Archived Blogs – The Great Canadian Travel Co.

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July 8, 2020 | Lois Farley

Travel is not just about people going somewhere. It is about inspiration, opportunity, dreams, ambitions and about building lifelong connections. COVID-19 has not made any of these things disappear. In many ways the desire for real connectivity is being increased. Travel has changed forever. One major change may be seen …

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July 6, 2020 | Arnie Hydamaka

The more special your travel dream, the more we can help you get there! That was the motto of the Great Canadian Travel Company when it began in 1980 and was when I became associated with the company. I had a dream travel destination – Africa, and more specifically the …

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June 30, 2020 | GCT Bear

My hometown of Churchill, Manitoba is a Canadian town located on the edge of the Arctic. It still has a distinctive frontier town feel about it and comes to life whenever a new group of visitors arrive. The people that live here are friendly, proud of their hometown and the …

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Tianna’s Best Days Ever!

December 04, 2019 | Archived Blogs

My best day ever started at sunrise in the Negev Desert at the Khan Be’erotayim Eco-lodge. After a quick and delicious traditional Bedouin breakfast it was time to begin my first camel riding adventure. The Khan is home to a herd of beautiful camels and after introductions and a safety briefing it was time to climb aboard.

photo credit: Israel Ministry of Tourism & Eyal Harel

Camels are very tall and I am not, so getting onto my camel was a challenge of its own. After a helpful hand and a gentle push up, I successfully made it onto the camel! It was time for some pictures and the start of the journey. If you have ever seen a camel, you will know how they fold in on themselves when they sit and the steep angle and jolting motion as they stand was startling. It was also at this moment that I took notice of how high up I was sitting and how far down the ground was and while it was a little unsettling the views of the desert from this perspective made it all worth it.

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Natalie’s Best Days Ever!

November 10, 2019 | Archived Blogs

My “Best days ever” started was when I was 18. It was the year 2000. I was fresh out of high school and ready to conquer adult life, move out of province and go to law school.  My Church had opened registrations to join the St-Boniface Diocese to send 75 youth to Italy for the World Youth Days and lucky me, I was chosen from my community.

Close your eyes and picture yourselves among a few million people in St. Peter’s Square.  You’re squished, you’re holding your travel partner’s hand and back pack very tightly so as not to get separated and your eyes are locked on the flag overhead held by your flag bearer, a.k.a “group master”.  Do this successfully and you won’t get lost.

So, there we all are, in the middle of chaos and Pope John Paul II is miles away, like a little dot you can kind of see, waaayyy over there.  Suddenly, the crowd parts just like Moses parting The Red Sea and our group is standing there in the middle, on the cobblestone pathways to the Vatican. The guards are yelling at us and they take our group master’s flag pole away!  OMG, what is happening?  The guards start to move us and, just like that, we are ushered on stage to sit with Pope John Paul II. Thus was the start of the World Youth Days opening ceremonies and my travel career!

I never went to law school…I became a travel agent!

By the way – the flag pole that was stolen from us, well Sister Norma dared me to jump the iron gate to retrieve it, which I did. I saved the day, something I always seem to end up doing when I travel (see other blogs).

We were four sharing that tiny room together in Rome: Sister Norma, Monique, Mariève and I.  For the past 19 years we’ve been getting together every few months for lunch.  We lost Monique a few years ago to a long battle with MS and other health issues, but when I close my eyes, I see the four of us right there in the middle of all the chaos, and I am filled with so much peace, love, and desire for my next adventure!

All-inclusive Addict

September 12, 2019 | Archived Blogs

I am an all-inclusive addict, I confess! I tried an all-inclusive for the first time in 2014 and I have not been able to quit. What makes it even worse is that I am a travel consultant and I keep receiving news almost every day about new resorts opening, new locations, more Islands and beaches and properties to add to my bucket list. It almost makes me sad that I don’t think I’ll live enough to visit all the ones I want to visit. I am so addicted that when asked a suggestion for this week’s newsletter I immediately responded I wanted an all-inclusive themed one, so that’s why you’re reading this (and thank you for reading it, by the way).

“Why all-inclusive?”, is usually the question people pose to me.

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Our Top Five Places to Watch the Northern Lights

August 01, 2019 | Archived Blogs

Have you ever wondered how those bright dancing lights are created? They are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. In the northern hemisphere, they are called Aurora borealis; in the southern half, Aurora australis.

The colours can appear as green or pink, but have also appeared as shades of red, yellow, green, blue and violet. They can look like patches in the sky, scattered clouds, light streamers, arcs and rippling curtains. But I’m sure we can all agree, that no matter what colour they are and what they look like, they will always be a magical sight. Read More >

Delta, Charlie, Echo – we have a runner!

July 31, 2019 | Archived Blogs

“Delta, Charlie, Echo – we have a runner!”

Do you think 35 minutes is enough time to connect in Minneapolis from Atlanta? Well, let me tell you, that it is a true, valid connection time sold by Delta. I know now it’s enough time, as I did it in 13 minutes flat, from Terminal G to F.

On my past business trip to Puerto Vallarta (yes – it was business!), the only option to come home was with Delta via Atlanta and Minneapolis. A long travel day, but it would get me home at 11.50pm and in bed by 1.30am (I live 45 minutes east of Winnipeg).  All systems go, until my Atlanta departure is delayed by 40 minutes and I start to question if I’ll make my Minneapolis departure. I’m doubtful. I email my travel agent (yes, I have one too) and tell her to protect me on tomorrow’s morning flight from Minneapolis to Winnipeg, disrupting her dinner party. But, I get the confirmation before I get on my delayed flight in Atlanta –  at least I have a Plan b.

We arrive in Minneapolis, and the pilot gets on the intercom “Folks, we have some runners on this flight. If you’re not having to connect within the next 30 minutes please let them pass”.  My first glimpse of hope!  Of course, I’m praying they can get the door open, as when I landed in Puerto Vallarta there was some malfunction. The door opens, I make it out of the airplane and start on a mad dash in what I hope is the right direction. The mechanical walkways are broken, could have saved me a breath or two, but I’m doing OK and my roller bag keeps up.

Airport, Travel, Flights, Times, Transportation Image result for minneapolis airport

 

 

 

 

 

“Hebert?” – says the gate agent, with a question mark, in the middle of the very empty terminal.  I can stop running, the door hasn’t closed yet and I’m on my flight. There’s even room in the overhead for my bag.

I send a quick email to my agent, “Abort, I made it!”

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 31, 2019 | Archived Blogs

Our latest newsletter has Portugal as the featured destination. When asked to write a blog to feature in it, I thought it would be easy! After all, I am Portuguese and lived there until I was 39 before moving to Canada. But in fact, it isn’t that easy! There is so much to tell and so many stories to choose from that I found myself wondering where to start.

I guess a great way to start would be by saying that Portugal has been voted the best destination in the world for two years in a row in the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of world tourism”. Everyone should go there! 

Portugal is the European country with oldest borders (I didn’t say oldest country in Europe, those are different things) and it has an amazing coast line that extends for 1.794 km (1115 mi). Of course, the main attraction must be the amazing beaches and, believe me, some of them are amazing. But a country with almost 900 years of history has, in fact, much more to offer. Its rich culture results from many influences including Roman, Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician,Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish. All of these influences are still visible from the north to the south in many ways, even if the Roman and Moorish are the most visible, being also the most recent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Portugal has the allure of a 2 in 1 Holiday. You may opt for spending your time visiting the historic centers of Lisbon or Porto, the country’s two main cities. Both have contrasts of the modern and comfortable cosmopolitan places they are, while keeping the old traces and vestiges that built their histories and are still preserved physically ans well as ingrained in the peoples’ culture.

If you are a sun lover and a holiday without beach, sun and amazing drinks isn’t a holiday for you, Portugal is also the place you want to be! From the northern point near Spain, going down to the most southern point of Europe; Sagres (in Algarve) bathed by the Atlanctic Ocean and then East towards Spain, bathed by the Mediterranean sea; with beaches, amazing fish, prize winning beers, typical dishes and bread, Portugal has it all. And, believe me, we the Portuguese love to enjoy it!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at John@gctravel.ca.

Candace’s Resort Site inspections – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

May 09, 2019 | Archived Blogs

As a travel consultant dedicated to making sure clients are getting the best trip, one that they will talk about for a long time after they return, I have to know where I’m sending them. First hand. Back in January, I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and saw six resorts. Here are my notes on those: Read More >

Isla Mujeres, Cancun’s Hidden Paradise

May 03, 2019 | Archived Blogs

I must confess, being new here at the agency and when asked for a blog entry I immediately intended on writing about my vow renewal (wedding) in Isla Mujeres. Meanwhile Nicole was faster than me and wrote about her beautiful experience getting married in California and I was in doubt if it would be the right choice to write about a wedding theme again, but as both experiences are so different and the locations and ceremony types so apart, I decided to keep my original plan. As such, let’s go.

 

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Natalie’s Travels

May 03, 2019 | Archived Blogs

Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that travelling, a house and 2 kids plus 1 cat? I have amazing support from my parents, to the neighbour who plowed my driveway all year, to great friends, coworkers and school teachers and day cares that all know my life is nonstop craziness. Lucky for them I always have amazing stories to tell and I bring back souvenirs.

Here is how the rest of my year, and new year, went…

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Travelling with Cannabis – what Canadians need to know

April 22, 2019 | Archived Blogs

**Reposted with new information**

 

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 allowed 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.  The latter two are dependent on individual provincial laws. And whether or not you agree with this law, it is here 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 >

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