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Traveller Spring/Summer 2013

y Alread Ten Years!

China Texas India Iceland Egypt New Zealand Sweden South Afric a Argentina Virginia Come With Us And See The World!


A word from the editors elcome to the Spring/Summer 2013 Issue of Canadian World Traveller, which is being distributed across Greater Montreal, as well as in select locations in the Greater Toronto Area.

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The magazine is now in the tenth year of its publication. This issue, as well as all of our previous 38 issues, are archived on our website at www.canadianworldtraveller.com. In addition, an electronic version of Canadian World Traveller is distributed by email to over 9,500 travel specialists across Canada. Please help preserve the forests of our beautiful planet by recycling this magazine after reading it or better still share it with others.

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Canadian World Traveller

In this issue we travel to coastal cities in China in this part one of a two-part article. While in Asia we uncover picturesque Kashmir, India. In North America we head to Fredericksburg the gem of Texas and then to the legendary Blue Mountain ranges of Virginia. In Europe we head to the north Atlantic to visit the stunning Iceland landscape before going to the world-class city of Stockholm, Sweden. We then travel to the two ends of Africa. First, we take a cruise on Egypt’s Nile and explore its many historic sites before going to South Africa to photograph the incredible wildlife. While south of the equator we travel to Christchurch, New Zealand and also experience the unique Maori culture. Finally, we head to South America and visit beautiful Argentina. Happy Travels!

4055, Ste-Catherine Street West, Suite 158 Westmount, Qc Canada H3Z 3J8 Tel.: (514) 667-2293 www.canadianworldtraveller.com Email: info@canadianworldtraveller.com Publisher Editor-in-chief Graphic Artist Advertising Marketing Distribution Contributors

Michael Morcos Greg James Al Cheong Leo Santini Tania Tassone Royce Dillon Eileen Cotter Steven Sanders Habeeb Salloum Ruth Atherley A. M. Macloughlin James Tyrrell

Front Cover Photo by Michael Morcos: Dalian, China Disclaimer: Canadian World Traveller has made every effort to verify that the information provided in this publication is as accurate as possible. However, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from the information contained herein nor for any information provided by our advertisers.

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Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Experience Christchurch of today By Ruth Atherley

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China

New Zealand

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Celebrating China’s Marine Tourism Year: Part One

Top 5 Ways to Discover Maori Culture in New Zealand

By Michael Morcos

By Ruth Atherley

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Texas

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Stockholm and Beyond – A Smorgasbord of Sights Fredericksburg: A sophisticated, slow-paced gem By Anne-Marie Macloughlin By Eileen Cotter

India

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South Africa

Kashmir’s rugged beauty and inviting simplicity

Top 5 Photo Safari Photo Tips

By Michael Morcos

By James Tyrrell

Iceland

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Argentina

In the Land of the Vikings

Buenos Aires and The South

By Anne-Marie Macloughlin

By Steven Sanders

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Egypt

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

CRUISING THROUGH THE LAND OF THE PHARAOHS By Eileen Cotter By Habeeb Salloum

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China

Celebrating China’s Marine Tourism Year: Part By Michael Morcos


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The sheer girth of China’s endless 9 5 natural landscapes and larger-thanlife cities can be overwhelming to the average traveler. However, the upside is that China’s expansive offerings present a chance to take in countless aspects of such a rich and colorful destination. I journeyed from province to province, stopping along the way to savor cuisine, be amused and get wrapped up in China’s natural beauty around every corner.

Bejing’s size and stature It’s easy to spend a whole trip just in this city. Full of exotic sights and sounds, the never-sleeping urban sprawl is always illuminated by flashy advertisements juxtaposed by grand traditional temples and buildings. You can get lost in all the grandeur and swept away by the mesmerizing culture. To fully immerse in Beijing’s vibrant atmosphere, it’s important to spend time in both the Forbidden City area that’s historically prominent, as well as weaving through the more modern district with towering skyscrapers.

Liaoning Province Tucked in a northeastern corner of China lies the Liaoning Province, known best for its natural landscapes and breathtaking coastline. The weather is often pleasant but constantly changes, including short spring and fall seasons and a warm, long summer. I was happy to spend time exploring a few of the regions along the coast and the mountainous inland areas too.

Golden Pebble Beach Beauty is on another level at the Golden Pebble Beach national Resort, full of things to see and do year-round. I took in the spectacular environment of the Liaodong Peninsula with pretty waterfront views. The area is only a few kilometers outside of Dalian, making it ideal for a day trip or weekend away from the city. Not only is the natural wonders of Gold Pebble worth the visit, but there is also a few museums, places to try sporting activities, bath houses and gardens, to name a few.

Like a kid again at Ocean Amusement Park Inside Xinghai Park is a cute space just for little ones on their families. Known as Ocean Park, this attractions features accommodations and live shows, among See China on page 10

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China Continued from page 9

other areas of fun. It is home to some marine life as well, such as seals and turtles, travellers can see during performances alongside expert handlers. A nice stroll was appreciated through this spot that might not boast a deep history, but provides a great break from the bustle of touring.

Indulging in top Chinese cuisine I never went hungry the entire time I was in China, as there is fantastic culinary delights to indulge everywhere, from high end restaurants to small shacks along the streets. While meals varies greatly from country to country, most staple ingredients include dried vegetables, fish, rice and plenty of flavorings. A memorable way to sample several contrasting tastes is to have a dim sum lunch or dinner. These little pockets of light, fluffy dough are filled with combinations of vegetables, beef, chicken and more, molded into small bitesized pieces.

Enjoying the Lushun Museum Never was there a dull moment inside the Lushun Museum, home to more than 30,000 relics from Chinese history. It can be a thrill to be so close to artifacts that have withstood the test of time and date back a few millennia. An impressive exhibit is the mummies found in Western China. More than 1,300 years old, the people’s hair and features can be seen from perfect preservation conditions. To mark the entrance to the building is a massive 22-meter tower guarding the front door.

Time spent in Zhongshan Square This area allows travellers to see old and new sides of Dailan side-by-side. Created in 1899 by Russians, the Zhongshan Square is a central spot for main traffic as well as pedestrians. One of its unique features is the speaker systems set up around its perimeter, making the spot one of the first of its kind in the country. It is a

Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013

charming spot to enjoy when the weather is pleasant to admire the surrounding architecture and a pretty city landscape.

Scenic views from the Dalian Port Although slightly industrial, the excitement is almost palpable at the Pot of Dalian. Popular among commercial sailors and cruise ships, it serves a purpose of directing nautical traffic with style. Near the main port area are several tasty restaurants and a aesthetically pleasing rounda-bout with white statues seemingly directing cars passing by.

Journeying to the Shandong Province From the port I made my way south of Laioning to the Shandong Province, where life along the ocean is also respected and celebrated. Confucius was born in this region about two hours from the capital city of Jinan and there are mountain peaks well-loved by climbers across the planet. There is a long winter, but this coasts offers and excellent alternative for a beach holiday, as it rarely gets uncomfortably hot and stays as an active touring center throughout the year.

A grand Olympic Sailing Centre In 2008 the Olympics were a thrilling spectacle that provinces throughout the country participated in according to their geography. Due to the wide bay in Qingdao, many sailing events took place here and many still enjoy keeping their boats on the docks. Tourists walk the boards to peer at the sailing ships, and some will take a chartered trip in the bay by a local, professional captain.

Strolling through Little Fish Hill Park To gaze at some of the loveliest views of Huiquan Bay, head up the hill and be rewarded with an overview of the sea and land below. Little Fish Hill’s Park ideal location blends together perfectly mani-


cured vegetation and ocean waves. Pavilions provide shade, which can be reached by walking along the trails lined with blooming flowers. Children were seen throughout the park expending their energy and getting close with their natural surroundings.

Tasty eats at the Huiquan Dynasty Hotel The views from this stylish establishment are memorable, as is the delectable and traditional cuisine. I dined on some delicacies such as minced pork with braised cucumber. The highlight was shark fin soup, with just enough spice to be bold, yet satisfying. The crowd here was eclectic and welcoming, offering an exotic feel that was also relaxing to myself and fellow travellers. Many choose to stay after dinner and sip on a cocktail for a relaxing, tranquil evening.

Impressive Qingdao Site Museum So much of this amazing museum is not to be missed, especially for those who love the past and Chinese history. It almost looks a little out of place, due to it being the residence of a former German governor. But the interior is what gives away its Asian influence, as much of the décor blends together both European and Chinese design. Everything has been carefully preserved so visitors feel as if they are in the presence of historical greatness. Qingdao also has other honorable museums that are a nod to things like music, art and science. Travellers can spend a whole holiday enjoying the historic offering of this region.

An interesting visit to the Qingdao Beer Museum

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All of these fascinating tours and museums where making me very thirsty. Luckily, libations were not too far away and I was able to visit the famous Qingdao brewery. Known in North America and Tsingtao, this delicious beer is sold all over the world as one of the country’s premiere brews. It has been around for more than a century and has expanded to more than 50 factories nationwide. German influence can be found here as well, due to much of the factory’s architecture and décor being donated by the country for the beer’s anniversary. This is the perfect place to learn about the past manufacturing techniques and even take part in a workshop or tasting tour.

Dinner at Pichai Yuan The Chinese truly respect their mealtimes and it shows within their take on fresh ingredients and stylish presentation. Nestled in old Qingdao is Firewood Court, lined with vendors serving up unforgettable treats and savory snacks. I grabbed some grilled seafood and wandered around the cherry side streets and weaved through the crowds. During busy season, guests can often hear live opera performances while they eat. Snacks are perfectly washed down with a local Qingdao beer too, of course. Or, some hot tea made with special blends in a long-beaked water kettle is always the traditional and tasty choice. Although there is a crowd around some of the vendors, it might only be for the photo opt- for instance, the family selling fried beetles, scorpions and roaches is worth taking a peek at through

the lens. The mix of German and Chinese style is also seen here like at the governor’s house and brewery. My time in the northeast provinces of Liaoning and Shandong was delightfully pleasant and an interesting look into China’s diverse culture – as these regions are much different than others in the South or West. I wish I had more days to truly immerse into the seaside lifestyle, but I was happy to have a taste of the sunny atmosphere and welcoming people of China.

China Tourism Introduces New Brand Logo China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has made “Beautiful China” the tag line of its tourism and introduced a new global brand logo. With an overall look as a stamp, the new logo integrates modern messaging with the ancient Chinese art form of calligraphy. The hieroglyph in the background means “travel” in ancient Chinese language, which shows a flag guiding a couple around. The blue color represents the sky, delivering China tourism’s concepts - vitality, harmony and green travel. The red color gives tribute to the Chinese civilization that has been going on for thousands of years. Illustrating an international vision, the “Beautiful China” logo represents China’s promising and welcoming tourism industry. www.canadianworldtraveller.com

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Texas

Fredericksburg: A sophisticated, slow-paced, gem in the By Eileen Cotter


heart of Texas

For a first-timer in the state of Texas, 13 I was ready to take on hordes of cowboy hats, southern drawls and a lot of barbeque. Sure, those things are there, but the vibrant, progressive and historically fascinating town of Fredericksburg offered much more than what was seen on the surface. I was greeted my smiles around every corner and was highly impressed by the creativity, motivation and drive found behind the minds of business owners in town. It made for a stimulating trip an hour outside of San Antonio that included one-of-a-kind shopping, wine tastings, live music, historical landmarks and much more.

Lady Bird’s legacy One of the things I instantly noticed driving along the Texas highways were the beautiful blooms. Blue bonnets and poppies line roadways, blanketing every inch with spectacular reds and purples. This colorful landscapes is most due to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, who set out to beautify her state and the rest of the country in the 60s and 70s.

A unique German heritage For a town right in the middle of Texas Hill Country, there seemed to be a lot of European-style architecture and German restaurants. I discovered that the first settlers in the area were in indeed form Germany and brought along their traditions, language and lifestyle to the Americas. The imprint of these early residents is best seen in the center of town at the iconic Marktplatz, which surrounds the Vereins Kirche that served as the town’s first schoolhouse and church. Nowadays the gardens are a focal point for events and gatherings throughout the year.

Transported to the 1940s Staying at fresh, innovative accommodations is often the highlight of my adventures. Why settle for some chain where there is amazing hotels to experience? In Fredericksburg, The Hangar Hotel is the place to be for a unique getaway, as well as cocktail hour, a classic diner meal and even a little sightseeing. Owners Richard and Rosemary Estenson have transported their property back to the swinging 40s, where pin-up girl posters and the Rat Pack reigned supreme. The hotel is located right on the tarmac of the local airport, so guests can view planes arriving and departing from their stylish observation See Texas on page 14

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deck. Although the Hangar is designed to bring people back in time, it is also fully stocked with all the latest services and amenities.

An impromptu art-walk downtown Many city folks have migrated to Hill Country and flexed their creative muscles. Each gallery in town (there are many) offers a unique take on the fine arts, whether they specialize in contemporary, classic, Western or anything in the middle. The Whistle Pik Gallery is a great place to start for those who are fans of bronze cowboys by G. Harvey and sprawling Texas landscapes. The Good Company has a great reputation for featuring local talent and interesting pieces that convey joy and complex emotions. Insight Galleries also presents local creations, but brings in a more international flair, including several Canadian artists. The Artisans at Rocky Hill were eager to show off their impressive arsenal of local art, including scarves, mini installations, furniture and metallic paintings. This is the ideal sport to pick up a piece to take home that illustrated the beautiful Texas hills covered in wildflowers.

Wine-time in Hill Country Due to 95 percent of Texas wine being drunk in the state, most outsiders do not know about the vibrant libation scene tucked in the middle of the state. There are dozens of wineries to choose from, offering deluxe blends and one-of-a-kind varietals to please all palettes. Most wineries are right in Fredericksburg, with plenty others only a few miles outside of town. On my journey, I had a wonderful time at the laid-back Grape Creek Vineyards, who boast tons of awards for their delicious and rich wines. They have a big room on the property full of oak barrels as well so some guests can taste their newest concoctions before it is even bottled. The Pedernales company has a great, crisp Rose and has been dabbling in “wine kegs” so customers can visit stores and bottle it themselves. The last stop was Four Point Cellars, which is a collaborative effort to offer some tasty, affordable reds and whites to everyone – well, at least everyone in Texas, so bringing home a bottle or three is a must.

Visiting a popular Texas brewery Wine is not the only adult beverage popuCanadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013

lar in Fredericksburg. There is also a healthy amount of micro breweries and state beers to sample. At the Fredericksburg Brewing Company they create several types on site, including a refreshing pale ale that goes perfectly with a plate of friend pickles. They also have a tasting board so if patrons are not sure which they may like, they can sip each variety then choose their new favorite.

Honoring the heroes of World War II The last thing I thought I’d find in a small Texas town is a state-of-the-art museum, but there is an incredible attraction called The National Museum of the Pacific War, which recently underwent massive renovations to rival any museum in Washington D.C., New York and beyond. The exhibits offer an unbiased look into the tragedy and heroism of soldiers during World War II. I was humbled by the first-person audio stories recorded by soldiers guests can hear as they walk through the massive space. Other notable exhibits are the Pearl Harbor room, airplane displays and vintage bomber jackets.

Live music at the Luckenbach Texans have melodies flowing through their veins, many of which that honor the simple soul and flavor of the area. I was able to witness this first-hand with an evening spent at the famous Luckenbach – a bar, dancehall and shop frequented by great like Willie Nelson. Country music fans will know the classic song that describes the scene at this no-fills, cozy venue a few miles outside of town. When the weather is favorable, they open the big dance hall filled with white Christmas lights for live music and plenty of foot stomping.

A fine array of Texas cuisine Eating is often the start of the show when I journey to new places, and Fredericksburg was no exception. Many restaurants have heavily Tex-Mex influences, such as the Bejas Grill that served up brightly colored margaritas and great tacos. Hildas also has burritos and specialize in hearty breakfast egg wraps. For a more elegant affair, August E’s

Unforgettable and tasty Texas wine tastings Not only is the wine and cuisine wonderful in town, it is even better when brought


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together for a memorable meal. Woodrose Winery, established in 2005, treated me to a four-course luncheon, pairing fruity whites with shrimp alfredo and bold reds with a rich beef marsala.

Fredericksburg’s hopping shopping scene It is almost a little too easy to burn a hole in your pocket downtown. The shops are plentiful and all has quite the collection of fantastic memorabilia, antiques and jewelry, to name a few. The downtown area is fairly condensed, so visitors can spend the afternoon poking in and out of stores to find the perfect souvenir or addition to their home décor. When taking a break, the Chocolat store is the ideal pit stop for those who have a sweet tooth. There namesake are a variety of chocolates filled with different kinds of liquor, including several Texas wines. They have to be eaten in one bite or it can get very messy. I took a peek inside their factory area as well to see the treats being made in real time.

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Stepping back in time to the 1960s While I was introduced to the impact the Johnsons made on Texas when I arrived, I gained an even deeper appreciation for their influence by visiting the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. The “Texas White House”, where the Johnsons spent a good bit of time during his presidency and beyond, have been perfectly preserved with all its original furniture. Everything from the blue chairs emblazoned with the presidential emblem to the dining room plate set once belonged to the power couple and their family. Also on the property are hundreds of acres for cattle, a visitor center and museum, plus the cemetery plot where the Johnsons have been laid to rest.

Even further to the early 20th century Before leaving the state park, visitors should wander through the SauerBeckmann Living History Farmstead, also on the property. This allows people to see

what kind of environment former president Johnson would have been born into – a charming farm in the early 1900s. Full of petable livestock, cooking demonstrations and houses decked out in period furnishings.

A fresh, locally sourced dinner Dining in Fredericksburg was delightful the whole week, but the grand finale of Texas culinary delights was savored at The Herb Farm. The owners of the Hangar Hotel also run this complex, complete with fine dining restaurant, garden, gift shop with herb-infused beauty products and a luxurious spa. On the menu is fresh game like venison and quail, complemented by roasted veggies and accoutrements. Visiting the bustling cities of Texas is a must, but so is experiencing the slower paced feel of places like Fredericksburg, which still offer many options for culture, art and indulgence. It is the best of both worlds and was the perfect introduction for future Texas adventures.

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India Kashmir’s rugged beauty and inviting simplicity By Michael Morcos


When Kashmir is mentioned to 17 13 Indians, many think fondly on the summers spent in this wild and green region. Recently it has been drawing international visitors as well, for the crystal clear lakes, wildlife, delicious food and unique cultural offerings. There is a swirl of predispositions surrounding the Muslim-centered destination, but over the last few years, it’s been revived and welcoming new tourists to enjoy its rustic and unforgettable landscapes of mountains and endless skies.

A glide through Srinagar Although Kashmir is far from any ocean, there are still plenty of nautical activities to partake in. This allows travelers to soak up some sunshine while enjoying the scenic waterways throughout the area. I loved the boat ride through Srinagar, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the region of Kashmir Valley. Winding along the lake through local house boats and other vessels, we were rewarded with breathtaking views at every turn. Most of these boats are traditional and very cozy, perfect for a lazy day out of the water. Many people opt to stay in these houseboats temporarily too on their holidays, which makes for an adventurous accommodation experience. However, most have the same services and amenities that hotels do, just floating on the water is the only difference.

The wildlife of Kashmir To highlight the incredible diversity of Kashmir, there are several wildlife sanctuaries to visit. The one I went to had some large beasts, like bears and leopards, roaming protected throughout the complex. There are several to choose from when in the area, many of which are located near the major cities and be explored in a day or two. The most popular are where big animals can be easily seen, such as the Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to many species of deer with massive antlers, like the axis. At the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, black and brown bears can be viewed while cooling off in the waterways or feeding. If lucky, travelers who trek through the Dachigam National Park, a short distance outside of Srinagar, can see some leopards in the wild. Due to ever changing weather conditions, it’s advisable to pack rain jackets and warm boots, depending on the time of year.

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India

Swirling culture and crafts

Continued from page 17

Like in many cultures, the Kashmiri people love to celebrate through the art of dance. I was honored to witness a traditional presentation offered by some resident women, dressed in colorful garb of blues, pinks and browns. There are different moves for every occasion, whether people are attending a wedding, worshipping their faith or getting ready for harvesting season. Besides dancing, many locals partake in intricate crafting sessions to show off their skills. The highly detailed and eye-catching carpets villagers weave is a sight to behold, and I watched these amazing items come to life as each row was painstakingly woven. Most carpets are made from wool, but some also include silken fibers for added luxury.

Modern activities and amenities in Kashmir While I love seeing how people live their daily lives in new destinations, I also don’t mind enjoying a little time for some leisure activities I take part in at home. So I was thrilled when we were able to journey to a beautiful golf course in Kashmir, offering some of the best links in the entire country. The course was actually designed by American golfer Robert Trent Jones Jr. and has been increasing in popularity ever since its inception in 2001. Like many spots throughout Kashmir, players have the chance to admire beautiful views from every hole. It boasts all the latest amenities as well, including motorized carts and a well-kept green.

Evening tea at the Nagin Club With all the hustle and bustle going on during the day, it was a welcomed break to relax at Kashmir’s many tea rooms. Some, like the one located at the Gurkha houseboats, can be enjoyed right on the lake. Most blends are original to Kashmir and include wonderful, exotic spices. Cup can be sipped standing alone or sweet-

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ened to taste. Many say the tradition of tea time stems from old British occupation, but Indians have made the tradition their own by using local blends and custom, homemade biscuits and treats to go with it.

Admiring the Mughal Gardens One of the most treasured spots in Kashmir is their UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Mughal Gardens. These can be found nationwide, but Kashmir has a few that rival any others, like the gardens found at the Taj Mahal. The landscaped landmarks are modeled after Islamic influence, which nod toward Persian design. They have been around for centuries and have many features such as natural waterways, fountains and indigenous greenery. I could have spent all afternoon strolling the lush ground, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

A journey to Aharbal Not lacking in natural wonders, Kashmir also has some interesting waterfalls. The best can be explored in the western part of the region, called the Aharbal Falls. Cascading between large granite boulders, the water gushed down every day and leaves a noisy environment in its wake. But the view is lovely from the fenced-in terraces near the top of the falls. There are some striking opportunities for hiking in this are along the stream as well for robust outdoors people who like a challenge and heading off the beaten path.

The friendly residents The Kashmiri people are very warm and welcoming. Children would often come to say hello while I sipped tea in the afternoons, waving hello and laughing together in packs. They often roam while wearing their standard white school uniforms. Women were eager to show off their crafts and the men their livestock or modes of transportation. Plenty of religious individuals also call Kashmir home – especially monks. I spotted a few of these devotes


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men praying or meditating in unbelievable natural environments. I can see why some feel so spiritually connected in such dazzling surroundings.

Martand and Pahalgam Ancient civilizations called Kashmir home dating back hundreds of years. The remains of their livelihood and achievements can be visited in Martand, where the Sun Temple is located. Constructed around 500 AD, columns and rooms still stand today and pay homage to the Hindu gods they were once created for. I went up close to examine the ruins, then hiked up a small incline to take in the entire complex at once, which is an impressive sight. Back in the day, people traveled to the town of Pahalgam to beat the heat in the valleys over the summer, because its high-

er elevation offered cooler temperatures. Nowadays it’s enjoyed year-round and serves as a mecca for outdoor adventureseekers, looking to trek through mountainous peaks or try some heart-pumping white water rafting. Horseback riding is another great activity to try, with plenty of photo opportunities along the way.

Spending time in Gulmarg Each mountain town truly had their own spirit, especially Gulmarg. They are more of a ski-town, offering spectacular slopes with tons of white, powdery snow. Most is completely natural, allowing for perfect conditions throughout the season. Both skier and snowboard riders are welcome to free-style down the mountains by taking gondolas up to the summit. What’s unique is that Gulmarg boast the world’s longest

See India on page 20


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India Continued from page 19

ski lift, so prepare for a blast of cold when reaching the top. The area is also charming to see in the summer, as mountain snow slopes turn into meadows. Many of the lifts continue to run year-round so guests can always admire the views. No matter what time of year traveler’s visit, they should keep their eyes open along the road to Gulmarg, which has just as nice scenery as the town itself. I marveled at all the flowers massive valleys we passed leading to the town.

A peek at the Pakistan border I could not get enough of the dramatic views around every corner in Kashmir. The beauty came to a climax as I took a gondola ride up one of the ski hills that had bloomed in the spring. This is an easy way to get a new perspective on the region without too much strenuous climbing. Besides the sprawling vistas of valleys and peaks, I could clearly see the nearby Pakistani border, complete with border control to discourage illegal crossings. Despite the stigma, this area is very safe and closely monitored, especially in the larger cities and villages. Tourists who stay in groups or with guides are well taken care of during their stay.

Getting round Kashmir While I may have cheated and took mostly four-wheeled vehicles, many local people throughout Kashmir will travel on the roads by horseback. It is still one of the most common modes of transportation in the area, especially because of the mountainous landscapes that can prove difficult for modern transportation. Men, women and children would hop on their horses and navigate the sometimes treacherous roadways with ease. I loved watching the pride people took in their animals and make sure their families were protected from the cars that wooshed by infrequently.

Soaking up exotic Indian landscapes By far the best part of the entire trip was simply admiring the unforgettable landscapes around every turn. Whether I was traveling by car, boat, gondola or by foot, I was rarely disappointed by the natural beauty this part of India offers. The snowcapped mountains framed by lush, green valleys set an impressive scene against bright blue skies. Nature is not taken for granted in this part of the world and I am grateful I had the chance to see it all first hand. Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Iceland In the Land of the Vikings By Anne-Marie Macloughlin


Waterfalls, Wilderness – and Eyjafjallajokul With a less than tropical climate and the eruption of Eyjafjallajokul in 2010, Iceland is not your typical destination. Still, there is something about it that is appealing in a Lord of the Rings way. Icelandair flights to many European cities make regular stop-overs in Reykjavik, my recent trip to Sweden providing the perfect opportunity to schedule a whirlwind detour to this mysterious island.

has it, they are the remnants of 23 three trolls that tried to drag a ship ashore, then turned to stone as the sun came up. Observing the roiling surf, it was easy to see how such legends took flight. The Gullfoss waterfall is actually two separate waterfalls originating from the Hvita River, visible only by standing right at the edge of its banks, and one of the famous stops on the Golden Circle, along with the original geysirs and the rift valley of Þingvellir.

Climate Average temperatures in Iceland rarely dip below freezing in winter, reaching 13- 15 degrees Celsius in summer . Most of the population is centred around Reykjavik, with spectacular scenery close by.The best way to see Iceland is by jeep. Volcano Tours (volcanotours.is), one of the many established tour companies on the island, specializes in not only volcanoes, but some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world.

The Viking Horse At 8am, the jeep arrived, driven by Hlynur, our cheerful English-speaking guide. Shortly after departing the city, we saw tourists enjoying a horse-riding excursion. The Icelandic Horse is the purest in the world, and no other breed exists on the island. They are often referred to as ponies, due to their diminuitive size - and the lack of an Icelandic word meaning ‘pony’).

Heading into Þingvellir National Park, we saw scrubby vegetation and a landscape more suited to an alien planet. This was ‘No-man’s Land’, where the tectonic plates shifted, separating North America and Eurasia. Iceland’s first national park, it remains an important part of the country’s heritage.

Letting off Steam Next stop - the geysirs (to use the traditional spelling). From the Norse word geysa, meaning to gush or rush forth, the Great Geysir, which others were named after, has been dormant for decades. Little brother Strokkur, however, belches steam and boiling water approximately every five minutes, up to 100 feet in the air. The geyser park is fun to walk through, with its bubbling streams and multi-coloured mineral –rich paths. Remember – this IS boiling water we’re talking about, so no paddling.

A Furry Farewell Legends and the Falls Pointing out a distant peak, Hlynur informed us this was Eyjafjallajokul , pronounced aya-fa- yatta-yo-koot-l . Helpfully abbreviated by the media to E15, there have been no significant eruptions since 2010. Iceland is also famous for its waterfalls . As a contrast to the drama of a belching volcano, we stopped at the 40 metre high Seljalandsfoss waterfall, near E15. Behind the falls lies a path; legend has it that this is a popular spot for a lady to propose marriage. If her paramour declines, then it’s a wet goodbye. Hlynur could have been joking, but it made for a good story.

Heading back to Reykjavik, I mentioned that I’d wanted to see the horses, but wasn’t able to fit it into this trip. Spotting a nearby paddock, our wonderful guide pulled over, where several of these beauties trotted up to the fence, happy to see us. As an unusually friendly one nuzzled my shoulder, I made a promise to myself and my equine friends: to return to this magical place and ride off into the wilderness – Lord of the Rings style.

Skogafoss Falls is a good 20 metres higher than Seljalandsfoss, with a 400-step hike to the top (Note: bring comfy shoes). From the summit I glimpsed Reynisdrangar , the black sand beach, and our next destination. Three tall stacks of basalt rock rise out of the sea; legend Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Egypt CRUISING THROUGH THE LAND OF THE PHARAOHS By Habeeb Salloum


The River Nile has been the 27 lifeblood of Egypt, flowing majestically through it's desert landscape and sustaining the people for a couple of millenia. Having the opportunity to glide down the waterway is an unforgettable experience, as it gives a sense of power and connection to the country's main source of basic needs. Surrounded by thick flora and miles of desert beyond, the environment is a unique look into ancient past and a thriving culture today.

Luxor and the scenic Nile For two days we had toured the ancient Egyptian ruins at Luxor - both in the 'City of the Living' and the 'City of the Dead'. Amid the fascinating remains of a people who had laid the basis for future civilizations, I admired the pharaonic contributions to humankind. These breathtaking monuments were still on our minds as we relaxed atop our cruise ship, Oberoi Shehrayar, on our way to Aswan. All around me, the white sails of the Egyptian feluccas, dotting the tranquil Nile, appeared to be huge proud swans as they criss-crossed the river, seemingly bidding us adieu. Beyond were dozens of cruise ships docked or, like us, beginning on their journey to Aswan. Wandering on the top deck of the Shehrayar, our home for the next four days, I watched the late afternoon sun shimmer on the surface of the blue waters as we made our way up river. Keeping us company were a few of the 200 cruise ships which navigate the Nile. However, soon cruise ships and feluccas were forgotten as we watched the colours of the sunset turn the Nile into a panorama of hues. By the time it was dark, we had passed through a lock in a dam across the Nile and were anchored in Esna, about 64 kilometres south of Luxor.

Esna and its Khnun Temple Meals on the ship were delightful and enjoyed even more with new companions at the table. Like many cruises along the Nile and all over the world, communal dining allows passengers to indulge in forming new travel relationships while bonding over exotic culinary experiences. The next morning, guides led the groups of tourists from at least a half dozen ships, streaming down the dusty streets of Esna, crowded with merchants trying to entice us with their wares. The visitors making their See Egypt on page 28

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Egypt

way to the Esna Temple seemed to saturate this agricultural town.

Continued from page 27

The Temple's grandeur Dedicated to Khnun, the ram-headed god who modelled people on his potter's wheel, the Temple is a Ptolemaic building with pharaonic, Greek, Roman and Coptic elements. It took 400 years to build, but its major section was erected in the 2nd century B.C. At one time, the Temple, completely covered with inscriptions, was almost totally concealed with debris and sand. This kept the hypostyle hall with its forest of 24 columns, each a dozen metres high, topped by capitals of flowers and plants in almost perfect condition. Although fascinating, I was glad when we were again on our ship sailing through the upper Nile - edged by lush ribbons of vegetation between bare desert hills. In places, the green strips on both sides of the Nile were so thin that one could hardly believe that over 82 million Egyptians could make their living along its banks.

Cruising the Nile As our cruise ship sailed up the broad loops of the Nile, winding its way through the desert, we passed village after village whose homes were built from mud-brick. All around them, the intense green of the palms and sugar fields made for a serene countryside. The romantic Nile and its edging emerald fields continued until we reached Edfu, north of Aswan.

Visiting Edfu This idyllic aura of the villages changed for me the next day as we rode a horsedrawn carriage through the dusty streets of Edfu. It was hot and a little rough around the edges, but it was interesting seeing these small communities up close. From the carriage, we walked with thousands of other tourists to the best preserved of Egypt's many temples which were built to honour some 750 gods. The sand that for centuries had covered the

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temple and was responsible for its preservation was removed in 1860, by Auguste Mariette, the great pioneer archaeologist who was the founder of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.

Exploring Horus Temple A huge temple only exceeded in size by Karnak Temple in Luxor, it is built in pure Ptolemaic style and dedicated to the falcon-headed god, Horus, the most famous deity in Upper Egypt. Built between 237 and 57 B.C., it is covered with mythological and religious decorations as well as hieroglyphic texts. The facade of the Temple rises up in all its majesty with two splendid pylons. Inside, I stopped awhile in the courtyard lined on three sides with impressive columns - their capitals each different from the other. Moving further within, we passed through hypostyle halls and offering chambers, a few retaining some of their original colours. At the inner sacrarium which once housed the image of the god, Horus, I took a break to rest. The throngs of tourists covering every inch of space seemed to bring the massive temple back to life - almost to the time it reverberated with the prayers of priests.

Cruising through New Nubia Back on the ship, I sunned myself around a swimming pool as the vessel purred forward in the middle of a thin line of green. Soon I were passing through 'New Nubia' where 100 thousand Nubians were re-settled after the building of the 'High Dam' near Aswan. Being hard workers, they turned the desert into a sea of sugar cane, dotted with fruit and vegetable fields. Amid this greenery, they built their villages, carrying the names of those they had abandoned to the Dam's rising waters. At the afternoon tea, the discussion of our group turned to the morals and dignity of the Egyptians. Some mentioned how the Egyptians were honest and how safe it was to live in the country in spite of some


of the unwarranted stigmas.

Kom Ombo and its Ptolemaic Temple That evening we docked beside the Ptolemaic Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god of fertility, and Haroeris, the Good Doctor. Next morning, we toured this temple of the two gods with twin entrances, built a few centuries before the Romans occupied Egypt. The temple also served as a hospital - a whole series of medical instruments are sculptured in reliefs on the temple walls. In the Chapel of Hathor, guests can see three worshipped crocodiles that have been mummified. From Kom Ombo, the green strips of land along the river banks gradually narrowed until the barren hills reached the waterside. As we watched the greenery fade away, my thoughts turned to the works of the pharaohs and how they were drawing the tourists in the millions. Of course, giving them a hand in revitalizing the once rich lands of ancient Egypt, are the mighty Nile and the relaxing cruise ships.

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- a monument left by the ancients; the reconstructed Philae Temple; and the High Dam - a structure of which the pharaohs would have been proud. In between our visits to the monuments, we explored the souks, full of oriental colour, then strolled the Corniche along the Nile. The edging mighty river was very appealing.

Enjoying Aswan Aswan, like many destinations in Egypt, has much to offer. It has been a favourite winter resort since the beginning of the 19th century. For Europeans and North Americans, it is a perfect place to get away from it all, especially during the colder months back home. Spending time immersing myself in its scenic views and its monuments was a delightful climax to the cruise through Upper Egypt, land of the pharaohs. For More Info on Egypt: http://www.egypt.travel

Aswan and its spectacular setting At noon we were docked in Aswan, roughly 900 kilometres south of Cairo. Here where the Nile is at the epitome of its charm we planned to relax for a few days. Walking above its banks of the river we were enchanted. Atop a high point the river scene was truly magnificent. The river flowed through an amber desert between granite rocks and shimmering green volcanic islands, covered with palm groves and tropical plants. Embellishing this panorama of colour were the felucca ships with their tall masts and white sails covering the skyline. It is a breathtaking vista. Later, we enjoyed the river's view from the terrace of the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, a charming, renovated relic of British colonialism, where Agatha Christie wrote ‘Death on the Nile’. Sipping our tea, we admired the feluccas gliding on the water around the foliage-clad rocky islets. It was a captivating scene, awe-inspiring in its beauty set in the aura of a sunset.

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Touring Aswan The pharaonic and other monuments in Aswan are many but during our two day visit we only had time to visit a few. From among these were: the unfinished Obelisk

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New Zealand Experience Christchurch of today By Ruth Atherley


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The city of Christchurch is in full swing with its exciting rebuild plan after the earthquakes it experienced a little over two years ago. The city and the surrounding region of Canterbury offer many things to do, places to stay and eat, and are absolutely ready to welcome visitors. In true Kiwi form, the people of Christchurch are focusing on finding the silver lining and while remembering and honouring the past, they are embracing the future. The focus is now on creating a world-class city that engages both locals and visitors. A blueprint plan that concentrates on creating an accessible, worldclass city that showcases all the fabulous activities, restaurants, accommodation and business opportunities that Christchurch has to offer has been developed and is in the process of being brought to life.

Experience Christchurch of today While the people of Christchurch are looking forward, they realize that many visitors want to better understand what happened two years ago. Quake City is an interactive experience that outlines the science and the human interest elements behind the earthquakes. Punting on the Avon is one of the most popular activities in Christchurch and now visitors can take the tour through the “red zone” – now the rebuild zone. Here you can see the work being done and get an up-close view of the uncrushable Kiwi spirit that shines through as the city is recreated. In fact, each day many of the areas of the city are being reopened to the public and, as this happens, you can see the joy and pride in the faces of the people who call Christchurch home. You can also check out the Cardboard Cathedral. This structure is being built to temporarily replace the historic Christchurch Cathedral, which was damaged during the earthquakes. Church services will be held in the Cardboard Cathedral, which is made of paper tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane, and is expected to open in June 2013 with seating for 700.

Over 50 retailers are located right in the heart of the city, including great cafés, the perfect place to rest your weary feet after a morning of trying on designer duds and checking out the bright, vibrant and energetic area. There is also New Regent Street, which is a quaint street full of shops and boutiques – and, of course, cafés. After all, shopping and coffee were made for each other.

Discover the magic of the Canterbury region While Christchurch is a fabulous city, visitors are also encouraged to venture out into the Canterbury region. And who better to show it to you than a fifth generation Canterburian – a real local. A local’s local, if you will. David Hiatt runs Canterbury Guiding Company, a specialized tour provider that offers excursions that you just can’t get anywhere else. He knows winemakers and cheese makers, farmers and artisans and, relevant to his guests’ interests, he makes magic happen. David and his team know every inch of the Canterbury region – the wineries, the restaurants, the trails, the farms and the people. If the guests want it, David can make it happen. One day it might be a behind-the-scenes chat and tasting with a cheese maker. The next day, it might be a balloon ride to view the mountains and sea or a wine tasting with the winemaker. One thing is for certain – David is the guy to take people to see the Canterbury that the residents know and love. Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com.

Shop and sip For those interested in shopping, the Re:START mall is an area that offers some of the best New Zealand designers. Re:START may not be the first shipping container shopping mall in the world, but it is one of the most creative, appealing and – a priority in New Zealand – fun! Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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New Zealand Top 5 Ways to Discover Maori Culture in New By Ruth Atherley

Cape Reinga Maori spirits are said to travel after death to the pohutukawa tree on Cape Reinga. Sliding down a root to the underworld below, they head northward to the ancestral land of Hawaiiki-a-nui. Photo: Ben Crawford


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Many visitors to New Zealand want to learn more about the Maori people, their history and traditions. Below are the top five Maori focused activities in New Zealand.

Step Into It

Zealand

Tour with a Maori guide whose ancestors date back to before Europeans arrived in the region at the magnificent Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Considered the birthplace of New Zealand and overlooking the breathtaking Bay of Islands, it was here on February 6, 1840 that the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between Maori chiefs and the British Crown. Visitors can enter an awe-inspiring, fully carved marae (meeting house), stand at the exact spot where the treaty was signed and check out the artistry of one of the world’s largest wakas (ceremonial war canoe) – which is approximately 117 feet long, can carry 80 paddlers and was made from only two pieces of wood.

and plants, but will also prepare a fabulous lunch with the herbs and plants from the forest.

Live It Te Hana, a new Maori cultural centre near Auckland, offers guests the chance to travel back in time just by walking through its doors. The Maori village provides visitors with unique 17th century insights into preEuropean Maori life. Led by a guide, visitors experience authentic Maori events such as a powhiri (a traditional welcome ceremony), they tour the village and learn by first-hand experience and participation about Maori culture. There is also the opportunity to taste the foods cooked in traditional Maori style. As an added bonus, visitors can stay overnight in the marae, which is a rare, bucket list opportunity.

Play With It

Learn It Rotorua is home to Te Puia, New Zealand’s premier Maori cultural centre. Te Puia gives visitors the opportunity to not only learn about Maori history, traditions, art and culture, but they can also get hands-on experience at the National Carving and Weaving Schools of New Zealand. This fun, interactive learning experience gives everyone who participates a new appreciation for Maori traditions and art.

Located in Wellington, Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum. Visitors are often surprised and delighted at how fun and interactive Te Papa is. The five areas of its collections – art, history, Pacific, Maori and natural environment – are shared with visitors in a highly creative and innovative manner that fully engages all the senses. It’s impossible not to get involved at Te Papa. For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com.

Eat It For most people, walking around the forest gathering plants and herbs for lunch wouldn’t be a highlight of their day. However, just outside of Rotorua, at the award-winning Treetops Lodge & Estate, this very activity is a popular way to gather and forage in the forest much like the Maori people did hundreds of years ago. Guests embark on this adventure with a noted Maori chef. He not only guides them, sharing his knowledge about native Maori cuisine and the indigenous herbs Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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sweden Stockholm and Beyond – A Smorgasbord of Sights By Anne-Marie Macloughlin


From the cobbled streets of 35 Stockholm’s Old Town to the cathedral spires of Uppsala, this dazzling Scandinavian country will steal your heart – even in winter.

Climate While most Canadians are dreaming of sandy beaches and warm temperatures, it can also be just as invigorating to take a trip to another cool clime and soak up some rays of culture and history in lieu of slathering on the sunscreen. Midsummer daylight hours can number more than 18, and less than 6 in the the depths of winter. The climate in march can be similar to that of Toronto, temperatures around freezing, with spring showing it’s face on random days, and flurries on others. Landing at Arlanda Airport, a short distance from Central Stockholm, I was greeted by a snowy landscape but (thankfully) no vicious wind chill. The bus takes approximately 30 minutes to the Central Station, the major hub for bus/train transfers and commuter trains.

Language The vast majority of Swedes are multi-lingual. Fluent in English with barely an accent, they are sympathetic to baffled travellers attempting to navigate streets with hard to pronounce names, and only too happy to assist. For the adventurous, here are some basic phrases to get your teeth into: Hello

-

Hej (‘Hey’)

Goodbye

Hej da (‘hey dah’)

How are you? mor doo’)

Hur mar du? (‘Hoor

Yes

Ja (‘Yah’)

No

Nej (‘Nay’)

Stockholm – The Jewel in the Crown Stockholm is Sweden’s capital, located in the south-east part of the country, and is located on 14 islands in the Stockholm archipelago. Glittering waterways, soaring spires, parks and green spaces co-exist in aesthetic harmony with distinguished architecture, medieval streets and modern retailers. Culturally rich, historically significant and with a state of the art transit system, this Scandinavian treasure has much to offer.

See Sweden on page 36

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Sweden Continued from page 35

The old town, or Gamla Stan, dates from the 11th century and is a photographer’s dream. Winding cobbled streets, hidden lanes and tall narrow buildings mark this part of town as a must-see for every traveller. Located on the original small islands of the city’s earliest settlements, it has kept its original medieval street layout and flavor, and deserves its reputation as one of the main tourist destinations. Stores selling ceramic Viking figurines and plastic Viking helmets lay cheek by jowl with the artisan studios, such as Artgatan (info@artgatan.se). Reasonably-priced hand-crafted leather jewellery and a large variety of angelic-themed gifts provide unique options if it’s originality you seek.

Food and Drink Like any major city, coffee shops have sprung up all over Stockholm, but for a truly alternative experience to the generic Espresso House (which is still far more glamorous than the North American chains), drop into the Art Café on Vasterlanggatan 60. Located in a cellar down some very dungeonesque stone steps, take a break from walking those (sometimes slippery) cobbled stones and enjoy what the Swedes refer to as fika (coffee and cake). Don’t miss the densely delicious coconut balls and robust coffee served in a tall glass. Check out the original artworks on the walls, and if the timing is right, sit on a multi-cultural language class. As a result of strict liquor laws in Sweden, it is worth noting that any alcoholic product above 3.5% is only available at Systembolaget, the government-owned chain of liquor stores (although grocery stores sell lower-alcohol beer and cidertype beverages).The legal age to purchase liquor is 20, 18 to drink it in bars and restaurants. Opening hours are usually until 7 on weekdays, 3 on Saturday, closed Sundays. Anyone who looks younger than 25 could be asked for I.D., so be prepared. When I asked some locals what counted

Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013

as traditional Swedish fare, ‘Meatballs’ was the most frequent response, and anything with loganberries. Of course, when in Sweden, one has to experience the famous smorgasbord. From the Swedish word Smorgas (open-faced sandwich) and bord (table), it’s essentially a buffet. As in North America, Asian-style buffets are popular destinations, with Pong (pongasian.se) a favourite with locals and a stone’s throw from the bustle of Drottninggatan. Most coffee shops have a good selection of sandwiches and salads, with vegetarian choices available in most establishments.

Architecture Photo opportunities abound in Stockholm. The Royal Palace, Kungliga Slottet, is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish Monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Located on Stadsholmen (City Island), this stunning cream-coloured stone beauty is especially beautiful at sunset, photographed from the Riksbron (National or State) Bridge, which crosses the Norrstrom River and it’s mini rapids. For culture vultures, the Royal Swedish Opera House, located on the north side of the Norrstrom River and connected to the Royal Palace through the Norrbro Bridge, is what one would expect from a distinguished European Opera company. The original building, dating from 1775, was later demolished in 1892 to give way to the present building, a neo-classical beauty simply referred to as ‘Operan’ (The Opera), written in gold letters over an imposing exterior archway. The Royal Family of King Carl XVI Gustaf has a permanently-reserved Royal Box, perhaps as a nod to their ancestor King Gustav III, a great patron of the arts and the man responsible for the original construction.

Shopping Around Like most major cities, Stockholm has its major shopping hub, and in this case the serious shoppers should seek out Drottninggatan (Queen Street). Marked by stone lions, it stretches from the Riksbron Bridge in the Norrmalm District, as far as Observatorilunden in Vasastaden, it is a pedestrianized plethora of boutiques, souvenir shops and of course, H&M. North American visitors should be aware of the shorter retail hours than we are accustomed to; most stores open at 10am and close up at 6pm, later on Thursdays and Fridays. Sweet-toothed folk should definitely schedule a visit to Karamellafar, a sugary paradise and the perfect spot to find typical Swedish candies and delicacies


such as dark chocolate bars made with sparkling wine and speckled with gold leaf. Fans of the vintage experience should make a point of seeking out Beyond Retro (beyondretro.com), a well-organized Aladdin’s cave of men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Price range is higher than a thrift store and could be compared to one of the more upmarket emporiums to be found, for example, on Toronto’s Queen Street West strip. That said, the garments are in great shape, which might explain the absence of the musty odour that often accompanies similar stores. The aforementioned Swedish giant H&M has a huge presence in Stockholm, with a huge selection that is reasonably-priced. The merchandise varies slightly from country to country, as was explained to me by an assistant (perfectly fluent in English, of course), so if you’re looking for some cheap and cheerful Swedish fashion you may not see back home, you won’t have to look far to find a branch of the famous fashion retailer. Looking for more exclusivity? Then head to Ahlens (ahlens.se), Sweden’s largest chain of department stores. Sumptuous fashions, a large cosmetic and fragrance department, homeware and electronics, and the Hemkop grocery store located in the basement. Back in 2010, Ahlens garnered attention for using ‘real’-sized mannequins in their displays, eliciting a positive response by a clientele tired of the unrealistic body images portrayed by the fashion industry. This controversy recently sparked up again on social networking sites and has been a point of discussion on the internet. On bad-weather days, hunker down in the Gallerian Mall, Stockholm’s first and

largest Galleria. Over 80 stores under one roof, with cafes, restaurants and coffee shops to suit all tastes. There’s also a Tourist Information Centre, and free internet and WiFi.

Local Colour Like many big cities, Stockholm has it’s market, conveniently located in the centre of Hotorget, or Hay Square, on the corner of Kungsgatan and Sveavag. Once the city’s actual Hay Market, weekdays you can find an appealing array of fruits, flower and vegetable produce. Sunday it morphs into a flea market where canny shoppers may be lucky enough to score some vintage vinyl from one of the many vendors. Hotorget is also home to the Konserthuset (concert hall), the PUB department store, and multi-screen movie theatre.

Museums With an overwhelming number of choices ( http://www.stockholmmuseum.com/museums/) , I decided to ask for local opinion.

One name that kept coming up was the Vasamuseet (vasamuseet.se), which frustratingly, was closed for renovations until May 1st 2013. Second choice was the Nobel Museum in Gamla Stan (nobelmuseum.se), named for Alfred Nobel, creator of the eponymous prize and the inventor of dynamite. In 1888 Nobel’s brother Ludwig died while in Cannes, and the French newspapers mistakenly published Alfred’s obituary. The headline ‘Le marchand de la mort est mort’ (The merchant of death is dead, a reference to the destructive aspects of his invention), gave Nobel pause for thought as to his legacy. In 1895, he signed his last will and testament, setting aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes.

Day Tripping

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71 km north of Stockholm lies the city of Uppsala, the fourth largest in Sweden, and a record-breaker. Home to Uppsala University, founded in 1477 and the oldest centre of higher education in Scandinavia, this pretty town is in direct contrast to the cosmopolitan glamour of the Swedish capital, but with a reputation all its own. The cathedral, at 118.7m high, is the tallest church building in Scandinavia, dating back to the 13th century, and Uppsala University Library is the largest in Sweden, home to the Codex Argenteus, or Silver Bible, a 6th century manuscript containing a 4th century translation of the bible into the Gothic language. No European trip would be complete without a castle, and Uppsala’s is a Disneyworthy vision, perched at the top of the city, turrets glowing pink in the sunset, complete with romantic views, such as the Botanical Gardens. Home to the governor of Uppsala, the former Hall of State can be rented for private functions such as conventions, banquets and wedding receptions, and can accommodate up to 550 guests. Next best thing to a Royal Wedding itself! In spite of it being barely on the cusp of Spring, chilly days making it a challenge to hold a camera steady and enjoy the outdoors as much as one would wish, I don’t regret choosing a Scandinavian Winter odyssey over a more Snowbirdfriendly beach vacation. Friendly people, ancient history, glittering waterways all around, just firmed my resolve to return for the summer perspective. And longer days in which to do it.

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South Africa Top 5 Photo Safari Photo Tips By James Tyrrell, Ranger, Londolozi Game Reserve


For many travellers, taking photos is a part of the travel experience and they provide wonderful memories of their vacation. Taking a good photo isn’t always as easy as it seems, however. And, for those lucky enough to experience a South African safari, taking photos can be a real challenge since the photo subjects are a little, well, wild. The Londolozi blog is used as a showcase for the wonderful images and videos that some of the rangers at South Africa’s premier game reserve manage to capture while out on safari with guests. However, if you ask any of the rangers – at Londolozi or elsewhere – who are consistently taking great shots, they will tell you that the thousand shots they have missed have taught them lessons that now help them to get great shots. We asked the Londolozi rangers to share some of their most important tips about how to get the best photos out of your safari (or any vacation). They told us:

1. Don’t cut off the tail Or the wing, or the hoof, or the ear… Unless you are going for an abstract shot, images generally work far better if all parts of the animal (or person) you are trying to photograph are in the frame. Long things like a leopard’s tail dangling off a branch, the tip of an elephant’s trunk or the horns of a kudu are some obvious ones to watch out for. Cutting off these pieces, even if only a tiny part of them, leads your eye to the edge of the frame and detracts greatly from the image.

2. Do cut the grass Vegetation in front of your subject matter very rarely works. If you are trying to highlight the camouflage of an animal, then a vegetated foreground can be great, but even the smallest leaf or blade of grass can spoil an otherwise great image, particularly a portrait shot.

3. Shoot at eye-level whenever possible Eye-level shots can dramatically enhance the impact of a photograph. The visual dynamic of a photo taken at eye-level is compelling compared to one taken from above the subject. It is far more effective in drawing you into the photo.

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that allow the photographer to take shots in almost any light. Higher ISO levels (a measure of the sensitivity to light of the camera’s sensor) in particular, can render cameras able to produce sharper images in much lower light than in years past. The problem with a high ISO is that it produces what is known as “noise” and can result in a grainy image. Brighter conditions such as daylight mean more light, lower ISO and a clearer image. One of the challenges people have heading out on a safari drive at daybreak is that their camera settings are from the night before when it was much darker. Try to make it a rule to check your camera’s settings before heading out before you miss the shot of a lifetime.

5. Be aware of the vehicle (or other large objects near you) On a safari, animals move around the vehicles and the tendency is to follow them with your camera, eye on the viewfinder, waiting for the best shot. Be aware of the things surrounding you – the back of a seat, a piece of the safari vehicle or even your fellow guests, as you don’t want to inadvertently catch even the smallest part of them in your frame. Londolozi Game Reserve (www.londolozi.com), a stand-alone family run operation, has traversing rights over 25,000 acres of prime game viewing land in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park and is the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status, visitors to Londolozi fall under the magical spell of South Africa, creating memories that last a lifetime and that call them to come back again and again

4. Check your settings With digital photography advancing at a rapid rate, newer cameras are able to compensate for changing light conditions Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Argentina Buenos Aires and The South By Steven Sanders


South America’s second largest country is a rollercoaster ride of passion and suaveness that rubs off on even the most resilient of visitors. The cities of Buenos Aires and Córdoba offer only the fast lane, yet being on-time may as well be a crime. The humid north offers arguably the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, while the glaciers and snow-capped mountains of the beautiful Patagonian south gleam as if frozen in time. Throughout the country you will find a wealth of proud and friendly locals who will insist that their famous steak and wine is the world’s best. Many visitors find it hard to disagree. Llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas occupy the north western Andes area; jaguars and pumas roam the central north; deer, emus, foxes and even visiting penguins inhabit the south. Welcome to Argentina, where absolutely anything is possible.

Buenos Aires Buenos Aires doesn’t give you a chance to settle in. With its diverse neighbourhoods perched on the Rio de la Plata, the capital of Argentina is a true example of a city that never sleeps. With European style architecture providing the backdrop to one of the world’s best dressed cities, Buenos Aires seductively charms visitors with an abundance of fine dining, sultry tango and world class nightlife.

Working Class I began my Buenos Aires adventure in the working class barrio of San Telmo, which is home to a plethora of hole-in-the-wall restaurants where you can sample the city’s best choripan – chorizo sausage in a bun – as well as the San Telmo market every Sunday. Near to our lodgings in this seemingly European part of town, I used the Plaza de Mayo as a meeting area and point of reference whenever navigating the map, and here you can take in the Casa Rosada, home of the presidential offices and the balcony from where Eva Perón gave many famous speeches. Recoleta Cemetery is a major tourist attraction housing elegant, homely tombs for the rich and famous of the city’s past including Evita, and the surrounding barrio of Recoleta is home to some of Buenos Aires’ best shopping malls. Caminito, the famous colourful streets in the barrio of La Boca are just a short bus or taxi ride away from the centre, where one can take the customary tourist photos and pick up some souvenirs.

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While Buenos Aires is a must for all visitors the Argentina, the country’s real gems certainly lie away from the capital, and nobody who lives outside of the capital will let you believe otherwise. The overnight buses that operate to each corner of the country are renowned as being some of the world’s best, and a 20 hour southbound trip in my huge, fully reclining seat showed me just why. I spent a few days in Puerto Madryn, a coastal town in Northern Patagonia which welcomes 1000’s of Penguins to the nearby beach of Punta Tombo every February and March. Surrounded by the intriguing Welsh towns of Rawson, Trelew, and Gaiman, Puerto Madryn is a gentle introduction to Patagonia, which appeared more spectacular the further south I headed. El Calafate is a must for those making the journey to Argentine Patagonia. The town itself is beautiful with log-cabin style stores and restaurants lining the streets and offering some of the finest Argentine steak available. A day is all I needed to recharge my batteries before ending my Argentinian trip at one of country’s most spectacular natural attractions. Perito Moreno Glacier is situated in Los Glaciares National Park – just an hour from El Calafate - and is one of only three ‘stable’ glaciers in Patagonia, meaning it is not retreating – something which comes as a surprise when watching chunks of rocks bigger than the family car crashing into Lake Argentino at will. Every view is stunning, the sounds piercing and the freshness of the crisp, mountain air dreamlike. The sheer audacity of the looming glacier offered time to reflect, before finishing of the day with a famous glass of Argentine red.

Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains By Eileen Cotter

Photo: Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau


The transformation of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains Huge strides have been made to ensure the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Virginia is making leaps and bounds in tourism and quality of life. Initiatives to enhance everything from the local music scene to creating a lively farmer’s market atmosphere are rapidly being put into place. What was once a charming city full of quaint cafes and pretty, hilly vires is still a gorgeous place to visit, now with lots more to do and experience.

Roanoke’s impressive cultural initiative

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After years of planning and organizing, Center in the Square in set to be in full swing. As a new 200,000 square-foot landmark in the center of town, this complex will be home to a myriad of things that inspire wonder and entertainment. It will be free of charge to enter, then visitors can choose which activities they’d like to do – including a butterfly room, community theater, science museum and even a center for African American culture. I was most blown away by the building’s rooftop garden, though, as it is a sprawling space that overlooks the mountains and city below.

Reaching for the stars

Keeping tradition alive through art

No visit to this area would be complete without a trip up to The Roanoke Star. By driving or hiking up a nearby hill, guests can reaching a vantage point over Roanoke that offers spectacular views, topped with the world’s largest man-made star. At night it is illuminated and offers a dazzling display overlooking the city below.

Roanoke prides itself in its visual creativity, reflecting throughout the architecture, layout and design of the city. At the entrances of the bustling City Market Building downtown are beautiful mosaics depicting images from local history in vivid color. These details can be seen throughout Roanoke, making each corner aesthetically pleasing.

A hearty meal not to miss When I walked into Texas Tavern, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The greasy-spoon style diner looked fairly unassuming, but then I sat down to one of their signature “Cheesy Westerns”, which immediately made me a new fan. This burger covered in relish, cheese and a scrambled egg sounds unusual but can be a satisfying sandwich any time of day. Since the 1930s this diner has been a popular watering hole in town as a wallet-friendly and fun place to experience.

A farmer’s market fit for a king Every single day of the year, Roanoke hosts a farmer’s market that has both permanent stalls and ever-changing vendors offering their local produce, wares and crafts. As I first walked through the giant display, known as the Historic Market District, the fresh herb stalks and vibrant jewelry made my hand. Since the 1800s, the market has been a staple in the downtown area in one form or another, moving between the outdoor street space and inside buildings during the colder season.

See Virginia on page 46

Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013


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Virginia Continued from page 45

round. I spent an entire day in Salem at its annual kite festival, which was the perfect way to enjoy a sunny spring morning. Hundreds of kite flyers head to this gathering that is ideal for families (most children receive free kites) and enthusiasts who like to fly and also watch professional demonstrations. Colors burst in the sky and are beautifully framed by the surrounding green peaks.

rewarded myself with a cupcake at Viva La Cupcake from the biking, but had a hard time deciding between the signature chocolate and new peach flavor

The second home of Red Sox Nation

Thought-provoking modern art Everyone has tentatively spying the amazing exhibits inside the Taubman Museum of Art, covering a millennia of artworks from old favorite talents and new, upcoming stars. The space itself is bright and sunny, with a stand-out exterior created to mimic organic lines and design. My preferred exhibit was the shiny handbags created by Judith Leiber, presented in spacelike bubbles for the optimal view space.

Classic wheels and steam dreams

All summer long, baseball fan are delighted to visit Salem’s Memorial Ballpark for a AAA game. The Salem Red Sox team is based there, offering locals and travelers alike a chance to see some real talent on base, some of which make it to the major leagues.

Biking along the Roanoke River The Blue Ridge Mountains was made for those how love the outdoors. Cycling fans will be thrilled to know that there is an extensive network of scenic trails that connect Roanoke to other neighboring towns, many of which run along the Roanoke River.

The legacy of the steam engine train still runs strong through Roanoke’s historical tales and modern livelihood. Locals have done impressive things to preserve some of these marvels in classic technology. For instance, a walk through the Virginia Transportation Museum is a walk back in time, as guests can see various muscle cars and relics from the past. The real star of the show is the locomotives outside, including the famous steam engines that were loved and photographed by O. Winston Link. His images are also on display at a museum inside the Roanoke visitor center.

Stopping for antiques and rare finds

Flying high at a special festival

Cycling was a fantastic activity, but I also enjoyed walking through the annual Earth Day celebrations at the end of our ride. Every year local vendors and businesses line the streets of Grandin promoting sustainability and eco-friendly living. I

Roanoke may be the biggest city in the Blue Ridge Mountain region, but Salem next door has jusr as many interesting attractions and events happening year-

Canadian World Traveller Spring/Summer 2013

While enjoying the leisurely bike ride, I made a stop to window shop at Black Dog Salvage an eclectic antique store that is owned by Robert Kulep and Mike Whiteside. These guys now have their own reality show about scouring the country for exciting home furnishings and many other items. Always busy and rarely looking the same on any two days, the store is the perfect pit stop to pick up a unique souvenir

Earth Day in Grandin

Country-style eats While Virginia might not be one of the contestants for the most southern state, it certainly offers some amazing southernstyle cuisine that rivals any other state below the Mason-Dixon. Not only is the food hearty and memorable, the ambiance is often something to admire as well. At The Homeplace Restaurant, they have created an old farm stead, surrounded by rolling hills, cattle and plenty of benches to ponder on. Inside, the menu is the same for everyone, family-style, complete with fried chicken, potatoes, greens and all the fixings. Each dinner is finished with a gooey homemade cobbler.

Music and dancing downtown People in Roanoke love live entertainment, so those visiting will never have a problem finding fun things to do in the evenings. During my time, I witnessed an exciting event called Down by Downtown, which allows local and national band to be showcased in venues and bars at the same time, so concert goers can pick and choose their favorites. Between blues, indie, bluegrass and a little rock, I couldn’t decide which was best. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for The Blue Ridge Mountain region of Virginia, as I was already thrilled with what this are already offers travelers looking for outdoor fun, art, music and much more.


CWT Spring/Summer 2013  

CWT Spring/Summer 2013

CWT Spring/Summer 2013  

CWT Spring/Summer 2013

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