14 Pretty Photos of Québec’s Hôtel de Glace

Main entrance for Hôtel de Glace

It’s not every day that one has the opportunity to visit Québec’s Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel), but when travelling in Québec City between the beginning of January and the end of March, venturing out to Hôtel de Glace is a must.

Oddly enough it took me three winters to finally make time to visit the ice hotel.

It takes fifty people about six weeks to take 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow and turn it into Hôtel de Glace — the only hotel in North America that is made entirely of snow and ice!

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Sunday Snapshot: Vieux Québec, Canada

Vieux Québec in summer

Vieux Québec, one of my favourite places in Canada.

Over the past couple years I’ve spent a lot of time in Québec City, even moving into an apartment in the Vieux Québec. Ah, I freaking love this city, the European feel, the history, the architecture, the croissants and chocolat chaud. All of it was delicious, and being an anglophone was never an issue. Sure, there was a language barrier, but visiting Québec is like visiting any other place where the main language is not English.

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Sunday Snapshot: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

As soon as I stepped into Sri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil in Colombo, Sri Lanka I felt as though I was stepping into a Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie. Made of South Indian granite the inside of the temple was cool and dark, the only light coming from small windows towards the roof of the temple, and the flicker of candles set about the various shrines. Photographs were not permitted, so I took my time walking around the temple, admiring the intricate hand carved stone, and the Hindu shrines.

Sri Lanka is a fascinating country, one that can be chaotic and overwhelming a times, but a place I need to explore more fully. I stayed in Colombo, mostly out of spite. Many travellers told me Colombo was a bad idea, that I should venture into other areas of Sri Lanka, but as I was on a 4-day visa run, and I tend to disbelieve people when they say a destination is bad, I stayed in Colombo. It was a challenge. After 24-hours I wanted to leave, but I was stubborn and stayed, and in many ways I’m glad I did.

My visit to Sri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil was the result of meeting a kind rickshaw driver whom I later hired to take me to various temples in the city; buddhist, hindu, and muslim temples.

I’d love to go back with a sketchbook and pencil, and spend an afternoon inside the temple trying to capture a little of its beauty.

5 Must See Temples to Visit in Bagan

Sunrise from Buledi Pagoda in Bagan

I generally don’t write list posts, I’m more interested in telling stories about countries, people, and culture. Relating some of the experiences I have on the road is, in a way, akin to keeping a journal. Yet, here I am, writing a list post on Bagan temples.

While most of Myanmar feels untouched, Bagan is the country’s tourist mecca. After days of interacting mostly with locals, and only seeing a couple fellow travellers, I went experienced a little culture shock in Bagan. Travellers, everywhere. It’s easy to understand why they have all converge, Bagan is home to more than 1,000 ancient temples, and photos of hot air balloons floating above the temples at sunrise is one of the more popular photos on the internet. Basically, Bagan is travel porn, it’s Mother Nature Gone Wild.

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Sunday Snapshot: Deadvlei, Namibia

This week’s Sunday Snapshot takes us all the way to west coast of Africa, Namibia to be exact.

During my 45-day overland tour from Kenya to Cape Town with Intrepid Travel, we stopped to explore Deadvlei in Namibia. Thankfully we stopped in the morning as the sand was still quite cool – helpful as it’s a nightmare to walk through sand in flip flops, which means I was able to walk to Deadvlei in my barefeet and not get burned. The fact that there are scorpions in the dunes didn’t phase me as they don’t like a lot of vibration, and since I’m an overweight traveller, I imagine my vibrations sent them running. Yay! ha ha ha

Deadvlei was quite interesting, with dry cracked sand the colour of a sand dollar, and barren black trees, tall reddish-orange sand dunes surrounding us. Travelling overland in Africa was an amazing experience, and I’m kind of glad that our visit to Deadvlei was towards the end of my 45-day journey from Kenya to Cape Town.

Sunday Snapshot: Vienna, Austria

This week’s Sunday Snapshot takes us to… Vienna, Austria!

I visited Vienna during a whirlwind trip through Europe that included stops in Frankfurt, Köln, Paris (the train ride from Paris to Vienna was long, but good), and Prague. Unfortunately my time in Vienna was very short, but that didn’t stop me from seeing as much of the city as I possibly could – despite the intense heat. How did I not know that Vienna gets so hot in summer?! Holy crap!

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Yangon’s Circle Line Train, Best Bang for Your 31 Cents

Yangon Central Rail Station

When I started researching my trip to Myanmar, one of the things I had decided to do was the circle train line. A three hour journey, the train ventures into the outer edges of Yangon, for K300, which is about 31 cents.

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Sunday Snapshot: Churchill, Manitoba

It’s time for Sunday Snapshot, and this week I’m taking you to Churchill, Manitoba. While Churchill is best known for the polar bears, I visited in August to see the Beluga whales. Every July and August Beluga whales travel to the Churchill river by the thousands, and damn, it is an amazing sight.

I spent three nights in Churchill, checking out the town with my guide Gerard, and interacting with the whales during a boat tour of the river. And although majority of the polar bears are elsewhere in summer, I was blessed enough to see seven polar bears – and thankfully my guide was with me each time!

Arctic tundra in Churchill

Polar bears are not to be trifled with, especially in a place like Churchill, Manitoba where they roam around frequently. Walking around town was always risky, and walking around without a gun at night is just plain stupid – a polar bear can show up at any time, and if one does you are not likely to survive the encounter.

Churchill is tiny, and full of character; in many ways I wish I had time to interview all of the locals, to ask about life in a tiny place that is only accessible by train or plane, and always on alert for roaming polar bears.