Travel With Bradley


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….



Incredible Day Surrounded by Galapagos Mammals


This morning at 6:30am we arrived at Punta Vincent’s Roca, Isabela. We all commented that every Galapagos island is unique in landscape and the type of mammals that they attracts.

This morning the Silversea cruise ship was dwarfed by steep cliffs – very dramatic.

At 7:30am we boarded a zodiac in search of marine mammals – we spotted
Pacific Green Sea Turtles, Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Sea Lions, Galapagos Fur Seals, Sally-Lightfoot Crabs and the very famous, Blue-footed Boobies.

When we got back to the ship we sat on the open deck. As we glanced over the water we were entertained by sea turtles, seals, hammerhead sharks, sea lions and a massive pod of dolphins.

Over half of the on-board passengers went snorkeling this morning but just one of my gang joined them as deep water snorkeling isn’t for beginners. Donna reported that the snorkeling was excellent – she was swimming with sea lions and penguins.

At noon we departed Punta Vincent’s Roca for Punta Espinoza.

We all enjoyed lunch on deck at the Grill. The staff set up a long table especially for all of us. If the other passengers don’t know who the Canadians are, they certainly do now. We started with the salad bar. The fresh tuna steak entree was so delicious – I ordered it well done (I know not they way that you should order it) and it was so moist – full of flavour. It came with an asparagus and sweet potato salad. The home made desserts were tempting (Black Forest Cake, Coconut Flan, Cream Puffs, Homemade Ice Creams and Sorbet). I was good and stuck with the refreshing fruit salad.

Visiting Punta Espinoza, Fernandina in the afternoon was an incredible experience.

Literally thousands of Galapagos Iguanas call this island home. In spots there are so many of them, they are walking on top of each other. Would make a great backdrop for a horror movie!

The baby seals came right up to us – they are just so inquisitive and cute.

The distance of the hike was not far but many found it a challenge walking on lava rock. When you come to the Galapagos its so important that your shoes have good tread and support. You can’t be taking pictures and walking at the same time or you will take a major tumble. The mammals will get your attention but when walking its more important that you concentrate on your step and when you come to a complete stop take the time to admire the spectacular sights that surround you.

The Galapagos is unlike any other destination in the World – just spectacular!

This evening we are invited to reception prior to a 5 course dinner in the cruise ship dining room.  After spending so much time outdoors  we have worked up an appetite.

I’ll post more pictures when the ships wifi access is once again strong enough to upload them.



Making Lifetime Memories With Silversea

Of course when you visit the Galapagos everyone wants to experience everything so expect very busy days – lots of fresh air – amazing experiences.

Islands Visited Today230B5DF0-A1A6-4764-B9CC-E23D0E96D005Bartolome and Caleta Bucanero

These unique islands are very isolated – they are located over 600 miles from the Mainland Coast of Ecuador. Very few of them are inhabited but locals love living, “in the middle of nowhere” and feel its a perfect place to raise a family.

The Silver Galapagos has recently been voted best ship in the Galapagos and also Best Shore Excursions offered in the Galapagos – the staff on board are so proud of these honors. It’s the excellent, hand selected National Park guides that elevate Silverseas. These guides are the best in the industry.

We are the largest group on board so the other passengers have already figured out who the Canadians are! We easily fill part of a deck when we gather.

Today the earliest excursion was promoted as a “Strenuous” Hike – uphill and then backdown – over 380 steps each way. Five of us took a zodiac ashore at 7am and we quickly started our climb. Our Silversea guide was superb. He knew when we needed a rest and he was full of informative knowledge. The views we saw were spectacular. This view is used in many Galapagos tourist lure pieces.

Those that were not on the Strenuous Hike enjoyed a zodiac tour that hugged the island – they saw a number of mammals including penguins which are hard to find.

The next morning excursion was a snorkeling one. Wet suits are provided but my friends didn’t find the water to be cold. A few of them snorkeled with sharks! Those that are snorkeling had to attend a mandatory class onboard as the onboard staff stress that safety is a number one priority.

Most of us enjoyed lunch on deck at the grill. The weather was just so perfect – we all wanted to be outside. On the menu today was shrimp, salmon and a fish stew. The selections on the most part are very healthy. You aren’t going to find French fries and onion rings or burgers but there is a pasta and pizza selection.

We took over the back of one deck as we sailed to the next island. We passed many islands along the way.

At 4:40pm we boarded zodiacs once again for an excursion where we saw a number of beautiful mammals.

I turned to David who was sitting next to me saying,
“its hard to believe that there are so many issues in the World when we are surrounded by such beauty”.

We all agreed that the animals are not a problem – humans are the problem.

At 7pm we gathered for a briefing so we know what to expect tomorrow.

A “meet the captain” party followed.

We dined in the alternative restaurant and had so much fun cooking our entree on a hot rock. I picked Salmon and prawns. Most picked the beef filet. We had so much fun. Our group always seems to be the first in the dining room and the last to leave!

I tried and tried to upload pics with no luck so have decided to send this off and will try blogging pictures again later….






All Aboard – SILVERSEA Silver Galapagos

It was an early start this morning – our wakeup call was set for 3:45am.

At 4:30am the JW Marriott restaurant opened especially for Silversea Guests.

I am really enjoying tasting local fruit that I had no idea existed. There were so many varieties for us to try at breakfast.

This morning by 4:30am we needed to have our checked luggage outside our door for collection and agricultural inspection. Silversea arranged for the mandatory luggage inspection to be done prior to us heading to the Galapagos. This saves time – a very nice perk.

To avoid long lines at the airport check-in there were a number of shuttles scheduled to leave the JW Marriott. We were assigned colour – RED. Our departure was at 6am and a Silversea representative came with us. We were given a receipt for the Galapagos tourist fee which SilverSea paid on our behalf in advance – another perk. We also had to fill out a Health Questionnaire. The cruise rep asked if I would take ALL the passengers health and present them to the Silversea staff once we arrived – I agreed.

When we arrived at the Quitos Domestic Terminal our luggage was waiting for us. The Silversea rep guided us to a private check in area for Latam Airlines. We received our boarding passes on the coach (other Silversea advantage) so check-in was very quick – basically the staff just tagged our luggage. Security was quick too. In no time we were on the plane – a newer airbus 319.

We were so impressed with both the International and Domestic Terminals at Quito Airport – just 4 years old. Johnny Rockets restaurant is found in the Domestic Terminal – a nice bakery restaurant was near to our gate – many nice quality gift shops.

The jet was pretty much full. We enjoyed 2 flights – a 35 minute one to begin with and then we remained on the plane while they refueled, then it was another 90 minute flight before we arrived on a Galapagos Island.

Of course the Silversea staff was out in full force at the airport. My friends followed my packing suggestions so we ran into no agricultural issues once we arrived. Our boutique cruise ship was just 5 minutes from the pier. We were split on 2 coaches for our transfer. There was little wait to get on the zodiacs at the pier. Soon we were onboard and warmly welcomed with champagne plus we were greeted with the smiling faces of the Silversea Crew.

A number of us decided to enjoy a luncheon on deck at the Grill. The grill features different entrees daily – there is a salad/dessert bar which helped ourselves with. I ordered the sea bass which was just delicious – best I ever tasted – so fresh.

I chatted with the maitre-d and he is kindly going to keep all of us together for dinner in the main dining room. He also booked us all for the Grill Speciality Dinner tomorrow evening.

Our staterooms suites are oversize and comfortable – so spacious – even the washroom and shower.

Our butler is very friendly – came around to find out how he should stock the stateroom mini-bar! All complimentary – as many bottles as you would like.

This cruise ship holds just 100 passengers so we already have got to meet many of our fellow travelers – at lunch the travelers beside us were from Sydney, Australia.

Well I must go – soon time for the muster drill.

Temperatures are in the 80’s and the blue skies are so inviting.

We are already having a fabulous time aboard the Silver Galapagos.



Only In Equador

Only in Quito, Ecuador would we return to our deluxe rooms after an exceptional dinner to find a long stem rose on our beds – possible secret admirer??

The restaurant I picked for us to dine at this evening was impressive both inside and out.

The experience was a Ecuadorian Culinary Evening that was enjoyed by all.

Off to bed we go – 3:45am wake-up call, 4:30am luggage out for agricultural inspection then off to the airport for our flight to the GALAPAGOS!

Silversea – here we come.


Our Day in Quito, Ecuador