Travellers' Help


The most often sited 'Hobby or Interest' in our Classmate Profiles is travel. We all do or want to do more travelling. It must be a trait of those who grew up with prairie roots during the 60s. Whatever it is, we'll all be doing more as we grow older and more independent and everyone knows travelling is made easier if you can rely on an experienced traveller's knowledge.

I know Roy has spent ALOT of time in Australia, Kathy lives 5 months a year in Mexico, Eleanor has been to exotic locations like Tasmania and New Zealand and me, well I've been to places I would highly recommend and others that I would suggest be avoided. What a great source of information for future travellers we must be as a group. And so the idea of a page dedicated to travellers' tips and truths came to mind.

I'll get this page started by listing locations and the 'reference  person or people' I already know who could help with making the most of a newbies trip to same. Then feel free to contact the 'authority' on that location and take advantage of a wealth of information from a reliable source, FREE! And as can upload your own comments or send them to Eleanor or me and we'll do it for you. Let's see just how far afield our Class of 1970 has gone!

New York City

  • Charlotte Gooch Nelson:  In October of 2011,  Juanita and Brenda McMorris of Milo and I went to New York City for 6 days.  We had an incredible time taking in all the touristy things you do in the Big Apple.  The 911 Memorial ( so amazing and beautifully done ) a full circle cruise around the island ( very interesting as you see all the 5 boroughs, Manhattan, Queen's, Brooklyn, Staten Island and The Bronx)  2 Broadway Shows ( Wicked and Sister Act ) Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island tour, the spectacular 843 acre Central Park which was in walking distance of our hotel (Hamptons Inn North )  Great place to stay as hot buffet breakfast every morn. Also so close to Times Square and one blk from the theatres. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and of course we had to check out the World Famous Tiffany's and Macys'. We didn't buy anything though!!  

       Another highlight was a Harlem church service we attended. Your concierge at the hotel will give you the info on the tour to take.  So cool and exciting. We were told to join in with the singing and boy did we have fun!!! I don't think they'll ask us back as we were so good!! Or at least we thought so.   

       Some pictures of the three of us on the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty and skyline of the most amazing city - NYC Photos


  • Sandra Haga Scott: The first big trip I made ANYWHERE was with my grandmother and Suzanne Randle. The year was 1968. No doubt that's what began a fourty year love affair with the city of light. I've been to France too many times and this September Daniel and I spent 3 weeks getting to know more 'pedestrian' locations of the city we both love. Daniel speaks French and so our time there is always very rewarding. If you're planning a trip to Paris and need to know where to stay (we rent an apartment), where to eat (any local bistro with steak frits) or how to travel (Metro or foot) or where to go (love the catacombes and the Hemingway bar at the Ritz), then just let me know its on your itinerary and I'll be happy to help make it an even better trip.


  • Roy Knive:  Thinking of Australia?  It’s an easy country to visit: no language barrier (as long as you understand “ It’s yor shout mate!”),  commonwealth traditions (you do know  the rules of Cricket don’t you?) and familiar modes of transportation (a right-hand drive Holden please).

    Marj and I were fortunate in our introduction to Australia as it was through an unexpected work assignment.   Our pre-arranged accommodation was across from the Sydney Opera House and all we had to do was figure out what to pack.   Unfortunately we didn’t handle the jet lag well so our first couple of days in Sydney were a bit of a blur.  But once we came out of the fog, we fell in love with the place and, more to the point, with the people and the great attitude of the Aussies.  They’re a “can-do” bunch with a positive attitude aptly reflected in their most common saying – “No worries mate – it’ll be right!”.  

    Australia does require a visa for Canadians visiting the country but it’s a very easy online process.   There are a few options but the regular ETA will cover most visits.  Pick one up at   Through this visa system, it seems the Australians have a much better method of tracking visitors both in and out of the country.   We’ve always landed in Australia through Sydney so I can’t really comment on any other gateway to the country.  Suffice it to say that Sydney has much to see for the first-time visitor and also provides connections to anywhere else in the country so it’s probably the logical place for you to start. 

    Everyday meals may seem more expensive in Australia but keep in mind that prices include all taxes.   And, tipping in Australia is commonly not done or simply rounded up to the nearest dollar.  So, an eleven dollar breakfast may be less than we’d pay $8.95 for when you add tax plus tip. There are exceptions if you’re out for fine dining but even then, the norm seems to be more in the order of 10%.  

    Things to see and do on your first trip to Sydney:  Don’t bother with a car. The train into Sydney from the airport is great or a cab will take you door-to-door.  But, once you’ve settled in to wherever you’re staying, get to know both the train connections and the ferry routes around Sydney Harbour.  Both will take you to most, if not all, of the places you’ll want to see.  Good walking shoes are a must!  We put on miles and miles every day.  On your list should be the Botanical Gardens, the Fish Market, a ferry ride out to Manly Beach and probably a walking tour of The Rocks at Circular Quay.  Great history here but you’ll get more from it if you have someone point out a few things.  Like how the building stones were individually marked by the convicts who were making them as part of their penance.  The Rocks offer a good weekend market if you’re looking for a few gifts to take home.  Many are of the ‘touristy’ quality but there are great items in the mix; we have a couple of sets of his’n’hers pillow cases that feature happy, dancing, nude stick figures, always good for a chuckle when we put them on our guest beds.   Eat some passion fruit yogurt.  Check your fat intake.  Eat some more yogurt.

     Now it’s probably time to rent a car and hit the countryside.  Remember, stay on the LEFT!   Drive west to the Blue Mountains and if you take a bit of time, out to the Mudgee area for some great wine in a very relaxed countryside.  You won’t find Napa style here.  We loved it.  South of Sydney is the Southern Highlands which is becoming a quaint, beautiful semi-rural area.  Lunch at the Elephant Boy Café in Bowral (pronounced more like barrel!) has set us right a couple of times.  Carry on to Canberra if you’d like to tour the capital city.  The National Gallery is not to be missed if you’re an art lover and the restaurants are top-notch.  Nothing but the finest for the law-makers and lobbyists of course.   North of Sydney is beautiful Palm Beach where a bit of surfing is a fine way to spend the day.  Buy a ‘rashie’ to cover your upper torso, helps to prevent board rash and sunburn.  And, check what the locals are wearing and if they’re even in the water.  If the jellies are out in abundance, there will be signs around saying to cover up.  Did I mention that Australia has a gazillion things that can sting, bite or eat you?   It’s not a big deal, but you do have to be aware of what everyone else is doing.  If you come across a deserted, beautiful beach, don’t go in the water unless you see someone else in already.

    Further North from Sydney is the Hunter Valley wine district.  We took that in on a day trip with a small touring group arranged from Sydney.  After much wine, and much laughter, it was very nice to have someone else drive us home.

    We’ve also spent time in Brisbane and just north of there in the Noosa area; very relaxing and more great beaches.   We’ve not visited Fraser Island but our son and daughter-in-law have.  Rave reviews so give it a look if you’re thinking of spending time in this area.  And of course further North is Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.   We finished our first trip to Australia with 10 days in the semi-tropical area around Cairns.  We first stayed at a B&B at Yorkeys Knob just north of Cairns.  I really wanted their T-Shirt but couldn’t find one that said – Yorkeys Knob- Bigger than Moby Dick.  The Yorkeys Knob Boating Club at Half Moon Bay is a great place for a local pint and dinner.   Wonderful large deck covered with sail shades and a casual, fun atmosphere.  I did get into a bit of trouble with one of the locals because I tipped the bar too much.  See my previous note about tipping in Australia!

    We actually spent most of our time farther North in Port Douglas and on a subsequent trip went directly there.  From Port Douglas you can take various trips out to the Reef.   As an introduction, we did a one-day sailing trip to snorkel the waters around Low Isles.  Easy trip.  Great snorkelling.  Well worth it.   Then we took one of the smaller charter boats out to the Reef.  It turned out we were the only two certified divers on the boat so we had the dive master all to ourselves.  Awesome.   Can’t really say enough about it as it was a lifetime event for us.  We had just gone through the dive certification in Manley so our first real dives were on the Great Barrier Reef!  Do it if you can.  Oh, and the cane toad races at the Iron Bar in Port Douglas – do give those a go too.

    We also drove into the rain forest and even further up into agricultural land where we saw a big mango farm.  This is interesting country as you can go from the edge of the outback, through the rainforest and then down to where the Great Barrier Reef comes fairly close to shore.   All in an easy day. 

    So far, we’ve stayed on the Eastern side of Australia so we’ve got a pretty good handle on probably what are the most accessible parts of the country.   Oddly enough, we have little yen to see Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) but are looking forward to venturing further afield to Tasmania, the West Coast and the outback proper.    Our most recent trip was down to Adelaide then out to Kangaroo Island and back to McLaren Vale (lunch and Shiraz - and the Clare Valley for some excellent Riesling.    We gave Barossa a pass on this trip as we took some of the roads less traveled.  Again, all so very easy and highly recommended.  Drop us a line if you’re looking for other Australian info.   We’re not the experts but can probably help point you in the right direction.  

    BTW – meeting someone at the Opera Bar in Circular Quay in Sydney, NSW Australia at 3:00 pm almost any afternoon is a very good thing.   We’ve done it several times.  Would love to meet you there too.

A few pictures - Australia Sampler


  • Eleanor Sokvitne Decker

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

  • Kathy Wellman Carry

Tuscany / Italy

  • Sandra Haga Scott: Two years after my initial trip to Europe in 1968 with Sue I backpacked through Europe by myself (how stupid was that!). Both Italy and Greece won my heart. That was fourty years ago this summer. Both the locations and the traveller have changed dramatically, but the adventure to be had, has not. Daniel and I went to Italy every year when we owned our business, more than 20 times! If I come back after this life I hope it's as an Italian. I love the food, the history and the people. We spent lots of time in Bologna, Venice, Rome, Florence and the Tuscany area. Now we try to go for a 2 week holiday each year. I can't recommend a trip to Italy highly enough. It doesn't have to be expensive but it does have to be fun. We rent apartments but I would also recommend the AgriTourisim style of travel, staying at working farms in the countryside. Italians are gracious hosts and nothing beats a Tuscan meal. We love the Cortona / Arezzo area outside Florence and always travel by train, first, second and no class. It's all fun.

Vancouver / Toronto / Montreal

  • Sandra Haga Scott: We live in Vancouver now and I consider myself pretty up on what's happening here, so encourage everyone to contact me if you need advise. As for Toronto, it was my home for 23 years. And Montreal...that's Daniel's original home. So if you're going to spend any time in any of these 3 cities, please 'use' us....