John Lelis | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

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 19, 2019 | John Lelis

As I wrote at the beginning in part 1 of this blog, it would take a book to tell you everything I wanted about my beautiful country. Even the people are amazing, you’ll see once there, but I am aiming for the young at heart now. Hardly anywhere else in …

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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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All-inclusive Addict

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 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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Portugal is #1 best tourist destination, part 3!

August 19, 2019 | John Lelis

As I wrote at the beginning in part 1 of this blog, it would take a book to tell you everything I wanted about my beautiful country. Even the people are amazing, you’ll see once there, but I am aiming for the young at heart now. Hardly anywhere else in Europe will you find a place with such a vibrant night life as Lisbon. Night clubs and discotheques are all over the city. Each caters to a different crowd and music preference, from the amazing Gothic decor of Kremlin, playing hardcore techno, sometimes with celebrity DJ’s featured to the literally hidden (you won’t find it listed in any Fodor’s guide) Incognito, only playing alternative and dance music. There’s always something to appeal to everyone when it comes to letting go and enjoying the music.

  

And here is an inside secret, clubs in Portugal open around midnight (even if it is considered lame to arrive so early) and are usually open until 4, 5 or 6am. But, if you are an hardcore fan of partying, ask the doorman about the after hours party. Most of them have a secret after hours party (usually on Saturdays) that starts around 7am and goes until there is no crowd there, asking for more. Sometimes the partying may go until after noon!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about doing some partying while you’re in 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.

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination, part 2!

July 31, 2019 | John Lelis

Picking up where I left off in my previous blog (I was talking about food), if you ever go to Porto, it’s a must to have a “Francesinha”, (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portuguese) originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat, and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick sauce (secret recipe). It is typically served with french fries.

  

If desert and sweets is more your thing, then head to Lisbon, to the pasteis de belem (Portuguese Custard tart) factory, founded in 1837 and keeping their secret recipe so well guarded that only they know where it is (beat this Coca Cola), and of course, ask for your espresso while at it, the combination is more than perfect, personally my record eating these babies is 18 of them in one hour, but I have friends who put me to shame.

And of course, one can’t even start talking about beverages without dedicating time to what for me is the best Portuguese secret (and it shouldn’t be), green wine (vinho verde). Portugal is the only country in the world that produces it, most people would never have heard about it, but once you try it, your life changes. Vinho Verde is a crisp, aromatic, low alcohol, and often slightly spritzy wine from the North of Portugal. Despite the translation, Vinho Verde is never green: it’s usually a white wine, although it’s possible to get red and rosé Vinho Verde as well. Green, in this case, means young rather than anything to do with its colour. In fact, the only thing that really makes a Vinho Verde a Vinho Verde is that it comes from the Vinho Verde region. You’ll find Vinho Verde in every supermarket in Portugal, and just about every menu in every Portuguese restaurant. It used to be hard to get outside of Portugal, and often you would have to seek out a specialty wine shop. These days most decent wine shops will stock a bottle and it’s increasingly being stocked by supermarkets as well.

 

 

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays to try some of the delicious food and wine. 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.

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 17, 2019 | John Lelis

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.

Isla Mujeres, Cancun’s Hidden Paradise

May 03, 2019 | John Lelis

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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