Tag Archives: travel

Europe Adventures…

5 Sep

With the fall fast approaching and the summer disappearing, I wanted to take a post to talk about my summer that was mostly one big adventure. I haven’t been blogging as often as I normally do for the simple fact that I haven’t been in the city for most of the summer. Unlike most other summers that are spent traveling between sporting events, camping and spending time at a cottage or two, this summer I went for the whole enchilada and took a month off to travel around Europe. The only other time I’d been to Europe was for a two day stop in Paris on my way to Tunisia. While it was amazing to see Paris, two days was only enough to get me infected with the traveling bug. So this year, when my brother asked if I wanted to travel with him for a while after he finished his exchange in England, I jumped at the chance. He could only travel for about two weeks but I wanted more! So I asked Sarah if she would join me for another two weeks. So for the month of July I explored Amsterdam, Berlin, Florence, Rome, Paris and London.


The first city my brother and I visited was Amsterdam. While many may think we were only there to take part in the local coffee shops and visit the Red Light district, there is so much more to Amsterdam. One of my highlights was renting bikes and exploring one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. We also got a taste of Amsterdam at the Heineken brewery, which has a great tour and you get a few free beers. Another highlight was the Van Gogh museum where you get the chance to appreciate the work of a true master! Don’t forget to get your picture taken with the IAMSTERDAM monument nearby.

Berlin is a fantastic city and is one of, if not the most important city in modern history. Having been the centre of the Second World War and then playing a central role in the cold war, Berlin is filled with history and amazing sights. They have amazing museums, nightlife, art, restaurants and people. Before the Second World War the city held close to 7million people, now it only houses about 3.5 million people. This gives the city a kind of empty feel but also helps keep costs down, making it one of the most affordable cities in Europe to visit. There is so much to see in Berlin that I recommend taking a tour. In almost every city I visited I took advantage of Sandemans New Europe tours. These tours are put on by freelance tour guides who only get paid by tips. If the tour is good they get paid better than if it was ok. All of the tours I got were great but the one in Berlin was particularly good! The three hour tour took us from the Brandenburg Gate to Check Point Charlie to museum island. There is so much to see and do, you’ll leave Berlin already planning your next visit there.





After Amsterdam and Berlin, my brother and I were ready for some nice weather, so we made our way down to Italy. Our first stop was Florence. I hadn’t done any real research on Florence and wasn’t expecting much but was I ever surprised! Florence is an amazing city. It feels like you’ve gone back in time as you walk down the narrow cobblestone streets, always in the constant gaze of the Duomo. The Duomo is the massive 13th century cathedral located in the centre of town. If you visit Florence you have to take the time and walk up all of the stairs to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing views! After Florence we made our way down to Rome. Walking around Rome feels like you’re on a movie set, with the Coliseum, Vatican and Trevi Fountain all to be seen.  While I enjoyed visiting Rome a lot, it was so hot that I was happy to head north to Paris.










After a quick stop in London to meet up with Sarah, it was off to Paris. If I was forced to choose a favourite city, I would choose Paris. Not only is Paris a beautiful and photogenic city, it also has some amazing food. While in Paris we did everything from visiting the Louvre, Versailles, l’Arc de Triomphe and climbed the Eiffel Tower. While these were all amazing things to do and see, my favourite thing that we did was to visit a couple of shops to buy everything for a picnic. Then head down to Place des Invalides, open a bottle of wine and enjoy a picnic while watching the world go by. If you’re ever in Paris I would highly recommend taking the time to go for a picnic! After Paris we were off to London





London was amazing! We were there for the first week of the Olympics, which was great. Leading up to the Olympics everyone was telling us how insane London would be, giant lines and an overloaded Underground. Well we hardly had to wait in any lines at the tourist attractions and other then busy times, the Underground was a breeze. The best part of being there for the first part of the Olympics was seeing my friend Michael Tayler compete in the white water kayaking salmon event. It was amazing seeing someone I know, in person, compete at the highest level. Remember his name because he is sure to be a force to reckon with at the next Olympic games!






London is an all round cool city, it has it all. If you like museums you need to visit the British Museum, which houses the Rosetta Stone and other amazing artifacts from around the world. If you like theater, there are tons of shows to see in London and you can even stop in and see some Shakespeare at the Globe Theater. London sure has some amazing food for a city which is the capital of a nation not known to have the best food. If you’re visiting London my top recommendation is to visit Borough Market. This local market has all kinds of amazing food, from raw ingredients to readymade meals, you’ll find everything here. It goes without saying that London is steeped in history; everywhere you look there is a piece of history. You have to visit London Tower, where you can see the crown jewels and meet a Beef Eater.











I could go on and on about my adventures in Europe. I’ve got stories about losing my bags, booking the wrong flight, watching a dog jump into a fountain at the Louvre and so much more. But the best way to experience it isn’t through my stories but by going on an adventure yourself! So go buy a ticket!

If you haven’t had enough pictures yet, check these out…







Traveling using AirBnB

13 Aug


July is the time of year where everyone seems to be off on vacation. This year I was one of those people, for the last month I’ve been traveling in Europe, first with my brother and then with my girlfriend. So you can expect the next couple of posts to be all about my travels. There will be posts about food, adventures and tons of pictures (I took about 1400!). One of the things that really made my trip was the places I stayed. While a lot of people stay at hostels and hotels, I found most of our places on AirBnB.com.


AirBnB.com is a service that matches travelers looking for short term rentals with individuals who are renting out their property. On the site you can find almost any type of rental you might want, from tree houses (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/50435) to castles (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/70895), there is something for everyone. I chose to look for places to star on AirBnB.com for a couple of reasons. Being a young professional in the not-for-profit sector, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on a month long adventure. AriBnB lets you filter your search by price and find something that fits your budget. On average we spent $97 a night on accommodations; this works out to be $48.50 a night. While there are cheaper options available, these rentals had some serious advantages. For one, all of the places we stayed at had kitchens that we could use. This let us make some of our own meals. When you’re travelling for a month, it’s great to have a home cooked meal, plus you can save a little money. There was also a couple of places that had laundry, this doesn’t seem like much but when your bag gets lost for three days and you’re walking around in 35+ degree weather, laundry becomes a life saver!



One of the best things about our trip was our stay in London. Not did we have a chance to experience the Olympics and the amazing history that London has to offer but we also had a chance to stay with a Londoner. One of the choices you have on AirBnB is to look for rentals that are either of the whole home or renting a room in someone’s place. In London we chose to stay in someone’s room and it ended up being one of the best choices of our trip. First off we saved a bunch of money by staying with someone, especially during the Olympics. The more important of the aspect of staying with a Londoner is that we got to meet an amazing person. Our host was super friendly and shared our passion for the Olympics. She would share her knowledge about London with us, pointing us in the right direction for some really cool things to see and do. She also shared her laptop with us, so that we could all watch the Olympics! Having a friendly personable host added another dimension to our trip. We were no longer travelers meeting other travelers while visiting a foreign city. We got to really know a local and feel like a part of the city! So next time you’re planning a trip, check out AirBnB.com look for a cool, different, fun place to stay!

Big Ben – London!

Just so everyone knows, I wasn’t asked to write this by AriBnB and I am not getting anything from them. However, if they do read this I won’t say no to some free stuff! Also this is all based off my personal experience, so take it for what it’s worth.


Taking a Bite out of the Big Apple! – part 2

9 Nov

Sorry everyone for not posting sooner! We just moved and packing and then unpacking took way more time then I thought! Here is the continuation of our adventures in New York City.

On our way into New York City on Friday I had heard about a street food fair going on Sunday, thank you Twitter! So Sunday morning we got up and made our way over to the Hester Street Fair. To get to the Hester Street Fair we walked through part of China Town. Just the short walk through China Town was really cool, there are so many crazy stores and markets selling so many different types of foods. It’s pretty cool when you see someone selling durian from a freezer on the corner of a street.

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Hester Street Fair normally sells food and quality goods. The weekend that we visited was the annual food fair. This wasn’t your typical farmer’s market, it was a collection of more than 75 restaurants, local shops and food trucks. There was food for every taste, everything from hot dogs and mac n’ cheese to dumplings and kimchi. Needless to say we spent a lot of time here sampling from a bunch of vendors.

I started off with some awesome smoked bacon mac n’ cheese that was super creamy and delicious, this was not your highlighter orange KD! My girlfriend started off with an arncini, or a risotto ball. These balls of deliciousness are balls of risotto that have been breaded and lightly fried. They are the perfect combination of crunchy and creamy. Next we shared jerk corn on the cob. The corn was cut in two, rubbed with jerk spices, barbecued, coated with some coconut and finished with a little bit of lime juice. It was some of the best corn I’ve ever had in my life. While the corn was awesome, we did have one disappointment, lobster rolls. Not only were they tiny but they weren’t  super flavourful. After the mouthful of lobster we split a cemita, which is a latin american sandwich. This monster has 10 layers: chipotle spread, papalo, avocado, cheese, pickled onion, tomato, lettuce, pork, mayo and black bean spread. The sandwich was an amazing combination of flavours, the only downside to it was the fact that it was really, really filling! To finish off our culinary adventure at the Hester Street Fair we each got a homemade soda.

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What was really cool about the Hester Street Fair was the sense of community that there was. There were hundreds of people, it was kind of like parliament hill on Canada day, but everyone seemed to know each other and everyone was having a good time. I wish I could have stayed all year!

After eating our way through so much food we thought it would be a good idea to walk around and take in some sights to help burn off some of the calories. So we took the subway to see the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron Building is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in the city and the only skyscraper north of 14th Street. The building sits on a triangular island block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street, with 23rd Street. It is super fun to photograph and is just plain awesome!

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What makes the Flatiron Building even cooler is that it’s right across the street from Mario Batli’s grocery store, Eataly Cafe. While it may be called a cafe, it is far from it, it’s HUGE! There has to be at least four restaurants inside it. There are also pasta, butchery, vegetable, wine, cookbook, dessert, coffee sections and more. While Eataly is an awesome place to look around, it’s kind of pricey and half of NYC seems to be shopping or eating inside it. We only took a quick look and then headed home to get ready to see a Broadway show!

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That night we went to see Chicago on Broadway, which was tons of fun and lead to me singing out loud while walking down the street. You would think that we would head to some cool restaurant for an awesome after Broadway meal but we were a wee bit tired from a long day so we just picked up some McDonalds. Stay tuned for the conclusion of our adventures in New York City!

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