I swear, I haven't been hiding! Just busy! Here's what's making November a happy month for me.
I swear, I haven't been living under a rock somewhere! Life has just been busy, but in a really good way. Here's what I've been up to since mid-October.
Traveling to Pembroke.
Have you ever heard of Pembroke, Ontario? It's a beautiful town just a few hours outside of Ottawa and I was so lucky to travel there in late October, just as the autumn colors were starting to fade, to take part in the Ontario Highlands Tourism Summit.
The Ontario Highlands holds a very special place in my heart, as it was the destination for one of my favourite girls' trips (snowshoeing! dog sledding! art! food!). I loved meeting so many inspiring small businesses in the travel/tourism sector and presenting to many of them on using Instagram.
Relax for a few hours in this funky Montréal neighbourhood.
Many people who have been to downtown Montréal will be familiar with the Atwater Market, an Art Deco masterpiece in a neighbourhood locally known as Little Burgundy (Petite Bourgogne) which has been open for locals and visitors alike since 1933.
The market is an incredible foodie destination. You can find all of the regular farmers' market staples like fresh produce, preserves, honey, and maple syrup, as well as specialty food shops. Gourmet cheese and fois gras and sausages and bagels are abundant here, as are hot food stands and snack stalls. It's also a fantastic place for people watching and, if you're lucky, the public piano will be set up and you might be treated to an impromptu performance!
But the market is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the delicious treats Little Burgundy has to offer. Here are some of our favourite spots.
We're whetting our appetite for travel...
Is there any better reason to travel than a quest for special food? If there is, I can't think of one! 2015 was a year of local food and non-stop cheese for me. Remember the epic melted cheese from the open air restaurant in Trabzon, Turkey? Not a bad way to indulge, is it?
But for 2016, my dreams are more global in nature and I'm eager to try some new foods and flavours for the very first time, all while retracing my steps in search of spice and sentiment. Here's what's on my list - and I can't wait to hear what's on yours!
Worried about toilet travel trauma?
There's nothing like a little potty humor to make you crack a smile. ("Crack"! Get it?!) But in many parts of the world, bathrooms are a most serious business. According to the CDC, 25% of the world's population does not have access to adequate sanitation. Inadequate waste disposal systems are a contributing factor for everything from cholera to trachoma. These illnesses are no laughing matter.
I can certainly appreciate why some travelers hesitate to go anywhere without a modern flush toilet. Serious illnesses bear serious concerns. And, let's face it, 'crappy' toilets can be really unpleasant and uncomfortable. What kind of vacation involves toilet trauma? But if you want an ironclad guarantee of particular standards and services when you travel, well, you won't go very far.
Nearly all of our favourite destinations brought a bit of toilet culture shock. And sometimes it took a while to adjust. But we haven't let a throne, commode, or outhouse cast a stench over our travel dreams and neither should you!