I will not write a long blog or detailed itinerary instead I am creating a photo blog for this one and will list the name of the places visited.
Stay – 2 nights – Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tremblant, an IHG Hotel , Booked via Expedia.
Month Visited – Labor Day Weekend September 2021
It is famous Winter destination with ski activities and snow boarding . Also popular in the Fall for beautiful Fall foliage. I need to add the fact that Drive is beautiful when you travel from Ontario or Montreal.
So we went from Montreal to Mont-Tremblant then back to Toronto passing through pretty town of Montebello
I have always heard how beautiful Quebec City is. Its been 3 years in Canada for me and every time I would plan to visit Quebec, it would somehow fail. 2020 changed everyone’s life completely. All travel plans were cancelled. No flights to new destination. I am still scared to take flight thinking about the crowd. So when restrictions lifted and it was little safe to go around we decided to take a trip to Quebec city from Toronto. Since we were travelling via car there was no fear of public transport and crowd.
It is approximately 900KM from Toronto and takes about 8 to 9 hours one way. So we divided our route and halted at Brockville for the 1st night. We left from Toronto by 8pm in the evening and reached Brockville by 11pm or so and rested there for the night.
Day 1 :-
Next morning we wanted to see 2 things on our way to Quebec , 1st – Brockville Railway Tunnel. It is Canada’s 1st railway Tunnel and you ought to take pictures with such history. It was closed due to covid so we had to see from outside and could not go in.
Next was – St. Raphaels Ruins. This is little detour from 401 but wanted to check it out . Old church ruins do make a memorable trip itinerary.
We went via Montreal towards Quebec city. If you like you can make a halt around Montreal. We opted for quick lunch in Montreal (only take outs were preferred) and left for Quebec City.
We reached Quebec in evening and checked in to our Airbnb. We had earlier booked a hotel right in the old city but then preferred to go with Airbnb as less crowd and considering safety standards.
Explore the famous Quebec City !!! Hopped in our car , grabbed coffee and left for city. Airbnb was 10 minutes away so had to find a parking spot. You should get parking near old port. Then we just walked. Morning we saw the below places –
Quartier Petit Champlain :- You just need to reach here and start walking. You will be mesmerized by the old city charm and the beauty this place holds.
We grabbed lunch (take out) and went back to airbnb as it was getting crowded at that place. So you know I will visit this place again in future to explore more and eat something good there.
We rested for a bit and left again. We went to see Montmorency Falls but it was closed by the time we reached so we had to see it from road and explored the area near by.
Drove back towards city. We initially wanted to visit Dufferin Terrace but did not find parking in evening. So instead we went to The Citadelle of Quebec , Quebec Fort. There is an underground public parking near by easily accessible.
Parliament is also near by , there was some protest going on so we skipped going inside
we then went back and retired for the night. We did drive around the city and captured few beautiful views
Day 3 :-
We checked out and before leaving Quebec went to Dufferin Terrace to see the famous Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Pre-Covid there used to be tours to see inside this big palace hotel.
We grabbed breakfast and coffee from local shop, walked the area and saw few more architectural beauty. I can spend few days admiring them.
Sadly had to say good bye to Quebec city and start with the return journey. For return we planned to stay for a night in Ottawa, the Capital city of Canada. (also thought about Mont Tremblant as another halt option but skipped and kept Ottawa as we were covering all cities. )
So there was some road issue so google maps suggested some inside route and that let us to a strawberry farm. We did not do any picking but bought some farm fresh berries.
Finally on our way to home – Toronto / Mississauga but did stop at Kingston for tiny halt and then reached home. On routes are another halt places if you are looking for on 401 East.
Thus amazing trip comes to an end. This is the itinerary I followed but you can surely skip few and concentrate more on Quebec or shorten your days or stay. It is exactly 1 year ago I visited Quebec City and this year I am writing about it remembering the trip.
‘In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And there’s this strange thing: you’re never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well.’
– By Hannah Kent
I have been filmy and fan of bollywood always and when my favorite onscreen pair appeared in Dilwale movie in 2015 , i immediately searched for the location where the song – Gerua was shot. Result as you can guess was Iceland and from that time this became my number 1 travel bucketlist.
My husband and I would discuss between Norway and Iceland and he agreed for Iceland as it was too pretty to see and so many amazing landscapes and variety in a country to be discovered. So here goes our Icelandic journey of 5 nights and 6 days .
Youtube link below is the whole video #travelVlog, If you want day wise videos then same is broken down and uploaded on my IGTV Travel channel on Instagram @ highwaysnrunways and also link is shared after each day here .
Our journey started from Toronto. After 5 hours approximately we reached the land of Fire and Ice !
We had pre-booked car and preferred an all wheel drive (SUV) since read about gravel roads and sand storm. But we also realized if you are going just South and West and not going to East or north (especially) then even front wheel drive will do , also you save money there. There is huge difference in price between what kind of car you book . Transportation will decide your real budget of the trip.Bus tours and tours with some companies will be expensive. Going on your own , driving around will be cheaper. But Iceland is not a cheap country. Be ready to empty your pockets let any blog or travel website tell you anything. Only cheapest way we found is if you book camper van and do camping all over your stay.(Trust me that is the cheapest)
This hotel was right in middle of green land spreading till the end and just like some fairy tale.
We Halted on the way grabbed some food and reached by 3 pm. Checked in and then without thinking twice left to explore near by areas. We took the map from hotel lobby and marked few places and explored as much as we could.
Since we were jet lagged we did not plan much for the first day plus drive took time so we were not sure how much we would be able to see.
We stopped for some food in a cute local cafe and then returned back to hotel by evening. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Tip – (Food is expensive in Iceland. If you do not want to eat in any restaurant or Hotel then please carry enough Sandwiches and Hot dogs from Airport for the day. You can get sandwiches from Gas Station and any convenience store )
We rested for the night and were so excited for our next day !!
After each day ends, there is a link for day-wise video uploaded on my IGTV channel on instagram.
Iceland is a place where Road Trip is must as you can stop anywhere you want and enjoy the beauty of the place. Thus we did stop at few spots that we saw on the way between popular spots. These are random stops made to get good view.
Tip – Good thing is notice camera sign or Picnic sign on road that tells you about any scenic spot ahead.
Icelandic Roads are so Beautiful. If you don’t know your location just park somewhere and sit and view what is in front of you. You will be mesmerized.
Next we headed to the Canyon. Cannot pronounce the names of any of the places and infact it became our game throughout the drive to say at least one correct name.
It was raining crazily and making our drive difficult. Whole country is on 1 Highway – Route 1 . It is single route so became difficult to drive. We almost thought of cancelling it but the explorer in you can never say no. With little break and when weather was little ok , we went ahead and saw this gorgeous Canyon.
On our way back to hotel , we faced some serious weather trouble – Hail Storm ! IT was crazy. We had to hide inside a supermarket for a while to let it stop.
Vik is a city in the south coast and day 3 we traveled around this zone. Also if you are GOT fan then Iceland is one location that you should visit to chase the filming locations and especially the south coast.
There are few other movies filmed right at this location –
Game of Thrones
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There are few cafes and for the whole trip thank god for the sandwiches and hot dogs (not so expensive) , we survived. They are tasty too.
The location you see below was our next location. It was not on our list but when you travel you discover few places after being there !
We were not aware about the long walk to reach the plane wreck. So warning there is good 7km walk till you reach the beach where the plane wreck is seen. Damn we walked and almost everyone visiting the place walked 14 km .
We started counting steps and found out that one way is 4840 😛
Tip : There are timing given for shuttle buses but you need to pay to get into them.
We were back to our Hotel and it was our last night in Hella.
We did see some places en route , like Geo thermal Plant , hidden lagoon chase. We are such kind of traveler who love to explore a place that interest us. Even if guide says some location is important but if we don’t find it interesting we will not bother seeing that, like Geo thermal plant – we did not go inside.
Hidden lagoons are in abundance in Iceland and we chased that instead. But did not find one.
We searched for some restaurants as we were bored of eating the same thing and wanted to try some Icelandic cuisine. We found this beautiful restaurant located inside a Golf course. If northern lights appeared then this would have been a perfect place to watch with dinner. (We did trace the aurora using the Aurora App but it was just start of season and it could be viewed very less and for minimum time.) We did not have luck yet ! Stayed in Farm , Ate in Farm but no Aurora Luck.
Finally we were on the Golden circle route Exploration today. We were on part of it on 1st day while going to Vik from Airport and today we are covering the rest of it.
Here is the map of the Golden Circle. If you google you will find all the spots that you need to visit but if you are driving then just be on this route and you will see more places or follow few other cars and you reach some beautiful never seen before kind of place.
Tip : –There are many layover tours over Iceland . This route is ideal if you have just 1 day in Iceland. Just make sure you reach Reykjavik in the morning hours to get into some Tours (you get them at the airports too or book online)
If you drive then you can cover more than just Golden circle.(Try south coast and Golden circle)
Make sure you consider the fact that you might be jet lagged or depending from where you are travelling.
If you come to Iceland and do not visit West Coast then you miss something very big and beautiful. Whole Iceland is as such very pretty and mind-blowing but Western Iceland is different story. If you do not believe me then let the pictures below tell you.
We started from our hotel and followed the below route . We did not have much knowledge about where to go first so we stopped at visitor center.
Information center guy was very helpful and marked all the important places for us. Also we asked him about all the places we were more interested and he pinned it for us.
Lastly we went to see the famous Black Church of Iceland
We did stop at places we liked and finally made our way back to Reykjavik and already were feeling sad that vacation was over . Next day we had our flight to Toronto. While going back we did circle the peninsula and passed by same 5km Tunnel towards city
Best part was not over yet. I had no hopes of seeing northern lights as it was just start of the season and I was in city with lights and no darkness to observe them.Frankly I did not plan the trip based on Aurora viewing. But when I landed I kept my eyes open and downloaded the Aurora app to see the activity and probably trace it. When we were roaming the streets of Reykjavik I asked the lady at the Information desk about any possibility of Northern Lights. She told me a place – light house around 5 6 km away where people visit and if you are lucky you can see them but she did say not to keep high hopes.
We had dinner and explored the city walked the streets , collected souvenirs. We came back to hotel and packed our stuff for the flight the next day. Since it was the last day I kept checking my phone for aurora and it did say the activity would be around 11pm. We got in the car and drove to the spot – Grotta.
Finally we were to leave this gorgeous country and catch our flight for home. Before that, we did have one place to see and experience – the famous Blue Lagoon. It is closer to airport so you can plan to visit either on arrival or departure depending upon your time and flight. Make sure to book it beforehand or atleast before the day you want to visit.
Ask any Bengali their favorite time of the year and it has to be Durga Puja. So After relocating to Canada, my first question was where will I celebrate Durga Puja. I googled and found out there are so many organizations and thus many pujos.
People who have been living abroad will know how these pujas are arranged. They are basically weekend only pujo. So Saturday is Sashti, Saptami and Sunday is Ashtami, Navami and then Dashmi.
If you visit the Temples then they have pujo according to Hindu Calendar Time and Dates.
Here goes the list of Pujos that you can enjoy each year in Toronto and GTA.
Hamilton Durga Pujo – (Weekend Dates , check with the associations) , never been to but heard about it. So keep checking Facebook pages for updates
Kitchener Durga Pujo – (Weekend Dates , check with the associations), never been to but heard about it. So keep checking Facebook pages for updates
All info here is based on information on internet and functions attended in the past. I do not have right over any association or committee here. (If any of the information is wrong then please let me know)
Fall is one of the most beautiful season. The changing colors and phenomenal views. There are many places to enjoy this view. You don’t have to take a trip anywhere as whole city is filled with Fall colors . Any park any street.
This was my 2 ND fall season here in Toronto and this time I wanted to explore Algonquin ( heard so much about it).
You can do a day trip but drive is 3 hours one way and park is quite big. There are some 14 trails / places within the park accessible to people to visit.
We group of friends left from Toronto on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening.
On our way to Algonquin we took break near small cute town Bancroft.
Well we got pretty views before entering Algonquin. As it was after the peak week.
My friend gave good suggestion and would love to share that everyone enters from the West gate of Algonquin. We entered from the East gate. Stayed near to East gate too. Though your options are less on the east side.
On Saturday as suggested by local we explored near by area and there was pretty lake where we could enjoy Sunset.
As you enter from East Side , need to take permit for your vehicle 21$ for the day. You get the map with trail distance and time to cover each one. We selected 3 and did 3 trails.
1. Lookout Trail
2. Canoe Lake
3. Beaver Trail
We planned to do Whiskey Rapids but it was getting darker. We did all the trails on Sunday.
There are other pretty trails but with 1 day in hand we could not cover. May be next year.
Stay :- Rolling Rapid Motels
Beautiful view just outside our motel. There are just 3 restaurants in the area and LCBo right across the Hotel. pictures below :
If you don’t wanna make a long trip, then head to Dundas Peak ( Parking is difficult during peak season). It is approximately 1 hour away from City. Trail is 40 minutes. There are 2 waterfall trails , the peak view is Tews Fall. Also remember to keep cash when you go as they only take cash as entry fee.
When I started my research about climate and what to wear , all I could find was Winter wear.
Summer months are June till August but it can be rainy and windy anytime in Iceland. So always carry a poncho or jacket with you. This advise I got everywhere.
There are many blogs for winter and summer styling is just basic. August end till September is the season change time to fall. Like everywhere else you can follow the basic Fall styling in Iceland.
I visited end of August till initial of September when temperature was fluctuating between 7°C to 14°C with rain and hail storm and all kind of weather. Though did see the sun for last 2 days but with cold climate.
So what I packed –
1. Tights – Thick Stockings
3. Sweaters and Sweatshirt kinda clothes
4. Boots , not the winter boots but anything that can be useful for hiking , mountain climbing and not be slippery.
5. Leggings – Thick woollen ones
6. Hats, Gloves , scarfs ( Required)
These would be my must haves in Iceland anytime of the year !
Also if you stay in any of the Winter wonderland places, you will know about correct things to wear.
Layered up. Wore this cute shirt top from urban planet over my forever21 dress . Also had Leather jacket on !
First wore off shoulder top (packed it thinking it would be sunny) , managed with jackets but then wore this cute sweatertop over it.
Many of my dresses are from @shien.ca and Urban planet !
Well Canada has short summer just for 3 months ideally and now that it is end of August , I will be welcoming Fall soon.So sharing my summer lookbook here using a photo blog.Detailed information on Instagram.I strongly believe in Comfort styling and wear what you think suits you. Summer weekend is always full of adventure and travel. Wore the below for exploring and as always travel in style !!https://www.instagram.com/p/B07TQHnBob1/?igshid=zd28se8bl0j5