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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
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
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

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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
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

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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 January and Linda Berry Have Chemistry

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

Chemistry by its very definition is the spontaneous reaction of two people to each other, especially that sense of mutual attraction and understanding. This month John January and Linda Berry release their new project, Chemistry 101 and together they explore a range and depth of musical styles on both organic and physical levels. As a joint labor of love, January says Chemistry 101 is pretty straight-forward.

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Terry Cassel's travel blog
Remembering My Dad

Douglas A26 Invader

My father died while I was roaming through Northern Italy. He was 52. He passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home in Florida. I found out about it at the American Express office in Istanbul three weeks later when I opened a letter my brother sent me. This was 1970. There were no computers, no smartphones, no Skype.

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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...

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Richard Frisbie's travel blog/review
The Shortest Road Trip

rainbow at Niagara Falls

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls has a 35 mile linear park, called Niagara Park, with seemingly endless attractions stretched along the full length of the Niagara River. I recently spent several days driving to each, sampling fantastic wines and great food while enjoying the rugged beauty of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It became one of the shortest road trips ever. From tunnels under the falls, to zip lines into the gorge, and from a soaking boat ride to the base of the falls, to a challenging hike along the shore of the rapids, Niagara Park's attractions are amazing.

go there

Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
Tahiti and Her Islands


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.

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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.

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Ruth J. Katz's travel article
Telling Tales through Travel

Chatsworth House

As I ambled through the verdant and sometimes wild, untamed off-road "savannahs " of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England, I was glad that Robin Hood was my trailblazing Sherpa. Robin, known outside of the forest as Ezekial Bone, is an actor/interpreter of history, an extraordinary story teller, and font of information, much of which will supply me with fascinating cocktail-party persiflage for years to come. During this stroll, his merry band consisted of me and a few other Sherwood Forest interlopers, there to learn from a man who calls these woodlands home.

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Masada Siegel's travel blog
California Road Trip

sunset and San Diego skyline
You would never guess that you didn’t have to leave the mainland USA to find an Island with lush gardens, oceanside views and fabulous food all minutes away from downtown San Diego. I wondered what exactly we were heading towards, an Island in the middle of a city? It sounded slightly absurd, never-the-less, we drove onto the property of Paradise Point Resort and Spa and were pleasantly surprised.

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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

Brom Wikstrom's travel blog/review
Barcelona, Paris & London: A Remarkable Artistic Journey

the writer with paper mache puppets in Spain
An extraordinary chain of events came together for a most amazing journey to Barcelona, Paris and London. The 60th Anniversary of an art organization that has been my sponsor for over 30 years determined that Barcelona would be the site for our celebration. We would mark the occasion by inviting our niece who had recently graduated from nursing school to join us in Spain and travel afterwards to Paris and London for her first time ever abroad.

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