After a quick 10 days in Seattle, Jess and I headed north to her home-town … Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Known as the “Land of Living Skies,” Saskatoon is a vastly flat prairie land in western/central Canada. After living in China for 10 months, backpacking and city-hoping through Thailand for 3 weeks, and tackling a laundry list of things in Seattle; Saskatoon represented a massive “breather” for me. I could finally focus on relaxing, having fun, and meeting Jess’ family.
… Unfortunately for Jess, she was just beginning her “get stuff done” phase. Over the next 2 weeks she sold her car, met a million friends (which is the fun part), payed bills, called banks, cleaned out rooms, worked on storage, and made plans for dogs.
For as much as we got done, Jess and I still had a ton of fun and managed to relax quite a bit. We headed up north to visit her grandparents, sang Karaoke in garages, spent an awesome weekend at the lake, hung out with dogs, ate amazing meals, and did all those “back-at-home” things that make you miss it in the first place.
Weekend at the lake
Perfectly clean air and beautiful lakes and scenery … a welcome change after a year in polluted concrete China. We played mini-golf, built sand castles, kayaked, ate Bush Pies (it’s a Canadian thing), had camp fires, and listened to music into the night.
Home Cooked Meals
There was no shortage of food while we were in Canada. We ate our way through the 2 weeks and savored every meal as if it was our last.
BBQs, Friends & Family
We spent a lot of time hanging out in backyards and around camp fires … just talking, singing, catching up, and taking it easy.
And now … because Jess is an expert Saskatonian, here are her recommendations for when you wind up in Saskatoon:
Top 10 Things to do in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan:
1. Western Development Museum
This museum really is awesome! It’s dedicated to the development and settling of Saskatoon and western Canada. Complete with a mock village it is like stepping back in time to discover how the west was made.
2. The Fringe Festival (First 2 weeks in August)
This festival was inspired by “The Fringe Festival” in Edinburgh, Scotland and it’s Saskatoon’s version of the world’s largest Arts Festival.
3. Tastes of Saskatchewan (Mid July)
Another local favorite, this festival brings together all of the best tastes and food from Saskatoon. There is no shortage of culinary delights, so get ready to eat and drink!
4. Meewasin Trail / Ice Cream Bus
Walk along the river along the Meewasin Trail and then stuff your face with ice cream afterwords. The Ice Cream Bus is a double decker bus that sits on the sidewalk and sells ice cream … you may have to ask around, but most of the locals will be able to get you there.
5. Drink a Ceasar
It would be a shame to visit Canada without tasting this Canadian classic. It is similar to a Bloody Marry, but it is made with Clamato Juice instead of tomato juice… no one in Canada drinks Bloody Mary’s because this drink exists!
6. Horse Races
7. Watch a “Rough Riders” game
You can’t visit Canada without checking out a CFL game. If you had to pick one team to watch it would be the Rough Riders in Regina (about 2 1/2 hours south of Saskatoon). Their fans are suppose to be crazy and it is a pretty exciting experience.
A food secret that Canada has been hiding for years … Poutine includes fries, gravy, and cheese.
9. Saskatoon Berries
Ah yes… Saskatoon is renown for the infamous Saskatoon Berry… so famous in fact that the entire berry was named after them…. Give it a shot; it’s sort of like a blue berry but not as sweet and more tart.
10. Tim Hortons
The Starbucks of Canada … just go there because it is the cool thing to do. Try a “Double Double,” but be careful … a “regular” coffee is not what you think it is.