Casie Goes To Italy – Part 1

Hey guys! I just landed in Naples, the birthplace of pizza. The first thing I did after checking into my hotel of course was to go eat pizza! It was amazing – thin crust and so cheesy. There are pizza places everywhere! I’m in heaven.

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The next day we walked around touring Naples in the old and new part. It’s amazing the difference in the communities; they’re divided by one street which is called Spaccanapoli which means “Naples splitter”. Old Naples is more touristy with local shops for souvenirs. You see cornicello everywhere which look like red peppers. It’s said that if you give one to someone it will bring them good luck.

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There is also Naples Underground to visit. They offer self or guided tours. Unfortunately we were too impatient to wait for the next guided tour so we did it on our own. I would definitely recommend doing a guided tour. We didn’t get all the history facts. New Naples is more designer name shops. They have a couple tables with souvenirs but not as many. I personally liked old Naples better because it gave more of a local vibe. In both neighborhoods the street food smells amazing! Treats everywhere!  You definitely will not starve in Naples.

Where do pepperonis go on a holiday?
The leaning tower of ‘pizza of course.

Until next time!

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To see more of Casie’s European trip along with vacation photos from our other amazing agents, check out our Instagram @UniglobeYXE
https://www.instagram.com/uniglobeyxe/?hl=en

 

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Colleen’s RIU Palace Mexico – Part 2

Our hotel is in the Playacar area that is about 30 mins from Cancun. We have stayed in this area before and we always love it. It is more like staying in a nice neighbourhood instead of being off the main highway. When we walk out of our hotel it’s like walking on a street at home. Every night we are able to go for a walk. There are always a lot of people out and about and there is a small shopping plaza about 2 minute walk from our hotel so you can pretty well get anything you need.

The best part about it is that you are just a 20 minute walk from Playa Del Carman so you can go into town whenever you like and to take a taxi back is 90 Pesos so about 6.00. There are also lots of bikes available if you prefer not to walk into town and a bike stand just as you enter Playa Del Carman. The area has lots of different hotels to choose from.  They also have a couple of golf courses in the area that we walk past everyday including the Hard Rock Golf Club. We love that we can leave our property without having to take a cab.

To see the full beauty of the RIU Palace Mexico check out my resort tour here https://youtu.be/Mjznc4ubGVQ.

Colleen’s RIU Palace Mexico – Part 1

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RIU Palace Mexico Beach

We have arrived in Cancun and we are staying at the RIU Palace Mexico in Playacar. This is a really great hotel and I love our room.

It is on a stunning white sand beach with enough palm trees for everyone. The best part is that there is free WiFi throughout the resort so you can bring your music with you everywhere.  No more sitting in the lobby to access the Internet! Because we are staying at the RIU Palace we are able to go to any of the other 6 RIU in Playacar so we have been visiting quite a few for drinks and to eat. You couldn’t ask for any more.

What To Do When Things Go Wrong – Correna’s Blog

For today’s blog I am going to tell you what not to do, based my experience today. So today is the end of my trip to the U.K. and as I packed up I decided to move my passport folder from the pocket of my carry-on to my travel purse for safe keeping. I received this travel purse from my sister this Christmas as I had bought her one before her trip to Greece. It is an anti theft purse with all kinds of security added features. Well, the purse is only as smart as the user as I found out today.

I had put my most important item on my body as I can’t travel anywhere without it. I had everything all ready to go with all the hooks and clasps done up and then I had to get my Oyster Card out of my bag and must have forgotten to redo a clasp. We boarded the tube from Sloan Station and to make a change at Victoria to Piccadilly square. The tube was packed and I never felt anyone move the zipper at all. We arrived at Piccadilly all proud of our selves as we made it and then BAM – I went to pull out my passport folder to pull out my rail ticket and I just about puked right there and then! Passport folder gone!!!!! We checked all my bags and it was nowhere to be found. There were police officers standing nearby so our little group of three headed over to let them know that my passport folder had been stolen. Now, I got a little upset at this point as they told me there wasn’t a lot that could be done as I didn’t witness the theft happen. By this time I was just about in tears. How was I going to get home? How would I get a new passport issued? Could I make it on my own to Trafalgar Square beings upset and alone? Well suck it up princess and get this looked after!  I called the hotel that we had just left and had them check everywhere but they found nothing. I spoke to our group leader who made arrangements for me to stay tonight at the Draycott, I will get back to them later. So I left Piccadilly Station to get back on that damn tube and my Oyster Card had cancelled for some reason. Now I start to cry and the ladies in the tube station were great. They let me through and radioed ahead to let them know at my stop to let me through there too. When I arrive at Canada House, the Canadian Embassy, they already knew I was on my way 🙂 they had tissues for me and told me that everything happens for a reason. I got inside with my passport photos which took me five different photo places before I found one that does Canadian passport sizes. I left Canada House around 5pm with a temporary passport in hand. This all started around 914am. You want to talk about a long stressful day!

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Canada House

Now, onto the Draycott Hotel, they met me at the door, made sure I was alright, showed me to another beautiful room and then served me champagne. They have been outstanding and now if I have anyone traveling to London, be prepared to be sent to the Draycott lol.  Seriously it’s amazing, check it out here http://www.draycotthotel.com/  Also, thank you so much to Jamie and Heather who helped keep me sane and got be booked on a flight home for tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine why people would not use a travel agent! How would you be able to get this all done within a few hours and be on a plane home within 22 hours. I also contacted Manulife as soon as I knew what was going to happen and my agent there was very helpful. This is just another reason why to buy travel insurance. You may think nothing is going to happen but believe me it can!

Bonnie Scotland with Correna – Part 2

Wow what a whirl wind trip!  We just spent the night in Edinburgh and are packing up to jump on the train to London.  We have seen so much and traveled a lot of miles – yes, I said miles ☺.  Did you know that in Scotland they use the metric system for most measurements except for miles and weight?  I think I would fit right in as I pretty much do the same.

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Does this castle look familiar?  You probably know it as Winterfell Castle in Game of Thrones or from scenes of Monty Python And The Holy Grail!

Since I last posted we have been through most of the Highlands.  Internet is pretty limited up there so if you are looking to unplug this could be the country for you!  We visited castles, met the Duke of Argyll, walked on battlefields and had many stories told to us. I would highly recommend that you do have a guide when you decide to visit Scotland, unless you are a historian.  We were given multiple history lessons every day.  We found out that just about everything that we thought was Scottish is not. From kilts, bagpipes and shortbread they did not originate in Scotland, curling yes.  Did you know that the xray, ultrasound and penicillin did originate in Scotland though?

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

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Edinburgh

 

For more of Correna’s photos from her time in Scotland, and photos from our other agents’ trips too check out our Instagram  @UniglobeYXE!

https://www.instagram.com/uniglobeyxe/?hl=en

 

 

 

 

Bonnie Scotland with Correna – Part 1

March 7 2017

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My plane finally appeared through the blizzard at YXE

 

What a stormy winter day, I am guessing that Mother Nature didn’t know that I was supposed to be leaving this morning for Scotland.  My flight was scheduled for 11:20 but since they were concerned with planes landing because of the wind we were delayed about an hour.

The flight from Saskatoon to Toronto was pretty uneventful.  I have never flown out of Toronto before for an international flight so I did walk around a bit before heading to the Maple Leaf Lounge.  By the way the tomato red pepper soup was delish!

 

This was a huge trip for me as I have never been across the Atlantic.  With all my traveling it just hasn’t happened before.  My flight from Toronto to London Heathrow wasn’t too bad; we did have quite a bit of turbulence but just shut your eyes and hang on.  I did get a bit of sleep which made the flight much better.  Since I have never been to the UK before, I had to get myself around Heathrow Airport.  It was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I had to transfer from terminal 2 to 5 but there were signs everywhere and I have no problems asking for help if I need it.  The flight from Heathrow to Glasgow was another story.  There was a problem with the fuel gauge so it took them just about an hour to get the all clear.  Since the flight was sold out, I had the lovely middle seat and we just sat and waited for the hour to get going. Oh, I just about forgot that there was a footy team on our flight so it was like peddle to the metal to get them to Glasgow to get to their game.  Again turbulence and not a happy tummy, on the bright side my ear problems weren’t an issue at all!

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Of course I had to stop at the Harry Potter Shop in London Heathrow Airport! 

Jamie’s Vallarta Group Adventure – Final Blog

Wow!  Once again, we managed to pack an awful lot of fun into our last few days in Puerto Vallarta.  Our entire 7 days were sunny, 27 Degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  You really can’t beat the weather here!  The highlight of our last couple of days was getting to release baby turtles into the sea.  This normally takes place earlier in the fall, but this year there were still baby turtles hatching in early January, so we were lucky to be able to participate in this event.  The Concierge at the Marival let us know that they would be releasing the turtles at the Luna condominium complex, about a 20 minute walk down the beach at sunset.  We took a bunch of the kids down and for 32 pesos per adult (government fee) and a donation, we got to listen to a biologist and some volunteers tell us all about the endangered species of sea turtle that lives in this bay and how they are helping to repopulate them.  They hold the newly hatched turtles in a safe area until sunset as their chance of survival is best at this time of day – with less threat of being eaten by birds or fish on their way into the sea.  It was truly an amazing experience and my 8 year old has been talking about it for days.  If you are interested in this type of activity, just inquire with the concierge at the Grand Marival and they will let you know when/if it is taking place.

We also had the chance to try two other a la carte restaurants, the Amalfi Italian Restaurant and Las Palomas Mexican Restaurant.  For the Amalfi, we had a group reservation that the hotel was kind enough to reserve in advance for us.  It is a very good, but very long dining experience.  It would be fantastic as a romantic date for a couple and they have tables overlooking the sea and sunset.  It took about 2 ½ hours for our 5 course dinner, which was just a little long for the kids – we had everyone from our group, all 35 at this restaurant so there were lots of kids.  The service was also outstanding and they were very accommodating of the kids.  The Las Palomas, we enjoyed just the two of us, with no kids.  It was a very nice dining experience.  The restaurant is very Mexican in feel and they start you off with an assortment of appetizers to share as well as fresh guacamole made tableside.  After that you pick your soup and salad and main course and then there is desert samples for sharing.  They change the menu here several times a week – we had the Baked red snapper and a soup that had chicken and rice and avocado – the food was very good and it was probably my favorite meal of the week.

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Table-side Guacamole (we were too excited and ate most of it before taking a picture)

We considered using the services of the doctor at the hotel as one of our twins had a fever and bad cough for a few days and we wanted to get her checked out before our flight home.  When we went to the doctors office on site, the doctor wasn’t in yet.  By the time we could have gone back, she was starting to feel better, so we decided against going.  The doctor is on site from 11am-6pm most days and the cost to visit the doctor is $50 USD, plus additional if medical or additional services, etc are needed.  It was very convenient having the option to see a doctor right on site.

A few other observations and tips about the Grand Marival – there is a kids playground at the kids club that you can use anytime and it’s right beside the Mini golf.  The Mini golf is shaded most of the day, so a good activity for kids to get out of the sun for a bit.  There is also an Arcade/teen area with pool tables that lots of our kids enjoyed, even if they weren’t quite teens.  They allowed kids of all ages in this area, but younger kids needed to be supervised.  They have an area by the quiet pool set up every day where kids can paint a piece of pottery for $10 USD and they will finish it and glaze it and you can pick it up the next day.  The kids liked this and it was a nice keepsake.  Last but not least, the pool bar at the quiet pool had bartenders who make the classic Caesar drink and they made them very well.  This was a nice surprise for us Canadians who enjoy our Caesars!

Our return trip home was pretty smooth.  The shuttle was right on time and it was only 15 minutes to the airport.  The check in and security lines moved pretty quickly.  Once through security, there were lots of dining options and duty free, but it was BUSY!  There were a lot of flights leaving late afternoon on the weekends and there were a lot of long lineups to get food and it was hard to find a place to sit.  Otherwise, the flights were pretty close to being on time and the biggest hiccup was a long wait for luggage at the Saskatoon airport – again with no strollers as they didn’t bring them to the gate.  That was probably the biggest annoyance of the whole trip was having to do the Customs and baggage waits with no strollers both ways.  All in all, it was a fantastic trip – as my 8 year old said “best trip ever!”.  We loved experiencing this destination as a group and getting to spend lots of time together and the kids had a blast.  Looking forward to the next one already!

If you enjoyed hearing all about my vacation feel free to check out Uniglobe Carefree Travel’s Instagram page where our whole team shares photos of their best vacation moments.  You can find us at @UniglobeCarefreeTravel.