Niagara Falls

Short Trip Getaway in Ontario

With having a busy schedule, sometimes it is hard to get away for a long time. This is where a short local travel trip is in order. You need the getaway from the every day, the every week,…the every month of the same old routine. Here are a few photos of our little 2 day getaway to Niagara Falls. – Adelka Molcan

wine tasting in Niagara


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San Diego Zoo

ZOO TRAVEL

Being lovers of all animals, we like to see the local zoos wherever we travel. Our furry and feathery friends never disappoint and we like to see if they look happy and are well taken care of. We included the San Diego Zoo on our travels last summer and I must say, in my opinion it’s the best zoo I’ve seen in North America! The animals had lots of land and it was so beautifully reconstructed to look like their natural habitat. There was lots of walking, a fun Skyfari (air tram), a nice glass of local beer and lots of popcorn refills. For a family trip or for any animal enthusiast, this is the perfect zoo. by Adelka Molcan

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San Francisco Makes its Mark on the Farm-to-Table Culinary Scene

Food

For those in the restaurant world, the effort to deliver an authentic farm-to-table menu is not taken lightly. Restaurants take pride in knowing exactly where their ingredients originate and that the source of their food is raised without the aid of hormones or pesticides. More stringent followers take this notion even further and factor in environmental issues such as overfishing or the ethics of supporting fair trade companies. The end result of this trend is the start of some superb dining establishments. As one of the country’s top dining destinations, San Francisco was at the forefront of this movement and has since become home to some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country. Here is a sampling of some of these establishments.

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Farm: Table   754 Post St, San FranciscFarmTable-SanFrancisco

Located in the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood, Farm: Table states its directive from the get-go. With rustic charm and a communal spirit, Farm: Table prides itself on serving local and sustainable food all while relying on homemade ingredients whenever possible. This pet-friendly hotspot delivers delicious breakfast and lunch daily with menu items such as homespun house cereal and an off the charts tuna melt.

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Nopa Restaurant, San Fransico.jpg

Nopa   560 Divisadero St, San Francisco

Self-described as a “San Francisco gathering place,” Nopa has made its mark by delivering organic wood-fired offerings all made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. Found in Alamo Square, Nopa values its relationships with its farmers and even incorporates them into regular staff menu training lunches.

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SpruceSanFrancisco2

Spruce    3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco

Nestled in the Presidio Heights neighbourhood, Spruce embraces its ability to provide its diners with the freshest produce and other local ingredients found in northern California. With exclusive access to a private five-acre farm in the area, Spruce incorporates the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs into its daily menu.

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Saison    178 Townsend St, San Franciscosaison-sanfrancisco.jpg

With its origins formed from the wild pop-up world, Saison has thrived to become a stronghold in the San Francisco dining scene. This China Basin neighbourhood eatery offers an innovative contemporary American menu by integrating an array of local ingredients and as a result, can bask in the glow of some of the most widely acclaimed reviews in all of San Francisco.

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Whether a tried and true locavore or just someone that can appreciate an incredible dining experience, many will find that San Francisco may just be the heart of the farm-to-table movement today. With access to the freshest local ingredients and a flair for innovative cuisine, San Francisco is and will continue to be, a top destination for diners seeking the best farm-to-table eateries.



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attractions of the world pictured on top of a cartoon globe as planes and air balloons fly above along with birds

5 Safety Tips For International Travel

International travel is exciting, particularly to those who experience it for the first time. Inexperienced tourists on vacation will be immersed in exotic cultures, walking tours, and museums. However, world travel should be taken seriously to avoid problems such as theft, personal injury, and detainment. To assist tourists in making safety a priority, listed below are 5 practices that will ensure a stress-free vacation.

Guard Your Valuables

When traveling to a foreign country, your passport is your most important item. Credit cards, cash, and electronics should be locked in a hotel’s safe. Be sure to make at least two copies of your documents in case of loss or theft.

Follow The Law

Some countries can have laws and practices that are entirely different than the laws of your home country. Laws can sometimes be unclear and difficult to understand. As a rule of thumb, vacationers should adhere to the same rules of their home country, when in doubt. It is imperative to research the host nation’s policies and customs before arriving.

Be Careful When Walking or Driving

Getting hit by a car is one of the most frequent injuries to pedestrian tourists. Driving practices can vary greatly, along with driver’s regard for pedestrians. Always avoid jaywalking. Due to the amount pedestrians hit by vehicles, be sure to take appropriate measures to ensure your safety when crossing streets. Additionally, avoid using your phone when walking or driving.

Understand Your Itinerary

Give yourself lots of time to read over and understand all your travel components such as booking with connecting flights too close together, which can cause unwanted delays and unneeded stress.

Pack light

One overlooked travel nuisance is arriving at your destination and then realizing you brought too much luggage. Heavy luggage can impact movement during an emergency and is more expensive to take on airplanes. It also can keep travelers from buying the souvenirs they want.



     

How to Save Money for your Vacation

Travel Jar
Future travels

Most people would like to travel more, but they don’t know how to save for it. When money is tight, finding ways to save can definitely be a challenge. Fortunately, “challenging” does not mean “impossible.” You just have to think creatively and be willing to make some changes. Here are some creative ideas on how to save for your next vacation.

  • Open a vacation savings account & set up automatic payments from your regular account. Some banks will even round up your purchases and put the extra into your savings account
  • Dine in or pack a lunch more often & cut back on your monthly food budget
  • Sell your clutter and make cash with a garage sale or sell online on
  • Switch to a credit card that give you air miles or point towards travel
  • Cut out or put on hold any monthly subscription plans
  • Eat out of your pantry or go on a diet for 1 week a month & save on grocery costs
  • Cut your energy costs by using energy less during peak times
  • Turn off lights when not needed
  • Don’t fall asleep with TV on & set timer to shut off
  • Downgrade your cable, phone or internet, can always switch back later
  • Break bad habits or at least cut them in half
  • Cut down on car use & walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus
  • Cut down on entertainment expenses & go out less
  • Shop grocery store flyers, collect points for discounts & use coupons
  • Switch to generic store brands and save (don’t like it you can always switch back)
  • Never go to grocery store hungry & always go with a list to avoid impulse shopping
  • Pick up a side job or take surveys online & get paid
  • Skip your morning coffee run & add $2 a day to a vacation jar
  • Offer your services instead of buying gifts for friends and family
  • Avoid extra bank fees & only withdraw money directly from your bank’s ATM
  • Put half your tax refund in your vacation bank account
  • Sell your gold or silver jewellery to a reputable local agency, even if broken, as you’re selling it for scrap
  • Pamper yourself at home and save by skipping that monthly pedicure or facial
  • Take a time out when considering larger purchases. Ask yourself “is it a want or need?”. Often you will realize you don’t need it & save!
  • Put $5 or 10 into your travel jar each time you cheat on your diet
  • Exercise at home & skip the gym membership fee
  • Avoid bottled water, use your own reusable bottle & also reduce your carbon footprint
  • Take care of your things to lengthen their life & save by not having to replace more often

When you have a vacation goal, it is easy to adjust your spending habits for a short time to achieve what you want. The reward is worth it! There are many more ways to save so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.




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Comicon’s Villains, Heroes and Creatures

To my joy and amazement my nephew won, by lottery tickets to comicon in San Diego. He was allowed to bring one guest and yes, lucky me, I was on my way to a world of chaos, beauty and many wonderful geeks like me. Whether it’s World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, or the new favourites like Doom or Fortenite this is the place for you!

Few things to remember: Get there super early…like days (yes, days) if you want to see any panels. There are many confusing lines

  1. for people with passes which they have received in the mail,
  2. for people who want to get wrist bands for special panels
  3. for people who already have wrist bands for special panels

so plan early, load up on water and snacks and enjoy the colourful people who are just as excited as you are to get in there. And please remember to always ask permission before snapping a photo like I did 🙂

Final note: Once you are in you can scan your pass to come and go in case you need to bring your purchase back to your hotel like we need. My nephew had me loaded up with 4 bags of pop vinyls. We had to unload his new bought loot and went back for more speed walking through a maze of vendors and many, many fans! – Adelka Molcan

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 20: Actor Tom Hiddleston speaks onstage at Marvel Studios “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) ** TCN OUT **


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Fish eye view of the Tomorrowland concert in Belgium

Summer Festivals Around The World

With warmer weather in the summer months millions of people around the world gather outdoors and celebrate for various occasions and events. Here are a few fun and unique festivals to check out on your next summer adventure.

The Festival of the Sun – Inti Raymi Festival, Cusco, Peru

June 24, 2018
Each year on June 24th, a tribute to the worshiped Sun God Inti includes more than 500 actors who assemble to re-enact an ancient Inca ceremony in adoration of the sun god. The 9-day celebration is held in the great square of the Sacsayhuaman fortress and includes large banquets, festive music and thousands of people dressed in colourful costumes.

Pride Week, New York City, NY, USA

June 24, 2018
The New York City Pride March attracts tens of thousands of participants and sidewalk spectators each June. In addition to the parade, other NYC Pride events include a LGBT rights rally, a family movie night, a street fair and the Dance on the Pier, which has featured popular artists including Janet Jackson, Cher and Ariana Grande.

Running With the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain: July 6-14, 2018

The Running of the Bulls is a time-honoured Spanish tradition, which will raise your adrenaline levels, whether you’re running or watching.

This exhilarating race takes place during a nine day festival unlike any other. Locals and tourists come together in a rowdy crowd ready to take on nine days of celebratory drinking and eating. The actual bull run itself includes a half-mile course that winds through four different cobblestone streets of the historic Spanish town.

Just for Laughs Festival, Montreal, Canada

July 11-29, 2018

Spend time laughing, see some celebrity comics and tour one of the most beautiful cities in the world. During the day street performers delight the crowds and at night the city comes alive with comedy happenings scattered throughout the City. Comics who have played Just for Laughs include: Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart & Howie Mandel.

Comic Con International, San Diego, California, USA

July 19-22, 2018

With the rise in popularity of animated films, video games and other fantasy novels, the franchise of Comic Con has been growing. This festival features a 4 day event that is held at San Diego Convention Center in California. Some famous movie and TV personalities can also be seen in this big event such as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium

July 20-29, 2018

Tomorrowland has quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals. It stretches over 2 weekends and usually sells out in minutes. Over 100,000 visitors flock to this Belgium festival to dance the day and night away.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland

Aug 3 – Aug 27, 2018

The world’s largest arts festival transforms Scotland’s capital every August, as thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows of all kinds and for every taste. The work on show ranges from huge names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers.

Elvis Week, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

August 9-18, 2018

Each year fans from around the world gather at Graceland in Memphis to celebrate and honour the life of Elvis Presley during Elvis Week. Unprecedented concerts, special performances and guest appearances take place at Graceland’s new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

La Tomatina, Bunol, Valencia, Spain

August 29, 2018

This festival takes place each year on the last Wednesday in August. The event is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, located in the east of Spain. Thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to take part in this food fight where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Participants get involved purely for entertainment purposes.

Epcot at night. red light on ball like building. Mickey Mouse statue next to it.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Orlando, Florida, USA

August 30 to November 12, 2018

Special kiosks are set up around the World Showcase with food and drinks that reflect various countries. This year’s festival will continue its tradition of fine dining events, appearances by favourite Disney culinarians and top celebrity chefs, and a slate of concerts from favourite bands of the last few decades.



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Sea lions on the beach at San Jolla Cove in San Diego

La Jolla Cove, San Diego

For all animal lovers out there, this is the perfect place to go and surround yourself with seals and sea lions. My sister and I travelled out there with the kids and we all loved it. Right at sunset was perfect for photos and the up close and adorable encounters with the wild life was price less. Enjoy La Jolla Cove’s waters for snorkelling and scuba diving as well.

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Spis castle on a hill with fog surrounding below in Slovakia

7 Beautiful Castles in Slovakia

Did you know Slovakia has more than 300 castles? Although a lot of them are ruins there are many still intact. These historic castles have survived heroic battles and raids and are some of the best places to visit in Slovakia.

Katedrála sv. Martina v Spišskej Kapitule Spišský hrad

Spiš Castle

This medieval castle was built in 12th century and is situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie and the village of Žehra. Covering about 41 thousand square meters it belongs to the biggest castles in Europe. Movies such as Dragonheart, The Lion in Winter and The Last Legion were shot right here. 

 

Orava Castle

Orava Castle

One the most beautiful and largest castles in Slovakia, in the northern Orava region, Orava Castle is situated on a high rock above Orava river. Your journey through the castle will take you hundreds of years back with historical exhibitions such as furnished rooms, large courtyards, torture rooms and weapon collections.

 

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice, the oldest spa town in Slovakia, is home to the country’s oldest zoo and its most visited fairy-tale castle. Bojnice Castle was for many years owned by kings and aristocrats. The reconstruction in the 17th century brought the castle its romantic appearance. Now it is one of the most visited castles in Slovakia. 

 

Nitra Castle

Nitra Castle

This castle right above the old city Nitra dates from 11th Century and consists of four parts – the cathedral, the Bishop’s palace, the outbuildings and the well-preserved outer fortification walls with bastions. Today the Castle serves as the seat of the Bishop and the Archaeological Institution of the Slovak Science Academy. Walking along the Castle you can have a look at the courtyard and see a beautiful view of the city. The Cathedral is the place of regular church services, and because it is so beautiful, many young couples decide to say their “I do’s” there.

 

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle

This massive rectangular building with four towers stands on a strategic place – right above the Danube river in the capital city of Slovakia. Known as the symbol of Bratislava, the castle is undoubtedly the most popular sight in the city. The castle was completely ruined by a fire in 1811 and reconstructed in 1960’s to become a national cultural monument.

 

Devin Castle

Devin Castle

Close to Bratislava this castle, declared to be a national monument of Slovakia is worth the 10km trip. Since it is situated on a high cliff over the Morava and Danube rivers, and standing on the frontier between Slovakia and Austria, it offers beautiful panoramic views and is a very popular place to visit. 

 

lietava-castle.jpg

Lietava Castle

Not far away from Rajecké Teplice & south of Žilina are the ruins of the Lietava Castle. Accessible only by foot (about 30 minute hike), it is the second largest castle in Slovakia.  It has played an important role in the history of the north-western Slovakia. The castle was built to command movement along the Amber Road, the ancient trade route for the transfer of amber between Europe and Asia.


Information sources:

wikipedia.org        slovakia.travel        www.slovakia.com/tourism

 


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