the other Sydney (Nova Scotia)

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Sydney, Canada has very little in common with its shared name cousin from down under.  For one, it is quite small, being located in the peninsular province of Nova Scotia.  There are no wallabys or koalas, but there is certainly an abundance of natural beauty.

Sydney, more of a community than actual city, is located Cape Breton Island (no relation to Breton crackers, I don’t think).  This island is located at the far Northeastern tip of the province, and has experienced a boom in tourism over the years due to said natural beauty.

This was the place to see some of the most beautiful fall foliage.  I mean, the roads along the famed Cabot Trail and up in the highlands (the Scots were attracted to this place for a reason) were lined with vibrant hues from the frostbitten leaves.

And yes there is another Canadian Sidney from Nova Scotia, but we’ll get to him later…

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i heart hartford

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Hartford, Connecticut is an elder statesmen of cities in America.  The well-preserved grandeur of many of its old buildings alludes to its history as one of the former richest cities in the country.  Home to the oldest art museum in the U.S. and a very beautiful, sprawling central park, Hartford has firmly written itself into the fabric of American history by being home to many of our nation’s greatest literary minds.

Mark Twain once said of Hartford, “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. ”

He hearted Hartford, and so will you…

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oh canada: p.e.i. showing some mussels

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Prince Edward Island, Canada is the smallest province in the great white north.  What it lacks in size, it makes up in character, history and abundance of amazing seafood.

That’s right, the home of P.E.I. mussels.  Sweet, tender, they’re a great little representative for this region of Canada.  The whole island is very charming and idyllic, with farms and vast greenery.  It is the very picture of rustic, pastoral tranquility with a sea salt mist.

put a little mussel into it

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the road not taken: vermont version

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Vermont, known for Ben & Jerry’s, the Green Mountains, Bernie Sanders, and so much more, is arguably the most beautiful state in the US to enjoy fall foliage (I will probably say this about each state I visited).

You may have noticed that I was gone for a few weeks (or maybe you didn’t and in that case, my feelings are hurt); I was on an epic cultural roadtrip through New England, and I definitely forgot to schedule posts (smort). But I’m back, baby, and ready to share some pictures of autumn with y’all.

Trust me, when you get older, you will be thrilled by simple notions such as leaves turning different colors.

nothing gold can stay

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Know before you go: YQB

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Y QB you ask? Y, because we like it.  Jean Lesage International Airport, named after former premier of Quebec is the 11th busiest airport in Canada, serving Quebec City.  J’aime Quebec City, one of the most European cities in North America. J’aime the fact that all Canadian airports start with a Y, except that it can get a little dicey when booking because they’re all very similar codes.

Located in the Quebec province, this airport and Trudeau Montreal are the two airports where French is the primary language.  Flying into this airport, especially during peak Autumn will provide miles and miles of rich reds, oranges and yellows of the fall foliage along the St. Lawrence river below.

This airport, albeit fairly small, is spacious, modern and open on the inside. The hub for WestJet and Air Canada, it’s mostly domestic, with a few direct flights from the states, Caribbean.

Remember ✈️ non, non  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ oui, oui

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (about 7 miles or 11 kilometers outside the city)

Security: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (preclearance available to the US)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not huge, very open and spacious)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (there are literally two cafes and a Starbucks in the whole airport)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (not overly crowded, but there could be more stalls/washroom)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (VIP Lounge, Family Zone, this more of a transit airport)

 

know before you go: IND

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As alluded to in my post from last month, Indianapolis International Airport is one of the nicer domestic airports through which I’ve ever been.   I’m not the only one who is impressed; this airport tops ‘best of’ lists of airports year after year.

Modern, spacious, it’s your standard two story, two concourse (A&B) airport but the open, airy design and ease of moving through said space makes it anything but average. From the time you step foot inside, you can tell the personality of the city and just how proud of it they are.  It’s an enjoyable feeling, even if just for a layover.

As it is the gateway to one of the most visible international sporting events in the world, the airport has to make a great first impression, and it does.  The most eye catching feature is the large civic plaza which is a rotunda just outside security that gives you a 270 degree glass-windowed view of the Indiana plains.  There is great signage, and technology both at the airport and on their website informing you of line wait times.  There are about 44 gates serving most domestic carriers (American, Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United) and one international carrier (Air Canada).

Remember ✈️ pace(r) yourself  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ Gentlemen, start your plane engines!

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (if there’s one gripe, it’s that it’s about 25 minutes west of downtown, but that’s where there’s a lot of open space)

Security/immigration:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (clear signage and wait times posted, TSA was very efficient)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not a massive airport, but it feels very large yet easy to get from concourse to concourse, rental car facility on the lower level)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (your normal fare: Au Bon Pain, Chick Fil-a, McDonalds, Starbucks, local deli Shapiro’s)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (well dispersed, there are a lot in the ticketing area, pre-security)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, the civic center area has charging at almost all their lounge chairs.  This cannot be overstated.)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (Delta Sky lounge, barbershop and multiple Indy themed giftshops to pick up your last checkered flags and racing memorabilia)

Quintana Roo Crew

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Cozumel is one of the most famous Mexican island “balnearios” or seaside resort towns in the Caribbean sea.  Located just across the way from Playa del Carmen, it is a very convenient stop for cruise ships.  Another municipality in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula, it is famed for its snorkeling/scuba diving and shopping.  Once a bustling Mayan pilgrimage site to fertility, now tourists arrive in droves to sip on cervezas and eat tacos.

Sorry, that’s a bit reductive, but I think the rich history of this region is lost amongst the thick blanket of tourism that is now its main economy.  And I’m also a little salty that the main Cozumel museum was closed when I visited.  Saltier than the rim of a fresh marg.

Cozoom zoom…

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know before you go: Chinggis Khaan (ULN)

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You read that right.  Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia, has an airport named after one of the most famous pillagers of all time, their native son, Chinggis (Genghis) Khaan.  I mean, pretty cool name for an airport, and was so named in 2005 to celebrate the 800th (!) anniversary of Mongolia being an independent state.  Currently, there are around 3 million people in the country, with ~1.5 million of them in Ulaanbaatar.  Many Mongolians are still nomadic, traveling around the country in their gers (yurts), but I have to imagine that most that are on the grid use this airport for travel.

I can’t take sole credit for this one, this is courtesy of my parents, as I have not yet made it to the ends of the Earth..one day.  Apple does not fall far from the tree.

This is a small airport, serving mostly domestic flights throughout the country (Aero Mongolia, Hunnu Airlines), however there of course, are many flights from Asian countries such as South Korea and China, as well as European cities like Moscow and Berlin.  Mongolia has only really been open to foreign tourism for the past few years, so its airport system is still developing.  It’s a little bittersweet because this old airport is being replaced with a new more international friendly airport in the next few months.

There is one terminal with two levels.  Arrivals level one, departures second floor.  It’s located about 11 miles from the city center, and you can access easiest by car/taxi.

Remember ✈️ khan it  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ hun-ny I’m home

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (bus, taxi — there can be dense traffic around the airport)

Security/immigration:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (typically not too bad as there aren’t usually tons of flights coming and going at the same time)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (just one small building)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (cafe, noodle shop, just enough to get by)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (a lot of bathrooms for departure level, only 2 for arrivals, I guess they assume you’re go when you get to where you’re going)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi)

Amenities: ✈️ (one first class lounge, duty free shop/convenience store)

hoosier daddy: indy day trippin’

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Indianapolis is a place you hear about constantly if you’re a sports fan.  From the Indy 500 to Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, if you’re in my age group) and Peyton Manning SB team of 2007, the “Hoosier State” capital is hallowed sports ground.  It has been the bullseye of the news cycle lately, notably for the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck.

I can honestly say beyond sports, I didn’t know much about this city, other than the fact that it seems like I know a million people from there.  Impossible, since it is the 17th most populous metro area in the country with about 2 million in population, but their residents certainly infiltrate everywhere else in the Midwest.  Indy is about the size of Kansas City, and similar in many ways.  There are great neighborhoods, a friendly sense of community and an unmistakable pride in their hometown.

Gentlemen (and gentle ladies), start your engines…

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know before you go: kansai (kix)

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The best thing about this airport may be its code: KIX.  Like the wholly underrated cereal.

Kansai is the airport that serves Osaka, Japan and is located on its own artificial island in the bay of Osaka.  It is made up of Terminals 1 (main) and 2 (domestic low cost carriers), which are not connected, but have shuttle service between them.   Kansai is designated as the longest airport terminal in the world at 1.1 miles in length.  This is why there’s a people mover.

As this airport is in the middle of the water, railways connect it to the mainland, and a ferry service can transfer you to Kobe airport.  That does however make it a potential target for tsunamis, such as Jebi 2018 which halted operations for several days.

Remember ✈️ kant-sai  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ pumped up kix

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (bus, car, etc.  there’s an efficient railway, duh it’s japan, but it is on an island, so…you have to plan ahead for travel time.  There’s a high speed ferry to KOBE airport as well)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (terminal one has a people mover)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (What are you even doing if you’re not loading up on musubis for your trip?  Have curry, udon, even okonomiyaki before you board.  And yes, there’s Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King if you must)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (japanese toilets are the best)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, business oriented so plenty of charging)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (japanese airports have the best shopping.  Aside from luxury brands like Rolex, Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, you have japanese craft markets, dollar stores like Daiso and even a Pokemon store.  There’s Korean, JAL, ANA, Royal Orchid lounges, business centers, and an airport hotel as well.)