Travel Bug

News and adventure to expand your horizons

By Michele Peterson | March/April 2019


Go Champing in Britain

Get a good “Knights” sleep during a sleepover at a historic English church. The Churches Conservation Trust, a national charity protecting historic churches at risk, has launched a Champing program, a unique opportunity for visitors to camp overnight in a historic church. All income raised goes back into conserving these beautiful buildings for generations to come. Travellers can choose from a wide range of sites rich in history such as the medieval church of St. Mary the Virgin in Essex or St. James’ Church in Cooling, Kent, home to an atmospheric churchyard that was the inspiration for the opening chapter of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Bedding, breakfast and other add-ons are available with select church sleepover rentals.

Discover New Zealand by rail

Discover the relaxation and thrill of rail travel with KiwiRail, one of New Zealand’s great rail journeys. The six-hour Coastal Pacific scenic trip has resumed service after a two-year hiatus following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Passing through 22 tunnels and crossing 175 bridges while travelling between Picton at the northern end of the South Island and Christchurch on the eastern coast, the scenery includes the Marlborough wine region and the Kaik ura Coastline, famous for its marine mammals and whale watching. The train’s Viewing Carriages feature open sides, allowing passengers to experience the great outdoors of vast plains, dense forests, dramatic coastlines and spectacular mountain passes.

Take a four-pawed vacation in Quebec

There’s no need to leave your favourite four-pawed pal at home this spring. For a vacation you’ll both enjoy, hit the road for Domaine Summum, a dog-centric boutique hotel situated in Mont Tremblant, Quebec less than an hour from Montreal. This rustic-chic country property permits pets to be off-leash and there’s no size or breed restriction or any extra fees for two dogs. Pets can swim in the private lake, run off-leash along groomed forested trails and even enjoy a special menu as well as high-quality boarding, a spa with pet grooming and day camp services. In addition to suites and stand-alone cottages, Domaine Summum also offers a clubhouse that sleeps 18 people and up to eight dogs.

Celebrate Easter in Southern Iceland

For a memorable, multi-generational holiday the whole family will enjoy this Easter, why not head to Hotel Rangá in southern Iceland? This boutique, luxury retreat features log cabins in an other-worldly setting ideal for stargazing, with Northern Lights wake-up calls, observatory, resident astronomers and in-room photography tips. Outdoor adventures include super jeep tours through the valley of the Norse god Thor and excursions to Hellar for cave exploring in the largest man-made cave in Iceland. Their 2019 Easter Packages include accommodation for four nights, breakfast buffet, welcome drink, free access to the public swimming pools in the villages of Hella or Hvolsvöllur and a traditional Icelandic three-course dinner on Easter Sunday in the hotel’s Nordic restaurant overlooking the East-Rangá River, and more.

Celebrate the 2019 European Capitals of Culture

Take an urban break — and your camera — to explore the cities of Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria), rising victorious among 21 initial contenders to be the 2019 European Capitals of Culture. Designated by the European Union (EU) for their diversity and richness of culture, each city will feature year-long events designed by field experts and local residents, intended to foster regional creativity and celebrate their destination’s unique features. In Matera in southern Italy, cultural highlights include the Sassi complex of cave dwellings housing museums and historic churches, while romantic Plovdiv in southern Bulgaria is an ancient city built around seven hills first settled in 6000 B.C.


Michele Peterson is a Cobourg-based travel journalist. She can be reached at