Travel Stories of 2017
With 2018 here, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on some of the big travel stories we heard about in 2017 and what’s coming up in 2018!
The 747 Retires
As a former flight attendant, I’m nostalgic for the end of an era. I mention this first since the 747 has had such a huge impact on commercial flight. Not only could it carry more passengers, but it could also fly farther and more efficiently than other aircraft. In 1970, the 747 began flying commercially (Pan Am christened its first 747 at Dulles International Airport). The “hump” always made the 747 one of the most recognizable planes. It’s carried more than 3.5 billion passengers over the years, with more than 400+ passengers per flight. In November of last year, United’s 747 made its last flight. And Delta flew its last 747 commercially in December. Continue reading
48 Hours in Iceland
Aah, Iceland…. This cool island is very hot right now, but when I visited the first time in 2000, people thought I was crazy. It was “so off-the-beaten-path,” and where exactly was it anyway? Nowadays, travelers are beating a path just to get there. Last year alone, the country had 325,000 American visitors and about 1.3 million from across the globe! The entire Icelandic population is only 332,000! Well, we returned for a quick 48-hour visit, so here’s where we stayed, what we did and how we got around!
$$Warning$$: Don’t be misled thinking that Iceland is a “budget” destination. It was expensive in 2000, and it is (in my opinion) even more expensive now. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, I’m just saying, be prepared. As an example, two takeout sandwiches were about $25! Continue reading
6 Fun Thanksgiving Facts
Thanksgiving is tomorrow! And while most of us look at it as a day of eating and watching sports, here are six quirky factoids to mull over while you’re recovering from your turkey coma!
Just a note about Thanksgiving in the United States…
In the United States, we trace Thanksgiving back to the Pilgrims who came from England in 1621 and settled in Massachusetts. The “first” Thanksgiving celebrated the Pilgrims’ first harvest in the New World. It’s been a national holiday in the U.S. since 1863, and is celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
1. Oh, Canada!
Yup, our neighbors to the north celebrate Thanksgiving, too! In Canada, it’s celebrated on the second Monday of October.
And just in case you thought only countries in North America celebrated Thanksgiving – think again! Germany celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Sunday of October. Japan does it every Nov. 23. Grenada’s Thanksgiving is on Oct. 25 and Norfolk Island (in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and New Zealand) celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November!
5 Places to Celebrate Halloween
Halloween will soon be upon us! Are you looking for somewhere to get your fright on? Ever wonder how other places celebrate the spooky holiday? Well here are five places and ideas to satisfy your ghoulish trip cravings!
1. Finger Lakes Region, New York – Many people think of the Finger Lakes for wine tasting or a romantic getaway, but at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua, New York, they have Scaerial Adventures where you can ride haunted zip-lines. It looks awesome!
2. Estes Park, Colorado – The Stanley Hotel. Yup, the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining, is supposedly really haunted and the hotel takes advantage of its reputation at Halloween! They celebrate the Twin Terror Weekends that include a murder mystery dinner, The Shining Ball and the Halloween Masquerade Party. So, if seeing or reading The Shining didn’t creep you out enough, you have another option. Continue reading
Help! I Lost My Passport!
Whether it’s before your trip or while you’re on your trip, realizing you lost your passport can be a panic-inducing moment. Even worse, what if you get robbed on your trip? What do you do? Well, it depends, but here are three scenarios, and what you can do in case it happens!
The U.S. Department of State is the Federal agency that issues your passport. Individual states do not issue passports. While a passport agency may be located in a state, it’s not a state agency. It’s a Federal agency. (And remember, passports and visas are different. You can read about the difference between passports and visas in my post Passports vs. Visas – the Difference) Normally, it takes about four to six weeks to get a passport. Expedited service is considered two weeks. Expedited service at the agency will take about eight days. Recently, the U.S. Department of State held passport acceptance fairs at various locations throughout the U.S. While that date has passed, you may want to keep an eye out for future dates if you’re applying for a passport for the first time. Continue reading
Passport vs. Visa – the Difference
It’s a common question – What’s the difference between a passport and a visa and why do I need a visa if I already have a passport? The short answer is: while they’re related to each other, they have totally different purposes. For U.S. passport holders, here’s what each is, why and when we need them! Continue reading
Ugh! 10 Tips to Deal with Jetlag!
You’re all packed and ready to go on your dream vacation to _________(fill in the blank)! You’re so excited!! Itinerary. Check. Passport.Got it. Emergency contacts written multiple places. Yup. You’re ready for everything…. except jet lag. You need a game plan, but you don’t have one. So, whaddaya do? Well, I’m no doctor, but I’ve read a ton about jet lag to learn how to minimize my own suffering and a while back, in Traveleidoscope.com, I wrote about surviving a really long flight. So, I thought it would make sense to talk about what happens AFTER that really long flight. I’m passing along what I learned from reading and from personal experience and I hope it helps if you’re gearing up for your own travels to a far off place!
So what exactly is jet lag?
Before figuring out what to do about jet lag, it helps to know exactly what it is. Also known as desynchronosis, or jet lag disorder, jet lag is a physiological condition that messes with our body’s circadian (daily) rhythms. Continue reading
5 Reasons Why I love Saba
Welcome to the June edition of the Traveling Adjunct! Unless you’re a scuba diver, chances are you haven’t heard of the Caribbean island of Saba. Why you may ask? Well, it’s not your typical Caribbean island. Sandy beaches? Nope. Nightlife. Nada. So what’s the draw? The diving and hiking!
Saba is a volcanic island located in the Caribbean roughly 30 miles southwest of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Like Bonaire and Sint Eustatius (aka, Statia), Saba became a special municipality of the Netherlands after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010. The other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles – Curaçao and Sint Maarten– became autonomous countries, while Aruba became a constituent state – a territorial and constitutional entity forming part of a sovereign state. I digress. Anyway, Saba covers about five square miles. And as of January 2013, the population was just under 2,000 – which is about 500 more inhabitants than the first time I visited!
The main town, with most of the shops and restaurants is called Windwardside. The capital or administrative center is call The Bottom. Fort Bay is at the harbor and is where you catch the ferry and board dive boats. Some of the other areas are Zion’s Hill (aka Hell’s Gate), Troy Hill and Booby Hill.
Now that you know where it is, here’s why I love it!
It really is the Unspoiled Queen
The official nickname of Saba is the Unspoiled Queen and it’s easy to see why. The Sabans are serious about maintaining their resources – primarily the rain forest for hiking and the underwater world for diving. There’s not a franchise or chain restaurant around. Sure, there’s satellite television and ATM machines are available, but those are probably the closest things you’ll get to the big city. The cottages (most people don’t call them houses) don’t have addresses, they have names, like Dushi Cottage (dushi means cute) or Flossie’s Cottage (I haven’t stayed at either). Yeah, there are hotels, but they’re not megaresorts. They’re personal and cozy and intimate and all part of why I love Saba. Continue reading
When people think of Cusco, Peru, it may only be as an intermediate stop between their arrival in Peru and their ultimate goal of seeing Machu Picchu. That’s a bit how I thought of it, too, until I visited. Thinking of it solely as a supply stop or a transportation interchange would be a mistake. Cusco’s got great culture and food and is worth taking a couple days to explore! So here are just a few reasons to visit Cusco!
About the City
Cusco, also spelled Cuzco and alternatively Qosqo, or Qusqu, is considered one of the oldest existing cities in South America. The Spanish spelling of the name generally uses an “s” while the English version is generally spelled with a “z.” The other two spellings are in Quechua, the language of the Inca, and the name Cusco derives from the Quecha word meaning “navel” or “center of the universe.” I’m going to use Cusco….just because. Continue reading
Intriguing Easter Traditions Around the World
With Easter upon us, many in the United States are thinking about visits from the Easter Bunny and all the candy he’ll bring. Others may be getting ready to dye and decorate eggs. Still others who celebrate the Christian holiday may be more reflective, considering Easter to be perhaps the most significant Christian holiday. But, what are some other traditions? I found quite a few really interesting ones on the web that are very different from those in the U.S. So, whether or not you celebrate the holiday, I hope you’ll enjoy this post about some really unique and fascinating traditions. Enjoy!
Egg painting dates back to ancient and pagan times. It was customary to give an egg as a gift to pagan gods, and to exchange eggs with friends and relatives on the first day of the New Year and on birthdays. Eggs also held powerful and magical meaning, representing life. It was considered a symbol of spring, marking the end of winter and magic rituals were performed relating to the first signs of spring. Once Christianity was introduced into the Ukraine, the tradition of decorating eggs continued, incorporating the new religious beliefs with the old magical beliefs. Egg painting was usually done in rural areas during the late winter when there was little work in the fields. Ukrainians believed that eggs could put out fires and find lost cattle. They even put eggshells in with seeds to improve the crop yields.
On Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, locals fly homemade kites, traditionally shaped like a cross. It’s thought to have begun when a teacher tried to explain Christ’s ascension to heaven to his Sunday school class. The children had trouble understanding the concept, so he made a kite to explain the story.
Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spain is the last week of Lent, which is the 40-day period before Easter. There are ‘penance processions’ through the streets that are performed by Catholic religious brotherhoods. They wear different colored robes to tell themselves apart and carry life-size images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, accompanied by somber music. Similarly, in Malaga, hundreds of lengthy processions take place. Participants dress in white robes and parade through the streets carrying altar pieces, candles, orange blossom and incense. Continue reading