Welcome to the Maritimes! First up – Beautiful New Brunswick

 

 

Well folks, it is true, Kim has absolutely no moss growing under her feet these days!  2 weeks after she returned from Vancouver, she moseyed her way all the way to the East Coast for a 3 week solo trip to the Maritimes.  I figure she is really good at embracing the acronym “NEMA” – No excuses, make adjustments.  When she had to cancel her trip to Morocco because of her health incident (and no travel insurance for a while) she said “I’ll go explore Eastern Canada!”

She flew from Saskatoon to Moncton, New Brunswick on Tuesday and promptly jumped in a rental vehicle and drove 2.5 hours to a stunning town called St. Andrews (by the sea).  Kim doesn’t have a lot of time to explore New Brunswick, so she had some help in deciding where to go  from her former colleagues Julie and Michelle……so she is making the most of her 3 short days there, using their suggestions – thanks ladies!

First off: St. Andrews by the Sea is very close to the State of Maine, USA.  Founded in 1783 and named in honour of St., Andrews, Scotland,

It is a very well preserved town, maintaining many of the original buildings. The history is amazing and the architecture stunning.  Kim said it is a photographers dream.

The first night she arrived, she took a walk of the quaint downtown.  She stayed at an Air B and B that was behind a retail shop on Water Street.  A stunning place, in a great location – she walked everywhere!  After her brief walk, she was hungry and stopped in the local Red Herring Pub for some fish and chips and a craft local beer (surprise surprise!).  Delicious (why can’t she bring me home some fish?!?)

 

And……..here comes the rain, rain, rain.  It rained all night and was still misty and drizzly the next day.  So NEMA!  Lots of things were closed – no whale watching tours today, so Kim put on her hiking boots and rain jacket, packed her backpack- grabbed her camera –  and headed out to explore the town.

 

 

Sometime NEMA is a great opportunity!  She walked throughout the historical centre, enjoying all of the old houses and architecture, and walked along the Van Horne Trail.  This trail took her through the forested areas, and along the coast line.  Here are a few pictures of what she saw – amazing!

And she ended up walking past the Algonquin Hotel – beautiful!

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On her way back to her condo, she stopped at the Kingsbrae Horticultural Garden.  This was a great surprise to her!  She knew it was rated highly on Trip Advisor, but hadn’t planned to go.  Well, she loved it (and if you go to St. Andrew’s, you should stop here!).  Kim spent over 2 hours exploring and taking pictures- this garden is rated in the top 10 of public gardens in Canada – I can see why.  Big paws up!  There are over 50,000 different plants on display and an amazing sculpture garden.

Kim then returned to her Air B & B and decided to go to a place called Clamdiggers for take out.  OMG – check out the size of her plate of food!  LOL – no, she didn’t finish it all.  What she learned today?  Ask how much food the seafood platter is!  She also learned that New Brunswick wine pairs nicely with battered seafood 😉

That night it poured again!  Oh my goodness, rain is following her :). But – good news folks!  The skies cleared up in time for Kim to “hit the road” and she headed East – next destination?  Fundy National Park where again it was NEMA time!  It had rained so much that many of the trails were closed or very mucky.  So……she stopped in at the Visitor Centre and the very nice lady there gave her some alternatives.  So she “walked”. the Dickson Falls Trail and the Shiphaven Trail.  She gave them both paws up!  She said the views were amazing and she met some other nice people along the way – bonus!

 

She also said that the award for most 150 year Canada celebration red chairs goes to Fundy National Park!  Look at how they also have small chairs for kids – the whole family can sit together – way to go New Brunswick!

Well folks, she is now staying at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Alma, NB, which is at the East Entrance of the park.  She had an amazing dinner at a restaurant called Octopus Garden.  Take a look – Lobster Rose Pasta – homemade pasta and local lobster…..oh my goodness!  At least it wasn’t battered and deep fried this time.  If you are in Alma – go here!

 

She is going to Prince Edward Island tomorrow – but first, a stop at Hopewell Rocks, to walk the Ocean Floor.  Stay tuned folks!

 

 

Thank you Vancouver! First solo travel comes to an end…what Kim has learned 😀

 

Well folks, Kim is on her way home today and we are excited to see her!  John and Kim are picking us up today from our friend Marge’s.

Kim had a great time on her first “for fun” solo trip….work trips don’t count, right?  Lol

She was a bit nervous to go on her own….but she said it was awesome and she has some tips to share …..here is what she learned this time around:

  1.  Where you stay is important….pick a place that you will be comfortable in and in an area of town that is convenient.  She stayed first in a hotel, walking distance to the conference she attended and then moved to an air B and B that was in a great area.  The second spot was walking distance to great restaurants and to public transportation.  The Subway station was close by as well as the passenger ferries  🙂
  2. Get to know the area you are staying in.  She said the hop on hop off buses were awesome!  You get “your bearings” of the city and will get more comfortable of where you are.   When you get to your accommodations….grab your map and your phone (google maps) and go explore…..find out where the grocery is…and where is the subway station?  This helps gain your confidence
  3.  Book tours!  Kim loves walking tours and food tours….surprise, surprise😀😜.  Tours are a great way to meet people and to learn more about the place you are visiting.   On a food tour, you never eat alone…..pretty great!
  4. Don’t overbook tours….leave yourself free time….that way if someone tells you about something you don’t want to miss, you can do it!  This is how Kim ended up at the Museum of Anthropology and at some great bakeries and restaurants!
  5. When the group heads out for drinks after a rainy cycling tour…go!  It doesn’t matter if you are on your own and they are couples…..everyone is a traveller and anxious to share their experiences.
  6. If you can,  sit at the bar in a restaurant.   Kim met some great people at the bar….be brave and start the conversation!  She found out a lot just by asking if it was their first time to Vancouver….and she shared the tours that she loved.  Pay it forward folks!
  7. Just Do It! 😀👍

Kim’s last day was jam packed!  Here are a few highlights!

Close to her air B and B is this amazing bakery, Small Victory…..John saw these pictures and put in an order…lol….some of these will be coming home to Saskatoon!

Next, the amazing Museum of Anthropology.  Kim highly recommends a visit here, and to take advantage of the free guided tours.   This is a great way to learn about Canada’s history and the History of our First Nations.

Supper was at Blue Sky Cafe…..a top seafood restaurant in Vancouver.   You guessed it!  Walking distance from Kim’s place, and she ate at the bar.   She met a nice couple, visiting from New York!  The food was awesome ….sushi, scallops and bread pudding dessert! Delicious:)  She may have had some wine and port 😉

And to end the day…..a tour by Forbidden Vancouver.  This tour group tells the history of Vancouver through acting and storytelling.   Kim went on the Gastown tour which took them down the dark alleys of the area.  She said it was a unique way  to learn some “personal historic accounts” of how Vancouver came to be.  Their guide did a great job transporting them to the 1800s.

Well, that’s it for now folks!  Thanks for joining us….we wish you a pawsitive day and lots of great experiences!  Later 🐾🐾🐾

Vancouver…..Rain, Rain, and more Rain!

 

 

Hi everyone!  Well, the rumours are true!  Kim said it does rain a lot in Vancouver…..but that doesn’t stop people from getting out and about and having a great time.

Kim is staying at an air b an b condo in an area called Yaletown.  She loves this condo….it’s small and cozy and in a great location.  It’s walking distance to great restaurants in a historic neighbourhood, close to the sea wall and transportation.  A subway station is close by and she said there are some really cool passenger ferries that make it really easy to get around!

On Sunday she made her way downtown to Cycle City Tours.  She joined a group of 10 people for their 5 hour Grand Tour.  She loved it!  (Despite the downpour…..a little rain never hurt anyone. 😉). The group visited Stanley Park, Granville Island, Chinatown and Gastown.  Their guide Adam was amazing!  He ensured everyone learned about the history of Vancouver…stopping to provide more details and commentary along the way.   Kim loves the group she was with….most were visiting from Australia and Europe…with a couple of Canadians in the mix 😉👍

Here are some of the highlights….Kim seems to love the rain.  Stanley park….

 

Other spots in Vancouver….

 

And folks, Kim said there is nothing better than a celebratory flight of beers with new friends….especially when they were all drenched!  A group of them went to a local pub called The Butcher & Bullock.  Cheers!

 

On Monday, Kim made her way to Granville Island.  She loved her tour last week with Vancouver Foodies so much, she joined their Granville Island Market Tour.  She loved Granville Island.  It has wonderful markets and artisan shops.

Their guide Lydia took them through the market where they enjoyed tastings at Edible Canada (fish), JJ Bean (coffee), 2 different kinds of breads at A Bread Affair, charcuterie at Oyama Sausage, 2 kinds of cheese at Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, honey crisp apples at #1 Orchard, chai tea (it really is Christmas in a cup,) at Granville Island Tea Company, and Kim’s favorite tasting…..a honey dipped , warm from the oven, donut at Lee’s donuts….

Wow!  That’s a lot of tastings!  Kim highly recommends this tour too…..come hungry!

 

Tuesday is Kim’s last full day in Vancouver….she said it is still raining, but she will make the most of it!  We are looking forward to her coming home tomorrow!  Later folks……have an amazing day 🐶🐶🐶🐾🐾🐾

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Getting schooled on SCAD in Vancouver

Well folks, Kim just attended the first VanSCAD conference at the Vancouver General Hospital.  This group of amazing doctors are doing some of the best research in the world, led by Jacqueline Saw.  There were over 200 attendees….50 of which were patients from across Canada!  There were specialists from around the world, focusing on this rare heart attack, trying to figure out the “whys”.    Kim said there are still lots of questions and not a lot of answers.  The awesome news is that more attention is being placed on scad and more collaboration in research.  For now, it appears that 4% of heart attacks are SCAD….but it’s very under diagnosed, and there is a 20% chance of reoccurrence..  Patients are their own best advocates and they don’t “fit” the traditional heart attack patient profile….they are typically younger, they are healthy…and there are no indicators for many of them….Which leads to a greater level of anxiety with the  survivors and questioning why.  Stress appears to be a significant underlying cause and FMD for some.

Kim said one of the best parts of the conference was meeting others that went through the same thing she did…..she even met a kindred spirit, named Kim from Saskatoon….what’s the chance? I think that is awesome!

Well, not only do they have the same name, and live in the same city….but they also have a love of food…..so Kim, Kim, and their fellow SCAD sister Cheryl from BC….all foodies enjoyed an awesome meal of Indian Food at VIJs.  And lucky them, they met celebrity chef Vikram Vij….check it out!

Kim said this was one of the best meals she has ever had…..dessert was coconut pudding. Over wine, the gals decided the underlying cause of SCAD is their type A personalities   😂

Kim was grateful to be able to attend the conference, and excited for the future!

Just a reminder…..diet didn’t cause and doesn’t  affect her condition, so view the next picture with an open mind…..lol.   Kim had to go get a hotdog at Japadog!

This is the location on Robson Street….very small and very busy!  Quite a difference from last night! Their motto is “making the world happy and alive through hotdogs”!  I think she looks pretty happy….she should bring me one! Kim had #1 on the menu called Terimayo…teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed.  Delicious!

Kim has moved on to an air B and B in Yaletown….close to some great restaurants and the sea wall…great location.  Her friend Carol gave her a  bakery and seafood restaurant recommendation….stay tuned for more food blogs!

Tomorrow she is going on a cycling tour….fingers crossed the rain stays away!

That’s  it for now folks!  Levi, Frazier and I are having a great time at Marge’s while Kim eats her way across Vancouver 😉 catch ya later!

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Vancouver….solo trip but not alone :)

 

Howdy folks!   Well, Kim is on the road again….she sure doesn’t let any moss grow underneath her feet these days!  From one end of our beautiful country to the other!

She is in beautiful Vancouver and this time she decided to make this a solo trip!  I think she is pretty brave, or maybe crazy? 😜. What prompted her to go to Vancouver?  There is a SCAD conference on Friday and Saturday at the Hospital and patients could go!  Remember our scare with SCAD…that nasty little heart attack incident?  Well….she feels 100%, but thought this is a great opportunity to learn more.  There will be specialists, cardiologists and other patients there!  Kim has volunteered for their next study to help them learn even more about this rare heart attack.

 

So….she decided…if going to Vancouver for the conference….a person really needs to make a trip out of it, especially in a gap year….and I think she’s right!

She arrived on Thursday morning, took her bags to the hotel…and immediately left the building. Lol!   Off on the subway to Canada Place to tour around on the Hop On, Hop Off bus.   I think they should rename this for Kim to the Stay On bus!  She went on both the Park tour…to Stanley Park and the beaches and the City Tour.  The weather was great, although a bit hazy from the smoky forest fires.  She loves these tours…says it is a great way to know the city you are visiting.

Isn’t Vancouver amazing! Here are some of her pictures from the open air bus…..she loved the park tour….she could smell the delicious roses and the fresh trees in Stanley Park!  I think she is doing a cycling tour there on Sunday 😉

 

And…..I could have predicted this one….next tour for Kim….yep, you guessed it a food tour!  She told me that this food tour might be the best one she has ever done and highly recommends it!  The tour group is called Vancouver Foodie Tours and their guide was Miguel.  He was awesome!  In the tourism industry for 14 years….he has been to 16 countries in the last 6 years and said his favorite place for food is Peru….hey, that is Kim and Johns favorite too!  He must be very smart :).  Kim said Miguel is also a stand up comedian in Vancouver.  He made the tour in Gastown a great time.  If you go to Vancouver, you must do this!

Well folks, that was a busy, jam…food filled day!  Kim made it back on the subway to her hotel….. but not before she made one last stop….

Now, this is kind of interesting (at least she thinks it is…lol). Shows how small this world can be.   When she was in Quebec she bought a new vintage looking wallet….this company also sells backpacks and she really wanted one for travel, to take on the plane….so she bought one online….isn’t it cute?

Anyway….she read that these are made in BC and wouldn’t you know it, the one store they have, opened in June in Gastown…so after her food tour she went in and checked it out….she may have made a purchase 😉.  She chatted with the gal and told her that she is from Saskatoon.  Well, the gal said “did you know Herschel is a town in Saskatchewan?”  Turns out the owners of the company are from there and now live in Vancouver….cool!

Well that’s it for now!  Kim’s off to get schooled at the conference for the next two days.   Have a pawsome day!

Almost forgot……Kim said this might be a solo trip, but never alone…what does that mean?  Well, I asked her and she said she’s met some great folks on her tours and as she has been out and about…and they are from lots of different places…the UK, Ireland, even Canada 😉  you just need to start the conversation….novel idea!  Everyone is looking to make a connection, give it a try!  (She still misses us though!)

Later!B4F59B3F-43AA-4D1E-94E5-4E9F4819B153

Touring Old Quebec

Howdy folks!  Well the last two days in Quebec were filled with tours! And, of course one was a food tour and one was a “tasting tour” – sounds like a bit of the same thing 😉

First up was a food tour of Old Quebec…..that also took them outside of the walled city to an up and coming area called Jean Baptiste.  Kim and Linda had already discovered this area (a guide had told them about it, and they had visited a restaurant there).  This tour took them to a poutine snack shack, a wine bar, a creperie and the oldest grocery store in North America (where Kim and Linda had their first sugar pie of the trip)

Doesn’t that all look delicious! This was a great way to get to know the city a bit more and try some local dishes.    Poutine and sugar pie – how can you go wrong?

Before this tour, they stopped at the Quebec Parliament buildings for a free guided tour.  This was a very interesting tour, steeped in history.  The guide was awesome!

On their last day in Quebec, they went on a tasting tour of Isle d’Orleans.  Located in the St. Lawrence River about 5 kms east of downtown Quebec City.  This island was one of the first parts of the province to be colonized by the French.  There are many farms and local producers that you can visit.  They went to a Belgium chocolate place, a nougat shop, apple cider shop, blackcurrant winery, and a local winery…..   all were interesting and had nice demonstrations and tastings……

So folks, it looks like Kim and Linda had a great time and they did – there are many more things that they did on this trip.  Quebec is a diverse province, full of history, beautiful buildings, and amazing food……..

As you know Kim is a fanatic for ice cream and Quebec didn’t disappoint…….  here are her top 3:

  1. Belgian dipped chocolate on the Isle D’Orleans.  Dip cones in Quebec are amazing……the dip is solid like a chocolate bar and this one didn’t disappoint.  Dark chocolate on vanilla soft serve:

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2. A “sampler” of 3 cones from the #1 Trip Advisor recommendation Chocolato.  Seriously?  3 baby cones – one was chocolate soft serve with peanut butter dip, one was a chocolate, vanilla swirl with maple syrup dip and one was vanilla swirl with dark chocolate…..delicious!

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3. A “kooky” cone at a local chain called Les Chocolate Favoris…..vanilla soft serve with chocolate dip, covered in maple syrup and maple popcornimg_0767-1

Okay, now for best poutine…..this was recommended to them by a guide, and the guide told them it had been written about in the New York Times…….Kim didn’t check this out so they chose to believe him.  lol

Kim and Linda jumped in an Uber Cab and went to Chez Gaston – enthusiastic paws up folks!  Looks pretty awesome to me!

And last, but not least, their recommendation for best sugar pie is at a restaurant in old Quebec called Cochon Dingue (Crazy Pig in English)…..they brought a piece home for Grandpa and he said it was was amazing!

That’s all for now folks!  You know, sometimes life throws us curve balls and we have days when we don’t always feel 100%…..it’s those times that you have to appreciate all those little things that make life grand!

Take the time to sit on a park bench overlooking the St. Lawrence river, feel the cooling breeze as the sun sets on the Hotel Frontenac…..listen to the children laugh, admire the history and hardships of people that came before us, to make the world just a little bit better.  Stop in the water park and watch the kids have fun, and just have a conversation and a laugh with people from around the world.  These are  things that make life special.

And….eat your way around the world – what would life be without poutine, sugar pie, ice cream (and some great wine!).

Have a paws-tastic day everyone – hug and kiss your family and friends!,

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Old Quebec City, Vieux-Quebec

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Howdy folks!   Looks like Kim and Linda made it to Quebec City!  They took the Via Rail and it went off without a hitch.   My grandpa asked what the brochure meant,….Granny Linda said use your imagination.

When they arrived it was pouring rain….but that didn’t stop them from going for a walk…amazing how motivated they are when they are looking for some wine!

Next day brought perfect weather….they stopped for a big breakfast first at a restaurant close to their air B and B called La Buche. They are staying right within the walls of old Quebec…..it’s like they went back in time!   At 9:30 they started their walking tour of the old city….meeting their group at the information centre.

They give this tour paws up!  Robert, their guide was funny, engaging and he made the history come to life!  The company is called Voir Quebec, and it was the Grand Tour.

The entire area of the old city is a Unesco site, and the architecture is amazing!  Here are a few pictures…wow!

They also learned a bit about history….here is a small chapel they visited.

And, they  visited the Notre Dame church, where there is a holy door….this is the only one in North America, and there are only about 6 in the world.  Dedicated by Pope Francis, it is to remain closed for 25 years….except if there is a special occasion where the pope declares it to be opened.  Over 500,000 people made a pilgrimage here, to walk through it before it was closed in 2014.

Quebec also has a number of artisans, and there are art installations and beautiful murals along the streets…kim said it was amazing, and I think so too!

The day would not be complete without dinner at an amazing restaurant!  They walked to an area of town called Jean Baptiste to La Buvette Scott.  They had reservations to sit up at the bar (I think this is becoming a theme!). A small restaurant with 35 seats, it has a small menu that changes regularly.   They had olives and bread to start.  Linda had the cod with chanterelle mushrooms and Kim had the fried chicken with kimchi…they said it was awesome!   It was kinda dark there, the pictures don’t do it justice.

So, that’s it for now folks….today is another day….guess what they are doing?  Another food tour!  It is Quebec after all……lol

And, don’t blink, keep your eyes open….you never know what you might see on the same day here!  Bon Homme and Anonymous…what a world we live in.  Aren’t we lucky!

Later folks!  Make today amazing!5A7B765C-6F81-47EC-99D7-736C16136B3F