This article is from the August 2019 Issue of Forever Young

By Steven Tuck
Photos: Roy Gillespie and Steven Tuck

feature aug 2019 

It has been at the top of my “bucket list” for years, to go to Machu Picchu. I knew my wife would not even consider going because she is terrified of heights! Traveling to the Andes, where places like Cusco are two miles up in the sky, is not something she would do! My buddy and physiotherapist, Roy Gillespie, and I talked about my dream, and he told me he had been there 30 years ago with a friend when they graduated from Dalhousie University. Would he go back again? Sure would. And, as fate would have it, another friend, John Swatridge, told me he had just returned from Machu Picchu and could put me in touch with a travel agent who is a specialist on Peru! I connected with Anas Rana, owner of Off The Map Adventures, and we discussed a budget, places of interest, and he built a custom tour for Roy and I!

Everything Anas planned for us was perfect. We flew to Lima, Peru, via Vancouver and Mexico City, and arrived mid-afternoon. Jose, one of Anas’s drivers, met us at the airport and took us to the Casa Andina Premium hotel in Miraflores, an upscale and very safe neighbourhood in Lima. That first night, Jean Paul, who heads up Anas’s Peru operations, came to our hotel and took us to dinner. We soon learned that Lima’s reputation as a “food capital” of the world was true. Furthermore, that “cerviche” is one of the classical dishes of Lima. It is raw fish that is marinated in citrus to “cook”. Roy being from Nova Scotia joined me in ordering the cerviche with scallops. It was delicious.

But I am going to skip Lima and come back to it. Let’s go forward four days and fly to Cusco where we were met by our guide, Efrain (Abraham) and his driver, Ronnie, who took us from the airport to our hotel in the Sacred Valley. It is part of the acclimatization process to get people used to being so high in the Andes, and actually we went down from Cusco into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. While we stayed in Urubamba and we were treated to --- of all things --- a pizza resto that evening! It was one of Anas’s favorite spots and was a real local haunt. The pizza really was superb, not like anything we’d ever had anywhere else. It came with the best garlic toast and a side of French fries, that I had seen and longed for from another table. One other thing we learned was that dining in Peru is quite inexpensive. We also learned that potatoes originated in Peru and they have more than 400 different varieties!

We spent a day touring the Sacred Valley and climbed to the top of another major Inca ruin --- Pisac. Pisac features all kinds of architecture --- agricultural, hydraulic, military, residential and religious. But little is known about it as the Spanish never mentioned it in their writings. The view from the top was breath-taking! That night we were treated to dinner at a colonial mansion where Roy, the more adventurous diner, tried guinea pig --- the national dish dating back to the Inca royalty --- and I had alpaca steak. Guinea pig is usually eaten on special occasions, like our Thanksgiving!

This article is from the July 2019 Issue of Forever Young

By Christine Davis

feature july 2019 

It’s program director and general manager Kirkland Shave that describes our week at Mountain Trek as an “optimal life experience”. With a name like Kirkland you’d expect him to be a mountain man and you won’t be disappointed. From his knowledge, about everything seemingly, to the tips he provides for using the hiking poles, which initially feel like a strange extra appendage, not to mention his passion for the program and a healthy lifestyle, his presence at the retreat is invaluable. 

Shave built the program almost 20 years ago when in 2000 the then-owner asked him, a kinesiologist and dietician to change it from the recreation/wellness facility it had been since 1991. Shortly after, the former park ranger hired head guide and fitness director, Cathy Grierson, who was a fellow park ranger he’d known for many years. 

That program is built on five tenants: Nutrition, fitness, detoxification, sleep and stress management with a goal of changing your metabolism from a catabolic or destructive state to anabolic or constructive metabolic state. Each tenant is addressed each day in everything you do and discussed in great length during daily lectures lead by program facilitators.

The Mountain Trek lodge can accommodate up to 16 guests each week, most of whom I found were travelling solo, though we were joined by one married couple and a father-daughter duo. Everyone is there for different reasons, I find out, not all of them fitness related.

It’s easy to form bonds with other guests as you’re all immersed in the experience. 

We all get up at 6 a.m. each day, meet in the dining room for ginger tea and a small smoothie to break our fast before hitting the lake-view yoga studio for a much-needed morning stretch that’s followed by breakfast, served at the dining room’s large harvest table. We choose different seats at each meal to mix it up – even forcing the pairs to separate once we’re a little more comfortable with each other.

This article is from the June 2019 Issue of Forever Young

By Steven Tuck
Photos Terry Tuck and E FUN TOURS

2019 june feature 
Looking across the Douro River at Porto from Vila De Gaia, where the port cellars are not just aging the port but also awaiting your tasting visit.While waiting in a Calgary airport on route to a show in Winnipeg, Fred Penner is considering writing a how-to book for travelers.

Our introduction to Portugal was via TAP (Portugal's airlines) from Toronto to Lisbon.  Comfortable, lie-flat reclining seats; great service; wonderful food and wines.  In fact, from the welcome sparkling wine to the best cabin service, the staff were tops.  The main meal after take-off was:

  • Cauliflower and Cumin Soup with Croutons

    with a choice of

  • Grilled Tenderloin (my choice, and done to perfection!) with Cranberry Sauce, Polenta, Beans and Peas
  • Grilled Salmon (Terry's choice and a little dry) with Pesto Sauce, Roast Potatoes and Tomato 
  • Pappardelle Pasta with Mushrooms, Green Asparagus and Tomato
  • Dessert was a selection for Fresh Fruit, with Coffee, Tea, Espresso Coffee and Chocolates

Of course the wine list was a good selection of Portuguese wines: white, rose, sparkling, red, and of course port!  Beer, liquor, and soft drinks available all the time.  I chose a red from the Douro --- Altano Reserva.  Created mainly from Touriga Nacional grapes with a small amount of Touriga Franca, from vineyards in the Torto river valley.  A complex and profound red, with a bouquet of blackberries, cocoa, spices and some floral notes.  I love a full-bodied red, and this was fresh and with a persistent after-taste.  I looked and found bottles in stores in Portugal and it was my choice for the trip!

After a little sleep (it was an overnight flight) we had a light breakfast.  Yogurt, jam, fresh fruit, bread and pastry selection, and of course fruit juices, tea and coffee.

It was one of the best flights we've ever had and we could not have had better food or service!

Our landing in Lisbon was a gorgeous, sunny day and the view coming into the airport over the Atlantic Ocean was truly a spectacular bird's-eye perspective of the city we were going to eventually visit.  But not before finding our way through customs, passport control (entering the E.U.) and finding the Metro train lines --- which was easy to do --- and getting the subway to one of the main train stations --- Oriente, just 3 stops --- to catch the high speed train to Porto.   We did this with time to spare, meeting a nice young lady from Burlington, Ontario, who was traveling solo and also heading to Porto. 

This article is from the May 2019 Issue of Forever Young

FYng May 2019 Feature

By Melanie Cummings

While waiting in a Calgary airport on route to a show in Winnipeg, Fred Penner is considering writing a how-to book for travelers.

After 45 years in the music business, he’s learned a thing or two about life on the road, including how to eliminate travelling stresses. He relies on a Buddhist practice called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to help with the unpredictability of travel life.

Surprisingly, being on the stage in front of fans of all ages is where he is most at ease. No matter the venue – from church halls to auditoriums across the country — he loves every aspect of show life: from the sound check to meeting fans afterward. “It’s all a blessing,” said the longtime children’s entertainer. 

 Even with four Juno awards bearing his name already — for Children’s Album of the Year in 1989, 2003, 2015, and 2018 — he continues to write and perform. And he said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

“I’m happy to be this age (72) and still able to do this for a living,” said Penner. 

His latest release is “Somebody Believes”, a song the World Vision ambassador wrote after meeting Edgar Gonzales, a former sponsored child from the Philippines who now works for World Vision. In the course of his impassioned speech Gonzales said he escaped his life of poverty because “someone believed in me”. 

Penner took the phrase to heart and wrote the song in an hour. He performed it the next day. “The song is a celebration of the role all Canadians play in sparking positive change globally. When we believe in a child’s potential, we transform lives, around the world and here   cont. on page 04 in Canada too.”

This article is from the April 2019 Issue of Forever Young

fyng april 2019 feature image

By William Thomas

ESAA – Emotional Support Animal Absurdity

Today’s flight attendant must feel like Noah of the Ark – animals boarding the plane one after the other taking their places on and under the seats. Dogs, cats, rabbits and pork belly pigs – all of which their owners claim to be emotional support animals and approved by doctors as well as the airlines themselves.

Actually, it wouldn’t be so bad if that list of ESAs (and yes, they now have their own anagram!) was limited to those four species. Recently a woman showed up at the United Airlines counter at Newark, New Jersey for a flight to Los Angeles with an emotional support peacock named Dexter. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard the shrill scream of a peacock but flight attendants would be better off dealing with a drunken Guido from Jersey Shores than a bird who’s cry tops out at 115 decibels.

Yet another woman had her ESA rejected upon checking in and was quoted as saying she could not “think about life without Stormy,” her emotional-support snake. (Didn’t Trump say the same thing about Stormy, the one who dances with poles?) Snakes on planes – bad – but not possibly as bad as the movie.

Delta Airlines has banned “creatures with tusks” which could well avoid the embarrassing situation of a real elephant in the room. On a Frontier Airlines flight from Columbus, Ohio to Las Vegas someone’s emotional support marmoset got loose and disappeared on the plane. Oscar a seven-foot boa constrictor ESA must have been sleeping at the time otherwise he’d have found that varmit!

Jet Blue has since banned “unusual animals” like “snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders.” Spiders! Really, there’s a person out there who experiences calmness when a black widow crawls down his shirt?!?

Jet Blue’s initial experience with a bad ESA flight came when many passengers complained about a duck walking up and down the aisle unaccompanied. The duck’s name was – not making this up – Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt and he was wearing a Captain America diaper and tiny red shoes. Are you kidding me? I’d pay 50 bucks extra to sit back with a drink and watch a duck wearing a nappy and sneakers walk up and down the aisle. I once had a woman change a diaper next to me during the inflight meal so yeah, I’m definitely going with that duck.

In Albany, New York a passenger left a support goldfish on the luggage carousel. (Oscar was salivating in his cage nearby.)

What truly boggles the mind is that although they banned ESA rodents and reptiles, miniature horses were allowed to fly on all Jet Blue flights. I suppose it comes down to how everybody aboard feels about miniature horse buns. My worst nightmare on long flights is the crying kid so I’m thinking… yeah, pony rides.