Dec 31, 2012

O Canada (Ontario)


                                                      OTTAWA AT DUSK

Canada's National Anthem

O Canada ! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free, from far and wide.

O Canada we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada we stand on guard for thee, O Canada we stand on guard for thee!



C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!   C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!


The second largest country in the world has a bit of everything on its broad landscape; cosmopolitan cities, open prairies, snow capped mountains, provincial parks, islands, coastal beaches and farms just to name a few. The Canadians like their hockey teams, stampedes, museums, ski resorts, and are proud of one of their great wonders of the world known as "Niagara Falls." O yes Canada is a mighty special place.

Canada is huge. It consists of ten provinces and two territories. If you view a map of Canada you would see the following on it; Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

I'll start with Ontario. The province of Ontario has lots to boast about. It contains the largest city in Canada known as Toronto. It's also where the capital of Canada is located and that city is known as Ottawa. The province of Ontario is blessed with the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, Manitoulin Island, Niagara Falls, and lots of vineyards.

A good itinerary for exploring Ontario would be to start in Windsor and Essex Country. Hit one of the casinos in Windsor and than head to lovely Essex County. Wineries abound in Essex County and there's no shortage of tasting some delicious wines produced from the vineyards of this region. If you like the beach one of my favorite gems is Colchester. It sits upon a bluff overlooking Lake Eire. It's a nice place to swim and even surf a bit. There's a mini playground and picnic tables too. Not too far is the town of Kinsgville which is great for shopping and eating. I highly recommend Annabelle's Tea Room for a British like afternoon tea experience.  The food here is absolutely delicious and there are lots of teas from around the world to enjoy with scones and jam. Annabelle's is located on 75 Main Street East in Kingsville.

Another nice place to spend time in Essex County is at Leamington's Point Pelee National Park. There's lots of things to enjoy in this park if you're an outdoor enthusiast. Eventually you can work your way to Highway 401 and head to the magnificent international city of Toronto. There's a multitude of things to do in Canada's largest city. There's the Harbourfront Centre, CBC Museum, CN Tower, Toronto Music Garden, St Lawrence Market, Chinatown, Little Italy, Financial District, Theater District to explore as well as Eaton Centre and Bloor Street for shopping. There's also the Hockey Hall of Fame and  the wonderful Toronto Islands to explore. With an abundance of activities, cultural events, and fantastic restaurants Toronto can keep you busy for days if not weeks.

Ottawa although smaller than Toronto is a beautiful city with some of the best bicycle trails in North America. This capital city has Parliament Hill where political activity takes place. The main building around here known as Centre Block contains the highest structure in the city known as Peace Tower. During the summer months there is a daily changing of the guard in Parliament Hill. Other sights in this district include the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Grand Hall, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Children's Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Touring Ottawa can be exhausting and one of my favorite spots for a relaxing tasty meal is ZenKitchen.
Serving completely pure vegetarian food this restaurant rarely disappoints vegetarians or meat eaters
Located at 634 Somerset Street ZenKitchen was recently nominated the best new restaurant of Ottawa in 2009. Another good spot to relax and enjoy some coffee & food is The Daily Grind art cafe at 601 Somerset Street West.

My brother who was a student at the University of Ottawa and lived in the Glebe neighborhood knew Ottawa the way I know Manhattan. He introduced me to his favorite bagel shop called "Kettleman's Bagel Company" on 912 Bank Street. These are the best bagels I ever ate. They're so yummy you can even go without the cream cheese. Anytime of day you walk into this shop you can see the bagels being made right in front of you. I highly recommend the sesame bagels which are their best sellers. Another culinary establishment I like is "Life of Pie" located at 1095 Bank Street. WOW! the pies are so good here. I even had my brother send me a pie once from "Life of Pie."

After saying goodbye to the capital city of Ottawa say hello to Ontario's great wonder; Niagara Falls.
Over a million bathtubs of water plummet over the edge of these spectacular falls where tourists come as far as Japan to view their awesomeness. With 14 million tourists visiting annually Niagara Falls is one of Canada's top attractions.

Canada shares its falls with the United States (New York) but the Canadian side has the more grandeur and powerful falls. Check out Horseshoe Falls, Maid of the Mist Pool, and Table Rock. Not to be missed is a Niagara Falls boat tour for an intimate view of the falls. Other attractions in Niagara Falls are Goat Island, Discovery Center, Queen Victoria Park and Skylon Tower. Kids adore Clifton Hill known as "the street of fun." This area is loaded with gift shops, restaurants, and attractions like House of Frankenstein and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Although it's a Canadian chain I like stopping at Tim Horton's for their terrific iced cappuccino drink. The Tim Horton's on Clifton Hill is always packed with couples and families taking a little break from all the Niagara Falls excitement.

Speaking of excitement I have more exciting things to share about Canada in my next blog as we explore the provinces of  Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! I'LL BE BACK WITH MORE TRAVEL WORLD BLOGS IN 2013.   


Adrianna (Travel World)






Dec 21, 2012

Cambodia at a quick glance


CAMBODIA
                                                                             

W H E R E 'S   C A M B O D I A?

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia bordered by Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Getting to know about the country of Cambodia:

Cambodia is 181,035 square kilometers. It's population is 14,305.183.

The official language is Khmer and most Cambodians are Buddhist.

Riel is the currency used in Cambodia.

Cambodia's cuisine is one of the oldest living cuisines in the world and Cambodians eat more rice than any other people in the world.

The choice of rice dishes range from rice noodle soup to deep fried rice cakes.

Cambodia's geographical region consists of Cardamom/Elephant Mountains, Eastern Cambodia, MeKong Lowlands, Central Plains, and North-western Cambodia.

The Tonie Sap is the largest freshwater lake in all of Southeast Asia.

One of Cambodia's top attractions are the majestic temples of Angkor.

A unique place to spend a few hours is the floating village of Kampong Phloek.

*********************************************************************************
If someday you long to visit Cambodia you will enjoy it's people and uniqueness. Cambodia is quickly becoming a popular place to visit in Asia.

Volunteering is one way to experience Cambodia to the fullest. For a little bit of humanitarian work consider looking at volunteer sites  such as "New Hope Volunteers" and "Projects Abroad."

C A M B O D I A           C A M B O D I A        C A M B O D I A       C A M B O D I A

Adrianna of (Travel World) soon hopes to volunteer at an orphanage in Cambodia, India, or Sri Lanka

Dec 16, 2012

The Belgium Experience

       
                                        B   E   L   G   I   U   M








B E L G I U M               B E L G I U M        B E L G I U M           B E L G I U M


When I think of Belgium I think most of all of my Belgium friend Philip who invited me to visit him a few months after we met in Alaska. After landing in Amsterdam on a trans Atlantic flight I took a train into Antwerp and met Philip at a cafe where we drank trappist beers and talked about Belgium.

Philip gave me a grand tour of his country during my nine day visit. From the moment we met in Antwerp to our farewell in Brussels I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide than wonderful Philip.

If you ever find yourself in Belgium you won't be disappointed. I'm here to share all the great things to do in Belgium a small country known for producing the best tasting chocolate in the world.







                                                             Belgian Chocolates 




Mmmmmmh chocolate chocolate everywhere and all of it tastes so delicious. It's no wonder that Belgians make chocolate a daily indulgence. No matter where you go in Belgium you're bound to find chocolate in all flavors, shapes, and sizes. But let's put chocolate on hold for now and let me tell you about one of Europe's greatest cities; Brussels.

Brussels is the kind of city that has varying contrasts. There are the fashionable Audrey Hepburn types who sip coffee with grace in the Grand Place and the 20 somethings who text while walking the cobblestone lanes. This is a city of world class architecture, art nouveau, not to miss museums, and splendid shopping. The center of Brussels consists of the Lower Town which has the famous Grand Place and the Upper Town is where wide boulevards mix with monumental buildings as well as government headquarters and the Belgian parliament. No where else in Belgium is business, culture and fashion so much alive than in Brussels. 

The comic strip culture in Brussels is a well known thing. The city has a multitude of comic book shops to choose from and several walls in the city center feature well known comic strip characters. It's no secret that Belgian is known as home of the comic strip.

Waffles to Belgians are what crepes are to the French. There are waffles shops everywhere but one of the oldest and best places for delicious waffles is Le Funambule Waffles located at Rue de l'etuve 42. Don't leave Brussels without trying waffles. You won't be disappointed.

Whether you're visiting Brussels in the height of summer season or the shorter days of fall a side trip to the North Sea is where you'll find city dwellers de-stressing and breathing the fine salt air. Known as Western Flanders this area of Belgium has 66 kilometers of coastline. Ostende which was once the seaside resort of the aristocrats is a fishing center. It has the Albert I Promenade where a cluster of restaurants and shops overlook the wide beach and the sea full of surfers. The small resort town of Koksidge has the highest dunes on the North Sea and Sim-Idesbald is a haven for art lovers.

Along the Belgian coast are campgrounds, high rise apartments, hotels, and villas. A tram connects several towns along the coast making it easier to navigate from town to town. The neighboring country of France has a ferry departing daily from Calais, France to England. So in one day you can experience being in three different countries.

The romantic town of Bruges attracts thousands of people each year to see its medieval splendor. Bruges is blessed with art museums, narrow canals, lovely squares, and heavenly Flander food. A meal of mussels and pomme frites is a must when in Bruges. I remember how much Philip and I enjoyed our delicious lunch sitting in an open square. The waiter brought us a bucket of steamed mussels in a white wine broth accompanied with pommes frites (french fries). In Belgium it's a tradition to dip pommes frites (french fries) in a big dollop of mayonnaise. 

The Belgians love their bicycles  and almost every Belgian owns one. Travel by bicycle is easy and it also burns calories from eating chocolate and waffles. Many towns in Belgian provide special lanes for for bike travel.

Gent is a popular town to visit and is known for the fortress of the Counts of Flanders and St Bavo's Cathedral. Many visitors head to St. Michales Bridge for views of the city's three towers and to the district of Graslei to see the guild houses. For nighlife there are dance clubs, jazz cafes, lively brasseries and opera productions.

The Ardennes region of Belgium was my last stop in Belgium before heading back to Brussels. Mostly a French speaking part of Belgium the Ardennes are a hilly terrain where biking and hiking can fully be enjoyed. The Meuse River is good for boating and is a nice way to enjoy views of the cliffs and valleys. A stay at a quaint little inn adds to the charm of a few days in the Ardennes. The historic city of Namur known for the Citadel (fortress) is one of the regions top attractions. 

Between the bicycling and swimming, beer drinking and eating, sightseeing and learning Flemish my nine days in Belgium went by quickly. I fell in love with Belgium and made up my mind that someday I'd return and find a job in Belgium once I mastered Flemish or French. The Belgians have every right to display pride because some of the best things in life come from Belgium. 

I thank you Philip for sharing your Belgium with me.


WHEN IN BELGIUM, DO AS THE BELGIANS DO:

Take a monastery brew tour and drink some of the best tasting beer in the universe.

Buy a box of chocolates and indulge. (Pralines) are one of the top sellers. 
Leoninda's, Neuhaus, and Pierre Marcolini are popular chocolate shops.

Have some waffles for breakfast. The Belgians love their waffles.

Pommes Frites stands can be found all over Belgium. They're fun to dip in different sauces like Green Goddess , Aioli, or Miso-Musturd. Mayonnaise is often the preferred choice. Belgium fries are unique because they're fried twice.

Enjoy a drive through the countryside and chat with the locals at a pub.


French vs Flemish

It's a good idea to know a few words in French and Flemish when traveling through Belgium

French:                                                   Flemish:

Hello: Bonjour                                         Hello: Hallo!
Goodbye: Au Revoir                               Goodbye: Varwell
Please: S'il vous plait                               Thank You: Dank uwel
Thank You: Merci                                   Please: Alstublief
 

Adrianna (Travel World)




Dec 10, 2012

Believe in BELIZE


                                                       Adrianna in Beautiful "Belize"
Brrrrrrrr

Brrrrrrr

The weather in the midwest is cloudy and cold. The days are damp, dark, and short. Where are the blue skies and sunshine? Well I believe, they're in BELIZE.

BELIZE, BELIZE, BELIZE       


Gentle ocean breezes, lush landscapes, pristine rainforests, tropical jungles and perfect sunsets combined with a year round warm climate are just some of the great things that make Central America's BELIZE a popular vacation destination for everyone from celebrities to school teachers. This lovely country in the heart of Central America has the following regions; Northern, Central, Western, Southern, and the Islands. Each region has it own distinct character.

Belize City is the largest city in Belize with a population of about 80,000. Located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, Belize City is the hub for transportation. Most flights from around the world land in Belize City as do the vast amount of cruise ships that anchor outside the port. Belize City has its share of interesting attractions with the Belize Zoo  and the Community Baboon Sanctuary topping the list.

Although there's quite a bit to see in the country of Belize one area that is worth spending a few days in if not a few weeks is Ambergris Caye. This is where you'll find the seconds longest Barrier Reef in the world. Divers and snorkelers marvel at the wonders of the Barrier Reef and because of this the island is quickly becoming the top place to vacation in Belize. The largest of Belize's 200 islands Ambergris Caye is 25 miles long and clustered with lodging choices that range from very expensive to pretty cheap.

The Maya people settled on Ambergris Caye way back in 250 AD. These red skinned Indians built great temples and made magnificent artifacts, pottery and tools. They also created an efficient calendar, derived their own writing system and developed mathematical concepts. The influence of the Mayan culture can still be witnessed on this lush island where 4,000 inhabitants mostly of Mexican descent converse in English and Spanish. 

San Pedro Town delights visitors with its small colorful painted houses, swaying coconut palms, bars, restaurants, and shops. The San Pedro Supermarket is a good place for food shopping but don't miss out on the array of wonderful restaurants. 

1) Elvi's Kitchen  
    Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
    An award winning establishment with a diverse menu and extraordinary seafood dishes
    The "Mayan Feast" a buffet of delicious Mayan dishes takes place every Friday

2) Ruby's Cafe
    Front Street, San Pedro Town
    This is where the locals meet to indulge in cinnamon rolls, Johnny cakes, hot tortillas &  
    banana cake

3) Palapa Bar & Grill
     North of Bridge
     Known for barbecue specialities

4)  Carambai Restaurant
     Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
     Tasty local Caribbean and Mexican food

5)  Hidden Treasure 
     South of San Pedro Town
     Fine dining in a relaxing environment

6)  The Reef Restaurant
     Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
     Local Cuisine and Seafood (Catch of the Day)

Whether you wish to bike or swim, dive or snorkel, go boating or dancing, or swing in a hammock under the sun I believe you'll love BELIZE. 

So leave behind the cold, snow, and crackling fireplace and relax with a cool drink under the swaying palm trees of BELIZE.


Where to Stay in Ambergris Caye:

1) Banana Beach Hotel with 72 suites is located on the nicest natural beach on the island


2) Victoria House is an award winning luxury resort with lovely grounds

3)  Cayo Espanto is an exclusive 4 acre island resort with impeccable service

4)  Exotic Caye Beach Resort has a peaceful environment with lots of amenities

5) Villas at Banyan Bay is the perfect beachfront resort for families

6)  Buena Suerte Bed & Breakfast is a cozy place to stay

7) Casa Tortuga is a nice two story villa


Adrianna's Fondest Belize Memories

The boat ride from the port of Belize City to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro Town) 
A bunch of happy folks ready for a vacation were cheerfully talking and enjoying the
gentle Caribbean winds on the hour long journey with a local brewed bottle of beer in hand

Making friends with an adorable Belize dog and taking walks with him on the beach

Discovering a food market (where locals shop) and stocking up on Belize specialties that I used to make a few meals

Bicycling the entire island and being captured by its beauty

Snorkeling around the Barrier Reef

Taking a stroll through the jungle

Sipping tropical drinks on a straw made swing
Adrianna (Travel World)

The Belgian Chocolate Connoisseur

Belgium , a culinary masterpiece where food is at it's finest in Central Europe. Belgium where the land is fertile and the sea beck...