Costa Rica - November 2012

G Adventures - Costa Rica Quest (CRQ)

Day 1
Was supposed to be a full day of flying from Victoria to San José. Flight delayed in San Francisco, so missed connection in Houston. Was put up in a hotel overnight. Stayed at Holiday Inn Houston Airport.
Houston sprawl
Day 2
Was supposed to be on a fantastic day trip to a coffee plantation and to Poas volcano. Instead, the morning was spent flying to San Jose.
Later on, we met up with the rest of our group (11 women total), and our tour guide, Quique.
Stayed at Boutique Hotel de las Orquiedas.

Day 3
Early morning departure to start heading north. Breakfast along the way, then off to a white water rafting excursion. The river was crazy, class 3-4 due to the recent rains. I'm glad i did it, but it was a scary experience that i'm in no rush to repeat any time soon!
Then, back on the road spotting wildlife (howler monkeys) and onwards to La Fortuna. Quick stop at our hotel before off to the volcanic hot springs at Los Lagos Hotel. Fantastic time relaxing while enjoying piña coladas in a real pineapple cup! Then dinner and back for bedtime.
Stayed at Fortuna Inn.

Day 4
Had a bit of a sleep-in before wandering into town to find a place for breakfast. Found a great cafe with a patio overlooking the town square and settled in for a fantastic meal. It was neat to be in a foreign country, eating breakfast alone, yet not feeling alone as many of the other group members would stop by for a quick chat and continue on with their own wanderings. After breakfast I was able to find my first Costa Rican geocache at a location within walking distance of our hotel :) and then a bit of shopping.
This afternoon about half of the group went off to do a waterfall rappelling tour, and the other half did a horseback ride to a different waterfall. I chose to do the horseback riding and, despite already being sore from the day before, had an awesome time! We rode up the mountain, then hiked in to the waterfall crossing a suspension bridge and going down MANY stairs along the way. Once there, the power of the waterfall was quite amazing, it was actually difficult to get in the water due to the current.

Day 5
We spent the morning travelling by van and boat to head to Monteverde. Visiting the El Trapiche farm to learn about and experience coffee, sugar cane and chocolate. It was fantastic, tasty and I learned a lot!

Vancouver - Future of Tourism - May 31st

I had an incredible experience being in Vancouver to attend the Future of Tourism evening featuring G Adventures. The evening included discussions and debate about how tourism can be sustainable, something that G Adventures has been very passionate about for over 20 years. This is one of the many reasons I'm proud to sell G Adventures!
Some of the speakers included:

G Adventures Founder - Bruce Poon Tip
Here are some of the key points I took away from this event:

- Travel is still a privilege, not to be taken for granted.
- With so many options today you need to know what YOU want, what YOUR values are.
- Look for companies that emulate what you believe in, do your research.
- Believe that there is a higher purpose from travel.
- We are all collectively capable of extraordinary things, we can change the world.
- Today the world is changing. We have economic crisis, energy crisis and environmental crisis. Sustainability must become a priority.
- What kind of a tourist are you/do you want to be? Eco/Green/Sustainable/Responsible/Ethical?

Reasons why G Adventures is a great sustainable company you should travel with:
- In 2003 created the non-profit organization, Planeterra to give back to, and protect destinations they travel to.
- Has coordinated relief aid for a number of disasters including the earthquake in Haiti and droughts in East Africa.
- Committed to and understanding of you as the traveler, offer lifetime deposits.
- The biggest tour operator on the Inca Trail, with over 300 employees benefiting from your tourist dollars.
- Voted by National Geographic as the #1 Adventure Tour Company in the world out of over 260!
- Committed to a triple bottom line, people/planet/ with a company culture that values passion and purpose.

This is a video will give you a taste of G Adventures:

Contact me to book your G Adventures trip! 
Discover a more fulfilling travel experience.

"Not only can travel change your life, but it can also change the lives of the people you meet."

Scotland/Germany - April 2012

A rare chance to get down and crawl while in London Heathrow!
With excitement and a bit of nervousness for the long flight ahead, we departed for our big European adventure! The flights all went well, and I quite enjoyed the descent into London. We flew over Windsor Castle and the Olympic rowing venue, both of which were impressive to see from above
After a very long day of travelling (Victoria-Calgary-London-Edinburgh) we finally arrived in Scotland!
It was gorgeous and sunny when we arrived and hoped the weather would hold out for us. We picked up our car rental and set out on the wrong side of the road for the first time ever. Even with directions it was clear within about a minute that we were lost. Luckily with the handheld GPS we were soon back on the road in the right direction. Once checked in at the hotel it was time to relax for a bit (but forced ourselves to stay awake), had some dinner and then settled in for some well deserved sleep.

The next day the weather certainly took a turn for the worse! It was dark, gloomy, cold and windy...not exactly my favourite kind of weather to tour around in. But, I suppose it was to be expected in Scotland during the springtime.

A tour of Edinburgh Castle is not to be missed when in this city, so of course that's where we started. First up we watched the noon gun, then continued to tour through the many halls and museums within the Castle. Walking along the Royal Mile near the castle also gives a wonderful perspective on this city.

After the castle, we drove around to see some nearby sights...including the Salisbury Crags, Roslin Chapel, and Portobello Beach. Then, back to the hotel for what we call a ghetto meal.

The next day the weather took an even further turn for the worse with snow, luckily not too much! We met up with our friends and had a lovely lunch in a pub right by the Forth Bridge.

Pubs in Scotland are so charming and friendly and it was refreshing to have the baby welcomed. In the afternoon we quickly stopped by the Falkirk Wheel, then through very scenic countryside to Stirling Castle.

Stirling Castle has just recently been through a major rejuvenation and was fantastic to tour through. We were there just before closing and nearly had the whole place to ourselves.

A door just my size!

After closing now, leaving through the secret door.
Next, we were onwards to St. Andrews...again via beautiful scenery. Passed by the Wallace Monument.

We had dinner in the cute town and passed by many golf courses and the ruins of St. Andrews Castle on the way to the Fairmont St. Andrews. Had a fantastic night here!

View from our room

The next day we zipped back across Scotland, past Glasgow to the Auchentoshan Single Malt Whiskey Distillery. They put on a very informative tour and of course there are tons of samples to taste at the end!

Baby's first distillery tour!

It was now late afternoon and we decided to zip back to the Falkirk Wheel and actually ride it this time.

At the top!

The next day was the friend's wedding that had brought us to Scotland in the first place. What an amazing experience to be at a wedding with different customs than we're used to. And yes, there were lots of kilts and a bagpiper!

Onwards to Germany! The rest of our time in Europe was spent in the Black forest region in South West Germany (Lahr), visiting with family and a bit of sightseeing.

Visited Monkey Mountain in nearby France.

Then, the Black Forest open air Museum which was fascinating! There's a collection of old houses set up with furniture from the appropriate time period, complete with animals and people dressed up.

Then, to the nearby castle ruins of Geroldseck.

View from the ruins

Then to Lahr Stadtpark (city park) for Tulipfest.

Then, a walk along the Rhine River.

Then, a train ride down to Freiburg to visit the market.

First train ride!

And then it was the end of the trip and off we flew home!