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.
We have 21 suggestions for Ottawa travellers to discover the city's cozy side, one microadventure at a time.
I am not adventurous. Nope, not one bit. Sure, I talk a good game and occasionally do things which other people might consider a bit daunting, like walking across Victoria Falls Bridge or kayaking in the Saguenay Fjord, but I think we all know the truth. Deep down, I'll always be the girl who caused a commotion in the Athens Meat Market and braced for an attack from non-existent wild pigs in Hawaii. I'm scared of adventure and (...I like to think...) adventure is a bit scared of me. However, a conversation with a friend has completely re-framed things for me. I've been introduced to the world of microadventures!
The phrase microadventure has been popularized by Alastair Humphreys in his book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. The book describes a microadventure as something "close to home, cheap, simple, short and 100% guaranteed to refresh your life. A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours."
Hang on a second. That sounds like what I do. That sounds like what I do ALL. THE. TIME. I like things that are cheap, simple, short, and refreshing (aka COZY things!). Could it be that I've been an adventurer - and a trendy adventurer at that! - all along? Since the spirit of Humphrey's microadventures focus on this close to home, here are my favourite microadventures to recommend to Ottawa travellers.
It's time to make memories, not mountains of clutter
This article has been sponsored by a proud supporter of TurnipseedTravel and we thank them for their support.
Did I ever tell you about the first time Ryan and I saw a Cirque du Soleil performance? We were in the 4th row to see “KÀ” in Las Vegas and the entire experience was nothing short of spectacular from beginning to end. We were so enthralled with the performance that we easily forgot that it WAS a performance. During the middle of one particularly daring trapeze act, I was so exhilarated and terrified that I squealed aloud, convinced that the artist was going to fall!
Our fantastically great tickets were all thanks to a generous Christmas treat of gift certificates to a ticket booking office. Hey, this was a while ago - ticket offices used to be a big thing! The gift not only allowed us to boldly pick an activity we normally would have dismissed due to its higher price point - we could also enjoy it in style, with terrific seats. And it meshed perfectly with our philosophy to celebrate holidays and special occasions with gifts that create memories, not clutter.
I’ve since realized that it’s easy to say you want to give experiences, not objects. But so often people are stumped about what exactly ‘giving an experience’ means. Let’s face it - sometimes “experience” doesn’t exactly mean something that the recipient REALLY wants. Coupons for car washes and back rubs, anyone? And can anything really replicate the feeling of opening a beautifully wrapped gift, tingling with anticipation about what could be inside?
You know what? Tinggly can. Nobody knows the art of gorgeous travel experience gifts better. Here are three reasons why I love Tinggly.
In Ellicottville, New York, one of the most popular ski destinations in the United States, I faced my own mountain challenge.
Participation in the press trip that brought me to Ellicottville was part of the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference. This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through said link, we'll be paid a small commission and we thank you for your support.
If you love watching CSI marathons as much as I do, you'll no doubt have picked up on a particular habit of shift supervisor Gil Grissom. When the introverted, cerebral, bookish Grissom needs to unwind, he heads to one of Las Vegas' spectacular roller coasters and lets the breakneck speeds and thrilling loops clear his head.
Like Grissom, I too love bees and books (dead bodies, not so much...) Could I possibly love roller coasters as well?
The answer is a resounding NO! If you follow my Facebook page, you'll know that roller coasters are one of the many "nope" activities for me. Bungee jumping, hang gliding, mountain climbing, roller coasters - they're all "nopes". They terrify me!
But what about a mountain coaster?
Where can you find poutine AND fine wine? On a Quebec City food tour, of course! We're reviewing two of the most popular options - as well as giving you the inside scoop on our favourite Quebec City bed and breakfast.
When you think of Quebecois food, does your mind wander to old fashioned fare with a heavy emphasis on maple syrup and local delicacies? Or maybe you're craving less wholesome treats like a heaping plate of poutine? Perhaps your tastes are a bit more refined, with a eye towards wine and French joie de vivre? If you're like me and want a little bit of everything, your best bet is a Quebec City food tour so that no category is left out. Happily, when I was in Quebec City for the Women in Travel Summit, I participated in not one but two fantastic foodie experiences. Read on to hear about each tour, including what I loved, what I felt could have been improved, and my favourite stop on each. Plus there's a bonus review of my favourite Quebec City bed and breakfast which I know you'll like as much as I do!
I'm so excited to be telling CTV Ottawa Morning Live viewers (and all of you!) about our amazing upcoming Aeroplan round the world points trip.
I'm so proud and excited to have presented travel information (and hopefully a little inspiration too!) with my friends at CTV Ottawa Morning Live. I've had the pleasure to visit them before to talk social media in my role as the owner of Sculpt Social - on my last segment, we chatted about the best designed apps for organization.
This visit however was extra special as I got to talk about the first love of my life - TRAVEL! Specifically, crafty travel that allows regular folks (like you and me) to maximize their frequent flyer miles. In case you didn't get to see the entire segment - or if you loved it so much you want a recap - this mini post is for you!
Saguenay is the best place to go kayaking in Quebec - even if there are a few misadventures along the way.
Brimming with confidence and cutting a dashing, athletic figure, I nimbly slid into the stern of my sea kayak, ready to embrace the elements and be one with nature.
Wait a minute.... that's not me! I've never been nimble at anything I do, let alone anything to do with boats! But when I had the opportunity to kayak the Saguenay, Quebec, Fjord - and specifically be in the Saguenay St Lawrence Marine Park, adjacent to Fjord National Park- I WAS truly ready to be one with nature. The chance to navigate a fjord here in Canada was a rare travel experience I couldn't miss.
As for the confidence.... well... let's just say that I was about as confident as I was nimble. But it didn't take me long to hit my stride, with only a few minor mishaps. And it was all worth it to be better acquainted with an absolutely incredible corner of the world. Here's why I think sea kayaking is among the best things to do in Saguenay (even if there were a few awkward wetsuit moments along the way).
I love to chat about money and travel... but penguins usually aren't included in the conversation!
Have you ever traveled to see penguins? And, if so, did they teach you any financial lessons? It's a strange question! You see, a recent conversation about these cute birds unexpectedly shed some light on money and my travel decision making process. Let me explain....
I was chatting with friends about how there are some things I'll happily pay a lot of money for when I travel, yet I get really annoyed at some minor travel expenses. Why was it so easy to assign value to one activity yet be so aggravated with another? That's when a friend piped up and said that in her circle of friends, they summarize this quandary with one quirky phrase: "penguins or no penguins".
She told me about some acquaintances - known for being rather frugal - who had saved up for the trip of a lifetime. They cruised to Antarctica, truly an incredible voyage, and a trip that easily cost thousands of dollars. And while they were there, they had the chance to pay an extra $20 each to leave the cruise ship and board a Zodiac boat that would take them closer to the penguins. But they refused! They must have spent over $10,000 on their trip - but they drew the line at an extra $40 in travel expenses. And thus, the phrase "penguins or no penguins" was born.
In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
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