Written by Martyn Cook with the help of Shauna Cook
The hotel is bustling with people. The lobby has groups of people with laptops open, discussing subjects that elude context and understanding. We make our way to the breakfast bar which is just off of the lobby. A lovely mix of old brickwork and contemporary furniture gives a lovely vibe of traditions held, living alongside new. The smell of breakfast offerings dances in the air, a greeting for our senses. I find the usual fair of cheese, crackers, bacon and eggs, as well as the object of my desire, local delicacies. I try a pastry with rice in the middle which is traditionally served with butter mixed with eggs. They have ginger snap type biscuits, and an Oreo type cookie that contains a minty filling. The last local offering was a candy that had a fox on the label, it was a gummy candy that was given out by grandmas, information that I garner from local sources. We leave the hotel, making our way down the cobblestones to Senate Square to join our free walking tour. We are greeted by Sara, a young history student passionate about her city and its history. We walk the streets learning about Finland’s Germanic influenced buildings, the religion, political, and social struggles, and successes of its people. One building stands out to me on the tour, The Think Company. It’s a public space like a library, it has a cafe, bookstore, and free wifi. This place is free to go into, and you can take in a lecture, or discuss ideas for social change. This is why I love the Nordic countries, they inspire creative thinking; Ideas surrounding use of taxes, social programs, and the general health of the country are discussed and debated. Read More >
Written by Martyn Cook with the help of Shauna Cook
Arriving at the airport, we head down the gangway. We are surrounded by light coloured woods and open windows that let daylight in. As we pass by these portals into the outside world, the landscape has changed since Iceland. The stark black rocks, lichen hung cliffs, moss and sub-Tundra plants of Iceland are replaced with trees as far as the eye can see. We blearily wander to the baggage pick up. Standing there, we watch people move to and fro in a chaotic choreographed dance, dodging and weaving between each other. The language is foreign, as Icelandic is to me; though far enough removed from influence by its neighbours to baffle me. Spending much of my time referencing Icelandic names and places, it shares a common root. Finnish is just beyond comprehension to my ears in theory and practise. Read More >
Blog written by Martyn Cook with the assistance and photography skills of Shauna Cook
Traffic is amassing already; with our hiking boots donned, backpacks loaded with provisions, the day begins. All roads lead to adventure; terra incognito awaits. Driving down the south coast’s single-lane highway reveals a different side to the country; one of a lifestyle of working people living off the land that tried once to reject them. Now communally they thrive, working with nature. Sheep farms line the sides of the road. Icelandic horses, barely tamed, roam the pastures of this wild country. The sub-tundra foliage now gives way to grasses. Read More >
Written by Martyn Cook on his adventures with Shauna
Iceland sucks in so many ways. First, it sucks at meeting your expectations; it exceeds them. Iceland also sucks at embracing your idea of beauty, for it shatters it, instantly replacing it with a new meaning for the word. It also sucks at allowing you to maintain your own self image; the blossoming idea of beauty makes you examine what is important to you.
The instant you break through the clouds it’s almost like entering the wardrobe to Narnia. You are about to enter a beautiful new world. You are to be born again, as you will leave the old person you once knew and meet a new version of yourself. The runway rushes up to meet you; the journey begins. Tires hit tarmac. Smoke rises up cleansing you for the experience that awaits. You are filled with a sense of adventure. Leaving that sense of longing to find what you miss in your day-to-day life, having it fill your spirit with that missing piece. Like the last puzzle piece, it will fit right in. Iceland takes the familiar and replaces it with a sort of ‘through the looking glass’ idea of a world. The volcanic rock looks like giants took a roll of moss and sub-tundra plants and covered the landscape. Clouds play hide and go seek amongst the peaks as the rain washes away your misconception of a world you once knew and replaces them with a raw truth. Contrast dominates the landscape, everyday. It really is the land of fire and ice. Black sand beaches, lined with white caps riding upon waves crashing amongst the beaches. The world changes from moment to moment in an intoxicating wonderful way. Our senses are alive. Read More >
My Spanish teacher Renato, who is originally from Peru, has been telling me for four years how great the food is in his home country. After my recent trip, I can confirm that’s true.
There are some dishes specific to certain regions but many that are widely available in most restaurants throughout Peru. Each time I encountered a dish that Renato had mentioned, I was excited to try it. Read More >
Great Wolf Lodge is a fantastic resort destination. It’s 100% geared towards families. You don’t even have to leave your resort, as everything you need is right there, from food to accommodations, to entertainment, you can simply spend your entire trip at the resort. Read More >
If you are a music lover, you should definitely visit Nashville, TN. Especially now with our Winnipeg Jets playing there at least twice per season.
It was my third time visiting a few weeks ago, and cannot wait to go back. Read More >
Fish On. That is 2 words I love to hear. I was up in Northern Manitoba at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge. I went fishing for Northern Pike and Lake Trout. Every few minutes someone would yell out “Fish On”; This meant that someone in the boat had caught a slimy, squirmy, yummy fish on their hook.
Gangler’s is a fly in fishing, hunting and eco-tourism camp in the north-west corner of Manitoba, near the border of Nunavut and Saskatchewan. The 5,000,000 acres of barren land, 12 river system and hundreds of lakes allows guests endless outdoor opportunities. Read More >
October 17, 2018 may not be a special day for you for any particular reason, but for those in Canada, it marks the day that allows adults (18+, depending on which province a person lives) to legally possess cannabis, share it, buy it, grow it, and make cannabis products from it. And whether or not you agree with this law, it will be there and those who wish to participate in such activities should know what they need to do if they decide to travel outside of Canada. Read More >
Repost: We have an escorted Botswana Safari in 2019. For 6 nights, you can experience the Linyanti Concessions and the Okavango Delta with a Great Canadian Travel Group escort!
It is a little unusual to say, “I am really looking forward to going on a wet African Safari.” Most people wonder why you would want to go and sit in the rain. But a ‘wet safari’ is the experience offered in the
Okavango Delta of Botswana and the camps that I had the privilege of staying at in March 2017. Read More >