Brussels with Radisson RED

I've been invited to spend weekend in Brussels by Radisson RED, the newly opened fancy hotel in European Quarter. After the recent terror attacks, Belgians are going through though time and they want to showcase some beauty that Brussels has to offer. As I've never been there before and it was for a good cause I've said yes.

It was an amazing weekend, damn cold but filled with some amazing food and festive drinks and obviously chocolate as we were in Belgium.  I've met some old friends there and make some new ones too as Radisson invited about 20 influencers from all over the Europe to support this campaign. My favorite place in Brussels was the Grand Place with Christmas tree and the view from between the towers of Basilica Koekelberg. If you haven't been there yet, don't wait anymore :) 

Enjoy my pictures and thank you again Radisson RED

Destination Canada - #ExploreCanada Campaign

Last week i've returned home from an awesome trip. Three of us were invited by Destination Canada and Canadian Affair to visit and experience Ontario, Canada. 

My flight was from London to Toronto with Airtransat took only about 8h and I was lucky enough to have all three seats for me so it was very comfy :) Toronto Pearson International Airport is large and busy airport and it took me a while to get my luggage. Airport WiFi is free but sucks as block any apps requiring locations, so to get Uber, load map or check-in was impossible. Also Airport signage is not the most intuitive either and took me a while to find place where my Hotel shuttle bus was waiting. That's about all complaints I have, rest was good stuff. 

It was almost 7pm when I arrived at Sheraton Centre Hotel, right in the centre of Toronto's downtown. As my pre-booked room didn't have free wifi and cost of that extra was almost the same as to upgrade room, I've decided to go for second option. My new Room was on 34th floor with totally awesome view of Toronto's City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square as a bonus. It was really huge and here was also massive flat screen telly, not that I planed to stay in but it's always a nice thing to have.

My room - Sheraton Centre

When I landed, sky was cloudy and raining however by the time I got to the hotel, it became one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. So after check-in I've dropped my bags in the room, grabbed my camera and went out to get few shots on the wet streets before Sun get down. 

When I came back to the hotel, my friend Jiří was already there. He was in Canada for about week by now and done the trip around B.C. He'll be my travel buddy for four days in Toronto before he'll fly back home and Allan will come to join me. 

First day wake me up with sunshine and temperature around 26C so we went to explore the city. Yonge Street is quite long street running from harbour front across the Toronto's downtown and by mistake it used to be called longest street in the world. It's still pretty impressive at 86km length and have plenty of shops, restaurants and at junction with Dundas Street is cool Yonge-Dundas Square that reminded me a bit London's Piccadilly Circus. Queen Street is also full of lovely small shops and restaurants and has amazing vibes. Tired after all day walking and hungry we started looking around for some dinner and found place called Beer Bistro that serves amazing and tasty food and their WiFi was just lightning fast. Great place!

On the Day two we've  had a pre-booked activity on Toronto's CN Tower called 'Edge Walk' where I guess the name says it all :) So after breakfast in the hotel restaurant we walked to the CN tower. After short training session we were transferred in special lift up to the platform sitting at 356m or 1168ft and then hanging on special security harness you walk around tower for about 30 minutes. View from top is breathtaking and scary at the same time :). There is also a restaurant, viewing platform and small Skypod in the CN Tower so if you don't dare to go outside then give a try to Skypod, views are also pretty stunning from there unfortunately through glass panels. 

Day three and another activity that we had pre-booked was Segway Tour around Distillery District. Gooderham and Worths Distillery used to be the largest Distillery in the world and these days you can find there plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants housed within old Victorian historical buildings.. I've never been on Segway before and what looked a bit boring on the beginning ended up as loads of fun :) Tour guides were also hilarious and told us plenty interesting facts about the district too.

Segway lads :)

This week Toronto hosted Hockey World Cup and Fan village was located at the end of Distillery District. It was pretty cool as the streets were full of fans in hockey jerseys. We've decided that after the tour we'll go to Air Canada Centre to find out if there are any tickets left for todays game CZE vs EUR. We were lucky enough and bought tickets and my dream of seeing ice hockey match in Canada was becoming a reality :). It was an amazing game in supercool arena and team Europe beat Czech so the day couldn't end better. 

Air Canada Centre - Hockey World Cup CZE vs EUR

Day four, last day in Toronto with Jiri so we decided to jump on the bus and visit nearby Niagara Falls. Greyhound Bus station was just few minutes from the hotel and the 120km journey took about 2 hours. To our surprise instead of getting of the bus right at the falls we had to walk for another 40 minutes till we could see them. But it was damn worth it, view we got was absolutely spectacular! While it may not be the largest waterfallsIt's it was still incredible to see that mass of water falling right on the front of you and makes you realise how powerful the nature is. Niagara's are actually three falls connected, two on US and Horseshoe Fall on Canadian side. There is also Skylon tower on Canadian side and if you pay extra 14CAD you'll get panoramic view of whole Niagara. 

Day five, my last day in Toronto before I'll move on more up north and there was still a few things to do on my list so i've started the day early with short ferry ride to Hanlan's Point at Centre island to take shots of downtown skyline at sunrise. It was pretty awesome and ferry is cheap, return ticket is only 7.50CAD. Next stop was Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, i've seen few aquariums before and this one was one of the better ones with large sharks and colourful jelly fishes. I would certainly recommend to visit at the morning to avoid crowds. I went there when they opened and I was there almost alone :) 

While strolling Queen St. West i've found cool looking burger place called Burger's Priest and as i was hungry and it was lunch time, i walked in. Seriously, It was the BEST BURGER i've ever had. Later on couple of my friends confirmed that fame of this place is running around the world and they have this place on their ToDo lists for a long time. Now i know why :) Later on that evening Allan, my other travel buddy arrived so we were ready to move on from Toronto next day.

Day six, we've check-out from Sheraton and went to find AVIS Car Rental to pick up the car. Their offices are well hidden on Bloor St. East and took us while to find it. After couple minutes wandering around we were in and collected our Jeep Patriot that gonna drive us around for next couple of days. I had to also show Allan that burger place i've found so we went for lunch before journey. 

Todays final destination was city called Kingston located at the east end of Lake Ontario near the Thousand Islands area and about 277km from Toronto. Unfortunately weather decided not to cooperate anymore and sky gets grey and cloudy with occasional raindrops. As it was fully raining when we arrived to our hotel, we just decided to relax and test hotel Spa features. 

Day Seven and sky was still cloudy and rainy so we've decided to find some cozy coffee place and get brunch before we will go to our Boat Tour. Kingston is lovely small town and it's called Limestone City as many of the old heritage buildings were build using local Limestone. We found an awesome place called Pan Chancho and I've decided to try typical Canadian speciality called Poutine. It's pretty much fries, cheese curds and gravy but this place added extra bacon and egg. It was absolutely DELICIOUS!  

Poutine from Pan Chancho

After brunch we moved to Kingston Harbour where we embarked on board of our boat called Island Queen and went on cruise around 1000 Islands. It's an area of 1864 islands on Canada/US border covering around 80km. They range in size from over 100km2 to a smaller ones with only one house. The tour took 3h and served lovely meals accompanied by live music. Shame it was rainy and cloudy otherwise the views will be even more stunning. 

Our next destination on itinerary was Ottawa, drive about 200km from Kingston. Along the way we've done a quick stop at Hill Island to visit 1000 Islands Tower. It was well worth the stops as you can see some of the islands from above. Views must be even more stunning few days later when the trees will be changing colour. From there we continued to our hotel in Ottawa. I went straight to bed as forecast for tomorrow was sunny and we had planned a lot to do. 

Day eight, Ottawa, capital city of Canada and home of Canadian Parliament. I've get up early to catch sunrise on Parliament Hill and once sun risen i went to get breakfast to The Ministry of Coffee. Nutella late was absolutely amazing :) At noon we had pre-booked tour with Paul's Boat lines so we walked to the Rideau Canal and embarked on lovely cruise around Ottawa River. Rest of the day we spent exploring Ottawa and as the sun was going down i went on place called Napean Point that have beautiful views of Parliament Hill and Alexandra Bridge. 

Day nine, another lovely warm and sunny day and we have checked out from hotel early in the morning and went on the road. Todays destination was 350km far town called Huntsville and Deerhurst resort where we will stay overnight, but there were few cool spots along the way we wanted to explore more. First we stopped at Golden lake took couple pictures and second stop was at Dorset Lookout Tower. It's pretty cool lookout tower with a panoramic view of beautiful Lake of Bay.

From there we continued to Deerhurst, massive resort in Ontario's Muskoka region. This place was voted as best place to see autumn collors in Canada but once again, we were here too early. Only around 15% of trees had started changing to red and orange yet. We've checked in to the hotel and get to explore area around the resort. 

Day ten, sun is gone and water is falling from the sky. We've had breakfast and as there was not a much to do in a resort in these conditions and as the forecast for next days wasn't looking promising we've decided to check out a day early and return to Toronto as city would look better in rain. So we went on another 230km drive back to The 6ix. I love that city and was really looking forward to explore it even more. As we arrived i drove Allan to his AirBnb place and obviously went for dinner to Burger's Priest straight after. With full belly i went straight to the hotel and as it was right on Yonge St. i went for little stroll around before bed time. 

Day eleven, last day in Canada and surprisingly sky cleared out and sun was shining. I had few things planed before i leave so i went straight to Toronto City Airport where i had booked Heli flight with Toronto Heli Tours. Highly recommended as it's quite cheap to compare with London and other cities. For 100CAD they will fly you for about 10min around Toronto's downtown and CN Tower. Check their page and if your lucky  you may get Last minute special with 50% off the price. I guess it was my best spend 50 bucks :) 

From the Airport i went to check Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame where as a big hockey fan I wanted to see and touch the Stanley Cup. Loved that place thoroughly. From there I went to check Royal Ontario Museum but unfortunately i haven't got much time left and I had to come back to the hotel, pick up my luggage and get to the Pearson Airport for my flight back home. 

Thank you Canada, you are amazing country and i'm sure i'll be back to explore even more!