My niece and her fellow teachers from Canada traveled to Equador to spend 3 weeks as part of a teaching, cultural exchange. A great experience for her but a little scary at times with snakes, crocodiles, and poisonous plants all around.
Long jet rides to Houston and then down to Quito, Equador. I know some may not like people’s personal travel pictures, but I sure do. It’s a big thing for our family that one of us traveled to South America. Em had lots of bug bites to show she’d been in the heart of an equatorial forest, and is still taking malaria pills. All to teach those kids.
These kids don’t have much sugary, dyed candies, but they still literally climb the walls in the classroom. I’d be fine with that. And, this is right on the equator where the temperature reached 46 degrees with humidity. Like a sauna with not much escape. It was the rainy season and they had to wear rain ponchos all the time and sleep in mosquito nets that held the heat in. If their hair looks stringy it’s understandable. They apparently can’t get clothes clean there as well. An equatorial excursion may not be for everyone.
Interesting visitors drop in once in a while
It was an 8 hour bus ride and boat ride past anaconda snakes and crocodiles, and walking past spiders and snakes to get to the school in Matananga Equador.
The Holland Marsh Winery offers a unique blend of grapes grown on the property located on Keele Street right in the Holland Marsh (and grapes drawn another unnamed source :). HMW retail store is just northwest of Newmarket and Aurora and is worth a tour.
Holland Marsh Winery some very tasty wines including reds, whites and blends, along with an ice wine. Are the grapes better from the Holland Marsh?
During the summer, there’s a beautiful westward view out over the Holland Marsh, where a good deal of the Ontario’s vegetables are grown. I’m not sure if they’ll let you have the fireplace going in an evening, but during a wine tasting tour or event, they may fire it up.
The wine industry is very competitive and growing, so it’s no simple task to make a winery profitable. Ontario wineries are really into experiential marketing, which you might have seen in the Niagara Region with the wine tours, and bed and breakfast establishments down there. Some try to make money off of the experience rather than just wine sales.
The Holland Marsh is famous for growing carrots and onions, but grapes are an exciting new crop. If HMW does well, it might encourage others to try their hand at growing grapes and producing wine.
The owner is Roland Nersisyan, an immigrant from Europe.
Our luscious green vineyard and scenic pond with rustic gazebo, provides a unique countryside surrounding for your event, as well as a spectacular backdrop for photographs.
Ontario wines have a great reputation today. HMW’s potential might depend on what kind of volume they can produce. I like their wine.
For those of us in the Toronto region, it’s nice to have a winery close by so we can understand the wine industry a little better. It adds to the colour and variety of our (dull) lives here in Canada. We need more of this. Holland Marsh Winery would be wise to go further on themes.
Not everyone is into the old traditional Italian themes. A cosmopolitan wine art theme might draw in a new crowd and add to their sales. They’ve got a nice place, but there’s no time to rest on their laurels. They need to keep building reasons for more people to visit them.
The HM winery is also the site of weddings and other special events. The winery setting makes events unique and memorable. This is the 3000 square foot Wine Club House which can host a large wedding.
Front Doors to the winery and the retail store, which is open on Sundays too!
These metallic wine bottle holders are very unique and stylish. Only $35.
Unforgettable Travel Experiences — The Canadian Rockies
When you talk about the best life experiences, Canada’s Rocky Mountains are one of the first to come to mind. Travelling through the these mountains is a visual feast with clean pungent mountain air, brilliant colours, soaring snow capped peaks that your mind can barely comprehend.
Whether Summertime or Xmas, or whether you’re coming from London UK, China, Los Angeles or Toronto, The Rocky Mountaineer promises to be one of world’s best train trips and travel experiences of a lifetime.
While Cuba, Costa Rica, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, and San Diego beckon, in summer, there is no comparing the experience of travelling from Vancouver to Calgary which happen to be two of the best, modern cities on the planet. Your expereince will be so ridiculously rich, you won’t want to sleep.
The award-winning Rocky Mountaineer offers over 65 Canadian vacation packages and four unique rail routes. This world-renowned, luxurious train travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada’s West and is the best way to experience the majestic Canadian Rockies.
The company has continually improved the unique variety of vacation packages and offers 65 today. The Rocky Mountaineer Rocky Mountain tour I’m describing below is a whirlwind tour but you can go back in future sometime by car and do a 2 week immersion in 3 great Canadian Rockies routes that include Lake Louise, Banff, Rogers Pass, Yoho Park, and the Okanagan. The RM doesn’t go through the full length of Lake Okanagan. I’m mentioning the Okanagan, because you find out how beautiful it is, you’ll want to come back and visit that region by car. All part of an incredible Western Canadian vacation.
Dreaming About Soaring Mountains
Your head will be swimming with visions of Rocky Mountain peaks as you lay down for your first night’s rest. It’s almost too much to take in, but so nice to have your usual dream imagery replaced by soaring mountain peaks, vast valleys miles wide, blue sky, turquoise and jade coloured lakes, and massive snow-capped rocky ridges. It makes living seem so grand and puts nature into perspective. You’ll understand this when you visit either by car or train.
The Rocky Mountaineer offers a variety of train treks where you can sip wine, nibble on gourmet food while you watch some of the world’s most incredible scenery float by your panoramic window view. Its major treks are from Vancouver to Calgary, and reverse, and also the Vancouver to Whistler run.
You can see the choices of routes you have on the map below. The trip from Vancouver to my old hometown, Calgary, is the ultimate journey for siteseers. You’re going from the Pacific Ocean through the coastal mountains, the huge Selkirk mountains and on into the “Shining Mountains” as the natives called them. Up an down mountain passes, past incredible glaciers and forested valleys, on through the Okanagan Valley right on through Lake Louise, Banff, and to Calgary.
Historic Lake Louise is Everybody’s Favourite
Yes, Lake Louise is beautiful. Not sure how long they’ll give you to visit, but this is one of the major tourist draws in the mountains. Chateau Lake Louise is an amazing hotel. When you come back for your next visit you’ll want to climb the hiking trails and have tea at the tea house at Lake Agnes (7000 feet).
Moraine Lake is accessed via the same road as Lake Louise. The colour of the water is more blue and the trails are great. Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks is on the back of the old 20 dollar bills. A spectacular place with stunning views. Next year I want to go right up to the top of Parker Ridge and maybe even walk to Lake Louise or even to Banff. A rugged challenge but something to look forward to.
Roger’s Pass has a tourist center with museum that has a great story you need to see. Pictures of pioneers cutting through 16 feet deep snow to put a rail road line in. How anyone could survive in that climate back then is incomprehensible. Those poor souls must have enjoyed testing their human limits. I’ll bet they knew we’d be coming there one day.
Banff to Jasper is Incredible – But not on the RM’s Routes
What’s sad about the train routes they have as that there isn’t one between Banff and Jasper which is one of the most scenic routes in the world. National Geographic has it as one of their top 50 drives of the world. And you can drive from Banff to Jasper of course, and even ride on your bike if you’ve got lots of energy (180 miles). There are bike tours that go this whole route and other incredible routes to Vancouver.
But wow, the soaring ice capped peaks, fresh mountain air, and spectacular green blue lakes, and the rivers and wildlife will really astound you. For anyone who loves nature, this is a place of fascination and wonder.
Banff is Really Special. Great restaurants, nice atmosphere of a small mountain city, gondola rides, and the Banff Springs Hotel is one of the most beautiful in the world. Lots of history.
Back in 85, I rode on this highway north from Lake Louise by myself. One of those rights of passage things for guys. Yes, it’s scary but exhilarating. How would you like to climb up this mountain?
Visiting the Rockies is how you get rejuvenated. This isn’t just a trip to Parry Sound we’re talking about here. This is immersion into a place where the earth’s crust was crushed and folded upward, at an immensity that is hard to comprehend (no, I’m not smokin weed). I can’t think of any place that’s more romantic either. Forget Cuba, Mexico, or the Bahamas.
If you’re married and haven’t taken your spouse anywhere for years on end, this has the scenery, experiences, shopping, and movement that will excite both of you. It’ll put some romance back into your lives, so do it! You can still book for this fall and see the incredible fall colours of the Rockies.
Get your girl away from everybody else, on a trip where it’s just you and her together against a fantastic natural and rugged backdrop. This is where you win her heart. Not like some wimpy Club Med thing. You wanna compete with airhead bikini guys? Okay, then plan your itinerary. Nothing beats the Rockies. (By the way, the Okanagan Valley is hot during summer with plenty of nice beaches and water activities. That’s where all the fruit is grown — dry hot conditions perfect for peaches, grapes, nectarines, and pears. Do some wine tours and enjoy the beaches when you do the car trek thing next year starting in Calgary through the Okanagan, and out to Vancouver via the Coquihalla highway).
Then it’s onto Jasper, Alberta, a neat, small mountain town. Parks Canada is trying desperately to keep people out of this place. Not because they care about ecology, they’re just morons on a power kick. The fact is, when money comes in, they’ll have more resources to take care of wildlife which is expensive to manage. down in Banff, Parks Canada has worked to take the Elk and all other wildlife away when that’s what tourists come to see. So Parks Canada is the tourist’s enemy.
Back to the train trip, you leave Kamloops and the Okanagan and head up through Revelstoke, to Rogers Pass, the highest pass in the Canadian Rockies at 4360 feet. There’s an interpretive centre that’s great to visit. And there are trails to walk if you should get some time do walk them. Remember, there’s bears up here.
How’s this for a snowplough?
Going the other way from east to west, I got to experience this transition when riding my 10 speed. I sped up to 50 miles per hour down winding passes, through Revelstoke, and through some scary tunnels. The train takes you on a similar trek near the rivers (world class white water rafting) going west to east of course. I actually took a video driving down through the pass, but you just don’t get real “live” feeling from it. You have to do it in person. It’s exciting.
Next stop is Kamploops which is dry and hilly, but an important part of BC’s geography to experience. Delta Hotel’s Sun Peaks resort is near Kamloops. Cheap rates/packages and you can do everything there including mountain biking on their mountain. Delta Hotels was one of my major clients and I had a laugh with their web marketing manager Piero about Sun Peak’s rates which were $74 a night at the time.
Dubstep: Excellent Mountain Biking Video – Sun Peaks Resort
“I’m not a follower, don’t wanna phone number don’t want a piece of the pie, That looks like me, I don’t care where I land, I don’t need a plan Where I land I don’t care, I don’t need a plan
I’m not follower, don’t want a follower, that looks like me“
Then you’ll go through the beautiful towns of Merit and Hope. For drivers, you get there via the new highway called the Coquihalla. There are some eery passes on this new highway and you can reach scary speeds if you coast along. The Rocky Mountaineer takes its own path further from inhabited areas like the highway. A completely unique vantage point through the coastal mountains and very beautiful when you get near Vancouver and the water.
Finally you arrive in beautiful Vancouver. From there you can take the Whistler trip by car along the Sea to Sky Highway or by train. By rental car, you can stop and enjoy the scenery and waterfalls and other sights. Spectacular.
Finally, you arrive in Vancouver. No city has so many different perspectives which probably explains Vancouver’s mystique. Regarded by many as the best city in the world. Ya, it could beat San Diego unless you need 20 degree temps every day.
Check out the Rocky Mountaineer journey yourself. They have lots of different routes and destinations to explore. You won’t be disappointed by this trip.