To me, birthdays are best spent on the beach, and this year was no exception. It’s been a month now since I celebrated my 35th birthday in Nassau, Bahamas. Even though it’s so close, it’s an island I had never been to, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few days relaxing in the warm sunshine (a big difference from freezing cold Ontario), heading into downtown Nassau, and exploring parts of Atlantis – which just happened to be located next door to our resort! (More on that in a later post).
From Paradise Island, you have a few options for heading across to Nassau. You can take a taxi, a ferry boat or walk across the huge bridge. Since we’d been enjoying the buffets, we opted for the walk into town, enjoying the sights along the way. As Nassau is a busy cruise ship port, there are tons of shops and restaurants located in the downtown core. As avid craft beer drinkers, we found Pirate Republic Brewing Company down near the docks and stopped in to enjoy a birthday flight!
After wandering around all afternoon, we took the ferry boat back, with a very entertaining skipper pointing out sights and giving us some history along the way.
With so much to do on the various islands of the Bahamas (over 700 islands!) we only scratched the surface, but it was sure a great place to turn another year older! CHEERS!
*Paradise Island Ferry leaves approx every 30 mins. $4 one way or $8 return. On the Paradise Island side it leaves from the docks near the bridge. On the Nassau side it leaves right from the downtown docks.
Not far from downtown St. John’s is the picturesque village of Quidi Vidi. A historic fishing village located in Quidi Vidi Harbour, also known as the Gut, it’s just off Quidi Vidi Lake, where the annual St. John’s Regatta takes place.
Pronunciation seems to vary, even amongst those who have lived there all their lives, but the most common is “Kiddy Viddy.”
Quidi Vidi Harbour
Boats docked in the harbour
Fishing shacks in ‘The Gut’
The Quidi Vidi Village Plantation
Enjoying my wander around Quidi Vidi
The village of Quidi Vidi was used after World War II for the construction of the United States’ Air Force Base. Today, it’s a great spot to go for a hike around the lake, check out artisans at the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation and walk around the harbour to Quidi Vidi Brewery. After a tour, you can sit out back by the water and catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean from inside the Gut.
Quidi Vidi Brewery offers tours and tastings. For $10, you can learn the history of the brewery and the beers and taste five of them, including their popular Iceberg beer. It’s made from the water of 20,000-year-old icebergs and bottled in a shiny blue bottle. You can then take a tour of the facility they are quickly outgrowing!
Taking a tour of the Quidi Vidi Brewery
Enjoying the tasting part of the tour
Sampling the Quidi Vidi Light
Local drama professor posing for an ad campaign!
So head to Quidi Vidi, grab an Iceberg beer and enjoy a peaceful afternoon at the harbour.
*For those looking to try craft breweries in the city, after stopping at Quidi Vidi, head to Yellow Belly Brewing downtown St. John’s. (The seafood chowder is delicious!)
Seeking out new craft breweries in foreign cities seems to have become a normal part of my travels these days, and Havana didn’t disappoint.
On a recent trip, we found two craft breweries to check out.The first one, Factoria Plaza Vieja, is located in a bright yellow building in the corner of Plaza Vieja, one of the four major plazas in Old Havana.
Here they serve three different beers: Clara, Oscura and Negra. You have a choice between a 500ml glass or a 3L tower to enjoy your beer in. A 500ml glass of beer costs 2CUC and the tower costs 12CUC.
As it’s located in one of the major plazas, this brewery is a popular spot for tourists. They have a food menu with a variety of options to enjoy along with your beer.
The second brewery we hit was Cerveceria Antiguo Almacén de la Madera y El Tabaco. This one is located down by the water in an old tobacco factory, near the Mecardo de Artesania San José, a great market for crafts and souvenirs. This brewery is huge and has lots of seating both inside and out on the patio. Again, there were three different beers: light, medium and dark, and you had a choice of a 500ml glass or a tower. Pricing was the same.
While it wasn’t like a typical North American craft brewery, it was a nice break from Cristal and Bucanero and a great way to try a new brew!
Honest Ed’s, the iconic Toronto landmark, closed its doors on December 31st, after 68 years in business as a discount department store. Over the weekend, the space was opened up for a four-day arts initiative put on by the Centre For Social Innovation called “An Honest Farewell.”
As we headed into the building underneath the bright marquee sign, we were invited to “Come in and get lost”one last time. Each day had different programming. Friday night was the “Toronto for Everyone: aMAZEment & Craft Beer Tour.” The emptied out building was turned into a maze and, as always, with the multi- levels and passage ways connecting the east and west sides of the building, it was certainly easy to get lost in.
When I first moved to Toronto to attend The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, I spent many hours searching for treasures and usually ending up completely turned around in the maze that was Honest Ed’s.
This time around though, it was actually fun getting lost as we made our way through the maze filled with art displays as well as the few remaining puns, posters from the many shows the Mirvish’s brought to the city and signed photos of celebrities Ed Mirvish met along the way. We also sampled beer from the 10 different breweries located around the building, including a special ‘The End of Honesty’ beer brewed by Henderson’s Brewing Co.
Such a great way to say goodbye to the one-of-a-kind, Honest Ed’s, a piece of Toronto’s history that will definitely be missed!
Photos from “Toronto for Everyone: aMAZEment & Craft Beer Tour.”