Salzburg Travel Guide: Top 5

Sep 29

Salzburg Travel Guide – Top 5

If you are planning to visit Europe or Austria in particular, I highly recommend spending at least two days in Salzburg. It is a quaint town near the mountains filled with history and charm. The top five most noteworthy sites are listed below in my Salzburg Travel Guide.

1. Mozart’s Birthplace (Mozarts Geburtshaus)

One of my favourite places during my trip and the first I add to my Salzburg Travel Guide is Mozart’s home. Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. His home, from birth until he was age 17, is now a museum in Salzburg. His first instruments (his first violin and the clavichord where he composed the opera The Magic Flute – Die Zauberflöte) and family letters are on display. This is a quaint house (above a grocery store) with many items from Mozart’s childhood which was spent composing under the watchful eye of his strict father, also a composer, Leopold. 

Mozart's house, Salzburg

Mozart’s childhood violin

2. Festung Hohensalzburg (Fortress)

Built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein on Festungsberg, a small hill in Salzburg: it is the biggest and most preserved castle in Central Europe. The castle was further expanded under subsequent archbishops and only came under siege once during The Peasants’ War in 1525. Consequently, they did not take the castle.

To visit the fortress, I suggest taking the Fortress funicular with a guided tour (with audio guide) that covers the main rooms for roughly 12 euros (adult price). This is the package that I recommend as you get the tour guide and an audio guide with additional information. Following the tour, the Marionette Museum plus the other museums within the facility are worth a visit.

Festung Hohensalzburg - Salzburg Travel Guide

Festung Hohensalzburg

Festung Hohensalzburg

Festung Hohensalzburg

3. Salzburger Dom (Cathedral)

Salzburger Dom is a 17th century baroque cathedral. Saint Rupert founded the church in 774 on the remnants of an old Roman town. It was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. It was once again rebuilt in the baroque style in the 17th century under Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau.

For details on opening hours, please check HERE as it changes during season.

Salzburg Dom

Salzburg Dom

4. Schloss Mirabell (Palace and Gardens)

Mirabell Palace in Salzburg is a UNESCO Heritage Site which was originally built in the early 17th century at the instruction of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau. Between 1721-27, it was rebuilt in a baroque style. It houses concerts (I was lucky to see one in the marble room) and portions of The Sound of Music was filmed on the grounds (see Do-Re-Mi song).

It is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm (Mirabell Palace and the marble staircase). Gardens are open from 6 am to dusk. It is a beautiful place to walk around in the evening, therefore, save yourself time to visit later in the day.

Schloss Mirabell

Schloss Mirabell

Schloss Mirabell

Schloss Mirabell

5. Katakomben (Catacombs)

It is not a long climb but the stairs are steep and jagged, therefore skip if you have mobility issues. Otherwise, pay the two euros and enjoy the catacombs carved into the rock of Festungsberg, its chapels and frescoes. In the graveyard at the base, visit prominent members of Salzburg’s past, including Mozart’s sister, Nannerl. She is buried here in Crypt LIV in the Petersfriedhof.

Katakomben (Catacombs)

Katakomben (Catacombs)

Furthermore, come back next week and we will review another five sites I recommend that you should visit in the next installation of the Salzburg Travel Guide. There are many other sites to visit and day trips you may wish to take from Salzburg which are especially relevant.

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Exploring the Mayan Ruins in Tulum, Mexico

Jun 28

For the first time, I ventured to a place not called Europe and instead made my way to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. This was my first tropical vacation and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum with a group of great friends. In fact, my only requirement for this tropical vacation was a chance at exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum or Chichen Itza. Tequila and tropical drinks flowed liberally and we survived the heat by lounging by the pool and beach, taking a trip to Tulum, and of course, enjoying a Cerveza or five. It was a glorious vacation and one that I will make again in the future.

Exploring the Mayan ruins in Tulum

Exploring the Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Tulum entrance – Mayan Ruins

The History

Tulum was built in the late thirteenth century on the Caribbean coast as a seaport. Tulum actually means “wall” which is accurate as it is a walled city. It stands 12 metres (40 ft) up the cliffs with a majestic castle looking down on the beach. The city may have been called Zama, City of Dawn, and was an important trade route as well as a place of worship. It is estimated that as many as 1500 inhabitants occupied these lands.

The Maya civilization consisted of small states ruled by a king; similar to the Greek city-states. Their civilization still exists as the Maya can still be found in the area to this day. The peak of their civilization came between the 3rd and 10th centuries, where numerous cities flourished. But drought, deforestation, war, and the arrival of the Spanish all may have contributed to their decline.

Exploring the Mayan Ruins in Tulum Mexico

Cenote – Mayan Ruins at Tulum

The Ruins

We booked a day trip from our resort to visit Tulum and ended up with the most delightful guide, Mio. He was quite knowledgable and entertaining. It was a bit of a hike from the parking lot but once you saw the ruins, it was a worth the walk. The ruins are in pretty good shape and you get such lovely views of the beach and Caribbean Sea from up on those cliffs.

Temple of the Descending God - Mayan Ruins Tulum Mecxico

Temple of the Descending God at Tulum

There were so many highlights at Tulum but one of my favourites is the Castle below. It is just simply spectacular. The Maya were known for their pyramid building and cenotes (caves).

Mayan Ruins - Pyramid El Castillo (The Castle)(

Pyramid El Castillo at Tulum

Tips for Tulum

  • I recommend a guided tour – there are many options and you cannot go wrong with a knowledgeable guide who will get you to Tulum and fill you with its history and background
  • It was damn hot – bring water. Bring an umbrella and dress cool. Yes do not forget a hat and sunscreen
  • Go early in the day if possible
  • There is a fair bit of walking so bring good shoes – I had some nice walking sandals. Perfect!
  • Bring your bathing suit to go swimming if you have time. We did not but next time!

Have you been to Mexico? What was your favourite tropical spot? What trips are you planning next? Next up is a trip to Europe this fall: Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna and Salzburg, Austria; and Munich, Germany.

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey: The Women

Nov 20

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey: Canadian Glory

Another Olympics and another Canadian hockey gold. Aside from a silver at their debut in 1998 games in Nagano, Canada has won all other hockey gold in women’s hockey at the Olympics. They are an impressive team lead by hockey goddess, Hayley Wickenhauser, who has played in each Olympics since its debut. I planned my Olympic adventure for many years and made sure I got my hockey gold ticket. These are the best pictures as I usually take as I was very into the game and quickly snapped a few.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: Canada vs USA

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: Canada vs USA

Once again, the two best teams in the world, Canada and the United States, were expected to plow through the Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey tournament with ease and make it to the gold medal game. Aside from one upset by the Swedes in 2006, the gold medal game has been contested by Canada and the United States. While the Swedes and Finns are improving, it is still a two nation sport.

In Sochi, the Americans lost to the Canadians in the round robin but it was a close game which set the stage for an exciting and magical gold medal game. I had travelled a very long way to watch this game and was expecting a thrilling game.  In fact, 2014 had a more exciting and dramatic finish to the game than Canada’s victory in 2010. It even rivaled Crosby’s overtime goal on home ice at the Vancouver 2010 game (yes I was there)!

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: Victory for Canada

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: Victory for Canada

It was another tight and interesting game. First period was tight with lots of penalties but no scoring. Americans scored in the second and early in the third. As the clock ticked down, it was looking more and more likely the Americans would win their first gold medal since 1998. However, Canada did not give up. With under four minutes to go, Canada finally scored and the crowd had something to cheer for finally. The Russian fans were cheering along with us Canadians. I think the Canadian fans outnumbered the Americans 2-1 already so with the Russians, the arena was overwhelming rocking in favour of Canada.

Down one goal and with less than two minutes to go, Canada pulled the goalie to get an extra attacker on the ice. The goal was empty and the Americans ALMOST scored. It hit the post. Wow!! And then not long after, Canada tied it up and we were going to overtime.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: Victory for Canada again

Canada took a penalty in overtime but it was negated quickly when the American took one themselves. Teams played 3 on 3 for a short spell until the Americans hauled down Wickenhauser who was on a breakaway. It probably should have been a penalty shot but no worries, Canada took the powerplay and didn’t look back. Marie-Philip Poulin scored the golden goal (and the tying goal) and the arena went nuts.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women: The Queen of hockey, Hayley Wickenhauser

I am four for four for hockey gold medal games: two in Vancouver and two in Sochi. The two best, men in 2010 and women in 2014, ended up in overtime victories (thank you Poulin and Crosby). I must be Canada’s lucky charm. See you Pyeongchang in 2018.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women Team Canada Picture

Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Women Team Canada Picture

You might also be interested in:

Sochi Olympic 2014 Opening Ceremony

Men’s Sochi Olympic Figure Skating Long Program

Men’s Hockey Gold Vancouver 2010 Olympics

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Neuschwanstein Castle

Sep 05

Neuschwanstein Castle

A trip to Germany is not complete without visiting a castle or two. Germany was my first solo adventure and I had the best time. From enjoying my time at Oktoberfest to taking a trip to Eagle’s Nest, it was a blast. My favourite is still probably Neuschwanstein Castle.

The most majestic of all the castles is Neuschwanstein Castle located near the village of Hohenschwangau and the town of Füssen in Bavaria, Germany. With over a million visitors a year, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular castles in Germany and all of Europe.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

The man behind the castle is almost as infamous: King Ludwig II of Bavaria. You may recognize him by a more well-known moniker: the Mad King Ludwig or the Fairytale King.

King Ludwig commissioned the castle in the mid-19th century as an homage to the great German composer Richard Wagner. Many of the rooms are inspired by Wagner’s operas as well as medieval Germany.  Sadly, Wagner never visited the castle as he died before its completion. Walt Disney fashioned his castle in Sleeping Beauty after Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Building commenced in 1868 following the death of Ludwig’s grandfather (Ludwig I) which freed up money that was previously spent on the abdicated King’s estate. The great castle was never completely finished due to Ludwig’s perfectionism (it is missing the all important throne in the throne room) but Ludwig did move into Neuschwanstein Castle in 1884 but only spent 172 days total in it. Ludwig died in 1886 under very mysterious circumstances; he died together with the psychiatrist who had certified him insane, after being deposed only days earlier.

Neuschwanstein is located in such a fairytale location: situated in the Alps in Bavaria, on top of a hill overlooking a beautiful village and valley. On the day that I visited Neuschwanstein Castle, it was rainy, cloudy and misty. Unfortunately, I was not able to see the iconic views of Neuschwanstein Castle on the Marienbrücke (Marie’s bridge which was named after his mother, Marie Friederike of Prussia).

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle by Valerio Bruscianelli via Creative Commons

Neuschwanstein Castle was open to the public a mere six weeks after Ludwig’s death, filling the coffers of his successors.

Tips for Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

  • You may only enter the interior of the castle via a guided tour. I recommend to buy your tickets online to save time; the queue can get quite long. A reservation fee is required on top of the 12 euros to visit or more if you include the other castles and museum (1.8 euros which is reasonable to me) and you must purchase tickets online 2 days before your visit. Tickets can be collected from the Ticket-Center in Hohenschwangau (separate window for reservations) on the day of your visit (bring your written confirmation)
  • Guided tours are in English and German. If you do not speak these languages, you may purchase an audio guide in Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Slovenian, Russian, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese, Hungarian, Greek, Dutch, Korean, Thai and Arabic
  • Note for the hiking trail: it may occasionally be inaccessible due to rock-slides – this will not affect visiting the castle nor guided tours
  • No photography is allowed inside the castle and the tour lasts about 30 minutes

"Neuschwanstein Boden" by Lokilech - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

  • Transportation to Neuschwanstein Castle is simple: train, bus or car
  • It is a steep walk from the ticket centre – it takes at least half an hour. You may shorten that by hopping on the horse-drawn carriage where you only need to walk about 10 minutes. Price is 6 euros up and 3 euros down the hill
  • There is also a shuttle bus but as with the horse carriage, it does not take you all the way to the top but stops a bit short. The bus takes you to the lookout point Marienbrücke so you have a short walk downhill to the castle. Departure point: Schlosshotel Lisl, Neuschwansteinstraße and the price is 1.8 euros up and 1 euro down (return 2.6 euros)
  • Opening hours: 28 March to 15 October: 9 am-6 pm and 16 October to 27 March: 10 am-4 pm
View of Hohenschwangau Castle from Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

View of Hohenschwangau Castle from Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

So have you been to Neuschwanstein Castle? Or how about some of the other castles such as Linderhof or Hohenschwangau? Bavaria has the best castles in Germany!

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Visiting Lake Louise Canada in the Summer

Aug 07

Visiting Lake Louise Canada in the Summer

Lake Louise is a lovely lake and small village in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. It is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and the massive resort called Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. You will need to spend an arm plus part of a leg to stay there. A visit to Lake Louise Canada is worth a few days. There are numerous lakes to visit as well as hiking and icefields to see.

All my photos posted today are completely original, without any filters or adjustments, and from my simple point-and-shoot camera. I had issues with my fancy new camera so had to rely on my point and shoot and it did a decent job. Lake Louise Canada and its surrounding lakes are truly this beautiful: they need no editing.

What Lakes to See:

  • Lake Louise obviously tops the list; it was named after Queen Victoria’s daughter. You can rent a canoe as well as hike around the lake. The emerald/blue colour is a result of the rock flour, which is fine powdery rock that has been crushed and ground by the glacier, carried into the lake by the melting of the Victoria Glacier
Lake Louise Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

  •  Lake Moraine is a short drive from Lake Louise and a must-see. One can hike around the shoreline to the other end for great views of the lake and mountains (Valley of the Ten Peaks) or climb the rock pile for a startling view of the lake’s vibrant blue colour. You may also rent a boat here; it is open from June to early October
Lake Moraine Alberta Canada

Lake Moraine Alberta Canada

  • Peyto Lake is probably my favourite of all these lakes – the colours were so bright and vibrant! Peyto is another glacier-fed lake so you once again get those great colours. It is a short drive from Lake Louise (around 35 minutes) on the Icefields Parkway. You have two options: park at bottom and walk up or park at the top (bus parking lot) and there it is. I parked at the bottom and hiked up. It does have a bit of a steep incline so if you have mobility issues, park at the top. You may also hike another 3 km to the Bow Summit Lookout from the Lake Peyto viewing platform. This is a nice stop either on your to or from the Columbia Icefield (more on that in an upcoming post)
Lake Peyto Alberta

Lake Peyto Alberta

  • Bow Lake is not far from Lake Peyto. The turquoise blue water is the source of the Bow River and you can also view the Bow Glacier in the background
Bow Lake Alberta

Bow Lake Alberta

  • Herbert Lake is a few miles from Lake Louise village. I recommend stopping here first thing in the morning to get that reflection on the water: I just love reflections off the water
Herbert Lake Alberta

Herbert Lake Alberta

Where to Stay:

  • If you wish to splurge, the Fairmont Chateau overlooking Lake Louise is the place to stay. Remember, it’s a big hit to your pocketbook ($350++). Otherwise, there are a few other accommodations that are more affordable but they are a few miles from the Lake if you don’t mind. There are a couple hostels as well and there is always the option of staying overnight in Banff, which is about 45 minutes from Lake Louise. This all depends on your price range and whether you don’t mind staying a bit further away
  • Other smaller hotels or resorts can be had for $150-300 – all depends how far in advance. Do not wait to the last-minute (I might have done that – ch-ching)

What You Need to Know:

  • Lake Louise Canada is a short drive from Calgary: around 2 hours
  • You are entering Banff National Park and are therefore required to pay an entrance fee. Daily fee ranges from $9.80 for adult to $4.90 for youth. You may also purchase an annual pass if you plan to enter the park numerous times in the season. For more info on park fees, visit Parks Canada
  • Wear layers – the temperature can get quite cool even during the summer months
  • If you’re driving, the parking lots get VERY full mid-day so if you can, go early. That is especially true for Lakes Louise and Moraine

Just a few tips for visiting the Lake Louise area: these are my top lakes to visit. Especially if you love the mountain backdrop (reminds me of my visit to Eagle’s Nest, Germany), Lake Louise Canada is for you. There are many other things to do such as visiting canyons, taking a gondola ride, etc but you cannot miss out on these lakes. Next up: visiting the Columbia Icefield. Stay tuned.

So have you visited Lake Louise? What are your favourite lakes??

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Cliffs of Moher in the Emerald Ilse (Ireland)

Jun 19

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

During my two-week tour of Ireland several years ago, there were two highlights: the delightful basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher. Both sights are impressive and are a great geological marvel. The Cliffs were formed in the Upper Carboniferous Period, around 319 million years ago and consist of shale and sandstone.

Cliffs of Moher Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland – view from the northern platform

The Cliffs of Moher Ireland (County Clare) are located on the western Irish coastline where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. They stand 214 meters (702 feet) at their highest point and stretch for 8 kilometers (5 miles). There are two platforms you can take a view of the Cliffs – north and south platforms. I ventured up the North side where the O’Brien Tower is located. Depending on how much time you have, you can go up both sides.  You’ll need at least two hours to climb both sides (probably more). It is a bit of a climb. If you have more time, you can walk 5 km to Doolin or hike the coastal trail which coverages 20 km.

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland – view north from the north platform

O’Brien’s Tower is located on the North platform. It was built in the 1830s by Cornelius O’Brien, a descendant of the Kings of Thomond. It is a wonderful observation point. A million tourists visit the Cliffs of Moher Ireland each year.

O'Brien's Tower at Cliffs of Moher Ireland

O’Brien’s Tower at Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Other Information:

  • Price is 6 euros for adults; children under 16 are free; Seniors are 4 euros
  • Additional 2 euros (1 for children) to access the rooftop area in O’Brien’s Tower
  • It is open year-round but hours will change during season – always open at 9 am and closes at 5 pm in winter and between 6:00-7:30 in the spring and 9:00 pm in July/August. For more info, visit the official website
  • You can stay after the visitor centre closes onsite in case you wish to get a sunset photo (no limit to parking)
  • Bring a sweater because it gets quite windy up on the platforms even during the summer months
  • If you wish to photograph Puffins, they are around from late March to mid July and the best play to view them is from the south platform

Have you been to the Cliffs of Moher? What are your thoughts?


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Men’s Hockey Gold at Vancouver 2010 Olympics

May 23

Hockey Gold

When Vancouver was awarded the 2010 winter Olympics, the most important event to snag tickets to was the men’s hockey gold medal game. Everyone in Canada wanted that ticket: hockey gold was the only thing that mattered. Canada had recently won its first men’s Olympic gold in 2002 in fifty years but to win on home soil would be a great accomplishment. During planning my Vancouver Olympic adventure, the hockey gold medal game was on my mind. I set up three accounts for me, mom and dad. I submitted my main request on my account and the two gold medal games for the men and women on my parent’s account. I was hoping to hit one.

Olympic Flame, Vancouver 2010

Olympic Flame, Vancouver 2010

Getting Tickets for Hockey Gold

Ticket demand was so high for the Vancouver Olympics, a lottery was held for 120 of 170 events.

There was 140,000 requests alone for the men’s hockey gold medal game out of a possible of 4000 tickets in an arena that had about 13,000 tickets available. The rest went to the media or sponsors.

During the initial ticket request, you submitted your request plus an alternate for that day/time. I submitted about $7500 in my original ticket request. I ended up with only 10% of my original request. I did not know how many other opportunities there would be to buy tickets. For my most recent trip to the Sochi Olympics, I posted my tips for planning an Olympic spectator trip and how to get tickets.

During my original request, I was lucky enough that my mom won the lottery and received a ticket for the men’s hockey gold medal game.

Vancouver 2010 Olympics - Hockey Gold

Vancouver 2010 Olympics – Gold for Men’s Hockey

During the next year, I was able to get tickets to the women’s hockey gold medal game to go with the men’s game. Leading up the Olympics, I was unsure if I would sell the ticket or gamble and hope Canada would make the final. I could probably have sold it for $5000 or more but I decided to hang in and wait. I could always sell during the games if Canada faltered.

Canada had a slow start at the Olympics, worrying the whole country. The media were particularly wrapped up in the “Canada has never won a gold medal on home soil” narrative while the rest of the country was not; we wanted medals but didn’t care that gold had never happened in 1988 Calgary nor 1976 Montreal. We knew it would happen. In the end, Canada would finish first on the medal count: gold medal count is the one that matters according to the IOC and most countries (except the US of course); Canada broke the record of total gold medals with 14 (Russia failed to break that number in Sochi).

I arrived in Vancouver during the second week. After attending a few events, I had grabbed a last-minute ticket to the men’s quarterfinal hockey game. Canada had a rough round-robin and had to beat a qualifier to make that game but I was pretty sure they’d take out the pesky Germans, which they did. They would face the Russians in the quarters, a match that should have been the final. The Russians are our hockey nemesis; sorry America, you are not. I wanted to beat Russia for gold!

Canada vs Russia in Vancouver 2010

Going for Hockey Gold: Canada vs Russia in Vancouver 2010

Canada came out like a team on a mission against the Russians. It was complete domination; surprising considering the Russian lineup but Canada had just as much firepower and came out on top 7-3.

Canada played Slovakia in the semi-final. I did not get a ticket to that game (I had one for the other semi-final but sold it). I figured Canada would domination Slovakia easily and I’d be waiting for them in the gold medal game. Yeah that game was too close for comfort and Canada squeaked out a 3-2 victory. I made it back to my hotel to watch the end of the game as I was watching Canada choke in the women’s curling gold medal game.

My patience had FINALLY paid off: I would be attending the gold medal hockey game as Canada went for gold against the USA. USA had ridden their hot goalie Ryan Miller into the gold medal game, shocking pretty much everyone who didn’t think they stood a chance. Hot goaltending can shake up predictions!

Canada vs USA – Hockey Gold

I had the men’s hockey gold ticket for over a year. I resisted the urge to sell. I had planned to attend the game all along; I knew Canada had to make it. It was the only option. Of course, I would have sold the ticket in a heartbeat if Canada had succumb earlier but my persistence paid off. I had the hottest ticket in the land and soon, I would watch one of the most exciting hockey gold medal games , ever! It would be one of the most important hockey victories in Canadian history: I still place it behind Paul Henderson’s sweet goal against the Soviets in 1972 Summit Series but winning hockey gold on home soil is a pretty damn close second. I wasn’t even alive during the Summit Series and I still place that as number one!

I was in the lower bowl, behind the American net and near the suites. Mmm hey is that Vince Vaughn? Get your tissues ready Vince, you will need them soon!! I was sitting beside an American couple who were great. We had a great time watching the game together. They owned some football team (NFL) and I can’t remember which one. But great people though….

Vaughn in Vancouver watching hockey gold.

Vince Vaughn in Vancouver watching hockey gold.

It was a tight game: Canada scored first and then second. It was a nice 2-0 lead midway through the second. But the US got on the board before the second period was over. The third period was nerve-wracking and of course, the Americans tied up the game with seconds to go. Overtime was needed and hopefully it would result in a victory. NO ONE wanted this to go to a shootout; North America hates international hockey rules like this. Let them play it out.

Canada has bad memories of shootouts: see 1994 gold medal game and 1998 semi-final. International hockey allows for a shootout after so many minutes of overtime. In North America, there is no way we’d allow a Stanley Cup final (or any game in the playoffs) determined by a shootout. Hopefully it would not come to that in Vancouver.

Canadian men celebrate Olympic hockey Gold, Vancouver 2010

Canadian men celebrate Olympic hockey Gold, Vancouver 2010

Of course it did not. From the drop of the puck in overtime, Canada turned it up and dominated. I had NO DOUBT they would score, and score they did seven minutes into overtime. Jarome Iginla passed to the best hockey player in the world, SIDNEY CROSBY and he put it home.

I cannot describe the utter joy of that moment: Canada winning on home soil. Hockey gold and I had held onto that ticket for over a year. I had planned this trip for seven years with this moment in mind the whole time and Canada was victorious!!

Crosby receiving hockey gold in Vancouver 2010

Crosby receiving hockey gold in Vancouver 2010

Over two-thirds of the country was watching and I was there in person. The country completely freaked out and I love it. There was a time that Canada was not an Olympic favourite in any sport: we didn’t hit double digits in the 1980s nor win very many gold medals. Each Olympics saw an improvement in medal totals: 0 gold in Calgary; 2 in Albertville; 6 in Nagano; 7 in Turin; 14 in Vancouver.  Total medals keep rising each year: from 5 in Calgary to 26 in Vancouver.

I think we like hockey: check out Canada’s reactions to hockey gold!!

Hockey is our favourite sport and winning on home soil meant the world to every single Canadian. Of course, winning on Russian soil was pretty great as well. Too bad the Russians didn’t show up in Sochi. 🙂

What is your favourite Olympic sport?

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