Author: luciastravels

Galapagos Lessons

The Galapagos Islands are an amazing place. We saw plenty of wildlife and were surprised at how great the beaches are. Still, visiting ‘on the cheap’ wasn’t all smooth sailing. There’s such a thing as a permit to get a permit. National parks cost money, but $20 for a form to apply for a permit that costs $100? Yup, that’s a thing. Oh, and there’s a another permit for Isabela island. Are you there yet? Nope. Travelling in the Galapagos can feel a bit like Frodo’s journey into Mordor. Getting from the mainland to your hotel may involve a couple of planes, a couple of buses, a boat or two and a taxi. But the volcanoes are lovely. Don’t lick your ice-cream before it’s paid for. Hardly anyone on the islands seems to have change, but you’re expected to. And if you don’t have change you’re expected to find it. Or you can do as David did and give back your ice-cream cone to the cashier who didn’t have change for a $10. Be prepared to check yourself out. Checking out of a hotel …

Me Gusta Cartagena

A short five hour flight from Montreal and we arrived in Cartagena. We stayed a total of five nights in the city. The first two nights in the historical centre and the last three nights in Bocagrande. Getting from the airport to the historical center was easy in the authorized city taxi that costs 10,000 pesos (about $5). Cartagena can be a little overwhelming at first. The city has a different rhythm that we are used to. The drivers navigate the streets with disregard for street signs and pedestrians. The noise is another issue. The constant honking makes it a little difficult at first to relax. We arrived at our hotel in the centre and immediately noticed that the safety box in our room was broken and the password could not be reset. The man at the front desk reassured us that the problem will be dealt with the next day. We laughed when the next morning he came and removed the safety box from the wall and replaced with another one that had a …

Montreal Rediscovered

For our latest visit to Montreal, we decided to pick up a guidebook from the library. Even though I lived in Montreal for fifteen years having a guide drew my attention to things that I’ve walked past many times but accepted as part of the city backdrop. We started our walk in China Town where a friendly local suggested Lobster Cantonese for dinner at Beijing Restaurant. The Plateau is my favourite place in the city. I love the eclectic feel of the neighbourhood. Little sidewalk cafés, green spaces everywhere, art in the park and graffiti of gigantic proportions.    We stopped at Wilensky’s for a quick-lunch. This place has been around since 1932 and the interior remains unchanged. I was impressed by the speed with which the bologna sandwiches and soda drinks appeared before us. After lunch we walked west on Avenue des Pins and admired the mansions on Redpath Crescent. We stopped to rest in parks along the way. Once we got to the other side of the mountain, we set to explore Westmount. Some of …

Save Money & See The World

Traveling can be an expensive hobby so over the years I had limit my spending to enable my habit. Here are some of my tricks for saving money without compromising on style. 1. Wear neutrals. I have a lot of black basic items in my wardrobe because they’re easy to match and classic. A black shirt with a nice pair of jeans is chic and timeless. Same goes for grey and white. The fit is key. I buy items that fit and drape really well on my body. I use accessories to create different looks around my neutral staples. 2. Make it yourself. I started sewing about two years ago. I love browsing fabric stores for unique fabric. I made this top from what seemed to be fabric for window coverings. It only cost me 0.99 cents/meter and it’s one of my favorite items of clothing. I love the creative process of making clothes. This top was hand stitched and took about an hour to cut and sew. 3. Shop thrift stores. A lot of people feel icky about shopping in thrift stores …

Back to the County

We returned to Prince Edward County to visit a few wineries in the area. The county is one my favourite day trips from Ottawa. Our first stop was in Wellington to have lunch at the Tall Poppy Café. The town is quaint with small shops and 200-year-old buildings on the shore of Lake Ontario. Next we stopped at Rosehall Run winery for a few samples. We continued to Casa Dea Estates Winery and tried a beautiful white wine made from Melon de Bourgogne. This winery has an Italian restaurant and a patio overlooking the estate. It also offers visitors games of chess and pétanque. My favorite winery was Chadsey’s. The property is beautiful and it’s currently for sale. They only offered white and rose wines and an unexpected sparkling rose.    On our way back we stopped in Bloomfield for some much-needed ice cream.