Friday, Nov 17th, 2006
Hiking Nepals Annapurna Circuit
Len and Jenn in Pokhara
With a year dedicated to traveling the world, Len and Jenn decided to spend 21 days hiking in the Annapurna mountain region of Nepal. As they explain, most hikes through this region are done teahouse style where you hike from village to village and spend the night in lodges. By traveling this way, they are able to compare the different cultures along the way, and found the landscape to be diverse as well.
Heres an excerpt from Lenn and Jenns story, Hiking on the Annapurna Circuit:
The most surprising thing about the trek was the different landscapes we saw. Most done-to-death photos of the Nepal wilderness are the usual snowcapped Himal peaks set against cloudless blue skies. They are images ingrained in most peoples minds. But as we walked the trail we saw scenes of lush green pine forests, yellow terraced wheat fields, waterfalls and even desert sands. It was a pleasant surprise.
As the landscape changed, so did the people and village culture. In the lowlands, we walked through Hindu villages. As we got higher, the villages became more Buddhist. The sheer length of the trail took us through a huge range of Nepali mountain life – from Tibetan monasteries past Hindu pilgrims to the galloping grounds of Manang horse riders. (more)
Visit Lenn and Jenns travel blog for more on their ongoing trip around the world.
To plan your own trip to Nepal, or to read the experiences of other RealTravelers, visit our Nepal Travel Guide and these sites:
Nepal Travel Information Travel NepalPosted in Asia, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Monday, Nov 13th, 2006
Horse Trek in Tupiza, Bolivia
mt in Tupiza, Bolivia
If youre planning a trip through wondrous South America, RealTraveler mts journals may inspire you with ideas of places to go and things to see. Shes traveling through South America for four months, and so far shes visited two World Heritage Sites in Ecuador the historic city of Quito and the stupendous Galapagos Islands, Perus breathtaking Machu Picchu , and the charming towns of La Paz and Tupiza in Bolivia. While venturing through Tupiza, mt embarked on an exciting horse trek, followed by a Salt Plains tour and leisurely dips in natural hot springs.
Heres a great passage from mts journal, Bolivia Tupiza and Salt Plain Tour 1:
Tupiza is a small town with a really nice vibe, set in fantastic rock formation scenery straight out of a wild west movie from Tupiza, we went on a five hour horse trek where I couldnt help shouting geronimo and it just didnt seem right not to be wearing cowboy hats! it was Annes first time horse riding and she was galloping (albeit inadvertently) after an hour! the scenery included amazing rock formations called the devils door, the Inca valley
The second day we saw lots of lagoons and geysers and bathed in hot springs. the lagoons are of various colours due to different minerals present. so we saw the green lagoon, the red Colorado lagoon and a few others. most had huge flocks of pelicans hanging out in them except the green lagoon which is poisonous. the lagoons were really pretty against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains and red craggy hills. (more)
Keep an eye on mts Travel Page for more of her exciting adventures throughout South America, including a fantastic ending to her trip in Brazil! And for additional information on the wonderful destinations in South America, check out these links:
Peru Travel Guide Images of Machu Picchu Hotels in ArgentinaPosted in South America, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Thursday, Nov 9th, 2006
Traveling Europe by Train
Rich-n-Chris in Zurich
If youre interested in traveling Europe by riding the rails, RealTravel adventurers Rich-n-Chris can offer you great insight on this experience, including travel tips, reviews of restaurants, hotels and activities in some of Europes greatest cities, and entertaining and useful tales about their journey.
Rich-n-Chris are a couple from California currently traveling from Italy to Switzerland by train. They then plan to head back to Italy, after which they will embark on a relaxing and exciting Mediterranean cruise. But they wont be done yet! With backpacks on, they will round out their adventures with a trek from Italy to France.
Heres a great excerpt from their journal, Days 2, 3 & 4 Where Einstein Ate and Played about their experiences in Zurich, Switzerland, where the peaks of the Swiss Alps tower majestically:
Of course, we could not leave Switzerland without seeing the Swiss Alps. So, on our last day, we left the charming city streets and traveled through the waves of rolling green foothills where the music of grazing cows filled the air (they really do wear cowbells.) Chalets decorated with painted wood trim and shutters, and finished with blooms of red/pink spilling from the window-boxes, dotted the countryside. The whole place looks like a postcard. The Swiss are of agricultural heritage, and they truly love gardening, which is evident just about everywhere you go in Switzerland. Further up, we entered the densely forested mountains and finally arrived at our aerial transportation point. For forty minutes, the aerial carried us up through the clouds to the top of the world – or at least the highest point in Central Switzerland – Mt. Titlus. The views were absolutely spectacular! While at the top, we walked through a glacier, and had some laughs watching each other sled down the hill. (more)
Keep up with Rich-n-Chris as they journey through amazing destinations across Europe, like Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Paris, and many more.
Other Helpful Links: Zurich Travel Guide Barcelona Travel Guide How to Travel in Europe by Train: Official Guide from RailEuropePosted in Europe, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Wednesday, Nov 1st, 2006
Flying High Above Victoria Falls
Im in Africa now by Hillary
How far will you go to get a good view of Victoria Falls, a natural wonder which lies between the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe” For Hillary, the sky is the limit, as she took a Micro light flight tour above the falls:
I really wanted to see the whole falls, though, and word amongst other travelers was that the best way to do that was in a microlight flight which I took first thing this morning. I have to say it was definitely worth the splurge (it was only $25 more than it would have cost to walk to the Zimbabwe side). A 15 minute ride took me over the falls twice, as well as up the river where I saw Hippos and elephants bathing. (more)
A fear of heights wont stop you from getting a good view of the falls, depending on the time of year (wet or dry season) you can keep you feet on the ground and still be amazed by the site. Hillary provides tips on when and where to go:
Zambia is currently in the driest part of the year and that means that the falls are not flowing as they do in all of the post card pictures. The Zambezi river forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and seeing the falls from the Zambian side costs half the price, plus you dont have to pay an extra $35 Zimbabwe visa fee. But at this time of year the falls are mostly in Zimbabwe, except for a small trickle. (more)
For more on Hillarys trip to see the falls, visit Im in Africa now, and for more of her trip around the world, visit her travel blog.
Other useful links on seeing the falls and visiting this region: Victoria Falls Micro-Lights Victoria Falls Travel Guide Zambia Travel BlogsPosted in Africa, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Tuesday, Oct 24th, 2006
Brazils Ilha Grande
Suzie Barnes in Ilha Grande
Planning a trip to South America” Looking for ideas on where to go” If you like adventure, big cities, small islands, and world heritage sites, follow the travels of Suzie Barnes. Shes currently visiting many destinations in South America and is sharing her experiences in Argentina, Brazil and Boliva.
After visiting Rio de Janeiro, Suzie Barnes took a ferry to the nearby island, Ilha Grande:
We took the ferry across from mainland Brazil to a beautiful island called Ilha Grande. It has to be one of the most stunning islands Ive ever visited. Its a protected island, so they can only build in certain places, and no cars are allowed on the island which makes a nice change. (more)
Shes also described the landscape, beaches, and a hidden waterfall she discovered on the island:
The island is covered in tropical forests with beautiful sandy beaches all around. We hiked for three hours to a lovely beach called Lopez Mendes. The trek there was well worth it, and we swam and sun bathed there for a few hours before returning to the town we are staying in by boat.
We also trekked for about two and a half hours to find a waterfall we had been told about on the island. It was really difficult to find it, but was well worth it when we got there. (more)
Visit her travel blog for stories on Machu Picchu, Cusco, Iguasu Falls and more.
For more on ideas on what to see and do in South America, visit: South America Travel Guide South America Travel Ideas Ilha Grande TourismPosted in South America, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Friday, Oct 20th, 2006
Wildlife and Adventures in Bolivia
Into the Amazon by Pete and Kris
Enjoy being very close to wildlife” Not afraid of crocodiles, snakes or curious monkeys” Follow Pete and Kris as they head to the Pampas lowlands and jungles outside of Rurrenbaque, Bolivia during their travels in South America.
After relaxing in the small town of Rurrenbaque, they take a tour to explore the wild:
Our first trip was to the Pampas, the lowlands of the jungle with slow moving rivers and not much in the way of trees or shelter, in the wet season most of it becomes swamp! At this time of year the rivers are crowded with all types of animals, Copybara, the worlds largest rodent was interesting, but the crocs and aligators stole the show. After a jeep ride to the lodge, (we went with and would recommend Bala Tours, pricey but very nice) we all (another UK-NZ couple, a Swiss couple and us) piled into a longboat and carlos our guide tried to turn the canoe/boat around but it wasnt deep enough, Pete jumped out onto the bank and helped pull the boat around, 50m downstream we were surrounded by crocs!!! just meters away from us! (more)
The next day they went in search of monkeys, and got more then they bargained for:
At one stage we found some squirrel monkeys, getting the boat against the shore they ran onto Petes head and into the boat looking for food, (you are not supposed to feed them as it can be dangerous for them with diseases but its easy to see why and that some people do).(more)
For your own adventures in Bolivia, visit: Bolivia Travel Guide Rurrenabaque Travel GuidePosted in South America, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Wednesday, Oct 18th, 2006
Discovering Canadas National Parks
Andy & Meg in Jasper National Park
Want to discover Canadas National parks” Follow Andy & Meg as they go on quite an adventure, complete with bear sightings, glacier hikes and climbing to the top of Whistler Mountain.
Heres an excerpt from their travels in the Rocky Mountains, as they hike glaciers in Yoho National Park:
We first set foot on the glacier at 11.15pm and at first it was surreal to be walking on the ice, well its not something you do everyday! Once we got passed the lower section of the glacier we were almost blinded by the extreme whiteness of the pristine ice/snow.
All 16 of us crunched along in single file tracing Peters footprints so as to avoid the cravasses and millwells. After 2km we hiked off to one side to sit on some rocks to eat lunch at 1.30pm. We only stopped for 10-15mins and then continued hiking up towards the ice falls. As we did it began to snow and there was already more snow laying on this section which slowed us down as Peter had to continually check where it was safe for us to tread. Got to the foot of the ice falls at 3.20pm, after Peter had fallen up to his waist in a shallow millwell! We couldnt go any further due to the massive cravasses in the icefields. We stayed about 15mins before heading back down the glacier, stopping to peer into large millwells. We got off the glacier at 4.30pm having had a brilliant time. The experience was unforgettable and it was so interesting to learn about the glacier. (more)
How to go about this hike” Andy & Meg suggest:
Lake OHara is a limited access area in Yoho National Park and unless you book 3+ months in advance there are only 6 seat available 24hrs before on a first come first served basis. (more)
Visit Andy & Megs travel blog for great photos, information on hikes and lodging, and stories that will inspire you to pack your backpack and hiking boots!
For more on Canadas National Parks, visit: Parks Canada Lake Louise Travel Guide Banff National Park Travel Blogs Jasper National Park Travel GuidePosted in Featured RealTravelers, Canada | Permalink | No Comments Friday, Oct 13th, 2006
Cycling through Europe
Jes and Tole in Freiburg, Germany
Looking for a unique way to see the sites of a new place and experience new cultures” RealTravelers Jes & Tole have been riding the trails and backroads of Europe on their bikes, as they adventure on a year-long cycling tour. Beginning in the beautiful Black Forest of Freiburg, Germany , Jes & Tole zoomed and weaved through Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Spain, often following the Danube River. Their plan is to ride from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.
During the Hungary leg of their tour, Jes & Tole were awed by Budapest , and lulled by the warm luxury of the Turkish Baths:
Budapest turned out to be awesome. Its a beautiful city. Vienna is grander and more classically majestic, but Budapest has a more rugged and lived-in charm that gives it a really great vibe. But this is not to say it lacks in pure aesthetic appeal – Hilly, historic Buda faces across the river to the Pest side, where the strange gothic parliament building dominates the waterfront. Very cool. But, our first order of business there was to visit one of the famed Turkish baths, and this one was pretty amazing. (more)
Enjoying its unique atmosphere, awesome architecture, and great cycling conditions, Jes & Tole wrote enthusiastically about Romania:
Putting it in the mildest terms, Romania was a massive, drastic shock after the rest of Europe. And that was in many ways a good thing. First of all, Romania is amazing for bicycling. Provided youre ready to put up with a great deal of uncertainty and lack of home comforts, you will be duly rewarded. Romania is a sure-fire cure for the spoiled, Ive seen one too many cathedrals malaise that is bound to affect most European travelers after a few non-stop, take-it-all-in-quick weeks. Even on our bikes, wed grown a little restless with the similarities to home, and were hungering for something different. Well, we found it. (more)
Keep up with Jes & Tole as they bike across more amazing European landscapes, sampling local cuisine and taking in the sites. Soon theyll be biking through parts of Argentina and Chile too, so stay tuned!
Useful Links for Europe: Vienna Travel Guide Hotels in Budapest Romania Travel InformationPosted in Europe, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Tuesday, Oct 10th, 2006
Camel Riding, Papyrus Arts and the Eqyptian Museum – Traditional Delights of Cairo
Canadiantraveller200 in Cairo
For over six months, Canadiantraveller200 has been sharing her adventures from exploring caves in New Zealand, to camping near lions in Nairobi, all part of her trip around the world. One of her recent travels includes Cairo, where she spend time riding camels, visiting ancient sites, and learning more about the art of Papyrus:
We popped into a Papyrus making place and had a demonstration of the creation of this ancient technique. Quite a simple process actually, just stripping the reed into small slices and then squeezing the water out of it. Once it is dry, it is incredibly strong. Kathleen and I purchased a painting of a Cartouche with our name in it. A cartouche is a protective oval shape which contains the name of the King and Queen in the pictures and carvings in Egyptian artwork.
We then proceeded to the Egyptian Museum and viewed the extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities. There are hundreds of pieces to see and although our guide Hanna toured us around the most important ones (including Tutankamun and his insanely lavish collection for a boy of only 19) (more).
Visit Canadiantraveller200s travel blog for ideas on where to go on your next adventure.
For more on Cairo, visit: Cairo Travel Blogs Cairo Travel IdeasPosted in Africa, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments Thursday, Sep 28th, 2006
Paradise and Misadventures in Goa
Goa- destruction in paradise by Travelbabs
Goa, Indias beach lovers paradise with a relaxing atmosphere and cute little huts on the beach – destination for misadventure”
Finding Goa just the ticket for a relaxing getaway during her 8 month round the world trip, Travelbabs went to the southern part of Goa, Palolem and spent her days chatting with her friend and lounging on the beach with only rain to contend with. Her stay got more exciting as a rumor turned into reality:
Wed been hearing rumours for a few days about how the beachside places didnt have their necessary licences and would have to close down but didnt really think anything of it.until one morning we got up to order breakfast and were evicted! We were told we had to leave within 2 hours so that it would look to the police like there hadnt been any tourists staying and it wouldnt get ripped down! A very stressful bit of news early in the morning in Goa! But we were of course happy to oblige and even more happy when we found a place literally two metres on, so still on the beach but made of concrete so not subject to any licence. (Only later were we to find out that there was no running water and there was a hole in the roof right above my bed! So I got my shower after all!! Literally, positioned right above my head as I was asleep..the joys!(more)
She also mentions that once the tourism season starts again in October, the huts are rebuilt:
What had happened was that the local government is trying to curb tourism. In the last few years Palolem has gone from being a sleepy fishing village to quite a backpackers hub and they want to try and contain the development. So the idea is to grant only 6 month licences and no more. The official season was only to start on October 15th. (more)
For more of the story, visit her journal Goa- destruction in paradise. And be sure to follow her travels around the world and her next adventure, traveling on a houseboat in Kerala.
Useful Links for Goa
Palolem Travel Blogs India Travel Information Goa Tourism Goa WeatherPosted in Asia, Featured RealTravelers | Permalink | No Comments
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