Posted on October 27th, 2009 No comments
San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, check out what it looked like in 1958 with this cool video!
Posted on October 14th, 2009 No comments
Landlocked Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalaya and is mostly mountainous and heavily forested. The snowcapped Himalayan Range reaches heights of over 7,500 meters above sea level and extends along the Bhutan-China border. Bhutan is comprised of a mosaic of different peoples who continue to live in valleys isolated from one another and the outside world by formidable mountain passes. Differing ethnic groups are also distributed according to the varying environments within the land’s borders. It is possible to divide the population into three broad ethnic groups, though the distinctions blur in places. Southern Bhutan is inhabited mainly by Nepalese farmers who arrived at the end of the 19th century. They brought the Hindu religion with them as well as the Nepalese language, which is still spoken today over much of Southern Bhutan. A Bhutan trip is a journey to a land of supernatural legends, ancient monastery / fortresses. Ruins said to be haunted by ghosts, old Dzongs as reminders of the Bhutanese defence against Tibetan invaders, animals believed to have flown from Tibet to Bhutan and assuming the shape today of huge rocks, stories about the abominable snowman; both true history and myths are fascinating and an inherent part of Bhutanese culture.
The country’s ancient history is a story of struggle between reincarnate rulers, feudal lords and differing Buddhist sects vying for power, until late last century when the old orders were swept away and an hereditary monarchy was established.Each of our Bhutan trips has been timed to arrive in the country for the climax of the spectacular tsechu (monastery festival) at either Paro or Bumthang. Our tours also include a visit to Bhutan’s most venerated monastery, the Tashichho Dzong in Thimpu, the remarkable medieval monastery that now houses the National Assembly and the King’s Throne Room. These Bhutan trips are offered in combination with other countries in the region: Sikkim & Tibet.
The magical aura that pervades the area around the Himalayas is so potent, it is almost tangible. This vast region that separates the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau numbers among the destinations that many travellers visit only to find that their preconceived notions that have long been nurtured by fanciful flights of the imagination are indeed a reality. Journey with us amid looming, white-rimmed peaks, among traditional, colourful peoples and into the heart of a land where Nature’s most spectacular endeavours complement an already bewitching destination.
Posted on October 13th, 2009 No comments
I really wanted to see South America and this tour itinerary sounded very interesting. All the excursions were first rate, especially the Argentine glaciers and Iguazu Falls. Rapa Nui: what an experience! The Chileans went out of their way to ensure our comfort and the meals were all good value.
-Betty Swindelehurst Tour AR9: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama, Indescribable Iguazu and exhilarating Easter Island)
With the mighty Andes mountain range towering over one side and the big blue of the South Pacific Ocean lapping at the other, Chile lies snugly amid two extremes and its interior topography covers every degree in between. A tour to northern Chile would reveal one of the driest locations in the world, where, in some places, there has never been record of any rainfall-the arid Atacama desert. Though even the most avid of sun-worshippers may think twice before touring this sparsely-inhabited region, they may yet be lured by the fact that it is also the location of several important archaeological sites, of impressive geological spectacle and of intriguing remnants of lost civilisations. The features of Chile’s southern regions lie in stark contrast to the characteristics of the north. Aridness gives ways to fertile and lush forests and grazing lands, and, complementing the quaint scenery of the intricate myriad of lakes, canals, inlets and fjords, the south is perforated by a string of volcanoes.
The highlights for us were Puerto Madryn (very good local guide), Ushuaia, Calafate, Santiago (again, an outstanding local guide), Hacienda Los Lingues, Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas and Atacama. -Elizabeth Huss Tour AR7: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama & Indescribable Iguazu)
The vast majority of Chile’s over 2,000 volcanoes are now dormant, with only 55 remaining active and of the 12 great lakes situated in the country’s south, one holds the title as the continent’s fourth largest-Lago Llanquihue. One of the world’s great national parks, the Torres del Paine National Park, though only accessible by boat, plane or a scenic trip through Argentina, is a popular tour destination and one that promises a wealth of memories. The south is the perfect tour destination for those looking to experience Chile’s memorable sites, diverse landscape or more energetic activities in more temperate climes.
My interest in Chile and Argentina and a friend’s recommendation of the company made me sign up for this tour. There were some truly unforgettable highlights: Patagonia, Chile’s wine region and some of the hotels and restaurants in Punta Arenas. I would’ve liked more time in Santiago, but the transportation, meals and local guides were generally very good.
-Dennis Huss Tour AR7: Argentina & Chile (South American Treasures – featuring arid Atacama & Indescribable Iguazu)
From some points on the extensive and serene sandy beaches of the east coast, it is possible to see the gargantuan peaks of the Andes dominating the skyline to the west, and in theory, travellers can take to the piste high in the mountains, then bask in the sun on the beach all in the same day. Chile’s offshore territories-the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, which was once the refuge of marooned Scotsman Alexander Selkirk, the man who inspired the classic Daniel Defoe novel ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ and the world-renowned Easter Island-are equally as impressive as its mainland regions. Where the Juan Fernandez Archipelago is a national park and its plethora of plant species have warranted the island’s designation as a World Biosphere Reserve, Easter Island is home to Rapa Nui National Park, a park that exhibits relics of an ancient desert-dwelling civilisation, and to Ahu Tongariki, where 15 of the country’s famous moai statues stand at attention on their rock platform. With so great climatic and geographic distinctions between all its poles, and a culture as unique and welcoming as its people, a tour to Chile, the longest country in the world, guarantees a holiday that will stretch the imagination.
Straddling the border between Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is the definitive destination for the outdoorsperson. Our Patagonia tours whisk travellers away to one of the world’s last great wildernesses to take in its mountains, glaciers, hotsprings, wildlife and eclectic European-based culture. To experience a region of South America unlike the rest of the continent, yet one that is easily equally as rewarding, try our Patagonia tours.
Posted on October 7th, 2009 No comments
The landlocked Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa is more commonly associated with its troubled history than with its abundance of unique charm that makes it a praiseworthy tour destination. It is a country that has endured more than its fair share of strife in the relatively recent past, stemming from war, famine and drought in the region, and though travellers may be forgiven for opting for an alternative travel destination in light of the negative headlines Ethiopia often elicits, they will be sacrificing an opportunity to explore one of the most fascinating and rewarding countries in Africa.
Ethiopia prides itself in being one of the oldest independent nations in the world, as well as being one of the few countries to have never been fully colonized; aside from a five-year stint during which the country lay under Italian occupation, Ethiopia has remained entirely autonomous throughout its long history. As a result, the land that awaits travellers is one unaffected by the Western influence found in countries with a colonial history and one wherein upwards of 77 different ethnic groups, many with their own unique cultures, languages and customs, live predominantly traditional lives. An apt reflection of Ethiopia’s distinctiveness and separateness can be seen in the country’s continued use of the Julian calendar at a time when most societies have long since switched to the Gregorian calendar. This, along with having its own written system and notation system means that where many destinations can boast a uniqueness of identity in some aspect or another, Ethiopia surpasses most by retaining an untouched individuality of extraordinary depth, a quality that it has been nurturing since the beginnings of civilisation itself.
Posted on October 6th, 2009 No comments
Undoubtedly, it is the range of choices in Hong Kong that makes it so popular among travellers, as even the most discerning of visitors is sure to find some aspect that suits his or her needs or wants. For the less discriminating traveller, the options lent by the wide variety on offer in Hong Kong mean that boredom never factors into the equation; there’s always something new or different to try.
Hong Kong has been under the dominion of Britain, China and Japan since it came into being and each civilisation has left its indelible mark on the landscape and culture of Hong Kong. The territory’s name literally translates as ‘Fragrant Harbour,’ and Hong Kong certainly lives up to the name, with pungent and distinctly varied aromas wafting through its bustling, cosmopolitan streets. The territory is often considered an ideal gateway for travellers since they can enjoy the pleasures of the East without a complete departure from the comforts of the West; a place where travellers can get a rich taste of wholly different cultures and lifestyles in a somewhat familiar environment. Sights of interest abound in this, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, and for those reluctant to experience the at times hectic and overwhelming nature of urban Hong Kong, there is always the option to stray further afield and take in the splendour of the surroundings from a distance. The shimmering neon lights that illuminate the entire city at night are truly a sight to behold.