Given a choice I would be living a nomadic/gypsy style life. Always on the move, never staying longer than it takes to explore a region, forever seeking the magic and mystique of arriving in a new location. However, life just isn’t like that is it? So, when not actually on the road, or googling travel, my husband and I incessantly seek travel TV. In the beginning, we were partial to pure travel, however now we are watching more and more shows that combine food and travel. Here are some of our favourites, a brief description and what we like best about them. FYI, we also seek movies which feature new countries and amazing scenery. The one thing we have found with the movies though is that for instance the movie can be supposedly set in let’s say Belize, but in fact it was shot in Puerto Rico – a little difficult to find that beautiful spot when in Belize if it’s in Puerto Rico 🙂 WE would LOVE to receive your suggestions in the comment sections for TV or Movies with amazing travel or scenery!
This page is a work in progress. We have a zillion ‘travel’ related shows we like to watch and as I remember them, have time to sit down and write I add another to the bottom of the page.
Distant Shores was probably the program that started the TV wander lust for travel. Featuring Canadian couple Paul & Sheryl Shard who built a sail boat and travel the world filming their adventures. It’s a really nice balance between wonderful scenery and really helpful sailing tips with a strong measure of good fun thrown in along the way. You can order the complete set online – well worth it and fun to go back and watch! Our trip to the Caribbean Island of Saba was inspired by this show. We have had the pleasure of chartering a sailboat and spending 10 days in the British Virgin Islands so have a ‘real life’ idea of how fantastic Paul & Sheryl’s life must be!
House Hunters International although primarily a real estate show featuring amazing destinations around the world, this is still one of my all time favourites. Given that I am a REALTOR® I get to mix my business and my pleasure while watching this one.
I love seeing the different styles of living and unique locations. I’m most partial to the highly unusual relocation destinations and anywhere with a beach in this program. Not quite enough scenery from a travel perspective, but a nice little glimpse into different cultures.
Departures is another Canadian program with two young Canadian fellows Scott & Justin travelling the world with their friend and amazing camera guy Andre. They have done an amazing job of putting this show together while travelling to some very remote areas of the world and experiencing things that the average individual will never have the opportunity to do. In some ways it has a ‘coming of age through travel’ vibe.
Scott & Justin were the perfect team to present the world from different angles with Andre skilfully providing the film for posterity. I truly miss this show and still enjoy re-runs when I can find them! I ‘glimpsed’ Scott at the Vancouver airport back in 2009 I believe, he was with a group of fellows and possibly off on another adventure!
Location, Location, Location followed by Relocation, Relocation followed by some other spin offs such as Vacation, Vacation, Vacation. Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer with their perfect chemistry and British cheek made these British TV shows fascinating from both a home and travel view. I am enamoured with British country side so Location, Location, Location was perfect! When they branched out to Relocation, Relocation, Relocation they dabbled in lifestyle changes within Britain and some interesting European destinations. Vacation, Vacation, Vacation didn’t have as many episodes but I enjoyed the ‘slant’ which was comparing various locations on different budgets.
Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan Honestly, Dominic’s voice and A type personality both make me a bit crazy. That said, he travels to some wild and exotic places seeking some of the worlds most unusual species. Well worth a watch!
Word Travels Two journalists traveling to the same places all over the world and writing/televising each with a different perspective on the same place. Great program!
Bizarre Foods Love Love Love Andrew Zimmern. I hope this guy is as awesome in his real world as he was on this show. Love his attitude, the way he eats, the way he travels and pushes himself to do things that may have been just beyond his comfort level. This show takes you into the nooks and crannies and private spaces of urban and not so urban places around the world. Did I mention I love Andrew Zimmern? 🙂 It’s totally not just about the food!
Originally more on the food slant then morphing more into the destination/cultural side of different parts of the world and even the psychological aspect of eating/breaking bread. I’m not personally a fan of him as a person, however I do enjoy the show and his take on the world. I would say that now that it’s not primarily food I find it better. His travels range from the seedier side of a destination to the high end restaurants. OK, I admit, he did start to grow on me after years of watching him.
No Reservations The first series I watched had a somewhat less palatable Bourdain and a definite more food show experience while still presenting glimpses of different countries/place and cultures.
The Layover There is a little more North American in this series. The concept is a 24 hour layout (hmm, maybe 48) in various International Airport served cities across the world.
As always Bourdain can be a raunchy guy and he certainly ate, drank and explored in a big way during these ones.
Parts Unknown The best of the three, this one is where it has turned into a whole cultural exploration of the world. Quite enjoyable to watch (yes, inspite of AB himself)….Ok Ok..I like the program 🙂 He’s a pretty raunchy guy but he’s evolving *waves*
Kevin McCloud’s Escape to the Wild This is a relative new UK series. It features a sometimes pompous Kevin McCloud flying (and then taking whatever mode of travel required) off to remote places where UK families (with families) have elected to live of the grid. I can’t even imagine how they start with nothing and continue to expand to form their own little paradises from nothing. My personal favourite is Episode 1 – Tonga
Huang’s World Oh my….whatever can I say about this program. Eddie Huang is a character, love the exploration of the darker side of a destination. Love the fact that he appears to be a homie style pothead with a developed palette and a righteous sense of morality thrown in the mix.
Worth a watch, Eddie grows on you 🙂 Also, check out the page link above – he has a web series!
The Secret Caribbean with Sir Trevor McDonald This is a 3 part mini-series with the refined and well spoken Sir Trevor wandering the Caribbean and presenting us with a more refined view than one or two of the above shows 🙂 Sir Trevor himself originally from Trinidad-Tobago is obviously enjoying his exploration of the Islands. He has done a few other similar series in other areas, none of which I have seen (YET).
check back – this is an ongoing list
Favourite Movies with Beautiful Scenery:
Set on a Greek Island: Mamma Mia – 2008
The Hundred-Foot Journey – 2014 – filmed in southern France (and I believe The Netherlands – go figure :). Fun movie about a family with aspirations to open a restaurant in rural France featuring their native cuisine with some great scenery in the first part of the movie.
check back – this is an ongoing list
Favourite Non-Travel Related TV shows with GREAT scenery:
Supposedly set in Belize – but really only has ‘after shots’ of Belize – actually set in Puerto Rico Mad Dogs 2015/16 – only 1 season – they stopped filming due to creative differences I believe 🙂
Death in Paradise mixes my desire to watch cheesie comedic detective/police shows with an awesome location! Set in the ‘fictional’ island of St. Marie this is actually filmed in Guadelupe. We dream of living in the main character’s beach side shack 🙂
Shetland – yet another ‘cop show’ this one set in the Shetland Islands. Some of the filming is in the Shetland Islands – but a lot of it is mainland Scotland.
check back – this is an ongoing list
Johnny and I set off in our car and Chloe & Kyle set off in theirs on our southshore trip from Halifax to White Point Beach Resort to spend our one night in a cabin on the ocean! Enroute we stopped by Peggy’s Cove, parked our cars and wandered around marveling at the sea, the rocks, the lighthouse, the rolling fog in the distance, the quaint seaside Martime fisherman homes and all that is Peggy’s Cove. We saw the nasty dark rocks from where more than one ill-fated tourist has been swept into the sea meeting their end. A lovely place, although a bit busy with a steady stream of cars pouring down the one road that goes in and out.
We took the scenic route along the coast to White Point. Our original plan had been to stop in Lunenburg for lunch, however, the day was passing all too quickly and we wanted to get to the beach. We decided that we needed to come for another trip east to see Lunenburg and I’m sure we will! We made a quick stop along the highway in Bridgewater for a great lunch in a little diner, then pushed on for White Point Resort! At one point we registered and were given a map to find our little cabin! Only a 1 bedroom Johnny & I got the bedroom & the kids slept on the sofa bed. There was a bit of a berm between the cabin and the sea and once we ventured over it we were quite surprised to see a long sandy beach filled with people frolicking by the sea! I had heard that it was a rocky beach and was not prepared to see such a beautiful beach. Upon arrival it was time for a short cocktail (I admit, I got a bit anxious and huffy when I realized we had to drag our things quite a ways over terrain to get it to the cottage)…the cocktails certainly did defray that! The kids had done a bit of research and new that in our short stay at White Point they wanted to paddle board and to surf. So, before dinner they rented paddle boards on the inside lake (not the sea). While they were paddle boarding Johnny and I went on a short 2 or 3 km hike through the grounds and the estates of White Point. It’s a great place! We had dinner reservations, ate a sumptuous meal and we were all beat and probably asleep by 10 a.m.! In the morning Johnny & I went on another short hike while the kids rented a surfboard and surfed in the ocean. Chloe had surfed before in Brazil, but it was Kyle’s first time and he took to it naturally. Around 1 pm we all headed out, Chloe & Kyle back to Saint John and Johnny & me south to Yarmouth.
Enroute to Yarmouth we took the scenic route and found ourselves on Cape Sable Island and at a place called The Hawk – the most southerly point in Nova Scotia. Love these little side trips and the quaint villages, fog horns blowing in the distance, huge empty beaches!
Many people have said Yarmouth? Why would yu go to Yarmouth? No idea, however, it did seem a logical stopping off point for the road trip. The one thing about this trip and our venturing into smaller towns, villages & more rural areas is that like here in Ontario, it is very sad to see once vibrant communities growing seedy, homes in need of repairs, for sale signs everywhere and just a general feeling that the life is seeping away. This is where I would love to start a rant about the downfall of North America via the onslaught of big box stores and rampant consumerism…however, I will leave that for another time 🙂 Not surprising our accomodation in Yarmouth was not as cute, as quaint, as well cared for as everywhere else we had stayed so far. The Rodd Grand Hotel which I chose because of location on the Main street in downtown Yarmouth has seen better days. We did have a window that opened, however the screen was gone from half the window and hanging in tatters. There was a dank, not quite clean feeling to the place. The staff were less than jubilant, the hotel itself was actually quite full and we couldn’t find a parking spot on the property and had to park on the street….I’m thinking I may not go back to the Rodd Grand Hotel 🙂 We were pretty tired from our many days of travel which lead us to Yarmouth. We had no interest in eating out, so just made a sandwich from the ham & cheese we carried with us in the cooler. We did take a walk along Main street, where again it looks lost, businesses closed, we tracked down to the Harbour where the Ferry to Portland comes and goes from and walked along a street closer to the water. There was another Rodd Hotel there that had shut it’s doors. You could see mattresses and chairs stacked against the windows. We did come across a lovely little park and a very vital looking restaurant (which honestly, I would have eaten at but Johnny was the one favouring ham sandwiches 🙂 . . .I bet Yarmouth was a vibrant place not so long ago….it’s definitely a working town….
The next morning we awoke early, hopped in the car, passed by the nicest Tim Horton’s I’ve ever seen (yes in Yarmouth) and then headed toward Digby to catch the Ferry back to Saint John. I was a little disappointed that the Ferry isn’t actually in the town of Digby, and we had reservations, so we could have stopped, but once we were out at the Ferry, we just got in line and wandered about waiting for the Ferry to arrive. The site said it was a 3 hour Ferry ride to Saint John across the Bay of Fundy, however it took just over 2 hours. Unfortunately, it was so foggy we saw NOTHING 🙂 That darn Bay of Fundy continued to elude us 🙂 This was yet another day that didn’t turn out quite as planned.
Our final destination for this day was Lubec, Maine, U.S.A. The plan was Yarmouth to Digby, Digby Ferry to Saint John, Drive to L’etete to get the Deer Island Ferry, Drive across Deer Island to get the Campobello Ferry – then drive the short distance across into the border town of Lubec, Maine. So, we did get to the Deer Island Ferry, and we were in the line-up. There were some locals with a couple of chatty little children in the car ahead so we were entertaining each other chatting back & forth. The little about (about 7) said, why is that sign on the ground. Johnny walked over to the sign and it said “Ferry to Campobello Not Running”….it was a bristol board sign and someone had torn it off the post it was attached to. So, I called the Deer Island Ferry people and the message said, apologies – no Deer Island to Campobello Ferry. This meant, that we had to go the long way and although most of it quite scenic, should we take the scenic route it would take us forever to get to Lubec, where we had reservations at an Inn. Soooooo….we headed off (thanks to that chatty 7 year old) toward the US Border at Calais, Maine. We did pass by St. Andrews by-the-Sea and did a quick tour of the lovely seaside (a little too touristy) village for me. Then headed back onto the highway. The border crossing was (as it always is) a challenge. Johnny is not Canadian (he’s Norwegian) and it means they have to haul him into the office. What was a bit different this time is they also demanded that I come in and they grilled us both…really, NOT FUN. In any case, we were allowed entry into the good old US of A and proceeded through Calais and along the more scenic route and finally ended up in the cutest seaside town I have ever been in. Lubec is a quaint fishing village that hasn’t turned into a too touristy town. It seems to have many artisan types, retirees, local fisher types it’s just a nice comfortable small town with all the things you need to survive. You can see the St. Andrew, NB shore across the sea, you can drive easily over to Campobello Island, NB, yet you are in Maine. It has a few small restaurants & Inns, we loved it! The reason we were in Lubec is that the previous year we had rented a cottage in Costa Rica from people who live in Lubec during the nice weather. We checked into Cohill’s Inn and LOVED our room # 8 – The Eastport! We did eat there that night, nice atmosphere but the food wasn’t tasting all that down home 🙂 After dinner we went for a walk and of course ran into our friends (who we had Fb’d to say we had arrived) and we went for a drink with them at Annabelle’s and then walked them home, making plans to spend the next day together. The next morning we strolled over to Marcy & Mike’s after breakfast and we got into their car and they took us on a tour of Campobello Island, walked some beaches, tooks lots of photos. We parted for a while in the afternoon, then went back to their place for 4 pm cocktails & PEI mussels…yum yum!!!! After that we walked over to the Water Street Tavern & Inn where had a really nice meal!! After the meal, we said our good byes to Mike & Marcy, headed back to Cohill’s for our second last night of our 14 day road trip. Next post….Lac Megantic, QC.
After a very long drive we arrived in Quebec City. I hadn’t been there for over 30 years….Johnny, who is from Europe had never been and I think he was surprised at how old world Europe it was. We stayed in a wonderful little hotel Chateau de tourelles that was once an 8 room B&B, but had grown to 12 rooms which qualified it for hotel status while still retaining the features of a B&B. One has to ring the doorbell to get into the building and moments later a tattooed, pierced fellow named William with a wool cap on greeted us and carried our luggage upstairs where he proceeded to check us in. There is no on-site car parking but William directed us to the hotel parking about 2 or 3 blocks away. Once back to our 3rd floor front of the building room which we reached by ascending wonky and wonderful stairs with oriental style carpeting over old wood we arrived at our room which had 3 big windows that we flung open as soon as we arrived…love my fresh air and light! We hastily unpacked, cleaned up and changed our clothing and headed down St Jean to the gated walls of the old city! We stayed at Chateau de tourelles for 2 nights nights and enjoyed wine from its roof top terrace with commanding view of the city. A yummy breakfast was served daily in the rustic style breakfast room. William`s friend was our server and from Japan so Johnny was able to practise his Japanese with her!
Our two days in Quebec City was comprised mostly of just wandering around but we did do a double decker bus tour to learn the history of the old city from Plains of Abraham to Chateau Frontenac, we try to do these types of tours whenever available in a new city, gets you off on the right foot. Saturday evening we did a ghost tour of the city, it was a chilly night and the tour a bit too at 2 hours and not really as polished as it might have been, it took us from the top down to the lower city and had us creeping through alley ways and encountering the ghosts of historic Quebec City. Overall, a lovely place to visit, lots of great places to eat & drink, shopping galore….but for us, not the type of places we need to go to often. We far prefer the more rural and rustic settings. When in Quebec City I highly recommend your most comfortable walking shoes as you are up and down the hills and through the cobble stone streets always! The very strange photos we take below…not sure they are all that representative of Quebec City 🙂