Category Archives: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Turkey – Best of Istanbul

View of Istanbul from Topkapi Place

Istanbul is a big and vibrant city, the largest city in Turkey. You could easily spend a week here and it would feel insufficient. Turkey, especially Istanbul, is a very beautiful and diverse place. As a stop-over on the flight we got only three days, so have to stick to the best!

Day 1

Start your day with a Turkish breakfast. Fresh baked bread, olives, cheese and a cup of tea or Turkish coffee at the small café… We really love the local drink called Ayran. The first ever sip will stop you in your tracks… After the second your taste buds start getting the taste. And after another you are completely hooked! It’s natural, low calorie and very refreshing at any time!

Start by visiting the Grand Bazaar. It is not very busy in the morning and you wont be caught in the crowds.

Grand Bazaar in the morning, Istanbul, Turkey

The Grand Bazaar itself is very beautiful and impressive. The ceiling are in mosaics, the smells of the stores, the sounds of the market… Did you know that it is the biggest shopping mall in the world? It is really something you can’t express in pictures or videos.

One of the streets, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

The Grand Bazaar is an experience that you will never forget. Expect to spend at least one hour here for sightseeing or better 2-3 hours if you plan to bargain and buy… – say a carpet!

Turkish carpet sales
Turkish carpet sales

Seriously speaking shipping can be arranged to anywhere and the selection is overwhelming! Bargaining will tire you out. Make sure you stop at a few shops to taste famous “Turkish Delight”. Its really worth it and with hundreds of different flavours you are guaranteed to find something you like and want to bring home. Tasting is free and fun!

Turkish delight - sweets made of natural juices, nuts and spices
Turkish delight – sweets made of natural juices, nuts and spices

If you like it, buy some! It is a great snack to keep with you while exploring the rest of the city. And a great surprise for friends! And at the shop you can ask for nice gift package. Just a personal note here – better buy the sweets that you try at the stands, not those in the boxes offered in many places.

Beware, it is extremely easy to get lost in the Bazaar, so try and keep a reference of where the main road is – it will make it easier to find your way back home. The roads do look very similar making its pretty easy to get lost. Don’t worry if you do, locals are very friendly and will gladly help you, or use your phone for navigation!

Istanbul offers a great variety of meals, cooked just for you!
Istanbul offers a great variety of meals, cooked just for you!

After exploring the Bazaar, you will be hungry! Don’t be taken aback by the number of people who might ask you to take a look at their menu. It’s a good idea to take a look at one or two restaurant menus so that you can get an idea of the food and prices. Any of them offer a good choice.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

After lunch its time to dip into history. Not just any, but the Hagia Sofia! This is by far one of the most beautiful ancient buildings in Istanbul with history so rich and controversial. As of July 2020 Hagia Sophia is an active mosque after being a museum since 1935!

Hagia Sophia is opened for tourists during the off-prayer times, Istanbul, Turkey

Make sure you time your visit properly, tourists are not allowed inside during prayer. When visiting, in respect to religion men should wear long pants and women headcover and long skirt (pants are ok) – ladies, have a scarf handy (you can buy a nice one during the visit to Bazaar). The building itself is quite grand. Its main hall has really high ceilings – make you wonder how an ancient civilization could have possibly built it (the construction started in 532 BC and was completed in a period of five years and opened for worship in 537BC with great ceremony)…

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, main entrance
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, main entrance

Just a short distance from Hagia Sophia is Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque is very beautiful, the mosaics are truly amazing. The garden also makes for a great experience. Just like the Hagia Sofia, this is also a operating mosque. Consider donating on your way out, it helps with the upkeep of the mosque and the grounds.

Day 2

After breakfast, head to what used to be the hippodrome. Here you will find some interesting elements… Past the hippodrome, you will pass a beautiful park. Take your time here to take some pictures, the view is not something to be missed.

Obelisk of Theodosius, Istanbul, Turkey
Obelisk of Theodosius, Istanbul, Turkey

After seeing the hippodrome, we are heading to the Basilica Cistern. When we visited there was no water due to some restoration work.

Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

The Cistern is a very unique place. It is at once very very impressive. Yet, at the same time a bit spooky. It has very tall ceilings held up by roman era columns.

Cistern columns, Istanbul, Turkey

Next stop, The Mosaic Museum. Its a short walk from the cistern and it is certainly worth visiting. It is a relatively small museum, it lies on the grounds of what used to be a Roman Era mansion. The mosaics are very impressive. The detail, beauty and realism are beyond any expectation. When you exit the museum, you will walk out onto a small street bazaar. If you want to get back to the museum entrance, there is a sign pointing to the museum about 20 meters from the exit.

Mosaic Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
Mosaic Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

You will find more about Mosaic Museum in the next post… After all of that walking, make sure to end the day at the Cemberlitas Ancient Hammam. Check the website for hours and prices – well worth it – we spent about three hours there! Hammam means “spreader of warmth” and it is so true!… It is probably the most memorable experience you can have. Best of all, you will be very clean and warm on the way out. They speak English there, so don’t be worried. Men and Women bathe separate. You will be given a key and shown to a room. That is where you change and wrap yourself with a towel (soap, shampoo, slippers and towels are provided). From there, you walk to the baths… There is no time limit, so take as long as you like… may be go for a full package with massage.

Day 3

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

As they say, save the best for last. Today, we will visit the Topkapi palace. The residence of the Sultans. You will love the palace. It is very beautiful, the lawns manicured and everything taken care of. The extra ticket to the Harem is not obligatory, but is very much worth it – there are much more to see. Try to arrive for the opening of the museum, it may get busy later.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul Turkey

Be sure to visit the  Lawns, there is an amazing view of the Bosphorus and Istanbul. And you can have a lunch with a view if you wish and the time allows, the place is very nice…

Topkapi Palace Outside, Istanbul Turkey
Topkapi Palace Outside, Istanbul Turkey

Be prepared to spend half of the day here to see everything… or even stay for dinner – there is a restaurant in the palace (we’ll leave it out for surprise).

Kumkapi, Istanbul, street of restaurants, close to fish market
Kumkapi, Istanbul, street of restaurants, close to fish market

After palace we decided to find fish restaurants (area called Kumkapi) to try some Turkish fish soup (chorba) and have another great experience… It was too early for dinner and late for lunch, so the place looks quiet, but come here later and you may have to wait for the seat!

After delicious fish meal we walked a few blocks back to our hotel and on the way come across this bright looking fruit stand – some grapes, peaches, melon for later snack before heading to the airport… we arranged for the taxi to come pick us up when we came here on the first day – just ask the driver for the card.

Fruit stand on one of the streets in Istanbul – everything is so fresh and appealing!

We had a great experience visiting this ancient city, and we’ll sure come come back to see other places and may be travel to other parts of the country. Below you will some some useful information and links…

Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays; Blue Mosque is closed until 2pm on Fridays; Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays. Annual Closing Dates of all museums and bazaars in Istanbul in 2021 as follows; January 1-New Year. May 13/14/15-Ramadan Celebrations. July 20/21/22/23-Eid Celebrations. October 29-Republic Day. Hagia Sophia is always closed for visit during praying time.
The Basilica Cistern’s central location in Sultanahmet makes it easy to explore before or after visiting nearby sights like the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace Museum. An admissions fee of 20 Turkish lira (about $5.50) applies, and visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between November and mid-April, with extended hours in the summer.

We stayed in Safran suites (apartments) and liked it – here is the link https://www.booking.com/hotel/tr/safran-suites.html. Great location, close to all main attractions and for a reasonable price. Lots of cafes and a shop across the street where you can buy some snacks.

We really fall on love with Istanbul and we hope to come back sometime…

Spring into human rights at the Museum

New two-day ticket for tourists, diverse programs, expanded hours

Winnipeg – May 16, 2019 – The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is set to spring into the tourism high season this weekend with expanded hours, diverse programs and a new two-day ticket for summer visitors. 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights Photo by Aaron Cohen

“Many out-of-town visitors have told us that one day is not enough time to explore everything they want to see in the Museum,” said Jacques Lavergne, CMHR Vice-President of Visitor Experience and Engagement. “A two-day ticket will allow them to journey through the galleries at their leisure, with time for rest breaks, lunch and browsing in the Boutique.” Starting this Saturday (May 18), the two-day tickets will be available for $30 (adult rate) for consecutive days only. A single-day ticket is currently $21. Visitors who initially buy a single-day ticket can upgrade to a two-day ticket at any time during their visit, for use the following day. The Museum will now be open seven days a week – including Victoria Day and other holidays – until after Labour Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Wednesdays, when visitors are welcome until 9 p.m. – with free admission on the first Wednesday evening of each month (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.). On all other Wednesdays, admission is offered at the reduced rate of $5 after 5 p.m. Fascinating programs and exhibitions are planned throughout the spring and summer, including: 

  • A summer tour schedule starting May 18 that includes daily morning and afternoon gallery tours and Sunday architecture tours. 
  • Free tours for Doors Open Winnipeg on May 25 and 26 that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum’s unique architecture – including hidden spaces, environmental design and wondrous views from a whole new perspective. 
  • A celebration of Asian Heritage Month on May 29 with free cultural performances. 
  • Pride Week gallery tours every day from May 27 to June 3, with a focus on the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities ($5). Fair-trade rainbow roses will be available from the Boutique, which sets up outdoors on June 2 with Pride-related merchandise. 
  • An Indigenous film series running each Wednesday evening in June, featuring Through Black Spruce, Colonization Road, Seven Sacred Laws and Indian Horse, including a post-film discussion. 
  • A new exhibition about the Rohingya people of Myanmar (Burma) opening June 16. A talk-tour on this issue will be offered on weekdays, starting July 2. 
  • The award-winning Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition, which continues to run in the Level 1 Gallery. A family tour of the exhibition and other relevant locations in the Museum is offered on Saturdays. 
  • A South African wine-tasting dinner at ERA Bistro on June 4 to mark the one-year anniversary of Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition opening. The four-course dinner will be prepared by ERA Bistro’s Executive Chef Kirk Hanson, with paired wine personally selected by a sommelier who will be present to talk about each wine and region. 
  • Canada Day programs and events with $5 admission. The Boutique will offer an outdoor kiosk featuring Canadian-themed items. 
  • A new exhibit presented in Augmented Reality about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 1982 Proclamation of the Constitution. This actual historic document also returns to the CMHR on loan from Library and Archives Canada! Opens August 20. 
  • A new T-shirt design for summer 2019, featuring a line drawing of the Museum and the Esplanade Riel. The CMHR Boutique is stocked with inspiring and beautiful spring/summer merchandise, including items related to the Mandela exhibition. 

Kayak on the bay

St. Lucia is one of the islands where you can find all kinds of activities to satisfy even very demanding souls… Here is one relatively new idea – kayaking to the Praslin Island offered by local kayaking pro organised under the name “Kayaking on the Bay”. As part of the trip you learn some of the local history and tradition… 

St.Lucia, Praslin Island

The tranquil Village of Praslin is nestled between two districts Dennery and Micoud on the East Coast of St Lucia. As the gateway to some of Saint Lucia’s rarest indigenous nature, Praslin is an idyllic rural quarter populated with several small fishing settlements along spectacular Praslin Bay. Here, one may notably find many excellent examples of the traditional and highly distinctive Saint Lucian fishing boats, which are still crafted by hand in many villages. Other notable traditional crafts, like broom stick making, are produced in neighboring communities such as Mon Repos and Patience.

Praslin Island Natural Reserve, St.Lucia

Praslin Island and the Fregate Islands are pristine nature reserves, where unique species such as the boldly colored Blue Whiptail lizard make their homes. For a slightly tamer presentation of native flora and fauna visit the beautifully manicured Mamiku Gardens that date all the way back to 1766. The gardens are part of the Mamiku Estate, once the home of the Baron de Micoud, a former Governor of Saint Lucia. The estate still operates today as a banana and flower plantation. Praslin village was originally named “Les Trois Islet” and was renamed in 1780 to honor the Minister of the Navy to Louis XV, the Duc de Praslin. 

“Kayaking on the Bay” Welcomes you to Prasllin Island!

In this old canoe fishing village, where practices are still being kept “Kayak on the Bay” offers you the pleasure of enjoying a kayak trip to a lush private beach located on an Islet, while a beach barbeque is prepared for you. Upon arrival on the property of “Kayak on the Bay” you will be greeted by your wonderful host Marva along with the tour guides.

Kayaking on the Bay, St.Lucia

On the property one can find a variety of local tropical fruits and a small backyard garden with some of the herbs used to prepare meals for the journey. You will be briefed on the safety regulations and a description of what the tour entails before embarking on the trip. 

St. Lucia, Praslin Island, Kayaking on the Bay

The Bay is truly majestic with a sand bank that runs down the middle of the bay 1-2 miles long; to the top of the bay lies a beautiful reef which creates the calming effect… Abundant sea life is found along the reef, which continues along the bay to a join the Irish moss farms.

Irish Moss Farm, Praslin Island, St.Lucia

Upon arrival on the Praslin Island, a tour guide takes you  on a short hike to the top of the Island to enjoy the views and to spot some of the local birds . While you are out on the hike your Island lunch is prepared for you… It comprises of fresh grilled fish and chicken with green banana salad (green bananas, veggies and codfish), cheesy potatoes, sweet corn and fresh garden salad. This is served with fresh local fruit juice… 

Kayaking on the Bay, Praslin Island, St. Lucia

After lunch you bask on the beach with the views of the scenic topography of the Praslin village. Being on the Island really gives you the sense of your very own hide away. Before heading back to the property and towards the end of the tour you are guided to the Irish moss farms which lies to the opposite end of the reef and disembark for a 10 minute hike along the coast to catch one of the views. For a low fee of ninety dollars you get to enjoy the wonders of nature and the tranquility of your very own Island getaway for the day…

If you like kayaking and interested to take this tour, you may call +1 758-719-9329 or contact them via Facebook 
https://www.facebook.com/Kayak-on-the-Bay-1317154738416915/

New Mandela exhibition opens at CMHR in Winnipeg

       

Mandela and the movement that rocked the world
Fight for freedom showcased through dramatic visuals, digital technology

Visitors to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) can experience the tiny cell where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, take a stand in front of a giant armoured vehicle, make a virtual protest poster on a digital light table, or enter a secret apartment for freedom fighters forced underground.

Nelson Mandela exhibition opened in CMHR Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Nelson Mandela exhibition opened in CMHR Canadian Museum for Human Rights

CMHR / Jessica Sigurdson
 
A major new exhibition called Mandela: Struggle for Freedom officially opens at a free public event tonight. A rich sensory experience of imagery, soundscape, digital media and objects is used to explore the earthshaking fight for justice and human dignity in South Africa – and its relevance to issues of today. Among its many dramatic visual features and original artifacts, the exhibition replicates Mandela’s eight-foot by seven-foot prison cell. When entered, the cell becomes a digital theatre whose walls tell a story of repression and resilience. Other exhibition highlights are described in the attached backgrounder.
Mandela’s unbreakable will inspired people around the globe to mobilize for human rights. Born 100 years ago next month (on July 18), he was one of the most famous human rights defenders of the 20th century and the face of a movement against racial injustice that rocked the world. Mandela is one of only six people to be made honorary Canadian citizens. He travelled to Canada a few months after his historic 1990 release from prison to thank its leaders and citizens for their support.
“Nelson Mandela was passionate about education as the path forward to a better world,” said CMHR president and CEO John Young. “Yet many young people have never heard of apartheid, while others are unfamiliar with the movement behind Mandela that spread to Canada and around the world. Our new travelling exhibition shares this important piece of global human rights history, so its lessons can reverberate with a new generation.”
The new exhibition was developed by the CMHR in collaboration with the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, whose founder and director, Christopher Till, has travelled to Winnipeg for the opening and will speak at a free, public event tonight at the CMHR.
CMHR / Jessica Sigurdson

“Nelson Mandela’s legacy and dedication to the achievement of freedom for the oppressed South African peoples has resonance for the world,” said Till. “His life is an example for the ongoing struggle against abuses of human rights that prevail in many parts of the world. This new exhibition not only provides insight into the man who dedicated his life to this cause, but can serve as a rallying cry.”

Also speaking at tonight’s event is Dr. Dolana Mogadime, an associate professor at Brock University in Ontario, whose mother’s story as a South African-Canadian anti-apartheid activist is presented in the exhibition via excerpts from a video-recorded oral history interview. Mogadime’s great-grandfather was South African political leader Henry Selby Msimang, a founding member of the South African Native National Congress, which became the African National Congress.
Tonight’s event is open to all, beginning at 7 p.m. in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall at the CMHR. In addition to remarks by Young, Till and Mogadime, lead curator Isabelle Masson will explain the exhibition and how it came together. The evening ends with a performance by Winnipeg’s African-Canada dance company, NAfro Dance, which choreographed a special tribute to Mandela, and live artistic creation by Winnipeg artist Kal Barteski.
The Museum is grateful to The Asper Foundation, TD Bank Group and Air Canada for supporting this exhibition. The CMHR thanks the many lenders whose loans bring this important story to life, including Robben Island Museum and political cartoonist Zapiro. The exhibition runs in the CMHR’s state-of-the-art Level 1 Gallery until January 6, 2019.

 

‘Celebrating Our Traditions’ Mas Domnik 2018

Dominica Launches Mas Domnik 2018 Under the Theme ‘Celebrating Our Traditions’

Roseau, Dominica – (January 9, 2018) – The Official Media Launch of Dominica’s Carnival – Mas Domnik 2018, which took place last Friday, placed the minds of Dominican patrons and visitors alike, to comfort, as details of what is expected to be one of the most traditionally spontaneous Carnivals were made available to the public. Post Hurricane Maria, many Dominicans have set out to rebuild and reaffirm relationships with a determination that demonstrates Dominica’s event and cultural tourism product is alive and well. While the devastation suffered has caused us to make adjustments to the scale of the celebration, the need to continually embrace our cultural heritage is ever present. This enabled a captivating and exciting tagline for the 2018 edition – ‘Celebrating Our Traditions’!

Attendees at the Launch included Senator Robert Tonge, Minister for Tourism and Urban Renewal who presented the Feature Address, further expanding on the way forward for Dominica’s Carnival. Senator Tonge stressed the importance of Carnival by describing it as one of the most creative and imaginative aspects of the Dominican life. Senator Robert Tonge reminded the public of the economic benefits of hosting such a national event, “Mas Domnik provides a unique opportunity for our creative community – costume builders, song writers, music producers, seamstresses, tailors and performers of varying kinds to rise to the occasion and present their craft in a unique and distinct manner”.

Colin Piper, CEO of Discover Dominica Authority and Director of Tourism made a solid call to Dominicans both here and abroad to visit Dominica and experience a unique and spontaneous Carnival, the reasoning for it being dubbed ‘The Real Mas.’ Mr. Piper further strengthened the need to celebrate tradition, “Tradition means a lot to us and we intend on celebrating it honorably and safely.”

The launch of Mas Domnik 2018 came alive with other invited guests which included Mr. Raymond Lawrence – Chief Cultural Officer of the Cultural Division and Mr. Kareem Guiste – Regional Marketing Manager – Business and Government, FLOW, both of whom expressed assertiveness, commitment and just cause in working assiduously to ensure materialization of this national product.

The 2018 Carnival Calendar, though scaled down tremendously, still boasts six weeks of calypso shows, celebrations, parades and fetes for every age group.

Mas Domnik, The Real Mas, is considered the last remaining fortress of true authentic masquerade in the Caribbean, and will run right through Carnival Monday and Tuesday on February 12th and 13th, culminating on Wednesday February 14th 2018 with the Taway Vaval in the Kalinago Territory, home to the largest indigenous population of Caribbean peoples in the region.

What’s Up in Ottawa -Spring 2017 News

Ottawa Tourism
Not just tulips sprouting in Ottawa
GARDENS GALORE
Not just tulips sprouting in Ottawa
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The year of celebration continues!
OTTAWA THE HEADQUARTERS OF CANADA’S 150TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
The year of celebration continues!
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Fun ways to continue the party
STEP OUT AND ENJOY OTTAWA’S NIGHTLIFE
Fun ways to continue the party
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Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
EXPLORE THE RIDEAU CANAL THIS SPRING
Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Tempt your palate with these delicious offerings!
QUICK BITES OF OTTAWA’S FOOD AND DRINK SCENE
Tempt your palate with these delicious offerings!
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What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND
Get out and get active!
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What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
MUSEUM ROUNDUP
What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
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REVAMPED! Canada’s National Museums Passport
REVAMPED! Canada’s National Museums Passport
3 museums, 3 days, $30
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Pedal power
CYCLING EXPLORATIONS
Pedal power
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Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Launches Transformational Travel Series

FAIRMONT CHATEAU LAKE LOUISE

 

FAIRMONT CHATEAU LAKE LOUISE LAUNCHES POWERFUL TRANSFORMATIVE WELLNESS PROGRAM

– Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise adds holistic wellness experiences
to the magical setting of the hotel –

LAKE LOUISE, March, 2017

Guests come to Lake Louise to enjoy endless outdoor activities, including world-class skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, guided hikes, horseback riding and canoeing. There is also a luxurious day spa, exceptional dining experiences and upscale accommodations with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Louise.
A few years ago, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise began offering wellness retreats throughout the year that complemented the guests’ stay in a truly breathtaking and spectacular setting. The wellness retreats struck a chord with the hotel’s international guest base, which, like more and more people around the globe, are looking for transformative travel experiences that leave them inspired, invigorated and renewed physically, mentally and spiritually.
In Spring 2017, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise will launch an extended wellness program with a new series of centering, holistic wellness experiences that will bring a deepened sense of Zen and mindfulness to the magical setting of the hotel.
The transformative wellness retreats are based on the pillars of mindfulness, meditation, creativity, authentic happiness, resilience and optimum wellbeing, that help guests find their true center and live in a more balanced and authentic way.
The retreats will be presented by renowned health and wellness experts including:

  • Tracy Delfs, passionate yoga & mindfulness instructor and long-time student of world-renowned Zen and mindfulness master Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Dr. Eva Selhub, internationally known medical doctor, author, stress management and resiliency coach
  • Shannon Kaiser, author and life coach, named “Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness” and “Top 25 most influential wellness writers” by MindBodyGreen
  • Sean Murphy, author, Zen meditation teacher, creative writing coach
  • Kim Roberts, yoga instructor, psychotherapist and author
  • Cynthia Morris, acclaimed creativity coach, writer and artist

Wellness retreats are all-inclusive, two to four night packages with deluxe accommodation, healthy, delicious cuisine, daily yoga sessions, morning and afternoon wellness programs and plenty of time in between for guests to explore Lake Louise at their own pace.
To view the full wellness retreat calendar visit: fairmont.com/wellness

Road trip to Perth for 200th anniversary celebrations. Summer 2016

Adventures during our Perth-Ottawa Road Trip. Summer 2016

 

We left Toronto early in morning and after about an hour on 401 as usually stopped over at Big Apple. The place is well known for cute cafeteria, large giftshop, children`s outdoor pet zoo, and clean washrooms.

After arriving to Perth, we first stopped over at the Fairgrounds where the place was already prepared for the 200th years celebrations. One could see the rib grillers’ stands from all over Lanark county and the vendors offering foods and drinks to all tastes. There was a mini amusement park for young children with bouncy castles and a climbing tower. The stage was ready for musicians and singers; close by the stone carvers were competing in their art – the winners’ sculptures will become part of the new stone bridge being constructed in Perth and funded mainly by donations.

Perth lanark County
Building a New Bridge in Perth, Lanark County, Canada

 

Late afternoon we headed to the McReary’s beach resort. The resort has beautiful and spacious cottages and we stayed in one of them for the next 3 days. The resort is located on the beach and at the same time not far from the main road; that made it convenient for our local day trips exploring the area. Our cottage had fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, living room and the deck with BBQ. The environment is really family friendly and kids were allowed to go around by themselves.

McReary Beach Resort
Paddling in McReary Beach resort

Once settled we all headed for a boat tour that was so much fun!

Water Fun on the lake near McReary Resort
Fun time at McReary Beach resort

We swam in warm lake water, did spectacular jumps from the boat and raced each other. On the way back to the cottage we saw two eagles high up on a pine tree.

Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort
Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort

Next to the beach there one can find a boat house with many canoes and kayaks to borrow, but we were too tempted to relax in the indoor pool; under same roof there is a sauna and hot tub. After dinner we played for a while and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the marshmallows roasted on the campfire right behind the cottage.

Family Nights at McReary Beach Resort
Marshmallow Party at the Cottage in McReary Beach resort

The next morning we went to Perth to see the 200th year anniversary parade, which was very well organized and included a lot of various performances. After the parade   we stopped by the ice-cream shop before heading to the park.

Not far from the park there was a farmers market where we bought local maple syrup and some homemade jams; the stands were also filled with crafts and flowers. It was a fine place to browse…

Perth Farmers Market
Farmers Market in Perth

 

200th Perth Maple Syrup
Special edition “200th anniversary of Perth” Maple Syrup at farmers market

In the park the speeches were already underway and we could see the Mayor and other city officials on the stage. At the end of the ceremony the Mayor handed the special capsule with the money collected for the construction of the new stone bridge to the builders.

After the official part everyone headed across the park to the spacious lawn where the dressed up musicians and dancers were getting ready to perform. The Scottish kilts in different colours, traditional musical instruments and actors were all mixed with the arriving public.
For the next hour we all could watch the scenes from the past brought by the musicians and actors to show the history of Perth from 19th century. The show ended by the guns’ salute and marching of the bands.

Perth 200th
200th anniversary of Perth Celebration

On the way back to the cottage we stopped again at Fairgrounds to have some ribs, check out the stone carving competition and listen to some music.

The day was almost done, we only had enough time to get back to the cottage for some swim in a pool and dinner.

The next morning we left early for the Blue Heron Golf club. The club house was already busy with the arriving golfers, so we quickly got ready and headed out to the course.

Blue Heron Golf Club
Playing Golf in Blue Heron Golf Club, lanark County, Ontario, Canada

The course has nine holes which makes it suitable for those new to the game or seasoned golfers. The beautiful landscaping adds to the natural surroundings creating pleasant environment – mix of water, forest and green lawns… after golf we all were ready to have good lunch, and decided to go towards Perth.

Perth, Lanark County
Beautiful Perth

On the way we stopped by the General store to buy sandwiches. Forget the sandwiches – in the middle of the store there was a small table where a lady was painting the large egg… The painting reminded us some fine antique porcelains, Easter eggs and may be Christmas… the paintings were filled with very fine details such as flowers, birds, butterflies, little bunnies and colourful ornaments. Hard to resist – we bought two beautifully painted eggs and then turned to sandwiches – we were hungry!

Tatlock Quarry
Observation Deck in Tatlock Quarry in Lanark County

After Perth our destination was Ottawa. Instead of staying in the city hotel we stopped at the Generations Inn., which is about thirty minutes away. Even before we open our bags right away kids went to swim in a lake… The Inn has three rooms with private bathrooms located in the old estate. The place is quite well known for the fact that the chief for the Ottawa Senators sometimes cooks his famous dishes for the guests, but you have to call in advance to find out when; we didn’t and so had to visit nearby restaurants.

Generations Inn
Funtime at “Generations Inn”

Next morning we were in Ottawa. First we visited The Museum of History, Children’s Museum and Parliament Hill, later the Airspace Museum and we finished the day watching the amazing Light Show that is projected right on the Parliament building.

In the Museum of History “Napoleon” and “Gold Rush” special exhibits were well worth to visit. Going back in times of Napoleon and learning about his personality and various projects was really like visiting France and Europe of that time. In the halls of “Gold Rush” we were able to wash some golden nuggets and learn about gold mining history. At the exit the special scale displayed the value of your weight as gold equivivalent in $$ – so we all got on! Worth millions!!

Children’s Museum is always full of kids and their parents. It’s a wonderful world of real things scaled to toy size. One can be a banker, another a salesman of Turkish rugs or spices, be a sailor or mechanic or dress up and go on stage!

After lunch on the French side in a small lovely café and some rest we headed to the Airspace museum. And that is where we spent a lot of time learning about airplanes, history of aviation and space exploration.

Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Aircraft tourbine in Ottawa Aerospace Museum

Fighter jet Simulator
Fighter jet Simulator in Ottawa Aerospace Museum

A bit tired we went back to the city to have dinner. And again we went to the Airspace Museum this time for the conference to meet the real astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk.

Canadian Astronaut Robert Thrisk
Precious moments! Robert Thrisk autographed a book!

Jeremy Hansen and Jonathan
Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen autographed my book

They were presenting the launch of the new recruitment campaign and there were various officials and a lot of fans. We even got a chance to chat with them and get autographs.

Jeremy hansen and Robert Thirsk
Children and Canadian Astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk in Ottawa Aerospace Museum, July 2016

After such an exciting evening we were back to the Parliament Hill for the Light Show that presented the history of Canada in projected images accompanied by narration and music.

Parliament Hill Light Show in Ottawa
Parliament Hill light show, Ottawa, Canada

Tired after such a long day full of events we were ready to go back to Generations Inn for a good night sleep…

Next morning we were on our way back home. We decided to stop over in Peterborough and visit the unique lift locks. Dated back to 1900 the locks operate based on the natural powers created by the weight of the water in the tubs – this is the largest hydraulic lift lock in the world that raises boats up to about 65 feet high! It was a lot of fun to watch the boats go up and down – they looked so small compare to locks’ structure!

Before getting back on the road we stopped over for pizza lunch and then drove all the way home talking about places we liked most…

UNESCO new World Heritage Site in Stuttgart for Le Corbusier houses

Germany gains 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site

On July 17, 2016, the two Le Corbusier houses at the Weissenhof Estate in the Southern German city of Stuttgart were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it the first World Heritage Site for Stuttgart and the 41st for Germany.
As part of a transnational joint application, Stuttgart and destinations in seven other countries applied to have 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings listed due to the architect’s outstanding contribution to Modernism. The two Stuttgart houses are the architect’s only buildings in Germany and include the Weissenhof Museum, which illustrates the radical change in architecture around the time of the Second World War as well as Le Corbusier’s visionary thinking.
Germany’s other 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the majestic Cologne Cathedral, the expansive Wadden Sea habitat, Classical Weimar and Regensburg’s charming Old Town. They can be explored on eight different themed routes<http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/unesco-world-heritage/unesco-routes/unesco-routes.html>, from natural wonders to architecture to palaces and parks.
For more information about Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visit www.germany.travel/unesco.

Let’s Go to Perth celebrating 200 anniversary together! July 22-24 weekend

Suggested itinerary:

Day One: Friday, July 22

  • Arrive in Perth between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for the BBQ Block Party http://bbqblockparty.com/ at the Perth Fairgrounds (50 Arthur Street)

Directions from Toronto (3hrs 46 mins):

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Toronto,+ON/Perth+Fair,+50+Arthur+Street,+Perth,+ON+K7H+3E3/@44.2698707,-78.9357309,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x89d4cb90d7c63ba5:0x323555502ab4c477!2m2!1d-79.3831843!2d43.653226!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a443bbdbc8b:0x63becdf201c85aee!2m2!1d-76.2464385!2d44.892452

  • Lunch at festival food stations
  • Canadian Stone Carving Festival http://canadianstonecarvingfestival.com/
  • Dinner
  • Drive 17 minutes to McCreary’s Beach Resort to check in anytime after 4:00 p.m.

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Perth+Fair,+50+Arthur+St,+Perth,+ON+K7H+3E3/McCreary’s+Beach+Resort,+McCrearys+Beach,+Perth,+ON/@44.9570316,-76.3101839,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a443bbdbc8b:0x63becdf201c85aee!2m2!1d-76.2464385!2d44.8924522!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd2725b1659098f:0x32b0fe57cb669651!2m2!1d-76.2192498!2d45.0213694

  • Relax and enjoy the beach!

Day Two: Saturday, July 23

  • Breakfast
  • Travel for 14 minutes to Perth for Blast from the Past (Opening Ceremonies are at 11:30 a.m.) Full Event Schedule: https://perth200.ca/signature-events/homecoming-weekend/homecoming-weekend-schedule/
  • I suggest parking at Café Bean, 1 Sherbrooke Street East, Perth

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g499284-d8067083-Reviews-Cafe_Bean-Perth_Ontario.html

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/McCreary’s+Beach+Resort,+McCrearys+Beach,+Perth,+ON/Cafe+Bean,+Sherbrooke+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/@44.9621085,-76.3101839,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd2725b1659098f:0x32b0fe57cb669651!2m2!1d-76.2192498!2d45.0213694!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a68a8055c4f:0xffaacf4efb660bd6!2m2!1d-76.246822!2d44.903985

  • Walk about 4 blocks for 8 minutes to Stewart Park (80 Gore Street East) to see the parade. Map: https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Stewart+Park+Festival/@44.8988287,-76.250517,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x41185e3fc910fbd2!8m2!3d44.8988287!4d-76.250517

Directions: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Cafe+Bean,+Sherbrooke+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/Stewart+Park+Festival,+Gore+Street+East,+Perth,+ON/@44.9014106,-76.2506273,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a68a8055c4f:0xffaacf4efb660bd6!2m2!1d-76.246822!2d44.903985!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a5d1804a2d3:0x41185e3fc910fbd2!2m2!1d-76.250517!2d44.8988287

  • In the afternoon, you may wish to return to the Perth Fairgrounds. Enjoy the Festival!

Day Three: Sunday, July 24

  • Check out
  • Travel home