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 you can have a polar bear experience and I will lay out them out here for you, defining the …
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I was thinking about what makes a trip romantic. Travelling with someone you love is inherently romantic but there really are some places that just seem to hit the romance mark more than others. What better way to show that a place is romantic than …
Everyone loves sharing their birthday celebrations with family and friends, and that’s exactly how we feel about our travel partners. Some we’ve dealt with for nearly 40 years, others perhaps only the past few years. But, no matter how long we’ve known one another, we are so grateful for your …
Edward William Cook (my husband Martyn’s Great Grandad) – Edward William Cook and was born in Dover. Kent, England on the 29/07/1911 and lived in the north of England from his teenage years. He joined the Royal Navy at Chatham Kent on 14/ 9/1939 as a Sickbay attendant. He wore a peaked cap, black tie, jacket and trousers, not blue square collar and bell bottom trousers. He spent 1940 & 41 at Newton Abbot Hospital in Devon where they took in lots of injured people from the military in the west of England and the eastern north Atlantic.
His first ship at sea was HMS Quilliam, a destroyer, in Autumn 1942. There were 8 of these “Q” ships built in the north of England and with 3 other Qs they formed a squadron with HMS Quilliam as senior ship. They left England in November 42 and did not return until the end of 1944. By this time he was a Leading sickbay Attendant as he was on his own looking after the needs of the crew. That means he wore an Anchor badge on the left arm of his uniform. They travelled as a squadron to the following places and scenes of battles: all around the British Isles; Norway; Iceland; North Atlantic; Gibraltar; north Africa; Malta when the siege was on; Corsica; Sardinia; Italy; Crete; Egypt; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Madagascar; Aden; and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
When they reached Burma he was transferred to HMS Caradoc, a cruiser, before coming home late 1944 on HMS Renown, a heavy battle cruiser at speed via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean. By this time he was promoted to Petty Officer with 2 crossed anchors on his left arm.
I am sure we are all feeling the same thing these days … I just want to travel! Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, there is really very little travel happening outside of our own country.
My husband and I were getting a little antsy for an adventure, so we packed up our SUV and drove west across the Canadian Prairies. Of course, packing these days means we pack a few additional items – hand sanitizer and face masks.
We arrived at our first destination – Emerald Lake Lodge, in beautiful Field, British Columbia. On arrival, we were directed to a parking lot, were we parked our SUV and were shuttled to the main lodge. The first indication of COVID-19 measures was the sign on the shuttle advising that all passengers must wear face masks on the shuttle – no problem as we are slowly getting used to masks as part of everyday life. There was ample social distancing in the main lodge, lots of space between tables at dinner, and all staff wearing masks at all times (except front desk staff who were behind a full plexiglass screen).
This past winter I had the opportunity to stay at the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, Norway. I stayed on December 1st for one night. The actual Snowhotel wasn’t quite finished construction yet, so we stayed in the equally unique Gamme Cabins, and they were fabulous!
We flew about 2.5 hours northeast from Oslo and landed in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere at Kirkenes Airport. We had a arranged for the Snowhotel to pick us up from the airport, and their transfer service was a very smooth operation. We looked for a person wearing a Snowhotel jacket, and it turned out to be our wonderful host, Mili! Mili checked off our names and directed us to our waiting bus where the driver helped to load our bags. Once we were all on board, we set off for the approx. 15 minute drive to the Snowhotel!
When I was researching interesting things to see in Moscow, the Moscow Metro System kept on popping up. So I booked a metro tour before I left – and it certainly did NOT disappoint!!
Our guide led our small group (10 people) through the extremely busy, but equally beautiful metro system one afternoon. Every station is truly a museum in itself, and they are kept immaculately clean.
It is the 5th longest underground railway system in the world with just under 400 km’s of rail. It goes very deep underground – sometimes at one station, you might have 2 more stations above you – all underground! The deepest station is Park Pobedy station at 276 feet underground.
When I found out I was going to Russia, the first thing I thought of – I need to see a ballet! That is one of the things you always hear about – the ballet.
The most famous is of course the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. This is almost impossible to get tickets to, especially if you are outside of Europe. Sure enough, the dates I was in Moscow – completely sold out!
My only other stop in Russia was in St Petersburg. There are many theatres there that have ballets, but the most famous are the Mariinsky Theatre, Mikhailovsky Theatre and the historical theatre at the Hermitage.
Once I had sorted out that I would need to find SOMETHING in St Petersburg, the next task was to pick a show! There are the traditional shows such as Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. I knew I wanted tradition, and I really wanted Swan Lake – a Russian ballet, in a Russian theatre, with Russian dancers – in Russia!
As luck would have it, Swan Lake was showing at the Mikhailovsky Theatre on a date that worked for me.
My best day ever started as one of the final days of an Iceland Circumnavigation cruise. We were set to arrive into Heimaey, Westman Islands for a full day port stop. The crew made sure to tell us what time to be on deck as pulling into the harbor is one of the highlights of this stop. They were not wrong. On approach we see green and rock, and hundreds, possibly thousands of seabirds using the rock for nesting. An overwhelming feeling of familiarity came over me, and I felt very calm.
Prior to this, I had never visited the Westman Islands, however I felt like I was being welcomed home. Walking around the village felt comfortable and familiar, it was like my feet and my memory knew exactly where to take me. Read More >
I was recently in Iceland, and since I was only there for a few nights, I hadn’t planned on doing a northern lights tour. However, when I arrived, I keep on hearing the buzz in Reykjavik that the lights were going to AMAZING that night, so I couldn’t resist! I booked onto a Northern Lights Superjeep tour with Arctic Adventures and I don’t regret it for a second!!
I have been lucky to see the northern lights before in Canada, Greenland and on previous trips to Iceland, however I have never seen them like this night! Read More >
I was told by many people before travelling to Finland – you can’t visit Finland and not visit a sauna! There are approximately 5.6 million people in Finland, and around 3.2 million saunas! The Finns take this very seriously! Here in North America, saunas are sometimes considered a luxury, but in Finland, they are considered a necessity! Read More >
Summerhouses are a great way for a couple, a family or a group of people to enjoy a unique experience in Iceland. They are fully equipped houses with anywhere from 1 – 4 or even 5 bedrooms. Bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens with everything you need and lots of your own space! Towels and bed linen are also included or can be for a small fee. All you need to do is show up, bring your own food, and the space is yours to enjoy! Read More >
Attending a sporting event can be an exciting time. Especially when you get to see a team or athlete you really like, in their home country while you are there. This happened to me when I was in Iceland recently. I really enjoy watching the Icelandic Football team play and following their careers. I had a trip to Iceland planned for several months, and about 2 weeks before I was set to leave, it was announced that the Icelandic team would be playing in Reykjavik on the only night I was booked to stay in Reykjavik! It couldn’t have worked out better! Read More >