Blog Updates

•August 15, 2017 • 1 Comment

Hello readers!

Just a quick announcement regarding updates to my blog. I have added two new pages which can be found on the right column under my profile picture.

The first is my Saskatchewan Bucket List map. This pinpoints where I have been and where I want to visit in Saskatchewan. The green check marks indicate that I have been there, the red stars places I hope to see. If you have recommendations of sites or events let me know and they maybe added to the map.

The second page is a map of where I visited worldwide.

Thanks for your time, likes, comments, and follows!

Fauna of Saskatchewan 18

•August 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Western Meadowlark

Sturnella neglecta

Location: Devonian Islands, Regina

 

 

 

Interesting facts:

– A male Western Meadowlark usually has two mates at the same time.

– They are  a member of the blackbird family.

– Meadowlarks feed by “gaping”. They push their bill into soil or bark, then force it open, creating a hole to access insects.

– They will abandon nests if disturbed by humans.

– Western Meadowlarks eat seeds, berries, and insects.

Moose Mountain Provincial Park

•August 6, 2017 • 1 Comment

I recently returned from camping at Moose Mountain Provincial Park. It was my first visit in many years. I had a site in the small Lynwood campground. This area had electricity, water, flush toilets and showers. Most sites are semi-private at best, but are still better than the crammed sites at Fish Creek campground.

Beaver Lake Trail

Activities are spread out through the park. The beach is over two kilometres from the campgrounds. However, there is a bike path along the road. There are five main hiking trails ranging from 2 to 4.5 kilometres. I enjoyed the Beaver Lake Trail (4.5km). This connects with Youell Lake Trail, so a 7.5km hike is possible. I found the Peninsula Trail less engaging. It had no interpretive signs and the path is cut grass. I did spot several birds – a northern flicker, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, yellow warbler, American crows – a wood frog, and red squirrels during my hike.

Peninsula Trail

The beach is large, clean, and has soft sand. A store and change rooms/showers are very close to the beach. The beach was very popular while I was there. To the east is the visitor centre and artists’ colony. Kayaks, canoes,  geocaching equipment can be rented at the centre. The park also offers events such as guided hikes, arts, crafts, and educational programs; mainly geared towards children.

During my stay I also spent time in Carlyle due to rain. The town has a busy coffee shop called Michael’s, which serves delicious cinnamon buns. I visited Cannington Manor Provincial Historic Park one morning as well (this deserves its own blog).

Little Kenosee Lake

I would return to Moose Mountain Provincial Park. It is moderately close to Regina (a two hour drive), has several hiking/biking trails, an excellent beach, a small lake to kayak or canoe on, and has several attractions nearby (Red Market Barn, Prairie Dog Drive In, and waterslides…).

 

Grasslands National Park

•July 24, 2017 • 1 Comment

This summer I ventured to the West Block of Grasslands National Park. It covers over 900 square kilometres of natural prairie. We stayed at the Frenchman Valley Campground 20 minutes from Val Marie. The campground had vault toilets, potable water, electricity, fire pits, and a park centre to escape poor weather conditions and visit with park staff. There are no showers or sinks at this campground. The site also features 4 oTENTiks, a cabin/tent cross, for up to six people. They are more expensive ($90/night), but include a table, BBQ, fire pit, deck, and Adirondack chairs.

Our first impressions were favourable. Immediately entering the park we observed prairie dogs in their colonies. Just down the road we watched a few bison engaged in dust baths, scratching on rocks, and crossing the road mere metres away from us (we were in a vehicle). We also seen coyotes, deer (white-tail and mule), pronghorn, and gophers. Unfortunately, we did not come across any rattlesnakes.

During our stay we hiked several trails: Larson Interpretive, Eagle Butte/70 Mile Butte, Riverwalk, and Belza. My favorite was the 70 Mile Butte trail. We also went on the Ecotour Scenic Drive. In Val Marie we visited Prairie Wind and Silver Sage, a museum, cafe, bookstore, art gallery, and gift shop.

On our next visit we would hike the Broken Hills or Timbergulch trails. We would also probably stay in a tipi near the Two Trails area. This area is close to trails, washroom, shade, and is quiet. However, there is no potable water at this campsite.

I highly recommend you spend some time at this park!

Budapest

•July 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When: April 2017

Trip Duration: 4 1/2 days

Where Did I Stay? We stayed at an Airbnb in Belvaros (Inner City). The space was beautiful and in an excellent location. We were close to restaurants, the metro, groceries, and pubs.

Best meal? I had crispy roasted duck with red cabbage and potatoes at Ruben Restaurant. It was delicious!!

Best Site? Buda Castle – We approached the castle from the south. This allowed us to see the walls, tower, and fortifications. The Royal Palace was reconstructed in Baroque architecture. The parapet walk provided opportunities to photograph the Pest side of the city.

Best Kodak moment? One night we walked the promenade on the east side of the Danube to take night photos. We captured the Castle, St. Matthias Church, and Szechenyi Bridge. Here is my favourite picture:

What Did I Bring Back? I brought back a magnet, shot glass, and Magyar kartya; Hungarian playing cards.

Any Surprises?  We expected the bus from Brno to drop off us in central Budapest. However, it stopped off at the Nepliget subway station. We had to reorient ourselves and catch the subway to the Inner City. When the 1950s style subway cars pulled up we were surprised.

What Didn’t You Get to See? We were focused mostly on the big tourist sites such as Parliament, Gellert Hill, Buda Castle and others that we did not visit one museum. The Hungarian National Museum, Hungarian Natural History Museum, or the Budapest History Museum would be my top choices.

Tips for Traveling Friends? I recommend visiting Szimpla Kert, the first ruin pub opened in Budapest. We went their for an amazing brunch. The bar also hosts markets, music events, and workshops.

 

 

Insinger, Saskatchewan

•June 27, 2017 • 2 Comments

Insinger was named after Fredrik Robert Insinger, a politician and rancher from Holland. Settlers first came to the area in 1891. They were mostly Ukrainian, but some Doukhobors did live near Insinger. The railway came to Insinger in 1903 and a village post office was built in 1908. A railroad station was not constructed until 1920. The following year a school was erected and the village was incorporated. The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Descent of the Holy Ghost was built in 1942. From 1930 to 1960, Insinger had over 100 residents. Its peak population was 135 in 1956. It boasted 4 general stores, a hall, a rink , 2 garages, a hotel, and cafe in 1955. The decline of the village began in the 1960s, with the closure of the school in 1967. Its population was 72 in 1971, 56 in 1976, 39 in 1981, and no more than 20 people today. Insinger’s grain elevators were demolished in 1999.

 

Prague

•June 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When: April 2017

Trip Duration: 4 1/2 days

Where Did I Stay? We stayed at an Airbnb in Prague 2, not far from the Peace Square. It was a convenient location close to tram lines and the metro. Restaurants and groceries were also nearby.

Best Meal? Venison goulash with potato pancakes at Restaurace U Posty. We were originally going to eat at Mandragora but it was closed. After a walking a couple blocks we happened upon Restaurace U Posty.

Best Site? Prague Castle – We visited St. Vitus Cathedral, the South Tower of the Cathedral, and the Old Royal Palace in about 4 hours. The Cathedral dates from 1344 and features Gothic architecture. It towers over 300 feet. The Castle grounds are extensive and would take a good day to explore all of its buildings and gardens.

Best Kodak moment? Views from South Tower at St. Vitus Cathedral. The walk up the 280 tight concrete spiral stairs are well worth it! You can see for miles!

What Did I Bring Back? Souvenir shot glass and magnet. I collect these items on every trip I take.

Any Surprises? Prague was very busy and touristy everywhere we went. We knew it was a popular destination, but did not expect so many crowds.

What Didn’t You Get to See? We missed out on the Klementinum Baroque library as it was closed. Hoping to make up for it, we went to the Strahov Library. However, we had missed the private tours and it was more expensive than we thought. Vysehrad, Prague’s southern castle, was missed mostly due to the cool, rainy weather.

Tips for Traveling Friends: 1) Plan ahead and make an itinerary! We made the mistake of going to Prague Castle midday Saturday during Easter Break. Needless to say it was very busy. We learned from our mistake and visited Charles Bridge early Sunday morning visit. We also overlooked the fact that most  museums were closed on Mondays.

2) The tram line was right in front of our Airbnb and very loud during the night. When booking a place to stay ensure it is a few blocks from transportation lines.