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Lois Farley, CTC | Product Manager

Who is Lois:
Lois is currently Product Manager. She joined the Great Canadian Travel team in March 2000, starting out as an airfare specialist, then represented Icelandair in Canada, handled Sales & Marketing as well as specializing in Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic.

She grew up on a farm near Forrest, MB and moved to Winnipeg to attend university pursuing a phys-ed degree, then obtained a travel diploma from Angus College. Since graduating she worked in the industry as a travel consultant, a reservations agent/fares specialist for Canadian Airlines and in the sales/ticketing office for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Lois married Yianni in 1993 in a tiny, country chapel in Greece and they have two daughters, Lea and Giorgia. They live in Winnipeg and travel frequently to Greece to visit family and friends there. She and her daughters are ardent Winnipeg Jets fans and cheer on the Toronto Blue Jays, Winnipeg Goldeyes, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Canada’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams and Canadian tennis players.  During Euro Cup 2016, Lois became a big fan of the Icelandic soccer team – Afram Island!

One of Lois’ favourite places to travel to is Ireland – even her profile picture is taken there, learning to pour a Guinness. Her maternal grandmother and other great-grandparents all emigrated from County Antrim, so this is a very special place for her. But, she loves the whole island and all of the incredible experiences it holds.

What are Lois’ TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Climbing Ayers Rock (now called Uluru) at dawn, and looking out over the ancient lands of the Aboriginals of central Australia. Much to the disappointment of one of the people on our group, there was no Coke machine at the top.
  • Sailing into the fjords of Torngat National Park in northern Labrador. I had no idea there was anywhere like that in Canada – stunning!
  • Visiting the monasteries of Meteora in central Greece, the cliff-side villages of Santorini, the ancient sites of Knossos in Crete, Mycenae and Olympia in the Peloponnese, skiing on Mt. Parnassos in the morning and having lunch in the afternoon beside the sea.  Greece is amazing.
  • Hiking the Samaria Gorge in Crete and the Milford Track in New Zealand – completely different hikes, but both incredible experiences.
  • Backpacking through Europe for almost a year; from Greece in the south to the northern tip of Scotland, Bergen Norway to the beaches of the Algarve in Portugal. A better education than any classroom could ever give!

What is Lois’ closing comment:
“In the short term, it would make me happy to go play outside. In the long term, it would make me happier to do well at school and become successful. But, in the VERY long term, I know which will make better memories”.
– Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: It’s a Magical World

So, go outside and play whenever you can! Life is too short to regret what you could have, would have, should have done!

New from Lois Farley, CTC

Iceland’s Explosive Volcanoes

March 31, 2021 | Lois Farley

You’ve probably heard of Iceland being referred to as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. It is, without question, an island of extraordinary, natural beauty and attractions like the volcanoes and glaciers that inspired its moniker; stunning waterfalls; caves made of lava and ice; breathtaking fjords and quaint, oceanside towns and villages. But, for the last few days it’s certainly living up to the “fire” part of its nickname!

Iceland sits on top of the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, two of the largest on the planet, which are moving in opposite directions. (You can even snorkel or scuba dive in Silfra Ridge, with the plates on either side of you). This separation of the two plates makes Iceland a seismic and volcanic hotspot!

Since early February, several weeks of nearly continuous earthquakes of varying intensity (more than 50,000, compared to the usual 1,000-3,000 registered each year since 2014), had given scientists at the meteorological office (IMO) in Iceland reason to believe an eruption of a volcano in the Krysuvik volcanic system on the Reykjanes Peninsula was imminent, the first in the area for nearly 800 years. Read More >

Newsletters – 2021

March 31, 2021 | Lois Farley

If you want to keep up to date on product news, promotions and specials we send out a newsletter by e-mail every week or two. To be kept in the loop just sign up from our website, at the bottom of each page in the red “footer” or email us to be added to the list to receive updates from us. You can always unsubscribe at any time if you change your mind later on!

Newsletter Archives:
31 March, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Iceland
17 March, 2021 – Up2Date Happy St. Patrick’s Day
03 March, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Uplift Payment Options and Travel at Home 
17 February, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Polar Bear Prize Trip and International Polar Bear Day
11 February, 2021 – Up2Date featuring Valentine’s Day Wishes and Romantic Travel Locations
03 February,2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 4
27 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 3
20 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 2
13 January, 2021 – Up2Date featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest, Week 1

Uplift – a new way to pay for your travel

March 04, 2021 | Lois Farley

Have you ever seen a really awesome travel deal (and there are some enticing offers out there right now) or perhaps you’ve needed to travel for an emergency and wished that there was some way to pay for your trip over time? Well, now there is! Introducing Uplift, a new way to pay for your travel.

Uplift is the leading Buy Now, Pay Later solution for travel and we are partnering with them to provide our Canadian clients with Flexible Payment Options.

Read More >

Romantic Film Locations

February 10, 2021 | Lois Farley

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 featuring it in a romance movie? Here are just a few Romantic Film Locations that you can plan to visit when it’s safe to travel again, and the movie they were featured in. Movie descriptions are pulled from the IMDb website and movie titles are linked to that page.

I know I’ve left off some good ones. What movies would you add to this list?

Read More >

Our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest

February 10, 2021 | Lois Farley

Wednesday, 10 February: Our 4-week 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest is now closed. We’ll be tabulating all of the qualifying entries received from our surveys, testimonials and Google reviews and will draw one lucky winner. We had hoped to announce the winner on Valentine’s Day but due to some technological issues we’ll have to wait until next Wednesday.  So, check out our February 17th newsletter for the prize announcement.

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We’ve said “goodbye, au revoir, tavvauvutit, farvel, adiós, γειά σας, bless, slán leat, farvel, до побачення, do widzenia, arrivederci” and “don’t let the door hit you on your way out” to 2020! I think most of us are happy to see it go and look forward to the New Year of 2021 with hope and optimism that things will get better as the year progresses.

Now that the busy holiday season is over, we decided to turn our attention to celebrating our 40th Birthday. We turned 40 on November 21, 2020 and, unlike a lot of people that turn 40, aren’t the least bit depressed about it. In fact, it’s a great reason to have a celebration!

For 4 weeks, starting January 13th, we’ll be sending out a newsletter featuring our 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest. If you click on the link in the newsletter and complete the Prize Trip Survey you’ll be entered into the draw for a chance to win a Polar Bear Daytripper tour for 2, departing from Winnipeg on October 23, 2021.

P.S. Don’t you wish you were on that beach, writing “Happy Birthday” in the sand? We sure do!

The Fine Print: Rules of Prize Trip Contest

From our Travel Partners – 40th Birthday Wishes

February 08, 2021 | Lois Farley

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 partnership and thank you for the birthday wishes!

 


“Happy 40th  Birthday to Great Canadian Travel. As you provide fantastic tours to some of the most remote and unique areas of the world this is a most impressive achievement.”  – Don Finkbeiner, Owner/Manager Heartland International Travel & Tours.

 


“Congratulations to and very best wishes to our colleagues and friends at The Great Canadian Travel Company on their 40th year celebrations.  Wishing you every success in the coming years and the next 40 years, from all of us at Abbey Ireland & UK in Dublin & Edinburgh.” – Dermot O’Neill, Senior Business Development Managerof Business Development / Adventure Canada

 

 


 

Happy Birthday Team – what a great achievement.  May many more adventures be on your horizon. All the best – Donna Duggan, Director / Maasai Wanderings Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Happy Birthday, GCT! – Matthew James (MJ) Swan, Director  – Adventure Canada

 

 

 


Ride the birthday train for as long as you can! This is a huge accomplishment; congratulations! All of us at Rocky Mountaineer wish our friends at Great Canadian Travel a very happy 40th birthday, with many more years of success and travel to come! – Lisa Otterman, Business Development Manager, Western Canada / Rocky Mountaineer

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Video greeting – Chuck Edwards, Business Development Manager Manitoba & Saskatchewan / Globus Family of Brands & Avalon Waterways 

 


Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. We will like to express our gratitude for your trust in using our ship Sarfaq Ittuk as part of your costumers travel in Greenland. We are certain that the trip along the coast resulted in some great experiences. We hope you will choose us in the future to maintain our fruitful cooperation. – Erna Møller, Teamleader / Arctic Umiaq Line

 


We at Íshestar Riding tours in Iceland wish you a very happy birthday. We hope you had the chance to celebrate in the best way possible.  – Erla V. , Sales & Marketing department / Íshestar

 

Contest Rules – 40th Birthday Prize Trip

January 13, 2021 | Lois Farley

Contest rules:

Beginning at 9:00AM (CT), January 13 to 11:59PM (CT), February 09, 2021 you can enter the Great Canadian Travel Group Inc.’s 40th Birthday Prize Trip Contest (the “Contest”).

Just complete and submit our Contest Survey linked in our newsletters, for 4 weeks beginning on January 13, 2021.

If your name is drawn as the winner of the Contest you will win a trip for 2 on our Churchill Polar Bear Daytripper departing Winnipeg on October 23, 2021.

Read More >

December, a Month of Celebrations & Why 2020 “Stink, Stank, Stunk”

December 01, 2020 | Lois Farley

I think we can all agree, 2020, in the words of the Grinch, “Stink, Stank, Stunk”!

Even though this year we can’t get together in large groups with family and friends, as we usually would be for December festivities, there is still much to be thankful for and to celebrate.

December is truly a month-long time of celebrations, spanning many religions and beliefs. So, on this 1st day of the month, Happy December! And no matter what holiday traditions you celebrate in your household, may you stay healthy and safe.

Read More >

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

November 24, 2020 | Lois Farley

The term Black Friday was first used to describe the financial crisis of Friday, September 24, 1869, the day the US gold market crashed. It was indeed a “dark day”.

The modern use of the historic term Black Friday started in the consumer-goods-crazy, post-war 1950’s. People started taking the Friday after Thanksgiving Day off in large numbers to hit the stores and start their holiday shopping. The sheer volume of shoppers caused traffic accidents and violence amongst shoppers waiting in line to get into the stores or fighting over merchandise. Because of all of the problems caused store owners started calling it Black Friday.

Read More >

Our Wall of Honour

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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Remembrance Day

November 10, 2020 | Lois Farley

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we will remember them.”

Who and what exactly are we remembering?

The First World War was ignited by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, on the 28 June, 1914. This sparked unrest and soon led to the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire) invading several European countries. When Germany failed to meet the ultimatum from Great Britain to withdraw its troops from Belgium, as of the 4 August, 1914 the Allied Powers (Great Britain and her colonies including Canada, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States) were at war with the Central Powers.

Due to new military technologies such as machine guns and tanks, trench warfare and use of poisonous gas, WWI was the costliest conflict in Canadian history, and claimed the lives of more than 60,000 Canadian citizens.

The poignant Irish ballad, Green Fields of France, captures the tragic and terrible cost of this war, on a very personal level as it asks questions of a young 19-year-old soldier who was killed in battle in 1916.
Read More >

George Henry Hambley, Canadian Light Horse Brigade, WWI

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, and Vimy Ridge.

Some of these battles involved trench warfare where poisonous gas was used. For the remainder of his life, until his death at age 86, his sleep was disrupted from the effects of the gas attacks he had lived through. Sometimes we’d be sitting at the kitchen table talking and Uncle George would suddenly just go to sleep. He’d wake up a few minutes later, not missing a beat in our conversation, as if nothing had happened. I think he felt himself very lucky that this was the worst injury he came home with, after all the horrors of war he’d seen.

Read More >

Max Ward, a True Canadian Aviation Pioneer

November 04, 2020 | Lois Farley

When I read the news reports yesterday saying that Max Ward, the founder of Wardair had died at age 98, I felt very sad and nostalgic. It feels like the end of an era in Canadian aviation, the passing of an honourable gentlemen of aviation and royalty in the Canadian travel industry.

A northern bush pilot who built a regional carrier into Canada’s largest charter airline has died.
   Max Ward collapsed Monday at his Edmonton home and died in hospital shortly after surrounded by family. He was 20 days shy of his 99th birthday.

‘He’d been in failing health for some time,” said family friend Jacquie Perrin, who confirmed Ward’s death. He did his best to hang in for the 99th, but he didn’t quite make it.’
   It was a rare example of Ward not reaching his goals.”
-The Canadian Press, November 04, 2020

Back in the late 70s and 80s, when I was in the early years of my career in travel, Wardair was the preferred airline for Canadians going on holiday to Mexico, the Caribbean and especially to Hawaii. Later they’d become first choice to the UK as well. Their planes were nicely decorated, well maintained and perfectly groomed; their staff obviously loved the company they worked for; onboard service was top notch, with delicious meals served on china and the champagne flowed like water.

Read More >

Samhain, the Origins of Halloween

October 27, 2020 | Lois Farley

Have you ever wondered where our Hallowe’en traditions came from? Why do we dress up in costumes? Why do we go door-to-door, asking for treats, and why do we give out candy? Why do we threaten to play a trick on people? Why do we carve pumpkins and put candles or lights inside them? Why do we decorate with skeletons and skulls, ghosts and witches? To find out, we have to look back, way back, to the days of the Celts and Druids.

It wasn’t until recently, as I began looking into my Irish heritage, that I learned our Hallowe’en here in Canada and the US has its roots in Ireland and the ancient, Celtic tradition of Samhain (pronounced Saw-win), dating back about 3,000 years.

Read More >

Festival of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

October 26, 2020 | Lois Farley

The introduction by the church of All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day led to the celebration in Mexico and other Latin American countries, of Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead. A slight misnomer, it’s actually a two-day event, November 1st and 2nd, filled with festivals and lively celebrations, combining Indigenous Aztec rituals with Catholicism, brought to this region by Spanish conquistadores.

The belief that all of their loved ones who had passed on would be insulted by sadness and mourning means that, during Dia de los Muertos, people joyfully celebrate the lives of the deceased with food and drink, parties and activities the dead enjoyed in their lives. During these two days the dead are awakened from their eternal sleep and become a part of the community, sharing celebrations with their loved ones.

Read More >

Doorways to Game of Thrones® Country

May 05, 2020 | Lois Farley

Anyone who is a Game of Thrones® fan will know that much of the filming of the blockbuster HBO series took place in Northern Ireland. You can visit many of the locations on excellent guided day tours out of Belfast or multi-day tours, for a more in-depth experience. And many of the guides were actually involved in the filming of the show, so have firsthand knowledge.

One of the filming locations is The Dark Hedges, in the northern part of County Antrim. To those in Westeros it is known as the Kingsroad.  The Dark Hedges was battered by gale force winds during Storm Gertrude in 2016. Unfortunately, a number of the trees whose branches formed the scenic arch over the road, were felled by the winds. Rather than just dispose of the wood the idea came up to use the wood from some of the trees that fell to create intricately carved, wooden doors, each door depicting a story from Game of Thones®, Season 6. Thus, the Journey of Doors was born!

Read More >

April Fool’s Day

April 01, 2020 | Lois Farley

April 1st, known as April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, is here and if you’re like me, I’m kind of feeling like Mother Nature is playing a very nasty prank on humankind. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our world in many different ways and the seriousness of it makes it pretty hard to feel much like laughing. But, boy, if there was ever a time we needed to laugh, it’s now!

Read More >

Update on COVID-19

March 18, 2020 | Lois Farley

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect the communities where we live and work (and communities around the world where we love to travel), please know that we are working diligently to assist our clients. Those who are currently travelling we’re assisting to get home safely; those booked to travel over the next few days and weeks, to reschedule their travel plans for future travel; cancelling plans for clients when  future travel is not an option.

We must also do all we can to ensure the health and safety of both our staff and clients.

Read More >

Saint Patrick’s Ireland

March 11, 2020 | Lois Farley

With Saint Patrick’s Day coming up a lot of people’s minds turn to Ireland and all things Irish. And, those of us lucky enough to be Irish or are of Irish descent, particularly so!

My ancestors on both sides of my family emigrated to Canada from Ireland back in the mid to late 1800s. My maternal Grandmother’s family home in County Antrim is a special place to me from a genealogical standpoint, nestled as it is at the foot of nearby Mt. Slemish. It’s where my Grandma Hannah was born and raised, and is the land she left behind when she left for Canada. But, I discovered, it was also a very significant place for Saint Patrick. Read More >

On the Silver Screen

February 29, 2020 | Lois Farley

When I’m sitting in a theatre, or on my couch, watching a movie, I often wonder where in the world they filmed the shot of the roaring waterfall, or the glass-like lake, or, for example, the Cliffs of Insanity… I’ve watched The Princess Bride more times than I can count… I’m not ashamed, it’s a great movie.

So I researched some of the filming locations of some of my favourite movies, and lo and behold, I found out that Great Canadian Travel has tours that go to some of these locations. So, here is my definitely non-exhaustive list of tours for movie/TV show buffs and those who like to travel to neat places: Read More >

Made in Canada – What’s the Deal with our Pricing?

February 13, 2020 | Lois Farley

The Great Canadian Travel Group has been in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada since November 21, 1980. It grew to incorporate an office in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 1, 2016. All our staff are Canadian and we all love Canada. Our clients span the globe as do our tour suppliers. We love travel and love to help our clients see as much of the world as we can. We are passionate about our jobs. Read More >

Lois’ Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Lois Farley

Over my many years of travelling, both for work and on vacation, there have been lots of Best Days Ever. But, this is definitely one of the best!

My two daughters and I recently took a trip to Ireland. We started out in Dublin, and had a couple of days in that fun city, where’s there’s so much to see and do. Then, we picked up a rental car and off we went, road warriors! The self-drive trip itself was great, although I admit to being a bit too ambitious in my planning. Trying to fit in everything that all three of us wanted to see was just not possible. We did manage to see a lot of awesome places, though (and even some we didn’t intend to, thanks Google maps!) But, I always say, when you’re on holiday you never get lost, you just take scenic detours. And sometimes those detours work out great. Note to self, just because a road in Ireland looks straight on the map (there are one or two, but that’s probably it) does not mean it’s flat (as our Prairie brains automatically equated it to be). There was one in particular that was a real roller coaster! Read More >

Travel With a Purpose

November 08, 2019 | Lois Farley

Travel With a Purpose is the new trend in travel that is changing the industry and bringing people together. Besides a holiday or a well-deserved rest, when was the last time you traveled and asked yourself why? Why that destination, why that route, why those activities on the road?

Traveling is representative of life. If you listen to your inner voice and follow your heart, you will find the places that speak out to you, that reach out and touch you, and which make you feel like you’re “home”. Find something meaningful to you that can motivate you to book a ticket and take that trip. There are so many ways you can travel with a purpose. The important thing is that it has purpose for YOU. If it’s enjoyable or brings meaning to you, it will be a good motivation to travel. Read More >

Take a Closer Look – Iceland

August 01, 2019 | Lois Farley

Iceland, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, is the most peaceful country in the world. It is home to just under 350,000 people and is also the most sparsely populated country in Europe. For an island with an area of 103,000 sq. km (40,000 sq. mi), this country has everything from volcanoes to geysers to fields of green moss that takes hundreds of years to grow to majestic waterfalls.

Geologically, Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This ridge marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. What is especially amazing about this area is that you can scuba dive (or as a day tour) in between these plates to see some fascinating marine life, be in the spot that Iceland was created and, in some places, actually touch both continents at the same time. This rift, called the Silfra rift, has visibility that exceeds 100m, making it the some of the clearest water in the world.

Iceland is a world leader in renewable energy. Almost all electricity in Iceland is produced using renewable energy sources. According to Inspired by Iceland (the country’s tourism website), 90% of Icelandic households are heated with geothermal water. About 73% of electricity is provided by hydro power plants and 26% from geothermal energy, accounting for over 99% of all electricity consumption in Iceland. And although modes of transportation in Iceland still use conventional fuel, there is a growing number of electric vehicles in the country.

Tourism is Iceland’s largest export sector as it accounted for more than 10% of the country’s GDP in 2017. It is among the countries in the world who are most dependent on tourism. Read More >

Out on the Tundra in Churchill

November 06, 2018 | Lois Farley

“Sssshhhh, turn around quietly and look out the window.” Those were the words said in hushed tones by our tour host as we were happily sitting in the lounge car of the Tundra Buggy Lodge™, having a wee drink before dinner. We turned and looked in awe, as right outside the windows, casually strolling by in the tell-tale pigeon-toed gait, was a big, beautiful polar bear. You could hear the intake of breath as we all marvelled at the incredible wonder of nature walking right by us. “That’s a young male, about 3 years old” our guide informed us. His powerful muscles rippled underneath his fur telling us that he is a force of nature, a natural hunter and predator. But the round, black eyes and black nose set in that white face offered all of us that unmistakable sense of “Oh, you look cute enough to cuddle”. A feeling best kept as thought and not action! These are not cute and cuddly toys! Read More >

Sleep Like Royalty in an Irish Castle

March 15, 2018 | Lois Farley

With World Sleep Day and St. Patrick’s Day falling consecutively on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th, I thought it’d be only fitting to look into the idea of sleeping in an Irish castle. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of spending at least one night like a prince or princess from a fairy tale?

Ireland offers up a lot of great choices for a castle stay. Here are three choices, but there are many others.

  Ashford Castle, County Mayo
The original castle construction began back in 1228, so some of the castle’s stonework is approaching 800 years of age. The famed Guinness brewing family purchased the castle in the mid-1800’s and put about $75 million into the massive renovation to upgrade the interior. With additional modern renovations the castle now features its historic façade and “bones” along with stunningly restored interiors and a state-of-the-art spa. Not just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience, the chance to live a dream of staying in a genuine castle, but still having all the creature comforts we’ve come to expect.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare
Built in the 16th century, the limestone, medieval castle with its statuesque turret sits on 450 acres of lush green grass and verdant gardens. Since the 10th century Dromoland has been the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin and descendants of Brian Boru High King of Ireland during the 11th century. For the next 900 years a branch of the O’Briens lived and ruled from this castle. Retaining all the grandness of bygone eras the castle has been upgraded to a very comfortable standard, offering everything the modern day, discerning “royalty for a day” is looking for.

  Ballygally Castle, County Antrim
In real estate it’s said that location is everything, and Ballygally Castle has that in spades! This turreted treasure has been standing guard over the spellbinding Causeway Coastal Route since the 17th century. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted buildings on the entire island, Ballygally boasts more than one spectre, including former residents Lady Isobel Shaw and Madame Nixon. If you’re brave enough you can visit the Ghost Room in one of the turrets!

Read about more Irish castles where you can sleep like royalty:
Irish Times, Ireland’s Top 10 Castles to Stay In
Ireland.com, 6 Luxury Castle Stays

Ireland Speaks to Me Like No Other Place on Earth

January 19, 2018 | Lois Farley

My maternal Grandma, Hannah Muirhead, emigrated to Canada from County Antrim, Ireland (now part of Northern Ireland) back in the late 1800’s.  Two of her brothers and a sister had sailed to Canada a few years earlier.  Sadly, her sister died of black fever on the crossing and was buried at sea, but her brothers arrived safely and made their way west to homestead at the Derry Corner, near Douglas, Manitoba. They then invited Hannah to come and join them. I can’t imagine leaving my family and everything that was familiar to me and sailing across the Atlantic to an unknown place, all at the age of 19. The courage to do that seems unimaginable.  Read More >

10 Reasons Why You Still Need a Travel Agent Consultant

September 08, 2017 | Lois Farley

 

In the age of online booking sites, using a travel consultant may feel like going the way of the dinosaur. But, consultants are more useful than simply selling airline tickets, trips to Disney World and cruises. Many consultants provide services or have knowledge that you just can’t get online – and sometimes, especially in times of crisis, working with a real live person is just plain superior. Read More >

Guinness™ Part 3 – Beer and Books

August 09, 2017 | Lois Farley

Being at the Guinness™ brewery in Dublin got me to thinking about the Guinness™ Book of World Records. Was it related to the famous Guinness™ stout I’d learned so much about at the Guinness™ Storehouse?

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Guinness™ Part 2 – The Storehouse

July 31, 2017 | Lois Farley

When I was in Dublin in March I visited the Guinness™ Storehouse at St. James’s Gate. A seven-story, converted warehouse where you learn all about the Guinness™ story, it is Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction according to TripAdvisor®. The centre court is built in the shape of a monstrous Guinness™ glass, reaching from the ground floor all the way up to the 6th story. They’ll even tell you how many pints of Guinness™ it would take to fill that gigantic glass! Read More >

Guinness™ – it’s a food group!

July 19, 2017 | Lois Farley

OK, well maybe not technically, but ask any true-blooded Irish person and they’ll tell you that “Yes, it makes a nice snack or small meal!”. And why wouldn’t it? It’s made of really good natural food stuff, all locally sourced.

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Tracing Your Family Tree Just One Reason to Visit Halifax

July 13, 2017 | Lois Farley

Halifax, Nova Scotia is an appealing city with the friendliness of a small town but all the amenities you would expect to find in a modern, urban centre. Its city centre is compact and very walkable with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants, attractions, the harbour-front and loads of accommodation options, all easily accessible. Destination Halifax says this about Halifax – “An urban centre wrapped in seacoast and history – you’ll want to see for yourself!”. I think this is a pretty accurate description!

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A Bunch of Random Facts About Canada on her Sesquicentennial

June 26, 2017 | Lois Farley

It’s not everyday a lady celebrates her Sesquicentennial.  And it’s not everyday you can find someone who actually a) knows what that means and b) can say it properly!

OK, so what it means is “the 150th anniversary of” and is pronounced “ses kwi sen tenial”.  It comes from “sesqui”, meaning one and a half and “centennial” meaning a hundred. Read More >

Where are the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights?

March 17, 2017 | Lois Farley

There’s a huge amount of information about Northern Lights viewing available online today.  Several different countries claim to provide the best viewing (and I must admit I’m a bit biased in Canada’s favour), and even after you’ve decided on a country, there’s normally a number of different towns within that country, all vying for your attention and your visit.

  

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Top 10 Tips for Keeping Valuables Safe When Travelling

February 06, 2017 | Lois Farley

When you travel do you take lots of jewellery and other valuables with you?  How do you keep your valuables safe when you’re travelling?  Every hotel tells you to not leave valuables in plain sight in your room and to use the room safe.  But what if the safe isn’t safe?  You can always use the hotel’s safe, which is usually secured inside an office behind the front desk.  Ensure you get a receipt for the items you deposited.  Most hotels are liable for items that go missing from their safe, but not for items in a room safe.

Here are 10 of our top ideas for keeping valuables safe when travelling. Read More >

Entry requirements for Canadian passport holders

January 10, 2017 | Lois Farley

With recent news stories reporting Canadian travellers being denied boarding at airports across the country, it’s important for you to know what the entry requirements for a Canadian passport holder are for the country or countries you plan to visit.  Your professional travel consultant will advise you of passport and visa requirements when you are booking a trip.  But, it’s good to know the general rule regarding passports and their validity.

Let’s say your passport expires the 30 June, 2017.  You would think that you could travel anywhere with this passport right up until that date, right?  Not necessarily.  Many countries require your passport be valid 3 or 6 months beyond your intended stay in that country.  Always double check with your travel consultant as to the requirements for your specific journey, as well as checking for any connecting countries along the way.

You can check out the countries you plan to visit at the Government of Canada travel website at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

Most countries require 3 months but some require 6 months, such as Nicaragua, which was one of the countries highlighted on a recent news story. However, her neighbour Costa Rica, only requires a 1 month validity beyond your stay.

Other countries may require a visa in addition to your valid passport.  It’s always best to check and double check so you don’t face a nasty surprise at the airport when you’re checking in!

Beautiful Belize

November 21, 2016 | Lois Farley

As a former British colony, the Central American country of Belize has a unique history.  Although having gained independence in 1981, English remains the official language, easing navigation for North American tourists.

The country is known for diving; the Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts over 100 000 tourists each year.  Additional attractions include Mayan ruins, eco adventures such as ziplining and cave tubing, and of course tropical beaches.  The capital, Belize City, is home to museums and cultural events, including the annual Street Art Festival.  Belize is a popular stop for cruise ships, which is how my family came to visit.

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Arctic Sea Ice Day

July 15, 2016 | Lois Farley

Arctic Sea Ice Day is Friday, July 15th, 2016.

Founded by Polar Bears International, this day was created to draw attention to sea ice loss in the Arctic, why it matters, and how we can help.

Why should we care about sea ice? Here are a few facts from Polar Bears International about this remarkable part of the Arctic ecosystem: Read More >

Is a Small-Ship Expedition Cruise Right for You?

June 27, 2016 | Lois Farley

Say the word “cruise” and, to most people what comes to mind is a large, gleaming ship with 10, 15, 20 decks; thousands of passengers (the current largest cruise ship can accommodate 6,410 passengers at maximum capacity); large and lavish meals six times a day; multiple pool, spas, gyms and sporting activities on-board; Las Vegas-style entertainment.  But, an increasing number of travellers know that, when it comes to soft adventure cruising, bigger isn’t better!

monastra_130810_3143   barry_nelson    Michelle_Valberg _D4S5800 Greenland_Labrador 2013    Michelle_Valberg _D4S5917 Greenland_Labrador 2013     Read More >

How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots

June 02, 2016 | Lois Farley

Not everyone or every hike needs the same kind of hiking boot.  In fact, some hikes don’t even require a boot, just a good walking shoe.

The key is thinking through the type of hike you are planning to do, getting good advice from a reputable store and trying on lots of styles until you find the perfect fit!

         

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Solo Self-Drive in the Faroe Islands

April 22, 2016 | Lois Farley

The atmosphere onboard our Atlantic Airways flight became more excited as we approached Vagar Airport on the island of Vagar in the Faroe Islands. Most of the people on board were tourists or native Faroese returning home for a visit and we were all looking forward to getting to the islands.

We started our descent from the bright, clear-blue skies, through the clouds and into…fog. Thick, enveloping fog that made it impossible to see anything below. The pilot announced that we would try to land but, if the visibility wasn’t good enough, we would go back up and circle around to try again. Down, down, down we went and suddenly I caught sight of a light at the runway’s end. OK, we’re down, I figured. But, no, with a roar of the engines up we went! The pilot came back on the speaker saying we would do a circle around the island and make a second approach. “After all”, he said, “the weather changes every 10 minutes here! The wind is due to shift and sweep the fog out to sea. This is very common here, no need to worry.”

He was true to his word, and our second landing was made in clear skies, although it was raining by the time we had taxied to the terminal and were disembarking. There’s that rapid weather change again, which I would quickly learn was indeed very common here! Read More >