Two nights in Manila

If you can visit another country, you should do it! I had the chance for a very short visit to Manila in the Philippines and it was really interesting. My friend and I visited Guam Island for a week and we transferred planes in Manila so it didn’t cost any more money to stay there for 2 nights.  We stayed at a hostel near the airport and we arrived pretty late in the evening. The next day, we spent the whole day looking around Intramuros, an old Spanish walled city, the museum and main park, as well as Mall of Asia (a lot like West Edmonton Mall)!  We travelled by jeepney, which was very cheap, to get around the city. We saw very poor areas and we also took a train to visit a big mall with very expensive stores. There was a lot of history in the city and there were also many American businesses. I was very surprised to see so many guns because every business and building had guards with guns. For a short trip, I saw a lot!

August long weekend @Whitney Lakes Provincial Park

I first visited the Ross Lake campground at Whitney Lakes in 2014, and I was really impressed with the place.  Campsites are extra-big, and quite private. There are several very nice lakes, where swimming is very nice, and it’s close to several hiking trails, including the Iron Horse Trail, and the historic Carlton Trail.  I recommended the trip to my cane club(s) and outdoor club last year and this year, but people seem to have different ideas about how to spend a long weekend.  Luckily, there was one member of my outdoors club who wanted to go camping someplace new.  Depending on how you go, and whether you stop, it takes about 2 1/2-3 hours to drive to Whitney Lakes from Edmonton, on quiet highways. We stopped in both directions at Mundare & Two Hills, and we also paused in Elk Point and Myrnam on our return trip.

I was hoping to paddle for one day on the North Saskatchewan River, but we didn’t have another vehicle to provide shuttle service. Nevertheless, paddling was very pleasant on Ross Lake, as well as Whitney Lake.  I really enjoyed the calls of the loons on Whitney Lakes.  Swimming was also quite lovely on both lakes. On Sunday afternoon, the weather was warm and sunny for 2-3 hours, long enough to nap on the beach, and to enjoy going back and forth between warming up on the beach and cooling off in the lake.  The area is very popular with families.  There were motorboats on the lakes, but they weren’t terribly noisy and busy.

We tried hiking around Whitney Lake, but a portion of the trail was underwater, in both directions. The Iron Horse Trail out of Lindbergh was a nice spot to enjoy all of the birds, berries, and butterflies that were plentiful.

The days were pretty cloudy, with rain threatening much of the time. It rained extremely heavily on Saturday and Sunday nights.  Our neighbours helped us out by setting up tarps over our tents, including one of their own.  They set them up while we were off canoeing, and they drove away from the campground very early Monday, leaving us their tarp and ropes!  Evening campfires were great, and we ate very well.

On the way back to Edmonton, we enjoyed the traditional Ukrainian church in Myrnam.  In Two Hills, we were curious to visit the “Mexican Family Store”. When we went inside, we saw that about half the store sold fabrics and Bibles for Mennonite families in the area, and the other half had a wide range of Mexican food and cleaning products.  It seems that the town is being settled by Mexican Mennonites, who also speak German, and there is a large Mennonite school in the town.  I picked up vanilla, panela (solid cane sugar), and a number of other spices and Mexican foods.  We also noticed that the main restaurant in town advertised Mexican, Ukrainian, and Western cuisine. That was a pretty big surprise, in rural Alberta!  In Mundare, we visited Stawnichy’s Ukrainian (Mundare) Sausage, a famous, long-standing business (0ver 50 years). It was a great place to pick up assorted meats, and some delicious Ukrainian food, including fruit perogies and cabbage rolls.

Canoeing the Athabasca River: Fort Assiniboine-Vega Ferry #2

I paddled this stretch of river in 2014, and really enjoyed the area.  It’s a good, easy river run, relatively close to Edmonton, but very peaceful, once you’re on the river.  I invited members of my outdoors club to join me this year.  There were some folks who are usually hikers but who wanted to try paddling. Most people on the trip had a fair amount of previous paddling experience. We made the trip with 8 people in 4 canoes, which was a perfect number for staying together and moving along.

There is a really decent municipal campground adjacent to Vega (Klondyke or Klondike) Ferry. We camped both nights at the campground for $12/site, and there was firewood and a cook shelter available. Most of us gathered at the A&Ws in Barrhead, where we could also purchase food & beverages nearby.  There was a worry about how high and fast the river might be, so we met at the bridge near Fort Assiniboine to assess. The group decided that things looked manageable, so we locked up our canoes by the bridge, before proceeding to our campsites. Saturday morning we started out fairly early, returning to the put-in with 2 vehicles.

Most of the day on the water was very pleasant.  Although there were dark clouds on both sides of the river a lot of the day, there was no heavy rain or lightning. The speed of the river kept us moving at a comfortable pace. We spotted deer and moose along the river, eagles, and assorted other birds and wildlife. As we neared our destination, the wind picked up and we had to work very hard to keep moving forward for about 30-45 minutes. Luckily, the wind died down again and we reached the campground with plenty of time to relax and fix dinner.  Some of us returned to pick up our vehicles from the put-in, and I enjoyed the old-time general store and lovely coffee shop in Fort Assiniboine.  Some of the group checked out a short hike in the morning. My trip partner had an injured ankle, so we explored the discount stores and

On Sunday, some of the group checked out a short hike in the morning. My trip partner had an injured ankle, so we explored the discount stores and Pokestops of Westlock on the way back to Edmonton. There were hearty, healthy lunch dishes available at the grocery store.  It was lovely to watch the crops and livestock along the highway. An excellent weekend adventure!

This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

Nature is nurture for me. There are many stresses in modern life, but when I can spend even 15 minutes in a natural environment, I begin to relax and deal with things more effectively. This is a beautiful article showing how nature is used for wellbeing in many areas of the world. Even if you don’t want to read the very interesting article, you can enjoy the lovely images.

When we get closer to nature, be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree, we do our overstressed brains a favor.

Source: This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

The Best of Edmonton

The students in my low intermediate class are studying about shopping, and they have learned a lot about using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here, they share some of the best places that they have found around Edmonton.

I like Edmonton because the society is relaxed. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname, Canada’s Festival City. In Canada, it’s the most popular city for festivals.

Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction in Edmonton, which is the largest living history museum in Canada by area.

If you stay in a hotel, the most expensive is The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and it has four stars. The price is $228.44 and that doesn’t include taxes and service fees of USD 28.03.

Here in Edmonton, you have to pay more GST (like VAT or HST).

If you want to buy the least expensive fruits and vegetables, No Frills is the least expensive grocery store.

If you want to visit a mall, West Edmonton mall is the biggest in Edmonton. Before, it was the biggest in the world but now it is only the most popular. You can find anything, you like there.

Hello! I’m from Brazil. Now I live in Edmonton, and I have stayed in Edmonton for five months. I haven’t had a long time to make great suggestions, but I’m enjoying my time a lot. Edmonton has a lot of great festivals in the summer. You should go to the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton or Fringe Festival Theater. Most festivals are amazing for families or on your own. Taste of Edmonton and Heritage festival both have food, but Heritage doesn’t have drinks with alcohol. Taste of Edmonton has a specific location for tasting wine and beer. Heritage has a lot of different traditional food and dances from all over the world. This is fantastic because you can learn a little about the culture of other countries. At the Fringe Theater Festival you should watch a presentation of arts on the street, for example, magic, acrobatics, or juggling outside or inside. If you watch theatre inside, you paid too much money. You can see pictures, handicrafts and snacks if you take more time.

I have some other suggestions for the best restaurants, nicest hotels, best department stores, most unusual markets and the most interesting museums. The best restaurant you should try is Rick’s. If you can spend more money, you could try Lux steakhouse. I don’t know a lot of hotels, but you could try Matrix Hotel. This hotel is downtown, and it has breakfast and a nice environment. The best mall you could visit is Southgate because it has a lot of stores, clothes, house, shoes, sports and others things. If you like to walk and have time, you could go to South Edmonton Common. The most unusual market you should go to a farmers’ market on Saturday on 104 Street. The most interesting museum near Edmonton is in Drumheller. You should visit Telus World of Science or Drumheller Museum to see the dinosaurs. In Edmonton, there are a lot of different places for you to visit.

When you arrive in Edmonton you should go to West Edmonton Mall. In West Edmonton Mall, there are a lot of cheap shops and expensive shops, so it depends on what suits you. In West Edmonton Mall, you can buy whatever you like. You can buy all kinds of clothes, electronic products, toys, souvenirs, and food. Also in West Edmonton Mall you can spend your time pleasantly. The most unusual markets are Costco and Sobeys. I always go there. The best Chinese restaurant where I was is, “Double Greeting Wonton House”. This restaurant looks ugly, but there is good food! In my opinion, the nicest hotel in Edmonton is the Hotel Macdonald. I was there for a moment and I saw a cool dog there. In the lobby, there is a model Hotel Macdonald building built with Lego. I was at one festival in St Albert. This festival was about old cars and a lot of people brought their own old cars and drove them around my street. For me, this was amazing because cars in Poland are different than Canadian cars.

Places to visit when you are in Edmonton:

When visiting Edmonton, you shouldn’t miss:

If you visit with children you can’t miss the most interesting park, “Fort Edmonton Park”!

Another park is “William Hawrelak Park”, and this is the most beautiful park in summer and in winter.

The best and the nicest Hotel is “Fairmont Hotel Macdonald” but it is also the most expensive.

The most interesting market is the “Farmers Market” in Old Strathcona. But there are many other interesting markets in the city in the summer.

“The Royal Alberta Museum” is the nicest museum in Edmonton.

But if you want to buy something, you can visit the biggest mall in America: “West Edmonton Mall” and after that, you can eat in the best restaurant in Edmonton: “Sorrentino’s Restaurant” or in the most unusual restaurant, “Louisiana Purchase” where you can eat crocodile.

I hope you enjoy your visit.