Despite some bumps in the road, we didn’t give up the ship and really enjoyed our
Great Lakes cruise with Haimark Travel. Take a look at my story and photos in the Chicago Tribune.
The story starts out like this:
Sizzling filets and red wine. An outdoor table above the ship’s fantail. A hot sun tempers the cool breezes of early evening and turns the ship’s wake into a molten silver stream touching the pink-and-red sunset. Dark waters ripple as far as the eye can see.
The Caribbean? The Mediterranean? Not exactly.
We were on Lake Erie, believe it or not, midway through Haimark Travel’s luxury Great Lakes cruise aboard the Saint Laurent.
The 210-passenger, small-ship cruiser offers summer trips with boarding and disembarkation points in Chicago, Toronto and Montreal.
Read the full story online at ChicagoTribune.com.
I was interviewed by WTTW anchor Phil Ponce on Monday (Aug. 3, 2015) about big-game hunting in Africa and the outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
Many Americans don’t realize that big-game hunting is legal in much of Africa. However, it seems clear that Cecil’s hunting wasn’t conducted in a legal way as he was lured out of his protected habitat. The issues surrounding that horrific action are ongoing.
And it’s likely that there may be some financial fallout for Africa’s safari industry from it, particularly in Zimbabwe.
It’s very expensive to participate in big-game hunting in Africa. Some sites offer lion-hunting excursions at $50,000 per person, for example.
But countries in Africa derive much more tourism income from eco-safaries, the kind where you hunt animals in order to observe them and take photos.
It’s still expensive, perhaps $10,000 a person, but I suggest everyone should plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip for an African safari to see the animals. Europe will be much the same in 20 years, I believe. But for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is habitat loss, the wildlife in African safari regions, is diminishing at a pretty fast clip. Get there before it’s too late.
Here is the link to the WTTW site where you can watch the interview.
I’m honored to learn today that I won three first-place awards in a Society of American Travel Writers contest, as well as the overall Henry and Vera Bradshaw writing award, selected from among all first-place winners.
The prizes, in three different categories, are for my Chicago Tribune story and photos on a safari in Kenya.
I’m rarely satisfied with my stories. But I was proud of this one, in part because I thought I came close, if only in a few parts, to capturing the magic of the experience. And that I was able to come close in only 1,000 words.
Every year in July, Pamplona takes center stage when thousands travel to this city in northern Spain to participate in the Festival San Fermines, the running of the bulls. Between 2,000 and 5,000 people tempt fate and run with the bulls each day of the festival. But many thousand more come for the fiesta: to watch the early morning runs, party early and late, and sample the fine Navarran cuisine. There’s enough good eats to keep your mouth yearning even when your stomach is full. Here’s my story about Pamplona in the Chicago Tribune. You’ll learn a little bit about Ernest Hemingway and about why you should watch the running of the bulls instead of joining in the half-mile craziness. And, as always, I believe this will give you yet another reason to consider the allures of Spain.
Holi, India’s Festival of Colors is a raucous spring festival that can be fun for tourists.
The ancient Hindu religious festival usually falls in early March, the date determined by the lunar calendar. It’s also known as the Festival of Love.
There are bonfires and drinking, but the festival is notable because of the throwing of colors. Locals and tourists participate freely by chasing each other and tossing the colored waters or powders at anyone and everyone during street festivals. So be careful if you don’t want to participate. In any event, don’t wear your best clothes.
The throwing of colors once had particular significance as a rite of spring. Not only a time to imbibe and to frolic, the colorful powders made from natural herbs and plants were used to fight off colds and viruses that came with the change of the seasons.
The celebrations begin with a Holika bonfire the night before Holi. The next day, everyone is fair game for the throwing of the colors, no longer made from natural herbs, in parks and nearly any open space. Groups carry drums and musical instruments and sing and dance along the way.
Some men have become intoxicated and aggressive toward women travelers in recent years, so caution is important.
My story about Un-Cruise’s Legacy of Discovery Cruise appeared Jan. 18 in the Chicago Tribune. Here are a few photos from the cruise and a link to take a look at the story as it appeared in the Tribune. Click on Rivers_of_History to see a PDF.