Uzbekistan is a country rich with history. In ancient times, the territory where present day Uzbekistan lies included the main artery between east and west, between Europe and Asia, also known as the Silk Road. The land that stretches for thousands of kilometers from the Caspian Sea in the west to the TianShian Mountains in the east is some of the most inhospitable and driest on earth. Travelling across this land is not a comfortable, luxurious experience, even in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. Naturally, the ancient travelers had to have places along the way to rest.
China, renowned for its vast population and booming economy, is as rich today with tradition and culture as it is with gold and locally produced international commodities. Cities of the south within easy reach from Southeast Asia may be an entire continent away from Beijing in terms of how Europe measures distance, though they boast durable facets common to all Chinese. Travel to the urban areas of Guangzhou, Chenzhou and Zhuzhou in southern Hunan province comes complete with unique cultures, centuries old traditions and modern marvels.
Those who make the trip down into Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona will often tell you it is one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. With its mesmerizing scenery and rich history, this 84,000-acre archaeological sanctuary and natural wonder creates a magical milieu that almost defies description. Located in the northeast, within the boundaries of the vast Navajo Nation, Canyon de Chelly was designated a national monument in 1931 to protect and preserve the numerous archeological resources long known to exist on the canyon rims, walls and bottomlands.
The famed Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are truly a sight to behold. Home to a number of rare plants and animals that live nowhere else on the planet, the islands were declared a World Heritage site in 1978 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985. It was here after witnessing the amazing behaviours of such unworldly creatures as the salt-snorting iguanas, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies that Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural section. There are nineteen islands in total but only a select few are accessible for tourists. The main ones include Santa Cruz, Isabella, San Cristobal, Fernandina and Santiago.
For New Years this past year, I hopped on board the Ocean Diamond ice breaker for a ten-day cruise heading to Antarctica – home of no polar bears (in case you were unsure) – and to say it was epic would be an understatement. Hopping on board at Ushuaia in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province was a last minute decision that turned out to be the most amazing decision ever. Like all the best travel adventures, the journey was almost as exciting as the destination was amazing, so if you have the time, money and opportunity, you should definitely put this one on your ‘bucket list’. I can’t recommend it enough.
Panama City is a vibrant city of bold contrasts. A place where tradition meets modernity, where ruins stand amidst skyscrapers and where there exists a convergence of old and new side-by-side. New constructions are popping up everywhere while old ones are being renovated, both witness to the country’s ever-expanding economic growth. This small country, the last stop on the Central American trail, is definitely worth more than just a quick glimpse on the way to somewhere else. Located on the doorstep of South America, Panama has throughout its history seen – and continues to see – the passage and settlement of a variety of different cultures. Omnipresent skyscrapers dominate the skyline and historic buildings are cherished. As a result, Panama City is a colorful collage of old and new world charm, a city full of diversity with a variety of things to see and do.
I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, this was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be significant and momentous. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though. I wanted to see an Anaconda, up close and personal. The Amazon is the Anaconda’s home and I knew this trip represented the best opportunity for me to finally come eye-to-eye with this storied reptile, not to mention the endless creatures I would find along the way.
Present day Ukraine is located on some of the most sought after and fought over territory in the world, its fertile lands making it perfect for surviving and thriving and its location making it a coveted and strategic point bridging continents. The country has been invaded at different periods by the Mongols from the east, the Ottomans and Tatars from the south, the Russians and Lithuanians from the north and the Poles and Austria-Hungarians from the west. Whole or parts of Ukrainian territory have also passed through the hands of Moldavians, Romanians, Germans, Bessarabians and the Soviets. Today’s invaders are more of the touristy type, with visitors coming to see – among other things – the wide variety of different fortresses and castles left behind by history itself. From the Genoese Fortress in Sudak, Crimea to the Palanok Castle in Mukacheve near where Ukraine meets Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, these fortresses and castles are as diverse as the nations that created – and conquered – them.
The bats just may be the first clue that Austin is not your typical Texas town. With more than a million Mexican free tailed bats in residence, the city is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Every spring, they migrate north from Mexico to Austin, where they give birth and stay through the summer and into early fall. Their favorite hangout is under the Congress Avenue Bridge in the city’s downtown sector. Around sunset, the bats emerge like a black cloud from the bridge’s crevices, blanketing the sky and creating one of the most spectacular and unusual tourist attractions in Texas. It’s a truly unique event that even lifelong residents continue to regard as special no matter how many times they’ve witnessed it.
- The DMZ: Not Your Regular Kind of Tour
- Heli-Hiking: An Out of This World Experience
- Mud Volcanoes and Petroglyphics
- Thailand's Top 15: Not Always the Beach
- The Awe Runs Deep at Carslbad Caverns
- Dallas Delights in Big Time Texas Ways
- History Comes Alive on the Sixth Floor
- 'Silent Brothers' Make Ideal Hiking Companions
- Into Unrecognized Territory
- Journey to Petra: Truly Different