Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beer on the Pier!

Beer on the Pier!
is the motto of the upcoming Beerfest in Halifax on Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14. Between the VIA Rail station and the Pier 21 museum - or more precise between the Garrison Brewery and the new Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, one can enjoy sun, music and the world best brews.

That doesn't mean only Labal, Molson or Keiths. Many micro brewerys from the Maritimes, Ontario Quebec and Maine introduce their best beers to visitors. More than 150 brews (and also ciders) are available for tasting, half of them not available in liquor and beerstores.

Great drinks deserve great food.

Taste of Nova Scotia food partners offer delicious fresh-prepaired snacks for hungry festival goers.

Tickets for $40 (advance) or $45 (at the door) include music, unlimited beer samples and a 4oz souvenir glass.

Read more from an amazing local blogger, Kristen Pickett, about last years Beerfest in Halifax - enjoy the lively discriptions and wet your appetite from browsing through all the mouth-watering images of marvelous food and beer or cider.

Here is the official Beerfest website.

One more reason to travel to Nova Scotia!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Museums Marathon in Ottawa

None of Ottawa’s Museums charges admission fees on Canada Day.

I used the opportunity to visit some of them:

- Museum for Agriculture
- Civilization Museum
- National Gallery

I had always admired the historic buildings of the huge “Farm”, located close to downtown Ottawa, including the beautiful surrounding gardens.
But inside the agriculture buildings was the same pitiful treatment of farm animals that I dislike so much when visiting commercial farms. The cows are chained tightly (two feet chains) in order to prevent movements. For me it is a shame how animals are kept that are feeding us! No thanks, I could not take this sight and left very quickly.

The next museum visit was a more enjoyable. At the CIVILIZATION MUSEUM I bumped into a Citizenship Ceremony and face to face with Minister Jason Kenney who helped to cut the Canada Day Cake for new Canadians and visitors (see images). He was accompanied by the judge who took the oaths, a military member, a First Nation elder and the inevitable “Mounty” who was busy at popular photo ops, especially with south Asian visitors.

My favoured permanent exhibitions at this museum are:
Canada Hall
It displays a remarkable journey through one thousand years of Canada's social history, from east to west.
First Peoples Hall
It highlights the cultural, historical and artistic achievements of Canada's First Peoples.
Native Hall
Six Native houses, connected by a Pacific coast shoreline and boardwalk, portray the rich cultural history of the western First Peoples.
But there is more to see: the Post Museum, Children’s Museum, the Imax Cinema and a variety of changing exhibitions.

Then I paid a visit to the NATIONAL GALLERY with its outstanding architecture by Moshe Safdie and the famous “Spider” artwork on the surrounding plaza. Some of the paintings of the “Group of Seven”, including Emily Carr, Canada’s most famous artists that are not shown in the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, ON, are displayed here.

Although its focus is on Canadian art including Inuit and First Nation artifacts, it displays works by many noted European artists, such as Rubens, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, Matisse, Picasso and Rembrandt. It has a strong contemporary art collection with some of Andy Warhol's most famous works.

What I missed, but will visit next time when I am in Ottawa:
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum

The AVIATION MUSEUM is among the best places to celebrate Canada Day, to see the exhibitions and pick nick at the grounds. From there it is also a short hop to the Rockcliffe Flying Club who offers a Canada Day Breakfast and sightseeing flights in a Waco UPF-7, an open cockpit biplane from 1939.
There is also a Beaver float plane flight offer to enjoy an amazing bird’s-eye view of the National Capital.

Ottawa is always worth a visit, not only on Canada Day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Canada Day 2010 in Ottawa

It was years since I have been in Ottawa for the National Day celebrations and I enjoyed it very much.
Ottawa was swinging like never before, showing more patriotism than ever, not only due to the royal visitors. Nearly everyone, including the British Queen, was dressed in red and white and it was fun to watch people. A joyous day!
The weather was perfect, sunshine and a cool breeze. The only sad moment was when I realized that I had forgotten a new memory card for my camera.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bay of Fundy - Nova Scotia

For years I wanted to see the Five Islands Provincial Park and the exciting coastal rock formations. The Bay of Fundy is famous for its highest tides in the world, up to 40 feet. Thank goodness it was low tide when I arrived there, allowing me to take photos of the red rocks.

There is more to see than stunning landscapes:
- lots of stunning fossils
- semi-precious stones such as Agate and Amethyst,
- cute antique shops, friendly locals and quaint little towns
And you can learn to paraglide along the cliff.

The Fundy Geological Museum in Parsborro displays an ancient world and some of the oldest dinosaur bones in Canada.

Don't miss the amazing Bare Bones Restaurant / Bakery in Parsborro.

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

Further west this provincial park lays on a dramatic coastal peninsula with 600ft high towering cliffs.
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is located in West Advocate Harbour. It is approximately a 90 minute drive from Amherst or 40 minutes from Parrsboro.

Light house Cape d'Or

Advocate Harbours light house, on Hwy 209, west of Parsborro, offers delicious food and even accommodation.
The Guesthouse, located just a few steps from the Lighthouse, is the converted Lightkeeper's
residence. Great dining room with 15 windows on 3 sides, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Watch the tides come and go while you enjoy lunch or dinner of seafood, vegetarian and meat entrees.

Few tourists, at least in early June when I was there, and an area with laid back, friendly folks. I only regret to have this part of Nova Scotia not discovered earlier, but I will be back soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Most beautiful villages of Quebec

One of my favoured travel routes is along the St Lawrence river. I wish I would have the time to travel this historic route one day on a bicycle or by canoe.

No matter if you drive the small country roads on the south or north shore between Montreal and Rimouski, you will discover numerous gorgeous towns on your way.

Many of them belong to "a network of authentic heritages villages, located in remarkable landscapes", the "Les plus beaux villages of Quebec".
This week I explored one I haven`t seen before: St.-Antoine-de-Tilly

Located 25 km from Quebec City, a real gem with it`s beautifully restored heritage homes, surrounded by quaint farm country and apple orchards.

A small park dotted with picknick tables on the river shore allows you to watch big ocean freight liners on their way to and from Montreal`s port.

The Manoir de Tilly, built in 1786, serves fine local cuisine, the Bergeron fromagerie offers tastings and tours.

Take your time to explore this and many more beautiful villages along the mighty St Lawrence.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DOERS AND DREAMERS: An Awesome and Free Travel Guide

Recently I received the latest version of “Doers and Dreamers” one of the best travel... no not brochure – it is in fact a book. On 384 pages travellers find EVERYTHING one can think of on exploring the Atlantic Province Nova Scotia, Canada.

- Hotel and Dining Guides
- Sightseeing
- Festivals and Events
- Arts and Culture
- Sports from Biking to Sea Kayaking
- A Travel Map
- Contact information

An additional brochure lays out hundreds of big and small events, such as:

May and June
- Lobster Palooza on Cape Breton
- Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival
- Privateer Days in Liverpool
- Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso
- Antigonish Highland Games

July and August
- Pictou Lobster Carnival
- Yarmouth Sea Fest
- Halifax Pride Week
- Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival
- Digby Scallop Days

September and October- Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival
- Nova Scotia Air Show Halifax
- Annapolis Valley Pumpkin Fest
- Celtic Colours Festival Cape Breton

Not to mention the all-year-round events in 400+ year-old, lovely town of Annapolis Royal.
Enjoy Nova Scotia – this or next year!!!

Don't forget to order your free travel book and a tour map.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Photo Impressions of Canada's Niagara Region


My Tips for Trips to the Niagara Region:
Experience beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, drive the Niagara Parkway, sample world-class wines, enjoy great restaurants and well, maybe even visit the Niagara Falls too.

The best time for traveling the Niagara area is in April when the Magnolias and Cherries are blooming and tourist hordes are not there yet.

Prettiest Town in Canada
Once honoured as the "Prettiest Town in Canada" vineyard-surrounded Niagara-on-the-Lake, about 20 miles away from the Falls - where the Welland Canal and Lake Ontario converge - charms its visitors, especially in spring.  Tour the wineries around town and sample their delicious products, don't miss the traditional English high tea in the "Drawing room" of the Prince of Wales Hotel, one of the best hotels in Canada, or try mouth-watering sweets and coffee at the patio of the "Shaw Coffee and Wine Bar", one of the most beautiful flower-decorated place I have ever seen.


Niagara Parkway
Rent a bike and circle along the Niagara Parkway with its millions of blooming Daffodils, stop at the Butterfly Conservatory, a real magical attraction with myriads of the free-flying delicate beauties.

Niagara Falls
Did I mention Niagara Falls?  Yes, the water falls are impressive and grandiose - but do not look towards the town of Niagara. Its one of the ugliest places in Canada. Head over to the botanical garden and indulge in blooms.  And drive straight back to Niagara-on-the-Lake!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nova Scotia's South Shore

Lunenburg county: Beautiful, year round, even on a drary March day, with low ceilings and occassional rain. Friendly locals, cute shops and colourful houses.

Hubbards, Chester, Mahone Bay - I love them all, including the quaint Tancook Islands.