Day Tripping in Toronto

Back in Canada for work, I found myself with a few hours of free time to explore the city; what to do, what to do? To say that this city has an infinite list of things to do is a huge understatement!

My favorite thing to do in a big city, any city really, is to walk the streets, people watch and to get the feel of the unique vibe of the city.

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Hello Toronto!

We walked our way to Graffiti Alley, which is in a really neat part of town. It is in the Fashion District and runs south of Queen Street West from Spadina Ave to Portland Ave.

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Graffiti Alley is a true alley, there was a large truck backing up when where there, it’s beautiful and real. You can just imagine how it got started, mural after mural until it turned into this amazing space.
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The colors are so vibrant! There is approx 1 km of art.

Never heard of it? If you are Canadian, I bet you have seen it without knowing what it was. It’s the alley that Rick Mercer, a fellow Maritimer, walked through during his awesome rants on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

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My beautiful cousin Nicole, who lives in Toronto (Oakville), was our tour guide. Yes she is my first cousin…really, she is super petite with an Italian or Spanish look, while I have more of a blonde viking vibe, but we are a family!

I discovered Graffiti Alley a few years ago, if you read my very first blog post on the hard hitting subject: How to Take the Perfect Selfie, you will have seen this pic, taken there.

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This pic taken a few Novembers ago.  On a much cooler day.

You often see photo shoots being shot when touring the alleys, which I love to witness.

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Feeling a bit faint here, oufff hot and humid. I seriously thought I was going to pass out! My face looks a bit funny here…funny looking, not funny ha! ha!

If you find yourself with free time in this beautiful city, I urge you to get out and explore!!

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I see you there CN Tower!
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There she is, I’ve decided, the CN Tower is a she! Toronto also has a working trolley system. No texting and walking here! Watch where you are going!!

We have had two awesome meals here, here are my recommendations:

Si Lom Thai Bistro – 534 Church St

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Best Pad Thai ever!! Prices were super reasonable.

My second recommendation Is Donatello: 37 Elm Street

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Another gem, freshly made pasta, was soooo good!
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The restaurant is huge, with a rooftop terrace, they have a small eating space right on the side walk; which is where Mary and I decided to eat.  It is surrounded by flowers. It was so quaint!

 

Tomorrow I am off to my hometown of Moncton, N.B. I have already put my parents on notice that I will be expecting lobster rolls for lunch. They are more than happy to comply. But tonight, I am eating smarties in bed; resting up for some vacation adventures.

Thanks for reading, more pictures on Insta & Facebook: oui-liette, check me out! And click like below if you liked. If you didn’t like this post, sorry, but you just read all the way to the end, so it couldn’t have been that bad, lol.

Feel free to share your fav thing to do in this Mega City! I will be back here in two weeks, would love some recommendations.

Muah!

Liette

 

 

 

Sober in Vegas…or not?

Sober in Vegas…or not! (Part Deux)

More fun things to do in and around Las Vegas, while sober…or tipsy! Lol

This next activity, is my second fav thing after kayaking. You probably shouldn’t do it while drinking though, lol.

When you think of coming to Vegas, I bet a Camel Safari isn’t exactly top of mind? I am a list girl, those who know me will be shocked by this statement I am sure…not! I often make mini bucket lists, just to keep things interesting. I try to pick 4 or 5 new things a quarter. New on my list was going on a Camel Safari.

Camel Safari Nevada
This was my camel, I forget his name, he had a big personality!

Since Las Vegas is in the desert, I thought it would be plausible that there would be camel safaris available somewhere…right? I mean, come on, anything is possible it’s Las Vegas!

I was right! I did a quick Pinterest search and there it was! The company is called: Camel Safari…ok, they may not get points for originality, but hey, they do Camel Safaris, so it fits. My nephew Jack was coming to visit, so I booked us a Camel Safari! I really need to give my nephew a shout out, like camels, teenagers can be, at times difficult, but he is and has always been game and receptive to all my cockamamie ideas…and there have been many!! You rock Jack!

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Jack wanted to take this little guy home.

Camel Safari Selfie

Camel Safari, the company, are located in Bunkerville, which is a little over one hour’s drive from Las Vegas. So not far at all.

Camel Safari www.camelsafari.com
I found them on Pinterest, check them out!

There are different tours available; you can feed the animals, they have more than just camels; they do bachelor and bachelorette parties, where you can party under the stars. Side note, the night before we went on our safari, they filmed an episode of the Bachelor there! And of course they do Camel Safaris, please check them out online: http://www.camelsafari.com

Now I am no camel expert, but everyone that I told about my upcoming adventure, warned me that camels are basically assholes. My experience was the exact opposite, these camels were very well behaved! Mine had a funny, quirky personality, we bounded over the fact that he seemed to love getting his picture taken, just like me.

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My camel and I hamming it up, his selfie game was strong! lol

Again, I am no animal expert, but I attribute their well-mannered behavior to the fact that they are so well taken care of by their keepers. They are not locked in cages, they get to roam on the estate; where they hang out with their camel friends and a rescued zebra, who the camels have accepted as one of their own.

The staff seem to be there because of a genuine love of animals, it was great to see! And a fun experience, I highly recommend!

Camel Safari…checked of my list!!

NEXT! Let’s do a speed round of my go to places, this is where I take my visitors who come to visit me. 

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains is 15 minutes off the strip (all of these places, I found on Pinterest, it’s my fav search engine.)

Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas
Here with one of my many beautiful cousins. Our dads were not fans, they stayed in the car, lol.

Seven Magic Mountains is a temporary art exhibit in the desert, I guess you can drink there, as long as you are not the driver. You can take great pics and it’s free!

Liberty Bell Arch

Liberty Bell Arch is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it’s on the Arizona side. It’s a geological masterpiece! The arches were formed over 300 million years. It is less than an hours drive from the strip. It is a moderate hike, bring lots of water! Sorry, this is a non-alcoholic activity, but it is free!

Liberty Bell near Las Vegas
Modeling my new Roots Nice hat!

You can’t see the Arch from the highway, so when it finally does come into view it’s amazing! Please be careful, the rocks at the base of the Arch are lose and sharp. I didn’t venture all the way up to the base; but my friend Sean did, he did a lot of slipping and sliding on the rocks and I was there at a safe distance away to photograph it!

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire is approx 50min from the strip, you really, really need to go! It is breathtaking and there is a spiritual zen vibe to it. The hikes are amazing, the park is over 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops, as per their site, please go to: http://www.parks.nv.gov for more info…oh and they have cool petroglyphs.

Save your drinking for when you get back to the strip, you need to be on your A game for this one. There is a fee to get into the park, but well worth it.

Valley of Fire, Las Vegas
My dad and uncle ventured out of the car for this one, lol. He is 80, I hope I am as active when I am his age.

Ghost Towns

Nevada has lots of Ghost Towns, if you have a bit more time or are touring the state and see them from the highway, you should stop! As long as you aren’t driving, I don’t see any issues with an adult beverage or two, hey you may even see more ghosts after a few?

 

Nevada's Ghost Towns
So many ghost towns, so little time. This one was in Rhyolite
Nevada's Ghost Towns, vintage cars
This one is in Nelson, they do a lot of cool photo shoots here, loved the old cars.

Welcome to Vegas Sign

What people may not realize is that Las Vegas has a very sophisticate side, we have world class entertainment, top chefs and restaurants and the worlds most impressive NHL hockey team…GO KNIGHTS!

But there is also a fun and cheesy side, everyone who visits me needs to get their picture taken at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign; I think it’s the most fabulous touristy thing you can do!

Although this is a free activity, there is always a guy there who offers to take your picture, I recommend you let him. He is a pro! He will help you find your inner cheese! Don’t forget to slide him a $5 afterwards! $10 if you are a larger group.

Welcome to Las Vegas Baby!
As long as you aren’t driving, please do drink during this activity!

My brother wins for best jump, the worst jumper is Gilles, bottom left. Gilles you really let us down, you should be embarrassed, lol. My dad and uncle were living their best thug life, trust me you would not have wanted to be on the ice, with these two hockey guys in their hay day!

What is your best Vegas hot spot? Have you tried any of the activities listed here? Please share!

As always, thank you for reading, this one was long, but I needed to jam pack lots of content. If you enjoyed please click on like, feel free to share on social media and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Merci! Muah!

Liette

 

 

 

 

Sober in Vegas!

Sober in Vegas!

Yes you read that correctly, it is possible to be sober in Las Vegas; and news flash, it can actually be really fun. I want to share a few fun things that I have discovered off strip, that don’t involve drinking or gambling.

Not to brag but in my first year here, I now live in Las Vegas, my friend Lynn and I have done almost every day trip activity within a two hour drive from the strip.

What kind of things you ask? How about kayaking, camels and hiking for starters? There are so many fun things to do off strip, it’s going to take more than one post to share them all.

One of my first day adventures with Lynn was kayaking and it is probably my most favorite activity to date. And yes, I said kayaking…in the desert! I am from Atlantic Canada, so I am naturally drawn to the beach and to any and all water activities.

I was amazed to find a place that is just a 50 minute drive from my house; it’s called Willow Beach. The water is crystal clear, there is also an area called Emerald Cove where the water is, well it’s emerald green, hence the name.

I am in love with this place!!! I should warn you that this post will be heavy on pictures! Oh and filled with lots of exclamation points!! Deal with it!!! lol, sorry, will try to restrain!

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Once you turn off the highway, you will drive all the way down this road. Trust me there is water at the bottom.

For exact driving instructions, punch it in your phone, Willow Beach. But in brief, from Vegas drive towards Boulder City, then hang left; super helpful right?

On our first kayaking adventure, Lynn and I booked a guided tour, which is more expensive, but was well worth it for our first time out. On our next trips, we ventured out on our own. You can rent a single or double kayak onsite, you will need to book in advance, rentals are $47ish a day.

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Lynn taking in the view!
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Taking time for a quick pic, I was a bit of a paparazzi on this trip, not going to lie.
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This was a super hot day, we were excited to be on the water.
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Off we go!

From the marina, we kayaked for about 50 minutes to get to a small rocky beach area, it’s the perfect place to rest, picnic and swim. There are a few spots along the way where you can pull over and hang.

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Here is our fav spot to stop. You will need flip flops or water shoes, it’s rocky.

 

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You can see the water is a nice green, no filters needed for these pics!
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Here is our little beach.

I will warn you the water is on the cold side, I was impressed with Lynn, this California girl got in and swam on our second outing. I am Canadian, I have not yet found water too cold to swim in.

Please note this activity is more of a spring and fall thing. It is just too hot in July and August to be outside for any long periods of time. Regardless of when you go, you will need to pack lots of water, snacks and sunscreen.

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Cheese! You will notice in most of my posts that if I am outside I have a hat and when on the water, I have a water shirt. I am a blonde Canadian, I burn!

After resting, snacking and swimming on the beach, we continued onward to Emerald Cove. It is about 20 minute from our resting spot. If you keep going down the river, you will eventually hit some hot springs; we haven’t made it that far down, as of yet.

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This is the very fabulous Shondra making her way toward Emerald Cove.

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To the left of my kayak you can see what looks like a cave, it looks a bit scary from this viewpoint, but it really isn’t. It’s more of an archway, on the other side is a small opening.

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This is a better view, there are usually a few kayaks waiting for their turn to go in. Don’t be a jerk and stay in there too long. No one likes a cove hog! lol

I am told that the water is green because of the algae on the bottom.

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See! Emerald Green, the water here is a bit more shallow, so when the sun shines, it glows green. The water is crystal clear, the green is on the bottom.

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Shondra chilling in the cove.
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The water is so green exiting the cove. It’s so pretty it looks fake, but trust me, it’s real.
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You can see our small resting beach over my shoulder.

Fun fact, Canadians outside of Canada wear Blue Jays hats to meet other Canadians. If you are in the US and you see someone with a Blue Jays hat, you are obligated to say hi and ask what part of Canada they are from. It’s how we find each other.

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Lynn riding the current, working on her tan.

From the marina to the cove, you are paddling against the current, but on the way back you can coast and enjoy the ride.

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Shondra, who is from New Mexico is rocking a bikini top and I have my water shirt on, but it does have short sleeves! I also kept applying sunscreen every 15 min.

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When there is no wind, the water is like a mirror, it’s truly breathtaking! We have seen eagles flying overhead and mountain goats grazing on the cliffs.

If you only have time for one off strip activity, this is the one you have to try!

I was amaze to find out that some of my friends and coworkers, who have lived in Vegas for a long time, had never been to this area. Sometimes you need to be a tourist in your hometown.

To prove how much I like Willow Beach; I bought a kayak…yes a maritime girl moves to the desert and buys a kayak, it does seem a bit crazy.

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I bought a kayak and decided to set it up in my condo, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I hope you enjoyed this post, two more on fun things to do off strip will follow shortly; next will be my camel safari!!

I also want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, this is just my third post and I have had over 36,000 views so far! I don’t expect all my posts to go viral, like my previous post did. I am fine with a slow build moving forward.

If you can find my like button, you need to scroll down, trying to fix that; please click on it. And if you really like me, you can subscribe.

Thank you again!

Muah,

Liette

 

 

New Brunswick, Canada! You’re going to hate it! 

If you hate sandy beaches, friendly people, world class seafood and breathtaking natural views; then I am pretty certain you won’t like N.B.!

New Brunswick, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked provinces in Canada. If you are not from Canada, it’s the one province that you have most likely never heard of.

Map of Atlantic Canada

It’s situated in the between Quebec, Maine, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It has no bestselling novels with a red headed pig tail girl about it, Sidney Crosby isn’t from here, and Hollywood stars don’t vacation here in million-dollar summer homes.  It is a plain and simply a forgotten province which more people tend to pass through on their way to other places.

The goal of this post is to highlight a few of the awesome things about South Eastern N.B. that you probably won’t like one bit.

Here are five random, things about New Brunswick, that you may not like.

#1. It’s way too green!

N.B. greenery

 The landscape is covered in lush green forests and fields. In fact, if you drive 20 minutes in any direction, you will find yourself in the forest; where you can hike and bike beautiful pristine trails for miles and miles or kilometers.

The only thing more annoying than the multi shades of green in the spring and summer are the colours of fall; when all that green turns into yellows, oranges and reds. Make sure not to visit in the fall, it’s too pretty, you won’t like it!

Fall Foliage

#2. N.B. just has too many beaches!

 Everywhere you turn there is another beautiful beach. If you head North East of Moncton, New Brunswick’s largest city, you will hit your first beach in 15 to 20 minutes. Shediac, Cap Pele, Grande Digue, Bouctouche…they just keep coming, all the way up the Acadian Coast. So many sandy beaches with funny names to choose from… too many really.

New Brunswick Beaches

And don’t expect cold water, nooo; the water in this region is warm! Why? Because it is situated between two land masses; the provinces of N.B. and Prince Edward Island. This body of water is called the Northumberland Strait. It is much shallower than the Atlantic Ocean which feeds into it, so it heats up quickly. It is actually the warmest water North of the Carolinas in the U.S.

N.B. where the water is warm

There are several public beaches, where you can prance around in your fav speedo; where you can see and be seen. But there are even more private beaches perfect for relaxing away from the crowds of people, ugh, I am fairly certain you wouldn’t enjoy that!

Here’s a hint for finding a nice private beach. If you see a wharf, and you will see many, there is usually a nice beach right beside it; that is where you will find the locals.

If you do run into locals, whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with them, they are so friendly, they will smile and say hi to you for no apparent reason. If this happens, just walk away quickly, before they start talking to you about the weather and asking you where you are from. Be careful, it’s surely some sort of trap!

Growing up in this region, I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of happening upon a lighthouse, fishing boats and colorful buoys, until I moved away. They are plentiful and offer lots of opportunities for that perfect Instagram shot!

Buoys, Boats and Lighthouse

#3. Trust me you will hate the Bay of Fundy!

As if all those beaches weren’t enough; next on our list is the Bay of Fundy, where freaky things happen!

The Bay of Fundy has the world’s highest and fastest tides in the world! The tidal range between low and high tide is 16.3 meters or 53 feet.

A great place to witness and experience the tides is Hopewell Rocks. At low tide you will be able to walk on the oceans floor, like literally, you will be walking on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy; but who would want to do that right?

Hopewell Rocks, N.B.

(the image above is a stock image, not mine)

And then, at high tide, you can kayak around the flower pots, that’s what they call the rock formations, because they resemble flower pots; and guess what are on top of these rock formations? More freaking green trees!!!

The tides change every 6 hours; so during daylight you will be able to see one low and one high tide.  As if the tides aren’t freakish enough, they create something called a Tidal Bore. Get this, the Petitcodiac River changes directions each time the tides change! Yup you heard me correctly; the rivers water flow changes direction every 6 hours. I am not lying, look it up!

You can be having a drink in Moncton, minding your own business and witness the Tidal Bore come in, it’s basically a wave that sweeps in and changes the direction of the river. If you are very unfortunate, you may also see a surfer or two riding the wave.

Surfers riding the wave

(The top image was sent to me by one of my Facebook friends, the bottom is a picture of the Petitcodiac River, taken by me flying into Moncton. Fun fact, it is also called the Chocolate River!)

#4. Too much fresh seafood

This part of the country is just too lobstery! Everywhere you go you are being forced to eat fresh seafood.

The best lobster

Where else in the world can buy lobster from a guy with a cooler in the back of his truck on the side of the road and have it be the best damn lobster you have ever eaten??

They are so cocky about their amazing lobster that they have erected a giant lobster in Shediac, which is; surprise, surprise, the lobster capital of the world. Way to rub it in Shediac!

Lobster in Shediac, N.B.

I just came back from a visit to N.B. and ate lobster 4 out of the 9 days I was there, I mean come on!! I suffered through it, but I am not going to lie, it was difficult.

#5. The people

New Brunswick’s population is mostly a mix of English and French, the French are called Acadians; there is also a strong First Nations presence. It is the only official bilingual province in Canada; this mix of cultures makes New Brunswick very unique and open. The people are naturally warm and welcoming, which is great… if you like that sort of thing?

How warm and welcoming? During 9/11 when Air Traffic Controllers on the East Coast were told to “empty the skies”, NB, as well as NS and Newfoundland welcomed tens of thousands of travelers who were forced to land in Atlantic Canada when the US airways were shut down.

Local communities opened their homes and hearts to these stranded travelers, showing them the meaning of Atlantic Canadian Hospitality.

A more recent example of this hospitality is how the region has welcomed and embraced a number of Syrian refugee families.

I used to joke that my dad would give you the shirt off his back and my mother would feed you; this isn’t uncommon, it’s just how people live their lives. They don’t think, they do, they help; that is who they are.

As you have probably figured out by now, there is nothing to hate in New Brunswick at all; in fact, I am fairly certain, if you give it a chance, you will absolutely fall in love with it! I had to leave to realize how madly in love with it and its people I am. There is a saying once a Maritimer, always a Maritimer; some of us leave, but we always eventually come back.

See you soon New Brunswick!!

Muah!

Liette

If you like this post, please click like. I also welcome comments! What’s your fav N.B. place or thing to do? And if you like me, subscribe! Thanks for reading!

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