Hot Tamale!

Wow, it’s hot here in Toronto today. 31, but feels like 39 with the humidex. Phew. Summer has arrived! As I glance over at my dog, enjoying the sun on my balcony, I notice how much he is panting away. Same thing with me, I am seriously thinking about my air conditioner right now. But I just can’t do it. That isn’t fair. I need to enjoy this amazing day, after that long winter we just had.

So as I enjoy this scorching hot day, I need to think of ways to stay cool and calm. These tips also help me out when I am on my various travels, like when I went to both Morocco and Hawaii during their hottest seasons (August).


1. Grab a cool drink – Whether it’s water, a glass of chilled white wine, or the classic lemonade drink, cold liquid will do the trick.

Here is a simple lemonade recipe that I like to use, if you are at home or packing for a picnic:

1 cup sugar

1 cup lemon juice

4 cups cold water

Mix well! Add frozen strawberries as the ice cubes!

2. Wear something lose and/or light. When I am on my travels, I really enjoy bringing sundresses along. They are easy to just slip on and I don’t have to worry about what I need to pair with them. They are also easy to pack and don’t take up much room.

Spanish Steps - Rome, Italy in 50 degree weather

3. I really like to take an empty spray bottle along and slip it in my purse to give myself fresh spritzes of water throughout the day.

About to fill this up - overlooking my balcony on this scorcher of a day

4. Do all your touring in the morning and evening. Try to stay indoors, or visit air conditioned museums in the middle of the day, when it is the hottest. If it is just a shame to be indoors while on vacation, try a beach or a pool. Frequent dips keep me cool! BUT I also like to be sun savvy – wear your waterproof sunscreen! Another thing that we did in Italy was to find the side of the road that was shaded and only walk on that side, out of the sun.

I'm ready to jump in. Los Cabos, Mexico

5. Relax, walk slowly, enjoy the sights, sounds and sun at a leisurely pace!

Happy scorcher!

Spell check


Ever since I started this blog, I tried to be extra careful when it came to my spelling. At least I could be good at something dealing with the English language, as I am no great writer of elegant prose.

So one thing that I kept getting stuck on was whether I spell travel + ing as traveling or travelling. Finally, I decided to investigate this matter.

Apparently, the US version is spelled traveling, while the Canadian version is travelling.

Huh! I have been switching between the two in this blog, so…I guess you could argue that I do not technically have spelling errors when it comes to that word, right?

Next on my agenda, writing course!  Time to learn how to write a bit more elegantly and get my thoughts and interpretations out there the way I want them.

An exerpt

I went to Morocco for a university course in 2004 and one of the requirements was to keep a journal every day. This trip was the second flight I have ever taken (wow!), the first being to Cuba the year before with some of my friends. What an eye opener, this adventure was; an amazing eye opener! This trip was really the tipping point for my obsession with travel.

Here is my first entry, makes me smile because of my “wide eyes”:

August 29, 2004:
Traffic is insane here. It’s so hard to cross the street. It is confusing as well. Everyone knows where they are going except us, so it is hard to get around with everyone pushing. There are no lanes on the road and there are buses, bikes, motorcycles, and cars all beeping!
You can see the mosque from our hotel, it looks surreal and hauntingly beautiful with the sun setting as I write this from the rooftop of the hotel.
We are staying at Hotel de Foucauld in Marrakesh.

It is so hot here, sweat is common! Even when the sun is behind the clouds it is almost unbearable. I find it hard to breathe the air is so heavy, and then on top of that, you have the people in the medina coking and hot smoke is blowing in your face.

The medina was so crowded with various people asking for your money (fortune tellers, water sellers, crafts, henna…). Little boys and girls come up and beg for money or try to sell you small things like kleenex and paper crafts.

I think I slept 2 hours in the past 2 days.
There are a variety of ways that the women wear their clothing. There are ones that are covered from head to toe, tourists with short skirts and tank tops and then women in pants and t-shirts (I am the latter). The men sit along the sidewalk enjoying the view from cafes, no women allowed. At around 4:15pm there was a man calling form the mosque, such a gorgeously haunting sound, signaling time for prayer. Best part so far! I will remember that sound for a long time.

Wow. this journal entry sounded like I was scared and hating Morocco. It was actually quite the oppposite. I think I was in a bit of culture shock, which quickly went away. I will post more excepts from my journey in Morocco soon!

Fantasy Friday Part III – Iceland


What an explosive decision this week for my Fantasy Friday destination. This place is a true fantasy for me. As a Geography teacher, imagine all the different physical features that I would be running to see. Iceland has really been on my mind since I learned about this place in high school. I would actually be able to SEE the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. How cool! I can just see myself attempting the jump from one tectonic plate to the other, “look mom! I am on the North American plate, oh wait..not now, the Eurasian plate!”…

Anyway. Here are some ideas of what I would like to do and see:

1. Float around in a geothermal bath at The Blue Lagoon, where ” “Conde Nast Traveller” voted Blue Lagoon as the best medical spa worldwide.”

2. Embark on a week long hiking trip, so that I can fulfil my dream of standing between 2 tectonic plates

3. Go whale watching in Húsavík

4. Check out the various glaciers in the region

5. See the popular Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn volcanoes.


Ok, when can I go??!!

Road Trip!

When I first met my boyfriend, it was on our second date that we came up with a list of road trips that we MUST do together. Yes, it was crazy for two reasons. First, we were talking about traveling together on our second date, and secondly, because we could think of so many road trips that we BOTH have desired to partake in. I found this list the other day, and was surprised that I could check a few of these places off the list already.

Here is the list that has been sitting in my phone for just over a year now:

1. Beartooth Highway – Through Yellowstone Country in Wyoming and Montana. Imagine all the wildlife wandering along on either side, the countless different landforms making you feel like you have gone through 5 different climate zones, gorgeous sunsets…


2. Highway 101 – Along the west coast of the US (California, Washington, and Oregon). I can stop at one of my favorite US cities, San Francisco, take a side trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley, then move on to LA, to the Olympic Mountains, pause and enjoy a few beaches, and…, ok not in that order perhaps, but you get the idea I hope.


3. Road to Hana – I have done this spectacularly jaw-dropping trip when I was in Hawaii and cannot wait to do it again to show my man. Again, you feel like you are driving through so many different climate zones. You go from hot, windy, beach suitable weather, to dark cool rainy roads, to lush rainforests, to deep valleys and gulches to high cliffs that seem to take you into the clouds.

4. Top of the World – Off to Alaska, northern BC and Yukon, sounds like an adventure waiting to unfold. Also, the Aurora Borealis is a must see for me. I saw it a few times in the past but I was very young in one instance, and in the other instance, it was faint. I want to see it in its full glory!

5. Going to the Sun – Done! WOW! And with the man. Glacier National Park in Montana treated us well for the brief time we were there. The mountains are gorgeous and make sure you ‘go to the sun’ as early as you can so you can enjoy the sun rising. The wildlife was also a great bonus. The road was under construction when we went, with a few delays, but how can you complain when you get to stop and stare at the scenery?

6. Great Smokies – I wasn’t too familiar with this one, but a trek through North Carolina and Tennessee sounds good to me! Hiking and camping in the Appalachians, just what I love!

7. Amalfi Coast – Done, with my man!  This drive was spectacular. We started out in Lanciano and went down to Pechiche,  Vieste, Bari, Matera then set out for the Amalfi coast going through Positano, and ending in Sorrento. Absolutely WOW. And this was done with a hugely majorly gigantic thanks to Katie, who could expertly drive a standard car through the narrow a** roads, up hills, back from dead end, and around droves of goats.

8. Highwood Pass – Done! Through Kananaskis Country. The two rock slide remnants I saw were facinating to see. Plus the mamma grizzly bear who we met two days in a row.  Oh, and the potato thing I had to eat at the Delta Hotel on my Restaurants page.

9. The Autobaughn – No speed limit! Amazing cars! Let me on there. As an unfortunate person who has received several speeding tickets, please, I just need to get out there and do my thing. Watch me be the slowest person on that highway…

10. Route 66 – Famous in the US. I want to feel this experience, after numerous songs, a tv show…all the stories, before it is gone.

11. Monument Valley – Arizona and Utah. Imagine all of the rocks to see! Sorry, I have a secret obsession with rocks! I could actually act out a movie  or two or three here.


12. Death Valley – Scary sounding…hottest place in North America, imposing sand dunes. Another adventure! For some reason, when I think about this trip, I picture myself in cut off jean shorts, a white top, and a cowboy hat (with the boots lets not forget) kicking the tire of my broken down and smoking ’67 cadillac. My legs look great by the way in this visualization. Wasn’t there a music video, or 2 or 3 shot there?

Thelma and Louise

Start your engines!!

So Pho! (full)

I have a small love affair with Vietnamese Pho. Something about the savoury broth, the routine of adding sprouts, hot sauce and hoisin sauce, slurping up the long rice noodles, breaking a sweat, getting so pho/full after a gigantic bowl is drained, and blowing my nose a minimum of 15 times. What a great experience… (no!?!).


So combine my love of travel with my love of Pho, and you get an ongoing list of some of my favorite Pho experiences, without actually haven been to Vietnam (yet).


It’s so hard trying to pick my top 3, but I have attempted to put them in order anyway.


1. Pho Aime – Best overall experience. Located on Spadina, you are never disappointed with your Pho.

2. Pho Phuong – Arguably the best broth. Good cold rolls too!

3. Pho 88 – Best delivery. I have never actually been to the location yet, so this place may move up on the list yet. They even have their own website.

4. Pho Hung – My first Pho experience. It will always have a place in my heart.

5. Golden Turtle – Always at the top of the lists for Toronto’s best Pho. Meh, I’ve had better!

6. Hue’s Kitchen – The broth is different here, along with the hot sauce. The meat is so good here though!

I’ve tried a few other places here, but they do not deserve to be on this list in my opinion!


Pho Viet – Again, arguably the best Pho I have had. The broth is a bit different, almost a cinnamon-y taste to it.


Pho Le – I need to explore more places because I hear there are some amazing Vietnamese restaurants in this city. This was not a bad start at all!

Q-City Bound

Finally….another trip planned! I started this blog right after my return from Chicago (what else can you do when riding an Amtrak train for 6 hours?).  This time it’s Quebec City for a long weekend on June 3rd. Mostly I am excited for french onion soup, shopping, wandering around Old Quebec, and visiting The Plains of Abraham.


But my secret excitement…do you want to know? Flying Porter Airlines. I have never been to the Toronto Island Airport or have flown Porter. It seems as if all my friends have, and I really think I am missing something. They never have anything to complain about. When they return from their destinations, I hear just as much about the flight as I do the trip.

Created mainly for the business person, Porter flies from downtown Toronto to various locations, including Boston, Montreal, Chicago, New York, and of course Quebec City. Great service, location and quick! Everyone comments on how quick it is to get through the airport process there.

Is that terrible that I am going to an amazing city, with so much to experience, and I really am looking forward to the flying experience this time around?