Canadian Cottage Life

Growing up in Toronto, most of my summertime memories are of me up at my family cottage on Lake Kamaniskeg in Northern Ontario.  Our family has been going up there my entire life so the cottage has become kind of a second home to me and my sister.  After trekking around the world I can definitely say we have some of the most  beautiful fresh water lakes on Earth with gorgeous boreal forests.

We’re on a side of the lake with only six other cottages with a roller-coaster styled 1km long road which makes our location pretty remote.  At night we like to sit out on the dock and gaze up at the brilliant night sky filled with thousands of stars from the Milky Way, without any light pollution it’s a breathtaking view.  I love kayaking and close by to us is the “Madawaska Kanu Centre” where we get out on the whitewater.  The nearby township of Combermere has Valley Market self-titled “Center of the Universe” (haha) serves huge scoops of Kawartha Dairy ice cream which is totally worth canoeing 7 km down a river to get.  There’s also a few good hiking trails with some nice climbs in the area which also make for some good mountain biking.  About an hours drive is the amazing Algonquin Provincial Park which has over 2400 lakes and 12oo km of streams and rivers within the park which makes it a campers and hikers paradise.   Although, the area (Hastings Highlands)  is relatively pretty quite compared to elsewhere in Ontario cottage country, won’t always be that way as cottages are slowly migrating over from the Muskokas and up from the Kawartha Lakes.  If you’re visiting Central Canada I would definitely recommend renting a cottage or camping in Algonquin for a few nights to experience the amazingness of Canadian cottage country!  Check out these photos below!

Lake Kamaniskeg

Cottage

Chicago

Chicago

Finally back updating the theTravelled!  I’ve changed the look of the site.. let me know if you like the changes!!

It’s been a while since I was in Chicago, but, reminiscing here I found my short time there incredible!  I’ve been here once before for Lollapalooza in 2009 which was one of the best music fests I’ve ever attended.

Chicago has many similarities to where I live, Toronto.  Chicago, however, has a certain personality that is so lovable.  First the city is beautiful especially the public spaces around Grant Park by the lake filled with interesting art and architecture doting the inner-city green-space.  The “Cloud Gate” aka the “Bean” is a beautiful sculpture next to the Chicago Art Institute… a giant mirrored.. bean… very photo-graphical.  And beyond that the classic skyscrapers densely standing tall along long stretches of the downtown.  In my previous visit I stayed in South Chicago which was pretty ghetto and felt a bit unsafe at times.  This time we opted for a downtown hotel… which worked out much better.  One of my Chi-town recommendations is to visit the neighborhoods such as Wicker Park, Uptown with Monterose, where there are countless sports bars and jazz/blues clubs.  You’ll automatically feel like a local and will definitely prove to be the best way to connect with the city.  Toronto, with all its similarities to Chicago is much the same.. I always recommend visiting the neighborhoods like Queen West West, Roncesvalles Village, Leslieville, or Little Italy to get a feel for how people live and work and party!

Let me know some cool parts of Chicago and I can include them in the next post!

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Cool Skyscrapers in Chicago

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

The Road Trip: New Mexico

Earthship house in Taos - made from recycled materials

Coming out of Arizona we pushed onwards to Santa Fe, New Mexico.. a fascinating community of artists, spiritualists, millionaires and Navajo Natives.  North of Santa Fe is the small town of Taos, famous art community up here as well as world class skiing and Spanish style Pueblos everywhere.  The Rio Grande channels through the landscape and cuts a deep gorge into the high desert just outside of town which is absolutely beautiful.  The area had  a strange energy flowing through it although very quiet and peaceful there was a lot happening in town.

D.H. Lawrence had his ashes scattered here + some celebrities have homes in the area including Julia Roberts & Dennis Hopper .. the only disturbing person I found out that lives here part-time  is Donald Rumsfeld (ahh!!).

Check out these photos of the area!

A lone tree at the top of the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos, New Mexico

The Road Trip: Grand Canyon

I’m two steps away from a 2 km-down-sure-death-fail

Going through Arizona on our way up to the Grand Canyon we got on oold Route 66 (*built in the 1920s) which was awesome.. we stopped in a tiny outlaw town named Oatman which was filled with bikers and old-timely shops, mostly leather jackets and some hilarious souvenirs excluding Tea Party T-Shirts.. those were scary.  The actual road is in pretty bad condition but it takes you through the desert & mountains + donkeys stop you on the side of the road.. which is always good.

The Grand Canyon!!  One of the seven natural wonders of the world is a photographers dream landscape.  The only problem was it was really really cold and snowing as we ascended atop the giant plateau which is miles high above sea level… the low clouds were covering the entire canyon!  Luckily we stuck around and the clouds shifted so I got the chance to capture as many photos as I could before sundown.  Absolutely one of the most incredible sights along this long journey.. totally worth it.

Grand Canyon–2 billion years of exposed geological history

Sun sets over the Canyon

The Road Trip: Mojave Desert

Mojave Desert: Arizona, US

Writing this post from home in Toronto… I took a few notes along 4000 km/9 day journey across the USA with my family.   First stop.. the desert!  Starting from Venice, LA we drove out towards Arizona or in other words the pure-desert.. no ones out here… it’s the most barren landscape I’ve ever seen.  Here’s a couple of photos I took from the car along the California/Arizona border aka the Mojave Desert.

Sundown in the Desert

COACHELLEE !!

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Coachella or as Julian Casablanca calls it on-stage  “Coachell-ee!” was absolutely amazing this past weekend just outside of LA.  A three-day odyssey of music, art & a super-hot California desert.. the festival was super-fun.  There were so many bands to talk about but the Gorillaz & Jay Z were by-far the most fun to watch.. Thom Yorke played a wicked set with Flea from RHCP as well.
We had lots of fun!  The area was gorgeous with palm trees & mountain vistas & the camping area was lots of fun at night +plus Spicy Pie Pizza made gooood pizza.. a perfect music festival all-and-all.. we’ll come back.  The New York Times wrote a great synopsis of all the music.. I agree with all of their mini-reviews of the best acts.. Owen Pallett gets a mention!

Coachella Music Festival, Ferris Wheel!!