Ron Pradinuk

Ron Pradinuk

Travel writer

Ron is a dedicated traveller, having explored 65 countries around the world as well as all but one province in Canada (Newfoundland).

A writer and a podcaster, Ron’s travel column appears in the Winnipeg Free Press every Saturday in the Destinations and Diversions section.

His podcasts can be heard on iTunes or his blog website at www.thattravelguy.ca.

He will answer travel questions sent to www.thattravelguy.ca@gmail.com.

Recent articles of Ron Pradinuk

History and charm dominate the Lone Star State

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History and charm dominate the Lone Star State

Ron Pradinuk 7 minute read Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

On a road trip to the rural areas around Houston this past fall, my impressions of Texans being of one personality and lifestyle got blown away by my experiences, which over a week of travels through three fascinatingly different close communities, I came to define as a tale of three cities.

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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

Moody Mansion is the former home of Galveston’s most prominent benefactor.

Victoria’s abundant parkland a favourite for travellers

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Victoria’s abundant parkland a favourite for travellers

Ron Pradinuk 7 minute read Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023

The views are regularly spectacular. Ocean waters framed by majestic mountains—punctuated by glimpses of some of the other islands which are a part of what is known simply as The Island to many BC residents! It is a region where you can hike under the umbrella of overhanging rainforest trees, visit lush gardens, and experience fishing where whales and seals capture your attention while waiting for the next bite.

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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

Outstanding views from the platform of the Malahat Skywalk.

Travel amping up but ride will be bumpy

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Travel amping up but ride will be bumpy

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023

Every year at this time I try to give readers an overview of what the next 12 months in travel might look like with an overview of what I predict, as well as what many experts suggest are coming trends and changes in the travel industry.

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Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

The new home office can now be anywhere in the world you wish to work from.

Don’t overlook winter festivals in plans for travel — or for staying home

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Don’t overlook winter festivals in plans for travel — or for staying home

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022

Winter is a time when most Manitobans are planning trips to sunspot destinations — or, if to a winter destination, for activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

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Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022

Supplied

Once again, Winnipeg artist Chris Pancoe was selected to design a room for Sweden’s Ice Hotel. This one, he dubbed the Mush Room.

Magical menus in Montreal

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Magical menus in Montreal

Ron Pradinuk 6 minute read Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022

“Montreal will be recognized worldwide as a premier destination in North America in terms of gastronomy.”

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Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022

There is variety galore at Jean-Talon market.

Seeing New Brunswick from the water looking in

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Seeing New Brunswick from the water looking in

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022

After a number of journeys to New Brunswick over the past few years, this summer I undertook to explore part of the province from a different perspective — from the water with experienced operators who knew the history of the land we were seeing — and the waters on which we sailed.

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Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022

Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

Richie’s Wharf in Miramichi from the deck of the Max Aitken River Boat.

Houston loaded with culture, great food and a thrilling space centre

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Houston loaded with culture, great food and a thrilling space centre

Ron Pradinuk 6 minute read Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

Maybe it’s an age thing, but as I glimpsed my first sight of the Challenger Space Shuttle sitting atop the giant 747 aircraft while driving up to Space Center Houston last week I began to feel my heart beating faster.

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Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

Greater Houston with a population of almost 7.25 million is a diverse and homogenous city. (Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press)

Follow the Vancouver Island golf trail

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Follow the Vancouver Island golf trail

Ron Pradinuk 6 minute read Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Since the start of the pandemic, the golf industry has expanded beyond anyone’s imagination. Golf courses were the one place where people could meet in an outdoor environment —feeling relatively safe — while getting some exercise.

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Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

Arbutus Ridge golfers face at least four of the most challenging holes on Vancouver Island.

Cheer and loafing in Las Vegas

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Cheer and loafing in Las Vegas

Ron Pradinuk 6 minute read Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022

While gambling may have once been the only thing that drew people to the destination, today that singular perception of Los Vegas as an attraction has changed dramatically.

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Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

Traditional Las Vegas casinos are still popular, but new attractions keep bringing visitors back.

Farm to table in La Belle Province

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Farm to table in La Belle Province

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022

Farm to table is a trend which has become what some describe as a social movement — and on a tour of southern Quebec I found that nowhere in Canada takes it more to heart than La Belle Province.

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Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

In addition to making its own fine wines, the Vignoble du Ruisseau farm grows its own vegetables and raises cattle and hogs for its restaurant.

Halifax is a shining nautical star

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Halifax is a shining nautical star

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Sep. 17, 2022

My lifelong addiction to travel began and became cemented in a long walk along the Halifax Harbour many years ago. This was not a stroll to view the beautiful shoreline, or to stop and dine in a great seaside restaurant, because at that time the scenery was not attractive, and there were no food services of any kind to be had.

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Saturday, Sep. 17, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

Along the Halifax Harbour there are now dozens of restaurants and food stops.

Friendly Acadia

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Friendly Acadia

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Sep. 3, 2022

Driving along the east coast of New Brunswick between Moncton and Miramichi, you are sure to pass by many examples of the Acadian flag. On my various trips to New Brunswick I have seen it flying high on all sorts of buildings as well as painted on benches, posts, canoes and almost any other home-based creative options.

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Saturday, Sep. 3, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press

The Fundy Tides are a highlight of a New Brunswick visit.

New Brunswick’s quality coastal courses make it an unsung Canadian golf destination

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New Brunswick’s quality coastal courses make it an unsung Canadian golf destination

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022

New Brunswick has not yet gained the reputation of a major Canadian golf destination — but after a week of experiencing the tracks along the coast from Moncton to Miramichi, I concluded that the quality courses are there, but the awareness of them may not be.

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Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022

The Miramichi golf course is walkable and a pleasure to play. Its clubhouse is on the list of Canada’s Historical Places.

Food, fun, otherworldly mystery awaits in southwest Nova Scotia

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Food, fun, otherworldly mystery awaits in southwest Nova Scotia

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

SHAG HARBOUR, N.S. — More than 50 million visits by people from around the globe were recorded during the six months the Expo 67 world’s fair took place in Montreal. But as the event wound down in October, some believe extra-terrestrial travellers also thought Canada might be worth a visit.

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Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

PHOTOS BY RON PRADINUK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Sand Point Lighthouse helped create one of the largest cities in Canada when it opened.

Immersive and delicious Acadian experience awaits in Nova Scotia

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Immersive and delicious Acadian experience awaits in Nova Scotia

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

Lobster Benedict, lobster chowders and stew, lobster casserole, several full lobster meals — along with Digby Scallops in Digby, several raw oyster tastings and enough mussels to feed the proverbial army — plus the unique chowder clam known in the Maritimes as Quahogs.

During a week travelling along the Nova Scotia coast from Yarmouth to Halifax, I never had one meal that consisted of any of my usual meat entrées. It was a seafood lover’s dream.

My journey to the east coast was to attend a travel media conference in Yarmouth (don’t ever pronounce the second syllable as mouth: it is Yarmuth). Make the error and you will quickly, but politely, be corrected, as the locals recognize you are from away. Other than that, you will be hard-pressed to find another place where the residents will make you feel more at home.

Yarmouth itself has a population of just over 7,000 — and most of the other communities along that portion of the Acadian shores are even less populated—and each one seems to offer the best in small town hospitality.

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Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

A lobster feed at a Yarmouth Kitchen Party is always a tasty treat. (Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press)

Flight delays illustrate growing Canadian travel issues

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Flight delays illustrate growing Canadian travel issues

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 9, 2022

Watching all the news footage about the chaos at Canadian airports may cause people to have empathy for the thousands of passengers who have had to face long line-ups, lost luggage and cancelled reservations. Living it in real time, however, is so much more horrific, stressful, and even devastating.

This is our story and I am not even sure it can capture the emotional upheavals we went through in trying to revisit my wife Rae’s family — who live along the Acadian Coast of New Brunswick.

I had left a week earlier to a travel writer’s conference in Nova Scotia, with the plan to greet her at the airport upon her arrival in Moncton.

She was to leave Winnipeg at 7:45 a.m. on June 30, with a connection in Montreal which would have had her arrive in Moncton at 3:30 p.m. Somewhere around 2 p.m. on the 29th we receive notification that the flight was cancelled and that Air Canada would look for an alternate flight.

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Saturday, Jul. 9, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
A recent trip to the East Coast was mired with delays and cancellations and took Rae Pradinuk two days to complete.

Culinary travel feeds the soul

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Culinary travel feeds the soul

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Jun. 25, 2022

As travel emerges from the pandemic, studies have led a number of tourist boards to focus their marketing efforts on their national cuisine.

While food has clearly always been an important aspect in the selection of a preferred destination, it has now seemed to have taken a higher profile in the decision-making process, and promotion efforts. Three countries that have really taken hold of this new direction in their campaigns are Turkey, Indonesia, and Malta.

One of the favourite and enjoyable food experiences my wife and I had was in Turkey — when we enrolled in a cooking class with an organization called Cooking Alaturka. After a morning of chopping, shaping, squeezing and finally cooking — our entire class enjoyed our creations over a glass or two of wine and new friendships conversation.

While cooking classes have grown in popularity over the past pre-pandemic years, they are ever more popular now.

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Saturday, Jun. 25, 2022

RON PRADINUK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
From street treats to fine restaurants great food is important when choosing destinations.

Lynx Airlines ready to fly Canadian skies

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Lynx Airlines ready to fly Canadian skies

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Jun. 11, 2022

With a growing number of low-cost airlines which have entered Canada’s airspace market over the past few years is there room for one more? Swoop, Flair, Canada Jetlines and Porter in eastern Canada, along with Sunwing and Air Canada Rouge have all carved out pieces of the market as they position themselves against our two largest carriers — Air Canada and Westjet.

Lynx Airlines enters the fray.

A few weeks ago, I attended the launch of the newest entrant offering air service out of Winnipeg to a number of destinations — Lynx Airlines. To keep down costs for the consumer, they have made the decision to remove most of the inflight services most of the others offer — such as coffee, peanuts, as well as the purchase of other food items inflight. They encourage clients to bring their own meals and beverages on board with them.

Since their launch, I have taken three flights with the airline — all of them between Winnipeg and Calgary. I was impressed with the newness of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft — and the fact that there were still four flight attendants and a flight director to take care of any passenger needs. They do serve water — the only beverage available inflight.

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Saturday, Jun. 11, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files
Lynx Air is Canada’s new ultra-affordable airline. Don’t expect dinner and drinks inflight.

Europe is open and ready to explore

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Europe is open and ready to explore

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, May. 28, 2022

Europe travel is definitely back. While flights are only about 85 percent of what they were prior to Covid, one of the clear beneficiaries of the return is Europe.

I am frequently asked by readers which European cities l like most to visit. While it is easy to rhyme off the major destinations like Rome, Paris and London—which most people will have on their lists anyway— I like to suggest they look at some of the other equally excellent options when they travel overseas.

LuganoThe scenic qualities which embody this small city in the Italian region of Switzerland are as overpowering as walking into the centre of a postcard. Mountain peaks, some of which are just past the border into Italy, frame Lake Lugano, around which the city is built. The lake expands out to include a number of nearby quaint villages. These small villages with their waterside restaurants—can quickly be accessed by water taxis.

Like many mountain side cities, Lugano is a city where hiking and biking abound. Trails have long been built through the city and its parklike settings.

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Saturday, May. 28, 2022

Ron Pradinuk/Winnipeg Free press
Visiting Lugano is like walking into a postcard.

South Texas is trendy and terrific

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South Texas is trendy and terrific

Ron Pradinuk 5 minute read Saturday, May. 14, 2022

In this final installment about our recent South Texas journey, I will cover three excellent destinations which may whet your desire to follow our path to the wonders we found.

San Antonio

Beginning as a discovery by Spanish explorers in 1718, this once little trading post—without a lot of people taking notice—has grown to become the seventh largest city in the United States. With its growth has come attractions which have seen its tourist visitor numbers multiply several times over the last couple of decades.

Travelling with my brother-in-law, John Thomson, we stayed in an Airbnb in the Alamo Heights community. It was located near the Quarry Market Mall—where we found the most interesting and trendy grocery stores—which have not yet made there way into Manitoba. Visits to Trader Joes and Whole Foods can be tourist experiences unto themselves. Loaded with private brand and unique product entries not found elsewhere—it is fun to just shop around, even if you don’t purchase any of the higher priced items.

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Saturday, May. 14, 2022

Photos by Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press
The Riverwalk has helped make San Antonio a prime tourist destination.

San Antonio neighbour loaded with hospitality

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San Antonio neighbour loaded with hospitality

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022

Is Boerne the friendliest and greenest community in Texas? While we may not have experienced a wide scope of hospitality in this huge state, when my brother-in-law John Thomson and I visited Boerne during our recent south Texas journey—we agreed, it just might be.

The original town dates back to German Free-Thinking immigrants who arrived in the 1850’s, fleeing revolutions in some of the German States during that period. Named after the German author Ludwig Borne, Boerne stayed a relatively small village for almost the next century and a half, holding onto its small-town spirit even as it became a popular bedroom community for San Antonio. While the population of Boerne has swelled from 10,000 in 2010 to over 20,000 in the last decade, it has not lost that personal touch which even the most recent locals seemed to have carried on.

Boerne, pronounced Birnie, is situated less than a half hour out of San Antonio, in what is known as Texas Hill country. One of the areas primary sports attractions is the Tapatio Springs golf resort, which what was what lured us there in the first place.

With lots of time on our hands, we decided to explore Boerne, its home base community. Strolling down the Boerne main street was like taking a walk back through history in a mid-19th century village. With a total absence of any buildings over two stories, it might have been like any other little hamlet in the US, but it wasn’t.

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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022

Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press
The Main Plaza Park is the home of regular summer markets and wedding ceremonies in the gazebo.

San Antonio a great golf destination

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San Antonio a great golf destination

Ron Pradinuk 6 minute read Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022

In March, as the snowstorms and cold weather kept on coming, the thought of a normal start to golf season seemed too far fetched to contemplate. After two winters without travel — not a good state of mind for an addicted traveller and travel writer to be in — I was determined to escape to pursue my passion for the game I love to play — albeit not that well.

Golf in most southern regions of the US can be an expensive sportwith prices regularly starting at over US$100 and going upwards to dizzying heights.

I neither needed or wanted these places and prices, I just wanted to play. With perhaps less enthusiasm than I had, I convinced by brother-in-law, John Thomson, only an occasional golfer, that he should join me on this trek to San Antonio, which is a much more budget friendly golf destination.

Our stay in San Antonio coincided with the playing of the third oldest PGA competition in the US, the Texas Open, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and now known as the Valero Texas Open.

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Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022

Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press
John Thomson faced the Texas Hill Country challenges of Tapatio Springs head on.

Festivals keep us moving around the world

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Festivals keep us moving around the world

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Apr. 2, 2022

Festivals and events are special attractions which draw hundreds or thousands of people a day to watch or participate in. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro — which started as a religious celebration five days before the Easter Lenten period, in either February or March — has grown to be one of the largest in attendees anywhere. Even though it is now very expensive to get tickets—it still draws close to five million visitors annually.

Carnival in New Orleans is also substantial — a little less expensive but still pricey. However, if you happen to be visiting most Catholic oriented Caribbean countries during their festivals, the costs are nothing more than the beverages you choose to consume while watching the long parade-and the guaranteed sore feet you will have after the multi-hour floats.

For those looking for a little excitement — and even danger, join the crowds challenging the Running of the Bulls from July 7-14th in Pamplona Spain. The herding — or running of the bulls started as far back as the 14th century in order control their direction on the way to the bullring — not a good ending for the bulls after a fearful run.

While there are a number of injuries each year, over the past century there have only been 15 recorded deaths as a result of this stampede. Spectators are kept behind fences for safe viewing. Like Carnival, a number of cities in Spain and Portugal have more budget friendly versions of the running of the bulls.

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Saturday, Apr. 2, 2022

Ron Pradinuk/ Winnipeg Free Press
Carnival is a special event in many Caribbean countries.

Travel to Europe may finally be bouncing back

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Travel to Europe may finally be bouncing back

Ron Pradinuk 4 minute read Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022

Up until Putin and Russia decided to invade Ukraine, travel bookings were showing significant signs of recovery. While the current war will have a severe impact on the countries in the vicinity of Ukraine, it is anticipated that other destinations will resume much of the trending evident before the invasion.

While the countries taking in refugees from Ukraine are trying their best to house and feed them properly, a different nature of travel is taking place as there are many reports of Canadians — and others from around the world who have felt a need to respond in a personal way to this crisis. They are going to Poland and nearby countries to help in any way they can — some even making their way inside Ukraine to help in defending the country.

Notwithstanding the war, Europe flight bookings have been picking up. Kayla Dawson of Canada One Travel said, “Europe is happening for sure. I think some of the bookings are to visit family and friends, but Europe is definitely bouncing back.” After being isolated from family for two years this is understandable. She added, “There is a clear uptick in overall bookings for 2023. Many haven’t felt comfortable in booking this year yet, but are putting deposits down for next year.”

A Wedding Report survey in the Travel Courier indicates a substantial rebound in destination wedding bookings for this year, and especially into the winter season of 2023. Many couples postponed their weddings in order to wait for a time when a proper celebration with relatives and acquaintances could take place, to create the memories couples look forward to in larger wedding festivities.

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Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022

Ron Pradinuk/Winnipeg Free Press
Early travel bookings for the winter of 2023 show a strong rebound.