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Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22 Issue

Now in our 20th year of publishing, Canadian World Traveller explores the culture and history of worldwide destinations, sharing the adventure of discovery with our readers and motivating them to make their travel dreams a reality. Published quarterly, CWT helps sophisticated, independent Canadian travellers choose their next destination by offering a lively blend of intelligent, informative articles and tantalizing photographic images from our World’s best destinations, cruises, accommodations and activities to suit every traveller's taste.

Now in our 20th year of publishing, Canadian World Traveller explores the culture and history of worldwide destinations, sharing the adventure of discovery with our readers and motivating them to make their travel dreams a reality. Published quarterly, CWT helps sophisticated, independent Canadian travellers choose their next destination by offering a lively blend of intelligent, informative articles and tantalizing photographic images from our World’s best destinations, cruises, accommodations and activities to suit every traveller's taste.

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Bali Malta Las Vegas Yucatan Hong Kong

C A N A D I A N

W O R L D

Traveller

ALREADY 20 YEARS! WINTER 2021-22

Already

20

Years!

C o m e W i t h U s & S e e T h e W o r l d !


Published by:

World Traveler

Canadian World Traveller

American World Traveler

Welcome to World Traveler

Tel: 1-855-738-8232

www.worldtraveler.travel

info@worldtraveler.travel

info@canadianworldtraveller.com

info@americanworldtraveler.com

Publisher

Michael Morcos

Editor-in-chief

Greg James

Contributing Editor

David J. Cox

Graphic Department

Al Cheong

Advertising Department

Leo Santini

Marketing Department

Tania Tassone

Distribution

Royce Dillon

Senior Travel Writers:

Susan Campbell

Steve Gillick

Regular Contributors:

Habeeb Salloum

Jennifer Merrick

Olivia Balsinger

Mike Cohen

Ilona Kauremszky

Natalie Ayotte

Jasmine Morcos

Daniel Smajovits

Cherie DeLory

Lisa TE Sonne

Alexandra Cohen

Jessica Percy Campbell

Mathieu Morcos

Gregory Caltabanis

Anne-Marie Macloughlin

Janice Mucalov

T

his year, 2022, marks a very special

anniversary for World Traveller as we celebrate

20 years of our multi-award-winning

publications, and we are as passionate

about travel as ever.

When we began, our print issues were spread

far and wide. It was not long until we launched

our website: www.worldtraveler.travel, which

has recently merged both American World

Traveler and Canadian World Traveller. In the

following years we introduced new media:

eMagazines, eNewsletters and World Traveler

Social Media pages. Today we find ourselves

with a vast reader base and electronic presence

which has been growing exponentially in the

past three years.

In this issue, the first of a full year of special

issues, we will bring back some of

your favourite articles from the past 20

years as well as some memorable front

covers and a sample of amazing photographs.

Let us start with our latest odyssey in Japan,

where we visit Matsushima and Shiogame, and

find they have ‘Incredible Beauty and Taste!’.

While there, we experience some wonderful

folklore in ‘Happy Namahage New Year from

Japan’s Mountain Ogres’. We then jet off to

China to revisit ‘Suzhou’s Top Five Must-See

Sites’. In Hong Kong, we re-visit a long-time

favourite, ‘In Search of My Chinese Roots’. In

Southeast Asia, we start in Bali and find its

beautiful ‘Five Hidden Beaches’ while in

Thailand we revisit four amazing world class

Thai hotels.

Already 20 Years!

Next, we head way east to tour the small kingdom

of Oman and discover that its capitol

Muscat ‘Enwraps The Past With The Present’.

Close by, we head to Egypt and to remember

the delightful article ‘Cruising through the Land

of the Pharaohs’. While close to the

Mediterranean, we jet off with Turkish Airlines

and visit the magnificent island nation of Malta

and find the best this little gem has to offer the

traveler.

To the Americas we go. First, way west, we head

off to learn all about ‘Vintage Vegas’, its

famous Flamingo hotel and the Mob scene that

has intrigued ever since. Close by we visit Santa

Fe, New Mexico to find the great things to do in

this beautiful and historic town has to offer.

To the opposite side of the continent, we

head to Fort Myers in southern Florida to

find all that is new and happening. In the

Bahamas, we recharge with magnificent

stays at 10 amazing Bahamian luxury

hotels. We then discover the fascinating

and unique culture in the State of Yucatan,

Mexico.

Further south we jet off to South America. In

Peru, we find out about the wonderful culinary

scene before boarding Aqua Expeditions’ beautiful

ship the ‘Aria’ to cruise the ‘Amazing

Amazon with Awe & Comfort’. Finally, we go

down memory lane and revisit ‘Cruising South

America with Princess’ that would take us on a

two-week cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina

to Valparaíso, Chile.

Happy Travels!

Disclaimer: World Traveler has made every effort to

verify that the information provided in this publication

is as accurate as possible. However, we accept

no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience

sustained by anyone resulting from the information

contained herein nor for any information

provided by our advertisers.


Destinations

Crusing Section

36

Yucatan 8 Malta 10

Las Vegas 12 Bali 60

Cruise News

Amazon Cruise

South America Cruise

Nile River Cruise

Stay & Play - 48

Muscat, Oman 62 Hong Kong 64

Suzhou, China

Around the World 14

Caerula Mar Club, the Bahamas


8

Son Pa’l Corazon: Discover Mexico’s Yucatán

Article and Photography by Steve Gillick

In the historic centre of Mérida, a slogan

appears on the wall of the restaurant,

Micaela Mar y Leña. “Son Pa’l Corazon”

literally means “they are for the heart”, but

the words can refer to “music for the heart”,

“food for the soul” or “travel that fills you with

happiness”. The expression connotes a feeling

of joy and fulfillment, two words that are

no strangers when describing the unique

quality of Mexico’s Yucatán State.

On a first visit in 2019

(https://worldtraveler.travel/mexicos-magicalyucatan-state/),

we explored Mérida,

Valladolid, Izamal, the Celestún Biosphere

Reserve, and Chichen Itza. On a second trip

in 2021, further interactions were captivating!

From our base in Mérida, we traveled to

Mayapan, one of the last of the 60,000 sites

occupied in the Mundo Maya. While Chichen

Itza, about 100 km away, attracts thousands

of visitors on day trips from Cancun and area,

Mayapan is a tranquil, inviting alternative

(150-500 visitors per day), filled with archeological

wonders.

The word ‘Mayapan’ literally means “the flag

of the Mayas” and derives from one of the

frescoes at the Temple of Kukulcan, showing a

man holding a flag or banner. The 30-meter

high temple can be carefully ascended by 60

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


narrow steps, with dynamic views from the

top. The round Calendar Temple, the Temple

of the Fisherman, and a series of stone platforms

incorporate Mayan numerology that

celebrates the connection between the earth

and the sky, while the local cenotes and caves

link the material world with the underworld.

Uxmal, the magnificent UNESCO World

Heritage Site, is about a 90-minute drive from

Mayapan. History comes alive at the evening

Sound and Light show, with colorful images

projected on the Governor’s Palace, the 40

meter-high Pyramid of the Magician, the

Nunnery Quadrangle, and the Ballcourt,

depicting Uxmal’s stories and legends. At

present, the narration is only available in

Spanish, but translations into several other

languages are in the works.

And in between Mayapan and Uxmal, visitors

can bond with the Yucatán!

We passed through the yellow arch announcing

that we were in Tekit, “the capital of the

Guayabera”, the traditional shirt worn by

Mexicans. We visited Don Isidro’s small, family-owned

Guayabera Factory to appreciate

the process and detail involved.

With the emphasis on community tourism, we

met members of Yaax Tekit, the local cooperative.

They offer educational programs to

schools and visitors, including agrotourism

(lemons, oranges, pumpkins, corn, sour

oranges and dragon fruit), bird watching,

baking, cross-stitching (sewing), and swimming

in the cenotes. At the Panaderia de Don

Cay, the coop bakery where workshops are

conducted, thoroughly tempting smells wafted

from the traditional stone oven. Our salivations

were rewarded with hot fresh buns filled

with Salchicha, sausage and cheese.

In El Solar, a traditional Mayan garden, Anna

spoke about her passion for nature. She told

us that her grandfather came to the house

one day, hugged an avocado tree, and

explained that it would not take long for the

fruit to grow, so she should plan to take care

of it. This was her call to action! She showed

us how everything in the garden had a purpose:

tree bark was used for roofing, fruit

attracted pollinating bees, and was eaten in a

world where candy did not exist, and medicinal

plants were used to treat ailments.

And then Anna showed us her labor of love:

Seventy boxes of beehives, each containing

4000-5000 Melipona or stingless bees. She

carefully broke the wax seal on one box,

opened it, and using a syringe, gave us a

taste of pure, sweet honey.

Our local lunch was no less tasty. Sijilpak,

pumpkin seeds toasted, smashed and mixed

with onion and tomato, served as a spread on

tostadas. The main dish was Escabeche; marinated

turkey and pork, cooked with onion,

and eaten with fresh tortillas (and habanero

sauce, of course).

We overnighted at the Uxmal Resort Maya

and were greeted by a host of endemic birds

the following day: yellow Great Kiskadees,

orange Hooded Orioles, and blue Yucatán

Jays.

At Yunku, we were welcomed to the Camino

del Mayab by our guides Emiliano and Don

Rosendo, with the Mayan greeting,

“Bishabel”, meaning “How is your road?”

They wisely advised that the 120 km route that

integrates 17 communities was not just a trail.

“It’s a life experience”. And with the enthusiastic

call, “Kanesh” (Let’s Go!), we were off to

explore a small portion of the Camino.

The slogan of the Camino is “Find your

Essence,” with packages ranging from partial

days to 5 full days, including a tour guide,

food, and overnights in Haciendas, or camping.

In addition, nature-based workshops

cover birding (over 500 species), biodiversity,

cenotes, history, caving, medicinal plants, and

more. Those who complete the entire trail

enjoy a graduation ceremony at Mayapan,

the last stop.

Our local lunch on this day consisted of

Codzitos: Hard tacos drizzled with grilled

tomato/ oregano and pepper, with Pochuc:

Pork cooked with purple onion, orange, avocado,

radish, and tomato, and served with

tortillas (and Habanero pepper). Our dessert

was candied Papaya. So good!

After an overnight in Mérida, we drove 45

minutes to Motul to indulge in Doña Evelia’s

world-renowned Huevos Motuleño! Doña

Evelia posed for photos and revealed her successful

recipe: Tostada, 2 fried eggs, black

beans, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, green

peas, Habanero chile, and banana.

The perfect Yucatán breakfast! A small,

9

colorful market, complete with a shop

that produces tortillas, the Motul city sign, and

the 16th century Church of San Juan Bautista,

make this a true ‘destination breakfast experience’.

In San Crisanto, we visited the mangroves

through which the local cooperative manually

dug canals for boats, leading to a water

spring. When the sun’s rays reflect on the red

soil beneath the shallow water, the effect is

magical. And as the boat silently slips through

the mangroves, Green Herons and Great

Egrets hop along the shore, adding to an

experience best described by our captain as

“Muy Tranquilo”.

Lunch, by the beach, was equally memorable:

Fresh Ceviche Mixto: raw, marinated, fresh

fish, shrimp and octopus. The slogan of La

Palapa Restaurant is “Del mar a tu mesa!”—

‘From the sea to your table’. Highly recommended!

Our last visit was Apiturism Sinanché, where

stinging honey bees are kept for honey and

educational workshops. After tasting 5 types

of honey (based on seasonal plants), we

donned our beekeeping outfits and, protected

from head to toe, visited one of the beehives.

Most of us were buzzing about this unique

‘first-time’ experience!

The Yucatán is an exceptional destination,

perfectly suited to first-time visitors to Mexico.

Michelle Fridman, the State’s Minister of

Tourism, noted that “Cancun may have thousands

of rooms, but the Yucatán has thousands

of Flamingos”, and while Cancun is 50

years old, “the Yucatán has been around for

64 million years”. This is a State where

nature, cenotes, community, history, food and

Mayan culture are the major resources.

Emeliano, our guide on the Camino del

Mayab possibly said it best. “I feel like a

switchboard operator with the ability to plug

clients into so many different and exciting

experiences”. In a day and age when travelers

are looking to connect and interact with

destinations, the Yucatán is a perfect holiday

choice.

www.yucatan.travel

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Top Reasons to Visit Malta

Malta and its sister islands Gozo and Comino, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boast a year round sunny climate. In addition to

Maltese, English is spoken and it is a safe destination, much less crowded than mainland Europe. From it’s remarkable 7000 years of

history, diverse culinary offerings, and an endless calendar of events and festivals - there is truly something to suit all interests in Malta.

Malta is a member of the EU and the currency is Euros.

Valletta: The European Capital

Culture 2018, travelers will find themselves

engulfed in the rich history and

religious attractions that make up this

Maltese Capital. Built by the Knights of

St. John, the city that is bustling by day

and now by night, will transport you

back in time with its historic architecture

and old world atmosphere. The

narrow streets will lead you to historical

landmarks, quaint coffee shops

and elaborate churches.

Gozo and Comino: A trip to Malta

isn’t complete without a visit to Malta’s

two sister islands, Gozo and Comino.

The more rural island, Gozo, is a perfect

change of pace for those looking

for authenticity and a more relaxed

and quaint stay. The island also comes

complete with historical sites, forts and

amazing panoramas, as well as one

of the archipelago's best-preserved

prehistoric temples, Ġgantija. Situated

between Malta and Gozo, is a water

lover’s paradise. Home to the most

spectacular diving, snorkeling and

boating experiences, the car-less

island is home to the magnificent Blue

Lagoon and the one single hotel on

the island offers guests the most tranquil

getaway.

A Diverse Culinary Experience: Malta

offers travelers a diverse culinary experience,

from the traditional plate of

eclectic Mediterranean food curated by

a relationship between the Maltese

and the countless civilizations that

occupied the island, to the never-ending

vineyards delivering the finest

wine. Malta has been put on the gourmet

cuisine map with five Michelinstarred

restaurants and award winning

chefs with a total of 31 restaurants listed

in the Michelin 2021 guide including

3 Bib Gourmand and 23 Michelin

Plates. Not to be missed, the local

street foods including the famous

Maltese Pastizzi (cheese or pea filled

pastries).

Advertorial


Film Location Tourism: In recent

years, Malta has become one of

Europe's most popular film and television

locations - dubbed "the

Mediterranean's mini-Hollywood" by

the London Times. The Maltese Islands

are home to countless blockbusters

like Gladiator, Popeye, and The Count

of Monte Cristo. Most famously, the

city of Mdina was home to the filming

of HBO’s Game of Thrones, as the fictional

city of King’s Landing.

Year Long Events /Festivals Calendar:

With a year long calendar of events

and festivals, there is rarely a dull

moment in Malta with a unique, culturally

immersive experience always

waiting around the corner. With events

like the Malta Arts Festival to Classic

Car Races and the Rolex Middle Sea

Sailing Race, there’s a niche for everyone.

Religion: With more than 360 churches

and chapels scattered across Malta

and Gozo, these religious sites form

an integral part of the country’s history,

landscape and skyline – they are at

the heart of Maltese social and cultural

life. St. Paul brought the Christian

faith to Malta when he shipwrecked in

A.D. 60, as his steps can be retraced

through the shrines, grottos, catacombs,

and more. Jewish travelers will

also find a fascinating Jewish history

and heritage on the Maltese Islands.

Malta is home to religious experiences

far beyond the ordinary and is a mustsee

religious destination.

The Dive Trail: Coming in as the third

best diving destination two years in a

row, all three Maltese islands offer

unique diving experiences with an

abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks

each dive proves itself to be a

momentous experience. For the ultimate

diving adventure, take on the

Dive Trail. Travelers can use this trail

map as an underwater guide highlighting

the most unique characteristics

of Malta from underneath. Discover

the Azure Reef, The Blue Hole and

Coral Gardens as your swim past

shipwrecks while swimming through

Malta’s clear blue water.

Nightlife: Typical of the Mediterranean

lifestyle, locals' approach to life is to

enjoy it as much as possible, giving

Malta a lively and cheerful nightlife

constantly. From clubbing and DJ’s, to

classical orchestras, to traditional

band music; nights on the Maltese

Islands are never dull.

Health and Wellness: The Maltese

Islands are the perfect place to take

time for your health and wellness,

including state of the art, luxury spas.

The fresh island air gives travelers the

energy to walk or cycle through the

beautiful scenery, or embrace some

more adventurous activities like rock

climbing or paragliding.

Luxury for Less: Malta delivers the ultimate

recipe for luxury, featuring a

diverse range of luxury accommodations

from five star properties, luxury

boutique hotels, to historic palazzos

and farmhouses. Visitors can also

enjoy curated experiences from after

hour tours of historic sites to chartering

a yacht. All this luxury for less in Malta

compared to similar accommodations

and exclusive tours in mainland

Europe.

About Malta

The sunny islands of Malta, in the

middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are

home to a most remarkable concentration

of intact built heritage, including

the highest density of UNESCO

World Heritage Sites in any nationstate

anywhere. Valletta built by the

proud Knights of St. John is one of the

UNESCO sights and the European

Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta's

patrimony in stone ranges from the

oldest free-standing stone architecture

in the world, to one of the British

Empire's most formidable defensive

systems, and includes a rich mix of

domestic, religious and military architecture

from the ancient, medieval and

early modern periods. With superbly

sunny weather, attractive beaches, a

thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of

intriguing history, there is a great deal

to see and do.

www.visitmalta.com

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


12

The Flamingo Hotel and Mob Museum: Speaking Easy in Vegas

Article and photography by Jennifer Merrick

History? In Vegas? Didn’t the city just

rise up out of the Mojave Desert as

a bastion of adult vice with over

12,000,000 neon lights burning, an adult

amusement park with a hall pass for questionable

behaviour? After all, as the sign in

the airport says, “What happens in Vegas,

stays in Vegas.”

Casinos are regularly demolished, rebuilt

and renamed; their neon signs sent out to

pasture to spend the rest of their days in the

Neon Boneyard. Yes, only in Vegas is there a

graveyard for signs that have outlived their

usefulness. The genie’s lamp from the

Aladdin Casino, a giant nugget curtesy of

the Golden Nugget Hotel Casino and a hotpink

Liberace signature are among the more

than 250 signs that rest in peace here.

Bothered only by the tourists who take their

picture for the ‘gram.

But if you look a little closer and ask a few

questions (but not too many), you can

glimpse Sin City’s past. It may not be a long

history, but what it lacks in time, it makes up

for in intrigue and glamour.

The Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Opened by the infamous mobster, Benjamin

(Bugsy) Siegal, in 1947, the Flamingo Hotel

is credited for bringing Hollywood glitz to the

desert.

Caesar Las Vegas Media

www.caesars.com

Photo: CanaDream

www.WorldTraveler.Travel


The secrets, liaisons, conspiracies and feuds

continue to fascinate and linger in the hotel’s

75-year-old history. The newly opened Bugsy

& Meyer's Steakhouse pays homage to that

legacy and the speakeasy tradition.

13

“The bigger the mobster, the more stars you

had,” said Gia Silvaggio, the hotel’s

spokesperson.

With Hollywood friends like Cary Grant,

Frank Sinatra and Jean Harlow, there’s no

doubt Bugsy was in the big league when it

came to the underworld. Stars visited the

casino, too. But they didn’t visit Bugsy for

long. Six months after opening the Flamingo,

an unknown sniper gunned Bugsy down in

his California home. The grisly murder made

headlines around the world but did nothing

to deter tourists from coming to the

Flamingo. In fact, oddly enough, it had the

opposite effect, attracting visitors who were

intrigued by Vegas’s mob connection.

“If you were cool, you never went through

the front door,” said Silvaggio.

And so ‘the boys’, meaning Bugsy and

Meyer, his partner in crime, as well as

Hollywood stars and other VIPs, would go

through kitchen doors and other secret

entrance ways to their private bars and parties,

far away from the plebs.

Today, you’ll need to do the same to dine at

the steakhouse. The entrance appears to be

a bakery, complete with shelves stocked with

bread and other baked goods (which are not

for sale though people often try to buy them).

Inside the so-called bakery is a discrete hallway

whose walls are lined with pictures of

Bugsy and his family. Next, you’ll pass a window

looking into the kitchen and a glass display,

showcasing premium cuts of beef like

60-day dry-aged rib eyes and tomahawks.

Only then will you have entered the restaurant’s

Havana room. With the lush tropical

plants, colourful Flamingo murals and artdeco

touches, like rose-tinted cutlery, you’re

instantly transported to the glamourous era

of pre-Castro’s Cuba. Enjoy the sublime

steaks as well as seafood specialities with

1920s’ Havana-inspired cocktails with an

emphasis on premium rums.

True to its heritage, there’s more to this space

than meets the eye. A secret. You can’t see it.

But those inside can see you. Equipped with

a wall of one-way glass, the Count Room,

named for the secure room where casinos

count their money, is a secret lounge whose

entrance is known only to insiders (that now

includes yourself) and servers. The ambiance

is mafia-esque with a long, polished, wooden

bar whose shelves hold elixirs of all sorts,

dimmed lighting and Bugsy memorabilia,

including the pink flamingo Bugsy would

personally give his guests.

“So, if these walls could talk,” I asked the

bartender as he presented me with a perfectly

crafted cocktail. “What would they say?”

Maybe it was the atmosphere or the strength

of the cocktail, but I could have sworn he

whispered, “I could tell you, but I’d have to

kill you.”

The Mob Museum

To find out more about the Flamingo’s mafia

connection, be sure to visit the Mob Museum.

Located in downtown Vegas, the National

Museum of Organized Crime and Law

Enforcement, as it’s officially known, has

exhibits that include a piece of bullet-holed

wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,

an actual courthouse and a firearm training

simulator.

In the basement, you’ll discover another

speakeasy. Aptly named The Underground,

this bar has its own in-house distillery, a hidden

VIP area, 1920s memorabilia and creative

cocktails. Bathtub Fizz, served in a mini

ceramic bathtub, is a fun wink at prohibitionera

history, when bootleggers leased small

stills to families to make illegal liquor at

home.

A new exhibit focuses on Bugsy Siegal and

the origins of the Flamingo Hotel. Artifacts

on display include casino checks, a grand

opening invitation (sent to Hollywood

celebrities, of course), legal agreements, a

pistol and an original slot machine. A touchscreen

reveals images and chronicles stories

of the hotel’s 75 years.

History? In Vegas? Most definitely.

www.caesars.com

www.lvcva.com

www.lvcva.com

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


20 Years Replay

Summer 2015

Around The World

(in 22 pages)

China

Suzhou’s Top Five Must-See Sites

Peru's Culinary Reputation

Continues to Grow

Peru continues to shine on the world culinary stage. The

annual "World's 50 Best Restaurants" awards were announced

last week and placed three Peruvian restaurants in the top 50.

There are numerous unique Peruvian dishes visitors should try

during a visit to the country. Here are our top 10 suggestions:

Ceviche: Peruvian ceviche is arguably the best in the world.

Tender chunks of fresh raw fish are marinated in leche de

tigre, a spicy Peruvian chili, lime and onion mixture. Pisco

Sour: A classic Peruvian cocktail made with Muscat-grape

brandy. Causa: Causa somewhat resemble sushi, with smooth

mashed potato as a carefully-shaped base and topped with

delicate slices of fish, seafood, egg or vegetables. Lucuma:

Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit grown almost exclusively in the

Andes. Lomo Saltado: sliced beef stir-fried with garlic, cumin,

tomato and onion. Aji de Gallina: strips of chicken served

with a creamy yellow sauce made with aji amarillo (yellow

chilis), cheese, milk and bread. Cocktail de Algarrobina:

Think of this as a pisco eggnog-type cocktail. Chicha Morada:

A sweet, non-alcoholic Peruvian beverage made by boiling

blue/purple corn with pineapple and spices. Inca Kola: A soft

drink created in Peru in 1935, this sweet, fruity cola is made

with lemon verbena, known locally as Hierba Luisa. Papa la

Huancaina: Peru is known for potatoes - almost 4,000 varieties

can be found across the country.

www.peru.travel

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

Given China’s rapid economic growth and urban expansion,

there are few opportunities to experience traditional China, yet Suzhou

presents that possibility. With its narrow streets and winding waterways,

this city truly lives up to its nickname as “Venice of China.” At the heart

of the city is the old town district, the layout of which has remained

unchanged over 2,500 years.

Navigate The Grand Canal: Like the Great Wall, Suzhou’s

Grand Canal is noted as one of the most magnificent and wondrous

constructions in ancient China, offering a profound look into China's

fascinating, historical past. The Grand Canal, approximately 1,200

miles in length, is the longest man-made waterway in China. With 27

sections and 58 historical sites, it was successfully inscribed onto the

UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

Live The Local Life Of A Water Town: The ancient water town

of Tongli is located on the bank of Taihu Lake and east of the ancient

Grand Canal. As one of the six famous water towns, it is divided into

seven parts by 15 brooks and by 47 bridges. The area contains hundreds

of gardens, temples, mansions, and the former residences of

dignitaries built from 1271 to 1911 during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Explore The Old & New in Suzhou: Suzhou is home to more

than 730 cultural relics under government protection. More than 60

classical gardens are well preserved, and nine of them are listed as

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. The protected landscape of

small bridges, flowing water, winding canals, narrow streets, white

walls, cultural relics, and classical gardens make it a unique city.

Tour Iconic Chinese Landmarks: One of the 10 great temples

in China is the Hanshan Temple, which is located just outside the city

center of Suzhou. The scents of street food and the clamor of the city

are replaced by fragrant incense and a respectful hush inside the yellow

Temple walls, which is broken only by the sounds of the famous

chiming bell. Visitors can immerse themselves in the ancient history of

the Liang and Tang dynasties as they explore the buildings, climb the

pagoda and read the ancient inscriptions.

Be One With Nature with the Famous Suzhou Gardens: The

famed Humble Administrator’s Garden is considered to be one of the

best representations of China’s classic landscape architecture. Listed as

a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the garden is the largest in Suzhou.

www.TravelToSuzhou.com


20 Years Replay

Best of GTG

Good to Go!

Great Travel Gear and Gadgets

Our travel specialists review the best travel gear and gadgets to get you on the go better

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


17

RV Life Needs Ninjas!

We’re taking a lot more road trips these

days, so equipping your RV with the best

compact equipment for quality travel living

is a good idea with these fabulous

NinjaKitchen products. Ninja®

Professional Plus Kitchen System with

Auto-iQ is so much more than a blenderit

doubles as a powerful food processor,

too!

Don’t want to haul around a BBQ? Then

Ninja® Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill provides

smokeless barbecuing in a tight

space, air frying, and roasting,too. Unique

Cyclonic Grilling Technology provides

perfect surround searing just like the big

outdoor BBQs. It weighs less than 20 lbs.

and takes little space.

Team it up with the brand-new Ninja® Air

Fryer Sheet Oven that folds up flat against

the counter when not in use, and you

have everything you need to make complete

gourmet meals in a tight space. The

small oven is a powerful little beast that

air fries, air roasts, air broils, bakes, dehydrates,

keeps warm, and does bagels and

toast, too.

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Intrepid Travel Launches Largest ever Collection of Trips in North America

Photo: Shutterstock Edward Fielding

The world’s largest adventure travel company will introduce 38 new itineraries in North America, reimagining what travel

within the United States and Canada can and should look like by incorporating more diverse perspectives and experiences

alongside the iconic sites

IIntrepid Travel, the B Corp certified tour

operator with a mission to create positive

change through the joy of travel, has

announced a collection of 38 new trips in the

U.S. and Canada that will begin departing in

2022 - its most robust offering in the country

since its inception over 30 years ago. Each

trip was designed to provide opportunities to

forge meaningful connections between travelers

and the people who make this diverse

country so rich in culture.

“We’ve thought for a long time about the

unique role Intrepid can play in North

America,” said James Thornton, CEO of

Intrepid Travel. “We felt compelled to not

only offer sustainable and unique travel

experiences for both domestic and international

travelers, but to also ensure we use the

power of tourism as a force for good.”

“We created these itineraries to showcase

North America through a more authentic

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

Photo: Intrepid Travel

and diverse lens. While they will offer travelers

the chance to see the country’s most

iconic sites and cities, they also celebrate the

lesser-known places, communities and highlights

that make up the rich fabric of U.S.

and Canada.”

“While we did include many of the well-loved

places that get people excited to travel, we

took it a step further by celebrating the small

towns and varying perspectives that allow

travelers to understand what North America

is – not just at its surface, but rather at its

core,” he added.

Intrepid’s new trips will incorporate the mustsee

attractions while giving travelers more

curated, in-depth offerings. From enjoying

local delicacies and going on human-powered

active adventures, to spending time with

First Nations tribes, each trip will provide a

unique take on the destination.

Examples of new trips include:

South Dakota to Montana Parks Explorer

Travelers will visit the iconic sites like Mount

Rushmore, Badlands National Park and

Yellowstone to watch Old Faithful spray

water into the air, in addition to an intimate

visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield National

Monument, where they will join a Crow

Nation Guide for a tour which provides an

Apsaalooke perspective on the conflict. With

a tribal historian at their side, they will traverse

the battlefield and learn how Lakota,

Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors defeated

the US Army on the Greasy Grass at the

Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Portland to San Francisco Discovery

This tour takes travelers between two cities

known for their outstanding culinary scenes,

though food-minded adventurers will also

enjoy traveling down the coast to Bend to

explore the town’s lesser-known but thriving

food scene. Guests will also enjoy a meal

with the First Nations people of Warm

Springs for a river to table native experience

with a picnic lunch that acknowledges the

role salmon played in tribal history, and

shuck oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., a fellow

B Corp certified company. The itinerary

also includes highlights such as witnessing

the deepest lake in the U.S. located at Crater

Photo: Intrepid Travel


Lake National Park and the tallest living

things in the world at Muir Woods National

Monument.

Tennessee Music Trail to New Orleans

Travelers will make musical memories on this

journey, taking part in a recording session

with a professional sound engineer at the

iconic Studio B in Nashville, walking in the

famous footsteps of BB King and Johnny

Cash at the Sun Studio in Memphis (known

as the “Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll”), visiting

Elvis Presley’s home at Graceland, and

doing a jazz-inspired walking tour in New

Orleans. Groups will also visit the Whitney

Plantation to learn what life was like for

those enslaved on a Louisiana sugarcane

plantation. With a focus on the lives of the

enslaved rather than the perspective of the

plantation owner, exploring here is a sobering

and eye-opening experience.

Best of Montana

Adventurers will follow in the path of Lewis

and Clark exploring the “Gates of the

Mountains” on a river cruise along the

Missouri River and enjoy backcountry hikes

with picnic lunches surrounded by the state’s

scenic mountains. Taking travelers from

Bozeman to Missoula via mountains, rivers,

glaciers and lakes, this tour additionally

showcases the customs and histories of the

Blackfeet Native American culture.

Georgia History Trail to Nashville

This tour from Atlanta to Nashville takes travelers

deep into the heart of America’s past

for an in depth look at how it shaped today's

movement for human rights. Along with several

culinary adventures, guests will also:

visit a plantation that is known for being ethical

in sharing the history of the enslaved

and First Nations people; stop at the Martin

Luther King Jr. National Historic Site to learn

more about his legacy as a leader; and take

a Black History walking tour in Charleston to

immerse in the city’s rich history and complex

past.

The launch of these new trips brings

Intrepid’s total portfolio in the North America

to 57 tours, together and including a mix of

walking, cycling, multi-active, culinary and

general sightseeing adventures.

North America will play a big part in Intrepid

Travel’s future growth and vision as a company.

To increase its capacity, ensure the

utmost quality control over each trip and

incorporate the highest sustainable and

responsible measures, the business has built

and launched its own dedicated American

operations hub this year, which allows

Intrepid to build more meaningful and

impactful relationships with its suppliers.

For example, when creating the itineraries

for its South Dakota trips, Intrepid made sure

to acknowledge the sensitivities of certain

tourist attractions in relation to the

Indigenous experience. Following conversations

with and recommendations from both

the Crow Nation and Lakota tribe representatives,

the company decided to not include

a visit to Crazy Horse on its trips, while

ensuring it pursues ways to incorporate the

Indigenous American perspective during the

visit to Mount Rushmore.

Future plans in North America include continuing

to work with First Nations outfitters to

run more specialized trips and experiences

focused on several perspectives and cultures

of the country’s various tribes, and aiming to

introduce its recently launched Premium tour

range, which will provide a sustainable travel

option for the higher-end adventure traveler.

www.intrepidtravel.com

19

About Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is a world leader in sustainable

experience-rich travel that has been

taking travelers off the beaten track to discover the

world's most amazing places for more than 30

years. The company offers more than 800 trips on

every continent and every trip – whether closer to

home or further afield - is designed to truly experience

local culture. Travelers eat, sleep and get

around the local way, going where the bigger groups

can’t. With its own network of destination management

companies in 23 countries, Intrepid has

unique local expertise and perspectives. Globally

renowned as a leader in responsible travel.

www.intrepidtravel.com

Photo: Blackfeet Outfitters

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


20

High Travel - On the Way to Santa Fe

Article and Photography by Lisa TE Sonne

“My painting is what I have to give back to

the world for what the world has given

me.”– Georgia O’Keefe.

Finally, I am in the clouds again. Cloud watching

was a childhood game, but also a recent

playful pastime for me -- looking up and conjuring

animals, faces, and stories from the layered

shapes. My mind left the ground.

Recently, though, all of me was actually in the

clouds heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a

U.S. state where imagination is encouraged by

the creative atmosphere and rich, complex

history. It’s one of the older cities in North

America with indigenous populations going

back thousands of years in the area.

Europeans from Spain named it “Santa Fe”

(Holy Faith) in the early 1600s.

In my exhilaration to be over the earth, I did

some cloud bingeing 30,000 feet above the

earth. It’s not just their shapes. The cloud’s

textures, densities, movements, and shadows

are works of nature and art. They make a

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

dreamy pathway to the galleries and landscapes

that Santa Fe is renowned for.

Once there, my husband and I sampled the

creativity and culinary sumptuousness of

Santa Fe-- talking with First Nation artists selling

their first-rate jewelry along the Palace of

the Governors, and seeing diverse art in galleries

and outdoor settings. We also enjoyed

the food scene, savoring meals and the settings

at Pasqual’s Café & Gallery, and at La

Plazuela, the restaurant in the historic La

Fonda on the Plaza hotel. We also grabbed

snacks at the Farmers Market of the Santa Fe

Railroad yard, another arts district.

Like many travelers, we visited the 19th century

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis and the

Loreto Chapel, with its mysterious spiral staircase

built without supports. We spent time

walking around the 400-year-old Plaza, people-watching

and exploring shops and galleries.

Near the Plaza, we visited the Georgia

O’Keefe Museum. The famous artist had long

been an avid traveler, pursuing what she

called “the wideness and wonders of the

world.” While journeying through this lovely

museum, I learned that, when O’Keefe was in

her early 70s, she was particularly taken with

the perspectives from an airplane, and she

expressed her interest in a series of paintings

on clouds and aerial views.

The exhibit’s text explained that O’Keefe

advocated “taking time to look.” She made

and used her own viewfinders to change her

perspective. She would use the hole in a pelvis

bone or hold up the hole in a piece of Swiss

cheese in fun to re-frame what she saw.

Flying home, I noticed the airplane window’s

confinement was not unlike the viewfinder

eyepieces O’Keefe had fashioned to frame

and focus differently. Looking out my “eyepiece”

window, I sometimes felt like I was in a

floating polar region with pillowy icebergs on

the horizon.

Time may be the most precious commodity

that you can’t buy, but clouds are free. This

trip reminded me that “taking time to look” is

one of the great reasons to travel. Whether

we see a different big picture, understand a

detail once missed, or savor another perspective,

we can all take moments to live like

artists.

It felt good to enjoy “the wideness and wonders

of the world” in Santa Fe and the sky

high journey there and back.

www.santafe.org


22

Matsushima and Shiogame: Incredible Beauty and Taste!

Article and photography by Steve Gillick

path flanked on both sides by tall cedar trees,

symbolic of power and longevity. An alternate

entrance features a number of caves that

were used in the past for meditation, and

today contain statues.

Matsushima is a very special destination.

The name refers to the

pine trees (matsu) that cover

many of the 260 islands (shima) in

Matsushima Bay, situated in Tohoku, an area

located in the northeast of Japan’s main

island, Honshu. Matsushima is one of the

three designated “Special Places of Scenic

Beauty” in Japan (along with

Amanohashidate and the Itsukushima

Shrine). And its fame dates back to at least

the 17th century when the renowned poet,

Matsuo Basho, expressed his wonder, reverence

and amazement in a Haiku.

Matsushima ah!

Ah, Matsushima, ah!

Matsushima, ah!

While the most popular way to see the islands

is on a cruise boat, we simply walked around

the temples by the shore, with cameras in

hand, to appreciate the beautiful pine-island

views.

Next to the boat pier, a sign instructs pilgrims

to focus on Godaido Temple Hall as they

cross a short red bridge. The Hall was originally

built in 807 but reconstructed in 1604.

It contains five statues that are displayed to

the public once every 33 years. The next

viewing will be in 2039.

The Matsushima city centre can best be

described as a celebration of Samurai history

with a blend of Star Wars, tucked in between

the shops and eateries.

The city’s Samurai legacy is represented by

the wax museum dedicated to the life of the

local feudal lord, Date Masamune, known as

the one-eyed dragon (he lost an eye in his

younger years). He founded the city of

Sendai, and conquered Tohoku’s enemies.

But he also had international aspirations. He

fought in Korea and sent emissaries to Rome

and Spain hoping to use Christian influence

in Japan to open up exclusive trade routes.

And how does Star Wars fit in? It is said that

the design and shape of Masamune’s elaborate

samurai helmet inspired the

costume/mask worn by Darth Vader in the

Star Wars movies. Certainly the ‘helmeted’

entrances to souvenir shops near the museum,

emphasize this connection.

The tranquil Zen Temple of Zuiganji dates to

1609. It’s another reflection of the beauty of

the area. One entrance proceeds along a

The Zuiganji Art Museum exhibits some of the

temple's treasures, including its golden

fusuma sliding doors, and artifacts of the

Clan to which Date Masume belonged.

Leaving Matsushima, we headed for

Shiogame, about 45 minutes away by local

bus. We travelled to have lunch at the fresh

fish market and our reward was mixed chirashi

donburi: ultra-delicious, melt-in-themouth

seafood on a bed of perfectly steamed

rice, and a bowl of hot, savoury miso soup,

served at Kaisen Shokudo Yamato. And for

the finishing touch, we walked over to the historic

(1724) Urakasumi Sake Brewery for a

tasting.

This turned out to be one incredibly enjoyable

day trip out of our base in Sendai, Tohoku’s

Capital city.

www.japan.travel/en/traveldirectory/matsushima/

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


24

Happy Namahage New Year from Japan’s Mountain Ogres

Article and photography by Steve Gillick

It’s New Year’s Eve in Northwestern

Japan. The peaceful calm of a snowy

evening is about to be shattered. A dull,

unsettling moaning sound seems to get louder

as it approaches your home. Suddenly,

loud banging on the walls is followed by a

shocking CRASH, as the entrance door is

flung open and two terrifying figures tramp

into your house.

They’re dressed in coats of straw with their

feet bound in straw sandals. They carry a

small bucket in one hand and a menacing

carving knife in the other. Their faces are

obscured by colorful scowling masks conveying

horror and dread.

The intruders yell out questions in an accusatory

way as they clomp toward the stove or the

fireplace. “Are there any cry babies around”?

“Are there any naughty kids here”? ”Any lazy

people neglecting their work”? And mean-

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

while, the children are either hiding in fear,

crying at the horrific spectacle, or nervously

laughing at the anticipated arrival of the

Namahage (pronounced Nom-a-hah-gay).

These scenes of trepidation occur in the villages

along the Oga Peninsula in Akita

Prefecture. It’s a little off the beaten path,

however the four hour train journey from the

city of Morioka is a relaxing ride past mountains

and forests. The Namahage Museum

Bus departs from the Oga Train Station. Our

first stop was a small building, dating to

1714, known as the ‘10,000 Buddhas of

Shinzan’. The walls and ceilings are covered

with miniature, carved, wooden Jizo statues

representing the Bodhisattva who decided to

postpone Buddhahood until all could be

saved. It’s a place of reverence, protection,

peace and comfort for troubled souls

From there it’s a 20-minute walk to the

Namahage Musuem.

The word ‘Namahage’ refers to heat blisters;

sores that lazy people get from idly sitting

around the fire for too long. The task of the

Namahage is to confront the guilty and get

them to change their ways before the New

Year. To do this, 2-3 young men dressed as

Namahage visit each household. If a child is

not doing their homework or a member of the

family is not pulling his/her weight in doing

the chores, then, with a bit of advance notice,

the Namahage build this into their frightening

talk. And afterward, they join the head of the

household for food, sake, and assurances

that those who need to change their ways, will

do so.

In the Namahage Museum, visitors can dress

up like an Ogre in straw cloak, shoes and

masks. After a few selfies, they enter the

exhibit hall filled with Namahage figures representing

New Years traditions in the different

villages on the Peninsula. An eerie soundtrack,

with whispers of ‘whoa, whoa’,

enhances the spooky, surreal atmosphere.

The days surrounding New Years represent an

occasion for many societies and cultures to

toss out the old, say farewell to bad luck,

promise to turn a new leaf and strive to attract

good karma for the New Year. The frightening

ogres of Namahage are part of this enamoured

tradition.


26

Qatar Airways Qsuite Sets Precedent in Air Travel

by Olivia Balsinger

Galavanting around the world

just got a whole lot easier–and

a whole lot more glamorous.

Qatar Airways has proved that travel–even

luxury travel–does not have to break the

bank. Further, the airline is an industry

leader in aviation travel that doesn’t create

extra headaches or grievances.

And with direct flights to Doha from more

than 150 destinations on every inhabited

continent, Qatar Airways is genuinely connecting

the world. As one who typically

loathes flying, I was disappointed when

the flight attendant woke me up as we

descended into Doha’s dawn on an

overnight from New York City. Qatar’s

Qsuite (Business Class) was undoubtedly

the finest flying experience of my life

Here’s why:

My Qsuite Journey

I was fortunate to travel Qsuite -the first of

its kind in business class-which provided

me complete privacy when I wanted it,

along with ambient mood lighting and a

fully flatbed. I have flown business or first

class on many airlines, but Qatar Airways

sets the new standard. The lovely stewardess

who greeted me as I stepped onto

the flight showed me all of the (countless)

amenities travelers with this airline class

receive. Afterward, she smiled and told

me I had the option to close my curtains,

which ultimately sealed my belief that I

wasn’t on an airplane but in the comfort

of my cozy living room.

Even better, had I been traveling with my

husband or other family members, we

could have even chosen seats amenable


to a four-person work area or even a double

bed. Imagine that-flying with a partner

and given the luxury of a double bedheck,

airplanes become more comfortable

and luxurious than home!

And how often do we dread long airplane

rides simply due to the pit of hunger that

manifests after barely being able to digest

airplane food? The airline also provides

business class passengers an “a la carte”

dining option, making my constant hunger

more manageable. Was I on a flight or in

a five-star restaurant in the center of a

metropolis? The possibilities were endless.

The most difficult decision I made was to

commence with a French onion soup or

escargot (of course, my answer was oui to

both!) The Quite menu adheres to the

structure of a four-course meal - with

soup, appetizers, and desserts – with a

post-sleep 'breakfast' (starters and mains)

as the final destination is in sight. Of

course, there are lighter options available

that can be enjoyed at any time during the

flight.

The stewardess went out of her way, surprising

me with champagne and chocolate

when landing in Doha and with Maha

Gold Service (meet and greet’ service)

both during arrival and departure. I felt

like royalty in the air.

Stopover Program

It gets even better. Until discovering oil in

1939, Qatar cultivated its most significant

profit and recognition from pearl diving.

But it has since grown, making its considerable

mark on the tourism map. Typically,

accommodation is one of the costliest

expenses on vacation. However, travelers

can alleviate this cost when they transit via

Doha for a few days with Qatar Airway’s

Stopover Program.

This generous program waives visa fees

from eighty countries. It also provides

accommodation at luxury four or five-star

hotels, such as InterContinental Doha or

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel for two

nights—for a mere USD 100 booking fee!

A Whole New World

Once landed in Doha, I was equally

blown away. Indeed, Doha itself has

proven to be a significant tourism draw.

The city is significantly smaller than Dubai

and Abu Dhabi, which allows it to keep its

slightly provincial feel. While travelers can

still find modern high-end innovations,

such as Doha Festival City with an Angry

Birds theme park, Qatar stays true to its

heritage in several ways. I visited the Souq

Waqif, one of the most traditional in the

Middle East, to find pearl shops and

tea shops where men still gather to

play Dama’s classic game. Whether

eating traditional Qatari food or getting

whimsically bewildered in the labyrinth of

people watching, the Souq is not to miss.

Qatar is also equally modern, as it is

timeless. The sheer decadence and luxury

found within Qatar’s hotels are reason

enough to visit. Take The Mondrian Doha,

in Doha’’s West Bay Lagoon neighborhood.

The property’s 270 rooms have

views of the human-made Pearl Island. I

enjoyed a luxurious detoxing massage

much-needed swim in the penthouse pool.

The hotel epitomizes dual elegance and

creativity, described as Alice in

Wonderland in real life, the whimsical

architecture by famed Dutch designer

Marcel Wanders. One misconception

among Western tourists is that because

Qatar is primarily governed under Sharia

Law, there are zero legal drinking opportunities.

However, five-star international

hotels are allowed to sell alcohol to foreigners.

Two Qatari hotspots are found in

The Mondrian, Masaharu Morimoto's new

Morimoto Doha, and the bespoke Black

Orchid club.

Finally, there are only two countries where

the desert sand meets Qatar and

Namibia’s ocean. Few things spike adrenaline

more than a safari in a 4X4 through

Qatar’s vast desert, about an hour and a

half ride from Doha city center. The radio

is blasting Arabian-French techno music

as a white Land Cruiser picks up speed.

The experienced guide smiles slightly mischievously

and revs the engine before

accelerating through this stunning natural

oasis as the sound of sand descending the

slopes overwhelms. Q-Explorer Tours is a

professional tour operator that handles

individual and group guided arrangements,

catering to specific itinerary desires

and budgets. In addition to dune bashing,

the company provides many other opportunities

to explore Qatar’s culture, gastronomy,

and natural beauty.

www.qatarairways.com

27

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


28

What’s New in 2022 in Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods

Fort Myers’ islands, beaches and

neighborhoods in Southwest Florida

continues to provide new experiences

for returning guests and first-time visitors.

Whether you’re looking for great year-round

weather or shell-drenched beaches along

the sparkling Gulf of Mexico,

VisitFortMyers.com is your source for the

most up-to-date vacation information.

New for ’22, the Lee County VCB has

unveiled a completely new look and feel,

with new branding, a new website and visitor

guide.

“Our new name – Fort Myers – Islands,

Beaches and Neighborhoods – replaces The

Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel,” said

Francesca Donlan, Communications

Director for the Lee County VCB. “The objective

was to build a strong brand reflective of

our destination today, boosting local pride

and increasing a collective sense of community.”

Both the website – which launched last week

– and the new visitor guide have been completely

revamped to feature the new branding.

Along with the new logo, there’s a new

colour palette that features bright pinks and

yellows, and cool blues and greens,

designed to connect with the nature and

landscape of Lee County.

Upcoming Events

ArtFest Fort Myers returns Feb. 4-6 along the

waterfront featuring art by more than 200

artists, entertainment, delicious food, and

fun children’s art activities. The show was

named among the best in the country by

Sunshine Artists Magazine.

artfestfortmyers.com

The 23rd Annual Southwest Florida Reading

Festival takes place on March 5. Free and a

great event for all ages, this popular annual

outdoor festival gives fans the opportunity to

meet a diverse line-up of bestselling authors,

participate in contests and activities, and discover

the latest in books and technology. In

addition to author appearances and autograph

sessions, there will be food truck vendors,

storytelling programs, arts and crafts,

youth writing contests, and a free book for

every child and teenager. ReadFest.org

Mark your calendars for Island Hopper

2022! Returning for its eighth year, this 10-

day music festival features performances by

some of the country’s greatest singer-songwriters.

The festival takes place in three

areas, with the first weekend kicking off on

Captiva Island, Sept. 16-18, then moving to

downtown Fort Myers, Sept. 19- 22, and

ending with a weekend on Fort Myers Beach,

Sept. 23-25. Most shows are free except for

a few ticketed experiences (headliner shows).

islandhopperfest.com

Accommodation News

The soon-to-open Fairfield Inn & Suites

Bonita Springs and the newly renovated The

Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village

received Convention South Magazine's ‘Top

New or Renovated’ awards for 2022.

New Dining and Brewery Openings

Bonita Springs has two new breweries.

Hopsized Brewing Co.

(hopsizedbrewing.com) opened in the new

Bernwood Trade Center with a focus on

sours and New England IPAs. Ceremony

Brewing (ceremonybrewing.com) celebrated

its grand opening in downtown Bonita

Springs with 18 taps and a bottle shop selling

hard-to-find brews.

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


The owners of the Tacos & Tequila Cantina,

which has three locations in the region, have

opened Aldos Italian Table & Bar in

University Village adjacent to Florida Gulf

Coast University in Estero. The focal point of

the 4,500-square-foot restaurant is the

imported Italian pizza oven, which can bake

a 12-inch pie in 90 seconds.

https://universityvillagefl.com/aldos-italiantable-and-bar.html

R.A.D. Winery & Cidery is open at Miromar

Outlets in Estero. R.A.D. (short for Really.

Awesome. Drinks.) carries its own line of

wines and ciders on tap, as well as a selection

of wines from Gravity Winery and Red

Top Winery in Michigan. https://miromaroutlets.com/store-directory/gravitywine.html

Attractions News

Recently opened, Topgolf Fort Myers features

70 climate-controlled hitting bays for

year-round comfort with HDTVs in every bay

and throughout the sports bar and restaurant.

Visitors may use complimentary clubs

or bring their own as they take aim at giant

outfield targets.

https://topgolf.com/us/fort-myers

Free guided beach walks at San Carlos Bay

Bunche Beach take place at 9 a.m.

Wednesdays through April 27. Visitors of all

ages may enjoy this volunteer-led program

and learn the basics of different beach

ecosystems, types of shells and more. Free

tour with paid parking.

leegov.com/parks/beaches/bunche

Visitors are invited to a free tour of the

Manatee Park butterfly garden and habitats

at 9 a.m. Sundays through March 27.

Visitors will enjoy walking the ADA accessible

paths through the restored native plant

habitats and butterfly gardens. A volunteer

naturalist will lead the tour. Manatee Park is

a non-captive refuge for the threatened

Florida manatee. Optimum viewing is now

through March. Free tour with paid parking.

leegov.com/parks/parks/manateepark

Have Fun & Save

with Fort Myers Sun Saver Passport

Fort Myers’ islands, beaches and neighborhoods

has a free mobile savings passport

giving users access to exclusive deals on

attractions, restaurants, and experiences

throughout the destination.

To participate:

• Sign up at

https://explore.fortmyers-sanibel.com

• The passport will be delivered to your

mobile phone via text.

• Redeem it on your mobile phone at participating

businesses.

• Visit the website for a complete list of

attractions, restaurants, and experiences

VisitFortMyers.com

29

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


20 Years Replay

Spring 2016

Dead Sea Adventures Come Alive in Israel

Tourists have been flocking to Israel’s

Dead Sea region since Biblical times

to witness historical events, appreciate

stunning natural attractions and pursue serenity

and health.

This is the area where Lot’s wife looked back

at the fire consuming the sinful city of Sodom

and was turned into a pillar of salt. This is the

area where in 73 CE (Common Era) at

Masada, 960 Jewish Zealots took their lives

rather than submit to capture and slavery by

the Roman army. And this is the area where

the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in the

Qumran Caves, only to emerge two thousand

years later when a Bedouin shepherd discovered

them.

And with discovery and adventure in mind, we

travelled south from Jerusalem where almost

immediately, the landscape changed from

neighbourhoods of trim white buildings, to

the bleak, dry, soil of the low hills and distant

mountains of the Judean Desert.

Article and photography by Steve Gillick

Heading to the lowest point on the planet at

424 meters below sea level, we had started at

786 meters above sea level in Jerusalem and

in less than one hour we arrived at the monument

marking ‘sea level’. Just beyond the

spot where a local Bedouin entrepreneur and

his camel stood ready for photos, a dramatic

sculpture by Or-nah Ran, entitled

‘Awakening’, stretched into the sky with a

poem paying homage to the desert, “…magic

of sleep and dream, beauty of silence, delicate

fragility…”.

There is no place to better appreciate that

silence and fragility than a visit to Masada. A

cable car carries visitors 100 meters to the flat

top of the plateau where they explore the

buildings, storehouses, residences and synagogue,

as well as the three-level palace of

King Herod the Great, complete with surviving

mosaics.

But it’s those quiet moments, staring from the

heights of Masada where the stark nature of

the Judean desert can best be appreciated.

And directly below the cliff are the actual outlines

of the Roman encampments and the socalled

Roman Ramp that allowed the soldiers

to finally overtake the fortress.

We continued south to meet Barak Horwitz of

Camel Lot Tours and head up to the summit

of Mount Sedom. At 200 feet below sea level,

this is the lowest mountain on earth. From the

summit lookout, the views across the Dead

Sea to Jordan’s Moab Mountains are spectacular,

especially as the setting sun casts a net of

colour across the vista.

Our final stop for the day was at Ein Bokek,

the hotel and resort district right on the shores

of the Dead Sea. This is the place to stock up

on health products, skin creams and bath

salts before heading to the hotel spa. Our

treatment consisted of a mud bath where the

attendant slathers hot mud all over your body,

wraps you in a cocoon-blanket to keep in the

heat, and then 30 minutes later you ‘float’

out of the change room, totally energized and

refreshed. Others headed to the Dead Sea to

float in the thick, salty, mineral rich waters.

Early the next day a rich golden sunrise transformed

the mountains from pre-dawn grey, to

a deep royal red, emphasizing that the Dead

Sea Region, wrapped in history, adventure

and natural beauty, is an experience like no

other.

https://info.goisrael.com/en

Yet, only 20 kilometers away is the oasis of Ein

Gedi (literally the Spring of the Goat) where

the Nature Reserve and National Park offer

year-round spring-fed streams, lush green

vegetation, walking trails and glimpses of the

Nubian Ibex and Rock Hyrax.

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


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34

A Journey of the Senses

AAt the crossroads of Europe and

Asia is Istanbul, with a rich history

spanning over two thousand

years. Strategically located on the

Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a vibrant city

where east and west meet to create this

unique cultural capital. Istanbul is home to

an estimated 15 million inhabitants, built

on seven hills, and topped by the minarets

of over 3,000 mosques including the worldfamous

Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.

Mouth-watering tastes worth travelling for

It is the food that leaves the greatest

impression. Traditional Anatolian staples

such as doughy manti (dumpling), freshly

squeezed juices sold on every street corner

and sesame covered simit rolls, perfectly

accompanied by Turkish çay (tea). The

smell of fresh fish or rich Turkish coffee are

often in the air.

Take flight in a hot air balloon at sunset

On everyone’s bucket list should be a hot

air balloon flight at sunrise. People travel

to Cappadocia from all over the world to

take part in this spectacular sight of hot air

balloons making their gentle flight over the

valleys and fairy chimneys, lit up by the rising

sun. Accommodation ranges from

cool and rustic cave hotels to elegant and

luxurious houses. Traditional Turkish baths

(hamams) in which to relax and unwind is

also a highlight. During your stay, venture

into underground cities, cave churches and

the outdoor museums to learn more about

the history of this special place.

Cappadocia is also famous for its wine,

and a must experience element of your

meal.

The colourful Aegean coastal city of Izmir

In Western Anatolia on a bay of turquoise

water is the Aegean coastal city of Izmir,

where archaeological sites remind visitors

of a rich history set against a backdrop of

the hilltop Kadifekale castle. Spot one of

the most famous landmarks of Izmir, the

Clock Tower designed by French architect

Raymond Charles Pere dating back to

1901. To enjoy the view and save your

legs from the 155 steps connecting city

streets, use the public elevator known as

Asansör. Another alternative is the modern

European-style quarter of Karşıyaka which

also offers excellent sea views. Notable

nearby highlights are the enchanting

ancient ruins of Ephesus, one of the Seven

Wonders of the Ancient World. The nearby

village of Çeşme is a charming gastronomic

paradise with its whitewashed houses

and blue painted windows.

Turkish food in Izmir has many influences

and flavours for every palate. Izmir meatballs,

called köfte, are enjoyed across

Turkey, made lovingly with local spices and

served in a tasty tomato sauce. Try local

specialty Kumru, the perfect on-the-go

snack of sausage, cheese and tomato

served in bread, or the delicious pastry

Boyoz, which can only be found in Izmir

and should not be missed!


The luxurious ancient port city of Bodrum

Rugged, rolling mountains meet the shores

of the crystal blue Aegean Sea in the small

city of Bodrum. The Aegean coastal city is

spread across a double bay, mixing

ancient and modern history. The city is

home to the ancient Greek city of

Halicarnassus, site of the Tomb of

Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of

the Ancient World. Along the coastline is

the well-preserved medieval Bodrum

Castle which offers superb views and is

home to the Museum of Underwater

Archaeology.

Renowned for its unique "sugar cube"

houses, Bodrum is one of Turkey’s gems

and is fast becoming the first choice for

holidaymakers the world over.

Escape to small villages or enjoy the

extravagance of its many five-star hotels

and bustling nightlife, Bodrum is the place

where the green of the forest meets the

clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Make sure your flight is part

of the vacation

Vacation time is precious, so make every

minute count by starting your trip the

moment you step onto the plane. The

award-winning products and services of

Turkish Airlines’ Business Class provide an

unparalleled experience with the utmost

elegance. Prior to take off, passengers can

benefit from extra baggage allowance, priority

check-in and boarding, and access to

Turkish Airlines Lounges.

Relax in exclusive seats, with massage

functions, that convert your seat into a 188

cm flat bed. Delight in gourmet dishes prepared

and cooked to your taste by Flying

Chefs, and enjoy comfort kits to maximize

your wellness on-board. Business Class

also offers a cutting-edge in-flight entertainment

system, films in different languages,

a wide assortment of audiobooks,

a great range of music and much

more. It boasts award-winning catering

designed for any palate where you can

enjoy international cuisine and local

Turkish specialties such as ‘pide’ and

‘börek’ with fresh fruit juices and tea.

Going Further With

Turkish Airlines

Glowing reviews and exceptional

food are the order of the day for

this up-and-coming airline!

Part of the Star Alliance network, Turkish airlines

(THY) offers service to Canadians from

Toronto and Montreal, and connections to

destinations all over the world from their hub

in Istanbul.

Building on their international reputation, THY

has been climbing the ranks as a top provider

and doing very well in Canada.

With 321 destinations, and adding new ones

at a rapid pace, THY welcome travellers with

smiles and a friendly hello, though often with

a charming accent!

Their aircraft include A330s, A340s, B777s,

B737-800s and B727-800s, all well maintained

and laid-out with the customer in

mind. Each section is designed with creature

comforts taking front and centre. The seats

throughout the plane are comfortable and the

facilities are kept impeccably clean and

organized. Most Business Class passengers

can expect either fully lie-flat seats or angled

lie-flat seats that brings relaxation to a higher

level.

Comfort Class is Turkish Airlines' premium

economy section is highlighted by slightly

larger seats configured in two-by-three-bytwo

rows, a large video screen and entertainment

system with an iPod outlet and a laptop

power outlet for each seat.

Even passengers traveling in Economy Class

can enjoy an above average trip, as all passengers

enjoy the famed THY complimentary

meal. Though multi-course meals are provided

in Business Class on extended range

flights, all passengers are treated to the

award winning food served on board.

Considering that THY deals with one of the

world’s biggest (maybe the biggest) catering

service and are partners with Do & Co., there

is no surprise in the quality THY can offer!

www.turkishairlines.com

35

Whether you are enjoying the wonders of

Turkey for several weeks or only a few

days as part of the Turkish Airlines

Stopover Program, Turkish hospitality and

wonder awaits.

Are you ready to Widen Your World?

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Arctic North Atlantic South Atlantic North

Amazon Danube Mekong Nile Rhine Rhône Moselle Seine Yangtze

C r u i s i n g with

W O R L D

Traveler

CRUISING

SECTION

Cruise News - pages 38 - 39

Amazing Amazon with Awe & Comfort - page 42

Cruising South America with Princess - page 44

Cruising Through the Land of the Pharaohs - page 46

This Photo: Nile River, Aswan, Egypt

Come With Us &


Pacific South Pacific Indian Southern Ocean

Sail The World!

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

Adriatic Aegean Mediterranean Caribbean Baltic Black South-China Sea


38

AmaWaterways Avalon Azamara Carnival Celebrit

C r u i s e N e w s

Aqua Expeditions Enters the

Galapagos Islands with the

Archipelago’s First Superyacht

Aqua Expeditions, has announced the

expansion of its fleet of luxury boutique vessels

with the introduction of Aqua Mare, the

first true superyacht to sail the Galapagos

Islands. Launching its inaugural expedition

on May 6, 2022, the seven-suite Aqua Mare

will offer a choice of two highly personalized

seven-night itineraries exploring the Archipelago's eastern and western regions, as

well as two 14-night voyages for the Galapagos Islands’ ultimate bucket-list adventure.

www.aquaexpeditions.com

Seabourn Names Second New

Ultra-Luxury Expedition Ship

“Seabourn Pursuit”; Announces

Inaugural Voyage Date

Seabourn, the ultra-luxury ocean and

expedition cruise line, has recently

announced that it will name its second

new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition

ship Seabourn Pursuit, which is reflective

of the passion exhibited by expedition travelers

to seek out and explore natural wonders and destinations through immersive

recreational activities around the world.

Construction for Seabourn Pursuit began in fall 2020 during a ceremony in San

Giorgo di Nogare, Italy, and the build process is well underway. The ship is scheduled

for delivery in February 2023, with its sister ship, Seabourn Venture, slated for delivery

in March 2022.

www.seabourn.com

AmaWaterways Celebrates

Inaugural Nile River

Voyage of AmaDahlia

Award-winning luxury river cruise line

AmaWaterways celebrated the launch of its

newest ship – AmaDahlia – on the Nile River

on September 6, sailing the Secrets of Egypt

& The Nile itinerary.

Featuring 36 staterooms including 16 magnificent suites between 370 and 430 sq. ft.,

the luxurious 72-passenger AmaDahlia offers an intimate atmosphere with an abundance

of space for guests to relax and unwind after a day of awe-inspiring discovery.

Designed to reflect the culture of the region, AmaDahlia welcomes guests aboard with

vibrant colors and patterns, along with inviting public spaces to take in the stunning

views of the Nile River.

www.amawaterways.com

Holland America Line

Celebrates Naming Of Rotterdam With

Ceremony In Namesake City And

Special Seven-Day Voyage

Holland America Line’s newest ship

Rotterdam is set to get the royal treatment

at a naming ceremony in Rotterdam, the

Netherlands, May 30, 2022. Her Royal

Highness Princess Margriet of the

Netherlands will be the ship’s godmother,

carrying on a Dutch royal tradition that

began in the 1920s.

Rotterdam’s special seven-day “Rotterdam

Naming Celebration” cruise sails roundtrip

from Amsterdam, Netherlands, departing

May 29 and also visits Kristiansand,

Stavanger and Flåm, Norway, with scenic

cruising in Sognefjord.

When the ship arrives at Rotterdam May

30, a private ceremony will be held for

invited guests that will be broadcast

throughout the ship. During the voyage,

guests will enjoy special events exclusive to

the naming sailing, including a celebratory

Gala Dinner and an opportunity to participate

in the blessing of the ship's bell,

along with surprises and commemorative

gifts.

Once the ship departs Rotterdam, guests

will spend the remainder of the voyage

exploring the ports of Kristiansand,

Stavanger and the stunning fjords and

charming villages of Norway. A highlight

of the itinerary is a day of scenic cruising

in Sognefjord. The largest and deepest

fjord in Norway, the “King of the Fjords” is

one of the world’s most beautiful destinations

lined with majestic mountains and

lush landscapes. In Flåm, the famous railway

offers an unforgettable experience,

climbing from sea level to 2,800 feet,

crossing back and forth over rivers and

passing through 20 tunnels.

www.hollandamerica.com

Royal-Caribbean Scenic Seabourn SeaDream Si


y Costa Crystal Cunard Disney Holland America

39

New from CroisiEurope for 2022

Prague, Dresden & the Castles of

Bohemia along the Elbe & Vltava

CroisiEurope, has introduced a brand new

‘Prague, Dresden & the Castles of

Bohemia’ cruise along the Elbe and Vltava

rivers which will operate from March to

November 2022. This seven-day cruise,

which takes place onboard a unique paddlewheel

ship, is round trip from Prague

and features calls in Stechovice, Slapy and

Melnik.

Highlights of the cruise include the Golden

City of Prague; the castles of Bohemia –

Konopiste Castle, a former hunting lodge

of the Habsburgs, and the Renaissancestyle

Nelahozeves Castle with its private

artwork collection; a visit to the birthplace

of the famous Czech composer Antonin

Dvorak to learn more about his life and

works including the New World Symphony;

and a full day in Dresden – also known as

the Florence of the Elbe.

The cruise takes place onboard the 77-

guest MS Elbe Princesse II, which uses

modern paddlewheel technology and features

a sleek and contemporary design

with open spaces, large picture windows

and a modern palette with fabrics by

MissoniHome to create a warm and inviting

atmosphere onboard.

www.croisieurope.travel

Viking Marks Float out of

Newest Egypt Ship

Arrival of Viking Osiris in Summer 2022

Builds on Viking’s Commitment to Egypt

Viking® has recently announced its newest

ship for the Nile River—the 82-guest Viking

Osiris—was “floated out,” marking a major

construction milestone and the first time the

ship has touched water. Set to debut in

August 2022, Viking Osiris will sail Viking’s

bestselling 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.

The arrival of Viking’s new ship later

this year coincides with several key events in

Egypt in 2022, including the highly anticipated

opening of the new Grand Egyptian

Museum outside Cairo on the Giza

Plateau—as well as the 100th anniversary of

the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb

by Howard Carter and his benefactor, the

5th Earl of Carnarvon. Building on Viking’s

longstanding relationship with the

Carnarvon family, guests who sail on board

Viking Osiris will experience Privileged

Access® to memories from 1922 and the

events surrounding the discovery of King

Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Viking Osiris

Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, the new,

state-of-the-art Viking Osiris is inspired by

Viking’s award-winning river and ocean

ships with the elegant Scandinavian design

for which Viking is known. The vessel features

several aspects familiar to Viking

guests, such as a distinctive square bow and

an indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace. Viking

Osiris will join the company’s other ship on

the Nile, Viking Ra, which launched in 2018.

Additionally, in response to strong demand,

Viking Aton, an identical sister ship to Viking

Osiris, will join the fleet in 2023.

www.viking.com

Reservations are now

Available for Silver Nova℠,

the First Luxury Cruise

Ship with Zero Local

Emissions at Port

Ultra-luxury travel brand Silversea

Cruises® has announced

reservations are open for Silver

Nova℠, the first vessel in the cruise

line’s revolutionary Nova class of

ships.

Silver Nova, with a planned summer

2023 launch, will be the first

low-emissions luxury cruise ship

with advanced hybrid technology

featuring fuel cells, paving the way

for the future of luxurious, sustainable

cruising.

The inaugural season for Silver

Nova will commence on July 15,

2023, and include highly curated

and immersive sailings ranging

from seven to 23 days. The ship’s

10-day maiden voyage from

Southampton to Lisbon will include

calls in Saint Malo, three days in

Bordeaux to explore the region’s

historical sights, 18th-century cultural

heritage, castles, vineyards,

and French-style gardens, followed

by Bilbao, before ending in Lisbon.

During her inaugural season, Silver

Nova is scheduled to offer a total of

20 journeys in the Mediterranean,

Caribbean and South America, as

well as a transoceanic crossing to

unlock over 100 destinations and

50 countries.

www.silversea.com

Hurtigruten MSC Norwegian Oceania Ponant Princess Regent

versea Star-Clippers Uniworld Viking Windstar


42

Amazing Amazon with Awe & Comfort

Article by Lisa TE Sonne, photography courtesy of Aqua Expeditions

“Today we are going to look for sloths,

monkeys, toucans and bromeliads. You

are not gonna like it. You are gonna love

it! “ The Aqua Expeditions guide then continued

the briefing, by pointing on a map to the

Peruvian tributary that we were going to navigate

before reaching the Amazon.

We were an international group of 32 passengers

being pampered by a staff of 27 on a

floating boutique hotel, the Aria, in the midst

of the vast Amazonian river system, 2,400

miles away from where the river would pour

into the Atlantic Ocean.

Every morning we woke up with floor-to-ceiling

views of life on this far-reaching network

of waterways. Amidst it, we were an elegant

speck — a customized, bespoke vessel with

guides, naturalists, and trained staff.

Everything was designed so we and the other

passengers could gather experiences worth

remembering.

For several days, my longtime friend Beth and

I saw no cities, no other cruise ships, no other

tourist vessels. We saw, instead, lily pads the

size of beds, local families on their almost flat

wooden boats, birds with six foot wingspans

suddenly take off, and even a pink river dolphin

one morning. Up in the trees, we looked

for sloths, anteaters, iguanas, and parrotsand

saw them high from the ground. We were

privileged to be able to visit this part of the

changing and endangered world, and we

were treated like special visitors.

All the meticulously planned, fantastic meals

and comforts provided by high-end Aqua

Expeditions made it easy for us, as guests, to

seek out the unplannable discoveries that

highlighted our mini-safaris off the mother

ship.

One afternoon, we were heading out in our

skiff enjoying the wide-open landscape, when

the guide spotted something in the dense

shore jungle with his binoculars. The driver

headed toward a narrowing side passage,

then slowed down. He motioned for us to be

quiet, and pointed. There was an anteater

with his tail holding onto one tree about twenty

feet off the ground while he stretched horizontally

to another tree, and we saw his very

long, thin tongue dart out onto the bark — just

before he suddenly fell out of sight, from the

trees into a tangle of green.

The crewmembers on this cruise were all from

the Amazon region and were open to discussing

their own experiences. The naturalist,

Roger, spoke four different languages –

English, German, Spanish, and his birth-language,

which is now known by only 25 families

in his village, several hours away. On his

days off, Roger makes his children practice

speaking with his parents so the language

doesn’t die.

The cruise director, Gabriella, could light up a

room. The small onboard gift shop she helped

run included jewelry and napkin holders

made by indigenous people along our route.

A percentage of the profits went back to the

villages. Aqua Expeditions now also provides

carbon offsets, and they have partnered with

the World Wildlife Fund for “Natural Habitat

Adventures.”

We visited animal rescue centers that rehabilitate

orphaned wildlife and abused pets. The

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


center’s guides allowed me to bottle-feed a

fellow mammal — an orphaned river manatee.

At another center, there was a three-toed

sloth who seemed content to hang on us languidly

as if we were trees. Monkeys tugged on

my camera, and I gingerly held the head of a

14-foot Anaconda snake that started to wrap

part of its thick trunk around my leg (which

prompted me to end that experience quickly).

When I tell friends about this bucket-list trip,

they express fear that they couldn’t handle the

bugs, dirt, humidity, remoteness, and danger

they associate with the Amazon jungles and

rainforests. Here’s how we managed:

Bugs? Well, we were navigating rivers through

one of the greatest ecosystems on the planet,

so, yes, bugs! But we weren’t out sleeping in

tents and there are precautions. I took malaria

pills, sprayed my excursion clothes with

Sawyers before leaving home, and used the

environmentally-sensitive bug sprays that sat

next to the sunblock at the tender stations on

the well-equipped mother ship.

The results? I only received one small bite. I

never did see the swarms of mosquitos I anticipated.

The bugs I did see were weird or magnificent.

On an early morning bird watching jaunt, the

skiffs tied together and a fresh breakfast was

presented al fresco to our collective flotilla

while we watched an avian airshow. One

guide pointed down to a “Rainbow

Grasshopper” that was resting near the bow

of the boat. I was able to get close enough to

photograph the two-inch critter to see, closeup,

that it justified its name spectacularly with

varied colors.

The insect I remember most, though, showed

up on a night excursion. With the full moon

weaving between clouds and thick jungle

growth, an occasional firefly flashed messages

as our metal skiffs pushed through the

dark and the eerie vines. The guides’ held

lights at the ready to show us nighthawks,

owls, frogs, snakes, and black caiman. The

surprise guest was a “pink-toe tarantula,”

about six inches across, who found himself in

the spotlight.

Dirt? Yes. It’s called Earth.

Aqua Expeditions provided rubber boots,

though, when trails to a local school or village

were muddy. When we went fishing for piranha

and the rain of the well-named rain forest

pounded down, we were tucked in thick

rain ponchos, also courtesy of Aqua

Expeditions. Still dirt finds its way.

Back on our mother ship, however, each suite

had it’s own luxurious shower. On the third

deck, a Jacuzzi offered cooling cleansing

waters. When we weren’t in our suites, one of

the dedicated cabin attendants cleaned up

behind us. The staff also cleaned our dirtied

shoes and clothes while we ate restaurantquality

meals or attended classes on cooking

and cocktails or Amazon fauna and flora.

And the ship’s beautiful teak décor seemed

spotless. At the end of the day, jungle life in

the Amazon for most of us was cleaner than

life at home.

Discomfort? There were sweaty times when

nature’s thermostat and humidifier were not

set at personal ideals, but those conditions

were blissful to the thriving life around us,

from orchids to monkeys.

When we stepped back aboard the mother

ship after our mini-expeditions, a cold drink

and cold cloth were presented. As an added

touch, the cloths had been soaked in a tea of

cinnamon and cloves, so it smelled refreshing,

too. The bartender mixed anything we wanted,

and, for an extra fee, the onboard

masseuse worked out any remaining stresses.

When we were ready, we could return to our

air-conditioned suite and choose whatever

temperature we liked. The ship offered

many comfortable places to view river

life.

Danger? Danger is always there on any trip or

even a day at home. Particularly in unfamiliar

wild areas, it’s a good idea to go with seasoned

locals. (Even members of the Explorers

Club looking for lost cities do that.) What’s

even better? Let someone else who really

knows the settings organize the trip with your

own comforts in mind.

Beth and I spent a memorable time paddling

in a locally made canoe alongside a local

woman and her daughter, who guided us in

shy English to almost hidden flowers. When

naturalist Roger came to pick us up, he could

tell we were happy, but hot. We asked if there

was anywhere we could swim before the long

ride back to the ship. He shifted directions. We

reached a place that didn’t seem particularly

different from so much of the river we had

already seen, and he turned the boat off.

I jumped in, looked for some distinguishing

landmark and asked, “Roger, where are we?”

“You are,” he said quite seriously, “in the

Amazon River, where there are electric eels,

anaconda snakes, and lots of piranha!”

I laughed confidently, because I knew by then

that Roger and his team at Aqua Expeditions

made safety a priority, and he was vigilantly

vetting the area. Briefly, we were little dots

floating on part of this vast intricate network of

thousands of miles. We were a temporary part

of one of the world’s most intriguing ecologies.

The water was warm, and the sky was beautiful

enough to paint. We were getting a vacation

and an education on the same trip – and

while we were relaxing, the remarkable trip

was another wake up call of the need to

understand and protect the amazing diversity

of our world.

www.aquaexpeditions.com

43

Lisa TE Sonne has enjoyed smaller cruises from

the shores of all seven continents as a way to

explore nature and cultures worldwide.

www.LisaSonne.com

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Replay

Winter 2020-21

Cruising South America with Princess

by Daniel Smajovits

From life-changing cultural experiences,

postcard worthy landscapes

and the waddles of penguins at

every turn, nothing excites all the senses

than the 14-day journey from Buenos

Aires, Argentina to Valparaíso, Chile.

A growing number of cruise lines have

begun to serve this route, but as one of the

pioneers in South American cruising,

Princess Cruises has mastered every aspect

of the journey, ensuring that as guests, your

only concern is trying to squeeze the last

drop out of each day.

Itinerary

From the dynamic city of Buenos Aires,

Argentina to your final destination of

Valparaíso, Chile, this itinerary runs the

gamut of both man-made and natural

beauty.

The bustling Argentinian capital of Buenos

Aires is undoubtedly one of the world’s

greatest cities. Dubbed the Paris of South

America, you’re instantly captivated by

outer and inner beauty of both the unique

European architecture and the Porteños, or

locals. Although you will most likely remain

docked in Buenos Aires for your first night

on board, ensure to arrive at least three

days early to fully explore this captivating

city and experience its rich history and culture.

Once the cruise begins in earnest, a short

sail north is Montevideo, Uruguay, where

wineries and beaches are within an hour

drive from the port, but only a short walk

away is a thriving market and winding

streets filled with a market as well as

charming street art and cafés.

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


As your ship moves further south, prepare

yourself for two days of cuteness-overload

as penguins are the must-see excursions in

Puerto Madryn, Argentina and Stanley,

Falkland Islands. We recommend booking

penguin visits at both ports as rough seas

and unpredictable weather occasionally

force ships to skip the tender-only port of

Stanley. To ensure you make the most of

your visit to the infamous British outpost in

the Atlantic Ocean, reserve your Volunteer

Point tour with Jimmy Curtis well in

advance. The private penguin refuge caps

the number of daily visitors and Jimmy’s

tours sell out almost instantly.

Once back on board, batten down the

hatches as rough waters await you as the

ship gets closer to Cape Horn and the

southernmost point of the Americas. Most

ships cross through the Beagle Channel

and stop in Ushuaia, Argentina, often

referred to as the End of the World. Natural

beauty awaits as a short trip from the port

is Tierra del Fuego National Park. While

some travellers might opt for an expensive

daytrip to Antarctica, which is only 1,000

miles south, should that not be in the cards,

enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities in and

around the world’s most southernmost city.

Crossing the border into Chile, Punta

Arenas and Puerto Montt are two unique

destinations in themselves, respectively

known for their wildlife and natural beauty.

Shore excursions in Punta Arenas include

the Magellan Penguins Natural Reserve, if

you haven’t fulfilled your penguin fix yet, as

well as horseback riding. Puerto Montt is

home to the breathtaking Osorno Volcano

and Petrohue Falls.

While Valparaíso marks your disembarkation

point, before you make your way to the

lively capital of Santiago, ensure to spend a

day enjoying the colourful costal city and

neighbouring Vina Del Mar. This region is

home to some of Chile’s most famous

wineries and some of the freshest seafood

the country has to offer, all of which can be

found around the charming city.

Whether via tour or transfer, almost all

guests end up in the Chilean capital of

Santiago before their flights home. Despite

having spent an incredible two weeks traveling,

carve out at least one day to take in

the best that Santiago has to offer. From

high atop San Cristobal Hill to the barrios

of Brasil, Lastarria and Bellavista, the city’s

unique atmosphere is captivating and a

worthy exclamation point to your South

American journey. With the sprawling

Andes mountain range to the east, the

city’s landscape is only topped by a bevy of

fine restaurants, markets and cultural

attractions. The Central Market is a must

stop for mouth-watering seafood and local

delicacies.

On-board Experience

With both traditional and anytime dining

options, guests have some of the best food

available at sea regardless of the time of

day. The latest creations added to the menu

are dishes crafted by celebrity chef Curtis

Stone, featured nightly in the Main Dining

Room. Anytime dining options include a

pizzeria, grill, café and a wide variety of

room service options for breakfast, lunch,

dinner or snack-time. A number of premium

restaurants are also available to guests,

as are anytime gelato and seafood outposts

for an extra charge. On a 14-day

journey, Princess holds two formal evenings

where guests are required to wear jackets

in the dining room. Business casual attire is

preferred, but not required, the rest of the

evenings. Like all cruises, Princess also

offers an enormous buffet for breakfast,

lunch and dinner.

For some, the time at sea is the highlight of

their cruise and Princess ensures to provide

a myriad of entertainment, leisure and

active options to meet every need. Multiple

pools and decks allow guests to lounge,

while a full sports court and gym provides

those looking to break a sweat with endless

possibilities. Newer ships also feature a

continuous running track. While excited

children are a happy sight on every cruise,

for an extra charge, guests can access the

exclusive Sanctuary, an adult-only

45

escape from the rambunctious fun

and noise. If you’re looking to truly

pamper yourself or simply get away from

your cruise-mate, consider one or a fullday

of treatments at the Lotus Spa.

Selections vary per ship.

Once the sun sets, nightly comedy, variety

and musical shows bring your evenings to

life, while multiple bars – including

Crooners, which features a live pianist –

help to cap off the night. If a full day on

shore has you looking for a more relaxing

way to spend your night, grab two deck

chairs, hot chocolate, popcorn and blankets

for Movies Under the Stars.

Staterooms

With such a breathtaking journey awaiting

you in South America, splurging for a balcony

stateroom will take your cruise experience

to the next level. Providing guests with

everything in a standard stateroom, the

added balcony and outdoor furniture will

allow you to take in the jagged landscape

from the privacy of your cabin. For guests

looking for a more affordable option, the

interior cabins are well appointed and provide

the same amenities, minus the view.

Weather

With such a dynamic itinerary, you must be

prepared for all weather conditions. For

those living in North America, the seasons

are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere,

so the ideal time to cruise is from

December to March. While it will be summer

throughout your cruise and you will

feel the heat at the beginning and end,

some ports-of-call will feel like mid-autumn

with temperatures hovering around 10

degrees (50 F). Most notably the weather in

Stanley is typically British: cold and rainy,

prepare accordingly.

www.princess.com

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Replay

Spring 2013

Egypt

Cruising Through the Land of the Pharaohs

by Habeeb Salloum

The River Nile has been the lifeblood of

Egypt, flowing majestically through it's

desert landscape and sustaining the

people for a couple of millenia. Having the

opportunity to glide down the waterway is an

unforgettable experience, as it gives a sense of

power and connection to the country's main

source of basic needs. Surrounded by thick flora

and miles of desert beyond, the environment is

a unique look into ancient past and a thriving

culture today.

Luxor and the scenic Nile

For two days we had toured the ancient Egyptian

ruins at Luxor - both in the 'City of the Living' and

the 'City of the Dead'. Amid the fascinating

remains of a people who had laid the basis for

future civilizations, I admired the pharaonic contributions

to humankind. These breathtaking

monuments were still on our minds as we

relaxed atop our cruise ship, Oberoi Shehrayar,

on our way to Aswan.

All around me, the white sails of the Egyptian

feluccas, dotting the tranquil Nile, appeared to

be huge proud swans as they criss-crossed the

river, seemingly bidding us adieu. Beyond were

dozens of cruise ships docked or, like us, beginning

on their journey to Aswan.

Wandering on the top deck of the Shehrayar,

our home for the next four days, I watched the

late afternoon sun shimmer on the surface of

the blue waters as we made our way up river.

Keeping us company were a few of the 200

cruise ships which navigate the Nile. However,

soon cruise ships and feluccas were forgotten as

we watched the colours of the sunset turn the

Nile into a panorama of hues. By the time it was

dark, we had passed through a lock in a dam

across the Nile and were anchored in Esna,

about 64 kilometres south of Luxor.

Esna and its Khnun Temple

Meals on the ship were delightful and enjoyed

even more with new companions at the table.

Like many cruises along the Nile and all over

the world, communal dining allows passengers

to indulge in forming new travel relationships

while bonding over exotic culinary experiences.

The next morning, guides led the groups of

tourists from at least a half dozen ships, streaming

down the dusty streets of Esna, crowded with

merchants trying to entice us with their wares.

The visitors making their way to the Esna Temple

seemed to saturate this agricultural town.

The Temple's grandeur

Dedicated to Khnun, the ram-headed god who

modelled people on his potter's wheel, the

Temple is a Ptolemaic building with pharaonic,

Greek, Roman and Coptic elements. It took 400

years to build, but its major section was erected

in the 2nd century B.C.

At one time, the Temple, completely covered

with inscriptions, was almost totally concealed

with debris and sand. This kept the hypostyle

hall with its forest of 24 columns, each a dozen

metres high, topped by capitals of flowers and

plants in almost perfect condition.

Although fascinating, I was glad when we were

again on our ship sailing through the upper Nile

- edged by lush ribbons of vegetation between

bare desert hills. In places, the green strips on

both sides of the Nile were so thin that one

could hardly believe that over 82 million

Egyptians could make their living along its

banks.

Cruising the Nile

As our cruise ship sailed up the broad loops of

the Nile, winding its way through the desert, we

passed village after village whose homes were

built from mud-brick. All around them, the

intense green of the palms and sugar fields

made for a serene countryside. The romantic

Nile and its edging emerald fields continued

until we reached Edfu, north of Aswan.

Visiting Edfu

This idyllic aura of the villages changed for me

the next day as we rode a horse-drawn carriage

through the dusty streets of Edfu. It was hot and

a little rough around the edges, but it was interesting

seeing these small communities up close.

From the carriage, we walked with thousands of

other tourists to the best preserved of Egypt's

many temples which were built to honour some

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


750 gods. The sand that for centuries had covered

the temple and was responsible for its

preservation was removed in 1860, by Auguste

Mariette, the great pioneer archaeologist who

was the founder of the Egyptian Museum of

Antiquities.

Exploring Horus Temple

A huge temple only exceeded in size by Karnak

Temple in Luxor, it is built in pure Ptolemaic style

and dedicated to the falcon-headed god, Horus,

the most famous deity in Upper Egypt. Built

between 237 and 57 B.C., it is covered with

mythological and religious decorations as well

as hieroglyphic texts.

The facade of the Temple rises up in all its

majesty with two splendid pylons. Inside, I

stopped awhile in the courtyard lined on three

sides with impressive columns - their capitals

each different from the other. Moving further

within, we passed through hypostyle halls and

offering chambers, a few retaining some of their

original colours. At the inner sacrarium which

once housed the image of the god, Horus, I took

a break to rest. The throngs of tourists covering

every inch of space seemed to bring the massive

temple back to life - almost to the time it reverberated

with the prayers of priests.

Cruising through New Nubia

Back on the ship, I sunned myself around a

swimming pool as the vessel purred forward in

the middle of a thin line of green. Soon I were

passing through 'New Nubia' where 100 thousand

Nubians were re-settled after the building

of the 'High Dam' near Aswan. Being hard workers,

they turned the desert into a sea of sugar

cane, dotted with fruit and vegetable fields.

Amid this greenery, they built their villages, carrying

the names of those they had abandoned

to the Dam's rising waters.

At the afternoon tea, the discussion of our group

turned to the morals and dignity of the

Egyptians. Some mentioned how the Egyptians

were honest and how safe it was to live in the

country in spite of some of the unwarranted stigmas.

Kom Ombo and its Ptolemaic Temple

That evening we docked beside the Ptolemaic

Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to Sobek, the

crocodile god of fertility, and Haroeris, the

Good Doctor.

Next morning, we toured this temple of the two

gods with twin entrances, built a few centuries

before the Romans occupied Egypt. The temple

also served as a hospital - a whole series of

medical instruments are sculptured in reliefs on

the temple walls. In the Chapel of Hathor, guests

can see three worshipped crocodiles that have

been mummified.

From Kom Ombo, the green strips of land along

the river banks gradually narrowed until the

barren hills reached the waterside. As we

watched the greenery fade away, my thoughts

turned to the works of the pharaohs and how

they were drawing the tourists in the millions. Of

course, giving them a hand in revitalizing the

once rich lands of ancient Egypt, are the mighty

Nile and the relaxing cruise ships.

Aswan and its spectacular setting

At noon we were docked in Aswan, roughly 900

kilometres south of Cairo. Here where the Nile

is at the epitome of its charm we planned to

relax for a few days. Walking above its banks of

the river we were enchanted.

Atop a high point the river scene was truly magnificent.

The river flowed through an amber

desert between granite rocks and shimmering

green volcanic islands, covered with palm

groves and tropical plants. Embellishing this

panorama of colour were the felucca ships with

their tall masts and white sails covering the skyline.

It is a breathtaking vista.

Later, we enjoyed the river's view from the terrace

of the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, a

charming, renovated relic of British colonialism,

where Agatha Christie wrote ‘Death on the

Nile’. Sipping our tea, we admired the feluccas

gliding on the water around the foliage-clad

rocky islets. It was a captivating scene, aweinspiring

in its beauty set in the aura of a sunset.

Touring Aswan

The pharaonic and other monuments in Aswan

are many but during our two day visit we only

had time to visit a few. From among these were:

the unfinished Obelisk - a monument left by the

ancients; the reconstructed Philae Temple; and

the High Dam - a structure of which the

pharaohs would have been proud.

In between our visits to the monuments, we

explored the souks, full of oriental colour, then

strolled the Corniche along the Nile. The edging

mighty river was very appealing.

Enjoying Aswan

Aswan, like many destinations in Egypt, has

much to offer. It has been a favourite winter

resort since the beginning of the 19th century.

For Europeans and North Americans, it is a perfect

place to get away from it all, especially during

the colder months back home. Spending

time immersing myself in its scenic views and its

monuments was a delightful climax to the cruise

through Upper Egypt, land of the pharaohs.

https://egypt.travel/

47

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


48

Luxury Hotels...Grand Resorts...Charming B&B...Opulent Villas...Quaint C

Sweet Dreams Around the World

Stay & Play Section

Revenge is Sweet at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

by Jennifer Merrick

“Revenge travel is a phenomenon we’ve been seeing more of recently,”

said Mimi AuYeung, spokesperson for the Ritz-Carlton.

Defined as the urge to compensate for lost travel time, preferably with

bucket list trips and luxury experiences, it’s easy to understand why revenge travellers

would choose this hotel.

Located in the heart of downtown, the modern 53-story building has

263 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the CN Tower, Lake

Ontario and the glitzy cityscape. The décor of the newly renovated guestrooms

was inspired by these surroundings, reflecting both the bygone era of luxury railway

travel and the theatrical Hollywood entertainment. Both worlds have roots in

the neighbourhood and design elements like window chaise lounges, photographs

of Toronto International Film Festivals and a wet bar designed as a 19thcentury

travel trunk pay homage to them.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Ritz if it didn’t have the ultimate in modcons

and comforts like a dreamy bed with 400 thread count linen and a secondto-none

bathroom, which featured sleek Portuguese marble, a deep soaker tub

and a touchless Japanese-styled toilet.

Though there was no need to step foot out of this oasis of a room, I

decided that I too wanted to make up for missed travels and take reprisals by travelling

the world in luxury without leaving the Ritz.

First, I escaped to Hawaii with a Lomi Lomi massage at the Spa My Blend

by Clarins, a 23,000 square-foot sanctuary with 16 treatment rooms, pool, steam

room, sauna and relaxation lounges.

“The movements mimic the ocean,” explained practitioner Raphael.

“The gentle waves, the breeze and the sensation of walking barefoot.”

With a soundtrack of the ocean playing in the background, the nutty

scent of the oil and the relaxing rhythm of this Polynesian technique, I was transported

to a palm-treed, white-sand Maui beach.

Admittedly, Hawaii was hard to leave but made easier by the next countries

on the itinerary –England and Italy at the Ritz-Carlton restaurants. Menu

offerings at the newly opened EPOCH Bar and Terrace are inspired by the British

gastro-bar scene.

For the finale of my retaliation mission, I traversed the continent to Italy

at the award-winning TOCA Restaurant. Savouring the 32-hour slow-roasted

porchetta with a glass of vino, the aromas of rosemary, fennel and parmesan fill

the air, and suddenly I was in the midst of the Italian countryside.

Revenge has never been so sweet.

Steve Herud

The Arlo Hotel Nomad

Embraces Manhattan's Chaos

by Olivia Liveng

The Arlo Hotel Nomad not only welcomes

guests to an extraordinarily located space

amid midtown Manhattan’s chaos, but it

embraces the energy of the city.

Located North of Madison Square Park and

just a short walk from the Empire State

Building, this property is consistently rated

the number 1 best hotel for value out of the

900 plus accommodations in New York

City.

This may be attributed to its unique design,

with several rooms boasting wrap-around

floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the buzz of

the city below. Though not overly large, the

250 rooms of the hotel are thoughtfully

designed and efficient with accommodating

space. Plus, the iconic location is ideal

for exploring the copious restaurants,

Broadway shows, bars, and enjoyable

chaos so unique to midtown Manhattan.

www.arlohotels.com

www.ritzcarlton.com

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49

The Harmonious Blacksmith Inn on the Shore

Admirers of George Frederick

Handel’s The Harmonious

Blacksmith will no doubt appreciate

the old world charm of Blacksmith Inn on

the Shore, in quiet Baileys Harbour, Door

County, Wisconsin; population of 1,000

residents thereabouts.

This historic inn (circa 1907) was once the

local blacksmith shop. The barn where the

bikes are stored was the original blacksmith

shop. Guests can choose from 15 spacious

and cozy guest rooms between the historic

Zahn House, boasting wide plank old

growth pine floors and exposed beams, and

the delightful replica Harbor House, which

is where I stayed.

With clapboard siding and generous windows

to let in the fresh air, you’ll feel transported

to simpler pioneer times, albeit with

the creature comforts of home.

I was instantly won over by the lush flower

garden, with blooms of hollyhocks and

roses lining the walkway to the entrance,

and the intimacy and antique decor of the

foyer. This is where treats are available

24/7; popcorn, organic juices and homemade

cherry oatmeal cookies, and a take-

by Cherie DeLory

away breakfast awaits each morning; fresh

fruit, yogurt, blueberry muffins, oatmeal,

boiled eggs and toast. It didn’t take long to

test drive the hammock on my room’s balcony,

which overlooks the greenery and

bullrushes with the lake and dock beyond. I

fell asleep to the sound of water lapping on

the shore and the soft hue of the electric

fireplace casting its glow across the room.

I’d awake to glorious morning sunrises and

the cheery calls of Red Winged Blackbirds.

Door County is a Swedish settlement, hence

nods to Norwegian culture abound. It’s no

wonder the Scandinavian concept of

hygge seems to be the natural order of

things here. With a population of around

27,000, Door County is known for abundant

shoreline, beaches and historic lighthouses

that guard the peninsula off of Lake

Michigan and Green Bay. Its five state parks

offering everything from kayaking, hiking,

camping and birdwatching make It a beacon

for nature and outdoor enthusiasts year

round. Its string of village main streets lined

with artisan shops, craft breweries, wineries,

and bakeries serving up treats like the local

specialty, cherry pie, make it easy to feel like

this is a home away from home.

The quaint village of Baileys Harbor has a

lot to offer, and the best part is that everything

is within walking distance of the Inn.

Paddle boats and kayaks are at the dock,

bikes are in the barn, and binoculars and a

birding guide beckons on the end table in

your room. Door Shakespeare produces

outdoor theatre at Bjorklunden Park, near

Baileys Harbor, and next door to the Inn is

The Ridges Sanctuary, a diverse nature preserve,

covering 1,600 acres in and around

the shoreline, with vast trails, wetlands,

boreal forest, wildlife and wildflowers to

explore. Don’t leave out a visit to the

Nature Center and Baileys Harbor Range

Lights, a pair of lighthouses situated at

opposite ends of the boardwalk. Or, simply

enjoy the view of the harbour and its glorious

sunrises and sunsets from the Inn’s

dock, comfortably nestled in the perch of

your Adirondack chair.

www.theblacksmithinn.com

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Advertorial

Accommodations

Puntacana Resort & Club is the

Caribbean’s leading resort community on

the eastern shore of the Dominican

Republic. Tortuga Bay is member of the

Leading Hotels of the World and the only

AAA Five Diamond awarded hotel in the

Dominican Republic, offering understated

elegance, privacy and unparalleled personal

service. Located at Playa Blanca is

The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club,

guest enjoys all of Westin’s signature

amenities and Don Queco Cigar Bar. Our

Four Points by Sheraton is situated at

Puntacana Village, few minutes away from

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ).

The Estates

Become a part of our magnificent paradise

community with the purchase of a

vacation home in the elite The Estates at

Puntacana Resort & Club, where Julio

Iglesias, Mikhail Baryshnikov call home.

An exclusive lifestyle of relaxation, excitement

and understated elegance, prospective

buyers can choose among elegant

homes perched above the Caribbean Sea

or overlooking scrupulously manicured

golf courses in Corales, Tortuga, Arrecife,

Hacienda, Hacienda del Mar and Marina.

Home and apartments are also available

at Puntacana Village.

Golf

With 45 holes of championship golf,

Puntacana Resort & Club is the

Caribbean’s premier golf & beach destination.

The P.B. Dye designed La Cana

Golf Course, consisting of 27 holes across

Tortuga, Arrecife and Hacienda, was

declared the number one course in the

Caribbean by Golf Magazine. Designed

by Tom Fazio and set between rocky cliffs,

coral reefs and the expansive Caribbean

Sea, the Corales Golf Course features six

oceanfront holes, multiple lines of

approach and picturesque canyons, making

for an exhilarating experience.

Activities & Spa

Puntacana Resort & Club offers a wide

range of adventures for guests of all ages

including golf, tennis, kite boarding, scuba

diving, horseback riding, fishing and

numerous excursions by sea, land and air.

The leading spa in the Caribbean, Six

Senses Spa at Puntacana Resort & Club

presents a range of innovative packages,

Signature treatments and Asian therapies.

Visit Galerías Puntacana to enjoy an

assortment of shops, restaurants, playground,

and our spirited nightlife.

Dining

Puntacana Resort & Club is home to 6

world class eateries with an indigenously

delectable cuisine. Tucked inside Tortuga

Bay, the AAA Four Diamond awarded

Bamboo blends modern cuisine with

Mediterranean influences. Specializing in

local seafood, The AAA Three Diamond

Award La Yola is located at the Marina. At

La Cana Golf & Beach Club is The Grill,

an American style grill offering views of

the sea. The Westin Puntacana Resort &

Club provides a variety or restaurants and

bars from Ananí to Brassa Grill. Next door

is Playa Blanca, a beachfront tropical

restaurant. Our Dine Around Program

offers the best sampling of our finest culinary

experience. All restaurants offer complimentary

shuttle service within the resort.

More dining options are available at

Puntacana Village.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We believe that in development there

needs to be equilibrium among the economic,

environmental and social components.

Our non-profit Grupo Puntacana

Foundation serves both natural and social

resources, while contributing to the sustainable

development of our Dominican

Republic. These practices have been guiding

principles of our company, and along

with vision, hard work and perseverance,

the key to our success.

Punta Cana International airport

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ),

built, owned and operated by Grupo

Puntacana, the resort’s developers, and

located within Puntacana Resort & Club, is

just minutes away from check-in at any of

our hotels or private homes. Punta Cana

International Airport (PUJ) has direct service

from 98 different cities around the

world, making Punta Cana the most

accessible destination in the Caribbean.

Our VIP terminals service the needs of

guests flying in private aircrafts.

The Caribbean’s Premiere Golf

& Beach Resort Community

www.puntacana.com


Land in the Lap of Luxury This Winter at These 10 Blissful Bahamian Resorts

TThe winter vacation is a time-honoured

tradition for Canadians — a

sorely-needed and fondly-recalled

escape from the snow, sleet and incessant

goose honking that characterize our cold

season. Sometimes, these trips transcend the

simple designation of “vacation” and

become a full-fledged “escape” or “getaway”:

the life-changing experiences and

voyages that reconnect us with family and

friends and ignite that sense of total relaxation

that washes our deeply rooted stress

away.

Those in search of just such an experience

when they fly south this winter will find it in

The Bahamas, an expansive tropical wonderland

of 16 major islands and countless

white sand beaches gently lapped by the

Caribbean’s crystal blue waves. Beyond the

breathtaking environs, extensive offerings of

aquatic excursions and mouth-watering cuisine,

The Bahamas has built a reputation for

some of the finest accommodations in the

world.

From seaside cottages to five-star boutique

bliss, The Bahamas has the perfect place for

you to forget all about the snow piling up in

your driveway back home. As you plan for

the Bahamian getaway you’ve been craving,

we’ve put together this list of some of the

best places to stay in The Bahamas to fuel

your daydreams and inspire your itinerary.

Kamalame Cay

Kamalame Cay is a beautiful barrier island

in the heart of The Bahamas, located one

mile from the world's third largest barrier

reef. Accessible only by private ferry, helicopter

or seaplane, this chic, luxurious and

exclusive property offers 27 seaside rooms

and cottages. Designed with Balinese architectural

influence, the peaked bungalows

and bougainvillea drapery of the Cay make

it the perfect oasis for your vacation bliss.

Also available on site are ‘home-away-fromhome’

beachfront villas. Offering from one

to four bedrooms, with wraparound veran-

dahs, indoor and outdoor living spaces, private

plunge pools and island style décor,

there’s no better place than Kamalame Cay

for family and friends to gather, relax and

spend unforgettable time together.

Caerula Mar Club

Caerula Mar Club

For those seeking boutique luxury, look no

further than the Caerula Mar Club. Featured

on HGTV’s Island of Bryan, Canadians are

well acquainted with the renovations and

design by husband-and-wife duo, Bryan &

Sarah Baeumler. Steps away from pillowy

soft sand and crystal-clear Bahamian waters,

this beachfront property, spread across 10

acres on the southern side of Andros Island,

has everything you need for an exclusive holiday

experience.

With a unique boutique collection of 18

suites and 4 villas, Caerula Mar focuses on

catering to the needs and desires of their

guests in an intimate setting. With a core

focus on ’”barefoot luxury”, sustainability,

tranquility and enjoying the island's natural

landscape, activities such as yoga, meditation,

snorkeling, beach combing, sailing,

fishing and diving are readily available for

guests to enjoy. A well-presented respite for

sophisticated nature lovers who appreciate

seclusion, swaying palm trees and

untouched green space; Caerula Mar awaits

you.

Albany Bahamas

Located on 600 sweeping acres of New

Providence beachfront, this luxury gated

community offers unparalleled amenities,

amazing architecture and an exceptional visitor

experience. With 24-hour hotel

concierge serviced villas, custom homes and

marina apartment residences available,

Albany Bahamas offers high specification

accommodations for all requirements and

needs. With their championship level golf

course, mega yacht marina and equestrian

centre, visitors can enjoy their favourite activities

throughout their stay in this beautiful

tropical destination. With something unique

to offer in all facets of guest care, Albany

presents a new standard of luxurious island

living for even the most discerning traveller.

Relaxed and welcoming yet still exclusive,

Albany is targeted at those who wish to relax,

unwind, and still enjoy the finer things in life.

Coral Sands (Harbour Island)

With beautifully contrasting pink sands and

turquoise blue waters, Coral Sands Resort is

situated amidst unforgettable natural

scenery. Offering low-key luxury, this wonderful

38-room property located in Harbour

Island is the perfect secluded sanctuary for

those guests looking for their dream relaxing

vacation. Having recently undergone multimillion-dollar

renovations, the new and

improved amenities and activities available

at Coral Sands include: a 55ft heated freshwater

infinity pool, private beach front cottages

and an upgraded lobby and bar which

are just waiting to be enjoyed. Small in size

but punching well above its weight in delivering

an unforgettable experience, Coral

Sands is an iconic property, known equally

for its intimacy, beauty and warm, laid-back

atmosphere.

Musha Cay (Exuma)

Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield

Bay together serve as one of the world's most

remote and secluded destinations. With envi-

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

Kamalame Cay

Albany Bahamas

Coral Sands


53

Musha Cay

Tiamo Resort

The Reef

rons ideal for a luxury retreat, Musha Cay is

a multi-generational destination offering fun

and exciting activities and adventures for the

whole family to enjoy. With only 5 guest

houses, each complete with their own private

beach, a vacation at Musha Cay is truly unrivalled

for those seeking idyllic isolation.

Highview, Pier House, Blue Point, Palm

Terrace and Beach House are each beautifully

and uniquely designed in charming island

style, with eclectic antiques featured throughout

the interiors. A mastermind of a project

presented by renowned illusionist David

Copperfield, Musha Cay is a dream within

reality. Comprising 700 luscious acres over

11 islands and 40 sugary sand beaches,

vacationing here is a bespoke experience

like no other.

Ocean Club

Ocean Club, a Four-Seasons Resort, is a

world-famous playground for the rich and

famous located on 5 miles of picturesque

white sand beaches and tranquil waters.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a red carpet

regular to enjoy the amenities here.

Wonderfully intimate and set along 35 acres

of Versailles-inspired gardens, this property

provides its honoured guests with the opportunity

to experience timeless luxury. The

glamorous martini lounge was featured in

Casino Royale, and the property’s immaculately

appointed villas exude sophistication

and style. Offering an impeccable ancient

Asian inspired spa, 3 pools, and a perfect

beach, there are endless ways at Ocean

Club for guests to revel in their peace and

tranquility.

Tiamo Resort (South Andros)

Encompassing 11 villas, 2 rooms and only

accessible by seaplane or boat, a stay at

Tiamo is an exclusive, eco-friendly experience

unique not only to The Bahamas, but

perhaps in the Caribbean at large.

Showcasing traditional Bahamian architecture,

these properties are each surrounded

by lush, vibrant green palm trees and have

direct access to white sand beaches. Guests

of the resort can enjoy intimate seclusion

when lounging on a stretch of The Bahamas’

best beaches. With access to the resort’s

extensive library, their Le Spa wellness centre

and gym and opportunities for guests to sail,

snorkel, fish or scuba dive, restorative bliss is

always just a few steps away on the white

sand at Tiamo.

Rosewood Baha Mar

Photo courtesy of Rosewood Baha Mar Hotel

A part of the famously luxurious Rosewood

Hotel group, this exclusive property is set on

a 3,000ft stretch of impeccable white sand

beach in Nassau. Embodying timeless charm

and modern Bahamian architecture, The

Rosewood Baha Mar was inspired by the

relaxing pace of island life and perfectly

embodies sophistication and refinement.

Aiming to serve every guest with a warm welcome

and surpassing service, the hotel provides

full access to all their available amenities,

from 24 hour in-room dining to their

interactive wildlife sanctuary. Sophisticated

and peaceful, while still having so much to

offer, the Rosewood Baha Mar is the perfect

property for those wishing to enjoy the

Bahamian Riviera.

The Reef

The perfect place to unwind with all of the

family, The Reef at Atlantis combines the

experience of a luxury Caribbean vacation

with all of your favourite amenities at home.

With a combination of penthouses, suites

and studios available, guests can also

choose to enjoy their own private pool and

beach strips. Situated on Paradise Island next

to a sweeping golf course, the leisure and

activities list is expansive. Home to a vast

marine habitat, the world's largest outdoor

aquarium and an aquaventure park, parents

and little ones alike will be spoilt for choice

with all that is on offer at The Reef. A notable

feature of this property is the 14-acre

Dolphin Cay where guests can make lifelong

memories swimming with the dolphins, playing

with sea lions and snorkelling with manta

rays. For those seeking the intimacy of a residential

community whilst still wanting fine

dining and a top-of-the-line visitor experience,

The Reef at Atlantis deserves a starring

role on your itinerary.

The Cove (Paradise Island)

For those in search of class and refinement

but with more of a buzzing atmosphere, The

Cove Paradise Island is your ideal vacation

hotspot. A large beachfront property, this

resort has a vibrancy from day to night that

excitement seekers will appreciate. Built with

the exuberance of the property’s natural surroundings

in mind, the carefully managed

balance between the beauty of nature and

the exquisite taste of luxury makes this spot

the perfect place to have it all. With two private

beaches, an adults-only pool, a nightclub,

casino and so much more, having a

good time is just the beginning of all that

awaits you at The Cove Paradise Island.

Ocean Club

Rosewood Baha Mar

The Cove

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


56

Hotel Review: Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences

by Olivia Balsinger

My recent stay at Vista Encantada

Spa Resort & Residences, the

meticulous newly-opened resort in

Cabos San Lucas, entirely regenerated my

spirit. After all, it would be difficult to not feel

at peace at this exclusive and tranquil property,

the ultimate retreat from the Cabos chaos

energy nearby.

Nothing is more soul-soothing than a backstroke

in one of the resort’s rooftop infinity

pools, under the canvas of the sprawling

Mexican sky, the surrounding Pacific Ocean’s

breeze cooling the harsh air, the unobstructed

views of the famed Land’s End rock formation

in the distance.

The elegance in Vista Encantada’s interior is a

seamless melange between traditional

Mexican color palettes and smooth contemporary

finishes. An all-suite property, the

“smallest” living arrangement is a one-bedroom

suite, which features a master bedroom

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

with a King bed and a living area with a full

kitchen, sitting and dining area, and an

accompanying lounge area.

The Milagro Spa is the optimal sanctuary to

indulge in unique treatments and remedies

carefully curated with Mexican wisdom of

herbs and plants to help heal and rejuvenate

the body. I indulged in the Pacific Mare

Signature Ritual, which delicately combines

warmth from an ancient Ayurvedic warm oil

and a cooling sensation to dually relax and

ease muscle tension (which, after countless

laps in the infinity pool, I certainly needed!)

The spa also boasts a variety of couple’s treatments,

including a lighted candle drip massage

and a romantic aromatherapy experience,

including champagne and strawberries,

of course.

The gastronomic delights of Vista Encantada

make it worth a visit on its own. A stay is

incomplete without digesting the panoramic

views and signature dishes at Mestizo del Mar.

Wannabe mermaids like myself will adore the

swim-up bar and grill at Atico Rooftop Pool

and Bar, while those who prefer a little spice

in their bite will flock to Los Riscos Mesquite

Grill and Bar for authentic Mexican dishes

and zesty margaritas. To promote nearby

local businesses, the hotel also has a unique

Golden Zone program which invites guests to

use their meal plans at local restaurants,

including a local steakhouse and sushi restaurant.

No guilt trips needed after indulging in all

these tasting offerings, however, because

there are plenty of complimentary fitness

activities to enjoy. Take advantage of perhaps

the prettiest gym you’ll witness, located on the

property’s roof, with views of the sparkling

sea below. A horseback riding program

allows guests to experience the stark and

drastic desert-like surroundings of the resorts,

trotting through trails sprinkled with cacti.

Whether pursuing an active holiday or hoping

to escape from the chaos of everyday life, the

distinguished hospitality, creative gastronomic

experiences, world-class amenities, and

amorous spa make Vista Encantada Spa

Resort & Residences the obvious choice on

your next Los Cabos getaway.

www.vistaencantadaresort.com


57

Photo: Oak Island Resort

Strike Gold at the Oak Island Resort

Article and photography by Jennifer Merrick

electronic failures and unexplained phenomena

have occurred; Smiths Cove, where

the 14th century Knights of the Templar iron

cross was unearthed and the Money Pit.

The Holy Grail? Pirate loot?

Shakespeare’s manuscripts? Could

any of these treasures be buried on

Oak Island, a 140-acre isle located in

Mahone Bay on the south shore of Nova

Scotia? Many believe just that and since the

late 18th century, treasure hunters have

poured massive amounts of money, time

and resources in the quest to discover what

secrets and riches it guards

The latest treasure hunters to stake their

claim are Rick and Marty Lagina, two brothers

from Michigan whose escapades are

being filmed by the History Channel in the

reality series, The Curse of Oak Island. It’s

the highest rated show on the channel with

4.1 million viewers.

The brothers’ finds were fascinating, challenging

the historic timeline of European

contact in North America. Not only were the

storylines riveting but so was the place itself.

Each time I saw the aerial view of the forested

island and the Atlantic coast, I vowed I

would visit. So this summer our family drove

1800 kms to Nova Scotia to see it for ourselves.

We stayed at the Oak Island Resort &

Conference Centre, and though it wasn’t on

the famous island that bears its name, the

property was directly across from it. It was a

gem of a resort with 32 acres of green

spaces and ocean shoreline to enjoy. The

102 rooms were newly renovated with a

nautical-themed décor fitting for its location

and accommodation choices ranged from

classic guest rooms to private oceanside

chalets and villas. Amenities and activities

included indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub,

tennis court, equipment rentals (including

SUP, kayaks and bikes) firepits, restaurant,

bar (with nightly entertainment) and tours.

We were especially thrilled to partake in the

Salty Dog Tour given by Tony Sampson, a

professional diver and regular on the show.

A natural storyteller, he regaled us with tales

of pirates, sharks, mysteries and, of course,

Oak Island, while we motored around the

island in his comfy Tritoon boat. We stopped

at the ‘Oak Island Triangle’, where countless

Would this be the season the Lagina brothers

find the treasure? I wished them all the

best, but as far as I was concerned, the Holy

Grail was all around us. In the past two

days, we had sat on the rocks of the Atlantic

Ocean at Peggy’s Cove, admired the majestic

Bluenose II at full mast in the colourful

village of Lunenburg, kayaked in the calm

protected waters at Blue Rocks and dropped

our jaws more than a few times at the views

we encountered on our drives through the

region. Other visitors have felt the same

according to Tony.

“With the popularity of the show, we’ve had

a lot of tourists come to see Oak Island, and

they fall in love with Nova Scotia”.

www.oakislandresort.ca

https://www.novascotia.com/

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


Replay

Fall 2019

Banyan Tree Bangkok

by Michael Morcos

Anantara Layan Phuket Resort

by Michael Morcos

Awarm smile greeted me and handed me my room key, having

just arrived after two long flights, the room number did

not make sense at first. I asked “52?” As in the 52nd floor,

is that the top floor?’ I laughed to myself. ‘No, there are a few

more. To memory, this is a high as I have ever stayed and the first

thing I did after entering the room was pull open the curtains and

bam! I was higher than the birds. The site was incredible; Bangkok

was wonderfully lit up for miles around, as far as the eye could

see.

It was only then that I realized, I

had a magnificent, beautifully

decorated suite. Looking closer,

I had an all-marble luxury

washroom, a large sitting area

by the window, a business desk,

a large mini-bar section and a

fine furnished bed and night

table.

In my fatigue, I just knew this two-week trip would be an amazing

experience, surely a great start!

The Banyan Tree Bangkok, as all the hotels I would visit on this tour

would prove to be destinations on their own. Served on the lobby

level in a tropical garden setting, the morning breakfast buffet was

as opulent as one can find. The whole experience was so amazing

and well done that it is hard to believe you were in a mega-city.

Enjoying handmade sushi, steamed dumplings, and freshly

squeezed tropical juices was divine and not something I was used

to but an excellent way to start the day.

The opulence continued in the Saffron Sky Garden where we had

drinks and ordered a selection of appetizers. We thought the food

was delicious and the best part of being in the outdoor roof terrace

area is that you can enjoy the

magnificent. Likewise, both the

Vertigo and Moon bar restaurant

were lively and had a great

vibe.

www.banyantree.com

If you ever have a need to run away and hide, this would be

the place to go! The Anantara Layan resort, located in the

earth-bound paradise of Phuket, is just the place to rejuvenate

and recharge the mind, body and soul. That was exactly what I

did at the spa, swimming pool, beach, gym and my decadent

gated private-pool-villa.

Here is a summary of a perfect day in the sun at Anantara!

Wake up and take a dip in

your very own private plunge

pool, head for a healthy buffet

breakfast, sit on the beach,

go to the gym, have a wonderful

tasty lite lunch, get a

soothing message, have a

drink (or two), read in your

manicured lawn and garden

villa, go for a ride to the village

to meet locals and then repeat the following day!

We did experience a few of the unique offerings at this magnificent

retreat. We spent one afternoon taking Thai cooking class

with the resident expert. We also had a fantastic two hour message

tailored to our needs by an experienced professional

masseuse Talk about a special day!

Needless to say the Anantara

Layan Phuket Resort is one

incredible place, one of the

best beach resorts (maybe the

best) I have ever stayed at

and perfect in so many ways.

The staff was genuinely

happy to serve you. The

resort’s location, on a secluded

part of the island with its

richly decorated garden fountains and private beach offered a

feeling of peace and harmony, while the beautiful villa was perfectly

relaxing.

www.anantara.com/en/layan-phuket

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


59

137 Pillars House Chiang Mai

by Michael Morcos

137 Pillars Residences & Suites Bangkok

by Michael Morcos

Mystery solved! Over drinks, I would have finally figured

out what was puzzling me since I first knew I would be

staying at this resort. The hotel manager made it clear the

oldest standing building on the grounds (the one we were in) had

137 Pillars and thus the name of this ever-charming hotel.

This property was built centered around the historic teak house of

the British Borneo Company constructed in the late 19th century. It

has a claim to fame as well, as it served as a residence for the son

of Anna Leonowens, of The King And I fame! At the time, the

builders created a property with a great attention to detail and it

has been wonderfully restored,

including the two restaurants and

a bar, as well as a wonderful

collection of historic photographs.

The first thoughts after arriving at

the 137 Pillars was of tranquility

but that changed to sadness and

disbelieve when I entered my

room as I thought to myself, ‘I only have two nights here, such a

tragedy!’ With so much to do in Chiang Mai and so little time I was

to adore every waking moment in this handsome place.

My room was not short on anything, and in reality, it had it all in

abundance, including richly decorated bedrooms, a large changing

area and bathroom and the best of all would be found on opposite

ends of the room.

To the front was a large wooden balcony with a comfortable seating

area, a large (tropic size) overhead fan and a magnificent view of

the grounds and manicured

flower garden. I could sit there

for hours with a book. To the

back was another balcony

with an outdoor private shower,

which was so wonderful

that it made me wonder if

anybody actually needed the

one inside.

www.137pillarschiangmai.com

On our last day in Thailand, we would stay at the 137

Pillars sister property to the one in Chiang Mai and when

landing at the airport, I had a plan. Check in, change

clothing and head out to see some sights and do some last

minute shopping. My initiative was shattered. Right after checking

in, my personal concierge brought me up to the private all suites

floor. Leading me into my room, all bets were off. I was not going

anywhere today. This suite was downright gorgeous!

Smiling from ear to ear, I was shown the rooms and all its many

amenities including a smart phone that with a push of a bottom

would have the services of

just about anything I needed

from the concierge and staff.

I twirled around the many

different rooms trying to figure

out what to do next, so

much to love here. With an

amazing well-decorated living

room, comfortable bedroom, well-appointed bathroom that

included a party size bathtub and to me, the best of all was the

large balcony with breathtaking views of Bangkok.

Outside my room was yet another world to discover including the

best roof top infinity pool I have ever swam in that gives a dazzling

panoramic view of the city from three sides.

Set in the heart of one of the most fashionable areas of the city

and is next to the massive, fun-filled EM-District shopping area.

The best part is the night-time view from the pool and our balcony.

Truly mesmerizing.

To conclude, the 137 Pillars

Residences & Suites Bangkok is

dangerous to Bangkok travelers.

It seduces you and holds

you captive. So much so you

might not see much of this

dynamic city, worse yet you

might stay to long and miss

your flight home.

www.137pillarsbangkok.com

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


60

Bali’s Five Hidden Beaches

by Gregory Caltabanis

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


Bali is filled with remote beaches

and paradises alike that all offer

something unique in their own

right. Southern Bali is particularly blessed

with these wonders, however, due to their

exclusive nature they can become hard to

find without intimate knowledge of the

island. Here are five of these hidden wonders.

Balangan Beach

Balangan beach is one of many surfer

delights near Uluwatu and is only a kilometre

away from Finns Beach Club.

Located west from Garuda Wisnu Kencan

Natural Park, this beach is among the few

in southern Bali that boasts golden sand

and clear water. Balangan is a rustic natural

beach with many limestone cliffs and a

long reef, to boot. Take note of the tide

schedule before heading there as it

becomes difficult to swim during high tide

while during low tide the water is extremely

shallow. In any case, swimmers must be

wary of the rocks as they are slippery.

Due to its hidden nature, Balangan doesn’t

see too much action making it a perfect

spot for couples to get away. Visitors

can also take in the immense view from

atop the cliff, a spot which offers unique

photo opportunities.

Suluban Beach

Suluban beach, also known as Blue Point,

is an ideal spot to spend a day exploring

with family and friends. To get to the

beach itself, visitors must navigate their

way through limestone caves. The caves

alone make the drive to Pecatu worthwhile,

however, the steps to go down are

rather steep so be careful. After exiting the

caves, you have two options. Turn right

and keep navigating your way through

caves and log ramps or turn right and

relax under the cliff on one of Bali’s most

exclusive beaches. While the water isn’t

that clear, taking in the sunset at Suluban

is a must. Suluban, like Balangan, mostly

gets surf lovers and not much else, making

it a truly intimate spot. Affordable

drink and food options are available on

sight.

Padang Padang

Padang Padang, the beach made famous

by Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, is another

must visit in southern Bali. However,

over the years, Padang Padang has

gained more notoriety and has even

begun hosting international surf events

making it the most crowded of the five

options. Located on the north western

coast of Bukit Peninsula near Bingin, this

beach is a common favourite for people

staying in Uluwatu. Its hundred meter

stretch of white sands and clear blue

waters make it all the more desirable for

prospective visitors. Padang Padang is also

one of the few beaches in Uluwatu which

has a temple overlooking it, offering the

possibility to take in exotic views. There

are also shops, Western-style restaurants

and surf lodges around for those in need

of a momentary respite from the water.

Single Fin Beach

Single Fin beach is yet another one of

Bali’s hidden spots and is located on the

cliffs of Uluwatu below Blue Point hotel.

This beach is arguably the easiest to find

out of these remote paradises due to the

fact that Made Kasim, Bali’s first professional

surfer, paired with Tai Graham to

create Single Fin Beach Club to go along

with it. Boasting the biggest balcony in the

archipelago, visitors can take in the view

of the surrounding spiritual homes and the

Indian Ocean, making it an ideal spot to

chill around sunset. The beach itself is relatively

calm while the beach club is an

ideal place to grab a drink and a bite to

eat. There is also a Single Fin surf shop,

cafe and bar.

Dreamland

Dreamland is the fifth and final hidden

beach in south Bali, located southwest of

Bulkit. Its limestone cliffs, white sand and

rugged coastline make for a wonderful

combination and an overall breathtaking

beach. Recently, they have also developed

a golf course and resort nearby as part of

the New Kuta project. While these exploits

have made the beach more accessible, it

still remains hidden. Dreamland’s reef

breaks are arguably the nicest on the

island and are well worth a few minutes of

your time to take in. Chairs and a parasol

on the deck will run you around 100,000

IDR or about $10. Negotiable, of course.

The beach’s food options are rather limited

but, there are many nearby spots that

offer fresh fruit juice. Outside of surfing,

the number one thing to do at Dreamland

is take in the sunset.

https://bali.com

61

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


62

Muscat Enwraps The Past With The Present

by Habeeb Salloum

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!


IIt seemed as we drove on a wide thoroughfare,

edged by well-tended shrubs

and trees, that we were travelling from

town to town rather than traversing the city of

Muscat, Oman’s capital. All along this boulevard

and its roundabouts, covered with flowers

and greenery, were eye-catching sculptures of

artefacts from Omani history and life. It was

truly an imperial avenue uniting a 40 km (25

mi) spread-out city - inviting in its historic and

modern attractions.

Greater Muscat, with a population of some

600,000, in reality consists of three large

towns: Muscat, Muttrah, Ruwi and their suburbs

- all divided from each other by low hills.

At the southern end is located the old town of

Muscat, a city with an illustrious past.

Overpowered by its scenic ancient forts and

beautiful mosques, it stands, as it has for centuries,

the crown jewel of the Sultanate of

Oman. Unlike almost all the other towns on

the eastern Arabian shores, it does not have

an artificial air, having been for centuries an

important trading centre and an imperial capital.

Poised on lofty crags, guarding the mouth of

its harbour are two recently renovated citadels.

They were built by the Portuguese during their

16th - 17th centuries’ occupation of parts of

Oman’s coast and expanded by the Omanis

after these European invaders were expelled.

Overlooking the walled city, in the midst of

which is located the flamboyant Sultan’s

Palace, stands on one side the Mirani Fort and

on the other the Jalali Fortress, housing a

museum which needs a special permit to visit.

One of the Sultan’s palace guards who was

talking to us as we surveyed the forts,

described them well when he remarked, “Are

they not majestic these fortresses? You know,

they are the symbol of our country.”

For us, it was exciting to explore and savour

the city by foot while we reminisced about its

history. After our tour of this immaculately

clean compact town with its impressive structures,

we stopped a while to photograph the

Sultan’s Palace, seemingly a vision from the

Arabian Nights, then left for Muttrah, 4 km

(2.4 mi) away.

Just before entering Muttrah, the Corniche

and its surroundings, said to be one of the

most beautiful spots in the Arabian Peninsula,

we were struck with a fairytale aura. On the

edge of Riyam Park, dominated by a gigantic

white incense-burner, we stopped awhile to

enjoy the view.

The burner-monument, a very impressive

replica of an artefact which, for centuries, has

been important in Omani life, soared above

the coastal highway - a road seemingly overwhelmed

by the huge colourful flower-urns

dividing the lanes. Like us, first-time travellers

always stop to admire the breathtaking natural

scenery - greatly enhanced by the hand of

man.

I was driving slowly savouring the panorama

when my daughter tapped me on the shoulder,

“Look at that fort! It looks like a storybook

fortress.” I turned my head. Towering above

us was the Portuguese Fort, dominating

Muttrah’s port, which bristled with cargo ships,

modern yachts and dhows (traditional Arab

sailing ships) - all overshadowed by a huge

passenger liner.

We parked our auto on the long sweeping

Corniche, and then walked the seaside

avenue, edged by plaques of fibreglass birds

representing Oman’s wild-life. At the end of

the Corniche, past a fish roundabout, we

stopped to explore the fish souk (market).

One side of the souk housed a fruit and vegetable

section and on the other side was a very

clean, well-stocked fresh fish market.

Crossing over to the other side of the

Corniche, past men playing the ancient

seashell game of hawalis, we walked back

under the shadows of the many architecturally

delightful old merchant houses, dating from

the 19th century. A good number were being

painted sparkling-white or a light beige tonethe

sole colours allowed for the outside of

buildings in Greater Muscat. The only exception

for the use of other colours is for decoration.

There is a governmental law that stipulates

that structures must not look rundown.

Hence, most of Muscat’s buildings always

appear to glow in the sunlight.

At the Bank of Oman, we turned right and

entered Muttrah’s souk - the most interesting

traditional market in the Arab Gulf States. Its

meandering alleyways, sprawling in all directions,

are filled with tiny shops, stocking everything

from stainless steel products to the handiwork

of the Bedouins. Above all, frankincense

and myrrh, traded in Oman since time

immemorial, were on sale everywhere. It was

as if we had walked back into history.

A cruise liner had stopped in Muscat for the

day and its passengers saturated the souk.

Bargaining was impossible. The passengers,

with a few hours to spare, would pay whatever

the merchants asked. My daughter noting

the wide grin on the face of a shopkeeper

whose shop was filled with these sea

travellers, remarked, “He should smile!

63

Look at the money he’s raking in from

these gullible buyers.” It was apparent that in

this venerable Arab trading port, as they have

for centuries, the merchants were still plying

their profitable trade.

From Muscat we drove on the main motorway

until we reached Ruwi - Greater Muscat’s

commercial heart. Here and there along the

thoroughfare, man-made specimens of

Oman’s wildlife like ibex, oryx, and tahr,

lurked- in the roadside vegetation, beautifying

the sides of the road. Soon, we were driving

on Ruwi Souk Street, where it is said ‘everything

sold in Oman can be found’. Here,

merchandise is sold at a lower price than what

we paid after bargaining in Muttrah’s souk.

Leaving Ruwi, we drove on to explore Qurum,

Madinat Qaboos and other newly built sections

of the city. It was a transformed world.

Where a quarter century ago there were no

paved roads, virtually no grass and shrubs or

even water and electrical systems, greenery

now covers the city landscape. Mile after mile

of lush turf, trees and bright flowers beautify

the city - already possessed with the natural

beauty of beaches, mountains and sea.

Thanks to fibreglass, amid all this man-made

natural beauty, there are giant silver-painted

pieces of Omani jewellery, coffee pots, chests

overflowing with treasures, and much more

decorating the sides of the avenues. Hence, it

surprised no one when Muscat came first in

the 1995 ‘Arab Cities Prize Organization

Awards’, winning in the most beautiful city category.

For the last night in this modern city of

Sindbad, we went on an evening’s dhow ride

in the Gulf of Oman. As we sailed along the

coast, in the distance, the glowing lights of

Muscat brought to my mind the city’s illustrious

history. No doubt, Sindbad the Sailor gloried

in its waters since it is said that he was born in

Sohar a short distance away. If Sindbad could

only see Muscat now, it past enhanced with a

garland of superb modernity, he may well

have put his travels on the back burner never

wanting to leave the beauty of this city.

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


20 Years Replay

Summer 2009

Hong Kong - In Search of My Chinese Roots

by Greg James

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong!

What a wonderful time to visit this

dynamic world-class city that rises so

dramatically on the northern shores of the South

China Sea! However, this was going be much

more than just another trip to yet another exotic

foreign destination. For me, this would be a

long-anticipated voyage to explore one of my

many far-flung and multi-hued ethic roots!

A Chinese Grandfather

My maternal grandfather was born to

Chinese indentured workers.

Following the Britain's abolition of slavery in

1833, Cantonese peasant farmers were taken

halfway around the world to replace the freed

slaves on the sugar plantations in what was then

British Guiana, Britain's only South American

colony, sometime back in the mid-to-late 1800s.

I never knew my Chinese great grandparents,

but growing up 'half-Chinese', I always wondered

what it would be like to stroll down streets

where almost everyone was Asian.

Now at last, I was about to find out on my

brief but incredibly intriguing seven-day sojourn

in Hong Kong!

One Country, Two Systems

Hong Kong would prove to be the ideal place

to begin my search for my long-lost 'Chinese'

heritage. Like Guyana where I was born, Hong

Kong had also been a British colony.

On July 1, 1997, Britain ceded Hong Kong to

China, but much of the territory's previous way of

life as a British possession was guaranteed under

the "One Country, Two Systems" agreement,

signed by the governments of the UK and the

People's Republic of China.

For today's Western visitor, this means that

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

English continues to be widely understood and

spoken in Hong Kong, but don't be fooled by

this.

Centuries-old Chinese traditions, superstitions,

religious fervour, clan affiliation, ancestral

veneration and respect for one's elders are still

strongly adhered to by even the most chic and

worldly of young Hongkongers!

Gracious Beginning

The inimitable charm of the Chinese swept

me away the minute I got in line at the for my

late-night Cathay Pacific flight from Toronto to

Hong Kong.

Graceful, smiling, female attendants, wearing

cheongsams (traditional Chinese close-fitting

long silk dresses) and stiletto heels, immediately

came up to greet me.

Taking note of my six-foot height, they hastened

to assure me in perfect English that I would

have a seat with plenty of legroom for the 14-

hour-plus, non-stop flight to Hong Kong!

Lay of the Land

Using Hong Kong's surprisingly unclogged

network of super highways, bridges and tunnels,

it was just a short ride to the Harbour Plaza

Metropolis Hotel on Kowloon’s waterfront.

Until my visit, I did not realize that the Special

Administrative Region of Hong Kong consists of

the Island of Hong Kong; Lantau Island;

Kowloon City, located on the north bank of Hong

Kong's natural Victoria Harbour; and the New

Territories, which extend northward from

Kowloon to the border of the Mainland Chinese

Province of Guangdong (often referred to in

English as Canton).

Sea of Islands

Hong Kong also counts some 260 islets as

part of its region for a total land area of 1,108

km 2 (427 square miles). But with its burgeoning

population of just over 7 million, Hong Kong is

one of the most densely populated areas in the

world.

Feng Shui Aesthetics

The Bank of China building, though not the

tallest, is still one of Hong Kong's most recognizable

landmarks. However, we discovered that it

sparked lots of controversy when it was completed

in 1990.

Many thought that it did not conform to Feng

Shui, the ancient Chinese guiding principle of

positive aesthetics.

A Market For Every Reason

After disembarking on Hong Kong Island, we

made our way through the forest of ultramodern

high-rise office buildings to some of the most

interesting urban side streets that I have ever had

the good fortune to stroll.

On our wonderful walk through the Graham

Street Wet Market, the Dried Seafood Street, the

Herbal Medicine Street and the Ginseng Street,

the sights, smells and sounds of what I envisioned

the Orient to be all about came vividly to

life.The narrow, crowded and often slightly

inclined side streets were a joy to explore. Stalls

selling every imaginable type of fresh and dried

fish and seafood competed with those offering

farm-fresh vegetables, fruits and greens.

Thousand-year-old eggs were available next

to a mind-blowing variety of teas and herbs.

Dried Ginseng roots and other remedies for promoting

one's health and curing ailments were

yours for the asking.

Because this was the week preceding Chinese

New Year, many of the stalls offered multi-


coloured blossoms; exotic miniature fruit-bearing

trees; candies in bright, shinny wrappers;

and a wild assortment of decorations for celebrating

the arrival of the Year of the Ox.

Bright red underwear (for women and men)

was also prominently displayed! As I discovered

that day, the 'couleur du jour' for Chinese New

Year is definitely red!

Dim Sum par excellence!

Lunch at Cuisine Cuisine was a very elegant

affair.

Along with the delectable dim sum tidbits of

this top-rated restaurant, I tried my first thousand-year-old

egg, which are only preserved for

about 100 days!

Colourful Wan Chai

After lunch, we took a leisurely walk through

Hong Kong's colourful Wan Chai District, known

for its lively nightlife, luxury apartments, swanky

hotels, shopping malls and modern office towers.

Riding the Ding-Ding

The most memorable part of our afternoon

Wan Chai promenade was a ride on one the

city's double-decker tramways.

The tramway system on Hong Kong Island

dates back to 1904. Today, its fleet of 163 tramcars

carry a daily average of 230,000 passengers

on the six extensive tramway routes.

Not Just a Flower Market

The Chinese New Year Flower Market held in

Victoria Park is an unforgettable experience. This

annual festive event held on the day before New

Year's Eve is jam-packed with people, young and

old, who flock to the market to get their lastminute

New Year's shopping done.

Hiking Enthusiast’s Dream

For anyone who loves the outdoors this is an

experience not to be missed. The Sai Kung

peninsula is a pristine area of Hong Kong's New

Territories.

We only did a part of the popular 100 km

MacLehose Trail, but at our highest point we had

a wonderful bird's-eye view of the coast of the

Sai Kung, including its fabled coves and sandy

beaches.

How Fresh is Fresh?

After our exhilarating hike, we took a refreshing

boat ride and a short bus ride to the seaside

town of Sai Kung where local fishermen in small

multi-coloured boats moored alongside the

docks offered an assortment of newly caught

seafood, some of which I could not readily identify.

And just offshore, sea birds hunting for their

supper dove gracefully down into the placid sea

to snap up their own well-earned fresh catch.

Seafood Feast

An extraordinary New Year's seafood feast

awaited us at one of the many restaurants that

lined Sai Kung's animated waterfront.

Outside each establishment, there were

stacks of huge glass tanks containing live fish

and other seafood. The idea was to make your

choices before entering the restaurant.

Happily, our guide Andy was more familiar

with our restaurant's exotic live offerings and in

about half an hour his selection became a banquet

fit for any ancient Chinese emperor!

Late-night Shopping

If you name just one activity that everyone

who visits Hong Kong does it has to be shopping.

Some elect to go bargain hunting on Kowloon's

Temple Street.

Others may prefer browsing through the

scores of high-end boutiques that line Nathan

Road where you can find genuine designer clothing

at one-third of the price you would pay in

Canada. And the well-stocked shops open till 11

pm every night!

New Year’s Lion

The first order of New Year's Day in Hong

Kong is to witness a Lion Dance, which promises

its spectators good luck for the coming year. The

lion also drives out evil spirits where he performs.

Boys as young as six years old are trained to

perform this intricate acrobatic dance with one

performer manipulating the lion's head and the

other its body.

Time to Pray

On my visit to the Wong Tai Sin Temple, a traditional

Taoist temple established just north of

Kowloon in 1921, there were crowds of young

and old worshippers lined up for blocks to get in.

Taste of The Golden Age

Located in the fashionable Tsim Sha Tsui

District of Kowloon, the T'ang Court justly

deserves its two Michelin stars.

Unfortunately, we could not linger here after

our splendid meal, as we were on our way to the

world's happiest party.

Lantau Island Outing

Lantau Island, which lies west of Hong Kong

Island, is sparsely populated.

However, northwestern Lantau is now experiencing

rapid population growth in its newly

established towns due to their proximity to the

manmade island where Hong Kong's

International Airport now sits.

Fishermen’s Domain

One aspect of Lantau Island that happily

defies change is the historic village of Tai O,

home to the Tanka people who built their houses

on stilts above the tidal flats for generations.

We strolled through the town's market street

past several stalls offering souvenirs made from

the region's beautiful seashells. Other street

venders displayed enormous fresh and dried fish

and other bounty from the sea in their tiny stalls.

Misty Buddha

Our second stop on Lantau Island was to see

the impressive Tian Tan Buddha, said to be the

world's tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha.

As we climbed up the shrine's 286 stone

steps, we realised that a persistent heavy mist

would somewhat obscure our view of the

Buddha.

Though we were disappointed at not seeing

the entire 34-metre-tall (110 ft) Buddha, the mist

actually added a mysterious and almost mystic

aura to this monumental and highly revered religious

site.

We made a brief visit on the inside of the

Buddha where we encountered walls displaying

see following page

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Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22


66

Canadian World Traveller Winter 2021-22

hundreds of plaques honouring deceased individuals.

These memorials are paid for by relatives

and close friends.

We then headed down to the Po Lin

Monastery, which lies in the shadow of the

Buddha, to have a simple but satisfying vegetarian

meal prepared by the monks.

Village Theme Park

The perfect return route from the Po Lin

Monastery is to take a stroll through the nearby

Ngong Ping Cultural Village, a sort of Chinese

version of a North American theme park. After

visiting its moving 'Walking with Buddha' pavilion

we headed for the terminus of the Ngong Ping

360.

Sky-High Ride

The Ngong Ping 360 is a spectacular 5.7km

(3.5 miles), 25-minute ride that crosses Tung

Chung Bay and touches on the Hong Kong airport

island before heading towards North Lantau

where we boarded one of its cars for our return

trip from Po Lin Monastery.

Date at Harbour City

During our early supper at Harbour City,

located in the Tsim Sha Tsui waterside district of

Kowloon, excitement definitely was in the air as

this was the night of the extraordinary annually

held Lunar New Year Fireworks Display over

Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour!

Harbour City is an immense commercial

complex that was built on the former site of

wharfs and dockside warehouses.

Fierce Temple God

After the Wong Tai Sin Temple, where I had

my fortune read, the Che Kung Temple is definitely

Hong Kong's second most popular shrine.

We visited this renowned Buddhist temple,

located in the Sha Tin District of the New

Territories, on the third day of Chinese New Year,

which is the birthday of the shrine's demigod Che

Kung.

He was a fierce general from the Sung

Dynasty (960-1279 AD) who was elevated to

Buddhist immortality on account of his heroic

deeds. His much-venerated towering bronze

statue, which stands several metres tall in the

main hall of the temple, is indeed an awesome

sight to behold!

Che Kung is considered by many to be Hong

Kong's undisputed god of gambling and as such,

thousands of worshipers gather here on his

birthday to pray to him for good fortune in the

coming year.

Winds of Change

Incense sticks and huge arrays of colourful

paper windmills were for sale just outside the

temple walls. Apparently, paper windmills purchased

at the temple blow good luck winds into

your home throughout the year when placed in a

window or doorway.

As the day wore on, it was amusing to see the

discount signs for the windmills go up. But on a

more serious note, I was once again totally

astounded by the fervour of both young and old

devotees of this impressive and obviously highly

revered place of worship.

Proud Heritage

I wish I could say that my quest to find my

Chinese roots ended in the historic heritage vil-

lage of Ping Shan. It didn't, but this was as close

as it got. My mum's maiden name was 'Cheong'

but it could just as well been 'Tang' when I alighted

in the village of Ping Shan.

Ping Shan has one of the longest recorded

histories in all of Hong Kong and the lineage of

the Tang clan is firmly rooted right here.

Considered one of the "Five Great Clans" in the

New Territories, the Tang clan can amazingly

trace its roots as far back as the twelfth century.

High Threshold

On entering his beautifully restored multi-storied

ancestral village residence, an amusing

anecdote was created by us having to step over

the rather high threshold of the entranceway.

Our guide Andy had previously told me that

the reason for the high thresholds in village

homes was to keep out the chickens and other

village livestock! Now I learnt that the real reason

was to remind visitors that they were entering

a place that should be treated with reverence.

Timeless Pagoda

After touring the two levels of the fascinating

Kun Ting Study Hall, which was built in 1870 by

Tang Heung Chuen, a 22nd-generation ancestor

of the Tang clan, for students preparing for the

imperial civil service examination, we strolled

over to the site of Hong Kong's only truly ancient

pagoda.

The original five-storey Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda,

which means "Pagoda of Gathering Stars", was

built by Tang Yin-tung, a seventh generation

ancestor of the clan, more than 600 years ago!

It was damaged by strong winds and subsequently

rebuilt as today's still impressive threestorey

pagoda.

Living Memories

The really fascinating part of the Ping Shan

Heritage Trail was visiting the recently established

hilltop Tang Clan Gallery, which is housed

in the Old Ping Shan Police Station built in 1899

by the British.

Happily, in 2007, the defunct colonial-styled

police station was wonderfully restored and

became the repository for many of the Tang

Clan's treasured artefacts from its long line of

notable ancestors. The gallery even includes a

case displaying the historic outfit worn by our

charming 'clan guide' Kwai Man on her own

wedding day. How I wish I could have found

such a remarkable tribute to the Cheong Clan!

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

For those not familiar with that greeting, it's

Happy New Year in Chinese. And what a happy

time it was to be in Hong Kong to celebrate the

beginning of the Year of the Ox and to re-establish

my Chinese connection!

As I stood on one of the breathtaking lookout

points on Victoria Peak, high above Hong Kong's

forest of futuristic skyscrapers and its shimmering

harbour on my last night in this scintillating city,

I began the understand for the first time the contradictions

inherent in my late Chinese grandfather

Ol' Cheong. After all, he was Chinese yet

Western - every bit like contrary yet totally loveable

Hong Kong!

www.discoverhongkong.com

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