This gorgeous, sun-soaked Spanish city is the perfect cozy escape.
What does the perfect holiday abroad look like to you? Does it conjure up images of sun-soaked coastal spots? Maybe it involves getting in touch with your inner art connoisseur, as one can expect with a tour of Barcelona’s famed art museums. Personally, we're partial to cozy locales. And one spot we haven’t been able to stop thinking about is the charming city of Seville, Spain.
Below are a few attractions we highly recommend, especially for first-time travellers, as well as some packing tips to keep in mind.
The Hawk on Cape Sable Island is Nova Scotia's southernmost point and home to its most unusual beach.
When you go as far south as you possibly can in Nova Scotia and the pavement ends, you’ll find yourself at a quiet beach known locally as “The Hawk.” This isn’t your average Maritime beach with soft sand and smooth pebbles. The shores here are filled with thousands of fossilized tree stumps.
The Hawk (most likely named after a schooner washed ashore in the 1800s) is located on Cape Sable Island. No, that’s not the same place as Sable Island, famously home to wild horses. Cape Sable Island sits between Yarmouth and Shelburne and is the southernmost part of the province. There isn’t much in the way of horses in the area, but birds are a different story. Bird watchers love this beach, and The Hawk is part of the Cape Sable Important Bird Area.
However, the wildest thing of all are the fossilized tree stumps, part of a 1500-year-old drowned forest.
The Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, is a beloved spot for adventure. But how would an anti-adventurist like me fair on this hiking route?
I have a rule when it comes to hiking. I have to be able to complete the route while holding a travel mug, full of a delicious latte. If you're going to trudge through the forest, you might as well do with a tasty hot beverage in hand, right? And having a hot drink to balance means you're avoiding anything too arduous. However, while on a press trip to Manitoulin Island, located just outside Sudbury in northern Ontario, I broke that rule all in the name of, well... I'm not sure exactly. Adventure? That doesn't sound like me. Being a bold, brave travel writer? Welllll.......
Like many anti-adventurist excursions, I had several moments of doubt along the way, but I'm ultimately happy that I did it. Here's what it was like to hike the Cup and Saucer Trail - in the rain!
These famous trees in Northern Botswana were first captured by painter Thomas Baines. Here's how you can see them for yourself.
Twenty some years ago, National Geographic devoted a cover story to the topic of Africa and, in doing so, they did something unusual. They declined to use a cover image, rationalizing that there was no one symbol or picture that could encompass the continent.
If they had asked me, I would have made my case for the baobab tree. True, they don’t grow everywhere in Africa but they are an icon of the continent. Residents love them for their fruit, shade, and fibres, as do animals. Visitors adore these funny looking plants that have the appearance of being stuck in the ground upside down. They’re huge, imposing, aloof and yet there’s something about the baobab that’s decidedly homey. Perhaps this is why the Baines' Baobabs in Botswana are so popular.
The Baine’s Baobabs are named for British artist Thomas Baines. Baines wasn’t just a painter. He was also an explorer and an active participant on many of the earliest European expeditions to Africa. As such, he both contributed to and memorialized early colonialism. His work fed a mania for “exotic” images of the continent and his painting of seven baobabs in northern Botswana certainly fit the bill. They’re a little weird, a little other-wordly, and utterly captivating.
Located in northern Botswana in Nxai Pan National Park, the group of trees that Baines immortalized are estimated to be over 1,500 years old. Also know as "The Sleeping Sisters" (as one tree is growing sideways) they’re considered to be some of the tallest in the area, hitting about 20 feet in height. Thanks to Baines’ legacy and the trees' own magnificence, they’re a popular tourist attraction and Ryan and I were able to see them for ourselves during our camping safari. Here’s how you can do the same.
Our favourite things to do in Livingstone include hanging with the rhinos, eating Indian food, going to museums, and relaxing by the river.
You've probably heard a lot about Victoria Falls, one of world's most majestic wonders. But have you heard about its next door neighbour, the small city of Livingston, Zambia?
Livingstone is often treated a bit like a base for exploring other destinations and, to be honest, we were a bit guilty of that ourselves at first. We stayed in Livingstone for about a week as we organized trips in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Thankfully, along the way we clued in to the fact that this is much more than a town that takes care of all the traveling essentials, from groceries to pharmacy, banks to stamps. There is a long list of Livingstone activities to enjoy during your visit and exploring the city was a highlight of our time in Africa. Here's what should be on your radar during your visit.
In the cozy, colourful seaside town of Shelburne, you can connect with arts, crafts, culture, and cuisine.
I know a thing or two about having adventures in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. After all, this is where I had my infamous "anti-adventurist" moment when I attempted axe throwing! (You can read all about it here - thankfully, nothing was hurt but my pride). However, there are plenty of much cozier, low-key, micro-adventures to enjoy in this pretty seaside community, with no weapons, tools, or farm implements required! If you're lucky enough to find yourself in southern Nova Scotia, here are some of the treats you can enjoy.
When you visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, winter blues melt away.
There's magic in the air in Key West.
In the United State's southernmost city, you'll find a tropical paradise at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Inside this tropical greenhouse beautiful little birds, two sassy flamingos, gorgeous jungle plants, and butterflies - hundreds and hundreds of them, representing about 50 to 60 species from around the world - are just waiting to say hello. Once you step inside, I feel confident that you'll agree with my assessment. It's pure magic.
So you want to go to Paris.... May I suggest some travel advice, recommendations, hints, tips, and unbreakable rules from someone with a life-long love affair with the City of Lights?
I've spent one month and half a lifetime in the City of Lights.
The part about one month is very true. From mid-October to mid-November, 2022, I lived in Paris. I found a wee apartment with sloped walls and wooden beams and made the city my home.
The reference to half a lifetime is a bit of hyperbole but, in its own way, equally true. I first visited the French capital in 2001 and I've made at least half a dozen visits in the years since. I'm never not wanting to be there.
I believe you could live in Paris your entire life and not discover all of its secrets. As such, I am far from an expert. On the other hand, I know Paris better than just about any travel destination and I've learned quite a lot in 20+ years of adventures. And that brings me here, in an effort to wrap up my very best Paris travel advice, suggestions, recommendations, tips, and tricks. For everyone who has said that they absolutely have to get my advice before planning their own big trip - here it is. This post is for you. I'll accept macarons in lieu of thanks.
France's Palace of Versailles is beloved by everyone - except me, it seems. Would a day of cycling Versailles bring redemption?
Every great story needs a villain and, for 21 years, the French Palace of Versailles was mine.
I visited Versailles on my very first trip to Paris in 2001 as an international student. The excursion was an optional class trip but one I had eagerly agreed to. After all, it was one of the most popular attractions in France. What wasn't to love?
Turns out: Plenty. I had a miserable visit, so bad that I've long described Versailles as my least-favourite travel destination. It was a damp, cold, drizzling April day. I was hungry. I had a headache. Versailles' pricing structure was confusing and costlier than expected. Pushy touts made for a jarring welcoming committee. I recognize now that, in retrospect, Versailles didn't even stand a chance. It was never going to be a good travel day and it (mostly) wasn't the Palace's fault. But it took me the better part of two decades to come to that conclusion. It was time to revisit Versailles and give it another shot. Could a day spent cycling Versailles provide the redemption I was looking for?
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