NEXT TO THE BEST TRIPS – PART II

Here is the other half of our series on our most outstanding trips.

Brazil

It’s a huge country so we didn’t see all of it, but there were three outstanding highlights: Salvador de Bahia, Manaus with the Amazon and Igasu Falls. Let’s take them one at a time.

Salvador de Bahia – about an hour’s flight north of Rio is a colorful, exciting city with a rich history in Afro-Brazilian culture. It was the principal port of entry when the slaves were brought in from Africa; many of whom remained. The buildings are all bright and faded colors and there is an air of carnival all around the town. A delightful surprise.

Manaus is the gateway to the Amazon and to our surprise a good-sized, somewhat modern city with a great fish market and an outstanding opera house, who delivers some outstanding performances. The Amazon is three or four days on a small, 20-plus passenger houseboat. It is an interesting adventure into another world.

Then there is Igasu Falls. Absolutely the most spectacular waterfall in the world. It’s interesting from the Argentina side, but so much more from the Brazil side. Lots of great hikes and torrents of water from the mile-wide waterfall. You’ve never seen anything like it.

Red Mountain Resort – Nestled at the foot of Snow Canyon, a red-rock hiking paradise, the Red Mountain Resort is a surprising retreat at modest prices. It’s just a few miles outside of St. George, Utah, barely two hours north of Las Vegas.

Whether you drive or fly, it’s well worth the trip They have fitness classes all day; stretch, water aerobics, and there is a spa, but the highlight of this location are the organized hikes each morning. It’s near enough to Bryce and Zion that you can go for an extra fee.

Daughter Ellen introduced us to this delightful non she-she place 20 years ago and we’ve been going ever since.

Kenya/Tanzania – This is a trip through well-appointed tented safari camps in Kenya and nice hotels in Tanzania. What you go for are not the accommodations but the animals, and there are plenty of them.
The safaris in each country are wonderful and sleeping in the well-appointed tents with a guard outside is a real treat.

If you’re lucky (and we were), you see the migration of thousands and thousands of animals who cross between the two countries twice a year. It’s a sight you can never forget.

The British Isles – There are many parts of England well worth visiting; the Cotswalds, Bath, Wales, York, Stratford, Oxford, but London is absolutely the best of cities. The museums are a real treasure, the theater is wonderful and if you dig a little, the food is top drawer, plus great shopping in the best stores.

We’ve been to London many times and enjoyed it every time. The underground (subway) is easy to use and goes everywhere, including the airport.

Off the beaten tourist path are two museum-like townhouses that are a secret delight. The first is the Duke of Wellington home on the edge of Hyde Park. And then there is the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square. Two very large old residences that offer a glimpse into a bygone era of upper crust living.

Ireland is a green garden naturally landscaped to give your eyes a treat everywhere you go. Dublin is a delightful city that offers many treats.

Scotland is not as warm or as green but interesting in a very different landscape Edinburgh is a great city to visit.

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Over 100 galleries of art and jewelry and the charm of a Mexican revival town. The galleries feature a lot of Native American art, but many others as well. Good, tasty food to eat and great surroundings in Taos, Bandelier and the remnants of old Indian pueblos everywhere.

It’s a great weekend.

Australia/New Zealand – It you’re going that far, you ought to see both. Australia has friendly folk and lots to see in Melbourne and Sydney. The Great Barrier Reef offers a great water-oriented side trip.

New Zealand is a wonderful green country and offers some very interesting and different areas in Auckland, Christ Church and Queensland.

Canada – A big country with three distinct areas; west, central and east. Let’s look at each.

In the west you have Vancouver, one of the most beautiful and charming cities in the world, along with the wonders of British Columbia, including Victoria, Whistler and the spectacular Canadian Rockies. It’ all a WOW!

Moving into the central area, you have the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls, as well as the charm of Montreal and Toronto.

When you get to the east, you have the old French city of Quebec, and then it’s on to Halifax and the Canadian Maritimes.

Great country, terrific neighbors, and lots to see everywhere.

Alaska/Denali – Cruising the inside passage of Alaska north of Vancouver, Canada, is a really special trip. The scenery is green and spectacular, and then you get to Glacier Lake. You have the chance to see bears, whales and other assorted wild animals, as well as caving glaciers up close and personal. The towns of Ketchikan, Haynes, Fairbanks, Sitka, Petersburg and Juneau are a tour through olden times.

Upper Amazon – An hour flight out of Lima, Peru, you start an amazing seven-day trip into another world. First you start with a 100-mile car trip through a close-up look at old country Peru. Then it’s on your houseboat home for an exciting trip on the great river. You’ll see pink dolphins (yes, pink) and the biggest collection of colorful birds you can ever imagine.

The villages are a little more advanced than the ones further upriver near Manaus.

Keep traveling! You’ll never regret it!

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