Rocky Mountain Adventures

Ever since we moved to Alberta, hubby has been dying to go visit the mountains.  The town we’re living in is about two hours from Banff and Lake Louise, and since it was hub’s birthday and he had a day off yesterday, we decided to take off and do some exploring.

I grew up in Alberta, and I know I’ve been to Banff with my family, but I definitely don’t remember it.  I was a kid, and probably had my nose stuck in a book for most of the time.  My mom jokes that she should have taken me anywhere as a child because I don’t remember it now anyway.  Either way, it felt new to me, and man, is it ever beautiful there!  I always say that I prefer the ocean to the mountains, but the truth is, both are magnificent.


We left fairly early in the morning and went straight to Banff.  It’s a cute town with a lot of touristy shops.  We wandered around for a bit, and then had lunch on a rooftop patio and this little pub.  Dessert consisted of some ice cream from Cows – it was nice to find a little taste of PEI way over here in Alberta!


It was a really beautiful spot to walk around in.  We had wanted to go for a gondola ride, but figured we should probably save the money.


Following Banff, we decided to drive the half hour up to Lake Louise.  This might be one of the most beautiful spots in the entire world.  I’m not going to lie, I was utterly mesmerized.  It was stunning.  Look at the colour of that water!

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We spent about an hour walking around Lake Louise, and even found a cute little waterfall. It was a great day, and a nice escape.  We can’t wait to go back!


If you have been to Banff or Lake Louise and have any recommendations for our next visit, please share in the comments!  Or hop over to my Facebook page and let me know there 🙂

The Journey Continues

So it has been one week since we departed from Prince Edward Island on this cross-country adventure, and I have to admit, I’m getting a little tired of being on the road.  People would jokingly ask if my husband and I would even like each other after spending eight days cooped up in a car together, and I would just like to say that yes, I still like him ;).   I think we travel really well together.  I’m just a little tired of the whole sitting-in-a-car-for-eight-hours-a-day thing.  Thankfully, we just have two days left!

We are spending tonight in Winnipeg.  Tomorrow we drive to Regina, where we will get a chance to see my dad (he works there for every two out of three weeks), and on Friday we will arrive in High River.  It will be so nice to be home.  To be honest, when I moved from Alberta to New Brunswick nearly ten years ago, I didn’t think that I would ever be moving back out West.  But things change, and after getting married, getting my education degree, and planning our future, we decided that there are more opportunities out west than there are in the Maritimes.  So while I’m broken-hearted about all the friends and family that I am leaving behind, I know that there will be new friends to make as well as old friends and family to reconnect with.

We had a wonderful stay in Thunder Bay.  Our hosts, Chris and Jayden, were very friendly and accommodating, and we stayed in a cute little bedroom with it’s own little balcony.  We went for a nice long walk in downtown Thunder Bay, and returned back to the house to watch the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead.  We were going to watch it on my little laptop, but Chris said he already had it on a USB stick and we could watch it on the bigger TV.  He had seen the episode already but he watched it again with us.

We left around 9:30 this morning, with plans to arrive in Winnipeg between 6 and 7pm.  However, we once again forgot about the time change and so we had a bit of time to kill since we gained an hour that we hadn’t planned for.  We stopped for lunch in a town called Dryden, in Ontario.  We were told we just had to try the Bannock Shack, a little restaurant that had been featured on the TV show You Gotta Eat Here!  We had cheesy potato patty Bannock burgers and soup, which was the special of the day.  It was quite good, though pretty greasy.

After another couple of hours on the road, we stopped in the quaint town of Kenora.  We took thirty minutes or so to walk around the boardwalk and up Main street.


We arrived in Winnipeg and met our host for the night.  If you follow me on Snapchat I shared a little tour of our room here.  It’s a beautiful space and once again everyone is so friendly.  It’s raining pretty hard out right now but we might take a drive to see a bit more of the city.

Today’s song of the day is a song that makes me extremely happy.  There’s just something about the tune that makes me want to smile.  It is by Paolo Nutini and it’s called Pencil Full of Lead.  Let me know what you think!

More to come tomorrow!  Have a great night! xx

10 Road Trip Essentials

As you know, my husband and I are currently driving across Canada as we move out west from Prince Edward Island to Alberta.  We have spent five days in the car and have another three days to go.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the essentials we have been using while on this extended road trip and thought it’d be fun to share.  I just want to point out that I’m not sponsored by any of these products or services, and we purchased these ourselves and the reviews are our own.

  1. Google Maps. I know, I know, before we had smart phones, everyone including my parents had to use a real map.  And while I could figure one out if I really sat down and tried, the ease and convenience of using the GPS on my phone just can’t be beat.  We’ve been using Google Maps for our entire trip and have had no issues with it at all.
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  2. Our next essential is good music. Every road trip needs a good playlist.  Since our road trip is close to 5000 km, we needed a lot of good music.  Now, I’ve mentioned this app before, but our favourite way to play music is through Spotify.  We pay ten dollars a month, and have access to almost any song we fancy.  You can create your own playlists and – this is the best part – download the playlists to your device so that you can listen to your songs without using any data.
     

     

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  3. When we get sick of listening to music, Rick likes to put on an audio book. He has a subscription to Audible, which boasts a large collection of audio books.  Since I’m always the passenger, I can read to my heart’s content, and now Rick can listen to a book as well.  He’s currently making his way through Game of Thrones.  I’m currently reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I can’t believe I haven’t read this classic, and neither could my friend Amanda, who gave me the book.  I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s fantastic so far.
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  4. This and the next one are related to the fact that we use our smartphones so much in the car. We bought a Magnetic phone holder that is extremely convenient. We have one from Spigen.  It comes with two adhesive thin metal plates which you can either stick to your phone or stick to your phone case.  The magnetic part attaches to your air vent in the car, and it’s strong enough to then hold your phone up.  Rick says that it is the best phone holder he’s had.

  5. We also purchased a SoundBot Bluetooth device. It enables you to play music from your phone via Bluetooth and also make and receive phone calls.  Our car doesn’t come with any of these features so it was nice to find a small device that works well.  Both this and the Spigen holder were purchased from Amazon.

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  6. Car Games. To be fair, we only ever play Twenty Questions.  When we’re not chatting, I’m usually reading or playing a game on my phone.  If you have a great car game that we can play, let me know!
  7. A cooler full of snacks. We have a big cooler at my feet but it’s not full of much.  The cooler is great because it keeps drinks cold for a long time.  Currently we have some seaweed snacks and a honeybun from breakfast.  Snacks are a road trip staple.  We also keep some candy on hand when we are feeling a little low on sugar 😉

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  8. A bag for trash, or rubbish, as my husband says. Very important.  We even have a little hook on the lower dashboard to hold the bag.
  9. Caffeine.  My choice is coffee or tea, but since hubby doesn’t drink either of those he tends to choose energy drinks.  It’s funny how driving can be so exhausting – all we’re doing is sitting in a car but I find myself yawning the day away!
  10. And finally, AirBNB.  Yes, we could choose a cheap motel when we need to stay overnight, but we can often find a room on AirBNB for less than a motel and we get a much better experience.  For instance, last night in Sault Ste. Marie, we stayed in a Howard Johnson motel.  We paid more than we have during our other nights through AirBNB, and the continental breakfast was pitiful.  In Quebec City we used AirBNB and paid thirty dollars less and received a wonderful breakfast.  Plus, we love chatting with and getting to know new people, which is something that you rarely get the chance to do at a motel.

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We are at our AirBNB in Thunder Bay, tomorrow we head to Winnipeg.  Hope you all have a wonderful night!  xx

To Ottawa and Beyond!

After two wonderful nights in Ottawa, we have left Canada’s capital city and driven eight and a half hours west to Sault Ste. Marie.  I didn’t blog yesterday, as we were staying with friends and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them.  The weekend was a lot of fun and we were lucky to have our very own tour guide!

We stayed with my friend Amanda; we were roommates back in Saint John.  Amanda is one of the bubbliest, kindest people I know.  She’s hardworking, determined, and inspiring.  She’s lost over one hundred pounds and I’m in awe.  I’m so lucky to call her a friend!

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Amanda as Cinderella (she does Princess Parties, that’s not how she dresses haha)

We arrived in Ottawa Saturday night, and after settling in at Amanda’s apartment, we went out for supper.  We went to a restaurant called the Big Rig, and ordered a large pizza to share.  If you are looking for good pizza in Ottawa, this is the place.  I don’t have pictures but trust me when I say it was loaded with cheesy gooey goodness.

Sunday was when Amanda took us to downtown Ottawa.  We used an Uber (so cool – technology astounds me) to get to the centre of the city.  There’s a big market on the streets during the summer, and we wandered through some of the booths.  Amanda bought me a necklace as a belated birthday gift – it’s a grain of rice upon which the vendor wrote “Michelle ❤ Richard.”  He did it freehand and it was pretty impressive.

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We visited the Tulip Festival, Parliament, and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.  And yes, we have the obligatory touristy photos to prove it 😉  We also spent some time at the Rideau Centre, an expansive mall with some great stores.  My poor hubby had to follow around us girls as we shopped!

We left this morning shortly after nine.  Not much to say about today, it was a long drive, and due to the lack of choices on AirBNB we are staying at a Howard Johnson motel tonight.  Our only plan is to catch up on Game of Thrones tonight and then get a good night’s sleep!

A few pictures from the drive:


Tomorrow we have another longish day, we will be driving to Thunder Bay.  I’m looking forward to the scenery, I hear it’s gorgeous around there.

To be honest, we didn’t listen to a lot of music today.  Rick uses audiobooks, and we’ve been listening to Game of Thrones.  If I had to choose a song of the day, it would have to be another one from Noah and the Whale, called Life Goes On.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Bye for now!
xx

 

Au revoir, Montreal!

Okay, so I officially love this city.  Montreal just has this vibe about it.  Rick and I were both in agreement that this place is awesome.  It’s just too bad neither of us speak French.

Once again, we  had a great experience with our AirBNB in Montreal.  Our host was so friendly, welcoming, and helpful.  He’s been hosting with the site for a couple of years, and has had nothing but good things to say about it.  Our room had it’s own entrance, ensuite, and the bed turned out to be super comfortable.  We had toast, coffee, and orange juice in the morning, and then we drove to the nearest metro station.  We left our car parked in a residential neighbourhood and used the subway to go back into the city.

We first went to visit Old Montreal.

Lunch was at this cute little creperie, we both ordered a crepe that came with swiss cheese, ham, and béchamel sauce.  It was so good!

After lunch we wandered over to the Basilica, but were disappointed to find out you had to pay to go in.  We decided we were too cheap for that, so we hopped back on to the metro and went to visit the Montreal BioDome.  We didn’t really know what it is we were going to see, but it turned out to be awesome!  The BioDome has four different ecosystems, complete with the animals that inhabit them.

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It took us a while to find the entrance!

It was a lot of fun, I loved the otters and the beavers!

Now we’ve made it to Ottawa, and we’re hanging out at my friend’s apartment while she is at work.  I’m so glad we have some time to spend here and catch up.  We will be here tonight and tomorrow night, and head out to Sault. Ste. Marie on Monday morning.  It feels as though we have been on the road forever, and we still have a ton more driving to do!  My husband is a trooper, that’s for sure.

Today’s song is Lush Life by Zara Larsson.  It’s not a new song, but it’s fun and makes me want to dance 🙂

xx

 

From Quebec City to Montreal

What a fantastic day!

We woke up to a bright blue sky and the sun streaming in through the windows of our little room.  Our AirBNB hosts, John and Charlie, were cooking breakfast and we had the chance to talk to them a bit.  I love AirBNB because of the opportunity to get to know people you otherwise would not meet if staying in a motel.  I would love to be a host if we get a place big enough to have a spare room or two.

Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, and a yogurt parfait made with granola, bananas, and maple syrup.  They introduced me to a stovetop Italian coffee maker, which made delicious coffee.  I’m so going to look into getting one when we get settled.

After packing our things and bidding adieu to our hosts, we set off to explore more of the area.  On John’s recommendation, we drove up to Chute-Montmorency, a large waterfall with spectacular views.

After Montmorency falls, we took a quick drive around the Ile D’Orleans.  We didn’t go all the way around (it would have taken too long) but just did a little loop.  It was very quaint island and I managed to snap a few photos of the cute stone cottages!  Rick and I love playing tourist 🙂

We had a few hours to kill before heading out to Montreal so we decided to explore Old Quebec a little more.  This time I tried to take more pictures.  I know I need to work on my photography skills, but hopefully these will suffice!  We walked around by the Chateau and up towards the Citadel.  It was gorgeous out, I’m so glad to finally enjoy some warmer weather, but Rick burns fairly easily so we ducked out of the heat and had a quick bite to eat at a cute little café.

We left for Montreal and arrived at our next AirBNB around 3:30 pm.

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Our lovely room comes with an ensuite!

 

We took the Metro to the centre of the city and had supper and walked around.  Tomorrow we plan to explore a bit more of Montreal, and then we are going to travel to Ottawa and stay a couple of nights with one of my dear friends.  I’m looking forward to seeing her!

 

We created a Road Trip playlist on Spotify that we downloaded to my phone, so that we can listen to music without using up all of our data.  I’m going to share some of the songs we are enjoy with each post.  Today’s favourite song is by Noah and the Whale and it’s called Five Years Time.  I’m all about the happy tunes!  Rick and I tend to have very different musical tastes, but hey, marriage is all about compromise, right?

I’ll update tomorrow, hope you are all having a fabulous Friday!