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Canada
Therapeutic Glimpses of Canada
Courtesy Natural Traveler
By Skip Kaltenheuser

f lucky to enjoy more than your fair share of travel, eventually you’ll be asked your favorite place. It’s a tough one, most places have their fascinations. One doesn’t choose to go somewhere without first determining it worth one’s time. So top picks usually include the latest experience. And folks in America, with its embarrassment of travel riches, are already a bit spoiled if they get around at all. But this traveler never feels he’s giving a bum steer answering to look northward. Canada’s diverse menu of experiences rivals any in the world. Foreign but user-friendly, familiar but with enough difference to be thought-provoking, wild and remote but accessible, the country offers a cornucopia of exploration treats. Culture is offered up with contagious exuberance.

How best to convey what awaits? I picked 101 snaps, aiming for a kaleidoscope of imagery, could easily have picked hundreds more while enjoying the memories they triggered but the webmaster would go on strike. Most are glimpses of Alberta and Quebec provinces, with some Bugaboos heli-hiking overlap in British Columbia. Images include happenings like Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, Quebec City’s Winter Carnival and Calgary’s Stampede rodeo extravaganza. Countryside views include the Bugaboos, the Banff region and Alberta’s Badlands, the latter including dinosaurs in abundance.

Here and there a familiar face appears, a couple kids I’m often privileged to enjoy as travel sidekicks. Canada is terrific for family sojourns. It’s a particular treat for me when I also see places through young eyes, recollecting similar scenes when I was young, on family road trips. Seeing confidence build on a young face after a struggle up a cliff, sharing a gleeful fright as one conquer’s trepidation to leap off a cliff into a chilly river, or watching one’s kids encourage others who feel jammed up are among the purest of pleasures

One term I like for Canada is therapeutic. I ventured twice to the comedy festival. Both times life had conspired to leave me in need of a laugh. Both times the mid-July English/French festival delivered more than I imagined might be done. From artful street festival surprises to late night clubs with very blue comedy that overcomes resistance and leaves you with guilty tears of laughter, it’s a treat of an escape that I’d like to be challenged by in times of normalcy. Montreal is the place to examine the great philosophical questions of our time – what’s funny and why? Quebec’s 17 day winter carnival, starting Jan. 30, is a joyful cry against the elements – dress like an astronaut – that you can supplement with great skiing near town. You can lose yourself in urban pleasures and culture, or for reflective time retreat to the wide open spaces always in close proximity. Or for one on one moments with a kid, with ample stimulation to push back at the cursed screens that occupy too much of modern time. Explorations of the cultures of indigenous peoples, or of early settlers, help one imagine other lives and histories yet consider similarities with one’s own.

Take a glimpse.

Toward a fortunate year.

(Editor's Note: To see all the 101 photographs from the writer go to this site. To enlarge each photo just click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the article then hit the back arrow to return to the thumbnail list.)

If You Go

Alberta Tourism
Calgary Stampede
Banff
Festivals in Montreal
Just for Laughs (English); Just for Laughs (French)
Quebec City environs
Carnaval de Quebec
Skiing in Quebec
Skiing in Alberta
Heli-hiking, heli-skiing
Royal Tyrrell Museum (Dinosaurs!)
Canadian Tourism
Passport requirements (Canada)
Passport Requirements (US)

Related Articles:
Exploring Western Canada with VIA Rail; My Own Private Montréal; Tea in Montréal; Get Ready for Carnaval de Quebec; Two Winter Festivals; The Calgary Folk Fest; Banff: Creativity, the Raven and Balanced Cables


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Let Skip know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the White Continent of Antarctica

nguins on  shore as writer's cruise ship passes by, Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more, but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages. Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)

sunset at Galway Bay

The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands, and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!) People!

Emirates Airbus A-380
As she came around the corner we could not believe how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful – almost elegant in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as quiet as a church mouse – or "as quiet as dreaming trees."

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Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

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Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing as the Man who Lived There

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from the president during Black History Month – Frederick Douglass has done an amazing job... – it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC – surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself – would be a good place to start.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Hanging Out in Huntington Beach, California

Greg at Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand; it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Richard Gere and Joseph Cedar Discuss "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"

a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

Richard Gere is one of America's acting treasures. He has an uncanny knack for selecting scripts with the most interesting characters. Included in some of his vast body of films are "American Gigolo, "An Officer and a Gentleman," "The Cotton Club," "Internal Affairs," "Pretty Woman," "Primal Fear," "Unfaithful," and "Chicago." Joseph Cedar, writer and director of the critically acclaimed "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer," was born in New York City but when he was five, his family moved to Israel where he was raised.

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Gary Singh's travel blog/review
Monte Verità: In the Footsteps of Anarchy

Chiara's Rainbow, Monte Verita, Switzerland
Just as I reach the end of a squiggling, multicolored path, an acorn plummets from an oak tree above me. It lands at my feet, just as the path culminates at a mandala of Venetian glass, eight feet in diameter. On the worn-out front lawn of Monte Verità, the Mountain of Truth, this path, Chiara's Rainbow, evolves through the colors of the spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet – before arriving at the mosaic mandala where psychic energies supposedly prevail. The falling acorn brings me to the present moment.

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John Blanchette's travel blog/review
Rolling Through the Outback on the Indian Pacific's Christmas Train

Santa with native Australian on an Indian Pacific Christmas train stop
It was mid December and a heat wave had embraced the country. Record setting temperatures were searing the land from high 90s in Sydney and Adelaide to blast furnace heat in the great Outback. Fires were raging throughout the country. But we were cool, riding the air-conditioned Indian Pacific railway across the southern expanse of Australia to the west coast city of Perth, a four-day transcontinental tour...

Traveling Guest

Raoul Pascual's travel blog
Leviticus 20:13
Sent by Tom of Pasadena, CA

It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've been interpreting it wrong all these years!

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Tim Mattox's travel article
John Nemeth Doubles Down

Nemeth and Deanna Bogart performing at Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico

John Nemeth is a busy guy. He and his band, the Blue Dreamers, tour constantly and rarely leave the road. But when they do it's just long enough to feed the heads of their rabid and enthusiastic fan base. Personally, I've witnessed multiple Nemeth shows in both intimate and festival settings and not once have I ever seen a patron stagger away without a face full of grin. So when word came down that a new recording was in the works, my grin got wider.

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Terry Cassel's travel blog
The Impossible Happened: Itís Time to Get to Work

the White House

All of us are stunned, across the entire political spectrum, by the results of this election. Many are both sickened and saddened, while others are jubilant. I am guardedly optimistic. I think it's too early to despair, or to celebrate. In my experience nothing is ever as bad as it seems, or as good. But there is great cause for concern.

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Dette Pascual's travel blog
Dia delos Muertos: The Day of the Dead – All Saints Day

All Saints Day scene at a Philippine cemetery
October draws to a close with a melancholy air. Days are colder, dead leaves flutter to the ground after a last burst of color, before finally drifting away to be tossed by the winds in all directions. Something about this image that inspires vintage, romantic songs like "Autumn Leaves"… and brings memories of a Love, once held close.

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Richard Carroll's travel blog/review
Costa Rica's Green

Costa Rican volcano

Sitting at an umbrella table in downtown San Jose overlooking the Plaza de la Cultura is like a page out of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." The plaza is laid out in a maze of stalls where passive vendors sell sparkling silver jewelry by the trayfull, hand-carved clay masks, colorful Guatemalan belts, area rugs, and hammocks perfect for a midday siesta. Three men play an old wood marimba over the buzz of the crowd while a steaming plate of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) is served to an elegant lady who was performing with her guitar and who is chummy with everyone from the shoeshine man to the waitresses..

go there

Richard Frisbie's travel blog/review
Seville – The Most Gay-Friendly City in Spain

Seville tower

I find it nearly impossible to sleep on airplanes. When I couldn't sleep on the overnight Delta flight from New York to Andalusia last September, I scrolled through the movies (blah) and other entertainment (double blah) until I came across the TV show "Game of Thrones". I knew of it, that it was bloody and sexy, but had never seen it. I watched more than heard three episodes before dozing off. As I found out later, it was the perfect introduction to my visit to Seville, Spain.

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Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
Tahiti and Her Islands

Tahiti

Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks, tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that single purpose.

go there

Corinna Lothar's travel blog/review
NOLA: New Orleans, Louisiana

19th century building, Stuttgart, Germany
Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, the Garden District, the streetcar (now a bus) to Desire, the jazz clubs, the beignets at the Café du Monde and breakfast at Brennan’s come to mind when you think of New Orleans. But that’s not all there is to this unique American city, filled with treasures both culinary and cultural.

Go There

Ruth J. Katz's travel article
The Corinthia Lisbon: A Sybarite's Dream

the Terrace Garden at the Corinthia Lisbon

I was kind of bedraggled and despite the fact that it was just before noon, I was ready for a nap. However, when I heard how fabulous the hotel's spa was, I opted for a long and leisurely deep-tissue massage and knew that afterwards I could collapse on a lounger. What I had not anticipated was that the spa is a veritable water park, with an extraordinary hydrotherapy circuit pool and seductive sensory showers.

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Masada Siegel's travel blog
Happiness in Hawaii

sailboat at sunset, Hawaii
In 2014, according to a Gallup poll the hypothetical happiest American was described as a tall, Asian-American man over 65 years old, who lives in Hawaii, is married with children, owns a business, earns a household income of more than $120,000 a year – and is an observant Jew. While I don't fit most of the criteria, I thought why not investigate on my own. Hawaii was a mere plane ride away. And if you are seeking a mecca for happiness, and, in my case, taking a first trip with my baby, Hawaii offered the ultimate for a relaxing holiday.

Go There

John Blanchette's travel blog/review
Rolling Through the Outback on the Indian Pacific's Christmas Train

Santa with native Australian on an Indian Pacific Christmas train stop
It was mid December and a heat wave had embraced the country. Record setting temperatures were searing the land from high 90s in Sydney and Adelaide to blast furnace heat in the great Outback. Fires were raging throughout the country. But we were cool, riding the air-conditioned Indian Pacific railway across the southern expanse of Australia to the west coast city of Perth, a four-day transcontinental tour...

Traveling Guest

Brom Wikstrom's travel blog/review
The Hill Towns of Tuscany and Umbria

a villa in the village of Bessano, Umbria, Italy
I sometimes wonder what I was thinking about taking a wheelchair to the Italian hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. It was a given that the ancient cobblestones would punish my wheels mercilessly and that the transportation would be a challenge to put it mildly, not to mention the currency exchange. The language barrier however would not be a problem as my wife Anne lived in southern Switzerland for a few years and speaks Italian fluently.

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