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View from Gaia across the Douro River to Porto
Last year, we spent a week exploring Lisbon, Portugal's capital and largest city. We loved it so much that we celebrated it as the 2013 destination of the year, diving head first into into its Fado culture, personable neighborhoods, and undiscovered nature. At the end of our trip, we vowed to return to explore more of the country, and this week we landed in Porto, Lisbon's rival city up north built alongside the Douro River.
It may be much smaller than Lisbon, but it sure doesn't feel like it as you walk its streets. Numerous vistas provide expansive views of the rolling terrain and snaking river that stretches inland. Across the Douro, you can see Gaia and its wine lodges, and from certain locations you can even see the Atlantic Ocean, just a 20-minute drive from downtown.
Travel Snapshot / Wish You Were Here / Portillo Travel / Chile Travel / Ski Travel / Adventure Travel / → All Tags
It might still be sweltering in many parts of the States, but it's wintertime here in Chile.
This week, we're getting an early start on the traditional North American ski season in Portillo, located in the Andes about two and half hours from Santiago. It's where many Olympians and celebrity skiers come to train during the "offseason." We're here to soak all that in, as well as investigate how Portillo differs from Santiago's other ski region, Valle Nevado.
Scenery on Lake Atitlan near San Juan La Laguna
At the end of July, we took you on a journey through Central America’s most popular tourism destination, Costa Rica. Without question, the country is the region's leader when it comes to attracting foreigners and monetizing its landscape.
Throughout that trip, we interacted with many expats and travelers who had been working their way through the surrounding countries, and in these conversations we noticed a common theme. Most of them, in some way, made reference to how several of the other countries in Central America, including Guatemala, are at the point of tourism development that Costa Rica was over a decade ago.
Fraser Island Field Trip / Wish You Were Here / Fraser Island Travel / Australia Travel / World Heritage Sites / Travel Snapshot / Queensland Travel / Nature Travel / → All Tags
We come to you from a small dollop of land off the Eastern coast of Australia by the name of Fraser Island. This World Heritage Site sits about 120 miles north of Brisbane in the Hervey Bay region, and is a haven for some unique flora and fauna, including native dingoes, goanna lizards, and more.
Fraser's biggest claim to fame however, is the fact that it's the world's largest sand island, boasting awesome 4x4ing, meandering nature walks, and an easy tropical escape from the city. At this particular time of year, the island is home to some foreign travelers without the need of passports; we're talking about the massive whale migration from the Southern Pacific to these slightly warmer waters near the equator.
View of the scenery near the town of Turrialba
Costa Rica is a paradise for lovers of adventure and the outdoors, thanks in large part to its combination of Pacific and Caribbean climates that combine dry, wet, and volcanic ecosystems. The country has been blessed with a beautiful landscape, for sure, but after spending a few days in the country, it’s become apparent that its first-rate natural world is no accident.
The world’s leader in sustainable and ecotourism, Costa Rica has made a commitment to the continued health and longevity of its land, especially those it uses to lure in tourists. “Sustainability” and “green” have become marketing terms for many destinations, but Costa Rica walks the walk as a whole like nowhere else we’ve seen.
Wish You Were Here / Adventure Travel / Hiking / Grand Canyon Travel / Arizona Travel / Havasupai Falls / → All Tags
We're down there... somewhere.
Most people only see the Grand Canyon from above, looking out from a viewing platform on the South Rim near the visitor center. For those that need a reminder of its "grandness," the canyon is 277 "river miles" long, one mile deep, and 18 miles at its widest point.
It's an amazing sight, for sure, one of which we need a much closer look. This weekend, we're headed off on a multi-day backpacking trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, making our way to Havasupai Falls, about an 11-mile hike from the top of the canyon.
Wish You Were Here / Turks and Caicos Travel / Providenciales Travel / Caribbean Travel / Island Travel / → All Tags
The British-owned Turks and Caicos island chain is known for its lack of development and shallow coastal waters, the latter of which greatly contributes to the scenery with its turquoise shine (if you're not familiar with what makes the Caribbean water so blue, learn here).
This week and next, we'll give you a rundown of tourism on the island chain, including what to see and do and how the individual islands are different from one another. We'll also spill the peas and rice on what to eat and drink and where to hang out. Specifically, we'll give you directions to one of the world's best beach bars, found on Providenciales (Provo). The photo you see above is a snapshot from our happy hour yesterday. Yes, we do indeed love our research.
Stay tuned for the scoop, and wish you were here!
[Photo: Will McGough]
When this writer stepped off the train yesterday in Appenzell, the scenery I encountered was exactly what I had always pictured Switzerland to look like in the spring: Rolling hills of dairy farms, a small charming village, a couple cows, and the color green. It looked more like a fairy tale come to life than reality, something that brought an unstoppable smile to my face.
It's my first time in Switzerland, and one of my favorite parts of travel is seeing the expectations unfold one way or another. When I landed in Zurich, I was reminded of many of the other European cities I have visited. But as the train left the city limits, the scenery changed drastically as I entered the Swiss Prealps you see in the distance from Zurich.
Wish You Were Here / Germany Travel / Berlin Travel / Europe Travel / Berlin Wall / Historical Travel / Asisi Panometer / → All Tags
In November of 1989, residents of East and West Germany celebrated as the government announced the "fall" of the Berlin Wall, a breaking of the barrier between the two sides and a signal that the country was ready to reconcile.
A massive celebration ensued, and this year, as the country recognizes the 25 year anniversary of its reunion, we've come to Germany's capital to get a fresh perspective on not only the commemorative events to come, but the state of Berlin as one of Europe's top cities to visit.
Travel Snapshots / Volcanoes / Iceland Travel / Wish You Were Here / Adventure Travel / Road Trips / Big Ash Problems / → All Tags
It's been four years (already!) since the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted and wreaked havoc on international travel. Although volcanologists ranked the eruption low in severity, it was the hulking ash cloud that made headlines. Now, thanks to its having cancelled hundreds of thousands of flights, impacted millions of travelers, and necessitated the development of ash-detection aviation technology, a small parking area with a scenic lookout sees a steady stream of tourist traffic.
Finding the volcano on a map, or viewing some of the seriously humbling photos of the eruption make it seem as though it's in a remote location, far from civilization.
Wish You Were Here / Kenya Travel / Nairobi Travel / Safari Travel / Adventure Travel / Africa Travel / Masai Mara Travel / Laikipia Trave / Mombasa Travel / → All Tags
This week, we've been hopping around Kenya, bouncing between safari camps and reserve regions to discover one of the most dramatic ecosystems in the world. We started in Nairobi, then circled through Laikipia, Masai Mara, and now the town of Watamu outside Mombasa. You can find Nairobi easily on the map above, and we've circled the three other areas to give you a sense of where our whereabouts.
Next week, we'll begin our coverage of the county, including how to get around, what to expect from the safari experiences and natural landscapes in the different regions, the food, culture and people, and some thoughts on the state of tourism in the country on a whole. Below, we provide a preview shot of the scenery.
Wish You Were Here / Sydney Travel / Australia Travel / Island Travel / Historical Travel / First Time to Australia / → All Tags
Ask any Sydney tourist where to go for the best views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and they’ll most likely recommend a trip on the Manly Ferry, which departs from Circular Quay near the base of the bridge. It’s a bit like Sydney’s version of the Staten Island Ferry in that it’s packed with both commuters and tourists, and it tirelessly plies the Harbour’s waves day in and day out.
While the Manly Ferry is certainly a great idea, we’ve got a better one: Fort Denison.
You see, Sydney Harbour is the largest natural harbor in the world. As such, it’s going to have a few surprises like islands and forts, or, in this case, a combination of the two.