Travelling to Canada?

Travelling to Canada?

Here are my top 5 travel tips if you’re planning on travelling to Canada.

At first I thought I would do another picture journal for you, to share some incredible photos with you, of some of the most amazing places I visited in Canada. However, there are just WAY too many photos to share with you and you might find yourself stuck on this blog for a very long time looking at them. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have already seen a nice large selection of these images; which took me forever to chose by the way, making sure that pretty much all my favourite shots were shown. Anyways, I digress. I will still share a few favourite shots with you here on my blog, but thought I would also share with you 5 of my top travel tips, for those of you planning to go travelling in Canada.

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Travel out of Season:

This means travel through Canada in either early Autumn or late Spring. The reason being, 5 star accommodation is on sale for half the price. We stayed in some of the most amazing hotels we wouldn’t have normally been able to afford. Especially coming from Australia and our dollar never being as strong as many other currencies in the globe. By doing this, we were able to track down some really luxe hotels in so many beautiful parts across Canada, from Vancouver to Old Quebec. Just be mindful when travelling in Autumn, that you don’t travel too late in the season. As the months slowly transition into Autumn, weather becomes very unpredictable and you might find yourself lacking in activities, as many places (including accommodations in the Rocky Mountains) close for the season and re-open once the snow has fallen for winter.

Drive through the Rocky Mountains:

When we started planning out trip to Canada, the original plan was to catch the Rocky Mountaineer through the famous Rocky Mountains of Canada, so we could really enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, without the stress of driving on unfamiliar roads. However, at last minute we opted to rent a car instead and there was definitely no regrets in doing this. Sure the Rocky Mountaineer looked lovely in the brochure, but what sorts of things could you really enjoy when being stuck for days on a train. Having a car, we had the freedom to take the back road and discover mountain towns built of log cabins and boutique cafes serving incredible hot chocolates. My favourite thing to do, when I’ve drunk way too much coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay in old Quebec:

Depending where you are travelling in Canada, there are so many beautiful places to go and visit. With a car those options really are unlimited. We started out road trip on the West Coast and slowly made our way to the East Coast. With a plane trip somewhere in between to cut the road trip down a bit. Quebec City is a beautiful part of Canada’s east coast, however if you stay in old Quebec City, that’s really where all the action is. From ambient french restaurants to horse drawn carts, the moment you cross the old gate from Quebec City into old Quebec City you are immediately transported to the south of France and it’s stunning. From the people to the building, you won’t be disappointed when you stay there.

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Visit West Edmonton Mall.

At the time, when we visited Canada, there really wasn’t anything like West Edmonton Mall. However, since our visit the United Emirates has successfully built two incredible malls in Dubai and an even more impressive one in Abu Dhabi. Being part of the state of Alberta in Canada; which is tax-free shoppers haven due to it being oil mining country, if you are planning on shopping whilst travelling through Canada, then leave all your shopping until you hit this mall. They have everything and anything you could possible dream of. Including a casino, a water fun park and ice rink. The only mistake we made, is we drove there and it took a lot longer than we expected. In high sight, it would have been best to dump the rental car, fly to Edmonton and back again, then picjk up the rental car and continue on our journey. We did stay overnight there, but I wouldn’t recommend it, part from the mall, there is nothing to do there. you could easily plan a fly in and out day trip.

Stay in Jasper:

Famous Ski Resort Banff is beautiful, but if you’re looking for a real Rocky Mountain getaway, then you need to stay in Jasper. That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend a visit to Banff, of course, you need to go. It’s definitely a mist thing to do when visiting Canada. However, Jasper; which is located a lot higher north in the Rocky Mountains is where you go to experience the real life of the snowy mountains. From deer crossing the road whilst you’re eating breakfast, to the glacier river which runs right by the town. Jasper is magical and far more scenic than Banff, due to its location in the mountains. Banff is rather flat and is a bit of a distance from the Rocky Mountains, Jasper you are in the Rocky Mountains. Hello pine trees and snow. It’s also a lot more quiet in Jasper, which just added to the ambience. Especially at night.

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A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words

Sometimes, rather than writing down the most enjoyable experiences on a holiday, it’s better to just say it in pictures.

As the saying goes; a picture says a thousand words. So, with that in mind, I thought I would share some beautiful photos of an incredible castle my partner and I visited, whilst in Ireland. It was the most intact castle I have ever been inside. A considerable about of time has been spent to restore the castle to its former glory and the results are incredible. Located approx 30 minutes west of Limerick on the west coast of the Republic of Ireland is Bunratty Castle. Pretty spectacular. the grounds themselves are pretty impressive, with traditional medieval cottages, farmstead and houses to experience, along with the castle.

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The Stables
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Farm Grounds
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Some visitors
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The mill
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Wandering the gardens
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Piggy
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That’s not real snow ๐Ÿ™‚
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Entering the castle
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A maze of stairs
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Battleplans
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The castle’s front door
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Traditional cottages
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The roof of the castle
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Time for prayer

The castle itself wasn’t overly that grand, as it belonged to an earl and his wife, not a king or queen. However, it was grand it its own right, as most of the furniture, rugs, tapestries and other great treasures in the castle are all original from the medieval period, at the time the earl would have ruled the area of Bunratty. Pretty awesome. We spent half a day here, and happened across the castle by chance, whilst driving to Limerick. You can see it from the main road. If we knew it was there, we could have easily spent an entire day there. Just beautiful.

 

Amazing things to do in Edinburgh

Amazing things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a magical city, with a cross between ancient Europe and medieval England, there are so many amazing things to do there.

Ive been to Edinburgh twice. The first time, I fell in love, the second time, I became obsessed. From the people who live there, to the amazing activities and places you get to experience there. Each time I have visited Edinburgh, I have enjoyed new and exciting things, not experienced before and I can’t wait to go back again, hopefully next year (hint hint). So, I jumbled up all the great things I have done in Edinburgh, on both visits and now I am sharing with you my six favourites.

Walk the Royal Mile:

I recommend you do this in both the day time and the night time, as you will see and experience two sides of the Mile. In the day time the streets are alive with the hustle and bustle of market places, sometimes parades (depending on what time of the year you’re visiting) and at night, the well lit up street transports you back in time to medieval Scotland. With bagpipes playing on the streets, ancient pubs filled with drunk Scots and gas lamp lit alleyways which provide plenty of photo ops.

Edinburgh Castle:

Of course, a visit to Edinburgh is not a a real visit at all, without a visit to the grand castle. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. With hundreds of secret corridors to explore and a bucket load of ancient dwellings to admire, you will find it difficult to leave Edinburgh Castle. And not just because it’s a castle, but because of its history. Definitely give yourself the day to explore, so you’re not rushed. You will want to spend some quality time there, as the views from the castle looking out over the city of Edinburgh are pretty awe inspiring – make sure you have plenty of camera memory for photos.

Restaurants:

Edinburgh is a real hub of places to eat, and depending where you are staying in the big city, there are many great selections scattered around. Definitely visit Grassmarket Square, located right under the mound where Edinburgh Castle sits. It’s very pretty here, filled with trees decorated with thousands of fairy lights and plenty of restaurants to choose from, like Italian, French and traditional pubs. Just outside of the city, in Leith, along the Water of Leith (Shore Street to be exact), is another of my favourite places to eat. Think old fisherman’s village meets medieval. There are boats everywhere and plenty of seafood restaurants, all decked out with nautical memorabilia. Just down from Edinburgh Castle on Johnston Terrace is a delicious Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid. It’s a little pricier than the other places I mentioned, but really worth it for a treat. Of course most of these places I have recommended are more for night time. For the day time, head to George Street in the main part of Edinburgh, or take a troll along Cockburn Street or Victoria Street, which is dotted with lovely cafe’s and boutique shops.

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The Royal Mile at night
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Edinburgh Castle
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Grassmarket Square
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Ambient music in the day

Edinburgh Vault Tour:

Whether you a fan of ghost tours, or just like your history, definitely sign up for a tour of the underground Edinburgh Vaults. Ive done this twice now and both experiences were very memorable. The first tour I did was a late night ghost tour, and the other was more of a historical afternoon tour with a slice of ghost. Both tours were equally as good and amazing and I recommend anyone who is visiting Edinburgh to take a tour. The story behind the vaults is truly fascinating. Check out my previous blog here for more info on the Ghost Tour I had there.

Shopping, cocktails and cafes:

Of course if you are looking for something a little more modern, but still with a twist of medieval, then you will want to take a stroll along George Street in Edinburgh’s New Town. Here you will find boutique shops to explore, along with plenty of cafe’s to enjoy hearty breakfasts and light lunches. At night George Street comes alive with trendy upbeat cocktail bars and love music to help you unwind from all your exploring.

Something scenic:

Take some time out from the city, in the city. Yes, you read that correctly. Between old Edinburgh and new Edinburgh is Princes Street Gardens. And depending on what time of year you are visiting, these gardens are either fields with beautiful markets, or a festive Christmas fair. It’s a massive park and has plenty to offer, especially during the day. From beautiful gardens to ancient monuments, there is bound to be something you will fall in love with at these gardens, so definitely pop that one on the list also.

 

 

There’s more to do than just shop in Dubai

There’s more to do than just shop in Dubai

If you find yourself in Dubai and don’t really fancy spending the day shopping, there’s far more exciting things to do there, than just shop.

Like so many others out there, I suffer from chronic back issues. So, I always get a little nervous when getting ready for a big holiday, especially when you live in Australia, where it can take you anywhere from 8 to 14 hours to get to destination, or more than 20 if you heading to the United States or Europe.

So, when my partner and I were planning a trip to the UK, I decided to break up the flight over and booked us in for a 2 night stay in Dubai to rest, sleep properly and of course have a shower.

So, the googling began, on what sorts of activities we could do in Dubai, other than just shopping.

Okay, so there isn’t too much else to do except for shopping, whether at the local souk market or their amazing shopping malls. I mean, if the occasion calls for it, you can go snow skiing indoors or take an exhilarating ride on the Ferrari roller coaster, but none of those activities really appealed to me. But, when I discovered you could take a safari in the enchanting sand dunes of the Dubai desert, now that was definitely an activity my partner and I would sign up for.

It was such an mystical and magical experience, except I really should have taken my tripod in order to get clearer photos, especially as the sun was fading fast beyond the desert skyline.

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Just check out that incredible skyline against the sand dunes
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Mouth full of sand whilst posing for the photo

The tour we took was called ‘Arabian Adventures’. They collect you from your hotel and make tracks for the desert at around 3pm. But before the adventure begins, you meet up with a collection of other 4x4s full of tourists and then we follow one by one across the desert road, before making a sharp turn off the road and straight into the desert. Before you know it, you are rocking up and down, drifting fast across incredibly large sand dunes. The drivers are incredibly skilled and I felt safe the entire time. This goes on for approx 35-45 minutes before you stop off at a fairly high point of the sand dunes for photos and to watch the sunset. Once the sun begins to drop, you pile back into the 4x4s and head off to an Arabian Camp, which transports you back in time to a magical and enchanted era of belly dancers and beautiful food.

If you are travelling through Dubai and have a few days there, I strongly recommend you book yourself in for this incredible adventure.

 

 

 

It has been rumoured Glastonbury Tor is the final resting place of King Arthur himself

It has been rumoured Glastonbury Tor is the final resting place of King Arthur himself

Well, if that information isn’t enough to motivate me to go visit Glastonbury, I’m not sure what is.

So, off I went to the little country town of Glastonbury in the UK to explore this magical place.

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Hell of a hike up the mountain. When I say mountain, I mean really LARGE hill.
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Looking back over where we came from.
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Nearly at the top – look at the views.
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You can see for miles.
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We made it to the top.
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Reflecting with my thoughts.

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Whether Glastonbury Tor is the final resting place of King Arthur or not, standing on top of this very LARGE hill, where the mysterious Tor sits truly is an amazing experience.

There are no writings of who first built the Tor, and archaeologists have theorised it once would have been a small foundation, before Monks and other inhabitants of the area continued to build level after level over the centuries, changing both the design and structure. It is still unknown, fully, why it was ever built in the first place, or why people continued to build on top of the original foundation. The floors and stairs are no longer inside the Tor, which is a real shame. It would have added to the experience if you could climb to the top of the Tor. I couldn’t help but find myself in deep thought whilst exploring this treat, sitting alone in the silence, on top of a hill and found it difficult to leave. I could have stood upon the hill and its Tor all day.

Local historians at the nearby Abbey (also worth visiting if you are in the area), state that although the Tor has been well associated with the legend of Avalon, King Arthur, The Holy Grail and other Christian myths, the Tor itself does sit on top of what is now called St Michael’s Ley, which has a Neolithic provenance, and is known as one the Celtic perpetual choirs. Meaning,ย  the hill where the Tor sits is said to maintain the spiritual integrity of the whole of Britain. Which could explain why it’s a difficult place to leave, once you have arrived.

To add to the mystery of the Tor, it is said, this very LARGE hill; also known as a primeval mound, was once surrounded by water too, making it a fundamental location in prehistory. Known as the Somerset Flats, the area was drained in the 4th century to provide additional farming lands to the people. However, upon draining the waters, the discovery of many lake villages and raised walkways connecting the Glastonbury with many areas of its surrounding landscape illustrated that this area was once considered worthy of attention in prehistoric times and even today.

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Glastonbury Abbey
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As if things couldn’t get any weirder in Glasntobury. Discovered this sign post whilst exploring the ancient site. What the?