A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

Highlights of my trip

A look back on the past 60 days

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View My dream trip around half the world on ZK_15's travel map.

Sixty days, 5 hours, 58 minutes, 2 seconds later and we are finally back to Mississauga. Our journey is over and it was the best decision we have ever made. I would love to continue on and visit other parts of the world where I have never been, because we had such an amazing experience. I am glad to be back though, because I was starting to miss home a bit. However, bringing my sister with me and making her part of the once-a-lifetime-experience turned out to be even better, because honestly I would have been so lonely and don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. I'm grateful that my family got the chance to experience at least a part of our adventures with us, with the road trip to New Jersey. The best moments come from when we spend time with our loved ones; family, friends, etc... This journey flew by and it felt more or less like it’s been about a year since we left.

As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Often, many may take life for granted, but after visiting the different places in the world, I realized that it can be a real eye-opener. To travel is not only to discover, but it is really to learn about different ways of living and understand people more. In my planning, there were many obstacles that I had to overcome, such as a lack of money, sleepiness due to time zones, etc. However, after those sixty days, we have found few of the many beautiful mysteries that the world has.

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Our total cost of travel (still within our budget, as it was $10,000)

Basically we have made a breakdown of the total spendings we have done while on our trip. Our budget was $10,000 at the beginning and we are so glad to see that we haven't gone over it. One thing about traveling is that different people use different modes of transportation. As for us, we have used; trains, cars, airplanes, boats, bikes and helicopters.We have traveled a total distance of 43467 km or 27010 miles. It is amazing how just yesterday we were in England and now we are back home, in Mississauga.

Taking a look back on the past sixty days, my favorite moments were absolutely the following:

Canada:
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Old Québec City

I absolutely loved Old Québec City, since we have traveled to Europe a lot in the past and this place reminds me a lot of that. I also love the fact that Old Quebec still kept the history and they have little shops and streets, instead of everything being together and looking the same. There are many street performers as well!

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What makes a road trip about a hundred times better

Transforming our vehicle into this may have taken us a while a few days before we have left for our trip, but it was very comfortable and it made our road trip really interesting and fun.

United States:
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Smugglers Notch State Park

This park had a breathtaking scenery and is definetely one of the best places I have been to. I would love to go again sometime.

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The Manhattanhenge in New York City

This was absolutely an event not to forget. No wonder it's comes so rarely. I never knew about it until I saw it while in New York City. It was pretty cool to see the sun aligned with the street and we were at the right place, at the right time.

Bahamas:
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The Royal Caribbean Cruise

The cruise that took us to the Bahamas was one of the best, as we were able to make so many friends and we were stuck on the boat for so long, so we were only limited to a few things. At the same time, it made me appreciate the few things that I have when I'm stuck somewhere.

Peru:
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Camping in Peru

Being able to camp at one of our destinations is something to remember certainly, because everywhere else we mostly stayed at our family members' house or at a hotel in other countries. Also, being able to hike the Inca Trail and go horseback riding in Peru was a great opportunity.

Argentina:
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Planetario, Buenos Aires

El Planetario was our favorite landmark in Buenos Aires, since it is so different from the other attractions and it was also my first time going somewhere such as that.

Brazil:
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Paragliding in Rio

Being able to see the city that you will probably visit only once in a lifetime in a bird's point of view is one thing, but being able to do paragliding to be able to experience that is another. Back in New York City, we got to view the city by helicopter, but once we tried paragliding in Rio de Janeiro, it was a totally different feeling. It felt amazing and it was my first time ever to do such a thing. I would definitely do that again any day, because I have finally got over my fear of heights now after this.

South Africa:
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Boulders Beach

Watching the penguins at Boulders Beach was my favorite destination, because who would have ever thought that I could have done that without having to go to Antarctica? I love penguins, and when I went to Boulders Beach, it made me want to go to Antarctica more! I really hope that in the future I'll be able to say that I have visited every continent in the world. I also enjoyed walking along the V&A Waterfront.

Mauritius:
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Quad biking in Mauritius

Trying something new every day and you will become more adventurous and you will dare to try more. It will also help you appreciate and have a lot of fun in life. Quad biking in Mauritius while going through the safari was one of those times that made us more of a daredevil, because we were interacting with the wildlife and we were just enjoying nature!

Morocco:
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Bahia Palace

Not only did I love the Moroccan architecture which this palace holds, but it was typically Moroccan so that's what I loved most about it.

England:
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The Lion King Musical

We went to see The Lion King Musical in London. It was my favorite show that I went to see, because The Lion King is one of my favorite Disney movies!

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Definetely my favorite shop to buy homemade-cakes-not-made-from-my-home

This farm and deli shop had a cake that was probably one of the tastiest I had ever eaten. Unfortunately we were able to only buy it whenever it was available. This is not commercial at all like the other things and we were lucky to have been able to bring some home with us, because we don't know when we can go back to Kent to get this again.

There's a famous saying and I quote "Who lives sees, but who travels sees more" and I only got to realize what this really meant after this little adventure that my sister and I went on. We were able to see many parts of the world that we didn't even know existed or expected to see and we were able to find problems in the world that we didn’t know existed. It takes a lot of commitment, dedication and time to travel, but every day paid off for us, even if we may had some bad days along the way. What can I say though? You can’t have a sweet without a bit of sour. There's also the rainbow that appears after it rains, right? So yeah. Sometimes it seems like it’s a lot of money and you don't think you would be able to do it, but thinking about that now, I am getting something back from every moment and every money spent- I still have the memories, experiences, friends, etc that I made along the way on this journey and that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It's sad to say that it had to come to an end.

These are only some of my trip highlights and some of my favorite things, but I had many more and I know there is more yet to come. It has been an amazing journey and I thank all of you who sticked with us through it all! I hope that this blog has inspired you to travel or given you hope that you can do it if you set your mind to it.

It has been great and this blog is one of the best keepsakes that will stay with me through this journey that is now in the past.

Goodbye, alios, ciao, au revoir.
x

Posted by ZK_15 11:13 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Home Sweet Home

Toronto, Ontario; 43.6481° N, 79.4042° W


View My dream trip around half the world on ZK_15's travel map.

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What happens when you have an extended family, you stay away from home for a bit, and a bunch of luggages - family members come and pick you up at the airport (and they all show up with flowers)

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One of my favorite cups I bought in England

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Few of the many souvenirs we brought back

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And a sweet welcome home gift from our parents (homemade cheesecake, definitely our all-time favorite!)

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Another cake?! Guess we're going on the healthy side now...

Posted by ZK_15 11:09 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

A Day in Canada's European Jewel

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: 46.8902° N, 71.2189° W

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We left our car at the Fairmont hotel in Montreal, after saying goodbye to our family, who are returning back to Ottawa and took a coach to Quebec City. It was a 3 hours drive. Quebec City has a European-like feel, due to the streets and the shops. Quebec City is also very historic. The tour that we took includes some of the many sights of Quebec.

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Montmorency Falls, Quebec City, Quebec

Our first stop was Montmorency Falls. It is the highest fall in the province of Quebec and even higher than Niagara Falls. There was a cable-car, but we didn't take it. We walked to the falls and took many pictures. The thing with group tours though, is that you only have so much time, before the bus leaves.

We then went to the Observatoire de la Capitale, which is an observatory deck that gave us a 360° panoramic view of Québec city. The view was absolutely breathtaking.

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Walking around Downtown Quebec City

The tour bus then took us to Old Québec City and we got free time for about 2-3 hours. After having a light lunch, we walked around we just wandered around the city.Luckily, since we are fluent in french, it helped us a lot and we didn't have trouble getting around either, so that was a big advantage, since 81.5% of the population speaks french as their first language.

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Beavertails shop

Before getting back on the tour bus, we went to get some beavertails, a fried dough pastry, which originated from Killaloe, Ontario.

Then, the bus took us to the Plains of Abraham, one of Canada’s most important parks. It was there that the Battle between the French and the English took place on September 13th 1759.

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View of Chateau Frontenac and the Statue

We then went to Chateau Frontenac, both a very historic famous tourist attraction and a hotel. In front of the hotel, there's a great view of the Saint Lawrence River. The ice cream they were selling in front of the hotel was really tasty and one of the best vanilla ice cream that I have ever tasted.

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On our way to see Cirque du Soleil

We then walked around some more, and saw various street performers. Then, we went to watch one of Cirque du Soleil's shows; OVO. Cirque du Soleil was utterly worth it. It was very professional and the immense effort the performers put into it were shown throughout the whole show.

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The inside of Maple Delights sweet shop in Downtown Quebec City

Finally, before heading back to Montreal, we walked to Maple Delights, from Cirque du Soleil. It is a shop that sells many different things and they all have maple syrup as an ingredient. Anyone having a sweet tooth? We bought a Maple Milkshake and a maple pastry for the road.

We were surprised to see that the food wasn't as sweet as we thought it would be and that is a good thing, less chance of getting diabetes!

Posted by ZK_15 16:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The City of Mary

Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 45.5081° N, 73.5550° W

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After a 2 1/2 hours drive from Ottawa, we have reached our next destination. Known as Ville-Marie or The City of Mary back in the days, Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the the second-largest city, after Toronto in Canada. Ville-Marie is now the name of one of the boroughs in Downtown Montreal.

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The Montreal Biodome

By the time we got here, the rain had gotten worse than when we were on the road, so we decided to stay indoors, so we stopped at the Biodome de Montreal first after having lunch in the car, from what we've packed; sandwiches, pizza, etc. At the Biodome, there was a lot of animals to see; from penguins to fishes to frogs, etc. There was a lot of flora and fauna, which varied from the wet tropical forests, the Gulf of St Lawrence, Newfoundland and Labrador, etc.

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View of part of Montreal from the Tower

By the time we were done, the weather was somewhat better and the rain had stopped so we went to the Olympic Stadium, which is right next to the Biodome. We visited the Montreal Tower, which gave us a wonderful view of the region.

We then drove to Downtown Montreal to check-in at our hotel, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth on Boulevard René Levesque. We got a good deal for 119$/night, which is extremely great for this hotel even if it doesn't include breakfast, as it is usually a lot more expensive than that.

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Underground mall, Ville-Marie (connected to our hotel)

After relaxing for a few hours, we went downstairs to the lobby, only to find that connected to the hotel, there's an escalator that leads to the subway and an underground mall; Place Ville-Marie. So we got some light snacks from Starbucks then walked around the mall. There was a lot of stores and the prices weren't too bad. We didn't do much shopping, we mostly walked around, then went outside to explore around the city. We had dinner at Basha at around 7 pm and then walked around on the St Catherine West, where there was a lot of stores.

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Montreal Bagels, the best!

The next day, we visited the Notre Dame Basilica an old church, Mont Royal, a hill on the west of Downtown Montreal. The hill is located between the Laurentians and the Appalachians and the view is superb. Finally, we went to the Botanical Gardens, before stopping for some bagels; simply the best.

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Musical Swings in Downtown Montreal

While walking around in Montreal, we found the Swings of Montreal, which I found really cool. The 21 Swings is a project, where the swings make music, and if there's other people as well, all blend in together to make the same sound.

Before heading back to the hotel, we went to McGill, and we visited it from the outside and then we went to buy tickets for a one day Québec City tour, which will leave tomorrow morning from the bus station, about 5 minutes walk from our hotel.

Posted by ZK_15 12:02 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Canada Day in Canada's Capital City

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; 45.4214° N, 75.6919° W

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We have reached Ottawa at around 8-9 pm last night, which wasn't too bad. We are staying over at our family's house until tomorrow, where we'll be leaving for Montreal together. It was very nice of them to take a day off and offer to show us around in Montreal.

Today, for Canada Day, we left the house, in Gatineau at around 8 am after having breakfast. Canada Day is basically celebrating Canada's birthday, after July 1st 1867 happened and Canada officially became a nation. It was a great idea to come to the Capital to celebrate this, since it's the biggest birthday party in all of Canada. The celebrations are at three sites in Ottawa/Gatineau; Parliament Hill, Major's Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park.

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The crowd at the Parliament

We went to Jacques-Cartier park first, since it was in Gatineau. Then it took us about a five minutes drive to the Parliament from there, where we watched the Flag raising ceremony and the Changing of the Guards. Since the Changing of the Guards ceremony finished at 10:30 am, we walked around and looked at the exhibits, kiosks, etc. Then at 11:30 am, we watched the SkyHawks Show (we had to go back to Jacques-Cartier Park for it though). At noon, the Canada Day Noon Show started, with the 21-gun salute and many different cultural shows. There was also a lot of street performers around, so we couldn't be bored at all!

After the show, we decided to stop at Canada’s Biggest Barbecue Event on the Plaza Bridge hosted by President's Choice. We had some lunch, then walked around a bit. Since there is free admission to many national museums and attractions for the day only, we took advantage of that.

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Inside the Museum of Civilization

We visited the Aviation and Space Museum first, which took us only about 2 hours, so at around 3 pm, we went to Luna Crepes for a snack, then we went to the Agriculture Museum until 4:30 pm. Then, at 4:45 pm, we got in the Museum of Civilization. The free admission is only until 5 pm, which is why we had no time to relax. Even though it was quite busy and there was a lot of walking, it was great to see a lot around!

We stayed at the Museum of Civilization the longest, since there was so much to see. It was really interesting too. At 7:45 pm, we left and went back to Gatineau. We had dinner at home and relaxed until 9:30 pm. Then, left to go back to the Parliament to watch the fireworks at 10 pm. What a day.

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Canada Day fireworks in Ottawa

Happy Canada Day!

Posted by ZK_15 10:23 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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