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Articles Archive 2012

December 2012
A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS
by Margaret Deefholts

I am standing at the entrance to a splendid castle, its fireplace decorated with boughs of mistletoe and ivy, its hallway aglow with lights, and its grand staircase banisters wreathed in garlands of holly. ...read more »


BLITZING HAWAII ISLAND IN 7 DAYS
by Jane Cassie

Mother Nature threw everything into the mix when creating Hawaii Island -fiery craters, snowy summits, buff beaches. Measuring 4,000 square miles, (nearly ten times L.A.) she gave it the tallest mountain, largest volcano, and all but two climate zones. Seafaring Captain Cook, and volcano goddess, Pele were mesmerized by her makings. And during this 402 km (250 mile) circumventing seven day drive, you will be too. ...read more »


LIONS, ELEPHANTS AND ZEBRAS
Namibia, a storybook of exotic wildlife

by Hans Tammemagi

Glued to the airplane window, I gaze down at a complex maze of animal trails covering the dusty, sparsely treed landscape below. I spot a giraffe ambling along. Then we pass over a herd of zebras, heads down, grazing. As we bump down, two ostriches with long necks watch us curiously. We've just landed at a small airfield near Etosha National Park, in northern Namibia, and already I'm excited and impressed by the abundance of exotic big game. ...read more »


PERFECTING PALM SPRINGS - A QUICK GUIDE TO LAID-BACK GLAMOUR
by Colleen Friesen

My name is Colleen Friesen. I am a travel writer and I am selfless.

On behalf of the reader, I head out on whirlwind press trips; non-stop events where I eat, drink, visit and stay in as many places as possible. ...read more »


November 2012
GALLANTRY AT GALLIPOLI
by Margaret Deefholts

Our small group of Canadians are on a boat crossing the Dardanelles from the town of Canakkale to the Gallipoli peninsula. We putter past massive grey walls of the fort guarding the old town and at dockside we board our private bus. The dawn sky is washed flamingo pink as we drive past green hillsides and groves of pine and olive trees. ...read more »


WALKING ON THE ORIGINS OF EARTH
by Chris McBeath

Lying some 50km off New Zealand's north-eastern coast, White Island is an intimate volcanic experience. Not the X-rated genre, but the kind where you get up close and personal with steaming schisms, vents, and gaseous fumaroles that make up one of the most accessible, active marine volcanoes in the world. Coming here is to feel the rumbling origins of earth beneath your feet. ...read more »


THE CHARM OF OAHU
by Lauren Kramer

Get off the plane in Honolulu and it's easy to forget about everything else in the world. The ocean is that dreamy turquoise color, the weather is sublime and the opportunities to have fun are seemingly endless. Whether your idea of paradise is swimming with the dolphins, paddleboarding among the turtles, sipping cocktails on the beach or hiking up Diamond Head, Oahu's combination of climate, warm water and lush, tropical beauty make the living feel easy. ...read more »


October 2012
BERMUDA SHORTS AND PINK SAND
by James Ross

Mark Twain once wrote, "You go to heaven if you want, I'll stay here in Bermuda". I concur, I've had a long standing love affair with the beautiful island. I have been under her spell ever since my parents settled there for eight years in the 1980's, my clergyman father tending over the charming congregation of a pastel pink Presbyterian Church on the hillside of Hamilton. ...read more »


BOUNTIFUL BOHOL ISLAND
By Irene Butler

Island hopping in the Philippines is a must with the country's many highlights-the difficulty is choosing when you have time only for one. From the country's chaotic capital of Manila on a north island, my husband Rick and I are drawn to Bohol in the central island group by a strange geographical phenomenon known as the Chocolate Hills and the hopes of seeing Tarsiers, the world's tiniest primates. ...read more »


DROP-DEAD GORGE-OUS FRASER CANYON
By Jane Cassie

We've driven the Fraser Canyon so many times over the last three years I could do it with my eyes closed. In fact, when my husband's behind the wheel, I sometimes do. This scenic highway is the link between our White Rock residence and Cariboo retreat and though the journey has become a regular routine, it's really worth staying awake for. ...read more »


DESERT SAFARI TO THE DEAD SEA
By Chris McBeath

Camels can be mighty disagreeable. But when you're riding one to cross Israel's Negev Desert to the Dead Sea, their tempers dissipate under the sweltering sun, and you both settle into an awkward, rhythmic, sway. For the curious mind, it's not long before you also come to appreciate the finesse of a camel's engineering. ...read more »


THE UNDEAD LURK IN VICTORIA
by Margaret Deefholts

Tendrils of fog curl around lampposts as I make my way along Government Street. Hunched against a spiteful wind, the phrase, "It was a dark and stormy night…" is a nagging refrain that keeps time with my hurrying feet. At the Visitors' Centre in Victoria, John Adams host of Ghostly Walks, and co-host Martin Thomas, are ready to take a group of us through what is widely believed to be "the most haunted city in British Columbia." ...read more »


September 2012
GOA: INDIA'S SPLASHY PLAYGROUND
By Margaret Deefholts

"Goa is famous for three things," says our host Salvador ("Sonny") Carvalho, "Powder-sand beaches, all night parties…and susegadho". I look at him quizzically. "Susegadho?" He drawls "It means taking life e-e-a-s-y!" ...read more »


NETHERLANDS' ART CAPITAL:
HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE HAGUE

By Rick Millikan

Most North Americans fly to Schiphol Airport, then onward to other European destinations or catch trains into fascinating Amsterdam. An express takes us south to Netherland's less visited capital, the Hague, to view its many art treasures. ...read more »


FROM NEWFOUNDLAND TO FRANCE, BY FERRY
By Story by Karoline Cullen, Photography by Cullen Photos

"After our week in Newfoundland," I tell friends "we'll take the ferry to France." They nod enthusiastically and then confusion clouds their faces. "A ferry to France from Canada?" they ask. Absolutement! The French islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are a short ferry ride away from south-east Newfoundland. How French are they? We are about to find out...read more »


A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF VICTORIA
By Jane Cassie

Swanky yachts and regal schooners skim the sun-glinted waves below. Along with ocean-going kayaks, speedy dragon boats and other pleasure vessels they share the nautical scene. Framed by a rugged coastline and backed by powdered peaks, it's a setting that's picturesque to a fault and truly epitomizes the axiom, Super Natural British Columbia. ...read more »


August 2012
ROUGHING IT WITH LUXURY
7 BC Retreats That Unite Rural and Refined

By Jane Cassie

We both love the great outdoors but when it comes to doing the 'camp thing' my husband and I don't quite jive. Although he'd be content to cuddle in a mummy bag of eiderdown, my spine goes into spasm after sleeping on a mattress of earthy rough stuff. I'm also not crazy about canvas homesteads or baked beans. Thanks to these luxurious rural retreats, we can leave those tent pegs behind. While blending the rustic and refined, these B.C. properties offer a mother lode of outdoor adventures and pampering at the same time. ...read more »


BAMFIELD - ON THE EDGE
By Cherie Thiessen

The Frances Barkley nudges the pier on Bamfield's west side, in close proximity to the gleaming red and white buildings of the province's oldest Coast Guard station. A boardwalk twists along the inlet with cottages sprouting docks perching alongside. The proprietor of the tiny general store is hanging out a sign: "Closed for Freight Receiving"....read more »


THE LURE OF LOMI LOMI AND OTHER THINGS HAWAIIAN
Story by Karoline Cullen, Photography by Cullen Photos

Feeling as though I am in the movies, I brace the gun more firmly on my shoulder and yell "Pull!" A small sporting clay zips in an arc above the trees. As instructor Frankie directs, I point, wait, and fire. Frankie cheers as the disk shatters and I can hardly believe it has. I would not have bet on me hitting a barn door....read more »


SKYSCRAPERS, SOUQS & SANDSCAPES OF QATAR
By Irene Butler

Ever since tales of Aladdin and stories of magic carpets swept my imagination away in grade school, my desire to journey through the Arabian Peninsula has never waned. Now, all these many years later, my dream is finally realized. My husband Rick and I arrive in Qatar, the small country that juts into the Arabian Sea like a thumb off Saudi Arabia's border, to discover how this culture steeped in tradition has melded with modernity....read more »


PREHISTORIC HOT SPRINGS IN SOUTHERN FRANCE? MAIS, OUI!
By Julie H. Ferguson

Every other year I house-sit for French friends who live in Provence. This region is founded on a history going back to the ancient world, which still shapes it today. A year ago I decided to trace the story of Aix en Provence's natural hot springs and discover their influence on the town....read more »


July 2012
WALKING THE FREEDOM TRAIL
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

By Chris Millikan
Joan Baez singing Please Come to Boston first stirred my interest in visiting Boston. Later, that zany Cheers gang sparked further inducement. And then, there's all that history! So cruising New England aboard Carnival's Glory, I fulfill a longstanding dream.

...read more »


WEAVING THROUGH HISTORY
AT COLOSSAL CAVE MOUNTAIN PARK

By Jane Cassie
The fit spelunkers suit up with hard hats and headlamps. They're told to remove cumbersome backpacks that may hamper their maneuverability through claustrophobically-confined spaces. "Does anyone feel uncomfortable crawling through dark narrow tunnels?" the guide inquires. Although sticking like glue to the neighboring group of scaredy-cats, my heart does a flip-flop for those heading off in this Wild Cat Cave Tour. ...read more »


INDIA'S MOGHUL MAGNIFICENCE
The palaces and pavilions of Fatehpur Sikri

by Margaret Deefholts
India and the Taj Mahal are almost synonymous terms in the minds of most visitors to the sub-continent. But there is a group of lesser known, but no less dramatic Moghul monuments that lie a mere thirty-five miles away from Agra, (the site of the Taj) in the little village of Fatehpur Sikri. ...read more »


SANIBEL MEANS SUNSHINE, SHELLING & WILDLIFE

by Lauren Kramer

Sanibel. The word dances off the tongue like a magical destination straight out of a Tinkerbell story. Which is fitting, because there is something very magical and fairytale-like about Sanibel, one of the causeway islands in Southwest Florida. For one thing, there are no highrises on this cusp of land that extends like a big, asymmetrical grin in the Gulf of Mexico. No big box stores, massive malls or even traffic lights. Drive over the graceful, arched bridges that separate Fort Myers from Sanibel and you leave reality behind, entering a community where biking trails are ubiquitous, conservation is the keyword, and pristine, shell-soaked beaches are just a normal part of everyday life. ...read more »


June 2012
FESTIVALS AND FAMILY FUN ON CORTES ISLAND
by Cherie Thiessen
A Klahoose elder tends hunks of sizzling salmon, slowly achieving perfection over an open beach fire. A growing lineup snakes down from the vendors' stalls and the tables, where cooks reign supreme, their cuisine's redolent aromas twisting through the amazingly patient queue. Locals know there will be lots to go around, but our hungry niece and nephew aren't so certain. They need distraction, and fortunately there's lots of that. My partner, David, leads them over to a somber youth dressed totally in black, who on cue rises solemnly from his box perch and begins meticulously to twist a rainbow spectrum of balloons into fantastic animals. ...read more »


HIKING NORTHERN ARIZONA
By Jane Cassie
You know the saying, what goes up must come down? When hiking Bright Angel Trail in Arizona's Grand Canyon, it's a good one to follow -except in reverse. The popular pathway zigzags 1 355 meters (4,446 feet) downward and spans 12 km (7.7 miles), from the top of this world-renowned chasm to the Colorado River. Although getting there may seem like a walk in the park, the uphill trek can be a killer. Literally! Around two hundred and fifty people are rescued from the canyon every year...read more »


TRANSYLVANIA - A MELDING OF HISTORY AND LORE
by Irene Butler
I have long been intrigued by Romanian folklore. The very word Transylvania sends a shiver down my spine with blood-curdling images of haunted castles and fanged creatures. I am ready to find the historical threads in the lore. ...read more »


SENSATIONAL SAFARIS ON A SHOESTRING
By Julie Ferguson
South Africa is price-friendly-very -but safaris not so much. My traveling companions and I sought two contrasting safaris that also permitted use of our rental car for game drives. We discovered two little-known national parks that are below most tourists' radar-both proved just as breathtaking as the more famous Kruger National Park to the north and were malaria-free...read more »


May 2012
PADDLING PALAU
By Jane Cassie
"Keep your eyes peeled," our guide, Jayden Twelbang, warns. "Crocodiles like to hang out along these shallow shorelines." "He's kidding, right?" I ask my husband who, after hearing this tid-bit of information, quickens up his paddle pace. ...read more »


PRAGUE ON THE FLY:
A 48-hour sojourn

By Chris McBeath
Sometimes a cab ride, like the one I took in Prague, is an adventure unto itself. Although the railway station was only a few blocks from the Iron Gate Hotel in the heart of Old Town, the confusing journey along the city's historic cobblestone streets took almost twenty-five minutes, and in the dark of night there were moments I questioned where I might end up. By day, however, all was revealed. Our driver had been a Formula One master of Prague's complicated, one-way, labyrinthine network of back alleys that crush up against buildings, cower beneath gothic architecture and wind around picturesque squares. ...read more »


A DAY IN REGAL SEVILLE
By Rick Millikan
Leaving Cadiz aboard a motor coach with fellow shipmates, guide Maria confirms our keen interest in exploring Spain's fourth largest city. "Seville best represents Iberian culture and sophistication. It's a pleasure to share a slice of its rich history with you!" ...read more »


WALKING THE WALK - A TWENTY-FIVE YEAR HIKE IN WALES
By Colleen Friesen
Doesn't a path sound lovely? Something you skip along to Grandma's house...past little flowery-fenced cottages in dollhouse villages.

And if that lovely path is in Wales-just a wee bit of a place tucked into that Not-So-United Kingdom-wouldn't it be fair to believe that it would all be rather diminutive? ...read more »


PENANG: AN ORIENTAL LADY
By Margaret Deefholts
Cities have personalities. Some, like Paris, are flirtatious and feminine; San Francisco has a playful insouciance, London wears a dignified air. With her temples and mosques, her white colonial style mansions and her Chinese heritage homes, Penang is a woman of elegance and grace-but with just a hint of mystery behind her dark, almond-shaped eyes. ...read more »


April 2012
B.C.'s BOUNTEOUS BACKYARDS
By Margaret Deefholts
"You'll find your happiness lies, right under your eyes…back in your own backyard," warbled Sammy Davis Jr. How true! We travel abroad in search of new and exciting adventures, often forgetting that tucked into our own British Columbian "backyards" are gorgeous wilderness trails, cruises along the spectacular west coast waters, restaurants offering distinctive West Coast cuisine paired with local wines, and markets with uniquely crafted treasures. ...read more »


PORTLAND - A CULINARY MECCA
By Hans Tammemagi
Since my wife, Allyson, is a formidable cook, we decided to visit Portland, Oregon, so she could chomp on the culinary scene and see if it was truly worthy of its burgeoning reputation. We were encouraged by friends who enthused about exotic food carts, generous happy hours - an unknown entity in Canada - and talented chefs with a fierce locavore bent. Reasonable prices and the lack of a sales tax also drew us...read more »


A ROYAL WEEKEND IN OTTAWA
By Jane Cassie
Have you ever wondered what royal living would be like -pedigree service, posh pampering, chef-prepared meals? While staying at the Fairmont Château Laurier during this weekend escape to Ottawa, we get a real regal taste...read more »


March 2012
A Romantic Step Back in Time
By Jane Cassie
Back in the 1970's, my husband and I were high school sweethearts-bound together by heavy hearts and raging hormones. For two years we were never apart -dating, doting and devoted, from skiing the slopes of Grouse Mountain to strolling the shores of Spanish Banks. But like most teenage flings, things eventually took a turn -a change of interests, a need for growth, and yes, a parting of our ways. A few years later we had both married different people, had someone else's babies and had moved on in life. ...read more »


GREEN LUXURY IN A BELIZE RAINFOREST
By Robert Scheer
Was an enormous lion howling outside my thatched cottage? It sounded more like a T-Rex. I might have been worried if I hadn't been told earlier there was a family of howler monkeys nesting in the nearby treetops. I was in a rainforest in Belize, where I would not only see black howlers in the wild, I'd also come face to face with a live tarantula, witness a Blue Morpho butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, discover secrets of Mayan shamans, stumble upon a pair of toads mating, and devour the most delicious pancakes I'd ever enjoyed. ...read more »


FORGET THE SKIS - WHISTLER UNPLUGGED
By Colleen Friesen
There are many different kinds of silences; the holy quiet of cathedrals, the soothing wash of waves on a sandy beach, or the reverent quiet discovered while looking up at a star-pierced sky. ...read more »


JEWELS OF THE FRENCH RIVIERA:
Monaco, Nice and Monte Carlo

By Chris Millikan
The Nieuw Amsterdam anchors in Monaco's shimmering blue waters as eager day-trippers board her waiting tenders, impatient to sample the fabled French Riviera. Though we soon dock amid ultramodern skyscrapers, a mix of history and glamour soon delights us. ...read more »


February 2012
AT HOME IN MALAYSIA
By Margaret Deefholts
A sonorous chant wakes me up. The pre-dawn light filters through the window, and I am suddenly awake, listening... I don't understand the language, but I'm drawn into the rolling syllables, the rise and fall of the unseen singer's voice. It is a call to prayer from the village mosque and, like I do at a performance of Italian opera which language I also don't understand, I merely close my eyes and listen. The chant dies away. Other more mundane domestic sounds take its place - a cockerel crowing, the whistle and chirrup of birds, and from somewhere inside the house, a muffled conversation. I peer blearily at my watch. 6.a.m. Time to get up. ...read more »


I "HEART" NEWFOUNDLAND'S AVALON
Story by Karoline Cullen
Orange feet slap the water and black wings flap furiously. Like a wind-up toy gaining momentum, the puffin takes flight. With small fish clamped in a brightly coloured bill, the determined bird heads for land to feed its young. From our tour boat deck, I see floating, diving, and flying puffins-thousands upon thousands of them. They are so cute, my heart does a little pitter patter. ...read more »


PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM - A VISIT TO THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE
Jamie Ross
I have a fascination with all things historical, and if ever a community has put its stamp on the face of American history, Philadelphia is it. It was a hotbed of activity during America's struggle for independence from Britain, with the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams walking her streets. As such, Philadelphia was a city I've always wanted to see. The trouble here was, it was a spring minor hockey tournament that gave me the opportunity to visit, so I was accompanied by my thirteen year old, hockey-playing son who felt the most important moment in history was the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup final a year ago. ...read more »


BORDERLINE SWITZERLAND
by Caroline M. Jackson
Bordered by five European countries, Switzerland's perimeter reflects the diverse culture of its European neighbors. Because its rail system zigzags across the Alps like a spider web, Swiss visitors can make easy daytrips into adjacent Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Lichtenstein. ...read more »


WINE ROUTE ON HORSEBACK:
The Bounty of Yakima Valley

By Lauren Kramer
To truly appreciate the Yakima valley in eastern Washington State, you have to drive with your nose in the wind. The valley's rich, fertile land bears acre upon acre of fruit and vegetables, and their aroma is a meal in itself. Apple trees give way to tomato plants, peppers dart into view, hops climb 20-foot twine and fruit trees stand in perfectly symmetrical lines. ...read more »


January 2012
LOVIN' THE LOMILOMI
By Jane Cassie
I confess. I'm a massage-aholic. And even though my husband, Brent, supports this pampering addiction, a spa holiday is the last thing on his bucket list. But during this trip to Hawaii Island, where huna (harmony) and mana (spirit) are embraced, he eventually does an about face (and body) and becomes a lover of the 'lomilomi.' ...read more »


JAMBO AFRICA!
By Margaret Deefholts
I have a balcony seat at a spellbinding show. The stage is a gigantic mud hole, surrounded by thick African jungle, and the performers have been front centre for the last hour. ...read more »


SURMOUNTING SINAI
By Irene Butler
"Let's climb that biblical mountain!" After a week of barely moving from our lounge chairs facing the Red Sea, except to partake of delectable cuisine along restaurant-row in the touristy town of Dahab, I feel some calorie burning is in order. My husband Rick isn't sold on my suggestion for its workout value, but in anticipation of great photo ops he agrees to go, stipulating, "as long as I don't have to carry down any stone tablets." Leaving our seaside haven in a tour van filled with fellow adventurers, we head into the interior of south-eastern Egypt. Stunning desert-scapes of shifting golden sands are succeeded by rugged mountains of limestone and granite. Arriving at St. Katherine's Monastery which lies in a gorge at the foot of Mt. Sinai, our guide Mohammad explains, "Mt. Moses is not visible until after our visit to St. Katherine's when we take the path up around the monastery." ...read more »


TEEING OFF IN PARADISE:
The Turks & Caicos Islands

By Liz Clark
A golfing vacation in the sunny and warm Caribbean turned out to be the best remedy to beat our winter blues. Way back in 1992, my partner Geoff and I had heard of a new golf course on the island of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands in the British West Indies. Although the final bells and whistles were not quite in place at the Provo Golf Club, the Karl Litten-designed 18-hole championship course was open for business. What good luck for us, especially as the only other course up to that time had been the Governor's 9-hole private course on the Grand Turk Island. ...read more »


 

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