Kilimanjaro--photo by Meghan
I climbed Kilimanjaro in the fall of 2006, taking the Machame route. The Machame route is arguably the most scenic: camera crews having chosen this route for the Kilimanjaro iMax movie. It is also one of the longer routes and one of the more arduous.
The Machame route, however, is not a technical climb and requires no previous mountaineering skills. I will add, though, that some ropes may have proved comforting when faced with the 1,000-foot drop above jagged rocks and the leap requiring lots of faith to get to the other side of the path. The summit was not as easily reached as I had suspected, based on the large number of tourists who climb it every year. It took seven days of hiking for six to eighteen hours per day. Clouds often obstructed our promised good view, but sometimes I got a rare glimpse of the spectacular scenery as though I was in an airplane taking aerial photographs.
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Read more: Africa
, Solo Travel
That’s all the time we had. More to the point, it’s all the time I allowed for on a three week journey through Ireland and the UK with my cousins. A last minute substitution for Dublin, Belfast was unexplored territory for me and therefore, way more enticing. It’s also the hub for a handful of low-cost airlines, and proved a handy and economical base for catching flights to Edinburgh, Scotland, our next destination. Airlines aside, the city was the surprise hit of our trip. It is full of character and characters, history, and endearing people who stopped their conversations with pals to walk us where we needed to go, even when completely out of their way.
Arriving early in the afternoon allowed us precious daylight hours to explore our home base, the university district. In a scene which reminded me of Greenwich Village, our flat (apartment) lay in a row of attractive brick buildings on a tree-lined street. Dominating the street was a gorgeous stone church that we admired from the bay window of The Barking Dog restaurant, a culinary highlight. Our charming waiter served up delicious meals and endless conversation in the unique local accent that I could have listened to all day. My favorite phrase, “So I did.” Burning off the amazing salmon pasta I had for lunch, I walked a few blocks further to the botanic gardens, so I did. Its maze of lawns was alive with picnicking college students, its benches full of book readers.
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Read more: Belfast
, Northern Ireland
, Western Europe
This is Ireland by M. Sasek
After many online searches looking for the best price to get to Croatia, I discovered that Aer Lingus was a relative bargain compared to other flights. I decided that I would stay in Dublin, however, for a 32-hour layover. I had never been to Ireland before and I wanted to see as much as I could possibly see in my jet-lagged state.
Because I had such a short amount of time, I started to research as much as possible. There was no shortage of information available, but a lot of the information recommended places that “were off the beaten path,” or places to be with the “locals” and the “new, more cosmopolitan” Dublin. As I was reading one article that suggested visiting a great wine bar and eating at a wonderful Mediterranean-inspired restaurant I realized that I didn’t want to be “off of the beaten path.”
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Read more: Beer
, M. Sasek
Liberacion de Tortugas--photo by Lisa
While walking along the main drag in Puerto Escondido in Southern Mexico, I started to see notices in a lot of the hotel windows proclaiming “Ahora Liberación de tortugas 5:45″. I am not a Spanish speaker, but after reading this my imagination started to run wild. I pictured poor little turtles being held against their will in shackles by evil tyrants. They are actually being “liberated” by an organization called Fundación Selva Negra that is dedicated to helping protect the survival of three types of turtles: Tortuga Golfina, Tortuga Laud, and Tortuga Prieta. Continue Reading »
Read more: Eco-tourism
, Nature & Wildlife
, Outdoor Recreation
, Puerto Escondido
, Travel Tips and Resources
Let's Go Ireland: On a Budget
I often travel by myself. Sometimes it is great; I love the freedom and flexibility to do whatever I feel like doing at that particular moment. Sometimes it is not so great, and I become so painfully lonely that I shop just so I can talk to sales clerks. I used to think that I was not the “tour group type,” but lately I have started to take some traditional tours, and not only have I enjoyed them, but I have made lots of good friends. The problem seems to be finding the right tour group.
Recently a friend told me about a group of backpackers who organize trips to Europe that are based in the North End of Boston. There was also a great article about them in the Boston Globe today (Local Backpackers Flock Together). Since I just found out about them, I haven’t actually participated in a tour. However, I am glad that they are on my radar for future trips.
As a side note, the new 2009 Let’s Gos have arrived. They are a longtime budget traveler favorite. New titles include: Britain, Europe, France, Italy, Spain & Portugal with Morocco, Western Europe, Australia, Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, Germany, Hawaii, New York, Paris, and Thailand.
Read more: Backpacking
, Let's Go Guides
, Solo Travel
Cool Parents Guide to NYC by Helen Rogan & Alfred Gingold
My parents had never been to New York City. I am not sure why, I guess that it just seemed too far away from the state of Washington and being small business owners they never had enough time to get away except for a long weekend. However, my parents are now retired and apparently have spent a lot of time discovering the joys of HBO On Demand and catching up on the TV show Sex and the City. My Mom loves the show so much that her only request for her birthday trip to New York City was to on on the Sex and the City Tour. Well, that and to see the Statue of Liberty.
Since I was put in charge of planning the trip for us, I started to figure out where we could dispose of my father while we went on the tour and when I discussed the possibilities with Mom the conversations went a little like this:
“So Dad can sit at a cafe and read the newspaper while we go on the tour,” I said.
“Oh no!” said my Mom. “Buy him a ticket too.”
“But Mom, Dad doesn’t want to go on the Sex and the City Tour,” I protested.
“Your Father probably won’t even realize that he is on a Sex and the City Tour,” was the curt reply.
“But Mom, he will be on a bus of women, looking at shoe stores and drinking cosmos. He might figure it out. Did you ask him what he wants to do? ”
“He never asked me if I wanted to spend my time looking at Civil War sites across the South. Or go on a golfing vacation in Florida. (Mom hates golf.) He will be fine. Besides, if we leave him alone for 4 hours he will get lost and we will never see him again. Buy the tickets.”
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Read more: Eastern US
, New York City
, Sex and the City
, Touring with the Parents
, Women's Travel