Have you ever felt like your camera was a burden on your travels? The heavy weight along with the idea of dropping it can put many people off to travelling with their camera. But travel photography can be the sole reason for someone wanting to go somewhere.
Ever since my second year of university during a scientific theory class, I fell in love with the enchanting place of the Galapagos Islands.
I dreamed of the ruggedness, the lava formations, and the wildlife. To me, the Galapagos Islands were more than the birthplace of evolution; it was a place of refuge and survival.
Question: Can you see four countries in Central Europe in four days? Why yes, yes you can. I recently came back from my Central Europe road trip that covered Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
My travel buddy and I hit three major cities and three smaller towns/cities, as well as ate delicious food and saw many amazing sights. Going in winter also gave me an appreciation of how busy these places are on an off-peak day.
Thanks for checking out my collection of favourite posts, instagrams, news, links, products and other great stuff I’ve gathered to share with you each month.
I’m definitely still talking about my amazing Quebec trip! It was a stellar beginning to my solo travelling dream. I talked about the delicious food and the highlights of my trip, but I jumped outside the box and stayed at an old monastery. You can read all about it here.
Thanks for checking out ‘Travel Favourites’, a collection of posts, Instagrams, news, links, products and other great stuff I’ve gathered to share with you each month.
I am so happy to announce that I have finally jumped in with both feet into my travel writing dream. I ~officially~ launched my website earlier this month after YEARS of wanting to do just this. I’ve been putting off my dreams for a whole host of excuses, so NO FEAR right?!
So I left a couple of days ago for my third cross Canada trip, but the first one where I drove. Compared to being a kid when your parents make all the decisions, I learned a few things about the long haul that I would like to pass on.
1. Make sure to get your car serviced before you make the trip. My car needed an oil change at 16,000 km and it was going to hit that mark on my trip, so I got it serviced early to avoid the headache. My service person checks everything out for me, they topped up all my fluids, rotated the tires and even changed my wipers.
2. Have a good idea of an itinerary. Knowing where you want to stop for the day, stops along the way, and other breaks will help you stay on track and on time.
3. Don’t be afraid of breaking the itinerary. Our unexpected delay outside of Sudbury, caused us to change our itinerary. It was a great move, as the motel in Wawa was a lot nicer that the one we were going to stay at.
4. Snacks are your best friend. We were able to save money by buying one lump of food and not buying breakfast, lunch and dinner. A cooler with protein shakes, carrots, pepperoni sticks, cheese, and water and a bag full of crackers, bread, wafers, bananas, chocolate almonds, and veggie stix were sufficient for our whole trip.
5. It’s good to stop every 400 kms or so. Stop for the bathroom, for a point of interest, or even just to stretch your legs. It was pretty easy to break up the trip between towns or points on interest
6. When packing your car make sure you are not cramped in the seat and have all your necessities within arms reach.
7. Podcasts. Even music gets boring after a while. Dad and I have a similar interest in history, so I downloaded the Stuff you Missed in History class podcast. It is quite interesting and most of them are only half an hour long.
8. It’s a great idea to stop at the first information kiosk when you pull over. We found ourselves on a new road that was not on the outdated map that we had, or on the garmin. Stopping at information will give you the most update maps and it can give you some ideas of where to stop in the province.
9. Keep your eye out for the roadside information attractions. There are some neat attraction stops along the highway and you get to learn a little bit of history on the way. Some of the ones we passed by are: the halfway point of the TransCanada hwy, the Arctic/Atlantic watershed divide, the longitudinal centre of Canada, the provincial boarders, and the boarder of where Northwest Territories was in 1877.
10. Keep your camera up front. There are so many amazing photo opportunities on the side of a highway, and you never know when you might come across wildlife. They could run away before you get that camera out.
(Posting it after-the-fact because, again, no signal, and the internet at the motel isn’t free)
Well, Holy Mackerel. What a day. We started the day with a light drizzle and a rainbow in Wawa and traveled to the sunny, warm Thunder Bay. We stopped at the Terry Fox memorial to stretch our legs and take a few pictures. You could see the Sleeping Giant rock formation. (I mean, sure, it kind of looks like a sleeping giant.) Before this we stopped at Terrace Bay, and found a really impressive gorge and waterfall, called Aguasabon Falls.
We decided to drive on Hwy 11 rather than Hwy 17, because it was a road my dad had never been on, and it wasn’t that much longer. The southern route follows the Ontario/ US border and was supposed to be more scenic than the northern route. On that route was the Arctic/Atlantic Watershed boarder which separates the flow of rives from one ocean to the other.
I definitely recommend taking that route over 17. It is filled with hills and cliffs and lakes. What was surprising here was the corner of Ontario. Fort Frances looked so much like home. It had hay fields rather than the Shield. It was flat and warm, and completely out of character for Northern Ontario. Hwy 11 swings north to meet up with the TransCanada and that stretch of road was stunning. We followed the major lake, Lake of the Woods, from the boarder to Kenora.
Let’s be real, my dad did most of the driving today. Not only is he more suited (and more experienced) to driving, but after we saw the second moose while I was driving, he told me I needed to sit in the passenger seat to take the pictures.
We finally reached the Manitoba border around 5pm CT, under an ominous sky. Soon, the land started to flatten and going 120km/h was completely normal. The skies opened up and let everything out. It was like driving under Niagara Falls. I missed the first gas station of Manitoba, not realizing the next one was at least 100km away. Well, I pulled into the next gas station, running on fumes. Honestly, I thought we would run out of gas and be stuck on the side of the road, with no phone signal (I thought that only happened in the movies), and in the pouring rain.
(Side note: Speaking about gas, WHY IS GAS 150.9 IN NORTHERN ONTARIO? Is it really that hard to get that it is a quarter more per litre than Manitoba?)
We’ve stopped in our planned place of Portage-la-Prairie, MB and will continue on to Lloydminster, AB tomorrow.
(I am posting this late because I have had ZERO service and I’m tired from driving)
I’m back for another trip! A year after I left for Greece (a year, can you believe it), I’m heading across country to Whitecourt, Alberta. Here, I am taking a reporter job (yay me)!
I decided that I am going to pack up my car and drive the 3500+ km from my small town Ontario to another small town Alberta. After some great deliberation, I realized going by myself was not going to happen. Driving long distances may not be my forte. I like short drives and scenic drives, but long distances make me sleepy. My dad, thank god, loves driving. He has driven across Canada nine times and two of them were family trips when I was younger.
After stuffing my car, which fit a lot more stuff that I thought it would, and a rough estimate of driving times, distances, and stops, we left home. (Okay, mom and I hugged for a really long time. And I’ll miss my cotton ball dog.)
I took the first shift driving 300 k to a small gas station in Pointe au Baril. The views were absolutely stunning. I can really see the inspiration that Northern Ontario gave to the Group of Seven
There was a lot to see up that way. It is where the edge of the Canadian Shield starts. Then, just west of Sudbury, the OPP decided to shut down the TransCanada Hwy BOTH WAYS due to a head on collision. While one person was quickly airlifted to the nearest hospital, the OPP closed down the highway from 7:30am to 2:30pm, when we finally got through. You could imagine the line of cars, a line 10km long.
(Side note: while I respect the police and everything they do (parent are/were cops), I think it is completely unnecessary to close down that major highway for that long of a time. Imagine if there was a truck with livestock that dies because of the heat. It is their prime duty to direct the flow of traffic during a collision, not disrupt thousands of drivers to investigate the non-fatal accident)
We then finally got a glimpse of Lake Superior (named for its superior awesomeness). We came across Chippewa Falls. So what, you ask. Well, it just so happens that Chippewa Falls is the halfway point of the TransCanada Hwy. That’s right from east coast to west coast, the middle of the TransCanada is not even the middle of Ontario.
From there it was a scenic drive up to Wawa. Because of the two and a half hour delay, our planned stop in Marathon was changed. At 9:30pm, we pulled into the tiny Mystic Isle Motel in Wawa, ON. (Hey, that motel was actually a surprisingly friendly, clean, and a comfortable sleep)
We travelled a good 930 kilometres on day one. Not as far as we wanted to go, but hey, Canada’s a big place.
UPDATE: I have added pictures AND A MAP!