Tag Archives: mountains

10 Stunning Photos to Celebrate Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! Today is Canada’s national holiday marking the enactment of the British North America Act, which officially united the country. Towns throughout Canada, as well as communities of Canadian ex-pats around the globe, will be celebrating their country’s nationhood with parades, carnivals, fireworks, and more! Canada is known for producing some amazing things – from maple syrup to amazing hockey teams to Frank Gehry. What we love most, though, is the country’s majestic, unbridled beauty, as captured by these stunning photos. Enjoy!

Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Capital, British Columbia
Capital, British Columbia
Central Kootenay, British Columbia
Central Kootenay, British Columbia
Kananaskis Lake, Alberta
Kananaskis Lake, Alberta
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Lake Moraine, Alberta
Manitoba, Manitoba
Manitoba, Manitoba

 

Manitoba, Manitoba
Manitoba, Manitoba

 

Quetico, Ontario
Quetico, Ontario

 

Yukon Territory
Yukon Territory
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Yukon Territory

What do you love most about Canada? Will you be celebrating Canada Day?

5 Stunningly Beautiful Road Trips to Embark on This Summer

The air is fresh, the sun is out, the kids are on summer break – it must be time for a road trip! Arguably the most popular form of leisure travel in the U.S., road trips capture the spirit of adventure most of us only daydream about the rest of the year. Powered by a full tank and your own hands and feet, this is a form of travel with no departure times, no pricey tickets, and no layovers. Hungry? Pack snacks or stop at a food stand on the side of the highway. Carsick? Pop Ginger Ease and drink plenty of water. Drowsy? Stop off at a campground or a cute bed and breakfast – because, after all, there’s no rush to get anywhere in particular. It’s just you and the open road (and maybe a chatty kid or two in the back seat.)

No matter your personal preferences for landscape and climate, there is a road trip out there that will be perfect for you. Here are our top 5 U.S. road trips, based on exactly which kind of nature-lover you happen to be:

For the Desert Lovers: The Red Rock Southwest and New Mexico’s Hwy 64.

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Explore the rocky desert of the Southwest, giving special road time to US Route 64 along the northern border of New Mexico. You’ll pass through three state parks, as well as the historic and culturally rich city of Taos. Dip down on Hwy 285 for a bit to visit the secluded hot springs, Ojo Caliente, for a spa treat, and take a longer detour to Santa Fe for some amazing gallery-hopping and thrift store shopping!

For the Ocean Fans and Beach Bums: California’s Pacific Coast Highway

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Starting from the north or south, California’s coast is just waiting to be traversed along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway. You’ll hit up the state’s urban gems – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego – with all the culture, cuisine, and diversity they offer. But you’ll also pass through countless quaint seaside towns, experience the majestic beauty of this rocky coast, and have plenty of opportunities for splashing. Once you get up north, take a jaunt east to Napa and Sonoma for a few days in the wine country.

For the Mountain and Forest Seekers: The Blue Ridge Parkway

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This lush highway connects the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, covering over 450 miles of rich green forests and impressive peaks. This drive – which may go a bit slowly due to the 45-mile speed limit – will offer you all manner of natural delights, as well as plenty of opportunities for cultural and historical enrichment. Check out the Grand Caverns in Virginia, and don’t miss North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain!

For the Lake Hoppers: Going-to-the-Sun Road and Glacier National Park

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Montana is called “Treasure State” for a reason, and Glacier National Park is right up there among the jewels. Over 200 lakes, waterfalls, ice covered peaks, and thick forests make this park a must-see for road trippers everywhere. The “Going-to-the-Sun” route crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and is fairly short – just about 50 miles. So you will have plenty of time to camp, explore Glacier Park further, or even hop up into Canada if you feel so inclined!

For the River-Hungry: Great River Road Along the Mississippi

Mississippi River at Neely's Landing 10-20-2012

The mighty Mississippi has captured our collective imagination for centuries, and exploring the river’s course is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. Luckily, there are infinite ways to do this trip. The Great River Road is a network of state and local roads running through 10 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. If you go north to south, then finish the trip off with an immersion in the cultural richness of southern Louisiana. Listen to some blues, eat some Cajun food, and send us some photos when you get back home!

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Keeping Things in Perspective: Mountains

From a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief.

Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, to circle and worship at their feet, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from thousands of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.

Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and the energy lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need.

There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. In addition, they illustrate our ability to connect with higher energy. As they rise up from the earth, sometimes disappearing in the clouds that gather around them, they are a visual symbol of earth reaching up into the heavens. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Tony the misfit

Kerala Backwaters Vacation Ideas

With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the  east and networked by forty four rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical  features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations  in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil  streches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls.  Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting  art forms. Magical festivals. Historic  and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine…  All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, every one of these  charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage  no other destination offers. Kerala, India’s most advanced society : A hundred  percent literate people. World-class health care systems. India’s lowest infant  mortality and highest life expectancy rates. The highest physical quality of  life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India’s cleanest State.  For administrative purpose, the state of Kerala is divided into fourteen districts.  Most of these districts offer all the tourism products typical of the State.  It’s up to you to decide whether Kerala is the most beautiful state of  India for summer
vacations
. At least it is the greenest and is a melting pot of cultures, activities  and other interesting sights. It is situated in the south of India with the  Arabian sea along its western coast, that paved the way for international trade,  and the mountain range of western Ghats on the east with its marvellous (Trivandrum)  in the south. Trivandrum is the state capital although it might not appear  like that at first sight. It still has a rustic ambience. The Napier Museum  has a good overview of the state’s history. From here, you can easily  explore the marvellous beaches of Varkala and Kovalam.

A trip you can’t refuse when you’re in Kerala is leaving the small  town of Kollam by boat and go by means of the backwaters, to the market town  Alappuzha. You’ll have a spectacular view of what life is like in that area.  Kochi, the commercial capital, is a bit more to the north and has, besides  its seaside front, a lot to offer for those interested in history. The old  European church, Chinese fishing nets and the Jewish synagogue are only a few  of the remnant’s of the former days.

Getting Around
  On arrival, take a prepaid taxi from the airport to your hotel. You can order    one in the arrival lounge. This avoids haggling and provides a measure of    security. For further short distance travel    packages, use taxis or the local    bus service (very cheap but, as often is the case, buses are generally overcrowded).    Hardly any traveller dares to drive a hired car. This is definitely a smart    decision when you don’t have any driving experience on the local roads (that    sometimes tend to illustrate the survival of the fittest). A few adventurous    types buy a motorbike for the duration of their stay, the legendary Royal    Enfield built in Madras being the favourite one. Trains are convenient for    longer distances and, again, very cheap. There is no need for booking seats    when travelling shorter distances within Kerala. However, it is a must if    you’re planning to travel to the neighbouring states.

Kerala Backwaters
 Kerala and backwaters are synonyms to one another. Known by the name of God’s    Own Country, Kerala has always attracted visitors from far away destinations    to relax their mind, body and soul in its magnificent backwater destinations    like Alleppey, Kollam, Kumarakom, Kochi and Trivandrum. Apart from its backwater    destinations, Kerala is world over famous for its Ayurveda Therapy and Yoga Treatment Spas.

It is really one of the best experiences of lifetime to hear the soothing  sound of ripples in the backwaters of Kerala, when you relax on the houseboats  away from the fast and hectic life of metros.

Famous Backwater Destinations in Kerala

Kochi
  Kochi or Cochin is a really neat and compact town in Kerala. The town has a    distinct european feel, due to the fact that it was controled by the Portugese,    Dutch and English who each left buildings and foot prints in the culture.    It is a very nice town to walk around and has quite some sights of it self.It    is a reasonable base to do an excursion to the backwaters of Kerala. The    rivers around Kochi are not as wide as further down south and you get to    see much more. There are a number of small travel    agents that allow you to    book these tours or transport options for further travel.

Alleppey
  Alleppey is famous by the name of Venice of East because of its beautiful backwaters,    lakes and lagoons. It is also known by the name of Alappuzha, which is located    on Vemband Lake’s banks. It is famous for its Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race,    which is organized annually around Onam festival.

Kollam
  There is a famous proverb in Malayalam ” kollam kandavanillam venda, Kochi  kandavanachi venda” It means one who saw kollam doesn’t need a house.  This old famous proverb tells the blessed heritage and popularity of Kollam.  Because of the pronounciation problem britishers named Kollam as Quilon. So  in the railway map you may not see the name Kollam but quilon. the name Kollam  is very famous in Kerala even though the britishers called it as quilon.Kollam  is very rich with its costal area, cashew nut, backwaters, mountains, rivers,  beautiful natural forests etc.Lot of people comes from foreign countries to  enjoy the beauty of kollam.

Kumarakom
  Kumarakom is situated on the banks of Vermbanand Lake and is treated as a paradise    on earth for enjoying holidays in backwaters. It is one of the most sought    after tourist holiday backwater destinations in Kerala, India.
   
  Trivandrum
  Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala and is also famous by the name of    Thiruvananthapuram. It is also one of the famous starting points of many    backwater cruises in Kerala. There are a number of historic attractions    in Thiruvananthapuram. One of the beautiful beaches of India, Kovalam Beach    is also situated in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kasargod
  Kasargod is an another beautiful city famous for its serene backwaters in Kerala.    It is located in North Kerala and is well known for its Valiyaparamba backwaters    stretch. The main attraction of this place is the cruise ride in and around    Chandagiri, which is located 4 km to South East of Kasargod.
   
    Honeymoon in Kerala
  It is your Honeymoon and you and your companion needs privacy, luxury and security.    This is time for romance, excitement and leisure.Dreaming of an exotic Honeymoon?    Kerala is for lovers,    romantics and those in search of a tropical vacation.    Cuddle up in a warm beach cottage, dine and vine under the stars, or getaway    to your own clandestine vacation hill station with a picnic lunch. Kerala    is a perfect place for your island vacation.

Kerala is the right place to spend your Honeymoon where an  assortment of activities is on hand. Lakes to sensitize, Sparkling backwaters,  Luxuriant jade Hill Stations, Distant Beaches, Succulent Cuisine, Gracious  people and great facilities. With us visit top attractions in Kerala and benefit  from exploratory activities in Kerala on your honeymoon.So whatever honeymoon  destination you choose – whether  it is Hill area (Munnar),  Wild Life (Thekkedy), Jungle (Wayanad – Vythiri),  and beaches (Kovalam, Poovar, Varkala, Aleppey and Cherai) – we can facilitate  you to accomplish utmost contentment and unforgettable honeymoon.Make your  honeymoon holidays unprecedented by selecting the most romantic destinations  in Kerala.

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