The Véloroute des Bleuets is my favourite of all cycling Quebec adventures - even in the off season!
With sunny blue skies and a bracing wind, I bravely mounted my bike to go searching for blueberries in the Quebec countryside. But if you're looking at my jacket and scarf in the photo above and thinking it looks far too cold for blueberry season, you'd be partially right. You see, I wasn't in search of blueberries to eat! I was searching for Quebec's famous blueberry bike route, known as the "véloroute des bleuets".
Made up of over 20 different short to medium length rides through the blueberry-producing countryside, the véloroute des bleuets circles around Lac St Jean, not far from the northern Quebec city of Saguenay. The route includes towns such as Alma (my personal favourite), Saint-Felicien, Roberval, and Sainte-Monique, as well as Pointe-Taillon National Park, and includes terrain suitable for all riders.
We hiked the Victoria Falls Bridge on foot FOUR times in order to cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border. Here's everything you need to know so you can do it too.
At 128 meters high, the Victoria Falls Bridge is a graceful, lacy arch, a throwback to the dreams of a Cape-to-Cairo rail link and what was once one of the most ambitious engineering feats in the world. Today, the beauty is still there, albeit faded and battered around the edges as commerce and trade push bygone nostalgia aside. Connecting Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Livingstone, Zambia, the bridge is a busy border post for commercial trade, as well as for travelers eager to explore both sides of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, and the Batoka Gorge.
It wasn't long into our trip to southern Africa before the Victoria Falls Bridge border crossing felt like our old stomping grounds. All told, we crossed the bridge four times! We entered Zimbabwe via Victoria Falls Airport and after three days, we walked across the bridge into Zambia to spend four days in Livingstone. Crossing number one!
We then walked back to Zimbabwe (number two!) for breakfast and to meet up with our Botswanan safari guide. After a week in Botswana, we returned to Zimbabwe. We had lunch post-safari in Victoria Falls before leaving Zimbabwe and walking across the bridge (number three!) for an extra three days in Livingstone.
Finally, we crossed back to Zimbabwe a final time (number four!) for breakfast, some last minute shopping, and to catch our outbound flight. Whew!
Believe it or not, all travelers really need to explore the Victoria Falls Bridge and cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border is their passport and their own two feet. Having the right visa helps as well. For us, that was the Kaza Univisa, a relatively new option that allows unlimited crossings between Zambia and Zimbabwe (as well as day trips into Botswana via Kazungula Borders) for 30 days. We purchased the visa twice as we departed the visa zone during our extended time in Botswana. This proved to be an economical and convenient choice for us, but other options - including single entry and multiple entry visas - might be better suited to your bridge adventures.
Speaking of bridge adventures, here's all you need to know for your crossing, regardless of which country you start in.
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!
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....
This is our airport delay playbook... just in case!
Delays are an inevitable part of the travel experience and, believe it or not, not all delays are bad. After all, they're often caused by safety concerns or are the result of an earlier accident - both circumstances that will make you grateful you're only aggravated, not injured. But an optimistic attitude can only go so far, especially when you're in an airport.
Airport delays are the frustration of all frustrations. Maybe it's the pressure and panic of how a delayed departure will influence the rest of your travel plans. Or perhaps it's being surrounded by the general anxiety and grumpiness of hundreds of other passengers. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that airports and airlines still have a ways to go when it comes to customer service. Or maybe it's a little bit of everything, rolled in with jet lag, bad coffee, and scratchy toilet paper. No matter the cause, a little planning, preparation, and research can go a long way to help with delays.
On the cusp of the Arctic Circle lies an area rich in Swedish history, culture, art, and design.
How many times have you heard that something is about the journey, not the destination? When it comes to Northern Sweden, none of the usual travel cliches apply and this is one region where the journeys and the destinations are equally memorable. We experienced this first hand as we set out on a journey towards Sweden's Arctic Circle. We had the opportunity to discover the municipality of Boden, which serves as an incredible gateway to Swedish Lapland as well as being an amazing place to explore all on its own.
Boden is a remarkable blend of history, modernity, religion, military might, tranquil nature, and edgy design. And it's just waiting for more people to discover it! This is our journey as we made our way north to Sweden's Arctic Circle.
It's not a hoax or a hack. It's a helpful hint that will change all my future travel plans.
I've said it a hundred times: The great thing about travel is how you're always learning. But today I'm not talking about learning history or geography or languages. Nope, I've been schooled in a whole new way and it changes EVERYTHING!
It all started with my friend Andrea, who blogs at WanderingiPhone. She's an all round lovely gal who appreciates a savvy bargain as much as the next person. Andrea was telling me about an amazing trip she took to South Africa, "hacking" her points to get free layovers and stopovers in Ethiopia, Israel, and Poland along the way (much like we did in 2013 - seriously, we flew around the world for $350.)
And then Andrea told me that Ethiopian Airlines gave her a free night's accommodation at a Hilton in Addis Ababa, plus meal vouchers and ground transportation. Uh, WHAT?!?!
"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!
Flying with Turkish Airlines has opened our eyes to a different style of travel.
Lemonade, mint soda, or fruit punch? Step inside the most colorful, coziest, loveliest way we've ever gone from point A to point B! Traveling from Montreal to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines business class was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful lesson in travel elegance. We will never look at travel the same way again!
This trip marked the one and only time we've ever flown in business class (well, okay, there was that time Ryan managed to weasel his way to first class while on route to Las Vegas but that's a sore point). And, just like you'd imagine, it was absolutely divine! But it comes as no surprise that flying in business class is "nice." We wanted to bring you behind the scenes to see just what our experience was like so you can decide for yourself if the upgrade from economy to business is a smart move for you.
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