Tag Archives: flight attendant layovers

Wander Often in Kelowna

20190202_150721The question is not “if trees could speak,” but rather, “can we hear them?” “Wander often,” beckoned a tree in Kelowna, British Columbia. So we walked the waterfront, the crew, and I. A blue heron flies low to a nearby perch as if to point the way.20190202_141442We hiked towards and steadily up Knox mountain. It was on a smaller and more literal scale, as Martin Luther King had expressed, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”   A view of the Okanagan Valley from the top gave us that higher perspective.20190202_150653 About how nature rules, even though us humans are prone to “I-ness.” I took a few moments on a peaceful bench to feel nature’s gifts all around. In silence, I took it all in. 20190202_150420 The majestic mountain view overlooks a fresh stockpile of floating logs…in the shape of a heart, ironically. The vast Okanagan lake resembles a long and winding river. 20190202_150224 It is colder than I imagined Kelowna to be, but a reprieve from Ontario, where there’s a polar vortex ripping through.

Doe…A delightful deer.. a female deer, way up on Knox mountain. 20190202_145258Working every other day, I decided to take advantage of the fresh air breaks walking to and from the local grocery store. A hotel room fridge is a welcome convenience to store fresh food.

But after a few days, we treated ourselves to a hot thai soup and panang red curry at Pick Thai restaurant. When the daughter of the Thai owner recommended the handmade coconut ice cream made by her mother, it was beyond delicious. Every dish was fresh, generously portioned and an authentic and generous taste of Thailand. I reminisced with the owner, my chef, about my fondness for Thailand and the four months backpacking in her motherland.  The restaurant in Kelowna is her dream. The snowboarding daughter would like to go back to Thailand, but they would both miss the snow. A skating rink is lit up at night, with a nearby bonfire on the sidelines.

 

Which brings me back to the beginning…How did I get here? Approaching Vancouver from Toronto a few days prior, the majestic Rocky mountains reign.20190131_113621The airplane views from Vancouver to Kelowna are hardly second best. Reminds me of my trip to the foothills of the Himalayas in India. Just add snow.20190131_113613

Advertisements

Croatia Direct Flights from Toronto and Montreal Continue into 2016-2017 with Air Transat

All photos and article by Paula Erskine

One can book an Air Transat ticket for a direct flight to Zagreb, Croatia right now for as early as next year, for example, May 30th, 2017 at a price of approximately $871 Canadian dollars and enjoy the comfort of Air Transat’s Airbus 330 fleet. Visit http://www.airtransat.com to book ahead and take advantage of cheap flights to Croatia flying directly out of Toronto, Canada and Montreal, Canada. Air Transat will likely add a second flight weekly to Zagreb, Croatia as of May 2016. Book early to get the deals! Here are some places to visit in Croatia that may delight your senses.

Below, Plitvicka National Park, known to visitors as “paradise,” is less than 2 hours away from Zagreb and enjoyed year round. Easy hiking, hundreds of waterfalls, 16 turquoise lakes.

Rastoke Village, in Slunj (above), is 1 and a half hours from Zagreb, Croatia on the way to Plitvice Park. Imagine opening your window shutters and overlooking a waterfall below your window, with the sound rushing through your veins and the fresh, cool mist rising up through the atmosphere. In this valley, one is surrounded by trees whose roots run deep, taking a drink from the rivers they call home. Eat at Petro, visit Unique Rastoke park (just that part is closed on tuesdays) and eat there too,  the food is fresh and authentic throughout the village…or stay at many of the apartments built on waterfalls in this fairy tale mill town on pristine waters. Simply unmissable and picturesque, any time of year. A peaceful place. Take advantage of the pleasant off season weather with more elbow room than mid-summer to enjoy Croatia even more.

If you are still on the fence, wondering if Croatia is the right destination for you, let me share with you some favorite places to visit that are off the beaten path. Even within the usual hot spots, there are great tips to be shared on how to get the maximum value and enjoyment from your Croatian vacation. For those who travel yearly to the motherland, direct flights to Croatia this summer of 2016 have been a dream come true. In addition, Zagreb has proven to be a great hub for native travelers of Serbia and Bosnia and bordering nations visiting their families. It is very moving to see people of all these nations “going home” to introduce their children and grandchildren to the beautiful lands, lakes, rivers, mountains and the crystal clear Adriatic Sea which were their playgrounds.

It was especially convenient for the older generations to travel “home” on direct flights, most of them wanting to look out the window or watch the air show rather than the individual movie screens at each seat. The atmosphere on board is one of gratitude, appreciation and social friendliness without borders. Although the blocked time of the flight is 9 and a half hours, depending on head and tail winds, the average flight to Zagreb, Croatia from Toronto on Air Transat’s Airbus 330 consistently took only around 8 hours!

Air Transat flights were packed all summer with added adventurers from Quebec and Greater Toronto Area as well as Americans enjoying the tour packages that were very reasonable and action-packed! Below, Ozujsko Pub in Zagreb, beside the Naive Art Gallery Egg in Upper Town serves tasty meats stuffed with cheese and prosciutto (pershuto), grilled vegetables and chicken shishkebabs wrapped in bacon. Tender, fresh, tasty and very reasonable!

20160621_192546

Vinodol Restaurant, lower town, superb eating, Zagreb Croatia

Vinodol Restaurant (lower town), Zagreb Croatia above was absolutely superb eating, with a wonderful indoor skylit atmosphere and outdoor seating too. Below, Kava Tava (upper town)…find an excuse to eat palacinke (palachinke) the Croatian stuffed crepes, dessert, cappucinos, breakfast or sandwiches. Then,  for all you airline buffs, Kava Tava’s decor boasts passenger seats and airplane tables. 20160621_192442

Zagreb’s Upper Town can be reached by Funicular or stairs and is full of incredible places to eat with no lack of creativity, history, architecture, naive and modern art, fountains museums, bird’s eye views, Lake Jarun, shoe shopping in particular in the lower town, and delicious food everywhere. To say Zagreb is hip would be an understatement.

A hidden gem in Zagreb is MS Grill run by Olga who will cook like only a mother can, and specializes in Bosnian dishes such as cevaps (barbecued chevaps are mixed meats, usually lamb, on home made grilled bread served with kajmak (k-eye-mahk) cream cheese, chicken paprikash, and many stews and famous crepes.The truth is, I ate most of the mouth watering meat before I remembered to take a picture. The secret to all the juicy meats, especially the grilled chicken, is the time they take to marinate it all…and I enjoyed it very much on my flight. The portions are too generous, and the prices are ridiculously cheap! You can find them around the corner from the Sheraton Hotel, Zagreb, with the orange canopy, simple. Olga is open from 7 or 8 am till midnight and serves fresh, home made food, her most evident ingredient, is love, warmth and enthusiasm. I do not leave the restaurant without my goodbye hug.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ms-Grill/1549760118614667 This is the facebook page.

Air Transat flights were packed all summer with added adventurers from Quebec and Greater Toronto Area as well as Americans enjoying the tour packages that were very reasonable and action-packed! See you in Zagreb! Check out my other posts for more great places to visit in Croatia! This is StrossMarte, at the top where the Funicular station stop is. Very artsy, great views, puppet shows, and very whimsical somehow.20160906_18551320160906_18555220160906_185448Sveti Marco Square, tiled roof, straight ahead from the Funicular. Many ways to see the city, including a vintage car ride. Fresh fritule, powdered mini doughnuts sometimes filled with jam at a window in upper town. We drop in on an orchestra practicing amid rows of fountains, it was lovely. The architecture, the old gate to the city, is so interesting. I hope to visit Lake Jarun where locals swim and bike in the near future. Until we meet again, Zagreb, I will enjoy my memories. See you in Croatia until early October of 2016 and May 2017 onward.20160906_18491320160823_18350320160823_19023920160906_18403120160906_18503220160817_19534320160906_19051620160906_18185320160906_21042620160817_191813

Day Trips From Dublin, Ireland…Hiking in Howth

Hiking in Howthe, Ireland

Hiking in Howth, Ireland

Priceless views

Priceless views

A Howthe point of View

Howthe

Howthe

Not to be missed as you Hike Ireland's coast, Howthe

Not to be missed as you Hike Ireland’s coast, Howth

Irish Blooms

Irish Blooms

Yup, still Howthe

The Port of Howthe is 25 minutes by train from Dublin, Ireland. The hiking trails offer spectacular coastal views. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

The Port of Howth is 25 minutes by train from Dublin, Ireland. The hiking trails offer spectacular coastal views.
All photos and article by Paula Erskine

Howthe

Still Meandering the seaside trail and all it's preciousness

Still Meandering the seaside trail and all it’s preciousness

20130605_194450HowtheHowtheHowthe viewsHowthe20130605_174912

Before or after your hike, grab a giant cup in the Port.

Before or after your hike, grab a giant cup in the Port.

A Heartfelt Latte

A Latte With Heart

Calgary’s Artsy Cafes

I love supporting non-chain cafes that offer individuality and artistic touches to boot. I found this one in downtown Calgary (Alberta, Canada) offering a view of all the street action below. My latte came with a heart design on top which put a smile on my jet-lagged face. It is well appreciated by locals who realize that if they have to meet on business, make it over a latte, with an architechturally pleasing, cozy atmosphere. Just below the cafe is a marvelous flower market, several jewelry makers, clothing designers, art galleries and many other budding and established artists. I felt like a justified voyeur, totally at ease sipping solo. All the patrons seemed united in pressing the pause button to elongate the present enjoyment. The giant floor to ceiling windows made me feel like a justified voyeur. DeVille Cafe is located in the Art Central building #200-100 7th Avenue East in Southwest Calgary.’Tis the season for Alberta layovers and this heartfelt cafe made me feel comforted in an airport base away from home. It will make you want to jot down some words of inspiration and sink into the sunny surroundings.

One of the Best Lattes Ever

Jetlag Cure