A Magical Place

Christina here. There are some places that definitely have a magical feel about them. Places that have inspired countless stories, and where you can easily imagine yourself transported through time. I can’t compete with Pat’s fabulous journey to the land of the Incas in the previous post, but I recently visited Tintagel – the village and its ancient ruins – on the north Cornish coast, and it made a huge impression on me. It’s not as exotic, but it is still awesome! Tintagel is located in a truly spectacular position. I hadn’t been there for a very long time, and …

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Machu Picchu!

Pat Rice in Machu PicchuPat here:

I spent a good part of October in South America. IT Guy and I are fascinated by ancient civilizations, hence our trip to Egypt last year. This year, we finally made it to Machu Picchu, not nearly as old as Egypt but with a lot of uncanny similarities, which is what fascinates us. As much as I would like to study the origins of the Incas, I simply don’t have the time to devote. Should I ever retire… I’d probably keel over in a coffin. So let’s not go there. We just visit and admire.

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Remembering Mitteleuropa

I’m still locked in mortal combat with the current book, so I’m offering another classic travel blog: a riverboat cruise on the Danube.  Rivers were the interstates of the past, and so much of European civilization developed along the waterways.  How better to explore than in a boat holding maybe 150 friendly, intelligent passengers and serving lots of really good food?

Like a plot element, the idea of a riverboat cruise simmered in my lizard brain for years, and in 2006, I thought it was time to do a cruise in Southern France.  Except that all the French cruises were booked for the time slot we had, and we ended up cruising the Douro River in Northern Portugal. It was great.

This year, I decided it was time to book that French cruise.  Urp. Once again, Southern France along the Rhone was sold out.  Which is how we ended up cruising Danube Riverthe Danube.  Again, it was great—the Mayhem Consultant and I are easily amused, and any interesting new place will be fun.  (Update 2023: we’d booked a French riverboat cruise for autumn 2022, but for a variety of reasons we cancelled it. I think I’m doomed never to travel the French rivers!)


Our Danube cruise started with a three day pre-cruise extension in Prague, which isn’t on the Danube, but really, how could we go to Eastern Europe and not see Prague?  The city has been an intellectual and creative center for centuries, and under the blighting hand of five decades of Soviet rule, it was spared rapacious developers tearing down beautiful old buildings.

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Lands of Ice and Fire

by Mary Jo

Islands of Ice and Fire

Faroes 2

 Our North Atlantic cruise was so interesting that I'm breaking it into three parts.  (I could go on much longer, but I'll spare you. <G>)  I've already written about Norway, and now I'm writing about some of the other wonderful places we visited.  


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In the Footsteps of the Polar Explorers

Nicola in SisimutNicola here, reporting on a recent trip to Greenland and Northern Canada in which we cruised part of the North West Passage in the footsteps (or sails!) of early explorers. We flew to Iceland and from there to Greenland, where we joined our ship, the SH Vega at the port of Kangerlussuaq on the west coast. This was an "expedition cruise" but frankly from the first it was clear that we were in for a very different experience from some earlier sailors, who had run out of food and been obliged to eat their own shoes and wear the same clothes for months on end! Our ship was warm, very comfortable and with wonderful food! In addition we were blessed with fine weather for almost all the trip so there was no threat of sea-sickness, thank goodness. 

Greenland is a beautiful place; it reminded me of a bigger, colder version of Highland Scotland. With 80% of the country covered in ice, the population lives Coloured houses on the coastal fringe. When Eric the Red colonised the island in 985AD, the Vikings found it hard to establish their traditional farming lifestyle because only the edges were fertile land. One legend is that he named it Greenland as propaganda to attract settlers! The ancestors of the Inuit peoples who had lived in the area for thousands of years survived largely by hunting and fishing. Their lifestyle was better suited to the conditions than the western new arrivals and although the Vikings hung on there for several hundred years, eventually they left. The modern Greenland is a place of brightly-painted buildings and fascinating history which we explored at the museum in Sisimiut.

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