Just back from an amazing jam-packed trip to Iceland and Canada.
Travelled from Belfast City to Reykjavik with Air Iceland. Basic airline with no meals included in economy class. Almost 3 hours later, arrived at Keflavik Airport where we were transferred straight to Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. What a way to get to know each other! An amazing place – steaming hot water, algae face masks and drink in hand. They only allow 3 drinks per person as don’t want it to turn into a pool party – you couldn’t afford much more at £9.00 for a half cider.
Dinner at Caruso Italian restaurant and overnight at Hilton Nordica.
Golden Circle tour – including the Geysir and waterfall. Well worth it. Landscape is fascinating – mostly lava desert and other wasteland. There is colour every so often with the purple lupine flowers.
Icelandair to Edmonton that afternoon – again, bear in mind meals are to be paid for in economy class. Every seat is equipped with a pre-loaded tablet – don’t be expecting current movies. On arrival in Edmonton, walked to the Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel. The room was so welcoming, it was tempting to collapse for the night. Dinner at the Halo Restaurant in the hotel where we met the lovely Katherine and Laura from Edmonton Tourism who were to be our hosts in Canada. From here on in, the meals were incredible.
After a great breakfast, we were heading to Elk Island National Park. Unfortunately, we did not get to enjoy the full experience as it was pouring down and the mosquitos were very active. Our canoe trip was cancelled and we only managed to see one bison. I think, with the right weather, it would be a much better experience.
On to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village – an open air museum depicting early settlement in Alberta. Until then, I had no idea there was such a huge Ukrainian population. Lovely traditional lunch where I tasted perogies for the first time. Again, we didn’t see as much as we could have due to the weather.
Back to Edmonton where the weather had cleared and we had a Segway Tour with Chris from River Valley Adventure Co. – lots of laughs had by all. A great way to explore. I now want my own Segway – loved it!
Dinner at Prairie Garden Adventure Farm – all food grown fresh on the farm or locally. Also had my first taste of moonshine. Fantastic experience.
Check in at Chateau Lacombe which was to be our home for the next 4 nights. Nice hotel in a good location.
Breakfast at La Ronde revolving restaurant with magnificent views over the city.
Stock car racing then barbeque at Edmonton International Raceway. Most of the group had their own driving experience but I was taken around for 15 laps as a passenger – all I can say, it was very fast!
The people from Edmonton are passionate about their ice hockey and we went to see the Oilers new stadium Rogers Place in the Ice District. Fantastic stadium and must be an amazing atmosphere during a game.
Dinner and horse-racing at Northlands. Some winners, some losers but lots of fun.
Walked to the Edmonton City Market Downtown – the fresh produce was amazing but did find the clothes/crafts a tad expensive for a market. Took the high level streetcar to Strathcona and Whyte Avenue – the conductor was originally from Coleraine. Then went to the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and then on to Situation Brewery for a few. Lunch was from the hot dog stand.
Dinner at the Fairmont Macdonald on the patio – beautiful setting. We discovered Cheeky Peach cocktails – very nice indeed. Then off to the Citadel Theatre for the Improvaganza performance as part of the comedy festival. A good night was had by all ending in Hawkeyes a local which included karaoke.
Brunch at Get Cooking – learning, cooking, eating and socializing at the same time. Interesting concept.
Tour of Fort Edmonton Park – another open air museum showing life back in the early days.
Then a few free hours at West Edmonton Mall – where to begin? It has over 800 shops, a water park, adventure park, a themed hotel ……never ending!
Dinner at KITCHEN by Brad – unique experience where only one party is hosted at a time giving you that individual attention.
Breakfast at Little Brick in a residential area in the heart of the river valley – 3 course breakfast!
Off to the Rec Room for some axe-throwing – great time and would recommend this to de-stress. How about one in the breakout room? 😉
Lunch at Chartier – the food never seemed to stop coming. Amazing yet again.
Check in for flight home.
I found the Canadians so friendly with no airs and graces. Everywhere we went, the people are so passionate and proud about their specific product as well as their city.