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Canada
Therapeutic Glimpses of Canada
Courtesy Natural Traveler
By Skip Kaltenheuser

f lucky to enjoy more than your fair share of travel, eventually you’ll be asked your favorite place. It’s a tough one, most places have their fascinations. One doesn’t choose to go somewhere without first determining it worth one’s time. So top picks usually include the latest experience. And folks in America, with its embarrassment of travel riches, are already a bit spoiled if they get around at all. But this traveler never feels he’s giving a bum steer answering to look northward. Canada’s diverse menu of experiences rivals any in the world. Foreign but user-friendly, familiar but with enough difference to be thought-provoking, wild and remote but accessible, the country offers a cornucopia of exploration treats. Culture is offered up with contagious exuberance.

How best to convey what awaits? I picked 101 snaps, aiming for a kaleidoscope of imagery, could easily have picked hundreds more while enjoying the memories they triggered but the webmaster would go on strike. Most are glimpses of Alberta and Quebec provinces, with some Bugaboos heli-hiking overlap in British Columbia. Images include happenings like Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, Quebec City’s Winter Carnival and Calgary’s Stampede rodeo extravaganza. Countryside views include the Bugaboos, the Banff region and Alberta’s Badlands, the latter including dinosaurs in abundance.

Here and there a familiar face appears, a couple kids I’m often privileged to enjoy as travel sidekicks. Canada is terrific for family sojourns. It’s a particular treat for me when I also see places through young eyes, recollecting similar scenes when I was young, on family road trips. Seeing confidence build on a young face after a struggle up a cliff, sharing a gleeful fright as one conquer’s trepidation to leap off a cliff into a chilly river, or watching one’s kids encourage others who feel jammed up are among the purest of pleasures

One term I like for Canada is therapeutic. I ventured twice to the comedy festival. Both times life had conspired to leave me in need of a laugh. Both times the mid-July English/French festival delivered more than I imagined might be done. From artful street festival surprises to late night clubs with very blue comedy that overcomes resistance and leaves you with guilty tears of laughter, it’s a treat of an escape that I’d like to be challenged by in times of normalcy. Montreal is the place to examine the great philosophical questions of our time – what’s funny and why? Quebec’s 17 day winter carnival, starting Jan. 30, is a joyful cry against the elements – dress like an astronaut – that you can supplement with great skiing near town. You can lose yourself in urban pleasures and culture, or for reflective time retreat to the wide open spaces always in close proximity. Or for one on one moments with a kid, with ample stimulation to push back at the cursed screens that occupy too much of modern time. Explorations of the cultures of indigenous peoples, or of early settlers, help one imagine other lives and histories yet consider similarities with one’s own.

Take a glimpse.

Toward a fortunate year.

(Editor's Note: To see all the 101 photographs from the writer go to this site. To enlarge each photo just click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the article then hit the back arrow to return to the thumbnail list.)

If You Go

Alberta Tourism
Calgary Stampede
Banff
Festivals in Montreal
Just for Laughs (English); Just for Laughs (French)
Quebec City environs
Carnaval de Quebec
Skiing in Quebec
Skiing in Alberta
Heli-hiking, heli-skiing
Royal Tyrrell Museum (Dinosaurs!)
Canadian Tourism
Passport requirements (Canada)
Passport Requirements (US)

Related Articles:
Exploring Western Canada with VIA Rail; My Own Private Montréal; Tea in Montréal; Get Ready for Carnaval de Quebec; Two Winter Festivals; The Calgary Folk Fest; Banff: Creativity, the Raven and Balanced Cables


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Let Skip know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
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sunset at Galway Bay

The late Bing Crosby crooned about it, but The Palladian Traveler, with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, is there along the rocky shore to see the sun slowly go down on Galway Bay.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
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Buckingham Palace exit
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Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
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aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
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Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
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Venice street musicians
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
A Taste of Savory, Sumptuous Solvang

Hotel Corque, Solvang

Maybe it was the handmade sweets at Ingeborg's Chocolate Factory, or the boutique luxury at Hotel Corque. Or was it the wine and friendly atmosphere at Wandering Dog, the comforting, cuisine at Chomp, or the town's Danish-inspired architecture? Whatever the reason, Solvang has a special way of putting me in instant vacation mode.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" – A Tribute to the Human Spirit

a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

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Gary Singh's travel blog/review
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Vienna art works
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Chiara's Rainbow at Monte Verita

John Blanchette's travel blog/review
Rolling Through the Outback on the Indian Pacific's Christmas Train

Santa with native Australian on an Indian Pacific Christmas train stop
It was mid December and a heat wave had embraced the country. Record setting temperatures were searing the land from high 90s in Sydney and Adelaide to blast furnace heat in the great Outback. Fires were raging throughout the country. But we were cool, riding the air-conditioned Indian Pacific railway across the southern expanse of Australia to the west coast city of Perth, a four-day transcontinental tour...

Traveling Guest

Raoul Pascual's travel blog
Leviticus 20:13
Sent by Tom of Pasadena, CA

It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've been interpreting it wrong all these years!

Tim Mattox's travel article
Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'

Mick Taylor

When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout each one of the 11 original songs.

Go There

Terry Cassel's travel blog
The Impossible Happened: Itís Time to Get to Work

the White House

All of us are stunned, across the entire political spectrum, by the results of this election. Many are both sickened and saddened, while others are jubilant. I am guardedly optimistic. I think it's too early to despair, or to celebrate. In my experience nothing is ever as bad as it seems, or as good. But there is great cause for concern.

go there

Dette Pascual's travel blog
Dia delos Muertos: The Day of the Dead – All Saints Day

All Saints Day scene at a Philippine cemetery
October draws to a close with a melancholy air. Days are colder, dead leaves flutter to the ground after a last burst of color, before finally drifting away to be tossed by the winds in all directions. Something about this image that inspires vintage, romantic songs like "Autumn Leaves"… and brings memories of a Love, once held close.

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Richard Carroll's travel blog/review
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Rosie's Rock at The Boulders

The enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square miles of splendor that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors across international boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora in northern Mexico is one of North America’s grand, untrammeled natural treasures. The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant low-hanging stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the sun as they drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain ridges and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.

Traveling Guest

Richard Frisbie's travel blog/review
Seville – The Most Gay-Friendly City in Spain

Seville tower

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Traveling Guest

Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
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The Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur

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Corinna Lothar's travel blog/review
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19th century building, Stuttgart, Germany
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Go There

Ruth J. Katz's travel article
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the Terrace Garden at the Corinthia Lisbon

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Go There

Masada Siegel's travel blog
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Masada Siegel with a musk ox
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John Blanchette's travel blog/review
Rolling Through the Outback on the Indian Pacific's Christmas Train

Santa with native Australian on an Indian Pacific Christmas train stop
It was mid December and a heat wave had embraced the country. Record setting temperatures were searing the land from high 90s in Sydney and Adelaide to blast furnace heat in the great Outback. Fires were raging throughout the country. But we were cool, riding the air-conditioned Indian Pacific railway across the southern expanse of Australia to the west coast city of Perth, a four-day transcontinental tour...

Traveling Guest

Brom Wikstrom's travel blog/review
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Brom and Anne Wikstrom at Machu Picchu
The invitation came by post. I thought it was junk at first and stacked it with the rest of the mail until my wife Anne came home for lunch from her dental office. A handsome brochure touting the attractions of Peru is included along with a letter describing the dedication of a group sponsoring a conference on art and disability.


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