Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway

Peer down at the Wind River winding 2,500 feet below on the 34 mile stretch of road between Shoshoni and Thermopils go white water rafting and view black and pink rock formations that date back almost three million years; watch for wildlige such as bighorn sheep deer and elk.Starts on US 120/WY 789 at mile marker 100 in Shoshoni, WY and ends north of Thermoplis, WY at mile market 134. 800 645 6233

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paris, France-Winter Trip

Paris is at its mos Parisian in winter. Without the crowds, there's space to linger over a mornin cage creme and croissant at Le Bar Marche and wander through the Louvre. The low tourist season means some lower tares too. Several museums and monuments offer free admission on first Sundays (November-March) and the first of the biannual Soldes (state-mandated, six-week sales) begins on January 8. The nationwide discounts (up to 50 percent or more in every store) are designed to make room for the upcoming season's wares. The sales return in June, but by then, so will the crowds.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Grand Teton National Pak

Explore one of North America's Great national parks, with its iconic snaggle-toothed mountain view camp, kayak, or horseback ride into the back-country; picnic along Jenny Lake hike the myriad trails and watch for deer elk and moose along the way. Stop by the Craig Thomas Visitor and Discovery Center for natural history exhibits and introductory information about the park

Patagonia Photos

Torres del Paine National Park
Sunset casts a rosy glow over granite peaks encircling a glacial lake in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Chile's prized jewel the 598,000 acre (242,00-hectare) national park is a mosaic of landforms including soaring mountains, golden pampas and grinding ice fields. at the southern tip of South America the region of Patagonia includes parts of Argentina and Chile.


Moreno Glacier
Moreno Glacier rises above Lake Argentino as a rugged wall three miles (4.8 kilometers) wide and almost 200 feet (60 meters) rall. One of 47 massive ice fields in argentine Patagonia's Glaciers National Park, this grinding, groaning force of nature covers a hundred square miles (260 square kilometers).


Copahue Provincial Park
Hundred foot dall (30 meter tall) araucaria trees surrounding a waterfall reach of the stars in Argentina's Copahue Provincial Park. Living relics of the Jurassic period, these thousand year old giants stand as symbols of Patagonia tenacity in a landscape both severe and sublime.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Surrounded by endless fields of shimmering wheat today's Saskatoon is a pocket of Saskatchewan's culture, vitality and welxoming praiarie spirit. These days city streets are buzzing with an infusion of new restaurants and residents breweriese and bras, marking Saskatoon one of Canada's fastest growing cities. Downtown has gone from a pretty lazy place most evenings to a place where you can't find a parking spot, says Chris Kirkland editor of the city magazine Planet S. With the South Saskatchewan flowing through the minddle of town river life is integral to the heart of the city, says Patti McGillivray, vice president of the Saskatoon Heritage Society. Almost half of the city is on each side of the river, so crossing east and west over the bridges, seeing the river and walking the riverbank trails all are part of daily life here.

When to Go: With more sunlight per year than any other Canadian city, Saskatoon comes alive in summer, with celebrations like jazz, theater and folk festivals held June to August. New to town: MoSoFest which prides itself on being Saskatoon's most diverse festival and this year featured 60 bands in seven venues. During winter kickseldding and cross country skiing are popular in Meewasin. The Potash Corp Wintershines festival takes place late January early February with an ice park ice carving competitions and soup cook-offs. Christmas lights add a festive glow to the outdoor skating rink beside the Delta Bessborough hotel.

How to Get Around: The city is easy to explore by foot vehicle or bike. Rent a cruiser tander or longboard ar Saskatoon Bicycle Rentals or plan your bus route online. In Meewasin Park bike or hike trails alongside the water or rent a kayak to paddle under the seven bridges that connect the east and west sides of the city. Discover 6,000 years of First Nation history at Wanuskewin Heritage Park a regional highlight anda National Heritage site that is a 20 minute drive northeast of downtown About two hours south, catch a free ride on Saskatchewan's largest ferry, the Riverhurst running 24 hours a day across Lake Diefenbaker.

Where to stay: The Delta Bessborough is the city's most iconic hotel a historical landmark opened opened by the Canadian National Railway in 1932 Overlooking the river the Bess's distinctive turrets add credence to a city that has been called the Paris of the prairies. A block away is the modern James Hotel a high end boutique hotel with 59 guest rooms and suites and live music most weekend nights in the casual lobby bar. Travelodge and Sandman are mid-level options.

What to buy: A wide range of products from local farmers and arisans can be found at Sask Made Marketplace. It's a one stop shop for candles, chocolate condiments, books, salts, and soaps. Lucky Bastard is a boutique distillery praised for its organic saskatoon and sea buckthorn berry liqueurs.

Fun Fact: An hour and a half drive southeast of saskatoon is little manitou Lake. Saltier than the ocean bathers float effortlessly while engoying the purported healing benefits of the warm mineral rich waters. This rare saline lake has been called "Cabada's Dead Sea."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Northern Territory, Australia

Australia's Top End wears colors that sing: rust red earth deep blue skies and the folden eyes of watchful crocodiles in the flower-tangled waterways of Kakadu National Park.

But it's the people here who make the place come alive.

We are older than the Pyaramids and older than the Bible. We have had no dictators. No caste systems and no concept of money, says Robert Mills spokesman fot the Larrakia people on his walks around Lameroo Beach.

More than 50 Aboriginal tribes still live in the "NT" and new goverment partnerships have created a respectful  balance in the outback. Visitors can gaze at Rainbow Serpent rock art from one of the longest existing societies on Earth While the artists can live on the land in peace. Frontier town Darwin sports an energetic face-lift, with an interactive history museum a redeveloped waterfront a deck chair cinema and a flurry of cosmopolitan markets.

One oldie remains though: the annual Beer Can Regatta with boats fashioned from leftover "tinnies" of Melbourne Bitter and other brews. Like everything else the event runs on "NT time". Not today, not tommorrow. Next tuesday maybe.

Where to Go: May-July (early dry season) and Agust-September (late dry season) are the best times to visit with clear skies and lower humidity. March to May is rainy, yet ideal for viewing aquatic birds (such as pelicans, egrets and herons) and water lilies and other perennial water plants. Barramundi fishing is best February to April.

How to Get Around: Fly into Alice Springs or Drawin, rent a car and follow a designated self-drive tour. The Northern Territory encompasses 548,265 square miles (more than Texas, California and Colorado combined) and 95 percent of the roads are paved.

Where to Stay: Exclusive Bamurru Plains offers safari-style accommodations (nine elevated, screened in suites with private baths) in a remote bush setting (you can hear the buffalo splashing in the floodplains). The camp is located on a coastal buffalo station (a 25-minute flight from Drawin) and named for the local magpie geese, tens of thousands of which serenade guests each morning Rates cover all meals.

Cultural Tip: When charting a self-drive tour, check to see if your travels will bring you through an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). Many IPA communities or lands require tourist permits to enter. When visiting, follow the Australian government's IPA visitor guidelines designed to protect and respect the privacy, environment and cultural traditions of indigenous people.
Fun Fact: Even if you can't see crocodiles in a territory waterway they likely can see you. Northern Australia is home to approximately 150,000 saltwater crocodiles and at least 100,000 freshwater crocodiles. The Mary River has the highest concentration, with nearly 15 saltwater crocs per half mile.

Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Redemption in the Rain Forest
How does a nation overcome the gut-wrenching stigma of a gencide, now two decades past and proclaim to the world that it is a safe nd surprising place to viit? For Rwanda one strategy is to highlight a tract of unspoiled mountain rain forest rife with chimpanzees and a dozen other primates plus hundreds of species of birds namely, Nyungwe national Park in the southwestern cotner of the country. Nyungwe, which became a national park in 2005, exemplifies the farsightedness of a government that is channeling aid money toward preserving the best of Rwanda's natural beauty, while bringing in tourist dollars that benefit surrounding communities. An example is the USAID-funded Nyungwe Nziza (Beautiful Nyungwe) project, which recently a canopy walkway above a forested canyon a thrilling perspective on the park and its residents. Chimps are the star attraction in Nyungwe though they're not as readily watchable as the famed in the mist mountain gorillas farther north in Virunga National Park. Far easier to view are colobus monkeys. The world's lagest community of them lives in Nyugwe. The park hasn't yet gained renown among birders, but it will. Almost 300 species abide here, including showboats like the oversize, clown headed Ruwenzori turaco. "Nyungwe stands out among Africa's intact montane rain forests for its size and diversity" says conservationist Bill Weber who with his wife, Amy, pioneered the gorilla tourism project in Virunga. It's a place where people can spend several days and really get to know a rain forest, having different experiences each day. Visitors can hike trails to peaks and waterfalls and meet locals in Banda Village near the park entrance. Should one ask residents whether they are Tutsi or Hutu the answer will almost certainly be We are Rwandan. Robert Earle Howells

When To Go: The drier months (July-October) are best from gorilla trekking, hiking and tea plantation tours. For birding visit December-March.

How to Get Around:International flights arrive at Kigali International Airport, about 140 miles northeast of Nyungwe National Park. Rental cars are available but not recommended. The most convenient option is to book a custom or small group tour (including airport transfers, lodging, meals, activities and park entrance fees) with a responsible tourism operator, such as Rwanda Eco-Tours found and operated by native Rwandans.

Where To Stay: Serene and luxurious Nyungwe Forest Lodge is the ideal home base for exploring the park. It's surrounded on three sides by tea plantation and on the fourth by rain forest. Opened in 2011 12 room Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel lives up to its name. Step out onto your private balcony or sit on the restaurant's outdoor terrace for mist-shrounded viewsof the national park and Lake Kivu.

Fun Fact: Nyungwe National Park's black and white colobus monkeys live high in the trees, rarely touching the ground. Their name is derived from the Greek word for mutilated since the monkeys typically have no thumbs. This adaptation makes it easy to scramble across branches on all fours.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Nestled on British Columbia's coast, Canada's third largest city is known for its rich cultural offerings and easy access to the sea and mountains Just a 20 minute drive takes you to landscapes seemingly untouched by humankind says local award winning designer and archirect Omer Arbel. Here you can snowboard, kayak and play beach volleyball all within the same day than head to a chic restaurant to dine on sustainable seafood dishes paired with a top notch local bottle of wine. At once sharming and edy Vancouver is constantly reinventing itself. Granville island a one time industrial wasteland is a pedestrian friendly oasis of artisan shops and bars where there were once dilapidated storefronts. A few blocks away in one of North America's oldest Chinatowns old-world customs and flavors mingle with edgy all to 21 st century aestherics.

When to go: In summer there are outdoor concerts, markets and fesivals throught the city. From June to September, the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival is staged in waterfront Vanier Park Mid-June to early July, the Vancouver Internationa Jazz Festival features 300 concerts, including a free opening Downstown Jazz Weekend. Gastown celebrates the first day of summer with Make music Vancouver a free live music event and community dance party with 150 bands performing on sidewalk stages. In Chinatown the summer open-air night market Takes over the streets with classic film screenings, ping-pong tournaments, mahjong and stalls selling everything from sewn goods to handcrafted honey infused with herbs or flowers. The Granville Island Farmers Market runs every Thursday from early June into October. Shop the stalls on Triangle Square For local artichokes, sugar carrots, maple syruo, blueberries and baked treats like Sweet Thea's raspberry rhubarb pie.

 How to Get Around: Most everything is within walking distance and the neighborhoods of Gastown and Chinatown are just blocks from one another. To get to Granville island board the Aquabus at the Olumpic Village or take a taxi.

Where to Stay: A 15-minute walk away from Gastown is the Fairmount Pacific Rim, a waterfront hotel that affords panoramic views of Burrand lnlet and the snowcapped North Shore Mountains. From the Granville Island Hotel on False Creek you can ride a bike (season rentals available on site) along the seawall to the 2010 Olimpic Village, take an Aquabus downtown or eat in the Dockside Restaurant and watch the ferries and boats pass by. Some of the standard rooms have water views or private balconies, so ask what;s available when booking.

Cape Town, South Africa

The African capital of cool sprawls on a peninsula that divides the icy Atlantic from the warmer Indian Ocean puttung some 20 beaches within sriking distance. The Clifton beaches, known for the posh homes that overlook them and stellar sunset viewing are sheltered from the region's strong trade winds by a mountainous ridge. Futher north the breeze is unleashed at surfing sweet sport Milnerton and Blouberg. Families favor the eastern False Bay coast for warmer water and tot friendly tidal pools.

Barcelona, Spain

With layers of architectural wonders, cultting edge cusine and buzzing nightlife, Barcelona would be a world class city even without the eight white sand beaches that rim its Mediterranean coastline. Accessible by metro the nearlt mile long (1.6 kilometer long) Barceloneta Beach revitalized in the massive waterfront makeover for the 1992 Olympics is one of the most popular. Hit the Beach Centre to rent a beach umbrella chairs or a bicycle.



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