Travel Article

Fall Color Drives from Toronto

Posted on Updated on

Orange, Yellow, Red and Purple are gods miracles colors. While we associate green to leaves, it all changes around the Fall season. As the leaves change colors and these miracle colors takes over the green, we are left with an awe.

Everywhere you see the tress painting the town with their changing colors and makes even Monday’s beautiful during the fall season. Only good thing about summer ending is to see the colors everywhere. Before we start dreading about “Winter is Coming”, here are a few places you can visit during fall:

Mount Tremblant: The only long weekend that we get during fall should be well spent and what can be better than a long drive to Mount Tremblant to make your soul happy, even if it’s a little far away. 6hours drive from Toronto is nothing but visual treat with such distinctive color.

Mount Tremblant being one of the National Parks, there are many activities for families to do. Mount Tremblant village has a Gondola ride for a panoramic view, Aqua club, climbing tower, national park has many hiking trails with beautiful view, which kids can do and you can go kayaking/canoeing too.

Where to Stay?

We stayed in Marriott as it is in middle of the village and very accessible for everything.

IMG_5068
Mont Tremblant Village
IMG_2319
Mont Tremblant National Park

 

 

IMG_2257
On the way to Mont Tremblant
IMG_2121
Roads leading to Mont Tremblant

 

 

Algonquin Provincial Park: Beautiful park closest to Toronto is Algonquin provincial park. Along with beautiful fall colors, the park also offers easy hiking trails for families with kids, fishing and canoeing. If you just want to just experience the beauty, then rent a water facing cottage or go camping or rent a cabin in the park and get lost in the wilderness. Even if you don’t have a booking and decide on going at the last minute, there are many motels in and around the park which are available even without prior booking.

Visit http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/general_park_info/fall-colour-report.php for color report.

IMG_0318
After a tiring hike this is what you get to see 🙂

IMG_0281

Muskoka: Muskoka is just about 2 hours’ drive from Toronto makes for a best one-day trip. There are many hiking trails and lookout point around the Muskoka lake. If you are feeling lazy for hikes, there are Fall boat cruises as well. All the more reason to visit Muskoka his fall.

Check www.discovermuskoka.ca if you are looking for accommodation

IMG_3958
On the way to Muskoka!

 

IMG_4145
Muskoka lake!

 

Edward Garden: We visit the Edward gardens every year without a miss. Cycling during the fall is completely different experience, you can either go biking or take a stroll around the park, you will surely not be disappointed.

IMG_9458
Edward Gardens

 

If you wish to track the Colors progression report, here is the link: www.400eleven.com.

Make your life more colorful this fall season!

 

That Moment with Northern Lights

Posted on Updated on

Northern lights which is also called as Aurora Borealis or dancing lights are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun when it enters the earth atmosphere. The lights are mostly visible above the northern or southernmost hemispheres and closer to the magnetic poles.

I have always been fascinated by Astrophysics since my college days and I was very close to pursuing my career in Astrophysics when I was invited for an interview with MP Birla Institute, even though I did not study what fascinated me the most, I never let the passion for astronomy die down. It’s that passion which took me to Iceland in chase of those Green Lights but unfortunately, I was unlucky. When one is adamant, you never let go of it easily. When I learnt that Northern Lights can be seen from Canada as well, I did so much research to know the best places to see the lights and have visited most of dark night preserves only to come disappointed mostly because of overcast or the lights were very weak.

Finally, when we were in Victoria, BC, there was an alert on my phone that Northern Lights will be visible from most parts of Canada and off we went looking for less light polluted area and after a long wait lights finally made her way into the dark sky but very weak. For the naked eye, we could only see dancing grey lights which is very hard to even know its northern lights, but I knew instantly what we were seeing was what we have been chancing for so long. Even though it was not what I always anticipated it to be, I am extremely happy to have captured under the lens and to have lived that experience. My hunt for stronger lights will continue, until then here are some pictures:

G0075274 (2)
When the lights were stronger!

 

G0065235

IMG_5199
When we saw the little dance

IMG_5197_enhanced

IMG_5197
When the lights started to disappear
DCIM100GOPROG0065229.
With the Milky way

 

 

Kanyakumari – Southernmost Tip Of India

Posted on Updated on

Kanyakumari is the Southernmost tip of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. At this very place, we get to see the union of three oceans Indian Ocean, Arabian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. It is mostly famous for religious purpose as most of the tourist come here to visit the famous and most ancient temple of Goddess Kanyakumari who prayed to Lord Shiva to be accepted as his wife.

How to get here?

Kanyakumari makes it for a very good road trip as you can visit many tourist locations on the way or in and around Kanyakumari. There is other mode of transports as well and its very well connected to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport by flight or by Train.

IMG_7550
Ferry that takes us to the Island!

Where to Stay?

Kanyakumari is crowded any time of the year, so try making an early booking or else you will have to settle in for not so popular hotels. Some hotels with good reviews are Sparsa Resort, The Seashore Hotel and Hotel Temple Citi.

Places to Visit

  • Swami Vivekananda Memorial: Its a belief that Swami Vivekananda swam to this rock and meditated in quest for enlightenment. For me this is one of the finest piece of architecture in India.IMG_7613
  • Thiruvalluvar Statue: Thiruvalluvar was a very well known poet in Tamil Nadu and this 133 feet tall stone sculpture was constructed in his memory.
    IMG_7552
    Famous Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar Statue
    IMG_7614

    IMG_7576
    Swami Vivekananda Memorial
  • Kumari Amman Temple: This is the most gorgeous looking goddess and everything about this goddess is so surreal but photography is not allowed in the temple.
    IMG_7648
    Street leading to the temple!
  • Sunset Point: Its really worth taking that extra effort to get here early for a good view of Sunset, its simple the best sunset I have ever seen.IMG_3464
  • Thirparappu Falls: We did not get time to visit the falls but don’t miss it and make the same mistake as us.

Beauty of the world is what makes one a traveler!

Manitoulin Island – Lake Island of Canada

Posted on Updated on

As a kid did you ever draw a cute little house surrounded by trees, a stream flowing by the house, a garden in front, birds flying in the clear blue sky and you standing on the bridge admiring the beauty? Well, if you did and ever dreamed of picture coming into reality, visit Manitoulin island.

One word for this place is DREAMY, you can just keep driving around the Island without the urge to return back and you will easily get lost in the beauty. Calm, rejuvenating, peaceful, friendly and so different from rest of Ontario. No wonder the Ontario’s prettiest village Kagawong is located on this Island.

IMG_9235

How to Get there?

You can either reach the place by land or water. Our suggestion is take the sea and return by land. We took the Chi-Cheemaun from Tobermory to South Baymouth and drove back. Driving back from Manitoulin to Toronto would give you lot of opportunity to visit so many Provincial Parks on the way.

www.ontarioferries.com/Chi-cheemaun make early reservations.

IMG_9251

Where to Stay?

If you ask me, don’t look beyond Gordon’s Park. We visited Manitoulin as we wanted to visit Gordon Park’s dark night preserve to see the Milky Way and Northern Lights. This is just one of the places in Ontario which has dark night preserve and offers accommodation ranging from Star Gazing Cabins, Tipi Tenting, Milky Way Bunkie and B&B’s. Make sure to book in advance.

Visit www.gordonspark.com for more information.

IMG_9423

What is in stored for you?

  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Kagawong Village: Museum, Lighthouse and the don’t miss to visit the Chocolate Factory.
  • Cup and Saucer Trail: Make sure the trail is open and plan accordingly as these trails are closed at times.
  • Gordon’s Park, if you are not staying here make sure to attend their Astronomy Session.
  • Providence Bay Beach
  • If you are visiting in summer, make sure you visit during the First Nations Pow-wow dance contest. It’s also an opportunity to learn about their culture, language and history.IMG_9304

PS: Google Maps are no good here, so ask the friendly locals for direction.

It’s worth every minute spent on this Island rich in Culture, heritage and history. You will be amused how much knowledge you gain learning about Ontario and the locals who shared their land with each one of us.

 

Summer Fun – Toronto

Posted on

You blink, its gone. That’s exactly how Summer is in Canada. There are some conventional things we all do every summer, like visiting Central Island, Scarborough Bluff, Zoo, African Lion Safari and beaches, though we very religiously visit these places every summer, there are other things that we have enjoyed doing out of ordinary, sharing a few experiences here:

Cheltenham Badlands: About an hour from Toronto, Badlands makes a very good day outing for adults and kids, especially if you haven’t seen anything like this before.  Badlands are dry terrain where sedimentary rocks and clay rich soils have been eroded. (it was closed for public last year so check before you go).

Address: 1501 0 1901 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon, ON

1003208_10151853796476115_583585977_n

Lavender Farm: Though, there are a lot of lavender farms in and around Toronto, we visited “Terre Bleu Lavender Farm”. It simply takes you to a fairy land with the fresh lavender smell. They also have  picnic tables, who wouldn’t like to eat overlooking beautiful flowers. Don’t miss their lavender Ice cream.

Address: 2501, 25 Side Road, Campbellville, ON

11694112_10153519481731115_8527080464763855305_n

Thousand Islands, Kingston: National Park which is closest to Toronto is Thousand Island National park which is just about 2.5 hours drive. If you fancy seeing a castle, tons of Islands, lighthouse, beautiful waterfront houses then take the cruise, relax and enjoy cruising through the island.

Harbourfront Boat Tour: We visit Toronto Harbourfront every year during summer as it has such a lively atmosphere and there is something going on during summertime every single day. We had also seen a lot of sail boats, though we have been on cruise, ships  and boats, we had never been on a sail boat. It was such an amazing experience sailing on Kajama and the view of Toronto Skyline was mesmerizing.

13902786_10154380291841115_8120787887325536012_n

Blue Jays Game: If you are living in Toronto, you definitely know how crazy people are about Baseball season. You will not understand until you actually attend a game to witness yourself. Though, I had no clue about the rules or how the game is played, we still went to watch a match. Sitting in Roger center with the dome open filled with people was reason enough to get into the vibe and feel the craze but by end of the match, I had become a fan myself and yes, I understand the game now!

13254364_10154195481846115_7770348713067351134_n

Enjoy the little things in life, they give you immense happiness!

Vancouver – Canada’s Coastal Paradise

Posted on Updated on

Vancouver is a popular filming location and a beautiful coastal City in British Columbia surrounded by Mountains. The vibe, the charm and the nature itself makes you instantly fall in love with this place. Even without a pre-planning, we had a wonderful vacation of 9 days.

For those staying in the US can fly to Seattle and take a train or drive down, as it just takes about 2.5hrs by car and 4hrs by train.

Flight: WestJet from Toronto

 Stay: We stayed in Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, its at a walking distance to Canada Place, bus stop and restaurants.

10308382_10152667733761115_702188118059907499_n
View from the Hotel room!

 Places we Visited:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge and Cliff Walk: Though it looks like a normal suspension bridge crossing the rive Capilano, it surely qualifies for a trilling walk and for me it was one of the scariest too as the bridge swings. Other side of the bridge gives you an opportunity to go trekking, so make sure to wear your sneakers.

Getting there: From Downtown, there are a lot of buses which offers free shuttle service.

Check www.capbridge.com for the route and timing.

10616251_10152666411151115_7475613834793641314_n

  • Grouse Mountain: Mountain of the Pacific ranges in North Vancouver, It is a ski resort in winter but in the summers, there are a lot of activities that take place, like Lumberjack show (do not miss this), Birds in Motion, Breakfast with the bears, Mountain Ziplines and not to forget the Mountain Sky ride.

Getting there: There are public transit every 30min from Downtown

Check http://www.translink.ca/en

10612916_10152672393731115_7080246788895399317_n
Wish we can share the picture with this family!

15199_10152672393706115_8916523110350852751_n

  • Stanley Park: If you have just a day to spend, then visit Stanley Park. Its spread over a 1000acre in the heart of Vancouver. It caters to everybody and not just for kids. Take a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride, rent a bike (available near the park) and ride the sea wall path, take a hike through the paths (trust me it is so surreal), it takes you to Lions Head Bridge or just relax on the beach. There are also some amazing restaurants around, we loved eating in Fish house.

Getting There: Check Translink for bus information.

10593166_10152680631371115_3940903376447580016_n

10447540_10152680631446115_3531319125208393183_n

10420153_10152669672311115_369620987545415907_n

  • Vancouver Aquarium: You definitely cannot cover Stanley Park in a day so we visited again to just for the Aquarium and we are glad, we did not miss it. Its Canada’s largest aquarium and the best one.
  • Whale Watching: Visiting Vancouver and not going for a Whale Watching tour is just not cool. It was our first Whale watching experience and one of the most fascinating one too.We booked our tour with www.vancouverwhalewatch.com, make sure to carry lot of water and     food, you get dehydrated on the boat as it takes about 4hours looking for the whales and its totally worth the experience.

10615577_10152678618391115_2111274424479218473_n

  • Vancouver Down Town, Gas Town, Canada Place: Make sure to take an evening to explore the Gas town for shopping, food and Steam clock. It’s a historic site and the oldest neighborhood. Canada place is located in the Vancouver’s Waterfront, we could just sit around for hours and watch the cruises take off from this location. The night view is just out of the place.1463399_10152669669401115_4567776831868750374_n

  • Whistlers: We hired a car and drove to Whistlers and that was one of our best decision in the trip. We regret not spending a night there, which is surrounded by mountains with a beautiful view. Its about 2 hours drive from Vancouver but account for about 4 hours as you will be forced to stop at many beautiful locations.

  • Granville Island: If you are a foodie, this is the place to visit in Vancouver. I personally loved this place for shopping and food. Its crowded with tourist and why wouldn’t it be, it has unique and interesting shops, beautiful park for kids. Getting there: We took a public transport.

10616161_10152676371841115_994591653927127157_n

10606441_10152676371981115_3176964178597028623_n

If you have more time, Victoria is something that we missed visiting because of time crunch. There are ferries you can take, if you have more time or else take a sea plane, which is expensive but surely looks worth splurging.

Enjoy Canada’s Coastal Experience!

Montreal Diaries

Posted on Updated on

Montreal in Quebec is the largest city in the Province and second most popular city in the country. This is one of the most beautiful cities that I have been to in Canada.  Even before I had explored Toronto, I had seen more of Montreal and had completely fallen in love with it, its only fair I write about my memories about Montreal, before its too late.

Montreal is about 5hrs drive from Toronto, so it makes a very good road trip from Toronto. I have taken train, bus and driven down “n” number of times, I think I enjoy the drive more than anything. You get to stop in Kingston, Ottawa and other beautiful locations, if you want to have a relaxed road trip, without taking much of a deviation.

Montreal is also the second largest city in the country, having said that, you can easily see the place in about 3 complete days, if you are pinched for time. You can visit the city anytime of the year, as it has so much to offer but, winter can be really brutal, so I would suggest summer is the best time, though I visited Montreal for the first time in Winter and loved every bit of it.

Top things to see and do:

Pebble Stone Street in Old Montreal: Music, art, food, shopping and just the lively feel is reason enough to visit this place. Take a stroll in the evening enjoying the music, shows, art and shopping, choose from umpteen number of best restaurants to settle in for a nice dinner or binge on home made ice creams and yummy dessert, this place will not disappoint you for sure.img_3059img_2988img_3035

Carriage Ride and Biking Trails: Take a carriage ride around the old Montreal, it gives you such a royal feel and introduces to where you should be heading after the ride, this is definitely a must do in the city.

Montreal has amazing biking trails, you can hire the bicycles in and around the city and set off on discovering the nook and corners of beautiful Montreal.

 Biking Trail Map:www.mapmyride.com/ca/montreal-quebec/img_3282img_2965

Notre-Dame Basilica and old port: Located in the historic district of Old Montreal, it gives such a dramatic architectural feel when you visit the church.

Old port is along the St.Lawrence river and stretches for about 2kms and it is a very good walk along the river. There is a park if you are tired and want to just relax.

All the above places are located in Old Montreal and can be visited in one day.img_3015img_2853img_2971

Biodome and Olympic Stadium: Biodome is located in Olympic park, it has a indoor zoo, aquarium and four different eco-system and totally worth making a visit. You can easily spend one complete day here and I just don’t get tired visiting this place.

Visit the tallest inclined tower in the world and take the ride up to see the Montreal Tower Observatory and the view is just breathtaking. It is suppose to be award wining panoramic view of Montreal.img_3156img_3236img_3204

img_3202
View from the tower!
Mont Royal and Saint Josephs Oratory: Are you an early bird who enjoys watching the sun rise or the one who gets energized as the sun is ready to set, either ways,  I am sure this is the place you want to be in Montreal. Along with beautiful sun rise and sun set, you also get a amazing view of Montreal.

Saint Josephs Oratory is Canada’s largest Church, exceptionally beautiful and architectural wonder. It is also famous for its healing miracles.12510487_10153845832246115_2560269189477788412_n14364812_10154514082356115_4718553812968187469_n

Laughter Festival (Just for laughs): Montreal is the city of festivals. There is something or the other going on through out the year but Just for laughs is something that  I have enjoyed the most in summer time, which is held in the month of July. This is also largest international comedy festival in the world. This year its held between July 12 to 31st, 2017.img_2886img_2884

French is the official language of Montreal, so if you love just listening to people speak French, like I do, go say “Bonjour Montreal”.