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Archive for October, 2010

Have you ever noticed how fascinated we are with lists? Especially “Top 10’s”? Sometimes I wonder how these things ever started… in any case these lists don’t just tell you what to read, listen to or eat but what you should see as well when you travel. We’re all familiar with the seven wonders of the world, and the seven natural wonders and the seven ancient wonders… so I’m just going to break it down for you and let’s take a look at Canada’s, just one country to keep it simple, seven wonders.

If you’ve never been to this huge country then you have only one obligation after reading this post: go and book some cheap flights to Canada! You won’t regret it. This place is not only stunning for its wilderness that goes on for thousands (literally) of kilometres, but it’s modern and cultural cities as well.

Can I get a holla from all the moose and beaver lovers out there?!

So let’s get started: Canada’s Seven Wonders

1. Niagara Falls

Until someone turns the tap off on the Niagar River, this baby is going to keep on flowing. Forever dividing the USA and Canada, the iconic falls are the second largest in the world. Take a ride on the Maid of the Mist to the foot of the falls (remember a raincoat because it’s mighty wet down there) and check out the other local attractions which include hiking along the gorge, going wine tasting in Niagara-on-the-Lake and taking the cable car across the river.

2. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

The Sleeping Giant refers to the thin peninsula near Thunder Bay (northern Ontario) that protects it from the winds sweeping across Lake Superior. From a distance it looks like a person laying flat on their back with arms crossed on its chest. Local Ojibway folklore says that Nanna Bijou was turned to stone when one of his tribesmen was tricked into sharing the location of the silver mine. The park is famous for its hiking trails and wildlife.

3. Hopewell Rocks

During low tide in the Bay of Fundy on the east coast in New Brunswick, you can walk out and explore these sand pillars, formed naturally over time.

4. Jasper National Park

The Rockies on the west coast are perfect for camping, hiking, skiing in winter and spotting mountain goats. Surrounded by lakes with crystal blue waters, this place will definitely impress. Climb a glacier, hang out with the caribou or swim in the turquoise waters… Lake Louise is a favourite.

5. Badlands

Where T-Rex made it’s home… Alberta is home to thousands of dinosaur bones, especially in Drumheller. There is a dinosaur museum and you can even join a dig to check out bones that are begin excavated. The Hood Doos and the Royal Tyrrell Museum shouldn’t be missed either.

6. Confederation Bridge

One of Canada’s provinces lies out on its own in the Atlantic Ocean, Prince Edward Island. It’s connected to the mainland though by bridge, the longest in Canada, spanning 8 miles (13 km). It’s an incredible drive and an engineering feat.

7. Cabot Trail

If you think you can’t get much further east in Canada, you can’t. The Cabot Trail is the end of the line on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It’s only 300km long but circles the island and is one of the most picturesque places to visit on the way. Stop for a whale watching cruise, try your hand at fishing from the docks, get lost in the lilacs growing all summer and watch the tide come and go. It’s a place that is mystical yet magical… one of the first places where European’s landed with strong Irish and Celtic roots.

Ever been to Canada? I would love to hear about your trip!

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You’re thinking, “North Africa? Islamic culture? Holiday? No way.” But hold on a minute. Algiers is one very off the beaten track city that deserves a little attention. It’s true that it was only a decade ago that tourists were evacuated from Algeria, some even killed, because of a brutal civil war.

It’s also true though that Algeria is one of the most beautiful countries on the continent and has the potential to be something like Morocco (at least in their tourism industry) if only they’d realise it. The Tassili N’Ajjer and Hoggar regions offer just a glimpse at Africa’s tribal culture which is still very much alive in those regions. The capital city of Algiers is a romantic mix of traditional colonial architecture and a touch of modernism which is inevitable. The Sahara is guarded by quaint Timimoun, what you might think of as an quintessential oasis town in the desert.

Just for fun, I put together 10 things in Algeria, all starting with the letter “A” that could peak just about any curious travellers interest. Have any more to add?

10 things about Algeria that start with “A”

  • Algiers: Characterised by its white-washed walls and relics from it’s pirate days. This city best represents the cultural diversity found in the country on a whole. It’s up to you though to find it.
  • Abdallah Benmasour: As one of the country’s most respected artists, you can find his paintings for sale in his studio in Oran where he also sells simple stationary and art materials.
  • Annaba: For it’s rolling hills, excellent beaches and colonial architecture. It’s Algeria’s fourth-largest cities and one of the most beautiful.
  • Atakor: This place looks more like something out of a Tolkein novel than from Africa. Its a plateau of dry earth and mysterious mountain peaks. To reach it, you’ll need your own transportation. Nearby is the Parc National de l’Ahaggar.
  • Arabic: The national language is worth picking up, at least a few words.
  • Albert Camus: Famous for his novel The Stranger, I bet you didn’t know this 20th century philosopher was born in Algeria.
  • Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad: A ruined fortified city, this fort is a UNESCO site and is an “authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city”.
  • Air Algerie: The country’s national airline is by far the easiest and cheapest way to reach this country.
  • Adrar: A natural stop on your way to In Salah. What’s most notable is the city’s look: its uniform red brick houses and central square surely don’t fit in with the rest of the country.
  • Africa’s Notre Dame: Located in Algiers it’s one of the city’s most outstanding monuments. It’s located in the Z’will ghara district and was built in 1858.

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