All posts filed under: Travel

Weekend in Seattle

We recently took advantage of the direct flights from Edmonton to Seattle for the long weekend in May. As per usual, we used public transit (the light rail transit and buses were very convenient) and booking on Air BnB to save some coin while traveling on the American dollar (which always leads to more colourful encounters with locals). While we have shied from uber touristy activities on our most recent city-break trips to the United States (San Antonio, Portland, and New York City), we decided to go full on tourist with the Seattle City Pass. I knew The Spaniard, a civil engineer, would want to take a ride up the Space Needle, and our friends Marc & Jaddah had suggested the locks harbour cruise tour. With two of those activities (the locks tour was a small upgrade), we decided it would be worth the $89 (American) pass for five of Seattle’s top (insert most touristy) attractions. For our first toursity activity we joined the mob of families taking in the Seattle Aquarium. We had some …

Why the 30th Anniversary of Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge will be the best yet

Heading to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) to experience Christmas in November (CIN) has become my favourite event of the year. Who wouldn’t love escaping to the mountains to spend your days in interactive culinary sessions with local and celebrity chefs, getting your Christmas decor and craft on, and indulging in decadent meals and a few adult beverages. The hardest part is deciding which session to go to and when to fit in a dip in the heated pool. The first Jasper CIN I attended was five years ago for their 25th anniversary, and I can tell you they like to celebrate anniversaries. This year, the Fairmont JPL team is going all out to put on the best Christmas in November yet! The event is already close to a sell out, so if you want to rub elbows with Food Network Canada culinary stars, learn tips and tricks on how to DIY (do it yourself) your holiday decor, and get all the recipes you need to host the perfect holiday dinner, you better book quickly. …

Two Weeks in Japan – Highlights in retrospect

It has been a year since I returned from a two-week trip to Japan with one of my favourite travel buddies Josh (who met me there from Australia). Life was a bit crazy when I returned from that trip, and I never got around to blogging about our adventure. My facebook memories have been on overdrive in recent weeks reminding me of what Josh and I were up to a year ago, which made me feel like it wasn’t too late to document our Japanese journey, and reflect on my favourite memories of our trip. So, here is my top 10 highlights from two weeks in Japan (along with some tips which helped make the most of our trip). 1. Went to a Japanese baseball game A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Apr 25, 2017 at 4:30am PDT Going to watch a baseball game was so much fun in Japan we did it twice. (We actually tried to go three times but we arrived at the ballpark in Tokyo to find the game sold …

A weekend on Vancouver Island

Conveniently, my birthday falls around the family day weekend. The last few years we’ve celebrated by going out of town for the three-day weekend. This year, we decided to take advantage of the direct Westjet flight from Edmonton to Comox and visit my friend Christopher and spend the weekend on Vancouver Island. Christopher was very excited to show us around. We kicked our weekend off with a hike along the shore of Comox Lake before we joined the locals for a roast-beef-dinner at the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland. We also picked up some locally brewed Raven’s Moon craft cider (and bootleg BC wine) before heading home to binge watch the winter Olympics. Saturday morning we were ready to kick it to west coast of Vancouver Island. A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:47am PST Christopher suggested picking up some seafood before we set off, so we stopped in at Fanny Bay Oysters for oysters and crab, and we also grabbed some clams from Mac’s Oysters, where I was blown …

Weekend in NYC – La Gran Manzana

Over the Labour Day Weekend, The Spaniard and I jetted off (that sounds far more glamorous than the red-eye flight we took from Edmonton to Montreal, and then on to La Guardia), for a weekend in New York City. Both of us had been there once, but for each, it felt like a lifetime ago. While I am normally the one in charge of planning vacations and trip, this was entirely The Spaniard’s choice. You see, he wanted to go to the US Open. Since I force him to watch ice hockey – it is only fair I agree to watch some of his favourite sports as well (like our trip to San Antonio to watch an NBA game). Arriving at La Guardia Friday morning and checking into our AirB&B in Astoria Queens by 11:30 a.m. meant we had almost four full days. Although we were jet lagged from an overnight flight – here are 10 things that kept us busy in the five boroughs: 1. 12 hours of tennis at US Open Months after …

A weekend in Halifax – 10 things to keep you busy

When I learned that WestJet was offering direct flights from Edmonton to Halifax, I jumped at the chance to spend the Victoria Day Weekend there. The Spaniard had never been to Atlantic Canada yet, and with just a few days, we managed to squeeze in an action-packed city break on the east coast of Canada. We relied on public transit (only $3.50 each), from the airport to Halifax, walked a ridiculous number of kilometers around the city, and rented a car for one day ($70 including gas) so that we could explore the South Shore (and take an obligatory headstand photo). A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on May 20, 2017 at 3:02pm PDT While it feels like we did 101 things on our trip, here are 10 things we did that could keep you busy during a weekend in Halifax. 1. Fuel up at Breakfast & Brunch We made the most of our trip to Halifax which required lots of energy to get us through the day. That means starting things off with a …

A Weekend in Portland – 10 things to keep you busy

Taking advantage of the statutory holiday on Friday, The Spaniard and I did a city break to Portland over the Easter holiday. Our reason for going was simple – it isn’t that far away from Edmonton, and well, my old roomie Marc said it is awesome. Having seen only one episode of Portlandia I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’d heard it was becoming quite the food destination in America, and since it was a haven for hipsters, I knew they would have loads of gluten-free options. Portland didn’t really strike me as the kind of place you go where you need to check things off a list, but if you are looking for some inspiration, here are 10 things to keep you busy during a weekend in Portland. Side note – we relied on public transit the whole weekend, including to and from the airport. We made great use of the $5 day passes that include access on city trains, buses and street cars. Congrats to the City of Portland on your public …

Sunny in San Antonio

For The Spaniard’s 30th birthday I wanted to do something special – I wanted to take him to his first NBA game. Unfortunately, preseason was still going on during his actual birthday, so I couldn’t deliver on my gift until two weeks later. Thanks to the city suggestion from my old roomie Marc, we decided on San Antonio so we could catch the Spurs. We had an early morning flight with two connections, so by the time we arrived in San Antonio we were exhausted. Our hotel was conveniently located along the river walk, a world-renowned urban waterway below street level, which allowed us to orient ourselves with the downtown just 15 minutes away. On our first morning we set out along the river heading north towards the Pearl Brewery district, a very cool area that mixes residential, restaurants, shops, a hotel, and a branch of the Culinary Institute of America into refurbished (and a few new) buildings from the old Pearl Brewery. Saturday happened to be market day so we grabbed a gluten free banana …

Taste Lacombe, Alberta: Sweet Capone’s, Rangeland Meat Shop, and S4 Greenhouses

When Liane Faulder included Lacombe, Alberta in her list of great day trip ideas from Edmonton in her Edmonton Journal post back in June I felt like the cool kid – because I’ve been day-tripping it to Lacombe, Alberta for years. I was introduced to the central Alberta city when my sister built a cottage at Gull Lake a few years ago. I make a habit of stopping in for bread and treats at the Totally Gluten Free Bakery, digging through the antique shops, and love searching for fashion gems in the not one but two thrift shops in Lacombe. The Spaniard is always a good sport when it comes to exploring Alberta and I had a special treat in mind for his first visit to Lacombe. This summer Sweet Capone’s, an Italian bakery and cannoli shop, opened up to rave reviews and daily sellouts. My sister had been lucky enough to score cannolis on a couple of occasions, and warned me that if we wanted to buy anything to get there early. Well, leaving from Edmonton on …

A Gili reunion in the south of France

It was December 2006 on a minibus in Bali when I first met Tine & Joe from Belgium. We spent the whole day traveling to Gili Trawangan, (bus, boat, bus, boat) where we spent the next week together and even celebrated Christmas along with a rag-tag group of travellers. Five years later I visited them in their home of Antwerp, meeting their then two-year-old son Jack. When I let Tine know I was coming to Europe this summer she said I could come visit them at their place in the south of France. Since I have never been to the south of France before – how could I say no? I took a train from Barcelona to Carcassonne in the region of Languedoc-Roussillion. Tine met me at the station, pointing out the medieval fortress the town is famous for, but stressing she would not be taking me to the touristy site (they have been too many times).  We travelled 25 km to the quant town of Montlaur where I spent the next three days chilling at …