Travel

Cozy Cabin Getaway

Cabin dock sunbathingSometimes it’s just nice to get away from home and the typical routine. Our routine hasn’t even been all that typical lately, but enjoying the outdoors was oh-so-needed after being cooped up at home for the last couple weeks. We were excited when our lovely friend Jenna invited us up to her family cabin for the weekend.

The cabin is in the Okanagan, an area about a 4-5 hour drive from home with beautiful mountains, lush landscapes with orchards and vineyards, desert-like tundra, and refreshing lakes. I could have laid out on the dock reading and sunbathing all day. Every time I started to get a bit too warm, I would dip my feet in the icy Kalamalka Lake and feel entirely refreshed. Jordan couldn’t resist getting in the water a least once. He jumped in for a quick skinny-dip, inspiring another friend to leap out of the canoe with his swim-trunks still around his ankles.

Cougar Canyon HikeCougar Canyon HikeThe area also has some great hiking trails. We went for a quick, easy hike on the Cougar Canyon Trail to enjoy a couple beautiful viewpoints. The trail also winds into the canyon where climbers scale up the cliffs.

Cougar Canyon HikeCougar Canyon HikeThe cabin itself was big and lovely, but it didn’t have any running water or electricity. Our version of “roughing it” involved homemade barbecued burger patties, discussing the history of rap music by LED lantern, and cuddling away the cold as we watched the sunrise over the lake from our pile of twin mattresses on the screened-in porch. We sat out on the dock and watched the stars, brighter from the absence of city lights. Those moments we spent just chatting with friends and enjoying the fresh air were valuable to us. It was great to hang out without the distractions of technology and simply enjoy conversation.

My brother lives in the area and came to visit with his family. It was fun to watch his golden retriever pup experience jumping into the lake off the dock for the first time.

Cougar Canyon TrailAt the insistence of a friend, we had to visit a little Filipino restaurant that makes their own “purple toast”. They bake several different types of bread, including one with purples yams, which they serve as toast with their all-day breakfasts. I ordered their special for the day – coconut french toast. It was amazingly delicious; the coconut was baked right into the bread. If you are ever in Vernon, BC, I would recommend Rosalinda’s Filipino Kitchen.

Okanagan LakeGray Monk On our way home we stopped at a family owned estate winery overlooking the Okanagan Lake. We enjoyed the view as we tasted a variety of wines at the Gray Monk Estate Winery. Yum. I could have taken them all home!

Gray Monk Estate Winery Gray Monk Estate Winery

Porto, Portugal

Jennifer and Jordan in Porto, PortugalWe visited Portugal on a whim. We had a list of countries we wanted to visit, and we tried to stop in as many places as we could.

There was a long weekend coming up and I thought to myself – “Portugal for the weekend? That’s something you can do when you live in Europe right?” Isn’t it AMAZING! It’s not something you can do from Canada; sometimes we go to Seattle for the weekend. But in Germany the world is your oyster because not only is it close enough, but it’s cheap enough too.

Kezia in Porto, PortugalPorto, PortugalSo we packed our backpacks and headed out for a long weekend getaway with friends. We found ourselves on a rocky Ryan-Air flight flying into a storm on the coast of Portugal in February. We snuck out early (4am?) so that we could drive to the airport 4 hours away to make our flight. Jord was thrilled that they upgraded our rental car to a flashy Audi sports car. We may have enjoyed ridiculous speeds on the autobahn at 5 am…

Audi, Germany, AutobahnPorto, PortugalPorto, PortugalWe found ourselves wandering in the cold and rain as we tried to find our home for the weekend. Apparently it was still February, and even in Portugal it was chilly. The streets were quiet, but the beaches were alive with crashing waves and strong winds. We were captured by the beauty and strength of the ocean. We stared across the great Atlantic taking in the mighty waters. It was an out-of-body experience. I never imagined to find myself standing on the beaches of Portugal amidst a winter storm.

Lighthouse in Porto, PortugalLighthouse in Porto, PortugalSome other highlights for us were walking into town along the river, getting drenched in the rain, exploring the underground catacombs, having a fondue and sangria party, and finding a 50 cent bottle of wine in the grocery store.

Jordan put together this awesome little video from our trip:

Photography by Jennifer and Jordan Bennett