Last month we itemized six great trips we had in:
Burma Rafting the Grand Canyon
Chile/Argentina Cities of Spain
Barge trip (France) Washington, D.C.
Here’s the second half of our list of great trips:
China – Bursting with Energy
There are probably more construction cranes in China than in the rest of the world combined. What an exciting place; with its fascinating history and the simple opulence of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and all the temples in Beijing. Then there is the incredible Terracotta Army in Xian, the Yangtze River Dam, the Li River in Guilin, the modern western city of Shanghai, and the harbor and bustle of Hong Kong.
A fabulous country to visit and get a sense of why and how they are becoming one of the leading countries in the world.
Bike Trip in the Loire Valley
Maybe because it was the first bike trip we took and it would certainly be hard to beat the Loire Valley using any mode of transportation going with Backroads. We stayed in great chateaus after each day of seeing beautiful country towns, having great picnic lunches and sampling many of the boutique wineries.
It was tiring but relaxing and comfortable with a great group of people. We had as much success with other bike trips to the San Juan Islands, Vermont, and the Po River Valley, Italy.
Whew, just thinking about it makes me gasp. The scenery is unbelievable and the Fairmont Hotels were outstanding, each in their own way.
This was an outstanding Tauck Tour, starting with a day in Calgary during rodeo days. Then it was on to the foothills of the Rockies for one night as a warm-up to the real excitement when you arrive in Banff and your first Fairmont and the rich scenery of Yoho and Banff National Parks.
On to Lake Louise with the hotel overlooking this spectacular lake that reflects the distant snow-covered mountains. It’s a sight I will never forget. Then it’s Jasper National Park and an overnight train to Vancouver or back to Calgary. Wow, what a series of sights!
Mali, West Africa
After a long, lazy cruise down the coast of West Africa, which had many interesting stops, we disembarked to start an eight-day land tour of Mali. You may never have heard of it but it was an outstanding glimpse into the past. The people of Mali are by and large still living as they have for hundreds of years in the past.
It was a fascinating journey with many highlights, which included the recycling market in Bamako, the capital. Here were maybe five acres and hundreds of people taking cast-offs of everything wood, plastic and metal and making kitchen utensils, housewares, and all manner of things by hand. Nothing but hand tools!
Then there was the performance of some 30 dancers in costume on stilts accompanied by a band of sorts. All the children in this small remote town stood on the edge of the sand stage and were imitating the stilt dancers. To top it off, we visited Timbuktu on the very edge of the Sahara Desert. Mud huts, no paved streets and guides in colorful head to toe dishdashas.
Peru and Lake Titicaca
Peru was a great trip, with Cusco, Machu Picchu and the history of the Inca culture. For me, the highlight of the trip was Lake Titicaca, a huge body of water between Peru and Bolivia. Maybe it was such a highlight because you don’t hear much about it.
The natives live out on the lake on islands made of thick reeds which grow in the lake. They live in huts and houses, and use boats; everything made of reeds.
It’s over 12,000 feet high, but with Diamox, you have no problem.
We enjoyed a three-week trip to South Africa. Each stop was a highlight. We started in Joburg with its very interesting history in the Soweto Township and adjoining capital of Pretoria.
Then it was onto seven different safari camps in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, as well as a delightful stop in Victoria Falls. Each place had its own highlights seeing the lions and all the rest of the animals up close, really close.
The red sand dunes, as well as Wolves Bay in Namibia, were special. The lions and elephants baying at each other all night in Botswana, as well as the lions in another camp outside our cabin soaking up the morning sun.
Our last stop was Capetown, maybe the most beautiful city in the world. It’s hard to do but if we had to single it out, this was probably our very best trip of all.
With any luck, we’ll try to add to the list.