Some of us that travel are not satisfied with a stay-put vacation.
Many want to rent a room at a hotel perhaps on a beach and sit, sun and relax for a week or two.
Others choose an automobile trip through interesting scenic areas while some select a cruise for several days. The cruise idea best suits Norma and me because we can relax and rest while the ship is moving at sea. I also enjoy the one-day breaks at some interesting ports of call.
Still, none of these ideas satisfies the wonder-lust traveler who seeks new adventures.
How about traveling to East Africa for a photo safari to see wild animals in their natural setting? You would fly from the U.S. to a major city in Europe, then transfer to a flight to Nairobi, Kenya and set out into the hinterlands from there. Several tour companies will transport you in a custom-built safari vehicle with large opening windows for unrestricted game viewing. The average tour lasts about 10 days. You bed down each night in large dome tents, with mosquito netting and a foam mattress.
You would travel by Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, in the middle of Serengeti National Park and on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater located on the Masai Mara park boundary. You would also visit Lake Nakuru National Park. There would be time to visit Lake Naivasha and the fishing village of Musoma.
Now, time for mountain gorilla viewing taking a special trek to Entebbe and on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Rwanda’s Parc National de Volcans tracking the 700 remaining mountain gorillas with a professional guide getting within a few feet of these magnificent animals. You can also partake in gorilla tracking or explore the local villages and volcanoes of this beautiful region. You will stay in a lodge in Buhoma in Uganda or mountain lodge in Rwanda. The tour ends in Entebbe where you will board a plane to fly back into Europe and transfer to a fight home. You can obtain more information by typing in www.adventurecenter.com/tripcode=tage
This is an expensive adventure, but many would consider it a trip of a lifetime.
If you are a fan of train travel as am I, then consider the longest train trip in the world — a 5,772-mile rail journey from Beijing, China to Moscow, Russia. It takes about a week of travel passing through just about every type of terrain you can imagine. You travel past major and minor cities, towns and villages.
I have talked to people who have made this trip and they enjoyed every minute of it. Some told me the train equipment was clean; others said it was rather dirty. Who do you believe? You would want to book a Pullman compartment in first class and would probably have to share with others.
The compartments can carry six passengers. The beds are stacked three high on either side of the compartment. There is a sliding glass door into the passageway. The train carries a dining car, which also has available liquor for your consumption.
At the various stops you are allowed to walk about the station area and look at the various sellers of trinkets and food items. Be careful, the food is not FDA approved!
You’ll find the lower the train number, the fewer stops it will make. Consider this trip in the summer or early fall periods. Snows fall early in a portion of the route. The rail fares vary by time and month of travel and change frequently. My advice is to consult a travel agent familiar with Trans-Siberian Railway travel and they will be able to give you a lot of advice and information.
Are you in the mood to visit Cuba? Most Americans have not been able to see the island located so close to our Southeast coast for almost 50 years.
When I was a teenager (100 years ago) my mother and I were enjoying a vacation in Miami Beach, Fla. during a spring break. We saw a brochure in a rack in the lobby of our hotel describing an overnight trip to Havana. It was priced right, so we booked. We flew from Miami to Havana, which took about an hour in the prop days of flight. It was a DC-6. When we left the aircraft we boarded a bus and our tour of the city commenced. This was my first exposure to a foreign country. I was probably 15. Mostly I remember the dirt and grime; the poor people and shabby looking buildings. After visiting several sights and most of the major areas of Havana I turned to my mother and said, “let’s go back to Miami tonight.” She agreed! As soon as possible we booked a return flight to Miami and arrived back at our hotel that night. Havana looked much like something you would find in many parts of Mexico and I was not prepared for the difference. Of course, today I know better.
I doubt Cuba has changed much since then for reasons you are aware.
Few Americans have traveled there since the Communists took over. Today a few are allowed to enter on a People-to-People program.
The Grand Circle Foundation has been granted a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer this program of exploring unique historical and cultural aspects of Cuba.
There are three programs to choose from and include air to and from Miami, all accommodations, most meals, transportation by motor coach and any internal flights and a full schedule of People-to-People exchange meetings. You’ll be traveling in a small tour of just 12-20 participants accompanied by a Foundation representative and an English speaking Cuban guide. If you are interested in securing more information, phone 1-885-423-3443. Spaces won’t last long so act soon if you want more information.
One of the more beautiful and interesting portions of the world is Croatia. It was once part of Yugoslavia before it was broken up into three separate nations. You would sail on a private yacht from Dubrovnik to Split. The yacht has a fully licensed skipper and crew for the 8 days of adventure.
The yacht is equipped with five twin double cabins, three shared bathrooms and two showers. Yes, it’s a real sailboat! Your food onboard is included in the fare. The boat is 50 feet in length.
The emphasis will be on connecting with the people of the area ashore. The trip begins in Dubrovnik. You sail the coast during the night and the next morning you’ll view the tempting beaches at the shoreline. You’ll be supplied with a Kayak as you paddle your way through gorgeous inlets and explore the caves of Korcula. You will have some beach time during some of the days visiting Mijet, Korcula, Vis to Hvar and ending in Split. Much of this area looks like it did 600 years ago. It’s fun and interesting to stroll the winding brick roads through the towns and snooping in the shops. This is another trip you will not forget! Be sure to try the home baked bread. I did in a small restaurant in Kotor some years ago. I sampled the bread, which was brought first to the table. It was so good I ate three loafs before they brought my main dish. It remains the best bread I have ever eaten. The local food is delicious.
If you are interested in more information contact Grand Circle Travel in Vancouver, B.C. They will send you a brochure. www.gadventures.com/trips/ croatia-sailing-dubrovnik-to-split.
Does Tibet sound interesting? It should. You can start in Katmandu and explore the temples of Pashupatinath and Bodnath. Then take a morning flight to Gonggar, Tibet and drive to Tsendang and visit Lakhang. Then take a ferry across Tibet’s great river, the Yarlung Tsang Po; to Samye Monastery and Lhasa. You have the opportunity to visit the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera and Drepung Monasteries. There will be free time on your own to do some gift buying. Also, you will be driven across high altitude moorland to New Tingri for a visit to Rongbuk Monastery and visit a Mount Everest Base Camp.
There will be opportunities to view Himalayan peaks for your photography. You leave Tibet and cross into Nepal to Katmandu.
Contact www.highlights of Tibet/Adventure center.com. The tour is priced in the neighborhood of $3,500 per person depending on the date of travel selected.
If you like to stay in good shape and enjoy biking how about a California Coast Biking Tour between Monterey and Santa Barbara? On the way you can sample award-winning wines as you drink in the beauty of the Central California coast. You will bike through thrilling country of majestic redwoods, rugged cliffs and crashing waves. Go to www.backroads.com/tripsBBSI/california-coast-biking tour. The trip is 6 days, 5 nights and includes most meals. Prices vary but in the neighborhood of $3,300 per person. Included is an experienced guide.
These are only a small example of adventure travel opportunities that are available. Again, consult an experienced travel agent for more ideas and information. They can also make the bookings for you at no extra charge.
Be safe out there!