisine is great, as it has been influenced by Canton, Sichuan, Hunan, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and in recent years, Sichuan and Cantonese food has become really popular. Be sure to try the local rice noodles, chestnut rice dumplings, stewed duck with gingko and stewed duck with ginger. The city will be the focal point of the “new” Maritime Silk Road, as the city has connections to Southeast Asia and Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao. Even though Liuzhou is a major industrial city with a beautiful karst countryside. The city is a unique part of China and it has a very large population of ethnic minorities who bring with them many celebrations and festivals throughout the year. One visitor highlight is the Bailian Cave Park, whose park is excellent to explore. There are BBQ areas and are many open spaces to stretch out as well as small secluded places to meditate or read a book. This park has something for everyone, including a small amusement area with a few rides for small children area and a skating rink!
ere is where the great Silk Road starts and where China began, as it was here where the Qin dynasty warrior emperor united much of the country for the first time. Shaanxi became the cradle of Chinese civilisation and the beginning of the Silk Road. Xian, the Capital city of the Province, has many attractions for all tastes, but has special treats for history lovers. The archaeological sites include an excavated Neolithic village and royal graves with museums and information centres. The most alluring attraction is also an essential visit which is the tomb of Qin Shi Huang and his Army of Terracotta Warriors, one of the world's top heritage sites! It has become one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world, and the underground life-size army of thousands has silently guarded over the soul of China's first unifier for more than two thousand years. Aside from the historical aspects, Xian has become a busy travel destination with restaurants, museums, ancient pagodas, and an interesting Muslim Quarter. The outskirts contain fascinating villages that are still operating as they have for hundreds of years.
Shaanxi Holding a prominent place in Chinese military history, Yan'an city it is considered a revolutionary holy place in China. It was the military headquarters during the Chinese Anti-Japanese War and China's War of Liberation and was the location of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Visiting the Yangjialing Revolutionary Site which is the former office of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Central Committee, is a memorable experience that offers a window on history. Open to the public since 1959, tourists can visit the Great Auditorium, the Office Building and especially the artificial caves carved into hillsides which were the residences legends like Chairman Mao! The exhibition also contains many relics of high historical importance.
Aside from the historical tour, it has also a number of natural wonders, including the Hukou Waterfalls of the Yellow River. The famous river, second only to the Yangtze, runs through nine provinces on its way to the Bohai Sea and nature has seen to it that some magnificence can be found along the course. As the River flows through the many mountains and gorges to Hukou, the water tumbles over the rocks from the second largest waterfall in China. As the riverbed of the Falls resembles a teapot, the waterfall has been named Hukou Waterfalls (Kettle Spout Falls). A sight to see! The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is another must see in the province, and it contains many of Chinaâ€™s sacred spaces for their ancient leaders. In the main hall, the "Great Hall of Man and Civilizations's First Ancestor" there is a beautiful sculpture of the Emperor and a magnificent shrine decorated with some Chinese spiritual animals, a dragon, a tiger, a vermilion bird and a black turtle. The mausoleumâ€™s aspects are matched by the surrounding park. It is one of the top parks in China and it is home to over 60,000 mature cypress trees, 30,000 of which are over one thousand years old!
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
ansu province in the North West region of China historically marked the ‘end or beginning’ of China, depending on if you were traveling east towards Xi'an or west towards Central Asia and Europe. UNESCO has listed several locals in Gansu, the first of which are the Mogao Caves. These magnificent cells and sanctuaries in caves, originally constructed in 366AD, contain Buddhist art that dates from the 4th to the 14th century. Chinese authorities have preserved many of the caves with nearly 45,000 square meters of murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures! Astounding images from 1000 years of history offer glimpses of the past. One cave contains a vivid scene of cultural exchange along the Silk Road by showing a camel pulling a cart in a typical trade mission from a bygone period as well as scenes of workers in the fields and a line of warriors. Other images show the landscapes of Mount Wutai, which is an early example of artistic Chinese cartography. UNESCO has also listed some of the Zhangye Danxia Landform in Gansu Province. China’s ever changing landscape contains many different kinds of unique and beautiful settings. from towerCanadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Gansu ing karst mountains to grasslands to fast flowing rivers. But the stunning red sandstone beds of the Danxia Landforms are simply spectacular! Marked with dramatic colours, several Danxia Landforms are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites due to their natural and visual value. Many look straight out of a painting! The Great Wall flows through the province as well, and it houses Jiayuguan, the Wall’s most intact ancient military building still standing today. Dubbed the "First and
Greatest Pass Under Heaven", the pass was a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road. Touring the area, a visit to Jiayuguan city is a must as well. Lying in the Gobi Desert between Lanzhou and Dunhuang, the city started as a fortress built to protect the last frontier of the Chinese empire. Later it became an important part of the Silk Road and the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall. Tianshui is another visitor’s paradise for history and art. The city and its surroundings have played a vital role in the early history of China, as evidenced by all of the historic sites there. The large Dadiwan Site is a New Stone Age archeological site that dates back 7,800 to 4,800 years! Preserved homes and tools help tourists explore the ancient history of the city and area. Many cultural relics have been unearthed including simple chipped stone tools, specialized implements, and colored pottery. An interesting window on ancient China. The province is also home to Xiahe , home to the Labrang Tibetan Buddhist monastery, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside of Tibet. Spiritualists will enjoy the grand temples, variety of the festivals and the magnificent peaceful feeling present in the mountain forests.
hina’s history and longevity have given way to many locations that are protected under the UNESCO listings. In Ningxia, the Western Xia Imperial Tombs in the vast Gobi desert have offered a wealth of information about the Western Xia Dynasty. The glorious layout, tiered tomb walls, high towers and various mausoleum buildings confer a grandiose vision of the dynasty’s heyday. They are a must see for all visitors. The region also contains the Helan Mountains, an isolated desert mountain range that have recently become home to China’s Emerging wine industry. The entire region has seen heavy investment from both the government and businesses, and the ‘fruit’ of their labours are delicious!
Ningxia Zhongwei is a great place to take the family, especially the Shapotou tourist area that has a desert, a mountain, a river, and beautiful gardens. Shapotou is near the Tengger Desert, which is considered one of the most beautiful deserts in China. From the area’s hilltop, visitors can gaze at the desert to the north, and the oasis to the south. There are some unique activities as well, including a 1000-metre-long, 100-metre-high sand slide!
By far, the Yellow River Drift is an adventure every visitor should enjoy. Floating along the Yellow River on a raft is scary at first, but the course itself is quite safe. Experienced rafters ensure that the ride is safe and help passengers learn about and appreciate the landscapes along the way. Tongxin is home to one of oldest mosques in all of China. The Great Mosque in Wuzhong City displays typical Han architecture, well, except for the crescent moon on the roof! Built in the 14th century, it has played a part in the foundation of the People's Republic of China, as it was host to a public meeting that led to the formation of the Yuwang Hui Autonomous Government in 1939! A fascinating place to visit and a must see.
The capital, Yinchuan, lies in the middle of the Ningxia Plain and is sheltered by the high ranges of the Helan Mountains. Here you can find a high concentration of rock art. The main concentration of carvings is in Helankou, a gorge cutting through the mountain chain, and is called the Helankou Rock Engravings Park. They are the combined efforts of the nomads to the north and the farmers in the south to celebrate the two lifestyles. A treat for the eyes and a wondrous legacy through art.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
inghai province is located south of the Republic of Mongolia, east of Xinjiang, and north of Tibet in the far northern reaches of the massive Tibetan Plateau. UNESCO has placed the Quinghai Lake in the Qinghai Hoh Xil National Natural Reserve on their list. It has become a bird watcher’s paradise and the ecological environment and biodiversity offers a great deal for visitors, naturalists, scientists and nature lovers. It is a huge inland saline lake watershed and the surrounding streams and rivers have created the unique plateau wetland ecosystem which makes an ideal habitat for many wild animals, including the Tibetan Antelope and the endangered Przewalski's gazelle (Procapra przewalskii). A second UNESCO listing is the majestic Yardangs landscape clusters in the arid and desert regions. Dozens of meters high, these ridge-shaped Yardangs are imposing and some even look like a large fleet of ships in a vast sea. The most typical ones are shaped like towers or columns, but there are some that appear in animal shapes like eagles, horses and turtles. It is very surreal and visiting it is like visiting Mars! There are many interesting areas to visit in this province, and Qinghaihu National Park is an amazing stop. The park contains the Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Qinghai largest lake in China, and the Bird Island National Park, one of the world’s most important wetlands, is under the protection of the International Wetland Protection Treaty. Bird lovers know that this park is one of the best bird refuges in the world, but it can be equally beautiful for regular tourists! As well, the annual Tour of Qinghai Lake is a professional road bicycle racing race held since 2002. The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2HC race as part of the UCI Asia Tour. Camping is also an option, with lakeside lots and sunrises so spectacular that you will never want it to end. Another park, the HuZhu BeiShan National Forest Park, is a beautiful forest park with
mountains, valleys and lakes with stunning waterfalls as well. The mountains and valleys are beautiful, and the drive there was spectacular. On the Langshidang side of the park there are hotels and tourist welcoming centres. The Zhalonggou side is a little more remote and quiet. The Zha Long Temple, a small Buddhist temple, is the only sight other than lots of small farms with cows and other animals, and as you get to the Park there is waterfall near the parking area! Huangzhong is the home of the famous Kumbum Monastery, a fascinating place that offers visitors a glimpse at a real, working monastery with monks at their prayers to the Buddha. Here you can see the monks working the prayer wheels and going about their day’s labours. The tour offers a trip to the Dalai Lama’s residence, which was simple, quiet and peaceful – just as you would imagine! In Golmud, the second largest city in Qinghai, we find the start of the QinghaiTibet Railway. Taking the train allows tourists to travel through the province’s amazing Chaerhan Salt Lake. More than 160 kilometers long and 30 wide, it is surrounded by endless desert. It is a sight to behold, as on days with lots of sun, the surface of the lake looks like a huge mirror or a boundless sea. A must see!
injiang is located in the North West of China, in the Mongolian Uplands and was a key city on the Silk Road and a hub for east-west cultural exchanges in ancient times. Visiting here is a treat and UNESCO has listed Xinjiang Tianshan, part of one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, the Tianshan mountain system. Whether driving or biking or hiking, the beauty of this place is undeniable. Snowy mountains glaciers, forests and meadows, clear rivers and lakes that have remained undisturbed for ages. Added to this natural beauty, UNESCO also notes that the landscapes contrast with the neighbouring desert, offering the best of opportunities for photographers and naturists. Even more, the ecosystems of the site have been in place since the Pliocene epoch and offer biologists and scientists an exceptional example of ongoing biological and ecological evolutionary progression. In addition to this scientific marvel, the site continues into the Taklimakan Desert, one of the worldâ€™s largest and highest deserts! Xinjiang Tianshan is, above all, a home for some rare and endangered species of plants and animals.
Xinjiang ancient region and explore the influence of China in the area. The museum includes sections that explore history, pastoral arts, jade and other sections that are as fascinating as they are informative. Karakol Lake is a magnificent lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains. The lake is a destination of choice for travellers for its beautiful scenery and clear water, whose color ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue.
Tianshan Tianchi Lake is another beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. After climbing several thousand meters to the top of the mountain, you can take a trolley until you reach the lake. Picturesque and breathtaking, you can take a short boat ride around the lake or hike the mountains! For a change of pace, a visit to the capital city Urumqi is just the thing. Here, highrise apartments and business centres replace the peace and quite of the countryside. Though not an historic city, its museum is excellent and there are some very interesting districts and tourist attractions like Hongshan Park. This is a great a great place to walk and enjoy great views of the city, best from the hilltop pagoda, which has become the cityâ€™s icon.
The Xinjiang Silk Road Museum is a must visit for history fans. In the Museum, visitors learn about the civilizations of the Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Article & Photography by Steve Gillick
ravellers seeking that important connection with the destination they visit, need search no further. Winnipeg, Manitoba has been at the forefront of ‘connections’ for 6000 years. The Forks, where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, is a great place to start, with Parks Canada tours that provide a quick and easy history (‘6000 years in 60 Minutes’) while walking the land and explaining the buildings, monuments and plaques that tell the story of the city. The Oodena Celebration Circle is front and centre at the Forks. The Ojibway word
Celebrating Canada’s 150th
meaning ‘the heart of the community’ honours the connection between the sky and the earth, that includes lenses through which visitors can peer at night to view the mythological constellations that support the creation beliefs of Indigenous people around the world. And with the message that every metre of earth at the Forks represents 1000 years of history, our guide spoke about the Indigenous groups who called the Forks their meeting place, the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur traders in the 17th century, the Selkirk Settlers in the 18th Century, the role of the Métis in building the
land, the success of Louis Riel in defending the rights of the Métis in the 19th Century, and ultimately the creation of the Province of Manitoba in 1870. And each one of the guides, curators and museum directors we met throughout our visit spoke about the vital connections between the people and the land. The directions to walk from the Forks to the Saint Boniface Museum are easy. Take the Esplanade Riel on the Provencher Bridge, past “Mon Ami Riel’ (My friend Riel), the only restaurant-on-a-bridge in North America, to the giant bust of Louis Riel down the street. This is where the Museum
Director, Vania Gagnon told us about JeanBaptist Lagimodière, a fur trader, and his wife Marie-Anne Gabouray, who was the first European woman to marry a French Canadian and settle in Red River (Winnipeg) in 1812. One of the couple’s children married a man by the name of Louis Riel, who had a son, named Louis Riel, who became the founder of Manitoba. And Vania Gagnon knows, as her maiden name is Lagimodière and she is Louis Riel’s first cousin, five times removed. Darlene Wight at the WAG, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, has an envious job. As the Curator of Inuit Art, she not only travels to various communities in northern Manitoba, Ontario and Nunavut, but she brings back Aboriginal myths conveyed through beautifully carved sculptures, prints, drawings, textiles, dolls and clothing. In fact the WAG has the largest collection of Inuit Art in the world. A small portion is on display in various museum galleries while the others (13,000 pieces in total) rest in a closed vault (that I was allowed to visit), waiting for the new Inuit Art Centre to open in 2019. And for those looking for a more modest collection of Indigenous art, Neechi Commons is the place to go. Louise Champagne, the President of the Co-op explained that Neechi is a Cree word that implies ‘relationships’ and community connections. The Commons includes the Neechi Niche consignment store (that began as a way for locals to barter homemade crafts, such as moccasins, for groceries), Kookum’s (Grandmother’s) Bakery that specializes in Bannock (the traditional Indigenous Canadian bread), a grocery store, and an entire wall featuring the works of local artists, which also serves as a touch of colour, charm and visual conversation for the diners in the Bison Berry Restaurant. This is where I had my Bonnie Burger, consisting of a Bison patty with spinach, goat cheese, mozzarella and sautéed onions, on a Bannock Bun. It was so good and filling that I couldn’t finish my delicious dessert of Wild Rice Pudding! For an exciting experience of a different kind, Winnipeg’s Exchange District is a
National Historic Site containing the largest collection of Heritage buildings on the continent. Festivals, shops, art galleries, theatres and restaurants are the hallmark of the area. One of my favourite places for lunch or dinner is the Peasant Cookery. Aside from their excellent cocktails and wine list, the food is simply amazing (try the King Salmon). In the days of the Fur Traders however, the main food was Buffalo meat in the form of Pemmican, a powder-like, high protein, easy to carry, nutriment. Today, visitors can learn about Buffalo first hand at Fort Whyte Alive, just south of the city. On the Bison Safari, visitors get up-close-and-personal with 30 or so adult Bison and new-born calves that are grazing, nursing, sleeping and wallowing in the dirt. And with Buffalo in mind, we visited the Manitoba Museum where a life-size diorama of a Métis Buffalo hunt near the entrance ensures that visitors appreciate the contribution of the Métis and the importance of the buffalo to the history of the province. The Museum collection includes some 26,000 artifacts from the Hudson’s Bay Company, along with exhibits that showcase the Inuit as well as First Nations such as the Dene, Algonquin, Cree,and Ojibway. In an effort to dispel the believe that Canadian tourism consists of “Mounties, Mountains and Moose”, the Oak Hammock Marsh, about 40 minutes north of Winnipeg, offers a fascinating adventure into wetlands, wildlife and wonderment. This is where I learned that my wing span (actually my stretched-out arms) was the same as a Great Grey Owl, which coincidentally is the Provincial Bird of Manitoba. On the boardwalk through the marsh, we feasted on the cucumber/watermelon taste of cattail stems, as well as the sights and sounds of Redhead Ducks, Green-winged Teals, Red-winged Blackbirds, American White Pelicans and Tree Swallows. While the muskrats and beavers seemed to be sleeping in their dens, a colony of Richardson’s Ground Squirrels was actively scampering in and out of their burrows.
One of the highlights of my visit was 45 the ‘Bird in the Hand Experience’ that involves banding birds. After their capture in special nets, each bird has it’s leg fitted with an identification band, their wing length measured and their belly fat checked to see if they are about to migrate or have just completed part of the migratory route that stretches from the Yukon to the Gulf of Mexico. The birds are then weighed and released. I was thrilled to personally hold and release two tiny Yellow-rumped Warblers. But without doubt, one of Winnipeg’s main attractions is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The stunning design by Antoine Predock fulfilled the architect’s three goals: to showcase Canada, to welcome the people of the world into the building, and to have the design incorporate the perspective of the Indigenous people. Connecting the earth to the sky, the building design features four roots representing Mother Earth, prairie grasses, a cloud that mimics the wings of a dove (and represents peace), all rising to the Tower of Hope. Throughout the Museum galleries, the theme that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” is presented with a reassuring sub-theme of “moving from darkness to light”. For visitors who take the Indigenous Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour, they will learn about the Seven Sacred Animals and their teachings that are found throughout the building: The Buffalo (Respect), Eagle (Love), Bear (Courage), Sabe (Honesty), Beaver (Wisdom), Wolf (Humility) and Turtle (Truth). This is a Museum experience like none other. And when you experience Winnipeg you quickly come to realize that this is a city like no other. Winnipeg is a vibrant, exciting city that responds to the needs and special interests of visitors and provides opportunities at every step for physical, visual and spiritual connections with the land of the people.
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Cruising Cuba with Celestyal’s Crystal -
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Norwegian, Alibaba Partner to Enter China Cruise Market Norwegian Cruise Lines recently announced that it was partnering with Chinese commerce giant Alibaba Group to help the cruise line reach customers in the growing China market. The partnership will see Alibaba supporting Norwegian Cruise Line with customer engagement, online-to-offline experiences, and data insights. The new 3,883-passenger Norwegian Joy will begin sailing from Shanghai at the end of June. The ship is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship custom-designed for the Chinese market, combining the best of the East and the West. The ship will officially be christened during an event in Shanghai on June 27, featuring Chinese pop star Wang Leehom.
Crystal Announces Complete Redesigns of Symphony & Serenity The most awarded luxury ships in the world are set to undergo their most extensive redesigns in their respective histories, as Crystal unveils the complete plans for Crystal Symphony’s and Crystal Serenity’s dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the “Evolution of Crystal Luxury,” in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury. The plans for Crystal’s two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privatelyowned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years.
Avalon Widens the Possibilities to Sail Asia’s
The re-imagined Delfin III (formerly the Amazon Discovery) launched earlier this year and offers three, four and six-night cruises in 2017 through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the largest and most richly diverse area in the Amazon region. The vessel provides guests with an immersive rainforest experience while treating them to the highest level of luxury. The ship has a capacity for up to 43 passengers and is furnished with the finest details: hardwood floors, designer furniture, and handmade Peruvian artifacts. Guests have the option of four room classes: on the first deck there are eight suites co mplete with floor to ceiling panoramic windows, plus two spacious corner suites facing out the front of the ship. The second deck is comprised of 10 upper suites and the largest suite, the Owner's Suite. The top deck features a beautiful indoor/outdoor lounge, sundeck with plunge pool, a spa and gym, and bar.
Most Narrow Waterways A journey on one of Asia’s great rivers offers a tapestry of fascinating sights, colorful cultures and ancient traditions. A journey on Avalon Waterways’ smaller ships widens the possibilities, getting travelers closer to all the must-see sights and introducing them to new destinations, locals and their way of life. On the heels of unveiling two, NEW 36-guest Suite Ships® on the Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers in two years, Avalon Waterways has announced plans to cruise farther into the Far East by increasing its fleet – and vacation portfolio – with another Suite Ship for the Mekong River – the Avalon Saigon – and new ways to see and explore Southeast Asia.
Contiki is to begin selling U by Uniworld, a new type of river cruising product designed for travellers between the ages of 21-45 launched by sister company Uniworld.
The river cruises will run throughout the European summer months with 18 departures dates on each trip itinerary from March – November, with the first departure in March 2018.
Travellers can select from four U by Uniworld river cruising itineraries, offering trips of eight days in duration: The Seine Experience, All in on Germany, The Danube Flow and Rolling on the Rhine along the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine rivers. The river cruises incorporate overnight stops and longer stays in major cities including Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest. All trips include 14 meals, welcome reception, dedicated U Cruise host, eight included excursions and 12 U Time optional adventures for travellers to enjoy. On-board amenities include a gym, a cocktail bar serving up a signature U cocktail, and energetic and friendly crew to take care of your needs whether onboard or onshore.
U by Uniworld brings a Contiki touch to the Uniworld River cruising experience, with inclusions relevant to the millennial traveller. Ships offer sunrise yoga on deck and bikes on board for exploring each destination, allowing travellers to stay active while indulging in included wine tasting and expert cocktail mixology classes. For the night owls, there are two bars to choose from, as well as a rooftop lounge where local guest DJs will be invited aboard to host exclusive parties in an open-air environment. The whole experience offers a slower pace of travel that provides a different perspective on Europe, travelling on some of the world’s most iconic rivers.
Contiki and U by Uniworld Launch River Cruising for the Millennial Market
VIKING RIVER CRUISES UNVEILS NEW SHIP DESIGN IN EGYPT All-Suite Viking Ra Will Begin Sailing New Nile River
Cruisetour in Spring 2018 Viking River Cruises has announced details of the newest addition to its river fleet, Viking Ra™. Recently acquired, the vessel has been stripped down to the steel to undergo a complete renovation that will reflect Viking’s award-winning Scandinavian design. Tailored to an intimate sailing experience for just 48 guests, Viking Ra will sail the Nile River on a new Egypt cruisetour, Pharaohs & Pyramids, that will launch in March 2018.
The newly rebuilt, all-suite Viking Ra will boast 24 staterooms that will exclusively accommodate 48 Viking guests for an intimate cruising experience. Named in honor the Egyptian sun god Ra, Viking
Ra’s name also pays homage to the great Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his papyrus-reed boats Ra and Ra II. Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®, Viking Ra will be a state-of-the art ship with the clean, elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known blended with local influences like traditional geometric Arabic patterns and terrazzo floors. Viking Ra will help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings and will feature: All Suite Staterooms, Pool and Two Jacuzzis, Spa, Onboard Dining, Bar and Lounge and Enriching Entertainment.
Viking Ra Designed for Destination Cruising
“Egypt is one of the most intriguing countries in the world, and it remains a top destination for many of our guests,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “For two decades, we have led the industry in river cruising with our innovative ship design and itineraries that bring our guests closer to the cultures of the world. We are committed to Egypt, and with the introduction of Viking Ra, we look forward to providing our award-winning service to our guests on the Nile – and to their experiencing this culturally rich region in the Viking way.”
Cruising Cuba with
by Olivia Balsinger
Whatever the reason was, two things were certain: First, I knew I needed to visit this lively yet mysterious island. And second, when the opportunity arose for me to embark on Celestyal Cruises sevenday itinerary circumnavigating Cuba on the Crystal, I knew that any prior obligations would be put on the back burner.
Though I had never pictured my first venture to Cuba being on a cruise ship, in retrospect I believe it is one of the most comprehensive ways to see as many pockets of this multifaceted country as possible.
The Celestyal Experience In November Celestyal announced that Crystal would be sailing to Cuba yearround, after five years of seasonal journeys. While costs of cabin vary by size and season, all are inclusive of shore excursions, meals, onboard presentations, gratuities and port charges. Drink packages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are not included and must be purchased separately for a nominal fee.
We set sail for the island in the most Cuban way possible: with mojitos flowing and a groove in our step at the ship’s disco.
Santiago de Cuba Santiago de Cuba, the former capital on the Eastern tip and Cuba’s second largest city, is an essential first stop for understanding Cuba’s intricate history. Santiago significantly pulsates its Afro-Cuban roots; accordingly, Celestyal’s itinerary focused on bringing this pivotal chapter in the country's history book to the forefront: We listened to speakers discuss the city’s significance at the AfroCuban Cultural center, watched (and participated!) in a lively dance performance and wandered through The Revolutionary Square.
Day One: Montego Bay, Jamaica I began my journey on a Friday in Montego Bay, Jamaica, which is one of the two possible embarkations (the other being Havana on the subsequent Monday). I spent my morning exploring the colorful town known for its reggae music, hospitality and fishing villages, prior to arriving at the terminal (about a 15-minute drive from Sangster International Airport) mid afternoon. After a swift boarding process, I attended a presentation on Cuban visual arts and culture, prepping us for the week to come.
Santiago is also known as the birthplace of the Cuban Revolution, as it is here where
uba has resided at the top of my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. Maybe it has something to do with my affinity with Dirty Dancing, in my opinion one of the most exquisite movies of all time. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fascinating contrast between how different our cultures are and yet how close our geography. Even more, it could be the the people, the history, the revolutionary spirit lingering in the air, the lack of advertisements saturating the cityscapes.
Fidel Castro first attacked the country’s army barracks in 1963 and where he chose to rest after his recent death. Our tour group took a special detour to the graveyard and witness this moment of history, melding past and present.
Full Day at Sea On the third day of our journey, we sailed from Santiago to Havana. Despite the Crystal having modest recreational facilities, I never once found myself twiddling thumbs in boredom. While there may not be an IMAX movie theater or miniature golf course onboard, I continued to learn about Cuba’s storied past-- from stimulating lectures on topic ranging from Cuban musical instruments and religious history to cooking classes with Cuban chefs.
how Cuba is portrayed to Cubans. Afterwards I dined in a Cuban paladar—a restaurant run by self-employers, normally in private homes. The delicious spread consisted of rice, beans and tres leches cake, which I indulged surrounded by warmth and hospitality in a converted and charming Cuban living room. I then took a quintessential ride around town in a 1958 hot pink Cadillac, blasting Cuban salsa music, the salty Atlantic Ocean breeze tickling my nostrils on El Malecon, Havana’s roadway parallel to the ocean. We spent our sixth day on board sailing from Havana towards Cienfuegos, on the southern coast, with a plethora of activities to enjoy.
Our first day in the capital gave us “a real taste of Havana” beginning in the Old City Center, comprising of a stunning mix of Baroque monuments and colorful private residences. Our guide, a Havana native, was an exceptional spokeswoman, seamlessly weaving personal anecdotes into the nation’s intricate history book. She led us on a walking tour through Old Havana (Habana Vieja), where we saw Saint Francis of Assisi Square, Cathedral Square and the Royal Forces castle.
On the seventh day, we boarded a bus to Trinidad, so pristinely preserved, we may have been stepping into a page from a history book. All my senses were stimulated as I walked about town—I enjoyed simultaneously listening to the sultry tones of a Cuban street band (and, yes, I also participated by shaking maracas!), catching whiffs of dust from years past mixing with fried plantains from the local paladar and ogling at bright building pastels. Trinidad is where tourists from North America experience untouched Cuba.
Our group then visited the outdoor mosaic instillations of legendary Cuban ceramicist and graphic artist, Jose Fuster, who famously turned around a somewhat depressed and grim neighborhood by way of his art. That evening we witnessed a spectacle of a performance at the Tropicana—one of the few nightclubs that survived (and thrived!) during the Revolution.
Montego Bay The last day of our cruise brought us back to Montego Bay and although I knew I would very much miss Cuba, I disembarked with a bottle of Havana club rum, two cigars and, of course, memories that will last lifetimes.
Where You’ll Sleep Following an evening at the legendary Tropicana club, I woke up in Havana, admittedly exhausted yet eager to continue exploring. I spent the morning visiting both The Fine Arts Museum and the neighboring Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolución). Both were stunning insights into
The Crystal boasts 476 staterooms (317 are outside cabins and 163 are inside cabins.) There are 15 cabin types to choose from aboard the ship, accommodating individual needs and budgets. Staterooms are equipped with air conditioning, telephones, televisions and hairdryers.
“cruise ship meals,” I was pleasantly surprised with Crystal's dining.
For more casual dining, guests may opt for the 9th floor self-serve Leda Buffet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The two more formal dining rooms on board, The Olympus Restaurant and The Amalthia Restaurant, are that perfect balance of sophistication and authenticity. I was delighted to have choice of multiple Cuban dishes during lunch and dinners. After dinner, I would often find myself in the Eros Lounge, relaxing and unwinding among a crowd of fellow passengers. With a martini in hand and the onboard band's melody in the air, I'd reflect on my day of adventures and wander what next is in store. Feeling restless? Check out the panoramic Horizons Bar on the top deck, which becomes a popular disco for young and young-at-heart alike and is open until the wee hours of the morning.
Vamos a Cuba! The Celestyal journey to Cuba is perfect for seasoned travelers who hope to do more than lounging poolside and sipping a margarita. The program is for the intellectually curious, young and old. On my journey, I met fellow travelers from all walks of life. I would ask them why they were here and they each said something similar. They had a desire to learn and experience the intricacies of a country that for so long had suffered from civil war, invasion and political polarization. Celestyal allows visitors the opportunity to witness the Cuba of today, a bright and colorful nation that acknowledges its history, but also boasts a sense of exuberant pride. It is hard to explore this island country with Celestyal Cruises and not become captivated by the history and the beauty of the Cuban people.
Passengers may pay for Wi-Fi to enjoy anywhere on board, which is certainly helpful as internet connections are unreliable and rare on land.
Where You’ll Eat & Drink Though I’ve never been one to flock to buffets or especially enjoy those quintessential
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Seven Reasons an Inaugural Voyage May Be the Ultimate Cruise Vacation
Celebrity Edge Villa
Glamorous Champagne Christenings & Outlandish Celebrations by Cruise Compete
n inaugural cruise: The phrase brings to mind the exclusive nature of glamorous champagne christenings, celebrity godmothers and brand-new ship features and amenities. Avid cruisers add these voyages to the top their vacation lists, due to the many perks and bonuses of the sailings. CruiseCompete has compiled a list of seven things to love about an inaugural cruise. 1. Global Celebrations Depending on the significance of the ship, there may be a very impressive pompand-circumstance inaugural ceremony, with esteemed guests from all over the world. Then too, the arrival of a new ship in port may be cause for local celebrations all along the voyage, with festivities in several cities during the course of the itinerary.
remember your voyage. Sometimes the lines even go a bit further, giving each cabin a very special present, usually customized, worth $50 or more. 3. Introductory Pricing To create interest in the ship, some maiden voyages offer rates on an itinerary that will be priced significantly higher in the future. Since public opinion has not yet been formed and the cruise lines are eager to put their best foot forward, the inaugural sailing of a ship can sometimes translate to a steal on cruise fares.
Just like a new house, or car, there’s a certain appeal to being on a brand-new ship…. where accommodations have no wear and tear, and there’s no sign of the passengers who have come before. Every part of the ship is in untouched condition – the rooms are pristine, the carpets spotless, and every dish, sheet and towel has never been used. Is there such a thing as a new-ship smell? There’s only one way to find out. 7. Customized Services
You’ve been written into a page of history as a member of the “elite” group of passengers present for the very first sailing of a new ship. Not to mention, there are some serious bragging rights that go along with being able to say, "I was on the maiden voyage of that beautiful ship". 5. Beyond Special Amenities
4. The Excitement of Exclusivity
2. A Memorable Voyage The lines frequently offer mementos to passengers of a maiden voyage. When Cunard's Queen Mary 2 launched, she offered "Limited Edition" QM2 maidenvoyage commemorative items, including tshirts, playing cards, cups and saucers, stamps, baseball caps and key chains… and even painted ostrich eggs! These small souvenirs are a tangible way to
6. An Immaculate, Sparkling Environment.
Positive word of mouth is the key to better booking for future sailings, so the line may offer extra special food options, entertainment and activities. Passengers on a maiden voyage can take advantage of perks that may not exist on future sailings.
Because the shipboard routine is still fluid, the ship’s staff tends to be quite flexible with things like menus, seating options and the scheduling of on-board activities. There is an accommodating flow in areas that simply won’t be possible on later cruises as schedules solidify. There is unquestionably something special about being on board a cruise ship during the inaugural cruise, but these voyages do fill up early. There are currently 79 ships scheduled to debut from 2017 to 2020. To research upcoming maiden voyages, please visit the Inaugural Cruises section on:
Carnival Vista Skyride
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All aboard! Debunking popular cruise myths by Tully Luxury Travel
ruising is one of the most popular ways to travel the world, with more than 20 million people heading for the seas each year. But, armed with images of bland food buffets and overcrowded ports, some still view cruising as a shameful stain on real travel. Here at Tully Luxury Travel, our experts have been cruising for three decades and sending our clients on dazzling holidays around the world on ships of all kinds. We truly believe that in today’s cruise market, there is a perfect ship for every kind of traveler. Don’t believe us? Read on as we debunk the most common myths and misconceptions about cruising. Myth: I’ll be so bored! Truth: Being “stuck” on a ship with nothing to do is one of the top reasons why travelers overlook cruising as a viable option for
travel. While cruise ships vary in style and size, all of them contain a world of options for onboard entertainment. The key is choosing the right ship for your entertainment needs. Some of the large mega-ships have everything from fitness centres and multiplex theatres to multiple restaurants, nightclubs, casinos and Broadway-style shows — not to mention a dizzying array of waterslides, pools and glitzy attractions. On these ships, you would be hard-pressed to enjoy all the offerings during a weeklong sailing.
Expeditions cruises can include adventure activities such as hiking volcanos, biking on mountains and diving in coral reefs. Yacht cruises offer water adventurers even more options. Crystal’s Esprit, for example, comes with top-of-the-line water equipment like speedboats, paddle boards and even a deep-sea submersible. Solo cruisiers will find more ships now offer cabins for one. Norwegian, for example, has cabins designed for single travelers of all ages and includes a private lounge for these guests to relax and mingle.
Different cruise companies offer other types of entertainment. Enjoy lectures and enrichment programs? Some Cunard ships offer technology classes, workshops from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and stargazing presentations from the Royal Astronomical Society.
Myth: The ports are overcrowded tourist traps.
Myth: I’m too young for a cruise! Truth: At some point in time, cruising got the reputation of being a pastime of retired folks. Although many retirees have discovered the joy of cruising, this is certainly not the only demographic that can enjoy a good cruise. Different companies offer activities and itineraries for all ages and group sizes, including solo travelers and multi-generational families.
Truth: If a popular port of call is not your idea of a good time, consider a cruise that goes off the beaten path. Yes, you read that correctly — contrary to popular belief, cruises do travel beyond the most popular ports of call. In fact, cruises can sometimes visit places that are only accessible by air or sea. Have you ever heard of Severozapadniy Cape? This is one of the stops aboard a Silversea cruise to Russia’s rarely visited Far East, where travelers walk along waterlogged dirt roads to a sea lion rookery on the north side of the cape. Or perhaps a see following page
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cruise along the mighty Mekong River that separates Vietnam and Cambodia is more to your liking? National Geographic hosts expedition cruises along this waterway, stopping to explore traditional villages. And if you are dreaming of a sunny getaway closer to home but don’t want the hassle of overcrowded ports, many smaller cruise lines head to out-of-the-way Caribbean ports that have less tourists and more beach space. Myth: Food is bland and always served buffet-style. Truth: Much like large resorts, cruises do rely on buffets as an efficient way to feed a large group of people. But long-gone are the days of bland buffets! Most large ships these days offer a variety of restaurants — some buffet and some a la carte — with fresh ingredients and many styles of cuisine.
With a luxury cruise, you can experience 5star cuisine that can be enjoyed in the dining room or served on your private verandah, course by course. The movement for culinary excellence with cooking workshops and enrichment programs are now the norm. You can even have the opportunity to shop with a chef at a local market and enjoy an amazing meal with locally sourced produce. Myth: I need a ball gown/tuxedo for dinner. Truth: Although formal attire was once the cruise norm, most cruise lines now offer a far more relaxed dress code. Some still host formal nights where guests are encouraged to wear formal attire, but others encourage a more country club casual feel in the evenings. The good news is that there is a cruise out there for both types of people and everyone in between! Much like resorts, each cruise ship will have their own rules and norms, so choose one that fits your ideal. Myth: Time is so regimented on cruises. Truth: No longer do cruise lines dictate that you have to eat at the same time every night at the same table. Cruises now offer freestyle and open dining options, allowing guests to eat when they want and with whom they choose. Your schedule is completely in your hands — from dining to activities to relaxation. Do as much or as little as you choose.
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Myth: I can’t go on a cruise - I get seasick! Truth: Nowadays, almost all ships come with fixed stabilizers to help control and reduce the ship’s “rock n’ roll” due to strong winds and waves. Half the time you barely even feel the ship moving unless you’re really focusing on it. If you are very worried about the amount of movement, book an itinerary that’s prone to calmer waters, like the Caribbean, and reserve a cabin that’s located mid-ship and lower level — these tend to move less than cabins in the bow or stern of the ship. Or better yet, book a river cruise — nothing but smooth sailing!
Established in 1987, Tully Luxury Travel has longstanding relationships with the finest travel and tourism suppliers, and we offer world-class customer service through our three divisions: Cruise Professionals, African Dreams and Private Travel Designers. Why Contact a Cruise Professional? · Exclusive Amenities offered on ALL sailings · VIP access to sites often closed to the general public · Condé Nast Traveler “World’s Top Travel Specialist” since 1999 Find out which is the best itinerary for you and receive exclusive amenities when you book with a Cruise Professional by Tully Luxury Travel. Call today at 1-888-351-6772.
An Ode to Vimy Ridge & Canadian battlefields Article & Photography by Ilona Kauremszky
imy Ridge is one of those haunting places that look beautiful from the outset.
Surrounded by fields of green, the manicured lawn by the Douai Plain spreads over the rolling hillocks embraced by tall maple trees and at its epicentre stands the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a jewel in the French countryside.
Brief Backgrounder The memorial, an 11 years-in-the-making stone structure, was unveiled in 1936 by King Edward VIII to honour the Canadian fallen soldiers in a battle that has been described by historians as: “the Birth of a Nation.” Four divisions of the Canadian Corps that had never fought together came together here with the purpose to overtake the now infamous ridge. It was Easter. April 9, 1917. There was sleet, snow and muddy mounds mixed with blood and bones. The carnage was obscene, unimaginable. Out of 10,602 casualties, 3,598 Canadians gave their lives. Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as “missing, presumed dead” in France. For bravery and heroism, Canada was awarded four Victoria Crosses considered the highest medal for military valour for this blood-spattered battle that occurred over 3 days. They were: Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.
The Canadian Battlefields Tour This spring I attended the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge thanks to a special 11-day niche tour offered by Trafalgar Canada titled the Canadian Battlefields Tour. People ask me, “How did you get to see the ceremony?” The premier tour operator made it possible for my group to be there. With 70 years of touring experience under its belt Trafalgar is a pro on logistics handling the group transfers as it fulfilled the advanced booking procedures required by Veterans Affairs Canada. Every attendee was registered and the site was restricted and
Celebrating Canada’s 150th
secured, meaning once you were inside the Vimy area you cannot leave.
The #Vimy100 Ceremony I could not be prouder to be a Canadian. Among the 25,000 estimated Canadians in attendance, half of them were students. The atmosphere was electric. There was not a cloud in the sky, only plenty of sunshine with summer-like conditions. You heard chatter pre-ceremony, silence during the ceremony, and more chatter post-ceremony. In our time-starved world it’s difficult for most to put in time to create personal travel packages but this is where Trafalgar Canada comes in. Travellers can explore places many only could imagine in an engaging 3-country-in-1 European programme to England, France, and Belgium. The focus of my recent guided vacation was to commemorate some of the key World War I and II Canadian battlefields of Western Europe. While the themes sound like heavy topics, Trafalgar Canada managed to complete the memorable trip featuring a post war celebratory theme of dance, champagne and dining in cities like Rheims and Paris, which went off with great success. For this odyssey, Trafalgar has meshed a land and sea combination which began in the gateway city of London and smoothly transitioned to smaller hubs that held their own incredible discoveries. On those travel days as the spacious Wi-Fi enabled motor coach drove the major thoroughfares, extra site visits not found on the itinerary dubbed as “Hidden Treasures” added that much more to the experiences.
England One day our motor coach turned onto a roadway laden in a mash-up of modern boxy buildings and Georgian-style edifices. It was our first hidden treasure: the Southwick House Park outside Portsmouth, England. Southwick House has been lauded as the headquarters for the D-Day invasion which was planned by the main Allied command-
ers: Eisenhower, Montgomery and Ramsay. A must-see of this WWII landmark is the large wall maps studded in original markings used in finalizing plans for D-Day’s Operation Overlord. Mr. William Dick, a retired master at arms from Scotland, summarized the operations brilliantly for our group. Afterwards we drove to the ancient port town of Portsmouth. Located on the edge of England, there’s a rich mariner history as ships have departed England, crossing the English Channel dating back as early as King Henry VIII times. Today, Portsmouth is a popular seaside town for the ferry crossing to France. For stellar harbour views and aerial shots head to the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. The 107-metre tower houses an observation level, a glass floor dubbed, SkyWalk, and the Clouds Café popular for high tea afternoons.
Our two-night stay in Lille proved to be a good overnight hub in north eastern France. The city is near the France-Belgium border which made sightseeing possible to view the abundant World War I memorial sites in both countries. By the green fields of Flanders in western Belgium lies the medieval town of Ypres (Ieper). One of the cities destroyed during WWI, the ancient town has been beautifully restored and remains a significant stop on any Canadian battlefields tour. During the entire war period (1914-1918) Ypres was the scene of some of the most important battles in the First World War, later referred to as the Great War. The Ypres Salient is the area around Ypres in Belgium which was the scene of the war’s heaviest battles.
France The Last Post Ceremony Once we reached Caen by ferry we dialed back the clock to World War 2 retracing some of the Canadian battlefields in Normandy and visited the significant Canadian landing sites at St Aubin-sur-Mer and Bernieres-sur-Mer. Along Juno Beach we saw the weathered coastline of the infamous D-Day Landings. “La Maison des Canadiens," or Canada House is regarded by some as one of the most iconic buildings in Canadian military history. It was one of the first houses liberated by Canadian soldiers on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and was one of our stops. Some of us laid down a symbolic miniature wooden cross given by our tour operator as a memento on this journey of remembrance. As we left Normandy we shifted gears, heading further back in history to explore the legacy of World War I. Trafalgar Canada has curated an itinerary to see several significant monuments which would have been otherwise impossible or difficult for the regular traveller to view. One day I calculated seven sites, a feat that I challenge any traveller to carry out on their own.
One of the most moving ceremonies I have ever witnessed takes place nightly at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The landmark is a sombre reminder on the tragedy of this Great War. Some 55,000 Allied soldiers who fought in the Ypres Salient have never been found. There is no resting place for them. No place to mourn until you reach this gate to see their names carved in stone. It didn’t take long for the crowd to grow by the Menin Gate. At one point the bulging size of six-row deep on either side as school children, families, and other groups lined beneath the historic gate in anticipation for the Last Post Ceremony. This nightly memorial first began in 1928 as a daily act of remembrance to Ypres’ missing Great War soldiers and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Volunteer buglers from the local fire brigade in Ypres start the moving ceremony. Traffic screeches to a halt. People bow their heads. Silence descends. We silently give thanks in this commemorative ode to the fallen. Lest we forget.
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
The Ultimate Treasure Hunt in Ontario’s Southwest Article and photography by Steve Gillick
ames Turland told us about the ultimate Treasure Hunt where “You set your own rules and challenges never end”. He confessed that, “I can’t wait to get up tomorrow. It’s as if every day, someone shakes the dice, and it’s a whole new game”. Of course James was referring to travel, but also to the newest cross-generational craze, birding. In his role as one of the guides at Rondeau Provincial Park, located in Morpeth, in Ontario’s Southwest, James leads hikes, especially around the migration seasons in May and August, when common and rare birds, displaying everything from dull camouflage to magnificent colourful plumage, choose Rondeau, or Long Point or Point Pelee as their oases or
Celebrating Canada’s 150th
‘gas stations’, to rest and fuel up for the next leg of the migratory journey. They move in on mass one day and could be gone the next. And birders by the hundreds, carting everything from huge zoom lenses to simple point-and-shoot cameras, converge on the area to catch a glimpse of a rare Prothonotary Warbler or a bright red Scarlet Tanager or a flashy orange Baltimore Oriole. Bruce Dilabio, our guide at Point Pelee National Park noted that for decades, birders were seen as geeks, but now ‘bird watching has become mainstream and digital photography has turned just about everyone into a photographer”. And this means that while some birders photographically shoot the birds, others seem
content to shoot themselves (selfies!) with a tiny dash of Avian colour in the background, while surrounded by a Carolinian forest. But it’s more serious than that. As James Turland humorously complained, “people get hooked going around the world to see more and more birds” and sure enough, the birders with whom we spoke, casually name-dropped destinations such as Panama, Costa Rica, Cuba, Antarctica and South Africa as places to visit, watch and photograph birds. James suggested that 1) Birds are the easiest form of wildlife for anyone to see, and 2) Travelers can combine birding with almost everything else they are doing, whether it’s relaxing on the beach, hiking a trail or exploring a new
destination. And this is exactly what we did on our way to participate in the annual Birding Festival. Just west of London, we traveled south of Highway 401 to Highway 3, the historic Talbot Trail, and found the Crazy 8 Barn. The 8 sided (octagonal) structure was built around 1898 for stabling animals. It was abandoned for many years before Susanne Spense dismantled it and with the help of her partner, Manfred Wiehle, rebuilt and opened it as a café, complete with home and garden furniture and curiosities for sale. It’s a great place to stop for lunch and have a chat with Susanne about the area attractions that include Clearville Park and the old Guyitt House, a ramshackle, almost ‘haunted-looking’ house just down the road. Before settling in for the evening, we visited Rondeau Provincial Park. The bird feeder at the Visitor’s Centre is enough to turn any sceptic into a birder, as Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Common Grackles and a few opportunistic squirrels and chipmunks came to dine on sunflower seeds, suet and oranges. And then a walk on Tulip Tree Trail led us to see Cardinals, Nuthatches, Oven Birds, Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, and more; a total of 27 different species in only a few hours. Our accommodation was in Ridgetown, a small community just 18 kilometers north of the Park. We stayed at the Dempster House, a cozy Bed and Breakfast on Main Street, and had dinner at Station 11, where friendly owner Wayne Yeck steered us toward the amazing Hawaiian Nachos (made with wantons), local craft beers and an impressive veggie pizza. But birders keep birding hours, so we were on the road at 5:30 the next morning to join James Turland’s bird hike. While some birders are ‘visual’ and therefore find it difficult to go anywhere without packing their binoculars, the majority of birders are both visual and audio (‘song sleuths’). They listen for the “peter, peter, peter’ call of the Tufted Titmouse, or the “sweet, sweet, sweet
I’m so sweet” tune of the Yellow Warbler. And so for the next three hours, in the spirit of a Treasure Hunt, we explored different areas of the Park, for a magical time listening and watching the birds. And this really brought up another attraction of birding, which is the love of physical exercise and the connection with nature, shared by many birders and travelers alike. With discovery on our minds we drove east to Erieau to check out the Bayside Brewing Company where two couples, Nancy Cowan and husband Ken, and Frank Thompson and his wife Josette, decided to start a brewery as a semi-retirement project. With a waterfront pub and a brewing operation that now requires a larger facility, the owners are anything but retired and thoroughly enjoying themselves as restauranteurs relating to customers, brewers sharing ideas with other craft brewers in Southwestern Ontario, and employers giving students a summer job. For the record, the two ales and two lagers they make are really good. We tried them all! It’s a pleasant one hour drive from Erieau to Kingsville where it’s only fitting to take the Lake Erie North Shore Wine Route, home to 20 wineries include Pelee Island Winery. The grapes are grown on the Island which is the southernmost point in Canada and has a climate similar to grape-growing regions in Europe. We enjoyed tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot. Our comfortable accommodation was not too far away, at the Heart and Soul Inn, located in a 1906 Victorian home. In the late afternoon we drove to Point Pelee National Park to enjoy the Twilight Delaurier Trail Hike (and to catch the dance of the Woodcocks), and then the next morning, just after sunrise, we were back at Point Pelee, on a morning hike of the Woodland Trail. The park is famous for songbirds so we were in Warbler-heaven with Nashville Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Cape May Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Black and White Warblers and the ubiquitous Yellow Warbler. This, aside from Wild Turkeys, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a very
friendly Scarlet Tanager who posed for us at the ‘Tip’ of Point Pelee. And again, the hundreds of people of all ages and all physical abilities who were exploring, admiring, zooming-in, photographing and thrilling at seeing the birds was inspiring. One woman confessed that this was the 47th year that she and her husband were attending the Birding Festival. On the last day of our journey we drove east to the town of Beachville where we met our hosts from Oxford County: Meredith Maywood, a Tourism Specialist and Phil Holst, the Vice-Chair of Stewardship. The purpose of our visit was to experience the Thames River Wetlands and see how the old riverbed was being revitalized into a productive natural area for wildlife and for the community. To that extent, Wood Ducks, Mallards, Canada Geese, Swallows, Whitetail Deer, Muskrats, Garter Snakes, Turtles, Song Sparrows, Red-tailed Hawks and Great Blue Herons have re-populated the wetland. It’s a project in the making with a focus on educating the next generation about the importance of wetlands and the migratory corridor. The Ultimate Treasure Hunt in Ontario’s Southwest is an exciting, challenging adventure that involves exploration, walking through forests, spotting birds, experiencing marshes and wetlands, as well as discovering areas of the province that tend to be a bit off the travel radar screen. Like any good Treasure Hunt, the rewards are in the form of the people you meet along the way, feelings of exhilaration and accomplishment, and golden memories.
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El Nido Cove Resort and Spa Palawan Island, Philippines by Daniel Smajovits
From the craziness of Manila to the serenity of Palawan Island, the Philippines is the hidden jewel of Southeast Asia. With over 7,500 islands, it is said that the country offers a perfect beach for everyone, but the country is so much more than white sand and crystal clear waters. World-class diving and snorkeling, millennia old man-made and natural wonders and a rich, albeit convoluted, history make this a premiere travel destination. Tucked away on Palawan Island is the tiny village of El Nido, which consistently ranked as one of the world’s best beach destinations. When looking to relax for a few days, look no further than the El Nido Cove Resort and Spa. The property rests on the tip of El Nido Bay and far enough north of the town to truly provide an escape and serenity from day-to-day life. Depending on your budget, you can choose between a Garden, Forest or Beachfront room, each of which is very spacious, modern and clean. With only 20 rooms in total, the property sells out quickly during peak season, which runs from December to February.
Traditional Bhutanese Bath House Opens at Gangtey Lodge Spa Gangtey Lodge invites guests on a journey into an ancient Bhutanese ritual in their new hot stone bath house. The signature treatment in this one of a kind setting combines ancient Bhutanese medicinal practices with unobstructed views of the magnificent Gangtey Valley in a specially prepared Bhutanese Dotsho, or hot stone bath. The Kingdom of Bhutan is historically known as Lhojong Menjong, The Southern Valley of Medicinal Herbs and the hot stone bath is a trusted ritual. The bath itself is constructed using local pinewood, river stones are collected and heated until red hot, fresh cold spring water is used to fill the bath and then finished with beautifully scattered Artemisia leaves.
With a full service restaurant, open throughout the day and into the evening, the hotel offers complimentary breakfast and a moderately priced menu so guests can skip the 20-minute tricycle ride into town. As El Nido is still a fishing village today, visitors should at least make the trip in for one dinner, where beachfront restaurants offer a wide selection of local fish and seafood, grilled to your liking, for under $10 a person.
Gangtey Lodge offers guests a unique and exciting insight into the beautiful Gangtey Valley of Bhutan. Nestled high in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan still maintains its incredible natural beauty and traditional ways of life. The lodge, with its spectacular setting and sweeping views over the whole valley, acts as a luxurious base for a series of adventures and excursions. Drawing inspiration from the unique and beautiful Bhutanese rural architecture down to the very last detail, Gangtey Lodge boasts 12 beautifully appointed guestrooms, each with their own fireplace and spacious private bathroom, designed to reflect the rich cultural heritage using warm fabrics and earthen tones. Gangtey Lodge continues their dedication to tradition with the opening of the property’s new Bhutanese bathhouse, a new addition to the spa, beginning with a foot scrub and complimented by a traditional massage.
As they have only a limited number of guests, the staff is in-tune to your every need. Whether it’s booking one of El Nido’s famous island hopping tours, priced the same regardless of the operator, or a special dietary request, they are ready and willing to make your stay a memorable one. Yet, the property’s greatest amenity is the natural beauty that surrounds it and guests can enjoy it either by the beach, the outdoor pool or for the adventurous, a kayaking trip to explore a nearby island or lagoon. If relaxation is squarely on your mind, one can opt for a massage by the beach or indoors, depending on the weather.
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and well-lit, the rooms are tastefully decorated, and the service throughout the hotel is friendly and helpful. The pool, sauna, spa and fitness centre only add to the sense of ‘restful escape’. Some of the rooms and suites on the upper floors overlook Union Station and the now iconic Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Now, knowing that Room 202 has been one of the rooms in which ghosts have been reported, I requested, and was assigned that room. I checked it thoroughly when I entered, cringing when the closet door creaked ominously when I opened it, but all that was inside was an empty bathrobe.
Haunting Memories of Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel Article & Photography by Steve Gillick
he Fort Garry Hotel is a pretty impressive property in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. It has amenities that appeal to travelers of all generations, as well as an old world charm harkening back to its roots in 1913 when it opened as a Grand Trunk Pacific Railway hotel. But it was also in that year, specifically on December 10 during the hotel’s grand opening, when the legacy of ghosts seems to have manifested itself. The hotel’s original name was to be the Selkirk Hotel, in deference to the Selkirk Settlers; Scottish immigrants who came to colonize the Red River area in 1812 and 1813 under a project set up by Thomas Douglas, the 5th Earl of Selkirk. At the last
minute the name was changed to the Fort Garry Hotel, after Upper Fort Garry which was located near the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in the area known today as The Forks. The gate of the Fort can be found just east of the hotel’s Broadway Avenue main entrance. The hotel is visually charming inside and out. It was built in what has been called the “Chateau” style, with features that recall New York’s Plaza Hotel (built in 1906-07) as well as Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel, another Grand Trunk Hotel, built from 1909 to 1912 to provide luxury accommodation to train travellers. Check-in takes place in the comfortably, chandeliered lobby. The hallways are broad
And then it happened. I was alone (or so I thought) around 10:30 that evening when I heard someone (or something) attempt to open the locked door connecting my room to the next. The door knob started to turn this way and that, and then a force started pushing on the door. I dispassionately got up, banged on the door, and all the activity stopped. It was either the people next door who thought that my door was one of their closets, or it was one of the hotel ghosts trying to contact me! The real ghost is said to be a woman who committed suicide following the death of her husband outside the hotel (he was hit by a horse-drawn cart). But other reports are of a woman dressed in white who can be traced to Lady McMillan, one of the attendees at the grand opening in 1913. And still other reports relate to a ‘presence’ climbing into beds, eating in the kitchen, and lighting candles in the ballroom. Haunting memories are simply those we remember vividly. My stay at the Fort Garry provided me with some very pleasant thoughts, and certainly I will stay there again. Perhaps then, when the ghosts feel more comfortable with my presence, we can connect.
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Accommodations Puntacana Resort & Club is the Caribbean’s leading resort community on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic. Tortuga Bay is member of the Leading Hotels of the World and the only AAA Five Diamond awarded hotel in the Dominican Republic, offering understated elegance, privacy and unparalleled personal service. Located at Playa Blanca is The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, guest enjoys all of Westin’s signature amenities and Don Queco Cigar Bar. Our Four Points by Sheraton is situated at Puntacana Village, few minutes away from Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). The Estates Become a part of our magnificent paradise community with the purchase of a vacation home in the elite The Estates at Puntacana Resort & Club, where Julio Iglesias, Mikhail Baryshnikov call home. An exclusive lifestyle of relaxation, excitement and understated elegance, prospective buyers can choose among elegant homes perched above the Caribbean Sea or overlooking scrupulously manicured golf courses in Corales, Tortuga, Arrecife, Hacienda, Hacienda del Mar and Marina. Home and apartments are also available at Puntacana Village.
With 45 holes of championship golf, Puntacana Resort & Club is the Caribbean’s premier golf & beach destination. The P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Course, consisting of 27 holes across Tortuga, Arrecife and Hacienda, was declared the number one course in the Caribbean by Golf Magazine. Designed by Tom Fazio and set between rocky cliffs, coral reefs and the expansive Caribbean Sea, the Corales Golf Course features six oceanfront holes, multiple lines of approach and picturesque canyons, making for an exhilarating experience. Activities & Spa Puntacana Resort & Club offers a wide range of adventures for guests of all ages including golf, tennis, kite boarding, scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and numerous excursions by sea, land and air. The leading spa in the Caribbean, Six Senses Spa at Puntacana Resort & Club presents a range of innovative packages, Signature treatments and Asian therapies. Visit Galerías Puntacana to enjoy an assortment of shops, restaurants, playground, and our spirited nightlife. Dining Puntacana Resort & Club is home to 6 world class eateries with an indigenously delectable cuisine. Tucked inside Tortuga Bay, the AAA Four Diamond awarded Bamboo blends modern cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Specializing in local seafood, The AAA Three Diamond Award La Yola is located at the Marina. At La Cana Golf & Beach Club is The Grill, an American style grill offering views of the sea. The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club provides a variety or restaurants and bars from Ananí to Brassa Grill. Next door is Playa Blanca, a beachfront tropical restaurant. Our Dine Around Program offers the best sampling of our finest culinary experience. All restaurants offer complimentary shuttle service within the resort. More dining options are available at Puntacana Village.
Corporate Social Responsibility We believe that in development there needs to be equilibrium among the economic, environmental and social components. Our non-profit Grupo Puntacana Foundation serves both natural and social resources, while contributing to the sustainable development of our Dominican Republic. These practices have been guiding principles of our company, and along with vision, hard work and perseverance, the key to our success. Punta Cana International airport Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), built, owned and operated by Grupo Puntacana, the resort’s developers, and located within Puntacana Resort & Club, is just minutes away from check-in at any of our hotels or private homes. Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) has direct service from 98 different cities around the world, making Punta Cana the most accessible destination in the Caribbean. Our VIP terminals service the needs of guests flying in private aircrafts.
The Caribbean’s Premiere Golf & Beach Resort Community
Collector Luxury Inn
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New Quirky Cool in Key West NYAH – Not Your Average Hotel by Susan Campbell
nsconced in the heart of Old Town Key West amid the magnolias trees, the whitewashed cottage style homes and lush greenery is a brand new accommodation concept ideal for groups who like to travel together. It’s called NYAH- Not Your Average Hotel, and the name certainly fits! It’s impossible to compare it to anything else because it’s a first of its kind. Think upscale hostel meets charming B&B with a side of quirky boutique escape. Then add the transformer element. Each of the 36 guestrooms boast a BYOR® - Build-Your-Own-Room option which means it can be a spacious room for two or a communal room for six in the same
space, but with no additional cost! And you need not do the building yourself. Simply request the number of guest beds you need and they do the transformation for you before you get there. Everything is designed almost Ikea style with moving parts and puzzle piece elements, and everything moves seamlessly into the configuration customized to what you need. But though when accommodating up to six people the room can appear almost “barracks” style, the beds are anything but Spartan in comfort- they are all super comfy memory foam mattresses topped with quality linens. Flat panel TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, minifridges and individual lockers add to the appeal, and complimentary continental breakfast on their cheery deck starts your day off right and complimentary Starbucks coffee 24/7 is also a welcome perk.A daily happy hour with free snacks and very reasonable drink prices also add to the bargain and gives guests a chance to socialize with each other. The property itself is lovely- all lush gardens and towering trees surrounding the multilevel configuration of buildings overlooking three pools and two hot tubs. And its location is ideal for exploring all of Key West’s coolest attractions easily on foot. They also offer coaster bikes to guests.
The NYAH concept is part of the new WeHotel group, which caters to groups that like to arrange things their way. This hotel is a superb bargain for family reunions, girl’s and guy’s getaways, friend get-togethers and special occasion stays like bachelorette parties. Must do things in Key West nearby include a visit to Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe for over 500 key lime products and all day breakfast, a trip on Danger Charters sailboat for a wine and tapas tasting during sunset, and dinner at Mangoes for fine fruit inspired fare. Also a short walk to the historic harbour is worth taking for dinner at Turtle Kraals. And a great way to get to know the little island town is by the sightseeing trolley train to determine where you might like to return to in order to explore further like the Hemingway Museum.
New Sophistication in St. Augustine The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens by Susan Campbell
t. Augustine, America’s oldest city, is awash in historic sites, epic ancient architecture and inviting attractions, but what it was lacking was a luxury boutique stay right in the heart of it all. Not anymore.
The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens is an incredible gem now located in the charming old historic quarter of the city. And it has its own fascinating history as well. Once the home of eccentric collector Kenneth Worcester Dow who “collected” all nine buildings there to house himself along with his unique treasures he found all over the globe, he generously left it all to the city when he passed on. At first it was operating as a museum, but now it has been thoroughly restored and reopened as an avant garde oasis hotel. And the owners have taken great pains to ensure as much of the original architecture has remained intact.
As soon as you enter the ancient stone gates and see the old amphitheater and the lush secret gardens full of stone cherubs, fountains and lovely sculptures, you can tell this is one very special spot. Of course, they have added luxe amenities to bring the stay into the 21st century such as the inviting pool in the middle of the courtyard that beckons those seeking to refresh in the humid Florida heat. And a tranquil pond and waterfall has also been added to soothe work weary spirits. Then there’s a cozy courtyard café that crests The Well Bar- a trendy enclave where master mixologists mix up craft cocktails using local spirits, and an interesting tapas menu sates guests before they head out to dinner in town. Breakfast in a cheery indoor dining spot is also included, and a common area campfire attracts those seeking to chat under the stars after a day out. There are also coaster bikes for rent to explore St. Augustine’s plethora of attractions. It is an ideal base for this fascinating destination.
grounds are dotted with historical markers, but ask the staff about the interesting back stories of the buildings and the sometimes famous folk who had been there before. Like Napoleon’s nephew Prince Achille Murat who resided in the original structure that dates back to 1790! Greta Garbo, Mark Twain and Sinclair Lewis have all visited there, too! In fact, it’s almost impossible not to hear the echoes of history all around you when strolling the grounds, and whispers of scandals, tall tales, and visiting spirits seem to continually wisp through the leaves of the ancient trees in the evenings as well. The Collector Inn is truly a rare find and a welcome addition the fascinating St. Augustine scene.
The 30 rooms are located within standalone and attached cottage style abodeseach unique in it their make-up and design, and all bursting with museum quality art and antiques. The accommodations range from sumptuous suites with separate living areas, sofa sleepers, kitchenettes and breezy verandas to cozy studio style enclaves. Some also have fireplaces. The Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
It all started with a big bang. More than 300 million years ago, an asteroid crashed into the Charlevoix region, forming its remarkable landscape that is now a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Today the crater walls are tree-covered mountains that create a natural wonderland, especially when it’s combine with the gorgeous sight of the mighty St. Lawrence River. Located approximately 90 minutes northeast of Quebec City, there’s plenty to explore. During a fun-packed long weekend we discovered the Isle-aux-Coudres, a small island that’s big on character. We strolled through the village of Baie St. Paul with its numerous art galleries and boutiques, and even boarded a helicopter for a memorable birds-eye-view of Charlevoix’s out-of-this-world landscape.
Fairmont Manoir Richelieu
But I have to admit there were times it was difficult to leave the hotels. Truly hard. Why? Because both properties we stayed at – Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu and Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix —were destinations themselves. Farm-to-table cuisine, pampering spas, local history, gorgeous views, welcoming décor and a host of other amenities and services made for unforgettable stays.
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Aptly referred to as the Castle on the Cliff, this historic property sits idyllically between the Laurentian Mountains and the St. Lawrence River near the town of La Malbaie. The grand hotel was established during the ‘white boat era’ at the turn of the century, when well-to-do tourists would travel down the river from the cities and stay for the season. Elvis Presley, Angelina Jolie, Charlie Chaplin and former US president William Howard Taft are among its celebrity guest alumni. You may think this sounds a tad pretentious, but Le Manoir is anything but. We felt welcomed from the moment we arrived from the bright fire in the foyer to the view of the St. Lawrence in our rooms. Everywhere we turned there was some curiosity to admire whether it was the his-
Stay & Play at these two Exceptional Hotels in
Charlevoix, Quebec by Jennifer Merrick
Fairmont Manoir Richelieu
toric paintings and photographs, antique furniture or wooden sporting equipment used at the beginning of the century. Be sure to savour a meal at the Table et Terroir restaurant, which prides itself on their fresh and locally sourced menu and is part of La route des saveurs de Charlevoix. It was an exceptional meal with highlights that included lamb ragout, Charlevoixâ€™s famous cheeses and a veritable smorgasbord of mouth-watering desserts. Spa, casino, indoor and outdoor pools, bicycle rentals and even horse-drawn carriages are some of the activities on offer. The hotel is particularly known for its golf courses, perched dramatically on the edge of the cliff overlooking the river.
Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix Built by Daniel Gaulthier, a founder of Cirque du Soleil, this property, situated on a former farm, manages to combine a stylish and contemporary design with an atmosphere of warmth that peacefully complements its rural surrounding. Attention to detail is evident from the exquisite meals at Les Labours and fresh bread at La Patesserie to the pillow cases made by nuns from a local convent. Itâ€™s minutes away from the center of Baie St. Paul and one of the stations of Train de Charlevoix that departs from Quebec City. A highlight of our stay was the Spa du Verger, a classic Quebec Nordic spa. Our circuit began with the eucalyptus steam room and took us through the hot and cold
outdoor pools, offering much-needed relief from our outdoor activities. But mostly, we loved the rooms themselves. Our loft-styled accommodation in the Le Clos building had high ceilings, exposed wood, a large inviting bath tub and a chaise lounge tucked beside the window. A perfect reading spot even if I did get distracted by the horses in the field outside the window. Perhaps you can now understand why it was difficult to leave these hotels even if the beauty of Charlevoix beckoned. www.legermainhotels.com/fr/charlevoix www.tourisme-charlevoix.com/en
Le Germain Hotel
Le Germain Hotel
Le Germain Hotel Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
Tr e a t s i n N e w Yo r k !
by David J. Cox
ntering New York City is always a pleasure, whether for the first time or the 50th, the skyline, sounds and scents overwhelm the senses!
Food, Food, Food! There are thousands of restaurants of all sizes, flavours, tastes and cultures, and our visit offered samplings from eight of the city’s tastiest and trendiest best! Our first taste of New York? Well, it made me want to move to New York just to be able to visit these two next flavourful fiesta favorites!
Viva Mexico at MEXICUE
Mexicue started as the brainchild of David Schillace and Thomas Kelly, who took two of America’s favorite comfort foods, Mexican & BBQ, and blended them into a Food Truck mega-success.
Deep in the heart of Times Square lies Dos Caminos, another fantastic restaurant that exceeded all my expectations. We were greeted by the manager and led downstairs, past the impressive and cozy tequila bar into the wonderful, villa-inspired restaurant where the full house was being served plates filled with colors and scents that got my stomach growling. We started with a big tub of Butternut, pomegranate and chipotle guacamole, accompanied by an ever-full basket of nachos and 3 salsas. Offering tacos of all sorts, house specialties and Street food, the choices were endless. We settled on Chorizo Fundito with Mexican cheeses, dark beer, spicy chorizo and warm corn tortillas; Dos Enchiladas, a house specialty with roasted chicken, queso
Fast forward a couple of years, and we are all enjoying amazing guacamole, I eat the best black-bean burrito I have ever had, my wife enjoys blackened fish tacos, and the house Poblano Mac’nCheese is deemed delicious by both kids. I also get to taste some of the over 50 varieties of Tequila available all in the comfort of their beautiful 5th avenue restaurant! The `mouthwatering union` of the blended flavors leave an impression, and the Chef came to meet with us to be sure everything was tasty.
BILLS BAR AND BURGER
John’s Pizzeria Times Square
bacon cheeseburger and the other devoured a Swiss cheese, mushroom and bacon monster! We added some bowls of their delicious roasted tomato soup and butternut squash soups as appetizers. You must be sure to try their milkshakes, they are perfect – my favourite was the Chocolate Mint!
JOHN’S PIZZERIA TIMES SQUARE Another place that offered distinct American flavor was John’s Pizzeria Times Square. This vast, bustling eatery is noisy and filled with people enjoying the amazing array of toppings on the perfectly baked pizzas!
menonita, mole poblano & tres chiles sauce, as well as some classic Asada Tacos with steak, caramelized onions, queso cotija and guacamole. I cannot recommend it enough for family or a date night!
BILLS BAR AND BURGER OH YEAH! Some old-fashioned, supersloppy, mouth-watering burgers at the Rockefeller Centre Bills Bar & Burger joint! Here you can order the burger of your dreams from the classic Bill’s Burger, with “LPT” (lettuce, pickle, tomato) cheese and the house special sauce, to the Kimchi Bomb Burger with its crispy shallots, spicy Kimchi relish, shredded cabbage and chile aioli; 2 of a dozen or more menu burgers, or better yet, build your own with over 20 custom ingredients! One kid decided on a
Gaze at the huge map of New York as you are offered starters, including two of my favourites – John`s Garlic Rolls and their delicious Bruschetta! But the highlight is `building your own pizza` where you can choose from over 30 ingredients, from staples like pepperoni, to gourmet items like Broccoli rabbe. Your masterpiece is then placed in their coal-fired brick ovens. We shared two pizzas, the vegetarian and a pie chosen by my son. His list of ingredients was impressive, and the pizza master obliged with a flavourful, colorful pie. With choices for all tastes, including a bacon and vodka-sauced pie, it is easy to see why this great pizzeria has been voted as one of New York's best pizzas!
KELLOGG’S Now I am what one would call a Cereal Connoisseur…and in New York, I found paradise. Kellogg’s has opened a unique little boutique restaurant right in the heart of Times Square. This bright and airy café offers a unique build-your-own-breakfast option from a selection of Kellogg’s products. Offered a whiteboard pen and a product sheet, visitors check off a premade combo, like the Corny Blues (my son chose this) with Corn Pops, blueberry jam, lemon zest and a pinch of salt, or my daughter’s pick, S’mores – containing Frosted Flakes, dark chocolate chips, mini marshmellows
The Doughnut Plant
and graham crackers. If you want a 75 la carte, you can mix any combination of 5 ingredients (or unlimited choices for an extra couple of bucks), including cereals (18 available) and extras that include fruits, nuts, sauces, marshmallows, green tea powder and over 30 other goodies! To add some spice, the café also offers their creations as Milkshakes, Sundaes and Parfaits! This was the best family experience...well, there was also the doughnuts...
THE DOUGHNUT PLANT As George Takei would say, “oh Myyyyy!” With a modern décor and a hipster ambiance, I was not sure how the kids would be welcomed, but the staff was incredible to them, answering questions and letting them taste test a collection of the most colorful and deliriously delicious doughnuts I have ever tasted! I am not usually one for doughnuts, but they served me one that was gluten-free and banana glazed and it melted in my mouth...mercy! A must visit when in NYC!!
MOONCAKE RESTAURANT Modest décor, magnificent meals! We arrived at this little hotspot at lunchtime and were hustled in, sitting at our chair and drinking in the ambiance and odors. The great menu has many delicious, unique options like asian heros and a delicious seared tuna salad. It's also really economical, and the service is swift, no-frills, and very friendly. The kids really enjoyed a miso-glazed salmon platter, with delicious sauce on the brown rice. The best part was the crispy portion of the fish. A scrumptious Shanghai home-style spare rib dish were absolutely mouth watering, as were the crawfish dumplings – some of the best I have ever eaten! So many restaurants so little time!!
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
A Conversation with
Fredericksburg,Texas Article and photography by Steve Gillick
hen you’re a foodie who loves to try new beers and you see Ugly Pug Schwarzbier on the menu, you’re intrigued, to say the least. And this is exactly how I started my visit to Fredericksburg, a city of 11,000 in Texas Hill Country, about 70 minutes north of San Antonio or 90 minutes west of Austin.
I sampled the delicious dark lager at Otto’s, an ultra-popular restaurant, described by owner Evelyn Washburne as “European bistro, fine dining” but she was quick to add that “we don’t take ourselves too seriously”. And in this relaxed, friendly atmosphere, Paco, the sommelier, pairs German and Austrian wines (and also beer) with the house specialties that include a rich and creamy Flammkuchen (flatbread with crème fraiche and gorgonzola), the unbelievably tasty Gravlax (beet and gin cured salmon with capers and horseradish), the delicious Wurst Platte, (house-made sausage, served with kartoffelnsalat and sauerkraut), and the incredible Duck Schnitzel (with spätzle, rotkohl, huckleberry demi-glace and duck cracklin’s). Evelyn tells the story of the man in Louisiana who heard about the Duck Schnitzel and flew his private plane from Shreveport to Fredericksburg (about 400 miles). When he was told that the dish was not being featured on the menu that day, he turned around and flew home. I had the Duck Schnitzel and I believe the story! During our class at the Fischer & Wiser Culinary Adventure Cooking School, Chef John deMers spoke about food as “a window into culture…the story of people’s lives” and even though many restaurants in Fredericksburg harken back to the city’s German origins in the 1840’s, the muchacclaimed culinary scene melds Texan tastes with Global flavours, and adds in a pinch of “fun”. When Chef Judson Woods at Tubby’s Icehouse offered Grapefruit Paletas (similar to a popsicle) to cool down our palates after we tasted the spicy Yucatan Chicken Tacos made with achiote
and habanero, he suggested that the icy treat tasted even better when dipped in Prosecco. He was right! And our blissful indulgence in food continued with the breakfast tacos and muffins at Twisted Sisters, the tender, fresh mesquite-smoked ribs and brisket at the Backdoors BBQ, and the “Fredericks Burger” at Burger Burger (made with Beef, bratwurst and sauerkraut) and paired with Lobo Negro, a Bavarian style black lager. Lee Hereford, the President and CEO of Perdinales Brewing Company referred to this beer as “my favourite child” and advised that “when you get to the bottom of the glass and decide that it tastes like another one”, then you know you have a product that resonates with the public. Not too far away at The Treaty House, the super-popular bar and cocktail lounge, connects with Fredericksburg locals and tourists alike. Owner John Muraglia told us that when his father was imprisoned in Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1933 for violating Prohibition, he was also stripped of his U.S. Citizenship. It took years to have it re-instated and finally a Pardon, signed by President Harry Truman made it official. The drink, ‘Truman’s Pardon’, a classic Martini made with fresh, red grapefruit juice, is served in the Independence Bar where the actual document is framed on the wall. But in line with his love of family, fun, living in Texas and pride in the U.S. Military, John Muraglia went one step further. He commissioned three historical murals to be created for the large, comfortable, contemporary-designed Treaty House: 1) The Battle of San Jacinto, fought in 1836, that resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas; 2) the Treaty with the Comanches in 1847 that allowed the new German immigrants to settle on the land that would eventually include the town of Fredericksburg; and 3) the Unconditional Surrender, signed by Japan in 1945, that ended the war of the Pacific.
On Main Street and many of the side streets in Fredericksburg history comes alive in the architecture that ranges from log cabins to balconied limestone dwellings, to quaint Sunday houses. History comes alive at the LBJ State Park where you can see President Lyndon Johnson’s “LBJ” cattle-brand on the horns of his steers, tour the Western White House where he and Lady Bird spent 490 days during the Presidency, and see the recreation of his birthplace, only a few hundred feet away from the family cemetery. With his wry sense of humour, Johnson was fond of telling his guests that when he died, they could say that he didn’t get very far in life. And history comes alive on Main Street with the statue of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, a Fredericksburg native, under whose command the Pacific War ended. The National Museum of the Pacific War not only details the campaigns of the war but also tells the personal stories of the men and woman who fought. One gallery is devoted to the Sullivan Brothers. When their mom heard rumours that all five of her sons had been killed, she wrote to the Bureau of Naval Personnel for clarification. In the Museum, there is a recording made by Mrs. Sullivan’s grand-daughter in which she reads this letter, and chokes up with tears half-way through the recording. It’s a very touching encounter for the museum visitor. Ultimately President Roosevelt broke the terrible news to Mrs. Sullivan in a personal letter. This incident inspired the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’. see following page
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
But Fredericksburg inspiration also includes all that is colorful, artistic, happy and interactive. There are 42 wineries along Highway 290 which passes through what has been called the second most visited wine region in the United States, next to Sonoma, California. Wines include Viognier, Roussane, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Petite Syrah, Albarino and more. And according to John Thomas, the owner of Wildseed Farms, Texas Hill Country in and around Fredericksburg, is the largest flower show on earth. A drive along Highway 290 reveals a kaleidoscopic blast of color that includes Texas Bluebonnet and Paintbrush, Indian Blanket, Purple Wine Cup, acres of red and blue Poppies, and tons of photographic opportunities. Special interest activities in the area might include Cowboys! You can stop at Texas Jack Wild West Outfitter, then drive 18 miles to Luchenbach, one of the meccas of country western music, where you can line-dance while quaffing a bottle of Shiner Bock Beer (Nothing’s Finer than a Shiner!). Or you can visit one of the 20 art galleries in the city, or for the adventurous you can rent a bicycle for the day and then climb Enchanted Rock for the view. Just a word of note: the city is
Canadian World Traveller Summer 2017
always sold out on the weekend before and after Valentine’s Day. While there are several standard hotels/motels in the city, many visitors opt for a guest house that offers more of a ‘living like a local’ experience. I stayed in ‘The Barn’, a converted 1880’s building, 5 miles out of town at the Palo Alto Creek Farm. The design might be described as super-comfy cowboy with western decorations throughout, and some of the most interesting neighbors you can imagine! On my first day I met the Texas Longhorns, Loretta, Emmy Lou, and “Clearout”, the Bull. The donkeys, Dollie, Patsy, Faith and George, loved to have their ears scratched, and multi-tuned Mockingbirds, whistling Grackles, and curious Turkey Vultures, Hummingbirds and Woodpeckers frequented the area. Fredericksburg is a unique destination with a tempting culinary scene, impressive historical attractions, outdoor adventures with colourful landscapes, and the opportunity to relax and have a conversation with the locals. It’s a warm, welcoming, friendly place to include on your next visit to Texas.
Published on Jun 13, 2017
Now in our 15th year of publishing, Canadian World Traveller explores the culture and history of worldwide destinations, sharing the adventu...