Let's talk about biking in Ottawa!
I'm so excited to bring you this interview with my fellow Ottawa resident and travel lover Maria, founder of Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals.
As many of you know, I'm an anti-adventurist. And sometimes I even get a bit nervous about bike tours, though years of experience have taught me that once I get going, I love them. In case you need a little extra encouragement like me or you just want to see all the incredible opportunities that exist for biking in Ottawa, this special interview is for you!
What makes Ottawa a great city to explore on bike?
Name any of Ottawa’s landmarks or your favorite spot in the city and I will take you there safely on bike!
Ottawa has the perfect mix of nature and urban atmosphere. Ottawa is not only a very flat city, which makes it easy to cycle around, the city has also been investing in cycling infrastructure for the last 10 years. In fact, Ottawa is becoming one of the leading cycling cities in Canada.
Several new bridges have been built to improve connectivity, new bike paths have been developed, the city has adopted special cycling signals in different parts of the city and is implementing several intersections in the Dutch style, i.e. with cyclists away from motorized traffic. Combined with the NCC pathways and the Gatineau Park, the region offers hundreds of kilometers of safe cycling away from traffic. Through biking in Ottawa, it is entirely possible to see many of the important sites such as Parliament Hill, the Museum of History, the War Museum, the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal and Rideau Hall without ever having to share the road with traffic.
These investments pay off: Ottawa sees cycling tourism from as far as Germany, the Netherlands and even someone from Uruguay. Our company has seen the increased demand that this year, we have launched and will offer Ottawa’s first ever multi-day bike tour packages for cycling tourism.
These snug bookstores are well worth travelling to! Discover more than 30 of the world's cutest, coziest bookstores.
Is there anything that rivals a bookstore when it comes to that perfect combination of smooth paper, fragrant coffee, and superb people watching? I think not! Bookstores are such a snug, warm, homey way to settle into a new destination and learn what the locals are reading, drinking, and talking about. They're the perfect spot for when you want a quiet moment, yet also ideal when you want noise, hustle, and bustle. There's no other word for it: Bookstores are cozy.
Some of my best cozy travel memories are set in bookstores, like the rainy day I visited the now-closed Mainly Murder in Cork, Ireland, to get some recommendations for an on-the-road mystery. Or my frequent visits to the Maneno Bookshop in Lilongwe, Malawi, where I gorged on every available Jeffery Deaver thriller to help pass the time during quiet nights on the road. I'm not alone in my love of these cushy, intimate, cheerful spots either. Several of my travel blogging friends feel the exact same way about bookstores and they have kindly shared some of their personal recommendations for the best bookstores around the world.
So go turn on the kettle and get ready to settle in with a hot drink. Here are more than 30 cozy bookstores from around the world to inspire your next travel adventure.
Bruges in a day? Yes, it's possible! Here's what to do if you're planning a short break and have one day in Bruges.
We LOVE Bruges! It is one of the most charming, the most romantic, and the most fun small cities in Europe. Indulging in short trips to Bruges in northern Belgium have been a highlight of our time in Europe and they've been the perfect relaxing interlude to otherwise busy trips. But what are the best things to do in Bruges, other than just walking around and eating chocolate (which, for the record, is a superb use of time)?
We've put together a Bruges one day itinerary of some of our favourite things. We've also reached out to some of the best travel bloggers we know to get their take on the best things to do in Bruges at night, their favourite restaurants and pubs, their top Bruges museums, suggestions on where to sleep and so much more. There is so much to see and do here!
Have we forgotten anything from the list? We want to hear what you love about this delightful city!
Looking for the best hotels in Bagan? We asked top travel writers for their recommendations for the best hotels, guesthouses, inns, and hostels that Bagan has to offer.
Bagan is synonymous with magic. This small community in Myanmar was once the capital of a mighty kingdom. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 pagodas, temples, and monasteries were built. Today, some 2,200 structures remain, the greatest concentration of religious sites in the world. It is an absolutely essential stop for all travelers in Myanmar and you'll never regret adding an extra day or two onto your Bagan itinerary.
Since our visit in 2013, the travel industry has grown exponentially in Bagan, with hostels, hotels, and guesthouses springing up seemingly overnight. Eager for my readers to have the best possible experience in Bagan, I asked my fellow travel writers to weigh in. Here you'll find their reviews of different properties - from $20 to $200 + a night - to help you make the best possible decision based on your travel style. It's time to pack your bags!
Guest blogger Nicole shares her secrets for where to find the best meals in Bagan, Myanmar. Get ready to eat - you're going to love this round up of the best restaurants in Bagan.
You’ll find everything you need for a fantastic meal in Bagan from French, English, Italian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and - of course! - Burmese cuisine (you have to try the tea leaf salad)! This popular town in Myanmar has a fantastic food scene. Here are my picks for the top restaurants for each region of Bagan. You will find most of the restaurants in Nyaung U, a few in New Bagan and just couple in Old Bagan. . So hop on your e-bike and get ready to explore Bagan and the cuisine.
Guest blogger Cris from LookNWalk takes us on the perfect Budapest self guided walking tour for beginners.
The amazing capital of Hungary, Budapest is an enchanting city and a great hub for your Central-Eastern European explorations. Whether you have a couple of days or couple of hours on your hands to explore, setting out on a do-it-yourself Budapest self guided walking tour is a rewarding experience and the perfect way to get your bearings. (By the way, in case you made your way here looking for info on a free walking tour, Budapest has a lot of them. You can see some valuable reviews here
Budapest literally speaks the tale of two cities: Buda and Pest. The city-center is rather compact, making it ideal for walking, and great public transportation makes it easy to get to places further away. This self-guided tour focuses mostly on Pest and starts in Elizabeth Square (which is easily reachable via Deak F. Ter metro stop). (It's also just a short walk from Ryan and Vanessa's beloved hotel, Hotel Moments Budapest. If you want to know where to stay in Budapest, you'll want to read their review here!)
Travel writer Emma Higgins spent a year traveling solo around Ireland and the UK... and didn't shy away from taking some walks on the wild side.
Travel writer Emma Higgins went on a journey through the UK and Ireland for the whole of 2015. Emma travelled around her native land from the Hebrides in Scotland to the far corners of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and eastern England. Her book, A Year in the UK & Ireland, which is out now, is a collection of twenty long-form stories about her voyage, with beautiful accompanying photography aimed to inspire you to see the British Isles from a new perspective.
We sat down with Emma to talk about her incredible adventure!
"Just how much is a Gondola ride in Venice?"
Have you ever seen a news report about a ferry that tragically capsizes, unable to bear the burden of its oversized load of passengers and parcels? Thankfully, I've never faced a travel crisis that dangerous but I did have a moment of genuine fear and intense claustrophobia in the most unlikely of boating destinations: Venice!
We emerged from the train station and approached the water bus 'stations' - aka the vaporetto terminals - with enthusiasm and confidence. Not only would we ride to our hotel in comfort using water borne public transportation, we'd also have a classic Venetian sightseeing experience for a fraction of the price of a gondola! After all, I had looked into how much a gondola ride is in Venice and I was shocked. More on that in a minute.... I thought I was a genius for picking an alternative plan. A vaporetto ride costs just a few Euros. Brilliant plan, right?
Alas, our brilliant plan wasn't as unique as we imagined - everyone else had the exact same idea! It was peak time (early afternoon) in peak season (a weekend in August) - and those boats were PACKED. We let the first water bus (aka the vaporetto) pass, alarmed by the amount of passengers bursting its seams, certain the next boat would be better. Ha!
Chef Mehra took us behind the scenes and into the tandoori room at his prized restaurant.
Most chefs are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to sharing their culinary secrets but Chef Nitin Mehra of Ottawa's East India Company couldn't spill the beans even if he wanted to. The exact recipe for his restaurant's famous garam masala is a secret guarded so tightly that there's only one person on earth who knows the exact formula - his mother. Technically, it's not even her recipe. She inherited it from Chef Mehra's great grandmother on the day she passed away.
If you get goosebumps just thinking of how close that recipe came to being forever lost, you're not alone. Talking with Chef Mehra gave me amazing insight into the careful crafts of the culinary world, the passion and discipline that are poured into every sauce, and the role that family, tradition, community, and care play into making good food taste great.
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