It doesn’t take long to realize that there’s something special about Fredericksburg. Visitors have long been attracted to the area for its picturesque scenery, deep historical roots, outdoor recreation opportunities, eclectic shops, colourful cultural vibe, great food and prolific wine scene. And then there’s the people. You won’t find friendlier folks when it comes to putting out the welcome mat. They’ve even named all of the streets crossing Main to the east so that their first letters spell out 'All Welcome' while those to the west spell out 'Come Back'. It’s easy to understand why visitors return year after year, never tiring of the town’s sweet charm and ambiance.
Organized bus tours have never really been my thing. In fact, I generally avoid them like the plague. The few times that I've succumbed to one have been because someone I was travelling with insisted or because in a moment of weakness after weeks of backpacking I thought it would be nice to have a rest and let someone else do the work. At any rate, I've never really been impressed and always left the bus feeling as though I'd just thrown away money for quick glimpses of things I could have paid much less to see and enjoy on my own. Imagine my surprise, then, when a bus tour in Lisbon was not only my idea, but that I liked it a lot and that I would recommend it. Highly.
Uzbekistan is a country rich with history. In ancient times, the territory where present day Uzbekistan lies included the main artery between east and west, between Europe and Asia, also known as the Silk Road. The land that stretches for thousands of kilometers from the Caspian Sea in the west to the TianShian Mountains in the east is some of the most inhospitable and driest on earth. Travelling across this land is not a comfortable, luxurious experience, even in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. Naturally, the ancient travelers had to have places along the way to rest.
China, renowned for its vast population and booming economy, is as rich today with tradition and culture as it is with gold and locally produced international commodities. Cities of the south within easy reach from Southeast Asia may be an entire continent away from Beijing in terms of how Europe measures distance, though they boast durable facets common to all Chinese. Travel to the urban areas of Guangzhou, Chenzhou and Zhuzhou in southern Hunan province comes complete with unique cultures, centuries old traditions and modern marvels.
Those who make the trip down into Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona will often tell you it is one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. With its mesmerizing scenery and rich history, this 84,000-acre archaeological sanctuary and natural wonder creates a magical milieu that almost defies description. Located in the northeast, within the boundaries of the vast Navajo Nation, Canyon de Chelly was designated a national monument in 1931 to protect and preserve the numerous archeological resources long known to exist on the canyon rims, walls and bottomlands.
The famed Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are truly a sight to behold. Home to a number of rare plants and animals that live nowhere else on the planet, the islands were declared a World Heritage site in 1978 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985. It was here after witnessing the amazing behaviours of such unworldly creatures as the salt-snorting iguanas, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies that Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural section. There are nineteen islands in total but only a select few are accessible for tourists. The main ones include Santa Cruz, Isabella, San Cristobal, Fernandina and Santiago.
For New Years this past year, I hopped on board the Ocean Diamond ice breaker for a ten-day cruise heading to Antarctica – home of no polar bears (in case you were unsure) – and to say it was epic would be an understatement. Hopping on board at Ushuaia in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province was a last minute decision that turned out to be the most amazing decision ever. Like all the best travel adventures, the journey was almost as exciting as the destination was amazing, so if you have the time, money and opportunity, you should definitely put this one on your ‘bucket list’. I can’t recommend it enough.
Panama City is a vibrant city of bold contrasts. A place where tradition meets modernity, where ruins stand amidst skyscrapers and where there exists a convergence of old and new side-by-side. New constructions are popping up everywhere while old ones are being renovated, both witness to the country’s ever-expanding economic growth. This small country, the last stop on the Central American trail, is definitely worth more than just a quick glimpse on the way to somewhere else. Located on the doorstep of South America, Panama has throughout its history seen – and continues to see – the passage and settlement of a variety of different cultures. Omnipresent skyscrapers dominate the skyline and historic buildings are cherished. As a result, Panama City is a colorful collage of old and new world charm, a city full of diversity with a variety of things to see and do.
I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, this was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be significant and momentous. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though. I wanted to see an Anaconda, up close and personal. The Amazon is the Anaconda’s home and I knew this trip represented the best opportunity for me to finally come eye-to-eye with this storied reptile, not to mention the endless creatures I would find along the way.
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