Ian Kalinowsky | The Great Canadian Travel Co. - Part 2

STAFF PICKS

September 19, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

The serenity of standing on the bow of the small expedition ship, watching the Southern fulmars fly back and forth over the wake of the vessel. Enjoying a morning yoga class where the gentle rocking of the ship puts you deeper into the stretch, followed by the silence of meditation. …

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September 12, 2019 | John Lelis

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 …

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August 1, 2019 | Lois Farley

I’ve been lucky enough in my lifetime to see the Northern Lights in my home province of Manitoba, Canada as well as while visiting Greenland and Iceland. They really are spectacular! Have you ever wondered how those bright dancing lights are created? They are actually collisions between electrically charged particles …

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The Bird is the Word

August 14, 2017 | Ian Kalinowsky

African Fish Eagle

Our group was going on Safari to the Kalahari Desert; The Okavango Delta and the Linyanti Marshlands. We had all been on Safaris before and we were very much looking forward to spotting the Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros) and the numerous types of antelopes, giraffes, ostriches and everything else that we could possibly experience. What was not on our excitement or anticipation list was birds. We just had not given birds much thought prior to coming on this safari and as we started out on the jeep that early morning they were the farthest thing from our minds. It is not that they weren’t present: we could hear the multiple songs and could see them flitter around in the early dawn light. It is just that birds had not once entered into any of our conversations or into our trains of thought as to what we were going to experience. Read More >

What to Take with you on Safari – A Comprehensive List

June 09, 2017 | Ian Kalinowsky

The brochure was very specific and it has caused me great concern. 15 KG of luggage is allowed. Are they serious? How on earth was I going to do that?

This is probably what causes the most questions and concerns for our clients when they go on Safari. So having returned from my trip to South Africa & Botswana, where I was on Safari at 3 different camps and spent time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I thought I would lay out everything I took. Hopefully this gives you an idea that the allowance is really not much of a burden.

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Iceland Blue Lagoon Spa Day

October 14, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

Wheels up in Winnipeg at 2:45pm, down in Toronto long enough to have some dinner, then 4 hours and 50 minutes later we landed at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland. With black lava fields all around it felt a bit like I think it might feel to land on the moon!

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Food Glorious Food Iceland Style!

October 11, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

What’s the food like in Iceland? We get asked that a lot.  I had the good fortune to sample a variety of local, Icelandic foods during my week here with my family.  It was fresh, a lot local and organic, innovative and all delicious!

One of my favourite eateries in Reykjavik is the Tapas Restaurant. A 16 year old restaurant set in a cave-like setting it’s warm with the right amount of lighting and is very quiet despite being full of people. An amazing group of the most attentive staff on the planet! Great service and the managers knew absolutely every single ingredient in every dish of an extensive menu.

Serrano with fresh figs and chilled honey       Puffin* with blueberry sauce and nuts

*I’m sorry – I know puffins are cute!  But, they’re also plentiful (by the millions here in Iceland in the summer) and are a popular food in the Nordic countries.

Tapas – small dishes served when perfectly done. The three of us shared 10 dishes in total and were full by meal’s end. 10 dishes, 4 glasses of house red, a beer and our bill was ISK21,200 (about US$190/CA$250), which we felt was very good value.

And how could we not try the iconic Icelandic pylsur (hot dog), made mostly from fresh, organic, Icelandic lamb mixed with a bit of pork and beef.  The casing is natural, giving the hot dog a nice “snap” when you bite into it.  Order “ein með öllu” (roughly pronounced “ane meth alt) and you’ll get one with the works – a hot dog in a soft, steamed bun topped with raw white onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet brown mustard called pylsusinnep and remoulade, a delicious, creamy sauce made with mayonnaise, capers, mustard, and herbs. You can choose to leave off some of the toppings, but we’d recommend you try “one with everything”, just like the Icelanders do!

Food, glorious food, Icelandic style!

Remarkable Reykjavik

October 05, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

I had the good fortune to stay for a week in the remarkable, capital city of Reykjavik with my wife Margot and our son David.

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Thanks to Elfa Bjork, manager of one of the apartment properties we use for our clients, we stayed in a beautiful, centrally located, two-bedroom apartment. Read More >

Scuba Diving and Snorkelling, Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

October 04, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

I had a few extra days before and after a conference I was attending in Iceland so my wife, Margot and one of our sons, David, decided to come along for a vacation in this amazing country.

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On October 2nd, David and I went scuba diving and Margot went snorkelling and experienced the clearest water in the world.  We were diving in a rift between the North American and European tectonic plates in Thingevillir Park, at a dive site named Silfra. Read More >

Cuba – Our mojitos already had mint

July 26, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

After reading this very interesting article (it’s not as negative as it sounds and is well worth a read!), I realized that now, more than ever, really is the time to get to Cuba!

If you want to get to Cuba “before it changes,” you’re already too late

The article talks about the nostalgic, but not always realistic, remembrances of the Cuba of “then”; the positive and hopeful changes seen in the Cuba of “now”; and the probably, and not always positive, imagined Cuba of “later”, that is post-influx of American tourists and their dollars.

There are a variety of ways to visit Cuba sooner rather than later.  Fly on a scheduled airline or charter flight and book accommodation in the lively and passionate capital of the country, Havana.  On a sun package that includes charter airfare and hotel accommodation, usually at one of the variety of popular tourist beach locations, and maybe a couple of local tours thrown in.  On an escorted, small group tour that gets you away from the touristy beach areas into the countryside.  Or on a cruise that sails around the island, stopping at a number of diverse and interesting ports.  All of these options are great for the variety of people that want to visit Cuba.  And don’t worry, it really isn’t too late!

       Carolina, a tourist from Chile, jumps while having her picture taken by a friend before a tribute to revolutionary leader Che Guevara in front of the Cuban Interior Ministry (MININT) in Havana's Revolution Square October 8, 2013. Forty-six years after he was captured by soldiers in a Bolivian jungle and executed the next day, the Argentine-born Ernesto Guevara De La Serna, AKA, 'Che', is still a national hero in Cuba where he joined Fidel Castro in an armed uprising that ousted a U.S. backed dictator in 1959. Tuesday will be Guevara's 46th death anniversary. The words on the building read: "Onward to victory, always".

How many ways can you visit a Polar Bear?

February 25, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

So you know you want visit a Polar Bear but you need to figure out the way to visit that works best for you? Well there are actually several ways that one can have a polar bear experience and I will lay out them out here for you, defining the differences between each one. Read More >

One of my favorite restaurants in Reykjavik

January 16, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

“Tapas” is an upscale restaurant very close to the harbour in Reykjavik. Would be a great place to go with a group as the portion sizes were very large. There was also a “chef selection” of 6 items that cost 7500 ISK (about $75 CDN). Various groups that I spoke to found the food, and the prices, to be exceptional.

  1. Saltfish with chorizo in a tomato and date sauce.
    1. The highlight was the tomato and date sauce which absolutely shined and provided an exceptional level of taste to the saltfish. Pairing a fish with a sausage was also very interesting and it was the chorizo that was in fact “saltier” than the saltfish which given their respective names would not have been expected.
  2. Rack of lamb in a samfaira and mint sauce
    1. Done medium rare the lamb was exceptional. I would have preferred if the mint sauce was a little “more minty” as it seemed to lack that bite that comes from using enough mint in a sauce.

I had only 2 of some 60 possible tapas selections and it would have been a true pleasure to have dined their every night. It is “underground” and you have the feeling that you are going into a cavern or a cellar. The manager was exceptional as I was the only single diner and he seemed to spend a fair amount of time talking to me about the food.

I will definitely be dining again on my next trip.

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