The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are coming to a close and I must say I have an Olympic sized hangover. I have stayed up way too late, too many nights, watching even preliminary runs and way too much commentary.

The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics was also a Canadian affair. It was the last Olympics where Cold War rivalries played out on the world sporting stage. It was the year of the Jamaican Bobsled team and Eddie the Eagle, the courageous Scottish everyman who soared in the ski jump, or at least gave it his best.

For Olympic nerds, like me, it was the year of the Battle of the Brians in figure skating where the American Brian Boitano won the gold. I remember most of all the amazing scenery, Lake Louise and the stunning aerial photography of the Canadian Rockies. A two-hour drive from Calgary, Banff is to Calgary what Whistler is to Vancouver. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Cross Country Skiing, Family Travel, Feature, Luxury Travel, Olympics, Skiing, Snowboarding, Sports, shopping, wildlife

It’s that time again: Ash Wednesday is on the horizon, the season of Lent is calling for sacrifice, and Rio’s Carnival celebration is in full swing. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come to watch the dancers strut their stuff and take part in the world’s sexiest party, but most of them must stay on the sidelines during the parades, serious competitions for the 12 top samba schools vying for the crown each year.

But that didn’t deter Nicole Zimmerman, a Brazilian-born American who danced her way into a samba school to experience Carnival from the inside out. She tells her story in the LA Times.

If you can’t get to Rio for tonight’s “special groups” parade (the second of the big competition) you haven’t missed out. The top six samba clubs march again Feb. 20 in the Champions Parade.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, South America

My grandparents golfed, cruised and often traveled in tour groups. They would bring things home for me from their travels, such as a Norwegian sweater, a Scottish blanket (I still use it after all these years) and a turquoise ring from a Native America Reservation they loved to visit in Arizona — wonderfully traditional stuff.

My parents are way more adventurous, but it still would probably stress them out to travel the way I often do: informed, well read, but ready to alter my plans at any moment. I have to hand it to them though, for folks in their 70s, they are pretty inspirational.

Just like a concerned parent, I fretted when my father traveled to Myanmar on his own and when my mom and her best friend took a whirlwind trip to Greece and Turkey. They are young at heart and never wanted to follow a travel formula, which is in part why I love to travel so much. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Cruises, Feature, Sports, Travel Tips