Scenic Cape Breton

Having been to the beautiful places compared to Cape Bretton by the great Alexander Graham Bell, I had no choice but to see for myself the views that inspired him to say,
“I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps, and the Highlands of Scotland but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all." After a brief introduction to Sydney, the largest city on Cape Breton Island, we followed the Trans-Canada Highway and headed to the most famous part of the drive - the Cabot Trail - to the picturesque towns of Baddeck and Ingonish. There was some amazing scenery including the incredible views of Boulanderie Island, the Seal Island Bridge, and the Great Bras d’Or Channel, St. Ann’s Bay and Kelly’s Mountain. We stopped at a few lookouts to take photos and to take in the amazing views.

Upon seeing the Cabot Trail “Welcome” sign, I told our guide that I wanted to take a few short hikes at Cabot Trail just so I could add it t…

Anne of Green Gables' Prince Edward Island

I was walking the Balsam Hollow trail when deep in the forest, I heard bird songs in concert with the sound of rushing waters. I stopped at the tiny bridge to listen to the sound of the rushing waters and admire the streak of sunlight reflected on the water under the giant trees when a girl with long red hair and wearing a dull-grayish puff sleeve dress with a cream-colored apron came skipping through the trees. She was holding a wicker basket covered with an embroidered cloth. “I’m off to the Lake of Shining Waters,” she said. “Wait, Anne, wait,” I shouted after her, “Can I come with you.”

Ok, that was a stretch. The Anne part didn’t really happen. But where I was standing it could easily have happened. I imagined my favorite character in the book, “Anne of Green Gables” describing to me in flowery words the places and things I was seeing. With her passion for beautiful places, she would have been a great tour guide. Ever since I read the book (ok I read it more than a couple of time…

Québec City: A Culinary Tour

Quebec City is like a fairy-tale landscape with a castle, Le Chateau Frontenac, that stands impressively on top of the hill with fortified walls. This best-known landmark of Quebec is part of the Historic District of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is made up of two parts: The Upper Town, sitting atop Cap Diamant with fortified ramparts, a citadel, and other battlefield grounds, and the Lower Town, which is around the area of Place Royale and the harbor.  And it was down at sea level, Lower Town, where we began our culinary tour.

Prior to the organized culinary tour, I wandered through the Marché du Vieux-Port -- the city’s wonderful farmers' market, where I found the freshest vegetables and the reddest strawberries.

Little did I know that the culinary tour would start at the Marché du Vieux-Port or I should have known because “Good cooking starts with good ingredients.”  Our culinary guide explained that the strawberries and fresh vegetables come from Ile d'O…

Montreal: Lost in the Jazz

I arrived in Montreal late Thursday night and checked into my hotel after 12:00am. I walked into an elevator full of musicians, each holding a musical instrument. They obviously knew each other and got off the same floor – one floor below me - except for the one guy who apologized for holding up the elevator. He said he was just saying Goodnight to his friends. Guess what I saw and heard when I turned on the TV? It dawned on me that I just had an elevator ride with one of the famous bands that had a hit song in the ‘90s, the name of the band was mentioned in the news relative to the cost of concert tickets. My trip to Montreal coincided with the biggest Jazz Festival in the world – The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. The hotel that I stayed in was in the Complexe Desjardins mall downtown, the core of the festival.

It was past 9:00am when I stepped out of the hotel to explore the city when I noticed lots of people walking in front of the Jardin complexes, towards the stage …

Alaska: Port of Call Skagway

Skagway The  tiny town of Skagway is a very popular port of call for cruise ships. Its main draw is its historical district of about 100 buildings from the gold rush era and the White Pass and Yukon Route that runs its narrow-gauge train during the summer months, mainly for tourists.

Instead of taking the most popular White Pass Train Ride, we opted for the bus tour to the White Pass and Yukon territory because I thought it would provide lots of opportunities for pictures. We drove through the Klondike Highway, which paralleled much of the Gold Rush Trail of 1898. We saw an amazing panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges, famous waterfalls like the Pitchfork Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and many other smaller waterfalls, historical places like the Moore Creek Bridge, and views of the White Pass & Yukon Railroad along the route.

Our driver/guide did a great job of retelling the history of the Gold Rush, how stampeders or prospectors struggled to climb the trail carrying tons of goods …