Travel With Bradley


In A Few Hours We Arrive In Paradise!

Wow – we are on the final stretch….

Soon we will arrive in Singapore.

Our flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong was 45 minutes late arriving so we had 35 minutes to get off the plane, go through security and get back on the same plane. It kept us moving but once again everything was so well organized – we were guided by Singapore Airlines employees holding signs all the way along the route. I kept at the end of the pack to make sure nobody in my group got left behind.

A steward on our last flight told me that the Hong Kong airport is one of the most efficient in the World – right down to the cleaning staff. When I walked into the Hong Kong airport washroom there was an attendant responsible for making sure the facility stays clean – he remains in there at all time – not just spot checks – it was spotless – you could smell the bleach.

Once again boarding the jet was a breeze – no lines – in no time we were seated and ready to depart. I’m been trying to determine why Singapore Airlines does a much better job than others – I believe its the abundance of staff – professional, experienced staff – other airlines should take note!

The flight attendant in our section of the aircraft was such a sweet heart – Marlet, one of my passengers was admiring the outfits they wear – the stewardess commented that they are made of a cotton material that repels liquids and if they spill something on them, the design of the material hides the stain so passengers won’t notice. She told Marlet that similar designs are available on ebay or in the Chinese Market in Singapore. The stewardesses look immaculate at all times. My female passengers kept saying – their hair is styled perfectly – nothing is ever out of place. The attendants have been overly friendly on all flights – when they bring around our meals they say hello, how are you, describe the choices… on most airlines the attendants would stare at you and say chicken or beef!

Another breakfast was served – my passengers were more interested in ordering Singapore Slings! It’s wonderful how Singapore Airlines has embraced this cocktail that is known by most and has put their country on the cocktail map.

We arrived in Singapore after 3 hours 15 minutes. This airport is so impressive – my passengers were all coming to me saying they can’t believe how beautiful it is. Massive live greenery walls surround much of the customs hall – but unfortunately I had to remind my passengers that they couldn’t take pictures in this secure part of the airport.

There were no lines at customs so we were through quickly but by the time we finished, long lines had formed so a few flights obviously arrived after us. Our luggage also arrived very quickly – why can’t other airports be so efficient? We met our local guide, Susan and boarded a private coach charter to the 5 star Fairmont Hotel. She pointed out highlights along the way.

The Fairmont in Singapore always impresses me. The rooms are beautiful and very so homey. The oversize rain shower in the bathrooms gives you new energy after many hours of flying. Once again ALL the staff here are so professional – the front desk staff are always at the top of the game so I never hesitate to book this hotel. Our rooms were ready ahead of check-in time even though the hotel is at capacity. Any request I have is not too much.

We really enjoyed our luncheon at Cafe Swiss. Their International Buffet is impressive. This is not your run-of-the-mill lunch buffet – many upmarket selections, food stations and a chocolate fountain with warm carrot cake are part of the dessert table.

After our many flights my group finally had some down time. I was able to fit in some shopping in the convenient attached mall and relaxation time in the impressive Fairmont Spa. Others went to the “pop up” Raffles Hotel Long Bar for a Singapore Sling. Raffles just closed for a massive renovation. I’ll be anxious to see the new updated Raffles Hotel next time I am in Singapore.

We gathered once again for dinner at Prego. I always use this restaurant when I have groups in Singapore. The younger manager was so pleased that I brought them another group. He came right up to me asking how I have been. The chef came out of the kitchen to make sure I was happy with everything. He is from Italy and wanted to meet the Canadians as he remarked that Fairmont Hotels has a long history in our country.

I picked a sharing menu for the group this time – we would call it “Family Style” at home. Platters of starters, main courses and desserts arrived. Since I knew everyone is tired I asked for them to bring the food out quickly so we had no waits between courses. Everything served was fresh, hot and delicious. There was an abundance of selections. Well Done!

Dining out in Singapore is very expensive. I pointed out to my guests that our lunch buffet was $60 per person plus tax and tip – dinner well over $100. per person. I’ll never forget a few years ago when I had a group in Singapore, a 3 course group German schnitzel dinner was $160.00 per person!

When I arrived back to my hotel room after dinner my internal light switch turned off. I was not tired up until that point but all of a sudden I was done. I could barely finish a couple Facebook posts before quickly falling asleep but by 3am I was wide awake. I feel great and ready to go.

Today after we enjoy the superb breakfast buffet at the Fairmont (one of the best anywhere in the World) I’ve picked out the best places for us to visit in Singapore during a 1/2 day tour. We’ll then travel to the airport for our Singapore Airlines flight to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. We arrive around 730pm if I recall correctly.

Last night one of my passengers took me aside to say how terrific this tour is – my response was “thank you very much but we are just beginning”.

How wonderful to think that Bali is waiting for us – in a few hours we will arrive in paradise!EE85D055-50D1-4B20-941B-AACA1081B7AB900C35E7-6B73-4376-8BB5-02FB7467F26174A615B8-0D79-4E48-8093-27B92DA9339CC405C4C1-5255-4255-AF2C-EA430FAD5783A65BB02D-867D-4D77-8829-997B3254CF404EB3B0E8-5ECD-4C09-BA92-556885F3EA97D9F0619B-B053-479A-9674-C099889691D281F0DEC4-21FF-44B6-A9CB-83B8AE76B12527B29197-1B81-4100-8A47-34971EBC0D775A32DC35-93EB-480C-B2B0-A05B46405B8C330097E2-68F2-41FB-839D-92C683453DA3C51E1593-3B8E-4469-8E0A-41C754E526D3

Soon Will Be In Singapore!

We currently have 3 hours before we land in Hong Kong – we have been flying for 11 hours since we left San Francisco.

It’s been a pleasure flying Singapore Airlines. The check-in procedure in San Fran was smooth as silk. I still cannot believe how quickly they got everyone on board the aircraft. Manpower certainly makes a difference. They had many staff telling us exactly what we needed to do – what documents to put away – what needed to be in our hands – it worked!

Headphones for the audio visual system were handed to us before we boarded the plane and we could help ourselves to a selection of newspapers.

Oversized roller bags were taken from passengers and checked. They had airline reps walking throughout the waiting area making sure that customer carry-on bags were compliant. Many of my passengers said they are glad that I told them not to use roller carry-on bags as there is nothing worse than having your carry-on bag taken from you as it usually contains your most valuable travel processions.

We departed late but an announcement was made that the Captain would still get us to Hong Kong on time. There is a noise by-law in that city and if we would have left on time we would have spent time circling as we would have arrived early and the noise by-law would have restricted our landing time.

Menus were distributed and Dinner was served soon after take-off. Really HOT towels were brought around prior to dinner so we could freshen up. I was not hungry at all probably because it was the middle of the night but I ate some fish. We were given real cutlery – not plastic. I admit that I really enjoyed a Singapore Sling before I shut my eyes. I slept very well and after such a long flight feel really good. It’s so important to sleep during these long haul flights.

There is a baby across from me and he can be pretty vocal at times. It’s a sign of the times as his Dad looks after him while Mom does everything but.

The crew constantly switch up a variety of snacks – fruit, granola bars, sandwiches, cookies – you can help yourself whenever you wish.

I chatted with a steward and stewardess for quite a while. The steward was a young looking 50 and he told me how air travel has changed over the decades. Years ago it was a luxury to fly – now a necessity. Like all airlines he said there have been cutbacks but Singapore Airlines is still a very polished product. The attendants look so professional and are so friendly. My passengers commented what a difference in comparison to the unfriendly staff who looked sloppy that looked after us on the Air Canada flight to San Fran.

If the Singapore airline staff are sitting as you enter the area in the back section of the plane they stand right away to welcome you and are eagerly ready to offer beverages, snacks – they are going to do whatever they can to make us happy. The washrooms on board are kept absolutely spotless – I seldom see that when I fly nowadays. They are large which is a bonus and there are a variety of toiletries available to use.

I was hungry for breakfast and it tasted SO good even though it had been in storage on the plane for hours. We had a choice and I selected the, “real” eggs with tomatoes, chicken sausage, potatoes, yogurt, sliced fruit, roll, tea and orange juice.

We are now reboarding our plane in Hong Kong – quick turnaround.

soon will be in Singapore – have to go!EAB01B4E-0B9D-4A07-87FC-6F98F82BFEA8


We Are Off to Bali, Indonesia

Well I am currently sitting in a transfer vehicle heading to Toronto airport so I thought this would be a good time to start writing a blog post.

I’d like to thank all of you that traveled to see me yesterday in Woodstock at the South Gate Centre trade show. I knew to expect many local folks but was shocked to learn that some of you that drove over 2 hours. It was a very busy show so Melanie and I didn’t have much time to chat with anyone for any length of time. Thanks again to all of you!

My group is flying Air Canada to San Francisco and then we join Singapore Airlines for our long-haul to Singapore with a stop in Hong Kong.

I am anxious to fly Singapore Airlines again. I had the privilege of flying First Class with them a few years ago. That was an amazing experience. I was able to pre-order Lobster for my in-flight dinner. The stewardesses wore slippers so they wouldn’t disturb us during the night. They even made sure we were nicely tucked in for the evening. The pajamas they brought me may have fit an Asian man but not me – smile!

When organizing this group I had a choice of a couple airlines but I knew that Singapore was the best choice.

We will spend an evening in Singapore at the Fairmont (a favourite of mine) and then we will arrive in Bali late in the day on Friday.


Checking in for the flight was quite easy today. The Air Canada reps had to check us in since we are flying to another country outside of the States so we didn’t have to face the dreaded computer terminals to check in. That pleased everyone. The lines were short for security and immigration.

I once again provided passes for my group to enter the lounge at the airport. It was extremely but I found everyone seats. They enjoyed the complimentary meal and of course the drinks.

We departed Toronto on time. One man checking in ahead of us went off the deep end when he was asked to put his carry-on bag in the metal box to make sure it wasn’t oversized. I was surprised that they ended up letting him on the flight. Once again they ended up having to check a number of roller carry-on bags at the gate. There is just not enough space on the aircraft for them when its a full flight. My passengers are happy they packed soft sided bags as I suggested.

Of course it would be nice if Air Canada still provided complimentary meals like they use too during North American flights, but what they now offer for sale is substantial and good quality. NEW – They are now carrying food items from Freshii, a Canadian franchise that specializes in healthy food choices.

The flight attendants were not too friendly but they knew the routine and got the job done.

It was a fairly smooth flight all the way to San Francisco. We flew over snow-capped Rocky mountains as the sun was setting – very beautiful.

I had wonderful seat mates – a gentleman from Ottawa who works for Apple – he travels to Apples head office outside of San Francisco for 1 week every month.

The lady on the other side of me told me where she was original from and I told her that I am going to be bringing a group to her country for the first time. She read over my proposed itinerary and just praised the entire thing. One of the restaurants I picked is her favourite – her husband was raised a few doors down from it. She said I have also booked their very best hotels. I learned about her entire family – I think she has a family member in every town we are visiting. I of course can’t tell you what country I am writing about…. you’ll find out at my travel show in August! She really got me excited about this destination! That tour is going to be WINNER!

There is a few hours to go before we board the Singapore Airlines flight.  The United jet next to our Singapore jet is flying to Auckland.  Lots of kiwi’s are sitting among us.  They depart before us.

I’ll hopefully be able to send you another message from our stop in Hong Kong – about 20 hours from now. If not you’ll hear from me when we reach Singapore!


You may want to move to Gander, NFLD!

If you follow my Facebook posts you’ll already know that I saw the matinee performance of “Come From Away” in Toronto on Wednesday.

I purchased tickets to see, “Come From Away” last year but life at times is so busy I had to pass on seeing it that time.

My brother Darren was kind enough to represent our Dinner Theatre at a travel show in Niagara so I didn’t have to miss the performance this time.

You have probably heard that Toronto has a King Street Transit program in place so if you want to avoid a $110.00 fine you need to know the rules. Basically if you turn right on King Street (where the Royal Alex Theatre is) you have to turn right again one block later so you are off King. Priority has been given to streetcars. There are warning signs but out-of-towners like me, who aren’t aware of this pilot project may not realize they are doing anything wrong until they are fined!

I parked in the Roy Thompson Hall underground – $20.00. It’s a bit of a maze so you really need to take note where you parked. When I got out of the show I saw many theatre patrons trying to find their cars in this underground.

I enjoyed a casual lunch at Ricarda’s 134 which is located at 134 Peter Street – a 10 minute walk from the theatre. I was intrigued when I walked past this restaurant a number of months ago and since then I have wanted to try it out. Its a large restaurant with an open kitchen. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and arethe only restaurant in the city that offers a Jazz Brunch. Fresh pastas, salads and flatbreads make up much of the extensive lunch menu. If you are short on time you can grab something from their bakery or take-out area.

Typically when in this part of Toronto I would dine at, “PAI” a Northern Thai Kitchen but I thought I should try something new. I enjoyed Ricarda’s 134 but missed PAI!

When, “Come From Away” finished its run in Toronto last year it transferred to Broadway.

The current production of, “Come From Away” has a new cast of 12 performers who play a variety of characters that were involved when 38 planes made emergency landings in Gander, NFLD on Sept 11, 2001.

I was most impressed with Eliza-Jane Scott who plays the part of the first female American airline pilot. Her Southern Drawl, actions and singing voice reminded me of country singer, “Reba McEntire”.

This is not a big production show – its all about the acting and this cast quickly draws you into the story.

If you see this production you’ll smile, laugh, tear up but most importantly it will make you proud to be Canadian. You may even have the urge to move to Gander, NFLD!

I highly recommend you join this summer’s, “Travel With Bradley” Newfoundland Journey (Aug 3-11) because its not only spectacular scenery that you will experience. You’ll also meet some of the friendliest Canadians who call the Rock their home. They’ll welcome you just like they welcomed the foreigners that were stranded on Sept 11, 2001.

My matinee ticket was $120.38 plus 12.00 service fee – Grand Total – 131.00. Expect to pay more for a good evening performance ticket.

Tickets for, “Come From Away” aren’t easy to come by but there is no need to be in a rush as there are rumors that this production will be around for over a year.

Months ago, Barbara a great friend and frequent traveler invited me to join her for dinner after the show. Just like on a, “Travel With Bradley” Yellow Brick Road Mystery Tour she kept the restaurant name a secret until the day before I attended the show.

Scaramouche has been on top of Toronto lists of best restaurants for 38 years. It’s a culinary institution. Our waiter proudly told us that he has worked at Scaramouche for 28 years. He was a pro.

I selected Northern BC Sturgeon as my main course. It’s a mild white fish with an almost pork-like texture – full of flavour. We split a piece of their famed coconut cream pie (fresh coconut custard, chantilly cream, white chocolate shavings) and it didn’t disappoint.

Barbara requested her favourite table so we could enjoy sweeping views of the skyline of Toronto. They were impressive.

Scaramouche is located in a 1955 apartment building which has since been converted into a condominium. It would have been a great investment back in 1955 because units currently often sell for over $1Million.

What a spectacular day with a record breaking spring like temperature – 16C!



An Amazing Day Exploring the Galapagos

This morning after an early breakfast some of us took zodiacs to Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos in order to find the Galapagos Land Iguanas.

These mammals can grow to a length of over 3 feet and can weigh up to 26 pounds. They need to heat themselves up during the mornings so luckily a few of them were on the trails we walked on. I was so grateful because this allowed me to get some decent close pictures with my iPad since my zoom camera is out of commission. We have been so lucky – even our guides have expressed how lucky we have been to see all the famous Galapagos mammals up close.

The male iguanas defend their territory and dig large holes which they use as homes.
Feral Dogs nearly wiped out the iguana colonies so a breeding and rearing program was started in 1975 and in turn the iguana population has increased to around 300.

Even though todays hike was mainly on flat surfaces it was challenging as it involved walking over lava rock which is pretty tricky. You certainly don’t want to fall on lava rock.

Surprisingly there were a few issues at dinner last night which I discussed with the Hotel Manager. The cuisine was delicious but somehow they messed up badly with service. Like every great restaurant at home there is always the odd, “off night”. Today we received an invite to a private cocktail reception plus cheese platters – chocolate covered strawberries – wine  –  arrived in our suites. All not necessary but the Silversea Staff want to exceed our expectations and they did that starting as soon as we arrived on board.

The seafood selection on board has been outstanding. Last night almost all of us ordered the local Scorpion Fish which was highly recommended by the chef. It’s a white fish that is full of flavour – I’d rate it the most delicious fish we’ve had so far during this cruise. On this ship if you order the seafood entree you just can’t go wrong. It’s always fresh and prepared perfectly. I don’t recall ever eating so much seafood in my life – its been my entree choice for every lunch and dinner while onboard SilverSea’s Silver Galapagos.

We all enjoyed the afternoon hike and beach time.

Most of us attended a cooking class before our private cocktail party – they even provided entertainment for us.

Dinner was so much fun – Ecuadorian BBQ feast. I invited Daniel one of the naturalists who is moving to Ottawa to join us.

An evenings highlight was seeing 8ft sharks next to the cruise ship.

Another fantastic day!

Helping To Deliver The Mail….

This morning we visited Port Office Bay, Floreana, Galapagos.  The weather is picture perfect once again!

A group of us boarded the first 8am zodiac. This was our first wet landing experience – ended up being a very simple process – once again Silversea stresses safety.   I didn’t own a pair of water shoes so when I learned Silversea requires that you wear them for wet landings I found a reasonable pair at Costco.

Years ago this island quickly became a popular site for passing vessels to replenish water due to its freshwater springs. Amongst the visitors were English and American whalers during the late 18th century, who would spend weeks at a time resting in the Galapagos during their whaling expeditions.

In an attempt to stay in touch with their loved ones back home, the sailors developed a free mailing system at the landing beach we visited today.

A makeshift post box was constructed of a wooden barrel. The idea was that any whaler or sailor visiting the area would leave letters in the post box and before vessels left the island to head home they would sort through the mail in the barrel. Any mail addressed to places close to the sailor’s hometown were taken with them for delivery upon their return.

This is one fo the oldest mail systems in South America and was used for over a century.

Now visitors like us are free to leave letters and postcards in the barrel. We sorted through the pile and I found a post card that was addressed to a Grandchild in London, ON.   I will hand deliver it on my return.

I only had to wade in water around 4” deep to be surrounded by stingrays and one of my friends was thrilled but shocked when a hammerhead shark swam up to him as he wadded in very shallow water.

The Silversea naturalists have many snorkeling and kayak excursions planned for the day before we continue sailing.

At 4pm we’ll arrive at Punta Cormorant, Floreana where we will be met by the award-winning onboard naturalists.  We’ll be on the lookout for Pink Flamingos.

We took over the Grill once again during lunch. There is nothing better than enjoying lunch with friends while soaking in the sun and fresh air. Sea bass, Red Snapper and Octopus were the lunch seafood options. During lunch and dinner we always are the first to arrive and the last to leave….. we are having the best time together. The servers are treating us like gold. Everyone now knows us as the Canadians who have invaded the Silver Galapagos Silversea Ship.

For those of you following this blog I will post pictures when I return back to Canada. Luckily I have had no issues posting some pictures on Facebook. While on Facebook if you look up – Bradley Walters and/or Travel With Bradley you will find them.


Rain Damaged Gear…..

Last night during dinner one of my friends said that yesterday was, “probably the best day of her life”! Another friend then said, “I could live on this ship – just perfect”.

They are so pleased that I have been organizing wonderful journeys to exotic lands like Galapagos, Kenya, South Africa, India, Vietnam and Bali.

Once you visit an exotic destination the seed is planted and chances are you will want to see more.

Visiting a destination like Galapagos is an expedition type journey. These aren’t the easiest destinations to reach. To enjoy, “everything” you ideally should be in decent shape with good mobility. You will still enjoy the journey if you have issues but its best to do these types of expedition journeys while you can enjoy them at the fullest. Passengers that don’t get off the ship and can still enjoy the beautiful views from onboard. When we are anchored we are in awe of the mammals that come right next to the ship.

If you plan on visiting the Galapagos feel free to email me at www.askbradley@bradleywalters and I’d be happy to share some great pointers on what to pack for an expedition journey like this one. Overall I did a, “very good job” packing but after being here for a few days I could help you do an even better one.

This morning there were so many excursions offered it was difficult deciding what to pick. We all want to do everything but its just not possible. Silversea has been awarded the, “Best Excursions Award” once again. We are all so impressed with the excursions that have been offered but I am even more impressed with how safety comes first.

A few of my friends went on todays hike which offered spectacular views and the rest of us enjoyed a zodiac boat excursion. Our guide was superb – Daniel, has studied Marine Biology in Halifax and is going to be living in Ottawa. All the guides on board Silversea are filled with enthusiasm and love for the mammals. Daniel has a very down-to-earth demeanor which makes him a great teacher.

Last night during the 7pm briefing a naturalist spoke about the Galapagos Penguins and explained how they have dots on their bellies which help to identify them. One of the naturalist studies the local penguins and she showed us pictures of Lemon and Lime. Today during our zodiac cruise we spotted Lime (4 dots). Daniel told us that Lemon would be close by but we didn’t find him.

Daniel also pointed out a rare Juvenile Blue Footed Boobie. Its feet were purple instead of blue. It takes 5 years for them to mature and when they do their feet turn neon blue in colour.

I asked Daniel if there is mercury found in locally caught fish. He said not as much as in other parts of the World. I then asked about the local Tuna. He won’t eat it and said if we are interested in learning more he would join us over dinner to discuss. I have invited him to join us on Thursday night.

A number of my friends went snorkeling this morning after the zodiac and walking tour. They reported wonderful mammal sightings.

We took over the grill once again at lunch. The staff is more than accommodating and are happy to set up a very long table for us. The cat is out of the bag – some young children ordered burgers and fries – they aren’t on the menu. I saw some of my passengers salivating so I expect they’ll be ordering the same tomorrow.

This afternoon on the zodiac tour the skies opened and we got drenched – my iPad and camera were in a backpack but got wet – my camera may be shot and my iPad is having issues. If you don’t get any blogs or Facebook posts after this one you’ll know why.

Could be a very expensive day for me….