Back after our beautiful drive from Calgary to Gibsons, BC through the Rocky Mountains. What a beautiful drive. We live in an astounding place, this country of ours. One of our breweries, Molson’s (owned by Coors now, I think) has put together a great set of marketing tools, usually involving beer coolers and a uniquely Canadian only way to open it. The first series involved using a Canadian passport to open randomly placed machines around the world. Very cool idea. The video here represents their latest interesting take. Enjoy eh!
Haven’t caught up on the beers I’ve sampled in a while. Lets give it a go.
First up, a great couple of summer beers, a la my deck. Two great American “micro-breweries”. I italicize as both are bit bigger than that now, but both still have a great product. Brooklyn Lager and Samuel Adams Summer Ale.
Next up, we have a memory from our Antigua trip in April. Had never seen it before in Calgary, so had to buy it. Unfortunately, not as good as I remembered it. Carib Lager.
Had this one in Newark, New Jersey. Yuenling lager. Oldest brewery in the USA? Excellent beer.
Next up, another beer out of Antigua, Wadadli. Liked it, not a main brand like Carib, a real local beer.
The challenge this week is love. So much to think about. I love travel, sailing, Lori, my sons, blogging, family. After some heavy thought, I decided that the winning category is beer. The photo that best describes beer is these shots I took in Bruges, Belgium. Every beer brewed in Belgium, and it’s special glass, has been put on display in a liquor store in Bruges. HMMMMMMM Beeeeeeerrrr!!!!!
In a global society that the Earth is becoming, I feel it is time to explain what Canadians are. This will be especially helpful to, well, everyone, because we are kind of invisible. Once you have seen this series of videos, you will be experts on a lot of things Canadian.
Our first foray will be some factoids on our love of beer.
Canadians Like Beer
That would be the stereotype, we are beer swillers extraordinaire. Now, take a peak at this chart:
As you can see, we are 14th in the world and dropping in consumption. This, despite my best efforts. I was surprised at number 1, I mean China?? I was going to look for a per capita chart, but could not insert, so here is a link which shows that Canada is only 23rd in the world in this measure.
We spent a day and a half in Brugges back in 2008. What inspired us to go there? The first reason, its reputation as the Venice of the north, second, the recommendations of Lori’s cousins in England, and third, the movie “In Brugges”. We went to see the movie during the planning stages of the trip while investigating where to go, and determined that it was definitely a place to see. The plan became an excursion through southwest England, then through the Chunnel to France, driving into Brugges and continuing by train into Amsterdam.
Upon arriving in Brugges, we dumped our stuff at the B&B we were staying at and headed out. Beautiful place. Here is a couple of pictures to give you the feel.
The entire medieval city is lined with canals.
We continued on and eventually we made it to the square. This was a focal point in the movie, and is definitely the focal point of the city. It is huge, and very alive. This is our first look as we came upon it.
We entered the square and looked about, then went off for lunch. Very enjoyable. The three major things that Belgium is known for are pictured below.
And of course, Beer. This particular beer is Zot. It is a local brew. One of the best we’ve ever had.
We headed back to the square area and did some more touring. Very exhausting. The square is surrounded by restaurants and bars. I found one to my liking and stopped off for another refreshing beverage. Surprisingly, not a beer, but a wonderful hot chocolate. This the third thing Belgium is famous for, chocolate.
We left and continued our tour. Then, suddenly and without warning, we walked into my version of heaven. Something so spectacular, I needed three pictures to get it all in.
Yes, an entire wall of beer. Each beer is brewed in Belgium and each has its own special glass. Mind boggling. I was completely shocked to notice that there was a bar here, and, being completely overwhelmed and weak in the knees, we had stop and rest. Actually, seeing all this put a pretty big smile on my face.
After doing a bit more sight-seeing, all that was left was supper. We located a dining spot that could accommodate our entire group and had a fabulous supper (evening in general). There is much that can be said about good, as in good friends, good food, good drink and good times.
Good Morning world, it is time to get up. There is food to eat, beer to drink, wine to savour, shops to shop and, yes, a mountain to be on top of. Not a regular Alberta type of mountain, but a mountain indeed. The whole premise of our trip was to see fall foliage and spend some relaxing time off from a hectic summer. Mont-Tremblant fits the bill. A very laid back place at this time of year. No skiing yet, summer over, a very casual crowd. And we did find our fall foliage.
The colours are stunning. Back home in Calgary, we don’t get the red hues, making it even more impressive. I’m sure the pictures above and below do not do justice to the real thing.
Having spent some time in town shopping and eating, it was time to take the gondola to the top of the hill. The mountain itself is 2871 feet in elevation, not to big by Alberta or British Columbia standards, but tall enough for some pretty good skiing, at least from what I see of the runs in summer. Lots of steep sections and runs on both sides of the mountain. In the summer, the views are perfect.
Kind of a misty day, but one can get the idea. Lori particularly loved what she had found in the shops way down there and decided to keep it close by for an emergency look from time to time.
The Laurentians are a very old range of mountains. What we see here today is what the Rockies will look like in a few million years. The rolling hills, well forested, go on forever. A beautiful place to spend some time exploring. Also at the top, we found this spot on the back side of the mountain, what one can only call a Corona moment in the making. We sat here for a while taking in the view, also hoping not to roll off down the hill as the seating seemed a bit precarious.
Having spent some quality time on the hill, it was time to head back down for, guess, some liquid refreshments. The video is a poorly done film of our descent in the gondola. New camera, poor execution, but, hey, it’s my blog right?
It was a gorgeous day, so we headed for an outdoor deck where had some appetizers and a drink or 2. I had a Belle Guele Rousse, another good brew. There is no link for the “Les Brasseurs RJ” web page (the brewery), or should I say there is one but it doesn’t work very well (or at all) and is in French only. The picture is a bit dark, but I was lost in the day and it was quickly becoming night.
To finish our day, we decided to catch the gondola to the casino. It is free and apparently one can catch a beautiful view of the sunset from it. It did mean going around in circles and spooking the the staff as you don’t get off the gondola, but hey, getting the shot makes it worthwhile. It is all about the timing after all, so circles it had to be. It ended up being worth it. I leave you with some shots of the sunset as taken from our perch high above the forest. Beautiful.
Lori and I are born and raised Winnipeggers. We left in 1989, and look forward to our visits as most of our families still reside there. Lori had actually spent the whole month of September there as she had family matters to take care of. I joined her at the end of the month for a few days prior to embarking on our adventure to Ontario and Quebec. We had a great visit with our families which involved very little touring around. We did manage to squeeze in a few family dinners, both at home and in restaurants. Of course we managed to sneak in a few drinks as well. Thanks to all for providing us with some relaxing days and nights. Contrary to the proverb, of course you can go home again.
This is the Human Rights Museum being built at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg. A noble endeavour and some interesting architecture.
I have always wondered about this. The city built a pedestrian bridge across the Red River, using what appears to be a phallic symbol to hold it up. An interesting choice for a centrepiece structure. The other thing I found strange was placing a restaurant in the middle of said bridge. I’m not sure what they were thinking, but why would they place this in the middle of a foot bridge in a city that sees 30 below on a regular basis. I can see people lining up to get in on an especially cold evening after walking a mile or so from where they parked their vehicle.
Now for the food and drink.
We had a great meal at Hungs Restaurant (excellent name that goes with the phallic theme) which we followed up with a dessert of deep fried bananas, with ice cream. The entire meal was washed down with a few bottles of Tsingtao, a Chinese beer.
The local beer that I imbibed was Fort Garry Dark Ale. A great tasting beer, very smooth and rich. One of those beers that can only be savoured and not chugged. One, or maybe two should be enough for most before moving on to less rich varieties.
As a final note, thanks to John and Cec for putting us up for the time we were there, and thanks to Gord and Cheryl for the large dinner party. It was great to see all again, hope to see you at Christmas.
In my last post, I discussed food and it’s value in travel. One has to have something to complement the food, or maybe one needs a cooling refreshing beverage to pick up your spirits on a hot tropical day. This brings to the next reason to travel, the drink. Yes, you can enjoy various wines, beer and liquor from around the globe just by visiting your local liquor store, however, I don’t think it is the same. Think of drinking a Corona. Now instead of drinking it in a Keg Steakhouse, think about drinking it on a beach, say a beach like this.
One of my favourite things on a trip is to try the local beer. It is no secret to people who know me that I like, no, love, beer. Port Royal in the Honduras, Zot in Bruges, real Heineken in Amsterdam, Peroni in Rome, Belekin in Belize, Modelo in Cozumel. All are very good, all are local. I have now resolved to take pictures of every beer I drink in another country (not each and every, just every type). And don’t get me started on wine. there is nothing like stopping in at a shop, spending 2 or 3 Euros and getting a bottle of decent wine.
Once again it is about experiences. Sure, there will be bad ones, but there will be awesome ones as well, some of, if not most of which, I will never have another opportunity to sample. Make the most of it. You’re going to have a drink anyway, might as well try something completely different. This reminds me of a story my brother told me. He was in Scotland, in a bar. Wanting a beer, he asked the server to bring him a beer, the most popular one. He naturally assumed a local beer would come back, NOT. The server brought him a Miller Genuine Draft. Crazy.
Here are some drink oriented pictures.
Lori and I enjoying a cold one at a 13th century pub in the UK. My personal record for oldest pub. Good story. We heard about this pub, as it is very old, and went into the village to find it. We asked John, Lori’s cousin, and the driver, where in the village it might be. He said, look for the church, it will be across the street. In England they are always across the street, and of course, it was.
The next thing I resolve to do is take a picture of the cool pubs we see. This place was stunning. The Red Lion in Salisbury, UK. It seems that every English town has 2 pubs, The Rose and Crown and/or the Red Lion.
Yes, this exactly what it looks like, a display case full of Belgian beer and the glass used for that beer. The astounding part, there were 4 of these cases along the wall. Amazing, copious amounts of local beer. Might take a while to have one of each.
This is nuts. Pecan beer. Had this in New Orleans and was surprised by just how good it was. Don’t be put off by perceptions of weird. They wouldn’t keep making it if it was crap.
A good glass of wine, a good meal, good friends and an interesting location equals memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy your life, step up and step out.