Sightseeing: The Bucket List

Sightseeing tours aren't limited to your classic tour bus. You can enjoy sightseeing adventures via bush plane, speedboat, hydrofoil, double-decker bus, and hot-air balloons, not to mention your own two feet. And yes, even a bus tour can open new worlds to you with the right guide and the right companions.

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Visiting the Durham Home of the Prince Bishops

It is difficult to imagine a defensive structure more strategically situated. Guarded by steep slopes descending to an almost complete loop of the River Wear, Durham Castle remained impregnable for eight centuries. Yet even this fortress is dwarfed Read More

Traditional hat maker in Quito (©photocoen)

What to Buy in Ecuador: Shopping for Artisanal Souvenirs in Quito

"Do you know ortiga?" Doña Rosa asked? Fortunately, I did so I knew it would sting a bit. She rolled up my sleeve and held my hand in hers. She took a handful of fresh stinging nettle leaves and rubbed them over my lower arm and hand, which would Read More

Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. Read More

Taputapuatea Marea is the second most important archaeological site in all of Polynesia (Photo: MCArnott)

Exploring Life on Raiatea Island: A Cruise Shore Excursion in French Polynesia

Ambling through the untidy streets of Papeete, I find myself wondering what happened to the once blissfully depicted capital of French Polynesia. I know the cruise will take us to moss-laden jagged mountains, teeming marine life and stilted Read More

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Getting the Lowdown on Bogota’s Graffiti Culture

When we reached the end of the tour, I was already thoroughly impressed. And then we rounded the corner to discover four massive graffiti murals that just sung of revolution, of angst-y political statement and dissatisfaction. They were commissioned Read More

Halloween-style jail in the Joan of Arc Garden in Québec City (Photo: MCArnott)

Hounding Halloween Ghosts in Québec City, Canada

A giant spider crawls on the side of an office building. A sailing ship has run aground in front of Québec City Hall. Halloween decorations set the tone for our family visit to Québec City, with grandchildren in tow. Ships have a lot to do with Read More

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary Read More

Hand painted altar in a Franciscan church (©photocoen).

Discovering Franciscan Churches around Asunción, Paraguay

It all started with a photo: a beautiful photograph of an old wooden altar featuring an angel killing a devil, painted in blue tinges. Some of the paint had chipped off and the wood was damaged, and it was clearly a piece from colonial times. The Read More

Pontoon at Norman Reef, Queensland, Australia (With permission: Great Adventure Tours)

Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

When we asked friends from Brisbane and Sydney what’s the best time to visit Australia, they said September to November, not March when we had planned to go. Our timing to experience the Great Barrier Reef wasn't the best either. The Lonely Planet Read More

Zipolete, Mexico

Skinny-Dipping or Snorkeling in Zipolite, Mexico

I chose it because the beach was of a clothing-optional variety, and coming from a fairly purist Southern family, I’d not seen a lot of that sort of thing: strangers’ boobs set free in nature and whatnot. I couldn’t very well tell my girlfriend at Read More

Coba Cover Photo

Climbing Mexico’s Tallest Mayan Pyramid at Coba

Chichen Itza may be the most famous ancient Mayan city in the Yucatan Pennisula. It may have garnered all the big titles, like New World Wonder, but that doesn’t change the fact that the older Mayan site of Coba, the region’s capital before Chichen Read More

The entrance through the Passion facade (Ann Burnett)

Awe-struck at the Sagrada Familia Basilica, Barcelona, Spain

Our first view of the Sagrada Familia is from the top of Montjuic Hill at the end of the funicular ride up from the Ave Paral.lel. My eyes sweep over the panorama below Barcelona, and then, rising above it, the unmistakeable shape of Gaudi’s Read More

Sledging

Summer Sledging on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, Kaprun, Austria

Somebody’s grumbling. I can tell by the tone of voice, even before the words become clear. It’s something to do with having worn shorts. After all it’s August and the temperature in the valley below is creeping up into the nineties. Shorts seemed Read More

Canyons Chairlift (Canyons Resort)

Climbing Through Golden Aspens in Park City, Utah

As a New Englander, I’m spoiled for foliage. I have always smugly believed in the superiority of our country roads lined in red maples. Then I saw mile after mile of Utah mountainsides painted in bright yellow aspens; it broadened my view. And it Read More

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

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

“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 collective wince he Read More

The first recorded slave ship docked in Portsmouth Harbor in 1645 (© Stillman Rogers)

Walking the Black Heritage Trail in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We northerners tend to think of slavery as an institution peculiar to southern history, not to our own. But in fact, it was not at all uncommon for New Englanders to hold slaves. After all, New England ports -- including Portsmouth -- were the Read More

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

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

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

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Traversing the Mississippi on Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee

Something childlike takes over me when I go to Mud Island. I must go to the far north end of the Mississippi River and walk the length of it, from Illinois to Louisiana: Roughly one mile. For me, and I think most who visit it, the big attraction Read More

Tour group on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Touring the Gettysburg Battlefield with a Gettysburg Guide

It was raining, of course. It had rained for a week and shown no signs of stopping, but this was our one chance to see Gettysburg while John and I were in this part of Pennsylvania. Our National Park Service tour bus pulled into the parking area for Read More

The Willis Tower, Chicago's tallest building, looms over its neighbors.

On Top of Chicago: Taking in Breathtaking View from Willis Tower Skydeck

My stomach attempts a back flip, a visceral reaction to stepping onto a clear glass floor with 1,353 feet of nothingness between me and the street below. Another step and I begin to get my bearings, feeling brave enough to peer down between my Read More

View of Sugar Loaf from Cristo Redentor Statue (©Coen Wubbels)

Marveling from the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thus far thick traffic and having to watch my back had made me wary of the city but after a leisurely walk up the Sugar Loaf, I took in the view and suddenly understood the spell that visitors as well as Cariocas – Rio de Janeiro's residents – fall Read More

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

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