Our Blogs | The Great Canadian Travel Co. - Part 2

STAFF PICKS

November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

This Remembrance Day we’d like to honour members of our own families and friends who have served during war time and in regular military service.

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November 10, 2020 | Shauna Cook

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 …

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November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

George Henry Hambley (1896-1983) My Uncle George enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force at age 18, on the 13 October, 1915 at Camp Sewell (which later became Camp Hughes), near Carberry, MB. He served in France, Belgium, and Germany and was involved in some major battles including Ypres, Mons, Cambrai, …

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Walking Safari in Linyanti, Botswana

October 15, 2020 | Margot Kalinowsky

What would you do if you saw a 12,000 pound elephant Bull walking towards you?  Run, cry, scream??

I found out what I would do when I was lucky enough to be on a walking safari in the Linyanti region in Botswana.

Before leaving on our 2-hour hike we went over the rules and expectations. The rules are simple. Do not walk in front of the guide, walk in a single file, do not touch the leaves on the trees, do not be loud and noisy, and most importantly, keep your eyes open on the most amazing walk you will ever take.

A walking safari and a jeep safari are very different experiences.  While on the jeep you are always looking at the horizon, up in the trees, outcrops, bushes rivers, etc., focusing on the large macro experience and, in general, large animals and birds. However, when on a walking safari it becomes the smaller micro creatures, bugs and fauna you are watching for. A walking safari is like being a page in a book whereas a jeep safari is like being a chapter in a book.

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Snowhotel Kirkenes, Norway

September 21, 2020 | Shauna Cook

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!

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Right at Home With Peruvian & Bolivian Food

September 20, 2020 | Karen Pearson

With Covid-19 curtailing our plans, my partner and I have been missing travel. To help with that, one day while Chris was at work, I decided to surprise him by making a dinner with Peruvian and Bolivian foods so we could relive one of our favourite trips.

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Canoeing in Manitoba’s Whiteshell

August 24, 2020 | Karen Pearson

2020 has been a bit different for all of us, so far, with travel options limited to those closer to home.

 

Last weekend, my partner Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful summer weather and went canoeing on White Lake in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park. Our plan had been to portage to Cabin Lake and canoe there as well. However, upon landing at the portage site, we discovered that the route information was outdated due to a pond between the two lakes drying up, and the 200m portage was in fact one kilometre. It was easy enough to walk it, though slow-going due to the abundance of wild blueberries and saskatoons that we couldn’t help but stop to pick (and eat, of course!). After walking the full kilometre, we decided to forgo hauling the canoe and our gear down the narrow, overgrown, twisting path over rocky, hilly terrain, especially since we would have had to repeat it in reverse on the return trip. Instead, the portage site served as a lovely lunch stop, with the berries as our appetizer.

We saw several falcons, many other birds, countless insects of course, and a turtle sunning himself on a rock in the shallow, reedy water near the shore. Unfortunately I was unable to take many photos because every time I stopped paddling, the waves pushed us off course and toward the rocky shore. I had to be content with simply enjoying the moment and taking photos with my mind. It’s really the best way to do it, rather than seeing everything through the lens of a cell phone camera.

 

 

Hearing only birdsong, the sound of the waves lapping against the canoe, and the wind in our ears, it was not difficult to relax and let go of the stresses of everyday life. Focusing only on paddling the canoe, one could easily forget there was such a thing as Covid-19. After we paddled far enough to leave behind the cabins, boathouses, and campgrounds, there was only wilderness as far as the eye could see.

 

It was very easy to imagine this was exactly how things looked to Indigenous peoples long before white men arrived. It was so peaceful and beautiful. It’s no wonder Mother Earth is so sacred in the Indigenous culture.

 

If you’d like to come to Canada when it’s safe to travel again, and explore our beautiful wilderness, get in touch and we can design a program for you, either here in Manitoba or anywhere in our amazing country!

Moscow Metro

August 19, 2020 | Shauna Cook

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.

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Zodiac Cruises and Tours

August 11, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

If you are familiar with the world of Expedition Cruises, you have then heard the term ‘Zodiac Cruise’ before.  Zodiacs or RIB boats are durable and easy to maneuver, rubber passenger boats which enable travellers to make landings.  These boats are used both in the Arctic and the Antarctic for daily excursions.  Disembarking procedures begin in the mud room, where you start by putting on your warm weather clothing and rubber boots.  When ready, you will head to the gangway where an expedition leader will assist you into the zodiac.   Getting in and out of the zodiac is always assisted using the army grip, and then once sitting, sliding your posterior along the side of the boat.  Most zodiac’s comfortably fit about 8 – 12 passengers, plus the driver/guide.

 

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Warrior for a Day in Northern Ireland

July 29, 2020 | Amelia Bearhart

I went to Ireland, both the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland, with my co-worker Lois. We did a lot of really neat stuff on our trip around this gorgeous, green island. But, one of my favourite things was being a Warrior for a Day at Castle Ward and Demesne in County Down, just south of Belfast. We got to take part in the Winterfell Game of Thrones™ Experience, because this castle was the setting of Winterfell in the HBO™ series and many scenes were shot on the grounds there.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to take part in the activities, but it turns out that you don’t need opposable thumbs to do archery! Read More >

Culinary Travel

July 23, 2020 | Allison Silvaggio

For people that know me well, they know that ‘Food’ is one of my very favorite things.  And, one of the best parts of travelling, for me, is trying out the local cuisine.

In the past 20 years, I have tasted everything from Muktuk in the Arctic  (whale skin & blubber), to Mopane Worms in Zimbabwe, along with a few favorites such as Arctic char, lamb and lobster bisque in Iceland and delicious barbecue in Nashville, TN.

 

 

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A Note from our President, 22 July 2020

July 23, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

KE = 1/2 MV²
Kinetic energy is equal to 1/2 of the mass of an object multiplied by its velocity squared.

Kinetic energy of an object is the energy it possesses once it is in motion. Until the object is in motion all of its energy is simply ”potential energy.” The key to the sentence Is ”motion”, for without motion there is nothing except potential.

What does a lesson in physics have to do with travel?

I think it is all about the potential to be in motion; to explore; to expand our horizons and our understanding of the people and the planet that we live on. Today, with the world gripped by a pandemic, it really is about potential. There is no “kinetic energy” in the world of travel.

Physics really does not expand on the notion of WHY, but I think it is important. Motion, for the sake of motion, is really meaningless. There needs to be a purpose. With the restrictions on travelling, even outside of one’s door at home, there has become a much greater emphasis on the purpose of our travels. Read More >

A Note from our President, 15 July 2020

July 15, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Opening – Closing – Re-opening – Delayed – Cancelled – Extended…

Welcome to the ever-changing world of global travel. The only constant is that nothing is constant, certain or sometimes even known for sure.
There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the travel headlines as countries, destinations and resorts announce that they are “Open for Business”. While we are encouraged by these announcements, as travel professionals interested in providing you with the best advice, we are concerned.
The term “Open” now comes with so many caveats, that it is necessary to read and interpret the fine print.  “Open” (if you come with Negative pre-test done within 10 days , which can be overturned if “you exhibit signs” as determined by health officials greeting the plane ) says the ad for Jamaica. “Open” says Iceland, and then, once you land, charges you about US$150 to take a test, quarantine for 12 hours and then be informed if you (and your plane) pass. What happens if you or the six rows around you do not pass? A mandatory 14-day quarantine – at your expense.   Read More >

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