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Welcome to Canadian World Traveller
n this issue, we start our worldwide tour in the amazing province of Jiangxi, China, just in time for the very colourful Rapeseed bloom before we explore the fabled Chinese â€˜Maritime Silk Roadâ€™. While in Asia, we also visit the ever exciting city of Tokyo and then head off to relax in two wonderful hotels in Thailand. In Europe, we follow Rick Steves to Munich and discover this great city and its local customs. We then head off to the charming French Alps town of Evian and the classy city of Lyon to start a cruise with the wonderful Viking Cruises on the Rhone River. We finish our European tour with another fabulous cruise with the Crystal Line, visiting some marvellous Mediterranean cities in France and Italy. Close by, we head off to explore the beautiful, intriguing and mysterious land of Egypt before jetting off to the New World. In the Caribbean, we find out all there is to see and do in these beautiful tropical islands. In the American west, we visit the picturesque national parks in Utah and Colorado, and the always exciting Las Vegas before heading to see the migratory birds in rural Nebraska and the quaint city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Finally we head to the southern shores of the ever popular beach communities in Florida, and we will even take some time to investigate the everglades. Happy Travels!
Canadian World Traveller 5473 Royalmount, Suite 224 TMR (Montreal) , Qc Canada H4P 1J3 Tel.: (514) 738-8232 www.canadianworldtraveller.com Email: email@example.com Publisher Michael Morcos Editor-in-chief Greg James Contributing Editor David J. Cox Graphic Artist Al Cheong Advertising Leo Santini Marketing Tania Tassone Distribution Royce Dillon Contributors: Natalie Ayotte, David J. Cox, Susan Campbell, Jessica Percy-Campbell, Camille Fodi, Ilona Kauremszky, Steve Gillick, Mathieu Morcos, Ron Paquet, Johanna Read, Dwain Richardson Jennifer Merrick, & Rick Steves. Front Cover Photo by Michael Morcos: Jiangxi, 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.
hy spend days recovering when you can take this homeopathic remedy during the flight and feel fresher upon arrival at your destination. 32 tablets in each packet - sufficient for 45 hours flying time.
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C a n a d i a n Wo r l d T r av e l l e r C o n t e n t s Hot Springs, Arkansas 58
Jiangxi, China 8
Tropical Tidbits 40
To k y o
Cruise Section Destination
China 43 Viking River Cruise
Rick Stevesâ€™ Europe 16
Stay & Play
48 Around The World 68
Superyachts & River Cruising 50
Nebr ask a 76
China Article & Photography by Michael Morcos
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
ocated in the southeast of China, Jiangxi province spans the banks of the Yangtze river in the north into hillier areas in the south. For the world traveller, this is a perfect place to visit in China, as most foreigners in China visit other, better known provinces. During our visit, this ‘road less travelled’ offered us less of the crowds that are found in the other popular Chinese destinations.
Here we visited ancient villages, climbed mountains, feasted on wonderful cuisine, partook in tea ceremonies and witnessed the once-a-year blooming of the very colorful rapeseed flower fields. Located to the northeast of Shangrao City, Mount Sanqingshan was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 6th, 2008. Considered a “treasure of the world", this would prove to be an amazing place to visit on our first day. The views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking, but to experience them, the trip up the mountain is long, but not overwhelming. We had to take a gondola to get part of the way up, a ride that provided lovely panoramic views, and that was followed by hours of climbing. Even though the hiking was on paved steps and paths, and was easy for just about anyone to accomplish, the long walk made our thighs burn with effort and pain. Luckily, we had lunch at a wonderful restaurant. Here we were treated to a spicy douchi (fermented black beans) and tofu (beancurd) stir fry which offered us a delicious and relaxing break from the first trail we did, and gave us energy for the second longer, though less demanding, trail that afternoon. All around was pure nature, a good thing since China is so populated and land is so over used. An amazing place and great photo ops all round! We spent an entire day exploring the Mount San Qing Shan National Park. Marked by the concentration of fantastically shaped pillars
and peaks - 48 granite peaks and 89 granite pillars, many of which resemble human or animal silhouettes – the magnificence of this most unique park makes it a must visit for any serious traveler! The natural beauty of the almost 2 kilometerhigh Mount Huaiyu is further enhanced by the combination of granite features with the vegetation and the particular meteorological conditions which make for an ever-changing and impressive landscape. Famous as a cultural and ecological tourist county, Wu Yuan County has several nicknames, including “the Hometown of Books”, “the Hometown of Tea”, and even “the most picturesque village of China”! Many routes are available for travellers to explore. Eastward are some attractive and protected ancient villages of the Ming and Qing Dynasties placed among a lovely pastoral landscape. Covered with forests, the northern route features Dazhang Mountain and the Wolong Valley, scenic and tourist friendly. The valley is home to over 4,000 different species and also houses more than 150 highly endangered giant pandas The west route contains an ecologically protected area and is one of the largest wild mandarin duck habitats in the world. We had great timing, as the rapeseed plants were in full bloom and would prove to be another highlight of this trip. Endless fields of amazing yellow coloured flowers, which, on a sunny day, were an incredible site that made me want to sit there all day and soak in the beauty. It was yet another great photo back drop. Right in the middle of this part of the province was the small, ancient village of Yan, where time stands still and the locals are warm and welcoming. Picture-perfect, it offers visitors a glimpse of rural china. We walked through small alleyways and saw the locals going about their day. Some were cleaning, others preparing meals and enjoying the quiet life. A moment of peace and tranquility for a busy traveller!
Wangkou Village is surrounded by rivers and mountains on three sides, and features ancient residences that have stood for more than 1,000 years. Within its borders are the famous ancient Yu Family Ancestral Hall, and many other attractive scenic spots like Yijing Hall and Maode Hall which are essential parts of this village. We again got lucky, as we witnessed a wedding with our guide who explained the proceedings. The ancestral temple serves a major symbolic function and during the wedding rites, the bride and groom worship at the groom's ancestral shrine, bowing 4 times. The first is for Heaven and Earth, second bow for the ancestors, a third bow to parents and the fourth bow to their new spouse. In ancient times, this village was an important trading post where thousands of merchants would share their treasures. The village is careful to preserve this history, and when you visit the village, you can sense the ages through the ancient halls, merchants’ residences and bookstores that fill the streets. One memorable trip was a tour of the Gu Yan Factory (an ancient kiln) in Jingdezhen, where they have been making ‘China’ (ceramics) for centuries, still crafted today as it was hundreds of years ago. The factory is a very popular place, and it was interesting to watch the workers at different stations crafting such artistic items, from the raw clay to the finished painted pieces, glazing and firing. Everything from plates to elaborate vases are made and offered for sale here. Many westerners have come to the factory to find out how they were so good at porcelain, and later brought these techniques to Europe to start new industries there. Also known as the “World Capital of Porcelaine”, this large complex contains many buildings in a natural setting. Near the end of the tour, we were treated to a music show were all the instruments were made of ceramics - bells, flutes, violins...astounding and unique to say the least! To end this wonderful day we visited the Ceramics Museum housed in a brand new modern building. There were priceless pieces
that dated back centuries from the Dynasty emperors themselves!
Another fine day, another majestic area. The Poyang National Wetland Park contains Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, as well as Poyang Lake wetland, which is the largest wetland in Asia, and serves as a breeding ground for over 50 kinds of rare birds. We were treated to a boat tour of the massive park and got to see white cranes and swans and an enormous diversity of plants and other animals. In 2011, it became one of China's first state-level wetland parks and is a clear example of China's fishing and farming lake culture. After that, we switched gear and visited Nanchang, the capital city. Some estimates state that this area was populated as much as 50,000 years ago! There is so much to do in this massive city of 5 million, including the Star of Nanchang, which was the world's tallest Ferris wheel from 2006-2008, Tengwang Pavilion, a towering pavilion dating back to the year 653 (one of "the Four Great Towers of China"), the People’s Park ( the largest park in downtown Nanchang), Bayi Square and Memorial, commemorates the 1927 uprising, which led to the formation of modern China in 1949. Our visit also included the Sheng Jin Tower, a major attraction here. The building has been built and rebuilt many times, as fire had destroyed previous builds. This multi-level pagoda right by the river offers a lesson in Chinese history, a good walk and an amazing view! In contrast to all these landmarks was the ultra-modern mall with many upscale brand name designer shops in side –not expected at all, and quite amazing in itself! All the way through this trip we had fabulous meals with choices for many different vegetarian and meat plates and always eaten around traditional round tables where there is no head to the table.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Photo: Go Tokyo
K e e p i n g Pa c e w i t h To k y o Article & Photography by Steve Gillick
etsuro Koyanoâ€™s great-grandfather was a renowned sword master. Five years ago Koyano decided to turn emotion and passion into reality and accomplishment, by starting a collection of historic Samurai armour, helmets, guns and swords. In 2015 he opened the Samurai Museum in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo to allow visitors to get up close and personal with the world of the samurai, and for the action-oriented, the
opportunity to practice stances, glares, threats and thrusts (using wooden swords) alongside the resident sword master. Itâ€™s a pretty thrilling museum but only one of many Tokyo activities that respond to the needs of todayâ€™s traveller to realize value in every vacation experience as well as to get involved in, and connect with the destination, to better understand what makes it tick.
In the Monzen Nakacho area of Tokyo we headed to Orihara, a stand-up sake bar on a busy side street. The plastic milk crates piled on top of each other and topped with a square of wood laminate serve as tables outside the entrance, while inside the bar lies a treasure trove of up to 150 different sakes (depending on the season). Takeshi Hashimoto the manager, explained that the bar features the products of small
sake producers throughout the country to show not only the diversity of the brews but also the creative talents of sake brewers. Patrons can sample and quaff to their heart’s content as they seek sakes that best match their mood and their palate. Not too far away in the Shimbashi area, a building full of small eateries and stand-up sake bars features Shinshu Osake Mura. This bar specializes in sakes from the Nagano region but to stay in touch with the latest trends, it has recently become a magnet for craft beer aficionados who enjoy the refreshing complexity of flavours that craft beers have to offer. In fact while we were in the bar, several tourists dropped by to purchase bottles as gifts and souvenirs. And with taste in mind, we attended a Bento Making class with True Japan Tour, to learn about the allure of the ubiquitous ‘bento’ box. ‘Bento’ means ‘convenience’ and usually refers to a lunch box, divided into sections, each containing a different food item. They are sold in food courts, convenience stores, bus terminals, train stations and airports, with each type of box featuring different food combinations. Under the tutelage of Miss Sayoko Noma and Miss Naoka Eguchi, our goal was to fill each of the six sections of our bento box with a different tasty treat. We started off making a Japanese omelet in a square frying pan, and continued with a dish of pumpkin and okra boiled in dashi broth. This was followed by chicken tsekouneh: minced chicken, gently fried and glazed with sugar, soy sauce and cooking sake. Another dish consisted of deep-fried marinated chicken strips, and then a touch of colour was added to the meal with delicately-arranged green beans (edamame) and cherry tomatoes. We made Onigiri as an addition to the Bento meal, consisting of rice balls wrapped in Nori (seaweed); one with flaked salmon inside and one with kelp. And then finally for the last dish, we turned apple quarters into ‘rabbit-ear apples’ with the “ears” standing up on the rabbit’s head; a sure lunch winner for kids (and adults too!) But in Tokyo, refined tastes come in all shapes and sizes as we discovered later in the afternoon when we took our seats in the
Taiwanese Pineapple Cake Shop in the Omote Sando area to taste the delicate sweet dessert. We were not in the shop due to hunger, but because we were on an architectural discovery tour of the Omote Sando neighborhood with our City of Tokyo guide Miss Akiko Enoki. The building in which the shop is located is referred to as “Sunny Hills” and was designed by Kenzo Kuma, one of Japan’s most celebrated architects. Sunny Hills stands out with its striking wooden construction amidst a fairly ordinary-looking residential neighbourhood. Kuma’s trademark is the melding of nature with modern construction, and the nearby Nezu Museum, with its wall of bamboo trees is one example, while the new Stadium that Kuma is designing for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics and referred to as the “habitable forest” is another attempt to use architecture to showcase the harmony between man and nature. A few streets over we saw another Olympic connection in the Prada Building, designed by Herzog and de Meuron who also designed Beijing’s Bird Nest Stadium for the 2008 games. Our guide pointed out other important buildings in the area that showcased the work of architectural luminaries such as Jun Mitsui, Tadao Ando and Tyo Ito (the latter designed Tod’s Building on the main strip, to mimic the zelkova trees that line the streets of the Omote Sando district). And other architectural wonders are spread throughout the city including the Cocoon Building and Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku, the Audi Forum, known as the Blue Iceberg in Shibuya and the iconic Tokyo Sky Tree in Sumida. In fact, Tokyo’s neighbourhoods are a source of adventure and discovery on their own. One can get off at just about any subway station and, armed with curiosity and a camera, discover picturesque streets, small specialty shops, unique Izakayas and bars, and the neighbourhood ambiance. We found this to be true on the narrow streets of Shimo Kitazawa, in the old shops along the main street of Ningyocho, and in Monzen Nakacho where we had dinner at Uosan, an inexpensive, extremely popular (line-ups begin at 4:00 pm) seafood restaurant. In Kappabashi, where you can purchase just about anything
that relates to kitchens and culinary preparation, you can also find Wasuke, a small Izakaya with a friendly atmosphere and excellent food. Getting actively involved in a destination inevitably involves the arts, and Tokyo has a wealth of excellent theatres and museums, from the Kabuki Theatre in Ginza to the EdoTokyo Museum in Ryogoku and on to traditional and contemporary art galleries spread throughout the city. One of the more interesting was a visit to the Mori Art Museum in Rappongi Hills where the featured exhibit was Takashi Murakami’s masterpiece, the 500 Arhats. In Buddhism the word ‘arhat’ refers to a person who is far advanced on the path to Enlightenment. After the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated the Tohoku region, Murakami wanted to do something to help people recover from the despair. His response was a 100 metre long painting, divided into four panels, that portrayed the 500 Arhats and emphasized 500 ways of healing human suffering, as was done in the old days, through stories, legends, mythology, spiritual beliefs and even humour. The successful blending of the old and the new in art, architecture, cuisine, museums and neighbourhoods is the hallmark of a dynamic city. Keeping pace with the everevolving city of Tokyo is a pleasurable challenge and a boon for travellers who are searching for new, exciting and meaningful discoveries and experiences.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Munich at its Best: Small-Town Charm and Free-Flowing Beer by Rick Steves
New Town Hall, with its beloved glockenspiel--only 100 years old--that recreates a royal wedding from the 16th century. Nearby, you can experience small-town Munich at the Viktualienmarkt, long a favorite with locals for fresh produce and friendly service. While this expensive real estate could have been overrun by fast food places, Munich keeps the rent low so these old-time shops can carry on. The oldest church in town, St. Peter’s, a few steps from Marienplatz, is part of the soul of the city (according to a popular song, “Munich is not Munich without St. Peter’s”). And wherever you walk, you’ll see the twin onion domes of the Frauenkirche, the city’s iconic church. Along with much of Munich, the church was badly damaged in World War II, then lovingly rebuilt and gloriously restored. After the war, people who lived in Germany's heavily bombed cities debated how they'd rebuild. Should they reconstruct the old towns, or bulldoze and start over from scratch? Frankfurt voted to go modern (and is today nicknamed "Germany's Manhattan"), but the people of Munich rebuilt their old town center. City leaders took care to preserve Munich’s original street plan and recreate the medieval steeples, Neo-Gothic facades, and Neoclassical buildings. They blocked off the city center to cars, built the peoplefriendly U-Bahn (subway) system, and opened up Europe’s first pedestrian-only zone--which let’s you stroll peacefully right through the old center. Only now, more than 70 years after the last bombs fell, are the restorations finally wrapped up.
The twin green domes of Munich’s Frauenkirche overlook the city’s bustling main square, Marienplatz. Photo: Pat O’Connor, Rick Steves' Europe
espite its population of 1.4 million, Munich (or “München,” as it’s called in German) feels small. This big-city elegance is possible, in part, because of its determination to be pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and because of a law that no building can be taller than its church spires. There’s ongoing debate about changing this policy, but there are still no skyscrapers in downtown Munich.
Walking through Munich, you’ll understand why it is consistently voted one of
Germany’s most livable cities--safe, clean, cultured, a university town, built on a people scale, and close to the beauties of nature. Though it’s the capital of Bavaria and a major metropolis, Munich’s low-key atmosphere has led Germans to dub it “Millionendorf”--the “village of a million people.” Dawdling in the sunlit main square called Marienplatz (“Mary’s Square”), I love to take in the ornate facades of the gray, pointy Old Town Hall and the Neo-Gothic
As Germany's beer capital, Munich offers classic beer halls complete with cheap food, noisy fun, oompah music, and rivers of beer. While the boisterous and belching Bavarian atmosphere can be extremely touristy, everybody's having a great time. Connoisseurs have their favorite brews-and to get it, they simply go to the beer hall that serves it. When I was in Munich recently, my local guide, Georg, took me to his favorite beer hall, Der Pschorr. At some beer gardens, they have a big wooden keg out on display, but actually draw the beer from huge stainless-steel dispensers. At Der Pschorr, every few minutes you hear a “whop” as they tap a classic old wooden keg. Hearing this, every German there knows they're in for a good fresh mug.
The Theresienwiese fairground (south of the main train station), known as the Wies’n, erupts in a frenzy of rides, dancing, and strangers strolling arm-in-arm down rows of picnic tables, while the beer god stirs tons of brew, pretzels, and wurst in a bubbling cauldron of fun. The triple-loop roller coaster must be the wildest on earth (best before the beer-drinking). Munich is so into its beer culture that it even has a Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, which tells the origins of the city’s Oktoberfest celebration. While it may be a museum, the exhibit comes with a malty bias and seems designed to make two points: beer is truly a people’s drink, and you’ll get the very best here in Munich. I asked if they sell half-liters. Georg said, "This is a ‘Biergarten,’ not a kindergarten!" He ordered us each the standard full Mass, or liter glass (about a quart, nearly what we'd call “ein pitcher”--but it’s meant for one person). Waitresses carry armloads of these heavy mugs seemingly with ease.
Wandering through the legions of 17 happy, companionable drinkers in the beer halls and enjoying the relaxed, small-town atmosphere of the Marienplatz, I mused that Munich is about as gemütlich as it gets. Gemütlich is a unique word for Bavaria's special coziness and its knack for savoring the moment. You can feel it anytime you spend an evening clinking frothy mugs with new friends, or wandering the atmospheric lanes of this city that respects its past while looking energetically into the future.
© 2016 Rick Steves' Europe. All rights reserved.
Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at email@example.com.
While we enjoyed our time at Der Pschorr, first-time visitors shouldn’t miss the Hofbräuhaus, a place that really lives up to the name “beer hall.” Although it’s grotesquely touristy, it’s a Munich must. The smoke-stained ceiling, repaired and repainted after WWII bomb damage, is an evocative mesh of 1950s German mod-Bavarian colors, chestnuts, food, drink, and musical themes. There are plenty of other intoxicating Munich beer halls. Spatenhaus is the opera-goers’ beer hall, serving more elegant food in a traditional setting on the square facing the opera and palace. The trendy Andechser am Dom, at the rear of the Frauenkirche, serves Andechs beer--my favorite--and great food to appreciative regulars. Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom, just across from Andechser am Dom, is popular with tourists for its delightful little sausages. Dine outside under the trees or in the dark, medieval, cozy interior--patrolled by wenches and spiked with antlers. The partying gets turned up a notch every fall, when the city celebrates Oktoberfest. The festival lasts just over two weeks (Sept. 17–Oct. 3 in 2016), starting on the third Saturday in September and usually ending on the first Sunday in October (but never before Oct. 3--the day Germany celebrates its reunification). Oktoberfest kicks things off with an opening parade of almost 8,000 participants. Every night, it fills 32 beer tents with more than 100,000 people. A million gallons of beer later, they roast the last ox. Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Good to Go! Great Travel Gear and Gadgets Itâ€™s summer time and we make the living easy- and the travelling too! Check out these handy gadgets for summer holiday travel.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
f you want to worry less and feel good, take a hike.
Take a Hike to Celebrate US National Parks’ 100th Year Anniversary!
Studies have proven that simply taking a walk in nature produces brain waves similar to those that occur in meditation and significantly reduces stress, boosts immune function and improves memory and mental ability. There are many places to lace up your boots, but to celebrate America’s National Parks’ 100th birthday, I’d like to share with you a couple of phenomenal hikes I recently had the pleasure of doing at two of the United States’ most iconic natural wonders-The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.
Photo: Zion National Park
South Kaibab Trail at the Grand Canyon (South Rim) I have to admit that my first impression of the famous canyon wasn’t as grand as I thought it would be. Walking along the rim on the evening we arrived, there were so many people. Yes, it was gorgeous, dramatic and certainly a sight, but it didn’t take my breath away. I wasn’t filled with the awe I thought I would be. Perhaps it was just too vast, the multi-colored rocks too faded from the distance. Or maybe my expectations were just too high. Luckily, my first impression wasn’t my last. Early the next morning, taking the shuttle bus from the visitors’ center, we set off on a hike on the South Kaibab Trail. As we descended into the canyon, the awe that had been missing the evening before began to fill me. After an hour’s hike, we reached Cedar Ridge Point, and ventured onto the pick rock that jetted out into the canyon. For a while, we sat completely alone, just us and the canyon that grew more magnificent by the second. The colors of the layered rock formations changed continuously, sparkling in the sun, revealing a glimpse of its millions of years of geological history. Here the Grand Canyon exceeded all of my highest expectations. Back at the top of the South Kaibab Trailhead, we walked part of the Rim Trail, a 12-mile accessible path that runs from this trailhead to Hermits Rest. This section of the trail was also virtually empty; and once again I was filled with wonder and glad we took time to explore a bit instead of just passing through.
Article & Photography by Jennifer Merrick
If you go: We stayed at the Best Western Premier Grand Squire Inn in the Grand
Accommodations inside the park include the historic El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodges. For the true adventurer, there is Phantom Lodge that lies at the bottom of the canyon. Reservations are necessary and can be made up to 13 months in advance.
The Narrows at Zion National Park Unlike the Grand Canyon, I knew very little about Zion National Park in Southern Utah. But as I planned our Grand Canyon road trip, I came across stunning photos of this wilderness area and knew it was somewhere we had to include in our road trip. Zion was named when Nephi Johnson, the first permanent European- American settler, declared, “A man can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as in any man-made church – this is Zion.” Its heavenly landscape does look like it’s been carved from above with its fiery red and orange sandstone cliffs and canyons. Warning: It’s very hard to keep your eyes on the road as you drive through it. Hiking in the 229 square mile national park can range from easy paved trails like the Lower Emerald Pool Trail to the challenging Angel Landing, where you’ll have to navigate steep switchbacks and vertigo inducing cliffs to reach the summit and the reward of a jaw-dropping vista of Zion Canyon. We decided to do one of the parks most famous hikes, The Narrows, an excursion that’s different than most as the trail is a river. With cold water that can be up to waist-high deep and varying currents, it’s essential to prepare for this hike. Fortunately, there are several outfitters in the nearby town of Springdale that can set you up for a Narrows hike. We visited the Zion Outfitter, just outside the park’s entrance, and came out wearing a bib dry suit that looked like rubber overalls, neoprene socks and water shoes and holding a wooden walking stick. Among the other visitors wearing shorts and a t-shirts, I felt somewhat conspicuous as I boarded the park shuttlebus to the Temple of Sinawava, our point of departure and last stop of the shuttle. “They’re doing The Narrows hike,” I heard one woman whisper to her friend.
“That’ll be the day,” I heard the friend whisper back. Although she could have said, “I’d like to do that one day”. I was a little worried about what I was getting myself into.
The hike began with the Riverside Walk, a paved trail that follows the Virgin River. But instead of turning back at the end of the trail, we stepped into the water and proceeded from there. Because of the currents and varying depths, we’d often wait for others to cross before we tried to traverse a particular stretch. Other hikers did the same and at one point, where the water seemed particularly fast, another couple stopped. We all looked at each other with the unspoken question hanging in the air: “Who’s going first?” It didn’t matter in the end, since not far behind us were a group of young college students who crossed effortlessly. I tried to follow their lead, but my knuckles were white from gripping the walking stick so tightly. It was well worth the effort, however, for the incredible soaring views. The deep orange cliffs towered above us at heights of up to 200 feet and the width could taper to 20 feet at spots. I felt completely dwarfed by the grandeur of it all. We trekked for about two hours before turning back, but more ambitious and athletic hikers could go as far as Big Springs (a five-hour hike) without a permit. However the hike was enough time for me to forget any problems at home, work or what’s on the nine o’clock news. Enough time to appreciate just how incredible these National Parks are. And to know that I need to spend more time hiking. If you go: We stayed at the Best Western Red Hills in Kanab. Once again it was a comfortable base for our South Utah excursions, and the helpful staff gave us excellent recommendations for dining and hiking within town. The town of Kanab is an ideal hub for exploring as it’s in easy driving distance of some of America’s most scenic wonders including Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and, of course, Zion National Park.
www.grandcanyonsquire.com www.grandcanyonlodges.com www.visitarizona.com www.visitsouthernutah.com
Photo: Tom Till - Zion National Park
Canyon Village, approximately 7.5 miles from the park’s entrance. Helpful staff and ultra-comfortable beds made it an ideal base for our hiking trip. We also loved the vintage photos of early tourists exploring the canyon in the rooms and hallways.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel
Egypt At the Crossroads of History, Culture & Civilizations by Dwain Richardson
Join us as in these eight-pages as we explore this most beautiful, intriguing and mysteries corner of the world.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
King Tutankhamun's Mask
gypt has been steeped into history for the longest time. Because there has been a lot of interest in Egypt’s history, historians coined the term “Egyptology,” which is the study of pharaonic Egypt. Egyptology spanned the period between c. 4500 BCE and CE 641. How did Egyptology begin? Scholars going with Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt published the Description de l’Égypte (1809–1828); this publication made huge quantities of source materials about ancient Egypt available for Europeans. Did you know that written Egyptian documents dated to c. 3150 BCE? This was the first time that pharaohs developed the hieroglyphic script in Upper Egypt. These scripts provided the source material for Egyptological study. Following the Arab conquest, only the Copts kept the ancient language alive (written in Greek characters). Coptic texts taken Egypt during the Renaissance awakened interest in the Egyptian language. German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher published a Coptic grammar in 1643; European travellers returned to Egypt with antiquities and stories of wondrous ruins. What’s more, Egyptology became an academic discipline in France, England, and Germany. American museums opened Egyptian collections in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The University of Pennsylvania, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum are some of music collections that have done a lot of work in Egypt. On the geographical front, Egypt has two coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red Sea. It borders Libya to the west, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east, and Sudan to the south. Egypt has an area of 1,001,449 square kilometres. The longest straight-line distance from north to south is 1,024 kilometres, and the straight-line distance from east to west is 1,240 kilometres long. The country’s maritime boundaries measure more than 2,900 kilometres of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea. Most of the country is made of desert. Thirty-five thousand square kilometres (3.5%) of the total land area is cultivated and permanently settled. Most of Egypt is located within the desert zone that runs east from Africa’s Atlantic Coast and connects with southwestern Asia.
Four leading geological regions are present in Egypt: Nile Valley and Nile Delta, Western Desert (also known as Libyan Desert), Eastern Desert (an extension from the Nile Valley until the Red Sea Coast), and Sinai Peninsula. Of the geological regions, the Nile Valley and Nile Delta are the most significant areas, though they cover only 5.5% of the country’s total area.
Cairo While you’re in the country’s capital, be sure to visit the following attractions: Great Pyramid of Giza This is the oldest and largest of three pyramids in the Giza complex. It borders El Giza. The Great Pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and is the only structure that has remained intact over the years. The Great Pyramid has three chambers. The lowest chamber was cut into the bedrock, which served as the chamber’s foundation and was left unfinished. The Queen’s and King’s Chamber are the second layer of this structure. Lastly, the upper layer is made of buildings that used to include two mortuary temples to honour Khufu, Egypt’s second pharaoh of the fourth dynasty, three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, a “satellite” pyramid, a raised causeway to join the two temples, and small mastaba tombs. (Mastaba means “house for eternity” or “eternal house.”)
Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
This is Egypt’s largest museum. It opened in 1902. Visitors will be greeted with 107 halls, huge statues (on the ground floor level), small statues, jewels, Tutankhamon treasures, and mummies (all on the upper level). Interested in photos? The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities has dedicated a section to photography. And if you like books, periodicals, and other written material, you’ll be able to visit the library. Lastly, the museum dedicates seven sections to treasures and monuments in chronological order. See Tutankhamon’s treasures in the first section. All pre-dynasty and Old Kingdom monuments are found in the second section. The third section presents the first intermediate period and Middle Kingdom monuments. In the fourth, check out the Modern Kingdom monuments. In the fifth section, find all the late period monuments (including those of the Greek and Roman periods). Find coins and papyrus in the sixth section, and sarcophagi and scrabs in the last section.
Great Sphinx of Giza This is a national symbol for ancient and modern Egypt. The sphinx is carved from the Giza plateau’s bedrock. If you look at it carefully, you’ll see that it looks like a lion’s body. The head looks like that of a king or god. The sphinx symbolizes wisdom and strength. Visitors would be pleased to note that the sphinx has been recently restored. You can find the Great Sphinx at the Nile River’s west tip, located near Cairo. While visiting, let yourself be amazed by the many temples that surround the sphinx. Some of these temples contain multiple sphinxes.
Mosque of Muhammad Ali You can see this Ottoman mosque from a mile away. It was built in the nineteenth century and in honour of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali’s oldest son, who passed away in 1816. Architect Yusuf Bushnak completed the structure in 1848. The mosque and citadel are some of many attractions and landmarks in Cairo. Step inside the mosque and you’ll see that its architecture is typical of Turkish style. The mosque has a main dome surrounded by four small and semicircular domes. The minarets are cylindrical and have two balconies and conical caps (you’ll see these on the mosque’s western side). The mosque is made primarily of limestone. The lower storey and forecourt, however, are made of alabaster. The mosque’s western entrance leads to the open courtyard. The courtyard is surrounded by rounded arcades with small domes. You will notice a marbled fountain in the middle of the courtyard, Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
built by Ismail Pasha in 1828. One last detail about the courtyard: Note an iron clock on the western wall, presented to Muhammad Ali by King Louis Philippe (France). The Hanging Church (St. Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church) This is one of Egypt’s oldest churches. The history of this particular church dates back to the third century A.D. Why is this attraction known as the Hanging Church? It is situated above a Babylon Fortress gatehouse, and its nave is suspended over a passage. Unlike most churches that may have as many as ten steps, the Hanging Church has twenty-nine. Be prepared for a long hike up! Once you enter the church, be prepared to see 110 icons. Of these icons, the oldest dates back to the eighth century. The others, however, hail from the eighteenth century. The iconostases within the church are made of ebony and ivory, just like the main altar. The icons depict a number of religious personalities, including the Virgin Mary, the Twelve Apostles, and St. John the Baptist. Khan el-Khalili Care to do some shopping during your stay in Cairo? You’d want to stop by Khan elKhalili. This bazaar district is the city’s main attraction for residents and tourists alike. The bazaar, which was first a mausoleum, used to be the heart of Cairo’s economic activity; sultans would build businesses nearby. Today, most Egyptians run businesses here. Take advantage of buying local products (souvenirs, antiques, jewellery). But there’s more: take a sip of coffee or shisha at one of the many coffeehouses along the strip. If you’re feeling hunger pangs, many restaurants are at your fingertips. If you prefer to buy foods, you’ll come across many food vendors throughout the market.
Sinai Peninsula Ras Muhammed National Park This is the most famous park in the country known for scuba diving. As you dive below the crystal waters of the Red Sea, you’ll see many coral reefs and various species. The sea walls are breathtaking, too. Ras Muhammed National Park became a protected area in 1983. Divers, please note: You cannot dive anywhere you please. You need to dive in selected areas only. Another important tip: Visitors must vacate the premises by sunset. The best places for scuba diving? Shark and Yolanda Reefs.
Both reefs are mountain-like peaks rising from a sandy sea bed spread out below the surface. You can also scuba dive at Satellite Reef if the sea current isn’t too strong.
St. Catherine’s Monastery Its official name is Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai, and is located at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is part of the Church of Sinai, which is a member of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church. Like other churches in the country, St. Catherine’s Monastery teems with iconic art, particularly mosaics. Most of the art is in the form of hot wax painting. In addition to mosaics, visitors will find several liturgical objects, chalices and reliquaries, and church buildings. A few other points of note: The monastery has the oldest operating library. St. Catherine City, located around the monastery, is a small town with hotels and swimming pools. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sharm-el-Sheikh This is a city located on Sinai Peninsula’s southern tip and along the Red Sea coastal strip. This is the economic hub for the country’s southern governorate, and includes cities such as Dahab and Nuweiba. You’ll find St. Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai nearby. Most importantly, Sharm-elSheikh is a holiday resort for tourists. Watersport and scientific tourism enthusiasts will appreciate this southern city a great deal: it is possible to do snorkelling and scuba diving, and those interested in species will be happy to note that there are 250 various coral reefs and one thousand types of fish. And let’s not forget the resorts: Aqua Blu Sharm Resort is one of many resorts tourists can choose from for accommodation and meals. For the curious, Aqua Blu is a four-star hotel resort.
Nile River Many boating companies offer cruises along the Nile River. Some companies of note are Avalon Waterways, Emerald Waterways, and Memphis Tours. Visit the company websites for information on fares and booking. Luxor Located in Upper Egypt and often characterized as “the world’s greatest open-air museum” (characterized as such because the temple complex ruins in Luxor and Karnak are in the modern city). Temples and museums grace Luxor’s east bank. Temples also make up the many attractions Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
in the west bank. In addition, you’ll find two valleys of note—Valley of the Kings and Queens—Tombs of the Nobles, Deir elMedina (workers’ village), and Malkata (palace for Amenophis III, ninth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty). Valley of the Kings This is the place where people constructed tombs for pharaohs and powerful nobles for five hundred years (sixteenth to eleventh century B.C.). Visitors can find this valley on the Nile’s west bank. The valley is divided in two: East Valley and West Valley (most tombs are in the eastern zone). Unfortunately, most tombs are not open to the public, and the tombs that are open may sometimes close whenever restoration work must be done. Only one tomb is accessible to the public in the West Valley. Visitors must have a ticket in hand to see the site. Guides will show you around the tomb, but they cannot talk while visiting inside. Sorry, camera lovers: photography is no longer permitted inside the tomb’s walls. Karnak Temple Complex Come see a mix of temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings at this complex. Construction began during the Middle Kingdom period and continued into the Ptolemaic period. Did you know that Karnak is a common name in popular culture? It’s been the feature location for a number of movie scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Mummy Returns. Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile takes place aboard the S.S. Karnak steamship. And a number of music groups, including the British symphonic metal band Bal-Sagoth, make mention of Karnak in songs like “Unfettering the Hoary Sentinels of Karnak.” This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aswan This is another southern city in Egypt. What makes Aswan special? It teems with tourists year-round. In fact, Aswan is an ideal winter destination for many, since the Nile River offers breathtaking views. The river flows through granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves, and tropical plants. And like most Egyptian destinations, Aswan does not fall short of sites or monuments. Interested in visiting the Agha Khan Monastery? Sail across to the Philae Temple. If you want to see more attractions, why not take a trip to St. Simeon’s Monastery? Another feature of this city is culture. Take a bite into local fish produce
at a restaurant while listening to Nubian music. Want to spice up your food? Stop by at a local market and purchase local spices. Up for a tattoo? You can get a henna (flowering plant) tattoo while you’re here. If you want to take a bit of Aswan with you as you return home, be sure to buy souvenirs and African handmade goods at the Aswan Bazaar. Finally, if you ever have arthritis or any type of pain during your stay, you can bury your body aches in the city’s sand. Aswan also has a number of sites for people to relax and rejuvenate. Abu Simbel Temples These are two massive rock temples located in Abu Simbel, a village in Nubia, near the Sudan border. You can find the temples on the western bank of Lake Nasser, 230 kilometres southwest of Aswan. To avoid being submerged by Lake Nasser, the temples were relocated in 1968. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the complex is coined the “Nubian Mountains,” since they run from Abu Simbel to Philae, near Aswan. Two temples await visitors upon their arrival. The Great Temple is the largest. When you arrive at the entrance, you will see a bas-relief representing two images of the king worshipping Ra Harakhti, a falcon head. Step inside the temple and take a look at the layout. It is triangular in shape, as are most ancient
temples in Egypt. The hypostyle hall is characterized by pillars representing Ramses linked to Osiris, the underworld god. This indicates the pharaoh’s everlasting nature. You’ll also see colossal statues; some of them bear a white crown of Upper Egypt, and others wear a double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. A pillared hall follows the hypostyle hall. The pillared hall features various scenes of royalty and victories in past wars. The Small Temple is known for its statues of a king and his queen. Here’s one particularity with the Small Temple: scenes with the queen playing instruments adorn the walls. (The instrument in question is the sinistrum.) Pillars and bas-reliefs depict various scenes with pharaohs, queens, gods, and goddesses.
The Western Desert Siwa Oasis This is an Egyptian oasis sandwiched between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Land Sea in the Libyan Desert. It is one of the country’s most isolated settlements with a population of 23,000.
in the oasis were talented in creating 29 basketry, pottery, silverwork, and embroidery crafts. Dress styles were also of major significance, especially bridal silver and silver ornaments/beads women wore at events. As roads and television services made headway in the Siwa Oasis, all silver ornaments were eventually replaced by gold ornaments. Like most parts of Egypt, the Siwa Oasis has its share of festivals. The Sihaya Festival is by far the leading festival in the area. It honours Saint Sidi Sulayman, the town’s traditional patron. What happens during this festivity? The local men assemble on a mountain to eat, sing songs of thanks to God, and make peace with one another. The women remain in the village and celebrate by singing, dancing, and playing drums. Here’s a brief list of sights you might want to check out as you visit the Siwa Oasis. Mud-brick houses in Shali, an old town Desert sand dunes south of Siwa
Agriculture is the main industry in the oasis, though tourism has become a runner-up in recent times.
Siwa salt lake
With respect to culture, Berber inhabitants
Temple of the Oracle of the Amun
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A r o u n d T h e Wo r l d
(in 12 pages)
Travel Back in Time with these Luxury Historic Train Rides
Happy Birthday Natchez, Mississippi One of the oldest cities in America, in 2016 Natchez will celebrate its Tricentennial Anniversary, recognizing 300 years of heritage shaped by people of African, French, British and Spanish descent. The anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year with a wide range of events, major conferences, special “birthday” events, unique festivals, historical reenactments, musical tributes and more. In addition to holding the title of “Bed and Breakfast Capital of the South,” Natchez is a pedestrian-friendly cultural hub home to more than 40 authentic antebellum homes and Victorian buildings, art galleries, live music, authentic southern cuisine (it’s the “Biscuit Capital of the World!”) and a full calendar of events and festivals.
Rich in history and scenic beauty, luxury train travel has become one of the finest and most enjoyable ways to discover the majestic splendour any country has to offer. From one-of-a-kind excursions and world-class cuisines to unimaginable sunset hues and playful wildlife, travellers receive an unforgettable experience only train travel can provide. With so many amazing train journeys to be taken, we wanted to share some of the world’s most historic routes.
Indian Pacific, Great Southern Rail, Australia Stepping aboard the mighty Indian Pacific, you’ll feel a great sense of anticipation as this unforgettable Australian adventure begins to unfold. A journey across the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world, guests will travel through history on a route that saw its first passenger back in 1917.
First Passage to the West, Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
China Tourism Introduces New Brand Logo
This legendary route along the Canadian Pacific track is famous for uniting the country and connecting British Columbia to Canada more than 125 years ago. The only passenger rail service to travel this historic route, guest will transverse the Continental Divide, while experiencing the majestic Rocky Mountains.
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.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Trans-Siberian Express, Golden Eagle, Russia Undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest railway journeys, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across Russia, connecting east and west from Moscow to Vladivostok. Having had its inaugural run exactly 100 years ago, there is no better time to experience this historic trip.
Cape Town Journey, Rovos Rail, South Africa Rediscover the old pioneering trail of the Great Karoo on this 1,600 km journey throughout the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape.
G Adventures Introduces New Active Adventures
ultural trekking in Bhutan, a first-ofits-kind multisport trip in Japan, cycling through rice fields in China, and rafting and cycling in Patagonia, Argentina, are all new experiences in store for travellers with the launch of G Adventures’ 2016 Active brochure.
In addition, the small group adventure operator, which is the largest on the Inca Trail, has experienced an increase in demand for the Lares Trek as an alternative option to the Inca Trail in Peru, and is now offering the Lares Trek on all of its trips taking travellers to Machu Picchu. Each new Active trip includes a mixture of different activities and often uses camping as its main accommodation option to get travellers up close to nature. New trips for 2016 include:
Bhutan Trekking Where else but the happiest country in the world can travellers trek the Himalayas smiling all the way? This 11-day cultural trekking trip has travellers visiting some of the most gorgeous temples and monasteries in the world. Here they will trek the sacred mountain passes of the celebrated Druk Path, ascend to the profound Taktshang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), and explore the unique beauty of the city of Paro.
Japan Hike, Bike & Kayak This first-of-its-kind active trip has travellers hiking along the UNESCO-listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route where Kyoto's ancient emperors once prayed to deities in the trees and rocks. Next cycle across stunning islands following the world’s largest series of suspension bridges, known as the Shimanami Kaido. Finally travellers will kayak around the Bay of Miyajima to see its main attraction, the floating Itsukushima Shrine.
Cycle China Enjoy five days of cycling through the back roads and countryside of China, stopping to marvel at scenery that has captured the minds of poets and painters for centuries. This varied active trip will also have travellers hiking along the hills and terraces of China’s rural regions as well as experiencing the iconic Great Wall of China, historic Tiananmen Square, and the sprawling Forbidden City.
Patagonia Multisport This varied active trip sees travellers trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, cycling out to Laguna Sofia, kayaking alongside the Grey Glacier, and cycling among the peaks of Patagonia.
Lares Trek gains popularity as Inca Trail alternative G Adventures is also now offering the three-day Lares trek beginning outside Cuzco, Peru to travellers who may be looking for an alternative way to reach Machu Picchu. The Lares Trek has fewer ascents and descents, but is at a higher altitude, and is often described as the less discovered route. “The scenery, which is as awe-inspiring as its famous counterpart, takes travellers off the beaten path and much closer to the indigenous Quechua people,” says Denise Harper, Director of Sales, Canada, G Adventures. “Starting in Ollantaytambo trekkers make their way through the Lares valley on an undulating path that rises higher than the Inca Trail. The Lares Trek also offers opportunities for insight into rural Andean life as the trail itself passes through very remote mountain communities.” Travellers on the Lares Trek will visit a number of G Adventures for Good projects along the way, including a communityowned campsite featuring composting toilets, solar showers, and a solid-waste management system, which is the first of its kind in Peru.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Refreshing in Evian-les-bains
Article & Photography by Michael Morcos
vian-les-Bains, also known as just Evian, is most famous for the curative property of the waters and the bottled water it exports around the world. But the area offers more than a drink, as it is filled with enough history, luxury and Haut-couture to captivate any world traveller. Modern facilities are placed side by side with hundred year-old buildings, creating a wonderful mix to enjoy.
Any visit would be incomplete without tasting Evian water from the source! We drank from a fountain in the city. The water comes from the Alps and is said to filter naturally through the mountain rocks and soil for over 15 years. Evian water is processed at a nearby factory and gets all its water from one of the many natural sources. Not far away we could see the mountain used for the iconic Evian water logo label! Evian has also built its reputation on the healing properties of their springs. Created in December 1859, the Cachat mineral
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
waters SA (Société Anonyme des Eaux Minérales de Cachat) began the transformation of this small town into a spa-center. Nowadays, the spas in town are filled with top of the line equipment, and a new health center for therapeutic message and cleansing of the body. Due to these spas and Evian’s location, the town has become a hotspot for the rich and famous, as witnessed by the stylish boutiques, restaurants, wine shops and the Evian town hall, which is a marvellous stone building that rivals any in Paris! The Palais Lumiere Evian is another grand old building that once served as a spa, but has now been turned into a museum. Aside from the spas and waters, there is also a full casino where the rich come to play in luxury cars and amazing yachts anchored in the port! On top of everything, there is also good outdoor fun, including downhill skiing, swimming and hiking. Once you are tired out, enjoy a lovely trip on an old clog train that starts at the bottom of the town and takes
people to almost the highest point in town. It is offered for free and is a wonderful way to take in the view of the entire city and its lake. There is also a short (all electric) boat ride which tours a reclaimed natural water garden built on a lot that was once the property of a wealthy Parisian banker. The garden is a true example of how nature can take care of itself when left alone. If you are lucky, you can also enjoy a Farmer’s market and feast on fabulous wines, sausages and French fromages! This small and charming town sits on the shores of Lac Geneva (the French call it Lac Leman). Evian is situated in a perfect spot in Europe, as it is across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the Olympic committee (IOC), and has a ferry crossing that operates all day between the two countries. Another short trip and visitors can find their way to Geneva as well!
L a s Ve g a s Photo by Francis and Francis
A n U n e x p e c t e d P l a c e t o Pa r k by Susan Campbell
The Park Vegas
Photo by Barry Toranto
The US $100 million development is simply called “The Park Vegas” and was built solely by MGM Resorts International, It’s secreted away between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo right on the Strip. It was built with locally sourced stones and is full of desert blooms, waterwalls and nature surrounded resting areas. Shade is provided by 16 giant sculptures inspired by the desert cactus flower. There are also half-a-dozen brand new eateries there with al fresco options. It has a very European café culture atmosphere, and that’s exactly what Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International had envisioned. On opening day last April 4th, 2016, he enlightened the media about its design. He said, “One common theme I’ve often noticed in my travels is that all those great cities have
gathering places, piazzas, parks, plazas… I’ve long thought, in my 18 years here, that Las Vegas could use such a place.” But the true enchantment there happens at night.
Beautiful Bliss Dancer That’s when they light up the gigantic cactus flower sculptures and you get the most impressive view of “Bliss Dancer”- a 40 ft. tall sculpture of a naked woman that punctuates the park without apology. Though she is hard to miss by day- 7,500 pounds of mesh steel shimmering in the sun- after dark she totally unavoidable as that’s when the sculpture continually changes colors illuminated by 3,000 led lights. And she was built with a message. Created by artist Marco Cochrane he dedicated it to his childhood female friend who had been sexually assaulted when she was young. He wanted to create something larger than life that empowers women and celebrates their right to express themselves freely. The idea behind her lack of clothes is to de-objectify the female form and view the true spirit shining through. I would say he has succeeded. The grand unveiling was very emotional, especially since his muse and actual model for the artwork Deja Solis was there for it. She is now an entertainer and surprised the crowd with a touching song as they lit up the statue for the very first time.
New T-Mobile Arena The new park is also designed to accommodate the expected overflow of visitors and
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locals alike who will be attending events at the brand new 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena- a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and the Anschutz Entertainment Group. It’s a fabulous modern space – almost a work of art of its own- absolutely stunning like a huge magenta spaceship. The arena opened on April 6th, 2016 with a concert from well-known local band The Killers and Vegas icon Wayne Newton. And directly across the street from The Park is a brand new 5,000-seat theater under construction at Monte Carlo slated to open later this year. This entire non-gambling focused development seems to signal a new direction for the city already most famous for its world-class casinos.
www.mgmresorts.com www.theparkvegas.com www.t-mobilearena.com
Photo by Francis and Francis
he famous Las Vegas Strip is probably the last place you’d expect to find an eco-park but then again, when it comes to this city you never know what to expect. So on a recent visit I wasn’t all that surprised to find a brand new green oasis, I was however surprised at the gigantic sculpture that punctuates it!
E i g h t P l a c e s To V i s i t B e f o r e T h e y C h a n g e F o r e v e r b y C o n t i k i To u r s
In support of Earth Month 2016, youth travel specialist Contiki is hoping to raise awareness of global environmental issues by highlighting some traveller bucket list destinations we are in danger of losing forever. Leading up to next year’s Earth Day celebrations, Contiki has compiled eight traveller favourite destinations Canadians need to see before they disappear.
Venice is one of our favourite island paradises, but it’s no secret that the city is sinking, and it has been for centuries. High tides, rising sea levels due to climate change and boat traffic are three of the main reasons why the buildings are eroding and slowly being claimed by rising water levels. The effect is a few millimetres a year which may not seem like a lot, but look ahead a few decades and it’s more than a bit concerning. With floods becoming more frequent efforts are being made to control the water levels going forward. And no, stilt walking for all is not a realistic option.
The Taj Mahal Not only are fees to visit this marble-ous palace increasing in an effort to limit tourists, but it’s moving towards not looking so marble-ous at all. Pollution is causing the Taj Mahal to turn from white to yellow, and something tells us as time goes on, the white marvel won’t really have the same postcard worthy affect that draws visitors from all over the globe. Groundwater levels and general tourist traffic have also been creating some structural damage to the palace which has led to whisCanadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
pers of public access being restricted in the near future.
many are worried about how the impending influx of tourists will affect the cultural integrity of the island.
Antarctica Who hasn’t dreamt of their honeymoon taking place amongst the sapphire-blue seas of the spectacular Maldives? Well you better find your future husband or wife quick smart because the beautiful island nation could be completely engulfed by water within the next 100 years. The chain of islands is considered the lowest-lying country on earth making it vulnerable to rising sea levels. The risk has become some real that the Maldivian government has actually purchased land in other countries for citizens who face displacement!
Whether it’s solely climate change or climate change combined with cyclical change in the area, melting ice on this fascinating continent is a big problem. Not only is this an issue for glacier enthusiasts and wildlife that call the Antarctic home, but the resulting rising water levels put many coastal cities and islands worldwide at risk of flooding.
The Dead Sea
Spanning nine nations and making up more than 50% of the remaining rainforest in the world, the Amazon is seen as one of the top places to travel for wildlife and tree lovers – but for how much longer? Climate change – drought, wild fires and greenhouse gas emissions – as well as deforestation are causing an alarming loss of forest cover that have many wondering how long it will be until it’s destroyed completely.
The literal death of the Dead Sea is something that has started to cause major alarm. The evaporation of the water combined with the declining water flow from the Jordan River into the sea (due to irrigation use) means seriously decreasing water levels. This loss of water has caused a sinkhole problem that also makes the surrounding area risky for lakeside strolls.
Great Barrier Reef
Cuba is known as a cultural gem in the Caribbean, but this is all expected to change now the US travel ban has been lifted. Tourism numbers have been manageable without the addition of American visitors for years, so now
Tourism Australia Darren Jew
Before you know it, some the world’s most beautiful and unique destinations could be unrecognizable. Climate change, plastic pollution and overpopulation are having devastating effects on our planet. Earth Month, which celebrated its 46th anniversary this year, is a global initiative that aims to drive awareness around environmental issues.
Ever wanted to dive with Nemo and Dori in the stunning Great Barrier Reef? Well, you could be running out of time as rising ocean temperatures and an influx of pollution may mean this natural wonder is destroyed within the next 100 years.
Tropical Tidbits Photo: Dominican Republic Tourism
by Sue C Travel
Award-winning travel journalist Sue Campbell is based in Montreal but makes it her business to be on top of everything cool, hot, and new under the sun throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Canadian World Traveller welcomes her as a new regular columnist. Follow her on Ttwitter @suectravel.
For one, top resorts in paradisiacal locations typically cut their rates to the bone during low season, sometimes throwing in extra nights or kids-stay-free packages and even going so far as to offer airfare credits, too! Another good reason is the parties!
Photo: Jamal Gumbs Anguilla
Some islands have their biggest blowouts during this time of year like Anguilla’s August Summer Festival and Barbados’ Crop Over. You haven’t really experienced authentic Caribbean until you’ve learned to “jump up” with the locals!
Dominican Republic Targets More Adventurous Travellers Canadians love to travel to the Dominican Republic to escape winter due to the excellent deals and affordable all-inclusive packages, but today’s savvy traveller also wants to explore beyond the resort and discover the surrounding communities and
landscapes. And according to Dominican Tourism authorities the government is out to help make that easier. I learned about these plans at the recent 2016 Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), the country’s official and biggest trade show for media and the travel industry. Strategies include new roads throughout the country connecting the lesser known interior regions and new activities focusing on nature explorations to get visitors off the beaches and into more active adventures. Tour operators will be offering more activities such as river rafting, mountain biking, zip-lining, paragliding, rappelling and hiking. Also planned is increased air access to lesser-known tourism destinations like Puerta Plata and Samaná. Plus, resorts like the new Sunscape Puerto Plata are offering excellent opening deals and packages with direct flights from Canada by Air Transat. Visit: www.godominicanrepublic.com
Photo: Dominican Republic Tourism
Now that we Canadians are finally getting our fair share of warm weather during our criminally short summer, one might think that it’s not the time to head to tropical climes. But there are some very good reasons to do so.
But one of my favourite reasons for heading south during the summer is to experience sea turtles in the wild! Summer is sea turtle nesting time on beaches throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. This is when the female turtles return to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs, and many resorts have sea turtle protection and conservation programs to protect them that visitors can participate in. Witnessing hatchings and helping baby sea turtles reach the sea in release programs when they need protection are truly magical experiences that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
ummer is Prime Time for Caribbean Travel!
I’m always seeking out fellow countrymen (and women) who have decided to start a new life in spots where snow is a foreign concept. If you are visiting these destinations seek out these ex-pat Canadians doing great things in their new island homes.
Photo: Substation Curacao
Ontarian Bryan Horne works with the unique 4-person submersible called Curasub at the Curacao Sea Aquarium complex (founded by ex-pat Canadian
On “Provo” (Turks and Caicos’ Providenciales) it seems you can’t throw a seashell without hitting an expat “canuck”. There are SO many of them they even have their own hockey league! (Though they skate on roller blades due to lack of ice.) The gorgeous new dining room off Grace Bay beach at The Somerset is run by acclaimed Canadian chef Brad Townsend, and the owner the famous Da Conch Shack
Photo: Jessica Percy Campbell
A New Nature Focused Panama Stay Last January I’d been invited to be a keynote speaker at the annual Latin American Travel Writer’s conference in Panama City, Panama. It was a great event in the heart of the bustling, cosmopolitan city, and my adult daughter who also writes travel as the “Vegan Vacationista” had joined me. But once it was over, we were in dire need of some beach time and downtime in nature. Fortunately, the new upscale Secrets Playa Bonita Panama Resort & Spa had just opened nearby so it was a natural choice to check out. All 310 rooms are oceanfront overlooking a gorgeous water circuit with a seaside infinity pool and a peaceful protected bay ideal for kayaking. And the surrounding rainforest and mountain beside it are alive with tropical wildlife including adorable little monkeys and ever-smiling sloths! Like all Secrets resorts they are adult-only allinclusive offering an Unlimited-Luxury® experience that includes gourmet food, top spirits, no-reservation dining and 24/7 room service. They also have a luxurious full-service spa. It was just the kind of pampering we needed for a few days before retuning home, but we will certainly return for a longer stay another time. Visit: www.secretsresorts.com/playa-bonita
Secrets Playa Bonita Panama
Canadian Connections in the Caribbean
Expat Canadians are also really embedded into the culinary scene throughout the Caribbean. Chef Tim Tibbetts and his sommelier wife Rebecca - both from Canadaare making big waves on the fusion front at their trendy award-winning restaurant Flying Fish in Freeport, Bahamas. And if you visit Grand Turk by cruise, walk right on by the too touristy Margaritaville to find Jack’s Beach Bar for authentic island BBQ and superb hand crafted cocktails made by Janet Batchelor from Quebec’s eastern townships.
I had the opportunity to attend the Sunscape Puerto Plata’s opening in the Dominican Republic last March, and I was very impressed. It’s a lovely family friendly and very affordable all-inclusive resort on picturesque Playa Dorado beach. They also offer an adult-only section and pool, which adds to its allure for those seeking a more serene escape. It’s not a new complex, but it has been beautifully refurbished to enhance the grand colonial style charm and it also crests an inviting Robert Jones Trent designed 18-hole golf course.Though none of the 585 rooms are oceanfront since a protected mangrove forest separates the resort from the sea, it’s a very short walk to the beach and the trek through the ancient trees is well worth it. They also have an excellent kid’s club and they were putting the finishing touches on a their new Spa by Pevonia which will be comprehensive and luxurious when complete. www.sunscaperesorts.com/puerto-plata .
is Torontonian John Macdonald. And 41 if you’re on Aruba, visit Cuba’s Cookin’ for a surprisingly authentic taste of Old Havana on “One Happy Island”, and say hi to owner Douglass Markus originally from Montreal.
On Anguilla, the founder of the Arijah Foundation’s Blossom Centre- a school for the island’s children with special needs is Renuka Harrigan from Ontario. And the centre is always happy to welcome visitors seeking to volunteer while on holiday.
Photo: Cuba’s Cookin'
Photo: Sunscape Puerto Plata
New Sunscape Puerto Plata is Alluring and Affordable
Adrian “Dutch” Schrier) where visitors can go 1,000 ft. below to witness magnificent marine life without even getting wet! It’s a bucket-list experience. They’ve also used it for marine life research and have discovered new species of fish! In St. Maarten, Olivier Auvrey from Montreal runs the popular snorkel excursions called Rhino Riders, or if you check-into the St. Kitts Marriott, look for General Manager Jacques Hamou also from Montreal.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Pa c i f i c
W O R L D
Photo: Crystal Esprit superyacht.
Rhine Nile Moselle Mekong Danube
I t a l i a n Tr e a s u r e s o n t h e C r y s t a l S y m p h o n y The Rise of the River Cruises -
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Eight Reasons to River Cruise -
Wi t h
S a i l
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Wo r l d !
Superyachts & River Cruising -
C o m e
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Vi k i n g R i v e r C r u i s e , Ly o n t o A v i g n o n -
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C r u i s e
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Rainforest Cruises Launches Luxurious Amazon Riverboat Rainforest Cruises has launched their new 43-passenger Amazon Discovery riverboat with five-star features including luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining and a spa. With just 22suites, the boat offers an intimate and personalized experience with floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in jungle views. The craft is small enough to travel deep into the tributaries of the Amazon on four and seven-day cruises and activities include expeditions to spot pink river dolphins, jungle walks, Peruvian cooking classes, and nightly local entertainment.
Discover the Caribbean like never before on the S/V Mandalay The S/V Mandalay sails weekly, boarding in Grenada on Sunday and returning on Saturday. Aside from weekly cruises to and from Grenada, the S/V Mandalay offers special cruises taking in different Caribbean Islands, such as St. Lucia and St. Maarten throughout the year!
From November to January 2018, PONANT has 11 outstanding cruises on offer, including two unusual routes seeking out wildlife not found anywhere else in the world in their natural habitat. Aboard Le Boréal, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial, with luxurious 122 to 132 staterooms and suites under the French flag, all with the international Green Ship label and designed specifically for polar cruises, passengers have access to strictly protected locations only accessible to small capacity ships.
The S/V Mandalay is also available for private charter. The Captain can arrange a personalized itinerary to meet your charter needs including stops in the Grenadines, which may include, Grenada, Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Bequia, St. Vincent and possibly some other stops along the way!
The emphasis here is on total flexibility; with zodiac outings taking passengers as close as it is possible to be to the wildlife, with time to linger in iconic sites, make a detour to admire the acrobatics of a humpback whale, or land on a beach to greet a vast colony of penguins.
Redesigned Victoria Jenna Launches on China’s Yangtze Victoria Cruises is celebrating the inaugural voyage of its newest build, the Victoria Jenna, after its first major renovation since its launch in late 2009. The six-year-old ship benefits from a complete redesign featuring motifs of modern elegance and a brand new appearance intended to bring the vessel up to speed with the rest of Victoria Cruises' five-star fleet.
These cruises offer unique moments enlightened by the expertise of renowned South Pole specialists, who share their passion and expertise on polar lands they have been roaming for years. New | Beyond the Polar Circle Ushuaia to Ushuaia New | Antarctica to Africa Ushuaia to Cape Town
Exploring extreme parts of the world while enjoying a five-star service unique to the Polar regions is the concept created by PONANT that has become its hallmark.
2017 Expedition Season
Viking Announces 10 New Ocean Cruise Itineraries
With the newly christened Viking Sea now part of its growing ocean fleet, Viking Ocean Cruises® announced the addition of 10 new itineraries to its offerings for 2017 and 2018 sailings. Adding more than 30 ports of call to Viking’s portfolio, the new itineraries will explore destinations throughout Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, including Cuba. Viking’s new ocean itineraries will bring guests to more iconic destinations around the world, providing rich cultural experiences with each port of call. With sailings from Bergen, London, New York, Puerto Rico, Venice and more, guests can choose itineraries ranging from eight-day to 22-day multicountry sailings.
Trade Routes of the Middle Ages – Bergen to Barcelona Venice, the Adriatic and Greece – Venice to Athens South America and the Caribbean – San Juan to San Juan New York, Bermuda and the Western Indies – New York to San Juan Cities of the Western Mediterranean – Barcelona to Rome Central American Shores and Cuba – Miami to Miami Caribbean to the Amazon – San Juan to San Juan Southern Mediterranean Discovery – Rome to Barcelona British Isles Explorer – Bergen to London
Italian Sojourn – Rome to Venice
Also recently announced, Viking’s fourth ship, Viking Sun, will set sail on its maiden voyage in December 2017 for the company’s first-ever world cruise, spanning 141-days and visiting five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports. Sailing from Miami to London, this epic Viking journey will explore the world’s legendary cities, ports and will allow guests to immerse themselves in the rich cultures around the world.
New 2017-2018 Itineraries
Pa u l G a u g u i n
Building on the impending 2016 season, the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour will once again start its summer journey in Quebec City in 2017. The season begins with the Mighty Saint Lawrence voyage, one of National Geographic Traveller’s 50 Trips of a Lifetime. Next is the Sable Island expedition, the only travel itinerary featuring the mysterious 42-kilometre sand island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Ocean Endeavour will then circumnavigate Newfoundland before sailing north up the coast of Labrador to Greenland. Explorations of the Inuit hamlets of Baffin Island and coastal Greenland follow, as with sailing to Nunavut’s northernmost National Parks and wildlife havens—all hallmarks of Adventure Canada’s programming. The season finishes with two sailings of the company’s Canadian Signature Experience, The Northwest Passage.
To embrace Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017, Adventure Canada has created a sailing season which celebrates its specialty: Canada’s most remote, pristine, and wild places.
Just in time for the summer sailing season, Adventure Canada is proud to announce the launch of a new brochure, highlighting expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, East Coast and Greenland, headlined by the company’s fabled Northwest Passage departures. Chock-full of superb images from a talented roster of award-winning photographers, the Expeditions 2016 & 2017 brochure is the leading Arctic and Maritime expedition company’s most beautiful yet.
Adventure Canada Announces 2017 Expedition Season in Most Beautiful Catalogue to Date
Photo: Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises
Article & Photography by Michael Morcos & Natalie Ayotte
As a Canadian World Traveller, spring has become a favorite time for travelling abroad, particularly the month of May! Most Canadians are itching for some new adventures after a long winter, and travelling to Europe is often a top choice. Our plans this year were to travel to France, and with so many great French destinations to choose from, we finally decided on the regions of RhoneAlps and Provence. For us, there is no better way to experience some of the best there is than on a Rhone river cruise.
Photo: Viking River Cruises
River cruising has become the new way of travelling for many North Americans, and savvy travellers know what they want. A new destination each morning without having to look for hotels, pack and unpack lug-
gage, drive through unknown roads, find parking… Viking has taken all the guess work and hassles out. It is truly a perfect way to travel, so much so that the only thing to do is remember what time the boat leaves. Even the pick up at the airport is seamless, offering a taste of the fun, relaxation and memorable trip to come.
The ship cabins are well thought out and are decorated to make your journey a relaxing experience. Viking cabins are organised to maximise space and include all amenities you would expect from a high end cruise company, including a bottle of chilled bubbly waiting for you as a welcome gift. It’s easy to fall in love on the spot.
It is no wonder that Viking River Cruises leads the way with more than 50% of all river cruises, they have many of the most modern ships and have now moved into ocean cruising as well.
Interacting with the crew is a great experience in itself. Our crew was courteous, helpful, fun and funny, and by the end of the trip we felt like friends! On top of their friendliness, the crew were experts at keeping things tidy and passengers happy.
What to expect on a Viking cruise If you have high expectations, don’t worry, they will be met!
As you can imagine, cruising through France offers some great gastronomic experiences! On this cruise, we were treat-
ed with themed meals based on the regions we traveled through. For example, in Lyon it was a Rhone-Alps meal which offered Bresse poultry and many varieties of cheese, including Tomme de Savoie, Bleu de Bresse and Reblochon. Even better? We were treated to the wines of the region, including the very famous Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoy. As we moved closer to Provence, the palate became lighter with salads, melons, fresh fish and delicious breads coupled with the Grenache, Cinsaut and Mourvèdre, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the region. The meals can be enjoyed in two different places, the main dining room and the Aquavit on the upper deck. The Aquavit can be open-air when the weather is good and closed with large glass window doors when it became cold or windy. There is also a Lounge that offers pre-meal cocktails and nightly entertainment for passengers who wish to relax to some soothing sounds in a quiet venue. As with most cruises, there is a daily briefing. In 15 or so minutes, the cruise program director presents the following day’s activities, tours and what to expect from the cruise and the port of call. One of the main reasons to go on a river cruise is the Guided and Optional tours. All tours are included in the price of the trip for everyone and they are very well organized with professional local guides and brand new buses. Most tours are a half day long and in the morning, returning to the ship for lunch. All the tours are worth it, as they are the best way to see a destination in a short amount of time. For those who want to take a break from visiting and touring, the onboard activities include cooking lessons, shopping with the chef and French language courses.
Day one The first day of your cruise was all about getting settled in and it usually takes a good day for all passengers to board the ship. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy a light lunch buffet before you decide what you wish to do for the rest of the day.
You can join a guided walking tour of Lyon’s city center, lounge on deck while enjoying a cocktail, or catch up on some rest from jet lag – it’s really up to you! There is no need to rush and discover Lyon immediately, as you will have a full day for visiting this marvelous city.
Touring Lyon with Viking The worldly city of Lyon is a great place to start a cruise. There is a mix of cosmopolitan and small town feel just a few blocks apart. Lyon is France’s third largest city and straddles the Rhône and Saône Rivers and includes a narrow peninsula island called the Presqu'ile. As you visit the old city of Lyon, you will see many reminders of its Roman origins, including the Famous Roman Theatre on top of Fourvière Hill, founded in 43 BC by the Romans. Over the centuries, Lyon has enjoyed economic prosperity, including being one of the most active printing centres in Europe in the 15th century and then the silk manufacturing capital of Europe in the 17th century. You can visit many boutiques that still produce exceptional silk products. Included in your Viking city tour is a drive by the many outdoor painted walls, such as the « Fresque des Lyonnais ». These are murals that depict all the famous people from Lyon, from antiquity with Emperor Claudius, through modern times with figures including Paul Bocuse and the Lumière family, known for having shot the first moving picture and responsible for Lyons world famous lumière festival.
optional tours. There is a Lyon cooking workshop where you can learn the secrets to making fine pastries by a French pastry Chef, or choose a tour to the timeless Town of Pérouges, a medieval stone village located some 30km northeast of Lyon as we did. Perched on a small hill, Pérouges enjoys an outstanding view overlooking the French Alps. Founded around 1167 by a Gallic colony, Pérouges was a craftsmen commune, particularly farmers and linen weavers. Complete with cobble stone streets, you can’t help but be transported back though time. Pérouges is also where the famous three musketeers’ movie was filmed. There is plenty worth exploring in and around Lyon that it needs more time or a second visit. Places of interest include the heritage-laden Musée des Beaux Arts, Quartier Saint-Jean and Quartier SaintGeorges the old town, the beautiful architecture and monumental town squares of the Presqu'ile District and the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere,
The Rhone The tour closes with a walk in the old city. Visitors enjoy the little hidden Traboules (passageways made for merchants in medieval times) and the choice of world renowned Bouchon restaurants, known for serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine of sausages, duck pâté and roast pork. You will not go hungry in Lyon, which is known as France’s gastronomic capital! In the afternoon you can choose from two
With so much to see and do in seven days, it would be best to leave the wonderful Viking destinations beyond Lyon to a second article in our next issue. The fabulous locations of Macon, Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, Arles and Avignon will just have to wait!
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Superyachts & River Cruising By: Tully Luxury Travel
Crystal Cruises megayacht - Artist Concept
uperyachts Are Here to Stay (And Why It’s Your Turn)
From cool and unlikely concept yachts to tabloid-worthy celebrity yachts, we’re fascinated with these worlds on water. And yet, you no longer have to be rich and famous to enjoy one. Whether it's a boutique yachting experience that catches your eye, or extreme adventure that you're after, the latest launches prove there's something for everyone. “Some people won’t go on a sailboat because of the movement. And some don’t want to be around too many people on a cruise,” says Mary Jean Tully, Founder & CEO of Tully Luxury Travel, of the appeal of yachting. Fortunately, a new crop of ships offer guests fresh ways to see the world,
opening up a new era for yachts—in which bigger is better, and adventure is more extreme. With Crystal Cruises' new superyachts, more people can now enjoy the pleasures of an intimate sailing experience on the high seas in high style—and to more remote destinations than ever before. R&R more your speed? Sit back and enjoy a drink with friends and unbeatable views aboard Crystal Esprit's superyacht. Launched in December 2015, the 62-guest ship boasts its own mini spa and casino, as well as six-star dining and suites outfitted with king size beds, spacious closets and double vanity sinks. Such plush environs are certainly an ideal way to see dreamy hot spots like the Seychelles islands and Adriatic coast.
Thirsting for more adventure? In March, Crystal Cruises announced what promises to be the largest megayacht the world has ever seen: an expedition ship that can cruise the Arctic just as well as it can more tropical destinations.
Debuting in August 2018, Crystal Endeavor measures 600 feet (183 meters) long and includes 100 guest suites. It will also have a full-service spa, yoga, Pilates, salon and wellness centre; an infinity pool; six dining
options and a 200-seat theatre. At 400 square-feet-plus (including balcony), suites are spacious, but there are two Owner Suites each boasting a whopping 3,122 square feet (1,615ft2 interior and 1,507ft2 balcony) should you feel the need to spread out a little more. Oh, and there’s butler service for all, in addition to one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio. But it’s the toys that truly make this ship a gem. Whether you’re looking to enjoy water sports or discover remote islands, Crystal Endeavor has everything you could ask for to experience adventure at sea— from zodiacs, jet skis, wave runners and SEABOBs to helicopters and its very own 7person submarines. As the first purpose-built Polar Code compliant yacht in the world, the Endeavor is also uniquely built for global expedition cruising and comes with exciting itineraries to the Arctic and Antarctic. “Everyone is looking for a wild, extraordinary experience, and the Endeavor is so 21st century, so different,” says Mary Jean. “It has a helicopter and an icebreaker—it’s an expedition ship. It’s totally unique.” Be it easy cruising or extreme adventure, your superyacht experience is sure to be a trip to remember.
Explore Europe’s Ancient Highways Since rivers were the highways that connected Europe long ago, cruising on these legendary waterways gives travellers the unique opportunity to explore many of the towns and landmarks—including UNESCO designated sites—nestled along the shore.
See UNESCO World Heritage Sites by River Cruise There’s something particularly romantic about taking a river cruise. The feeling is something akin to what explorers and tradesmen must have felt as they pulled up to various ports, discovering new places and visiting old friends. As the saying goes, what’s old is new again, with river cruises booming and more options than ever to explore these historic waterways. Whether it’s gently sailing past vineyards and castles that appeals to you, or the chance to see multiple cities in a single itinerary without having to pack and unpack, river cruises offer a scenic and relaxing trip along the route of your dreams. “River cruising is a comfortable and easy way to travel to many of Europe’s most notable towns—some that would be impossible to reach by ocean travel,” says Lore Doick, a Travel Designer with Tully Luxury Travel. “In many cases, you’re docked right in town, walking distance to restaurants, cafes and museums. You don’t have to worry about renting a car, finding your hotel or looking for a nice place to have dinner. It’s all taken care of for you—the hardest thing is picking an itinerary!”
Uniworld’s SS Maria-Theresa
And while some of the tours in the past may have been limited in amenities, the recently unveiled Crystal River Cruises fleet promises to take river cruising to new heights with its six-star service, superior dining, spacious suites, expertly curated itineraries and fascinating shore excursions.
Visit Must-See UNESCO Sites The first Crystal River Cruise, Crystal Mozart, debuts this July and offers guests the chance to get up close and personal with not one but two UNESCO sites. On the tour, experience Austria’s picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring terraced vineyards, ancient ruins and that’s also home to the magnificent Schallaburg Castle. As a special bonus for 2016 and 2017 trips, Crystal Mozart will also offer guests the chance to experience the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, one of Europe’s most stunning baroque landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The evening promises unparalleled private access to the Palace’s impressive collections of art, including Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. The event also includes a concert of Viennese compositions in the legendary Marble Hall, where the Austrian State Treaty was signed in 1955, re-establishing Austria as a sovereign state following World War II.
Crystal Mozart Suite Three other all-inclusive, butler-serviced river cruises are slated for 2017, including Crystal Debussy, which takes guests on a tour of the best of Paris, Seine River and Normandy. Wine aficionados will want to book with Crystal Ravel, which explores the wine region of Bordeaux. On Crystal Mahler, cruise the Danube and Rhine rivers as you visit the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. From breathtaking scenery to UNESCOdesignated historical sites, Crystal’s river cruises promise a memorable voyage of refined elegance. Established in 1987, Tully Luxury Travel has longstanding relationships with the finest travel and tourism suppliers, and we offer world-class customer service through our three divisions: Cruise Professionals, African Dreams and Private Travel Designers. Why Contact a Cruise Professional? · Exclusive Amenities offered on ALL sailings · VIP access to sites often closed to the general public · Condé Nast Traveler “World’s Top Travel Specialist” since 1999 · Crystal Cruises’ largest-producing agency worldwide, 2000-2015
Other stops on the itinerary include wine tastings in Dürnstein, tours of Salzburg— Mozart’s birthplace—and the imperial splendours of Budapest, as you cruise the Danube. The roundtrip Vienna itinerary allows guests to spend more time in this spectacular city, with the opportunity to extend their stay before or after the cruise.
Find out which is the best itinerary for you and receive exclusive amenities when you book with a Cruise Professional by Tully Luxury Travel. Call today at 1-844-308-5114.
Experience the Future of River Cruising
Crystal River Cruises Yacht Artist Concept
In 2017, Crystal launches its Crystal Bach river cruise, which visits the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, another UNESCO site, notable for its breathtaking Rhine Gorge and iconic Lorelei Rock. Cruise the Rhine and Moselle rivers exploring the cities and villages of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland along the way.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Italian Treasures on the
Photo: Crystal Cruises
Article by Ilona Kauremszky, Photography by Stephen Smith/mycompasstv
Earlier in the day, my beau Stephen and I were whisked from the palatial setting of Rome’s historic Hotel Eden to Civitavecchia, the departure port city for our seven-day cruise. We chose this fine 51,000-ton gal for a few reasons. Back in 2006 Crystal Cruises completed a US$23-million overhaul to the 922-passenger vessel which was the shipping company’s most extensive interior refurbishment to date. We also were inter-
ested in discovering the allure of the Italian Riviera made famous by Roman emperors, European princes and Hollywood jet setters. Still, the other reasons were the guest-space ratio for guaranteed sheer seclusion and the great guest to staff ratio for pampering and finer details. Upon arrival Victor, our personal butler, escorted us to our penthouse suite. Complete with balcony, lounge chairs and uber chic interiors, the suite had a “serenity now” ambiance propelled by a bucket of the finest, chilled GH Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne. There amid crystal light fixtures, crisp Egyptian cotton sheets, honeyed inlaid wooden cabinetry, and cool
sage and rich burgundy accents, I knew we had arrived to our home away from home. It was the perfect introduction for our prowl to explore the playground of the rich and famous. “Please know I am here for anything you wish,” replied our white-gloved butler who turned in his tuxedo tails and disappeared. The cruise had only just begun. A typical Crystal Symphony voyage takes about 6-18 days but we were on a shorter one-week version, perfect for brief escapes. At the Gala Welcome reception we were ushered into the stylish Starlight Club for
Photo: Crystal Cruises
am on the Crystal Symphony luxury cruise liner in search of Italian treasures as we cruise past a myriad of coves and inlets along Italy’s west coast.
We dined in the Crystal Dining Room amid Riedel crystal and fine Villeroy and Boch china. I enjoyed the chef’s suggestion of sautéed jumbo shrimp, northern crab soup with brie cheese, followed by broiled fresh Norwegian salmon fillets, a homage to our Norwegian captain. As we dined we sailed past the isle of Corsica, Napoleon’s birthplace to the Ligurian Sea. Our first stop was the picturesque seaside village of Portofino. Weathered buildings in sunflower, peach and pale blue hues enveloped the brightly bobbing fishing boats or gozzi. The Romans named this coastal sanctuary Portus Delphini, “the Port of the Dolphins.” These days it is an exclusive stomping ground for wealthy and aristocratic Italians. Shore excursions are available but we ventured on our own to tour the town and its neighbouring city, Santa Margherita. We hiked the promontory laden with canopies of aromatic jasmine and ascended the cobbled stone steps to visit the Castello Brown, a medieval castle overlooking the harbour then finished our tour with a gelato at the lighthouse. Life along the Italian Riviera is pure La dolce vita from the cuisine to the spectacular scenery to the azure blue Mediterranean Sea. The piazzas are filled with sun-glassed patrons of Prada sipping cappuccinos. Their only burden was lugging shopping bags from Pucci, Gucci and Ferragamo. It’s a cocktail of elegant social life and supreme privacy behind luxe villas that cling to the cliff tops. The Symphony then sailed effortlessly to our next stop Monaco where fairytales really do come true. The world’s second smallest kingdom after the Vatican was made famous by starlet Grace Kelley who stole Prince Rainier’s heart in 1955 on a visit to
Cannes during the premier of the Hitchcock classic, To Catch A Thief. With the Cannes Film Festival in full swing and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix a few days away we chose to avoid the crowds and took a group shore excursion along the famous Cote D’Azur to Nice, France. Considered the capital and queen of the Riviera, Nice sits on a stage surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of mountains that reign over the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). Lavish hotels and a casino erected during the Belle Epoque period make Nice a constant rival to Monaco. You can still see vestiges of the old days along the famous Promenade Anglais that skirts the famous pebble beachfront. Matisse’s studio was here and overlooked the frenzied street market in the old city. There’s a caricature statue of Miles Davis outside the exclusive Hotel Negresco. Bono, Elton John, Tina Turner and Bill Gates all have heavenly pads between Monte Carlo and this exclusive seaside resort town. After a lunch of wine and cheese samplers in the historic old Jewish quarter we returned to the ship. At night, passengers reminisced and romanticized about the next day’s stop in Livorno, a popular cruise port for visits to Florence, San Gimignano, Pisa and other Italian hillside villages. Later that evening, snuggling in matching Frette bathrobes and sipping a robust Merlot from Napa Valley we cued Under The Tuscan Sun, a complimentary DVD rental from the ship’s library to prep us for the upcoming sights. But really we were counting down the hours to see our friends the next day in Florence. Over a simple penne pomodoro and white wine from Santa Margherita, our Florentine friends Amy and Duilio described their thrilling adventure done a week before to see the island of Capri and Pompeii. In Capri, the couple traipsed through the imperial villa of Tiberius, the ruin a silhouette against the blue sky that continues to
53 Photo: Crystal Cruises
medleys, hors d’oeuvres and flutes of champagne as guests donned tuxedos, pearls and sky-high Manolo Blahniks. Darwin, our server, mysteriously knew my name. And so it went for the rest of our journey.
dominate the island’s skyline. Duilio explained few passersby visit this stretch of Via Tiberius which starts in the Piazzetta and meanders up the terraced gardens and whitewashed villas passing million-dollar estates named, “Serenity” “Calm” and “Paradise.” “You could spend all day roaming the ruins of Pompeii,” they suggested and recounted how the ancient port city in its hey days contained mammoth-sized buildings of forums, amphitheatres, a gladiator court and a stadium. Uncertain of our own plans, Stephen and I high-tailed it back to our ship, contemplating our visit to our final coastal city, Sorrento, which hugs the dramatic Amalfi coast. We were to spend two days there so there were boundless opportunities to explore the area. “I’ve heard so much about Sorrento,” I murmured leafing through my Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guidebooks. But come early next morning, a copy of the daily newsletter “Reflections” made its way to our doorstep. The sightseeing dilemma was solved. “Hey, we’ve got a chance to visit the Isle of Capri and Pompeii,” I raved about our good luck as both destinations were outlined, making this dream now possible. We both smiled broadly and knew there were more Italian treasures yet to discover.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
The Rise of the River Cruises Photo: Avalon Waterways
Sail Iconic Rivers While Visiting Distinctive Corners of the World
A r t i c l e b y C r u i s e L i n e s I n t e r n at i o n a l A s s o c i at i o n ( C L I A )
ow can travelers leisurely explore several countries and discover multiple cultures in a matter of days? The answer is sailing on an iconic river aboard a river cruise. According to Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, the demand for the river cruise experience is at an all-time high; as of 2015, there were 169 river CLIA member cruise ships* on the water.
“These intimate voyages allow passengers to experience multiple, memorable destinations in a short amount of time all while travelling the world’s most famous, historic rivers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “As the demand for river cruising grows, there are now more experiences and destinations than ever before. In addition to cruising through Europe on the Rhine or Danube rivers, passengers can take river cruises through South America, Asia, Africa and even the U.S., offering access to some of the most authentic and treasured travel destinations in the world.” From Egypt to Asia, following are six iconic rivers around the world made easily accessible by river cruising: The Magic & Mystery of the Nile: One of the world’s most famous waterways, spanning more than 4,000 miles, the Nile River offers unbelievable sights of ancient temples, lush rainforests and impressive mountains. Avalon Waterways offers a 9-day river cruise from Cairo that takes cruisers on a voyage through 5,000 years of history, visiting temples built in the time of Cleopatra, the famed Sphinx and the Great Temples of Giza. The Battles & Beauty of the Mekong: Stretching through thousands of miles of authentic Asian rice paddies and fish farms,
the Mekong River’s beautiful deltas have been site to famous battles, specifically during the Vietnam War. Now, the peaceful waterways provide the perfect atmosphere for cruising. New options in Vietnam and Cambodia include AmaWaterways’ 15-night Mekong upstream and downstream itineraries. The voyage takes cruisers along the fabled Mekong River for an unforgettable authentic experience exploring rural villages, floating markets, and a Buddhist monastery. The itinerary includes Ho Chi Minh City with additional stops in Siem Reap, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. The “River Sea” of the Amazon: The longest river in South America and world’s largest resource of fresh water, the Amazon offers thousands of years of tropical history and beauty. Seabourn offers the chance to blend the beauty of both river and ocean, including sailing along the iconic Amazon River with a 15-day Amazon & Caribbean Isles Cruise. This cruise takes passengers on a luxurious journey along the Amazon with excursions into the jungle and beyond. A Trek through American History on the Mississippi: The Mississippi River is drenched in rich American history weaving through 1.2 million square miles and multiple states. Adventurers on American Cruise Lines sail on a Mississippi River Cruise paddlewheeler journey taking them along the famed domestic waters and through 10 states. Guests experience the jazz of New Orleans, Frenchinspired beauty of Natchez, the Gateway Arch of St. Louis and more. A Rise Along the Rhine: Known for enchanting castles and dramatic landscapes, the Rhine River has been crossed by the likes of Julius Caesar and George Patton. CroisiEurope’s
Christmas Market Cruise celebrates the holidays along the Rhine, visiting multiple Christmas markets in the European capital of Strasbourg, the “Christmas Cities” of Nuremberg and Rudesheim which feature the Christmas Market of Nations. Tauck’s Rhine and Moselle cruise blends the beauty of two historic rivers and allows passengers to experience the Netherlands to Switzerland, through Germany, France and Luxembourg. Cruisers can pay tribute to the fallen in the Battle of the Bulge at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, view medieval masterpieces like Bernkastel, Trier and Cochem, and experience an exclusive dinner at a medieval moated castle in Germany. The Gorgeous Ganges: Boasting the highest population of any river basin in the world and winding through India and Bangladesh, the sacred Ganges River is not only gorgeous but constantly changing. The river is slowly changing its path, naturally shifting 2.5 kilometers since 1990 so the river offers a truly once-in-a-lifetime course. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection exclusively offers a chance to sail this fertile and unique waterway with India’s Golden Triangle & Sacred Ganges river cruise and tour. Highlights include Delhi’s Humayun’s Tomb, the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, Jaipur’s City Palace, Mother Theresa’s home and tomb in Kolkata, Verdic temple in Mayapur, and Kalna’s Rajbari Temples. “River cruising is the ultimate experience offering an immersive, cultural and pampered vacation, complete with exceptional land excursions and vessel amenities,” D’Aoust continued. “Travelers can sail on storied waterways and discover new pockets of the world.”
Eight Reasons to River Cruise River Cruising allow passengers to experience multiple, memorable destinations in a short amount of time all while travelling the world’s most famous, historic rivers. A r t i c l e b y C r u i s e L i n e s I n t e r n at i o n a l A s s o c i at i o n ( C L I A )
1. Daily Discoveries—River cruises stop at new ports almost daily offering passengers an itinerary full of unique destinations to discover.
5. Maximum Return on Experience —River cruises offer a fantastic return on experience and investment, by allowing the chance to see multiple destinations under one price tag.
2. Scenic Sailing—While river cruise lines do not spend a full day cruising, there is typically no shortage of time to take in the beautiful scenery when passing through scenic stretches such as the Danube's Wachau Valley and the Rhine's River Gorge.
6. Local Tastes—Travelers get whisked away and drenched in local cultures with unique excursions and culinary experiences available only on river cruises, including experiences at historical sites and tasting masterpieces made with locally sourced ingredients
3. All-Inclusive— Most food, beverages, and often excursions are included in the overall price, allowing travelers to enjoy a decadent vacation without the stress of planning every detail and pinching every penny.
7. Love for Luxe—River cruises offer an exclusive, luxurious option for travelers. A smaller vessel means a more intimate vacation setting with staff focused on each guest.
4. One-of-a-Kind Experiences—With access to narrow ports and through shallow waterways, river cruising offers a cruise for travelers who love to experience new cultures, visit historical sites and relax in cruise luxury
8. New Options—River cruising allows travelers to visit more intimate corners of the world and experience lands previously thought hard to get to by cruise.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Hot Springs, Arkansas A spa town with a difference
Article & Photography By Johanna Read, TravelEater.net
was so looking forward to this trip. Who wouldn’t want to go to a town so famed for its relaxing thermal mineral waters that it is named Hot Springs? But I was surprised by how much more Hot Springs has to offer.
The springs Both the town and the national park are named Hot Springs. One side of the town’s main street is in fact inside the park. Like in most national parks, you can hike, mountain bike and enjoy forested trails and wonderful views. Unusually, you can tour historic buildings and get a massage too.
The earliest bathers soaked up the soothing waters under the sky. By the mid 1800s, bathhouses became the preferred location. Soon Hot Springs’ bathhouses were grand edifices rivaling those of European spas. Today you can visit many of these restored buildings along Bathhouse Row, and even “take the waters” in two of them. Many claim the water from the 47 different hot springs is healing. Until just a few decades ago, physicians would recommend their patients come to treat ailments from rheumatism to syphilis. It became so popular that the government eventually provided a clinic with a free bathhouse, so that people of any income could follow
their doctor's advice. As medical science evolved, the popularity of the baths waned. Today there’s no scientific evidence of health benefits from the springs. But I can vouch that lazily soaking in a pool of hot water (where phones are not allowed) is an excellent treatment for our hurried modern way of life. The spring water is also delicious to drink. Filling stations line the edges of the national park welcoming you to fill a jug with Hot Springs’ perfectly neutral pH7 water, all for free. Unlike most water from thermal springs, there is no iron or sulphur. The water comes out of the ground at about
62°C and doesn’t need treatment to make it safe to drink. Many believe that drinking the water is good for you too.
Pantry for artisanal chocolates, bitters, sauces and jams, and (my favourite) Lambrecht’s southern pecan toffee.
The Quapaw Baths & Spa feature four mineral pools at varying temperatures. At Quapaw, you can add on massages, body treatments and facials, plus visit the steam cave. The cave feels like a combination of sauna and steambath. I sat on a cedar bench in the man-made cave, designed to gather the heat coming off the underground springs below. While I didn’t see clouds of steam, I very quickly felt the moist therapeutic heat. I ended my 20-minute session relaxed and well-glistened (a lady glistens, not sweats, in the South).
Food and drink
If you want to stay in a town for any length of time, you want there to be great food. Hot Springs does not disappoint. More than a month after my visit, I’m still craving the pizza from DeLuca’s Pizzeria. Chef/owner Anthony Valinoti brought top pizza techniques from his native Brooklyn. He uses the best ingredients from Hot Springs, including the mineral water, for his classic and creative pies. His pizzas alone are enough of a reason to visit Hot Springs!
listening to The Hump Day Blues Band. If past bands were as good, it is no wonder that the Ohio Club was frequented by celebrities like Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr, Babe Ruth, Al Jolson and Mae West.
Where to stay
Lots to do After soaking up the waters, drive just out of town to the Garvan Woodland Gardens. I strolled through ever-changing gardens featuring waterfalls and hundreds of thousands of tulips and daffodils. Kids (and kids-at-heart) delight in the exploration cave, crawdad hole and maze. Architecture fans marvel at the glass walls and angles of the 6-story Anthony Chapel, designed by Maurice Jennings and Fay Jones. I was enchanted by Garvan’s resident peacock. He loves to show off his full plumage whenever anyone points a camera at him. You’ll need a keener eye to spot Garvan’s other 70 bird species. The Hot Springs area is full of attractions for a week of family fun. Watch thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn Park, ride a riverboat, go mini golfing and regular golfing, play laser tag, zipline, kayak, spend a day at the waterslides and the immense roller coasters at Magic Springs amusement park, visit the wax museum, and even an alligator farm. Tour the Gangster Museum to learn all about infamous mobsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano who used Hot Springs as a retreat. Shoppers love the independent shops on Central Avenue selling art, antiques, vintage candy, uniquely flavoured popcorn and housewares. Pop into The Savory
Craft-beer fans love Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery. In one of the old buildings on Bathhouse Row, they make beer on site using the national park’s spring water. They serve fantastic non-alcoholic root beer too, as well as lunch and dinner highlighting seasonal locally-grown products. Famous for being Bill Clinton’s favourite barbeque joint, McClard’s Bar-B-Q serves 7000 pounds of hickory-smoked beef, pork and chicken weekly, all smothered in their secret sauce. This place is so popular they won’t even reserve a table for the Clintons (though they do get invited into the kitchen to eat there). I learned the secret to eating southern pancakes at The Pancake Shop. The pancakes fill an entire dinner plate. To ensure my lap wasn’t covered in syrup, I followed the server’s instructions to cut a hole in the centre of the stack before filling it with butter and warm syrup. Delicious! There’s live music every night at the Ohio Club, right on Central Avenue. This historic club dates to 1905 and is the only original club still open. During Prohibition, it was called the Ohio Cigar Store; if you knew the right password, you were allowed into the drinking and gambling area hidden behind the false wall. I spent a Wednesday night
History-buffs favour The Arlington, a “grand old hotel”. The hotel has views of the national park and Bathhouse Row, and famous guests like Al Capone (who had his own suite, complete with secret escape route) and home-town son Bill Clinton in the presidential suite. The restaurants serve classic dishes and the lobby bar innovative cocktails. If you prefer more modern decor, choose The Hotel Hot Springs & Spa. Attached to the convention centre, this 14-story hotel was completely renovated in 2016. Its rooms are spacious and come with extras like a microwave and large mini-fridge. Breakfast with delicious biscuits and honey is included in rates. Lookout Point Lakeside Inn is a boutique option just outside of town, on Lake Hamilton. With views of the lake, the Ouachita Mountains, and garden waterfalls, you’ll be sure to relax at this B&B.
www.hotsprings.org Johanna Read is a Vancouver-based freelance writer and photographer specializing in travel and food. Follow Johanna on Instagram @TravelEaterJohanna and on Twitter @TravelEater. All her travel writing is at www.TravelEater.net.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
ost of us know China for its great landscapes, numerous bodies of water, architecture, and history. But do we know about the lesser familiar attractions? Perhaps one of the lesser familiar attractions is the maritime Silk Road, located in the country’s southeastern coastal areas, making connections with neighbouring countries.
Traditionally, this tourist route was divided into two: the East China Sea Silk Route and the South China Sea Silk Route. The former connected China with Japan and Korea. This portion of the route, which dates back to the Zhou Dynasty, was known for its silkworm, silk reeling, and weaving techniques — techniques that seeped into Korea through the Yellow Sea. Silk production was eventually Korea’s main commodity. This led to building many ports for exports to Japan. Moreover, Korea became the centre for technology. Because of the Haijin policy under the Qing Dynasty reign, however, business along the Silk Road declined. This policy prohibited maritime activities. The latter portion of the route connected China with other countries. As its route name specifies, this route surrounded—and still does today—the South China Sea. Guangzhou, Quanzhou, and Ningbo were the main departure cities when construction workers built this route. Like the eastern route, the southern route thrived during five dynasties (Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song) and declined during two of them (Ming and Qing). The decline was more noticeable during western wars, but the route renewed itself in the late Tang and Song dynasties with the rise of navigation and shipbuilding technologies. It connected with Southeast Asia, Malacca, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and Africa. What exactly is the Maritime Silk Road? It’s a Chinese strategic initiative designed to increase investment and foster collaboration through the Silk Road (former network of trade routes that connected Asia to other eastern and western localities). The Maritime Silk Road consisted of eight Chinese provinces: Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Hainan as well as two municipal areas of Tianjin and Shanghai.
Special Eight-Page Section on the Maritime Silk Road by Dwain Richardson
China Hebei-The Imperial Summer Villa of Chengde
www.tourismchina.org Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Hebei This is one of the country’s northernmost provinces. Hebei means “north of the river.” Coincidentally, this province is north of the Yellow River. Surprisingly, this province is only eighty-eight years old! The central government founded it in 1928. Hebei borders on a number of cities, countries, and geographical terrains (seas, rivers, plains, grasslands).Its climate is typical of a monsoon: Winters are cold and dry, while summers are hot and humid. For example, temperatures soar
Jiangsu This province is in the easternmost region of China, running parallel to the Yangtze River and bordering the Huanghai Sea. Nanjing is the province’s capital. The province’s climate borders on a temperate and subtropical zone. Winters are the coldest in January and summers are the warmest in July. Jiangsu can receive anywhere from 800 to 1,200 millimetres of rain—precipitation is the greatest during summer months. Local products are plentiful in the Jiangsu province—and yes, there’s lots of local cuisine to be had. Fish, chicken, seafood, and
Shanghai This city, which literally means “above the sea,” is an international port metropolis renowned for its economic, financial, cultural, scientific, and technological industries. Many cultures converge in this eastern China city: modern and traditional, oriental and western. The mix of cultures isn’t new to Shanghai. Following the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, inhabitants from western and eastern Europe flocked to the port city to open businesses and build houses and mansions. Like many other destinations in China, many
between –16°C and –3°C in January. In July, temperatures range from 20°C to 27°C. Given the high heat and humidity, it comes as no surprise that most rain falls during the summer months.
start of the Daihe River. Let yellow sand glide over your feet and step into shallow waters. While you’re having fun on the beach, let yourself be dazzled by caves, secluded paths, and winding bridges.
Chengde Mountain Resort: A complex made of imperial palaces and gardens. Seventy-two scenic wonders await, including the “Tower of Mist and Rain.” Be prepared to see many grasslands, forested mountains, and valleys among the many buildings. This resort is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
Ming Great Wall: The site runs from Jiayu Pass in the west to the Shanhai Pass in the east (the walls measure 8,850 kilometres in length), and through to Manchuria, located in northeastern China. The walls consist of trenches and natural barriers such as hills and rivers.
Bedaihe Beach Resort: A ten-kilometre attraction from the Yinjiao Pavilion to the
liquors are in every locality, and some of these staples are found in meals, including pork meat patties and broken bone fish’s head. Attractions Classical Gardens of Suzhou: These nine eleventh- to nineteenth-century gardens are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. They recreate miniature natural landscapes and reflect the importance of natural beauty. Visitors can find residential zones among the gardens. Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty: One of China’s biggest imperial tombs located in the easternmost zone of Nanjing. The mausoleum’s key feature is the Sacred Way, a long path stretching
European architectural wonders await when travellers set foot in this city. Attractions The Bund: A well-known waterfront in Shanghai. Located on the west bank of Huangpu River, the Bund flows from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge (length of 1,500 metres). You can find twenty-six architectural sites on the Bund’s westernmost end. Architectural styles range from Gothic to Renaissance. If you’re a night owl, you should stop by the Bund, for you’ll see colourful lights shining in the river and flashing on the farthest side of the river. This attraction was named the “Shanghai Top Ten Night Light Views” in 2009.
1,800 metres. You can see many animal sculptures like lions and elephants. Visitors can also see columns carved with dragons. Scenic sculptures also greet visitors. Like the gardens in Suzhou, the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zhouzhuang Water Town: What makes this attraction so popular? Look around you and you’ll see many old buildings and bridges, crafts, and of course, lots of water. This water town is an hour and half away from Shanghai and Suzhou. Tourists should ideally visit this attraction in the spring (April/May) and fall (September/October). While you’re visiting, you can drop by local shops and marvel at traditional Chinese culture.
Nanjing Road: Hear ye, hear ye, shoppers and foodies! Looking for major brands, new fashions, great foods, open bars? This is the place to be. You’ll see many upscale stores such as Tiffany and Dunhill. Is traditional shopping your cup of tea? You can still drop by a number of specialty shops and traditional stores featuring silk products and embroidery, not to mention clocks, jade, and wool. If you prefer evening strolls, why not have a pint of your favourite beverage and listen to music by street performers? There’s much to see and do along this 5.5.-kilometre route that stretches from the Bund in the east to Jing’an Temple in the west.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Zhejiang This is one of China’s eastern provinces. Its capital is Hangzhou. Nestled along the East China Sea, Zhejiang will charm you with its numerous islands, gardens, and landmarks such as the five-storey Leifeng Pagoda. Take a moment to look around you when you arrive in Zhejiang. You’ll notice that most areas are hilly, though you will definitely encounter valleys, plains, and islands along the province’s coastlines. The province has four seasons with different climates: Spring is generally rainy, especially in March. Summers are long, hot, humid, and wet. (Heads-up: The typhoon threat is
Fu j i a n A southeastern province reputed for its mountainous and coastal cities. Rivers are plentiful, and are considered important because they were used as transportation routes for centuries. Fujian faces Taiwan (further east). It’s south of Zhejiang, west of Jiangxi, and north of Guangdong. Its capital is Fuzhou. Fujian’s climate is semitropical along the coastlines (hot in summer, cool in winter). It’s cool between November and February, warm from March to May, and hot between June and October. Like Zhejiang, a risk of typhoons is great during monsoon
Guangdong Guangzhou: Gateway to the Silk Road. Of all the Chinese harbours, Guangzhou was the largest, and the only one to make connections to foreign countries. It also had historical significance: Three voyage routes originated from Guangzhou. In addition, in 1784, the American vessel Empress of China sailed to this city, which led to the first transportation route between the United States and China, and eventually giving way to trade. On the cultural scene, most associate Guangdong with cuisine and music. This is considered the birthplace of what westerners call “Chinese food” (Cantonese food). Grab the authentic taste of sweet and sour
considerable in late August due to great accumulations of rain.) In contrast, the fall is dry, warm, and sunny. With the exception of the far south, winters are short but cold. Average temperatures range between 15°C and 19°C. Depending on the seasons, however, temperatures vary slightly. For instance, they hover between 2°C and 8°C in January and 27°C to 30°C in July. Attractions Baoguo Temple: A Buddhist temple, and the oldest surviving wooden structure. This attraction houses various exhibitions: statues, bronzes, Ningbo furniture, carved stone screens, to name but a few. Admission: 20 CNY ($3.97 CAD) per person. Be prepared to pay an extra fee if you want services by a tour guide.
season (expect between 1,270 and 2,030 millimetres of rain along the coast and in western mountainous areas). Average temperatures range from 11°C to 29°C. Attractions Sānfāng Qīxian: This architectural site, located in the downtown core, is a set of ancient buildings coined “Three Lanes and Seven Paths.” The site was first built during the Jin Dynasty (around the twelfth century). Meander through the white-walled streets, shop at one of many local stores, or take a coffee along the canal. Wŭyí Shān Scenic Area: Enter this area via Wŭyí Gōng, approximately 200 metres south of the Wŭyí Mountain Villa. Trails
pork, wonton soup, and dim-sum. The food is plentiful, delicious, and inexpensive, and few travellers can leave this city hungry. Attractions Mount Danxia: Bring a camera and be dazzled by plenty scenic, mountainous sites. You’ll also see a number of temples scattered about. A river winds through the mountains, allowing visitors to ride a boat during their stay. This site is on the 2010 UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Seven Star Crags: Find most crags around Star Lake. The lake has five distinct sections, and has small land and walkway strips. Like many attractions in China, there’s no shortage of Buddhist and Taoist sculptures around the lake. While you’re
Yandangshan: Mountains galore! This area has a northern and southern zone. You will find the highest peaks in North Yandang. This is where you’ll find Mount Yandang, an area known for its vertical rock faces and pinnacles, mountain slopes and its lush forests and bamboo groves, and streams filled with clear water, waterfalls, and caves. You’ll come across several shrines and temples as well.
Qiandao Lake: Akin to the Thousand Islands region located between Kingston and Cornwall, Ontario (1,078 islands on the lake and other thousands scattered about). Bird Island, Snake Island, and Monkey Island are some of the many islands you’ll visit. Did you know that Qiandao Lake is used to produce mineral water?
contained in this area connect with major sites. Are you up to walking a lot? Stroll along the 530-metre Great King Peak (via main entrance), or try walking along the 410-metre Heavenly Tour Peak (enter via Nine Twists River). If you plan to take the Great King Peak, walk with appropriate shoes, for trails may be slippery and wet. Ānxī Cháyè Dàguānyuán: Would you like a cup of tea? The mountainous Ānxī County is known for its Iron Buddha tea. It is characterized by a thick fragrance and floral sweetness. This tea farm produces roughly fifty tea brands from China, Japan, and Taiwan. While you’re on site, take a free tour of the small museum and processing plant.
here, why not check out the many fantastic caves? Chen Clan Ancestral Hall: A magnificently preserved example of nineteenth-century architecture. It was the ancestral shrine of a wealthy family, and now is a museum with many items and articles, including ivory sculptures and artistic statues. Today, visitors can see more than twenty attractions along the Silk Road. Some of them include the Temple of God of South Sea, Huaisheng Mosque, the Temple of Bright Filial Piety, the Muslim Sage’s Tomb, Hualin Temple, and Lotus Tower. Like many countries, the Silk Road is showered with European architecture, especially when tourists set foot in Shameen
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Guangxi An autonomous region in southern China bordering Vietnam. Its capital is Nanning. Guangxi’s climate is subtropical, just like many other localities in the country (long, hot summers). Parts of this autonomous region are mountainous, especially areas in China’s northeast, north, centre, and southeast sectors. Guangxi is known for its many rivers that cut through mountains, forming what we know as the West River.
Hainan This is China’s smallest and southernmost province. Hainan Island is the main island. Its capital is Haikou. Aside from islands, Hainan boasts of many rivers and lakes, including the Wanning and Changhua Rivers. Unlike other areas of China, natural rivers are few in number in this southernmost area. Hainan’s climate ranges from subtropical to tropical. Haikou’s climate is subtropical, as are other areas in northern Hainan. The farther south you travel, however, the climate is more tropical (warmer temperatures are the norm). Winter temperatures range from 16°C to 21°C; summer temperatures
A few cultural notes: Guangxi and Guangdong mean “Western and Eastern Expanse.” Traditionally, Guangxi has had a close connection with Cantonese culture and language. These influences are noticeable in the easternmost areas of the region. Three varieties of Chinese are spoken in Nanning: Southwestern Mandarin, Yue, and Pinghua. Attractions Lijiang River: The eighty-three-kilometre green river flows from Piled Festoon Hill to Bilian Peak in Yangzhou. Marvel at the steep peaks, luxuriant flowers, and green hills that reflect in the blue water.
Reed Flute Cave: This attraction, located five kilometres west of Guilin, got its name from verdant reeds that grew outside the cave (flutes are made with this type of reed). Walk inside this water cave and explore many stalactites, stone pillars, and rock formations. Don’t expect to see complete darkness: You’ll be greeted with many coloured lights as you tour the site. West Street: This ancient street is found in the heart of Yangshuo County. It has been the centre of eastern and western cultures since the 1980s. Walk along the marbled streets and enjoy the simple styles and courtyard-like settings. While you’re here, have a coffee on a patio, purchase a number of souvenirs, or take a bite into local cuisine (the beer fish dish is worth a try).
are between 25°C to 29°C. As tourists would expect, summers are hot. This is particularly true in northern areas of Hainan.
buildings, including the Guanjia Hall, Xuepu Hall, East and West Hall, and the Ancestral Hall of the Two Fubo Generals.
A few notes about local cuisine:
Yangpu Ancient Salt Field: An archaeological heritage site in Yantian Village. See more than one thousand stones that evaporate seawater to produce salt (stones are cut on top). Stones are equipped with a thin rim to contain water.
Dig in on seafood! Chefs prepare many meals with shrimp, lobster, crab, and other sea life creatures. Wenchang chicken: a drier meat with lots of texture. Hainan chicken rice: a dish with rice marinated in chicken soup. Attractions Five Officials Temple: Built in honour of the five Tang (618–907 AD) and Song dynasty officials (960–1279). This site is southeast of Haikou. The temple complex has many
Yanoda: A rainforest located near Sanya. The Chinese government has reserved forty-five square kilometres for the Cultural Tourist Zone, while the rest of the rainforest (123 square kilometres) is fully protected. China’s tourism department has rated this attraction AAAAA, the highest rating on the country’s rate scale.
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, Guangdong
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
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New Boston Hilton Garden Inn
CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel - Istanbul Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople, is Turkey’s largest city and the country's economic, cultural, and historical center straddling the Bosphorus strait that separates Europe and Asia. A key to any visit is finding a base of operations, aka, a hotel. The CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel offers everything a traveller could ask for. With design details that reflect the majesty of the Turkish palaces that can be found around the city, this fabulous property also grants guests magnificent views of the Bosphorus straight, the city and the far side which is the Asian part of Istanbul. The luxurious nature of the hotel is evident from the moment you set eyes on the building. Modern lines and architecture on the outside of the building leave visitors anticipating the best out of this hotel. They will not be disappointed. Once you pass the elegant entryway, guests are greeted in the grand lobby of the hotel, with its impressive marble and granite finishings to make your arrival a grand one. Every step of the way you will find friendly, accommodating staff and a dedication to service that is second to none. There is no doubt that this hotel deserves to be among the properties in the ‘Preferred Hotels and Resorts’ group, which represents a collection of the world's best luxury hotels and resorts in more than 85 countries. The spacious suites feature separate living spaces, private terraces, and hot tubs. The washrooms are a dream, with a large stand alone white tub, lots of light and a wonderful rain shower head. To top it off, the toiletries were high end and wonderful. This is the place to see and be seen with guests from all over the world. There are great restaurants and bars, serving a variety of cuisine, with spicy tastes of Morocco to the ancient flavours of the Ottoman Empire! Delicious. On top of the beauty and comfort of our room, the CVK Park Bosporus Hotel is very well located, just minutes away from Taksim square and the famous Istiklal pedestrian street where just about anything can be found!
Ideal for Business Stay, or Explore and Play by Jessica Percy-Campbell A stone’s throw from the airport with free 24-hour shuttle service, the new Hilton Garden Inn Boston Logan Airport provides a perfect base for visitors coming to explore the city or do business in downtown Boston. It’s also an economical choice for families arriving for weekend trips to take in a Red Sox game or fun attractions like the New England Aquarium. It’s 10 minutes downtown by car and a five-minute walk to the subway. The fresh, new complex also boasts a heated indoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. It’s ideal for conventions and groups as well with a 24-hour business center and large modern meeting facilities. The elegant décor of the Garden Grille & Bar makes it a great place to enjoy an early breakfast or an evening cocktail, and all guests have access to coin-operated washers and dryers. There’s also a convenience store on site. But it’s the front-desk staff at this new hotel that makes it exceedingly special; they go above and beyond to make guests feel at home. They’re also very knowledgeable about nearby attractions and happy to help you plan your days out.
This is not only a street for locals, there is so much to see and do that it is also a major draw for tourists. Visitors can spend an entire day shopping, eating and being entertained. After a hard day of tourist-ing, enjoy some relaxation at the CVK Safira Spa & Fitness & Wellness Center. A first of its kind in Istanbul, this Spa offers a variety of special services to its guests including VIP massage rooms, an indoor heated swimming pool, personal spa areas, baths and hot tubs. preferredhotels.com/destinations/istanbul/park-bosphorus-hotel
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Zemi Beach Resort, Anguilla
A Shining New Star on Stunning Shoal Bay Anguilla is a tiny island in the Eastern Caribbean, a few miles from St. Maarten with some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. Being a beach fanatic, I was concerned when I heard a brand new resort had taken root on Anguilla’s Shoal Bay, what I consider to be one of the most glorious strips of sand in the world. Part of the exceptional appeal of this little island is that it’s sparsely developed. There is a handful of five-star resorts and a smattering of high end villa rentals, a few mid-level stays and the odd B&B, but basically it’s a tiny community of some 15,000 residents living on an arid rock fringed with surreal aqua waters and scenic cliffs. As they say, Anguilla rhymes with vanilla but it’s twice as sweet! However, upon my arrival to the new Zemi Beach Resort I could instantly confirm that any concerns I had about this new development were unfounded. It’s a glorious addition to the postcard perfect scene, and
smartly designed to allow its unparalleled surroundings be the true star. Outside, their bright white-multi-tiered complex cascades down the hill and spills fluidly into the sea via a serene infinity pool with a glassed in wall- and there is also an adultonly pool and lounge area on a separate level. Overall there are 54 beautifully appointed guest rooms and nine two and three-bedroom suites- all beachfront with oversized balconies. And the activities on that glorious beach include hobie cats and snorkeling- there is a pair of resident sea turtles living right out front- and they also offer weekly mermaid lessons! That’s right! Zemi is one of the hosts for the new Mermaid School International where women, men and even children can learn to swim with a tail and a monofin! I tried it, and it was such fun! They also have a wonderful children’s club with innovative activities and state-of the-art tennis courts. For on-site dining there is Stone- an upscale Asian and Caribbean fusion enclave, and 20 Knots- a more casual indoor/outdoor beachside eatery with fabulous breakfast buffets and the a surprise of a brick pizza oven. Their pizzas were divine with a cre-
ative choice of gourmet toppings like the local spiny lobster Anguilla is famous for. And their Rhum Bar is exquisite. A classy lounge where you can try some the Caribbean’s best. I especially enjoyed their rhum education and tasting class. But beyond the spectacular beach, it’s their Zemi Thai House Spa that impresses the most. Set apart, behind the resort, the focus is on an authentic 300-year-old Thai rice house that was rebuilt piece by piece. It is the nexus of this soothing oasis that features the island’s only hammam, a meditation pond amid a tropical garden, many multifunction treatment rooms, a fresh juice bar and a wellness boutique. It really is worth a visit all on its own. Very unique. And overall, I can’t say enough about their super warm, friendly and highly efficient staff. They really know how to do upscale without the snooty. If you’ve never been to Anguilla before, I highly recommend your first stay there should be at Zemi Beach Resort to discover what barefoot luxury is all about. Problem is, you might never return!
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Articles by Mathieu Morcos & Camille Fodi
The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui he heat of the sun as we landed would be a preview of the warmth we would get from the staff at the Tongsai Bay Resort. Comfort and pleasure is the name of the game, and upon arrival at the Koh Samui airport, a staff member was there to welcome us and chauffeur us to the resort.
met. If you’re a picky sleeper, they even have a choice of pillow.
The receptionist gave us a tour of the hotel and its amenities along with a map to find our way. We were informed that we would be offered an upgrade to a seafront pool villa!
We each had the pleasure of a 90 minute Thai massage at the hotel’s spa. The spa is extremely charming with an entranceway that makes you feel as if you are stepping into a jungle with its decorative waterfall and pond. Upon entering, the spa manager explained their offer in detail, including the extent of the massage, along with our choices of oils (hot or room temperature) and fragrances (6 choices). The massage itself was delightful and relaxing.
The hotel offers to all their guests a complimentary escort (golf cart) from the lobby to their rooms or from their rooms to wherever they wish to go within the resort. It may seem silly, but it is quite appreciated in the heat, especially considering the resort’s size. Our seafront villa was simply stunning! Nice cold towels infused with a lovely fragrance and a refreshing herbal iced tea awaited us. Stepping into the room, you will immediately notice the very large balcony, which includes a private pool facing the sea. Alongside the swimming area, two sun loungers invite guests to sunbathe with a view. If you are trying to avoid the sun, the balcony also has a shaded resting area containing a 4 poster bed with mosquito screens, a bath tub, dining table and a large pantry which includes a bar with sink and a fridge. As for the room itself, it is divided in two, where the bedroom and TV room both offer seafront views. The resting area and bathrooms were modern and built for two adults to have enough space to get ready at the same time. Every detail in the room was thought out and guests will have every need
The hotel staff is as friendly as they are helpful. Throughout the resort the rooms are tidied up twice a day and mid-day snacks, fresh fruits and ice are complimentary.
At night, we had dinner at the resort’s restaurant located right on the beach. The sound of the waves crashing into the shore was soothing and made the romantic ambiance all that better. To get a true experience of what the restaurant had to offer, we asked the manager for his recommendations and he did not disappoint. The fried calamari and scallops were both excellent choices for appetizers. As for the main course, the grilled sea bass was meaty, fresh and very tasty. The Australian steak and chips was cooked to perfection and can certainly fill even the hungriest of guests. Desert was a traditional Thai delicacy, sticky mango rice. Turns out it was mango season, the fruit was tender and sweet, simply delicious! The Tongsai Bay resort went above and beyond our expectations, it was definitely one the highlights of our trip in Thailand.
The Landmark, Bangkok hen arriving at the Landmark Hotel, guests immediately realize how it got its name. The location is pristine, and this beautiful, tall building that stands out in the heart of Bangkok, which is saying something as the city is ripe with magnificent buildings.
The lobby’s cathedral ceiling and marble floors give the impression of a luxurious Las Vegas hotel, lavish and lush. The receptionist greeted us and took us to the 31st floor, all the way to the top, where we met with the hotel’s management. After giving us in depth details about our stay at the Landmark and all the generous complimentary perks that came along with it, we headed back down to the 24th floor to see our room. Although the Landmark was built almost 30 years ago, most of the rooms have been recently renovated and our room was simply gorgeous, from the enormous king size bed to the modernized bathroom, every detail in the room was carefully chosen for comfort and style. Every morning, we would receive an English copy of the local Newspaper outside our door before heading to the breakfast buffet. The buffet’s variety was broad to say the least. If you wanted Western, Chinese, Thai or even European choices, it was all there. The buffet chefs offer to make a fresh omelette with ingredients of your choice, as well as pancakes and waffles made on the spot, delicious! Fresh fruits, cold cuts and cheese are also at your disposal. We would enjoy our daily iced coffee while reading that newspaper. Further into the day, you might feel the need for some quiet time by the
pool located on the 9th floor. Its privacy makes you almost forget that you’re in the heart of the country’s capital. After cooling off in the pool, make sure to visit the sundeck, located a stairway away. A small bar on the sundeck serves refreshments throughout the day while you enjoy the lounging in the sun. The fitness room is modern and can help you feel less guilty about all those pastries you’ve been having at the breakfast buffet. At night, we would eagerly visit the 31st floor where you can relish a view of the city from up on high, while enjoying complimentary drinks and snacks. The evening buffet is very diverse and was simply delicious. We were also given a wonderful token of appreciation, rebates on the hotel’s steakhouse, bar and spa. Chocolates and the teddy bears that represent the Landmark’s mascot were left on in our room, simply a kindhearted gesture. The staff was supportive, knowledgeable and positive from start to finish, from helping us find local restaurants and directions for entertainment, all the way to securing our luggage while we waited for our transportation. We got to meet the director of marketing communications who insured that our stay had met our expectations. It obviously had, as we would definitely recommend The Landmark and visit again in the future!
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Fourviere Hotel Lyon
Annecy Bonlieu Hotel
illions of dollars and a beautiful renovation have reinvented the old Convent of Visitation built in 1854 and turned it into a real gem of a hotel. The Fouviere is situated down the street from a roman-era amphi-theatre and the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, and its hilltop placement offers wonderful views of the city and the surroundings help guests feel like they are in the countryside.
magnificent view of the Alps in the distance, seen best from the top floors of this new, modern and contemporary hotel, is just start of guest attractions at the Annecy Bonlieu Hotel. This property is located in the heart of town and minutes away from the famous lake and old quarters. It has easy access to all of Annecy’s cultural and tourist attractions, including historical locals, the lake and town centre, and the mountains are a short ride away.
This boutique style hotel takes good care of their guests and the artistic feel is juxtaposed with the building`s walls of solid stone. The reception area has a marble alter and frescoes on the ceiling harkening back to times when the hotel was still a convent. The renovations have created well-lit rooms and bathrooms that are extra large.
With so much to do and see in this beautiful city, the hotel is an ideal base to sleep, shower and plan daily schedules. As breakfast is included, a guest’s day can start out perfectly.
The hotel offers unique gastronomic experiences to push your taste buds to the limit. The Restaurant Les Téléphones serves bistro-style cuisine while overlooking the glorious courtyard. Guests can also relax with a hot drink at Le Kfe, a comfortable area where you can read a book, newspaper or your emails. Another niche is down the hotel’s own “traboule” passageway to discover Le Bar, where many wines from France and elsewhere await you. Finally, you can enjoy authentic Lyonnaise cuisine experience at the Bouchon, the hotel’s unique restaurant.
The Littoral n the heart of Evian and just metres from the shores of Lake Geneva, the Littoral-Evian boutique Hotel welcomes visitors to enjoy its light, airy and comfortable rooms. A welcoming staff, an Alpine-esque décor and a delicious European continental breakfast with great cold cuts, many different cheeses, jams, breads and fresh apple or orange juice. Room prices are reasonable for everything is offered and there are options for one child or two.
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Outside the door, guests are treated to a magnificent view of Lac Leman while being caressed by the cool breeze on a hot day. Steps away, guests will find the main pedestrian street, with the city’s casino and the town hall waiting for the visit.
http://en.hotel-littoral-evian.fr Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Photo: St. Lucie County Media Relations and Office of Tourism
Va c at i o n G o l d o n F lo r i d a ’ s Tr e a s u r e C o a s t Article & Photography by Jennifer Merrick
n July 31st, 2015, divers struck gold when they found 4.5 million dollars’ worth of Spanish coins off the coast of Vero Beach, 170 miles southeast of Orlando. It’s just a fraction of the loot that was lost when 11 ships laden with jewelry and precious metals capsized during a hurricane in 1715, exactly 300 years earlier, on their return to Spain.
Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties, is known as Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Those riches have been washing up on Florida’s mid-eastern coast ever since, and it’s why this region, which encompasses St.
“We are now entering Osprey Alley,” said Captain John, and we were treated to the
Though we didn’t unearth any gold coins on our recent trip, we did discover a treasure trove of vacation gems. Here were some of our favourites.
Indian River County
sight of several large nests and their feathered inhabitants. We marvelled at mothers taking care of their fledglings, fanning them to keep them cool. These graceful water birds were just one of many wildlife sightings on this unforgettable airboat tour of Blue Cypress Lake. We also spotted alligators, turtles, eagles, great blue herons and the adorable two-day-old moorhens. Lunch was also memorable at Capt. Hiram’s Resort’s Bahamian-styled Sand Bar. Surrounded by palm trees, our feet
sunk in the warm white sand, it was the ideal island ambiance for noshing on conch fritters and mahi-mahi tacos. The best part is you can eat as much as you want because the magic mirror in the women’s washroom makes you appear 20lbs thinner. “I want to take it home,” murmured one patron while admiring the distorted, but oh so flattering view. Our next boating excursion was straight out of a James Bond movie on the aptly named yacht, ‘Moonraker’. Fully equipped with kitchen, showers, a BBQ and even a hammock, this 40-foot catamaran sailboat can be chartered for a couple of hours or an entire day. We sailed on a sunset cruise, a picture-perfect introduction to Vero Beach, a destination often referred to as Florida’s Hamptons. We capped off this fine evening at Ocean Grill, a local institution known for its seafood, ocean view and stately atmosphere. www.visitindianrivercounty.com
St. Lucie County “Great weather, horses, and a beach -- it just doesn’t get any better than that,” said Allen Hayes, owner of Horseback on the Beach. He was right. The excursion that took us along the water’s edge on Hutchinson Island felt like a scene right out of a movie with a cool ocean breeze, turquoise water and the most good-natured horses imaginable. The beach was virtually empty except for us and I assumed it was private. It wasn’t. It’s one of St. Lucie County’s 21 miles of beach that are more popular with sea turtles than crowds. Nature lovers can enjoy 11,000 acres of parks and preserves, and eco-sites such as the Manatee Observation Center, Great Florida Birding Trail and the Oxbow EcoCenter. Hungry after all that activity? Head over to the seaside fishing village of Fort Pierce, where you’ll find several restaurants that showcase the turquoise water of the River Lagoon. We stopped in at On the Edge and found the atmosphere of this
open-air thatched eatery as good as its fresh seafood. During our time in St. Lucie, we stayed at the Club Med Sandpiper, which is a destination in and of itself with its full roster of activities that includes everything from flying trapeze and circus school to more traditional leisure pursuits of tennis and golf. This all-inclusive resort is especially known for its food and entertainment. “Dining is a focal point for us,” said Ralph Cipollo, executive chef, and after sampling their Alaskan salmon with shitake mushrooms, we wholeheartedly agreed. www.visitstluciefla.com www.clubmed.ca
Martin County “Look down the boardwalk to your left and up. That’s what a 1000-year-old Cypress tree looks like,” said Chuck Barrowclough, our guide at the Barley Barber Swamp. For a few moments our normally boisterous group is silent as we took in its majesty. Adorned with Spanish moss and with vines wrapped around the silver-barked trunk, it’s the star attraction of this 400-acre nature reserve that shelters a diverse ecosystem and indigenous flora and fauna. We were thrilled to spot alligators and bald eagles. But the ancient tree enthralled me most, and I couldn’t help but think what stories it would be able to tell if it could. Remarkably, this worthwhile tour is free although donations are encouraged to continue its conservation work. Though the cypress couldn’t tell its story, we found someone at our next stop that regaled us with tales of a Florida of yesterday. Jonnie Flewelling, innkeeper of the Seminole Inn, has strong family ties to the area. Her grandmother was the first post mistress of Indiantown, and they still retain post office box number one. Jonnie is a gifted storyteller and her accounts of the Seminole natives, early rancher ‘crackers’ and of her inn riveted me. The Seminole Inn has been welcoming guests since 1926
and has been in the Flewelling family for 40 years. Stays can be as relaxing as rocking on the wooden chairs on the porch or as adventurous as hunting for wild hogs. But what they are best known for is their country brunch. “We draw people in from Jacksonville to Miami and often book out,” says Jonnie. After partaking in their southern fare of biscuits, meatloaf, collard greens and the crispy fried chicken, I could understand why. “My mother stood over me for 20 years before she let me make it myself,” said Jonnie. These recipes, and more importantly the stories that permeate every detail of the Seminole Inn, is a legacy to be proud of, and are perfect examples of what riches visitors can find on Florida’s Treasure Coast. www.discovermartin.com If you go: Most visitors fly to either Orlando or Fort Lauderdale and drive to the Treasure Coast. Driving distance is 60 to 90 minutes depending on the destination. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in both Vero Beach and Stuart and were impressed with their convenience, service and full breakfasts.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Plains and Cranes A r t i c l e & P h o t o g r a p h y b y R o n Pa q u e t
laced in the heart of America, Nebraska has boundless grasslands, which is used for the major industries of the state, beef, pork, corn and soybeans. Farming and ranching engage most of the some 2 million residents, but there are many other reasons to visit this Great Plains state.
As beef farming is a major industry in Nebraska, all local restaurants serve copious amounts of beef steak for very reasonable prices. With so much choice, itâ€™s hard to pick a favorite, but must highlight Alley Rose in Kearney, where their 16-ounce prime rib can be had for a mere $18. The town of about 30,000 is known for the trains that cross through the downtown area every seven
minutes, for a total of 190 trains over a 24 hour period! Our trip took us to McCook, in the far western region of Nebraska to view the Prairie Chickens. They are difficult to find in the wild and it is quite a procedure. You have to climb out of bed before dawn to settle into one of the blinds, which is basically a horse trailer with portholes, to view the chickens. It is quite a ritual, as the males puff themselves up, strut, fight and dance on the lek (the traditional display ground) and begin trying to attract a mate. There is usually only one female for every 10 or more males, so they all have to flaunt their best. This show goes on for a couple of hours and lasts for several months.
However, the real highlight of Nebraska tourism is viewing the Sandhill Cranes, which draws upwards of 30,000 people each year to reserves like the Crane Trust Sanctuary in Wood River near Grand Island, and the Audubon Society's Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon near Kearney. Crane season lasts for six weeks from the beginning of March until mid April, and the very shallow Platte river features the largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes in the world during their Spring migration from wintering on the Gulf Coast to their summer time breeding grounds in Northwestern Canada and Siberia. For a mere $35, you can spend three hours watching over 400,000 cranes as they all
chatter in unison before taking off in great groups headed for surrounding corn fields. They spend their days eating corn left from harvests of fields near the river, building their strength for the long flight north; at night they sleep islands in the river perched on one leg. Before dawn, the murmuring begins and thousands of Cranes begin filling the skies as they head off for a day of feeding.. Flash photography and talking is not permitted in the blinds (viewing stations) as this will scare the birds away. The Audubon Row Sanctuary and the Crane Trust Sanctuary (both charitable organizations) offer the best viewing opportunities with blinds located very near the birds. The Crane Trust offers overnight packages priced at $1,000 a night, including a private cottage, all meals and multiple Crane viewings. Devoted bird watchers will also enjoy a drive south from Kearney to the Harlan Reservoir near Republican City to see the White Pelicans who are also returning to the state at this time of year. Once the bird viewing is over there are numerous heritage museums dotting the countryside where you can view early 19th century history with all its artifacts. Indigenous peoples lived in the region for thousands of years before European exploration. Once European exploration, trade, and settlement began, both Spain and France sought to control the region. Artifacts from the periods are found in small museums throughout the state, but there are all sorts of interesting stops. Kearney hosts a classic car collection of some 200 vintage and modern cars, including the 130 cars automobile collectors Bernie and Janice Taulborg donated to the museum. It includes a wide range of gangster and vintage cars, including a one of a kind 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith Limo, two rare Locomobiles and three Pierce Arrows. Also on display are two rare Lincolns from the Full Classic era, a 1930 Convertible by LeBaron which is one of only 80 produced and a 1930 Dual Cowl Phaeton, which is one of only 20 manufactured worldwide. These are accompanied by similarly rare models from
Packard and Cadillac, Buick and LaSalle. There are many rare brands, including some that most of us have never seen before, like Moon, Gardner, Maxwell, Jewett, Gray and Metz. Among these you will also find wonderful models from Studebaker, Hudson, Mercury and Chrysler. The collection also showcases exquisite and over the top 1950â€™s cruisers, from the huge tailfins on a 1959 Cadillac to the stylish overload of an exquisite 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser and 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk, and of course, the timeless Thunderbird. Their Muscle Car collection includes several rare Mopar cars made by Chrysler, a very rare supercharged Shelby Mustang GT 350 developed by Carl Shelby, and early Pontiac GTO. Other rare sports cars are also on display from Ferrari, Porsche, DeLorean, Lancia, Bricklin, MG and Triumph. Our 1930 MG Boattail Roadster, with its wood framed, fabric covered body is a wonderful look at the origin and history of the sports car. A trip through Gothenburg will let you visit a piece of transportation history by seeing an original Pony Express way station. They promised mail delivery to the West within 10 days; however, the service was discontinued in 1891 after a year due to the introduction of the transcontinental telegraph! To obtain a sense of America and how it grew requires a drive to Pioneer Village in Minden which includes 28 buildings, showcasing more than 50,000 objects from the second quarter of the 19th century. It features household appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and bathtubs, the development of lighting, firearms, money, radios and televisions. The museum also features the largest collection of farm tractors and other farm machinery in the world, more than 350, beginning with a 1897 steam car. Other historic vehicles include an ox cart, a prairie schooner, a stagecoach, horse-drawn street car, electric trolley, and all varieties of buggies, carriages, coaches, and carts, along with bicycles and even airplanes! Another exciting visit to be had is the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, which brings you
back in time to the 1890s. The museum is home to over 100 buildings devoted to this time period. You can view a 1901 steam locomotive, an 1871 coach and a 1912 caboose. It also features some 200 antique horse drawn carriages, steam-powered engines, tractors, threshers and trucks that represent the birth and evolution of the state's agricultural heritage. There are sixty 100 year-old shops, homes, and other structures and a seven-acre rail yard depicting the history of steam railroading in Nebraska. A real trip down memory lane! Unique to North America is Nabraska`s Great Platte River Road Archway which spans high across the I-80, resembling a covered bridge between two towers. Within its towers you can revisit 150 years of American history. Finally, it is worth mentioning some of the exceptional restaurants throughout the plains of Nebraska. The Coppermill Steakhouse and Lounge Restaurant in McCook is worth a visit to enjoy a great Nebraska steak dinner. Another incredible dining experience can be found at the Chances R restaurant, featuring one of the largest salad bars in Nebraska with a variety of cold meats and vegetables. From bird watching to visiting unique museums and fine dining, Nebraska offers something for everyone. The annual Sandhill Crane migration, one of the ten great animal migrations in the world according to internationally famed naturalist Jane Goodall, who comes every year, is the perfect reason to make the trip.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Clear Blue Skies
Luf thansa Airlines
favorite of world travellers, Lufthansa is constantly pushing the limits of comfort, style and technology.
The aviation giant has been in existence in one form or another since the early 1900s! Adapting to changing times, from oil crises to training the first female pilots, Lufthansa has been a leader at every level. Their fleet complies with the highest level of noise reduction and are at the cutting edge of environmental technology, and with almost 600 aircraft, they are in exclusive company with the largest US aeronautical giants. And though the Lufthansa Group has 540 subsidiaries in logistics, MRO, Catering and Other business segments, their main focus has always been on flying people around the world in style and elegance.
Canadian World Traveller Summer/Fall 2016
Visiting Germany has never been easier! With hundreds of flights from their hubs in scenic Dusseldorf, historyladen Berlin, the financial centre of Frankfurt and others, Lufthansa flies throughout the country and beyond. Lufthansa has been operating in Canada for over 50 years, and whether you want to ride in the visually stunning first class or comfortable economy, there is space for everyone. Lufthansa has six from Canada to Germany, including Montreal-Munich, Toronto-Frankfurt, TorontoMunich, Vancouver-Frankfurt , Montreal-Frankfurt and Vancouver-Munich. Named “Europe’s Leading Airline” for the fifth time in a row at the 2015 World Travel Awards, this amazing company offers one of the best travel experiences available!