Monthly Archives: October 2011

Okanagan: Wine Country

If you haven’t noticed I love to travel. Most of my travels are overseas, but who would have thought that my own country would be home to some of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited.

The Okanagan Valley is just an hour outside of Kelowna, British Columbia, and is the home to the many vineyards in the province. When you land in Kelowna, be sure to ask your taxi driver to avoid the highway and take you through the back roads.  You will see many homes with their own private vineyards and spectacular views of the mountainside and lake, it really is incredible.

Penticton and Okanagan are fairly small areas, but there are tons of things to do:

  •   Penticton Lakeside Resort: If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, I would recommend the Penticton Lakeside Resort.  It’s along the beach, has a tapas restaurant and sports bar/dining patio on the property and tons of water sports.
  • Penticton River Channel: Also nearby is the Penticton River Channel; where you can bring your floating device and just float along Penticton! You float so far that there are a row of taxis that wait at the end of the river to drive you back to the beginning. It’s pretty incredible!

You really can’t go to the Okanagan without visiting the many wineries. Here are a few that are worth the visit:

1. Nk’Mip: This winery has some of the most spectacular views of the valley.  Stop in here to have small bite to eat and sip on a glass of wine, while overlooking the Osoyoos Lake.

2. Sumac Ridge: If you have the opportunity to do a wine tasting here, jump at the chance. This is one of the larger wineries, and there is plenty do here than just sip on wine. Enjoy a meal, tour the caves and there are tons of things you can purchase at the gift shop.

3. See Ya Later Ranch: My personal favourite; this winery is at the top of the mountain and the views are incredible. This winery has quite the story behind it which makes it fascinating. For the wine “connoiseur” you will likely  enjoy the quality of wine that See Ya Later has to offer.

If you’re in British Columbia and have some free time….visit the Okanagan Valley! Happy travels!

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Santorini: Blue, Blue and more Blue

Heaven on earth, must be Santorini. It simply is an island that should be on your bucket list.  I toured around Greece this summer and island hopped, but without a doubt any other Greek island pales in comparison to the beauty of Santorini.  

Officially named Thira, the island of Santorini is broken into two distinct areas. Fira is the part of the island that holds the history; there is a small town, museums, shops and many churches. I didn’t stay in a hotel while in Santorini, but I would imagine this is the less expensive side of the island.  Fira is very busy and full of tourists during peak season. Don’t rent a car if you plan on only staying in Fira, its chaotic! I recommend walking and enjoying what this little town has to offer.

To travel from Fira to Oia, you will need to drive. The island of Santorini is small, but they somehow managed to create these two distinct areas on opposite sides of the island. I don’t care how athletic you think you are, you can’t walk between Fira and Oia.

Once you reach Oia (pronounced Eee-ah), which in my opinion is heaven on earth, you will agree that it is everything that you would imagine Greece to be. The white houses made of stone, the blue rooftops, the grey cobblestone paths, the blue sky and blue waters.  It really does take your breath away.

Oia is a little bit larger than Fira, and has far more complicated paths that you can easily get lost in. But to buy a map would be ridiculous. Just go, get lost, enjoy! So what is there to do in Oia? Not much which is odd, but here are a few things I do recommend:

  • Coffee: Stop over for some Greek dessert and espresso at Cafe Molinari. It’s just around the corner from the main church in the town square.
  • Ochre Bistro: Stop off for a mojito or glass or wine at this small restaurant while you overlook the island.
  • Take a donkey: I personally didn’t do this because of my limited time. But if you are looking for the Greek experience, take a donkey up to the town. (Warning: it’s about an hour)
  • Take the Ferry: Some people call it the ferry, I call it the “death trap!” I’m not afraid of heights, but to take this cable car from the top of the mountain to the very bottom is quick, but scarier than a roller coaster! (warning, don’t go in the very first cart!)
  • Dinner: Right between Fira and Oia there is an amazing restaurant that keeps feeding you! The “Restaurant Iris” overlooks the Caldera (volcano) and is the perfect spot to really “take it all in”. You will see both Oia and Fira on either side, and you watch the beautiful Santorini sunset right in front of you.
  • The Sunset: truly, the main reason to go to Santorini is to see the sunset. I’ve seen many, but none….and I mean none quite like this.

Until we meet again…..OPA!

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