Fastest Minute Revisit: Winsport

It is no secret that I am not a fan of winter; however, the sport program at Canada Olympic Park is well worth the visit. For those not too keen to try winter sports, the Sports Hall of Fame is a great museum and well worth the time. While there is snowboarding, skiing, and ice sports- the most exciting things, in my opinion, are the bobsleigh and the luge. Now if you have shoulder or neck problems then please don’t attempt. The bobsleigh especially gives your body a darn good jolt. If you are a pretty poor luger, as I turned out to be, you could walk away with some bumps and bruises.
The bobsleigh comes in at about $100.00 per person- likely one of the fastest and most expensive minutes of your life and absolutely well worth it. You start out with a safety briefing, helmet fitting, and a briefing on the ride. We were then introduced to our driver and set up into trios. I sat behind the driver and my basic job was to hang on. At first I thought this “sport” was pretty lame. At the top of the run there was very little action, and the…all the sudden…bam! We picked up speed and the corners came fast and furious. Thinking was not an option for most of the ride…every single sense was on edge…wow!!! Then the G forces hit! Wow..I have never been so humbled by the force of nature. I had no bodily control, couldn’t resist the crushing power. They said it would be like a 300 hundred pound man sitting on me…well I think it was more like 500…it was the craziest feeling I have ever had in my life. At the finish line my wobbling legs barely peeled me out of the sleigh. Then the adrenalin and exhilaration kicked in…wow!!! The feeling was amazing and my admiration for the type of athleticism it takes to do this sport is beyond words. Once it is all over you get a picture with your crew, a commemorative certificate and, of course, bragging rights!! I still talk about this experience….just amazing! You can read more on my post of this experience.
The second experience you must try is the luge. At $35.00 a pop it is a easier price point for most but if you wish to ride more than once there is no pro-rated ride fee so it is another full $35.00. You get a helmet, a safety chat, and a demonstration..then a push down the hill! You get 5 turns and people clock around 50-60km. While it was a good experience, luge is not my thing. I couldn’t relax, lay back or even remotely get the hang of it. I had one spectacular crash which mangled both my elbows and another lesser crash involving my legs! While it was fun to try it and I am so glad I took the opportunity, I was pretty damn glad when the whole thing was over! Laying down on a bit of canvas and wood going down an icy hill is really not my thing and wow though…sure gets the blood pumping!

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Grille n Golf….Harvest Grille Kelowna

One of the best views you could wish for! Our hosts at A Windsong Bed and Breakfast suggested the club’s restaurant and it was indeed a fantastic recommendation! When you make your reservation ask for a table at the far end of the veranda. This will give you a view of the Okanagan landscape as well as the lovely fountain which creates a breathtaking atmosphere. We arrived at about 7:30pm and were able to watch a spectacular sunset during our meal.

The service was attentive, friendly and they accommodated our dietary requests. I found the menu to have a good selection of foods. We chose fish as it was the special and it was outstanding. The taste and texture just right and the sides were a lovely addition to the whole dish. The food tasted fresh and it looked as though there had been attention to plating which I always appreciate. I was happy to see a lot of local wines, brews and fortified wines on the menu. It was a fantastic evening and we are sure to return!
http://harvestgolf.com/restaurant/

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19 Okanagan Grill & Bar…what a treat!

Located on the West Bank this is another fantastic golf course restaurant. When you make reservations ask for a patio seat so you can enjoy the expansive view of the grounds and the lake. We arrived early so that we could walk around the grounds. When we were seated we were just in time to what another fantastic sunset.

Our evening started out with amazing customer service. The hostess was extremely accommodating and our server was knowledgeable, fun, and bent over backwards to meet our dietary needs. In fact, this was the best customer service we received on our whole vacation in Kelowna. The food is flavourful and our entrees were both outstanding! The portions were huge and the taste so good that we just couldn’t stop eating!! We felt that the price point was extremely good value for money. This was our favourite meal during our vacation in Kelowna, and we had a lot of great meals! I loved that they had some wonderful lesser known local wines on the menu. The collaboration of great scenery, outstanding service, and fresh flavourful food created an extremely enjoyable evening. We look forward to returning!
http://dine19.com

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Fantastic Anniversary Celebration Kelowna

Minstrel Cafe….What an enchanting spot. Only a 20 minute walk from our bed and breakfast we were able to enjoy a Saturday night out with a couple pitchers (yes pitchers) of amazing sangria. Make sure you check out their entertainment schedule and make reservations as this place fills up fast. There is a $5 entertainment charge per person that is tacked right on to your bill- so no messy paying at the door on those nights entertainment is in the house. We happened to hit a jazz trio and with the best seats in the house we enjoyed a night of old classics and modern new renditions. To top things off, the service was outstanding and the food absolutely excellent.

We had calamari appetizer which was a big serving and stuffed us right then and there! The calamari was done just right both taste and texture were spot on. When entrees then came our eyes grew even bigger! We had salmon and lamb and both dishes were very rich and so flavourful. Sadly we couldn’t make it to the dessert menu, but we will make sure to save room next time! The meal was very fairly priced and it really is a great location for a special night out! We really enjoyed our experience and would happily return!

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A Windsong B&B Kelowna

Nestled in a quiet residential community close to Summerhill winery, the hosts of A Windsong, Diane and Al, are simply fabulous. They are willing to spend time with you, they share their beautiful yard with you, and are happy to answer all sorts of questions about Kelowna tourist attractions, wineries and restaurants. We have never felt so welcomed in a bed and breakfast!
The breakfasts were amazing with lots of fresh fruit and a hot breakfast every morning. We were stuffed well into the day and thoroughly enjoyed our lingering breakfast mornings on the deck. The bedrooms each have a private washroom, which was very important to us and there was a lot of space and free wifi. There is also a common room and front porch with an outstanding view. There is also a fridge, microwave, plates and glasses for your wine and snacks. It is a 20 minute walk to Minstrels Cafe if you would like to have a few drinks with your supper and only a 15 minute drive to downtown Kelowna. The price point is amazing and unbelievable for Kelowna. This bed and breakfast really is a gem – you will thoroughly enjoy your stay!

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Majdanek National Museum

If you have never been to World War 2 concentration camp you really need to prepare yourself for this experience. A little reflection beforehand on the history and context may assist. You also must know that you are going to see, smell and walk through something truly horrific. Majdanek has been very well kept and if you have been to the busier more famous Auschwitz you may feel the lack of tourists and chatter lends itself to an even more chilling experience. I have been a number of times with my husband. We did not engage a guide because sadly my in laws know all to well the history and havoc of this place. The smell is something I will never forget, especially the bins of shoes.
If you do engage a guide, and I suggest you do if you don’t have an intimate understanding of the history. You need to reserve a guide and they do offer a few languages outside of Polish. This is a service you must pay for, otherwise entrance to the museum is free. The website has all the information you need, plus additional resources. http://www.majdanek.eu/index.php

Finally, remember where you are going and dress and behave appropriately. It is recommended that you do not take children under 13 years of age and lighting candles is prohibited.

The museum is stunning and the work to maintain the history of those who have perished is commendable.

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Old Town Lublin

Years ago Lublin Old Town was dark, dingy and decently dangerous. The only reason we went was to party at the “Old Pub”. Even walking in Old Town during the day had you hanging on to your purse tightly. Over the past 10 years Lublin downtown, including the Old Town, has become a fun and beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

As you approach the Old Town from the downtown area you will be walking on a pedestrian street. It is full of caf├ęs and small shops which used to be a busy street full of cars! Now on any given day it is full of shoppers, people watchers, and an exciting array of buskers! As you head to the Old Town you will see the gate to the Old Town, it is worth a look and a picture for sure. Also take a moment to check out the Lublin Cathedral. While the church itself is lovely, a few zloty will get you up the winding tower full of hidden art and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city! Once you are back in the Old Town in the centre you will see cafe upon cafe which is a great way to spend the afternoon. Try the regional beers which are becoming more and more artisanal. Hard cider is also making a debut and there are several pretty good brews in the market. This is also an opportunity to try some traditional Polish for or some fusion plates if you are up for a more creative experience.

As you make your way to the castle there are lots of nooks and crannies that will provide the creative photographer with an opportunity to play with shadows are architecture. It is worth spending time in the castle as it has been turned a great museum which will give you a good sense of the life this castle has known! You can also get some good pictures from the castle of the surrounding city. While there are a few souvenir shops the shopping is sparse at best. There is still a lot of development to be done; however, Lublin Old Town has just enough character and entertainment to keep you busy for a few hours.

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