Sailing on the Waverley, the Oldest Sea-going Paddle Steamer in the World

The Waverley docked at Largs ( Ann Burnett)

We spot its distinctive shape steaming towards us as we wait at Largs pier. Her two side paddles give her the appearance of a lady in crinolines, and a grand old lady at that. She’s the oldest sea-going paddle steamer in the world. The Waverley … [Read more...]

Discovering the City of Bruges (Brugge), Belgium, by Boat

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

“Where are you from?” roars the boat’s captain into the microphone. He rattles out our various nationalities. French, Flemish, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish, Turkish, Spanish. “No Germans?” he bellows. “Excellent!” And then to ease our … [Read more...]

Birding the Quebec Maritimes’ Islands near Rivière-du-Loup

Lighthouse at Pot du Phare (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

The Quebec Maritimes are a haven for people like me who are into nature. This northern part of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River provides both a serene escape from the city and incredible scenery. Jagged rock formations erupt from the water. Birds … [Read more...]

Paddlewheeling down the Mississippi River in New Orleans

Beautiful Balconies in New Orleans

I hit a full gallop in about two seconds flat on the sidewalk outside the New Orleans Riverwalk, a shopping center famous for being hit by a wayward cargo ship on the Mississippi River in 1997. A few years back, after the repairs, they installed a … [Read more...]

Cruising on the Yangtze to the Three Gorges Dam, China

Cruising along the Yangtze, China (photo credit Ann Burnett c 2013)

The Yangtze river was low, the ship tied up far below us at Chongqing docks and the funicular train down to it was broken. We were faced with a long flight of stairs lugging our suitcases, then across several gangplanks to our ship. What were we to … [Read more...]

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

On the ferries to Princes’ Islands, I would always drink copious amounts of tea. Waiters with dangling trays roamed up and down the decks touting chai for less than a dollar, delivering a tear-drop Turkish tea cup on a little glass saucer, complete … [Read more...]

Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northeast Wales

The cast iron and masonry work on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales are more than 200 years old. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

From my vantage point in the field below, the structure rising from the riverbed looks like a bridge—a magnificent one, certainly, with graceful 200-year-old stone and iron arches. But wait a minute and an incongruous sight appears: A boat slowly … [Read more...]

Cruising Down the Moscow River

View of the Kremlin from the Moscow River

The wind whipped the sort of ripping chill that makes you wish had another coat to go on top of the one you’re wearing. I was standing on the bow of a dinner boat in the Moscow River in the middle of winter. The water had long since iced over, but … [Read more...]

Seeing New York City from the Staten Island Ferry

Tourists aboard Staten Island Ferry

The greatest New York City sightseeing trip you could imagine is absolutely free: the Staten Island ferry. The views of the city’s skyline and East River bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and blazing sunsets are as enchanting as any on a paid cruise … [Read more...]

Exploring Venice’s Grand Canal by Land and Water

Gondolas on the Grand Canal Venice

The Grand Canal’s two-and-a-half-mile S-curve through the heart of Venice takes it from the city’s two most common approaches – Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia rail station -- to Piazza San Marco, the historic and touristic heart. Along its … [Read more...]