Vacations Of A Lifetime

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Many of us think about what it would be like to vacation where few have gone or to explore where not many have ventured and to experience the ultimate thrill of nature. Today we’ll go to some of those places we only dream of seeing.

National Geographic and Lindblad have teamed to give an explorer experience to the common traveler. We’ll outline some examples.

National Geographic was established in 1899 by Alexander Graham Bell. His son-in-law, Gilbert Grosvenor, was the first true charter of the National Geographic Magazine and Bell’s instruction was to send cameras out into the world. We know the rest of the story.

Lars-Eric Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Travel, pioneered “citizen expeditions” — first to the Galapagos and Antarctica, then expanded to Papua New Guinea, the Amazon, China and Bhutan.

In recent years, National Geographic and Lindblad Travel have become a major exploration travel company. Lindblad supplies the ships while National Geographic supplies the hosts and helps plan itineraries for the sea adventures and tours to out-back places. You travel in the best luxury possible in the most out-of-the-way locations. These “explorations” are unique and impart travel thrills by the dozens. What can be more exciting than nature and history up close?

The ships are crafted for explorer rolls. The National Geographic Explorer ship has a top ice rated hull and bow and can travel to both ends of our earth. It is luxury in all areas so you can be in the Arctic or Antarctic and live in high style aboard the ship. The ship will provide Zodiac landings in remote locations and the nature specialists will guide you with hikes, walks and kayaking as well as snorkeling and swimming. There will be photographic experts to help you get the best shots possible.

If you like the great outdoors, this is the way to go.

In 2012, you can travel to Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River and also visit the exciting ruins of Angkor and the city of Saigon. Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is one of the world’s great treasures. You’ll first travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia for a stay in the best hotel there. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument. Almost every inch of the walls contain carvings of what life was like 700 years ago.

You’ll spend much of the morning walking through the vast temple complex created at the edge of the jungle. There is a large reflective lake fronting the temple complex. You’ll have a chance to stop at the craft store to purchase some of the re-created art that was originally found in the temples. I have visited Angkor Wat twice in the past and have collected these pieces that are now placed in my living room and guests comment on how interesting they are.

In the afternoon you will enjoy a sail along the Tonie Sap River through a landscape of forest and floating homes with more time to visit other sets of temples in the area and to photograph to your heart’s content.

Time will also be spent in the Cambodian capitol of Phnom Penh where you will experience an extensive tour of the important sights.

Other days will find you sailing the Mekong River to witness the life found along the shore. You will also enjoy the cuisine of the land.

On another morning you can experience a Vietnam market to sample some amazing tropical fruits, vegetables and other goods. Strolling through villages you get a chance to sample local life and culture.

This particular trip may be tempting to those service members who served the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and would like to re-visit now that it is peaceful. This tour will be led by Tom O’Brien who has been developing and leading Lindblad expeditions for more than 20 years along with Paula Swart and local experts.

Australia was once a protectorate of Papua New Guinea. It is now independent and one of the more remote regions on earth. It is most fascinating because the natives still hold to many traditions of the Stone Age.

The tour begins at Cairns in Northeastern Australia. Northwest of here is Papua New Guinea. The 16-day exploration will find you visiting rain forest and great rivers. You will see traditional celebrations of song and dance (the SingSing) and cruise in the Oceanic Discoverer in complete comfort and safety. I first experienced this area in the 1960s when New Guinea was truly rugged and the mountain tribes ate one another in “pay-back killings.” Once I was offered a piece of human meat, which had been barbecued. I thought a minute and then said no thanks. I did inquire what part of our body was the tastiest. Through a guide I was told that the best is the upper inner leg. In the cruise boat you will the have the opportunity of sailing the Sepik River passing the native villages to photograph and to walk about the communities to learn about life there. You’ll have glass-bottom boat rides, search for cockatoos, parrots and various other nature attractions. You will be able to swim also.

At one point a visit to Port Moresby will be scheduled and where you will disembark your boat and board flights for your return home. It may not sound too interesting, but visit Papua New Guinea and you’ll never forget the experience.

How about a sail in the three masted Sea Cloud through the seas of Greece to the Dalmatian Coast? The Sea Cloud is the former sailing vessel of Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, E.F. Hutton. She carries 30 sails measuring a total of 32,000 square feet. It is elegant, but informal for your enjoyment. The meals are served in a single setting and refreshments are always available. The boat has only 30 cabins. On this trip you will sail to Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia. These countries are beautiful, rather uncrowded for the most part and vastly interesting. You begin in Athens and end your 12-day adventure in Dubrovnik.

You’ll visit ports tucked away from most of the world, famous museums, climb city walls, and explore towns, villages and castles, which are highly interesting and photographic — all this while sailing the blue waters aboard a yacht of great fame. This trip departs Sept. 7, 2012. Gil Grosvenor, chairman of the board emeritus of the National Geographic Society, will be on this departure. He has traveled extensively in this area. You will also sail in the beautiful Kotor Fjord in Montenegro and visit medieval Kotor town. I’ll never forget this town, which I visited in the late 1970s. You get a glimpse of the way Europe was 500 years ago.

With the National Geographic and Lindblad Travel team you can experience Egypt, the Galapagos, the Polar regions, see the bears in the high Arctic, cruise Norway’s Fjords and Arctic Svalbard, visit Iceland, Antarctica, see Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope, walk about Iguazu Falls in Brazil, and see Alaska, Baja California, Costa Rica, Panama and Peruvian Amazon. If it’s exploration, this company most likely will visit the area.

You may order a brochure by calling 1-800-EXPEDITION or go online to www.expeditions.com.

Get your cameras ready!

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