Milan 2015-11

2015 has just flown by! Cliched as it sounds, it seems like only last week that I was busy picking my favourite 2014 travel spots! I now present you with our finest moments in travel from the past 12 months, from unexpected Winnipeg, Manitoba to one of my bucket-list fashion capitals, Milan, Italy.

Czech Republic bird fountain sculpture by Lukas Rittstein
[2015 Milan World Expo: Czech Republic pavilion; bird fountain sculpture by Lukas Rittstein]

1. Milan Duomo + World Expo

Milan has long been on my bucket list and this year my husband and I decided to make this dream a reality by taking a trip over in May to combine a family visit to Holland with exploring in both Milan and Venice.

Milan’s Duomo is by far the most exciting Gothic church to witness, especially from the vertigo-inducing balconies way up high above the city. This bad boy took nearly six centuries to complete! As you head out of the Duomo metro stop and up the stairs, it hits you front and center. Don’t miss this beauty, with the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II right next door. World Expo was an amazing experience for us, walking the immense Decumanus road, catching the sights and sounds of over 50 self-built pavilions representing over 140 countries.

Kluane National Park glaciers
[Kluane National Park Glacier flight-seeing]

2. Discovering Yukon from Whitehorse to Dawson City

As a repeat Yukon visitor, this was my chance to tour the open road from Whitehorse to Dawson City, checking out the old Gold Rush town right smack in the middle of Dawson Days, the yearly festival that draws folks from around the territory and beyond. I was also part of a small media group that got to explore the Dempster Highway, that lonely 671 km (417 mile) road that leads right into Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

Bonus? Catching the Aurora Borealis on TWO nights right outside our Dawson City hotel. There’s a special magnetic energy that I can’t describe, but going to bed on those two nights, I felt something was going to happen. I guess I might just have Aurora vision!

Salish Lodge and Spa-1
[Salish Lodge & Spa, aka Great Northern Lodge]

3. Salish Lodge & Spa

If you’ve ever watched David Lynch’s short-lived Twin Peaks, you’ll instantly recognize iconic Snoqualmie Falls, Washington State’s second most-visited attraction after Mt. Baker. Although the interior of the hotel was shot outside the area, it’s still magical to sit back and think that David Lynch directed Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and crew here.

The resort itself is lovely and makes for a great long-weekend city escape. Its restaurant’s known for the four-course Country Breakfast. Honey From Heaven is a thing and it was created here in 1916 when the original lodge opened. The tradition continues here in Snoqualmie.

Tofino/Wickaninnish Inn
[Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, BC]

4. Storm Watching Season in Tofino

From the moment you arrive at your room at the Wickaninnish Inn with a view of the sea and rocks, you know this is going to be a stay like no other. Its commanding spot on a cliff overlooking Chesterman Beach invites you to slow down, take a seat on the balcony with a cup of organic tea and watch the fiery sky at sunset (or if you time it right, the splash of high waves against the rocks during storm-watching season).

This Relais & Chateau property provides every creature comfort for a very memorable Tofino adventure, from luxurious pampering at Ancient Cedars Spa to dinner at The Pointe. I’m already longing for that ‘bed with a view’ to take me away from the busy holiday rush here in the city.

Winnipeg/Museum for Human Rights
[Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, as seen from yet another perspective]

5. Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights

This lavish and imposing gem is visible from the Red River, The Forks, Provencher Bridge and across to the French St. Boniface quarter, each offering a unique perspective. From within the museum, light spills through its various nooks and curves; architect Antoine Predock carefully considered his options when constructing a museum including many of Canada’s elements: mountains, ice, snow and Prairie fields. My other Winnipeg highlight was lodging at Mere Hotel, right on the Red River.

This boutique hotel opened just under two years ago and if you’re a design fan, you’ll want to book your stay here. At night, the hotel lights up to resemble the Aurora Borealis’ many colour variations. I was also surprised to meet some really cool locals as a guest on A Moveable Feast Food and Cycle Tour (offered through the Downtown Winnipeg Biz association) around town one evening.

As I look into 2016, March is already looking pretty full balancing the warm with the cold for destination travel. Hope you’ll all get out and find some great new spots around the globe. Stay safe and Happy New Year!

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