How to Travel Your Hometown

I love a good international flight as much as the next person (kidding – I actually hate flying but love to travel… not a good mix) but sometimes that trip to Europe is not feasible and you have to settle for your hometown!

I recently went home for a week long visit (longest I’ve spent at home in almost a year) and had an amazing time! I did a bunch of stuff that I have never done before because I had deemed it “too touristy” but I regret not doing it sooner. See below for some tips on how to travel your hometown.

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Lose the ‘tude

I never wanted to see the sights in my hometown because I had grown up with them being right there. I figured they couldn’t be that special because they were just…there. As soon as I went though, I wish I had been before! Look at your city with an open mind- it will literally open your eyes to all the sights that have been there the whole time, you were just too cool to see them.

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Amazing architecture in downtown Ottawa

Act like you’re a traveller

Unless you live in a town of 1000, chances are you can be as unknown in your city as you would be anywhere else. Keep the fun traveller attitude when it comes to visiting your hometown. Talk to locals, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to look a little tourist-y.

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My first beaver tail in 5 years! 

Take advantage of your knowledge

Whenever I land in a new place the first thing I try to establish is how I am going to get around. In London it was the tube, in Ireland it was the bus, in Leeds it was Uber…etc. When you know your way around your own city – use that to your advantage to save money. That being said…

Go off the beaten path

Don’t take all your favourite roads, don’t visit the restaurants you’ve been to a million times, don’t just go to the movies. Walk down streets you’d normally drive past, try the chip truck down the road, and go to the old fashioned theatre! Do the things you wouldn’t normally do and you’ll learn so much more about your amazing hometown.

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Hope this post helps all of you wanderlust babies that are currently stuck on the ground!

 

 

Hamilton’s Restaurants Part I

Hamilton’s food scene is unreal. I have eaten some of the best food in some of the weirdest restaurants and I can’t wait to try more! If you’re in the area looking for some good grub, look no further:

Naroma
Who doesn’t love pizza? Naroma is the ultimate pizzeria, with amazing different pizza combos (including a Nutella dessert pizza!). My favourite (before I went vegetarian…) was the Brie e Prosciutto, i.e. mozzarella, triple cream brie, fig jam, prosciutto, caramelized onions… my mouth is literally watering. Some other awesome ones are the Pollo (chicken, pesto, roasted red peppers…), Funghi (oyster, portobello mushrooms, truffle oil…) and the Pancetta Dolce (maple bacon, tomatoes, asparagus…). Depending on how many people you go with will influence the size of pizza you should get. If it’s you and a friend, two Coppia sizes is plenty (with enough for leftovers!). The next sizes up are Famiglia (Serves 3-4) and Festa (Serves 4-6). Pizza lovers unite!

Raspcallion
The weirdest food ever but so amazing! This is an amazing date place if you’re both adventurous. It’s a little on the pricier side but eating there is an experience in itself that is definitely worth the splurge. Their menu changes often but when I went I ate a range of different meats including pork, duck, fish and lamb. Rapscallion is a meat lovers dream but they do have a meatless Monday menu as well! Some of the recent dishes on their website include: Bone Marrow, Shrimp & Pork Belly, Smoked Duck, Veal Brisket and the ever so tempting The Best Grilled Cheese On The Planet… Definitely give this restaurant a go if you’re downtown.

Bangkok Spoon
Who doesn’t love Thai food? And until I get my ass to Thailand (it’s on the list!) I am always on the hunt for good pad thai. Bangkok Spoon is amazing, it’s a bit of a hike (located in Dundas, rather than the Hamilton centre), but worth the trek. The people are amazingly friendly and don’t mind if you ask a billion questions (I always do!). I recommend the Shrimpy Cocktail as an appetizer, any of the pad thai dishes, the Spicy Duck dish, the Garlic Shrimp dish and the Pad Po Tak.

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The only thing I would avoid for me personally is the chicken dishes because I did not find the chicken to be that great. Felt a little bland but I am a picky foodie. Also if you’re in the mood, or if it’s after 5pm (ok or any time after noon) try their mojitos!

The Mule
Went here very recently and loved it! The menu is split into Tacos and Not Tacos (super cute and who doesn’t love tacos). They had a lot of good vegetarian options which was awesome for me but they still had enough variety for my meat loving friend, Emily. The drink menu is mainly tequila which agrees with me.They also serve brunch on the weekends with menu items like: Chili Cheese Dog Taco, Mule Eggs Benedict, Banana Chocolate Johnny Cakes. They don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait or come at an off time!

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The Ship
Coincidentally went here right after I went vegetarian which was a true test of my veggie commitment because this is a burger place for sure! Luckily for me they had a quinoa and black bean burger that I could substitute and it was delicious. Also the sweet potato fries are unreal and because I have a problem all I can think about right now is their Sangria. Tastes like a fuzzy peach! Definitely give this one a try if you’re anywhere near Augusta Street.

Next on my restaurant list is The Black Sheep, The Ancaster Mill, the Burnt Tongue and Earth to Table Bread Bar so stay tuned for Part 2 (once I’ve eaten my way through Hamilton!)

 

Thanks for reading, xx

Toronto in the Summer

Having moved to Hamilton a few years ago for school I have had my fair share of visits to Toronto. It’s only a short bus/train ride away so I find myself visiting when I get a weekend off!

Most of the things I’ve seen are pretty standard, but some may be off the beaten track. See below for a list of a few fun things to try in the summer if you’re in Toronto or nearby!

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See a Jay’s game! Take yourself out to a ball game with friends and cheer on Canada’s team. Be forewarned though – alcohol at the Rogers Centre is extremely overpriced so maybe skip the beer. Or if you’re like me, control your thirst by drinking prior to the game!

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Check out the Art Gallery of Ontario. They have some amazing feature artists as well as visiting exhibits that change quite often (ps. the gallery is free Wednesday’s after 6pm). My sister and I went here when she came to visit and it was a really great way to spend a rainy afternoon (weather in Canada is never predictable!)

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Visit one of the beaches. I was so shocked to find out that for 7.50$ round trip I could visit an island off of Toronto for the day and spend my time laying out in the sun. My friend Paigey and I went recently and it was such a nice way to relax after the work week. There is also apparently a nude beach nearby as well if you’re into that!

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Sit and drink on one of Toronto’s rooftop patios. Some of the more popular ones include: The Porch, Mascot Brewery and Pauper’s Pub. Enjoy the scenic view of Toronto during the day or evening while drinking out of an adorable sand pail full of alcohol!

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Ripley’s Aquarium. Such a cute date activity! Also good if you’re obsessed with Shark Week.

Take a stroll through the St. Lawrence Market, slightly touristy but I love a good market regardless.

Check out a festival! Summerlicious and Taste of the Danforth if you’re into food (who isn’t). Veld music festival if you’re into EDM or OVO Fest if you’re obsessed with Drake (who isn’t). 

Otherwise, simply take a stroll through Toronto, any time of day or night.

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Check out the CN Tower (go up it and walk on the glass floor if you dare!), have a drink at the Steam Whistle Brewery, explore the ROM on a rainy day, do some shopping at the Eaton Centre… Toronto is full of things to do, especially in the summer when the weather is nice so take advantage!

Some of my favourite moments in Toronto are simply walking down the busy streets, stopping to have dinner somewhere and catching up with friends. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thanks for reading xx