We love natural settings and modernity, yet architecture from the Old World delights us as well. During our river cruise along the Danube, we visited and explored Durnstein, Austria, where its famous Abbey Church caught our eye with its vibrant blue, white, and gold adornments. Which buildings have unexpectedly caught your eye?
Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, features not just courts and walking trails, yet an elaborate children's garden and playground, a diverse botanical garden, a captivating zoo, and an enchanting museum to Winnie the Pooh, whose namesake is derived from that of this very city. Communal parks aren't just places where people exercise and play, but are also centers where residents can express, share, and preserve their many interests amongst each other. Where do locals share their interests in your community?
Just as we love the excitement that comes with exploring new places, we also enjoy the moments where we can take in their calm beauty. After a full day of exploring St. John, New Brunswick, we found King Square so nice that we made sure to pause and take in the scenery. If there's any lesson that we've taken about traveling, it's that it's important to plan for pauses as well as activities - otherwise, you'll go nuts! How do you mix activity and pauses while traveling?
When we planned our trip through Canada, we knew that we wanted to see the mountains in Banff, but we weren't certain if we'd encounter any snow when we arrived in the early spring. Much to our awe, the mountains were still capped in snow, which made for an even more beautiful journey! If you ever find yourself uncomfortable with driving through the mountains in the winter, then try scheduling your visit in the early spring when the roads aren't as packed with snow. Where are some of your favorite mountain routes?
Canada's people are well-known for having a strong sense of community and kindness, which is very evident in public places like the City Market in Saint John, New Brunswick. During our visit there last year, the vendors conversed with us and enthusiastically described and had us taste their local products. It was also pleasant to see that many locals had decorated the Market with hand-made maple leaves to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary as a nation, or sesquicentennial. The leaves adorned the entire length of the building from its ceiling! It was such fun to experience the celebration in each destination along our way. What are some of your favorite ways to meet and interact with locals during your travels?
One of the many things we loved about the capitals of the Canadian providences is that beautiful and expansive communal parks surround the administrative buildings - much like the one here in Regina, Saskatchewan. These parks allow for residents and visitors to enjoy and connect with community and nature. Where are your favorite buildings that are surrounded by parks?
Pittsburgh is situated where the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers all converge, which makes for an impressive cityscape from nearly any vantage point! Our favorite one was from Duquesne Incline, from where you can see all three rivers, the city, and the funicular that's been taking passengers since 1877. Where do you like to go to take in your favorite scenery?
Flower tourism is a genre of travel that introduces and guides you through the beautiful flora of a destination. China, Japan, Chile, New England, Israel, and the South Pacific are some popular destinations for flower tourism, and Vancouver should definitely be a part of that list just for its cherry blossoms alone. Have you ever traveled to a place for the flowers, and if so, where?
When we visited High Park in Toronto for the first time, it seemed like it was packed with people and little else. However, after walking for a while, we began to find paths that were undisturbed and quite enchanting. What are some of your favorite discoveries off the beaten path?
Toronto is well-known for its urban landscape, yet we were very captivated by its abundance of parks and wildlife. Maintaining a balance between urbanity and nature is always a challenge for any city, but it's an important goal for the sake of public and environmental health. What are some of your favorite urban public parks?
We couldn't agree more with the message on that chalkboard! We always love to search for and check out rising vegan and eco-friendly entrepreneurs and store fronts in each city we visit. Those like @theveganimperative in Toronto are an example of how many standard lifestyle products, such as footwear, accessories, clothing, and makeup can now be made with high quality and eco-friendly techniques after years where that was impossible. If anything, our travels have taught us just how much entrepreneurs of small businesses are leading the way in sustainable shopping. What are some of your favorite boutiques, and where are they found?
One thing we've learned about urban art during our travels is that it is not just about the artist's expression of his or herself, but the expression of that community's values as well. In Montréal, there are many murals like this one that encapsulate communal kindness and sustainability. What are some public art pieces that have inspired you, and where are they found?
It's tempting to buy new, trendy clothing from big chain stores, but such pieces fall apart too quickly to justify their prices, and they often end up going to landfills in mere months, if not weeks. Shopping for vintage, though, is a creative and exciting way to enhance your wardrobe with high-quality pieces without breaking the bank. It also supports local craftspeople and vendors while helping to prevent clothing from clogging up landfills. Do you have any vintage pieces that you love? If so, what are they, and where did you find them?
It's always good for couples who travel to set aside time for each other away from the stress of a new place. Even after a full day of hiking in the mountains and exploring downtown Banff, we still made sure to have time for a date night. When you and your significant other travel, be sure to plan time dedicated to focusing on each other. It allows you both to mentally and emotionally reset as a couple. What are some ways that you calm and reset yourselves while traveling?
Among the best gifts of traveling is the ability to taste or experience products from around the world that you otherwise would never have known about! We found that the Strip District in Pittsburgh was an ideal place to do that - particularly at the Allegheny Coffee and Tea Exchange, where barrels upon barrels of many varieties of coffee and tea from around the world are sold! Both of us - especially Ben here - were in awe by the selection and left with some chaï, Tasmanian peaberry, white tea, and some Congolese and Viennese dark roasts. What's your favorite food or drink that you discovered while traveling?
We always plan our days in advance, but we like to leave time for some surprises that a destination may have to offer. Late one night in Downtown Portland, Oregon, after all of the cafés, shops, bars, restaurants, and Powell's Books had closed for the day, we planned to return to our hotel, but found a fun attraction along the way that was still open: miniature golf! Glowing Greens is an intricate, 18-hole, indoor miniature golf course that's bathed in paint and black light, which makes for trippy fun while golfing with friends or significant others. It's definitely one of our most memorable spots in Portland. What have been some unexpected and pleasant surprises that you've encountered while traveling?
One of the many things that we like to do when traveling is to go shopping for vintage clothing. It's a great way to find rare and beautiful pieces that are made well and priced considerably less than most trendy pieces in department stores today. Eons Fashion Antique was among our favorite vintage stores that we visited last year as it had an abundance of classic pieces from many decades and for both men and women. Do you have any favorite vintage stores that you recommend?
It's tempting to stay in Downtown Banff when visiting Banff National Park in Alberta because of all the hotel promotions, restaurants, night clubs, and shopping there, but all of those block some views of the beautiful landscape and make it distractingly noisy. We prefer to appreciate natural scenery and quiet whenever we can, which is why we decided to stay at the Juniper Hotel when we last visited that area. It's close to some great trails while not being too far from Downtown, and guests can appreciate scenery like this everywhere on the property. Where do you like to stay off the beaten path?