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April 2010

April 30, 2010

Denver Launches Community Bike Share Program



By Lacy Morris
04/30/2010

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Bikes

The Mile High City is making it easier to get around with some 500 new Trek bikes available for sharing at 40 stations around the city. The Denver B-Cycle program is the first of its kind. The three-speed bikes cost $5 for a 24-hour membership, 30 minute or less rides are free, and rides up to an hour are only a dollar. Prices go up accordingly from there. 7-day passes go for $20, 30-day for $30, and annual memberships are an easy $65. Student and senior discount are available. In June, the bikes will be outfitted with computers to track miles, calories burned, and carbon offsets so that riders can watch their own fitness as well as see their contribution to Denver's efforts of going green. Check here for more information.


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Related Topics: Eco-Tourism · From Around the Web

Abercrombie and Kent Offer Big Savings on Epic Summer Trips


East-Africa
Infinity pool in Sanctuary Swala Camp, Tanzania—one of the 18 trips soon to be on sale (Sanctuary Retreats)

If you've been longing to plot your way to the wild beyond this summer, but are wrestling with your economic conscious, relief may at hand. On May 6, Abercrombie and Kent—one of the best luxe tour operators out there—is having a killer sale on 18 different independent itineraries, each with a private guide, in such locales as East Africa, Jordan, Chile, and Europe. 

The auction-style sale starts at 9 a.m. Central on May 6, with five percent off these trips. Every 30 minutes, savings increase by another five percent, accelerating to a whopping max discount of 60 percent (provided trips are still available, naturally).  Better still, friend them on Facebook, and you get access to a private pre-sale event, which offers 25 percent savings on the same trips from 8 to 9 Central. 

The sale ends at 3 o'clock, Central, on May 6.  A small window—so take advantage. Who knows? You might end up booking the trip of your lifetime for far less than you'd ever imagined. That's a salve for almost any budget.


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Related Topics: All Inclusive Vacation · From Around the Web · Last Minute Trips · Travel Deals

Great Walks of the World: The Inca Trail, Peru



By Guest Blogger
04/30/2010

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Classic view of Machu Picchu
VIEW FROM THE TOP: Machu Picchu (Ted Stedman)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post is part of a series profiling ten of the world's great long-distance walking trails. Thanks to The Wayfarers, with over 25 years experience out in the field, for their help in compiling these recommendations.

Such is the popularity of this enigmatic jungle mountain trek to the Inca's sacred and mysterious city of Machu Picchu that hikers are no longer allowed to tackle it independently. Instead, they must be part of an approved group that generally includes porters, a guide, and a cook with tented accommodation, including a dining tent. Each walker must also have a trek permit. Only 500 permits are issued each day, and 300 of these are for the guides and porters of the trekking companies. Advance booking is therefore required, and this is most safely done six months in advance for the May to September high season. Three days altitude acclimatization in Cusco (11,200 feet) is also recommended to ward off acute mountain sickness in preparation for the trail, with a high point of 13,800 feet. Though the trek is only 28 miles long, it commonly takes four days, cramming in an intriguing mix of the Incas' man-made roads, tunnels, agricultural terraces, and buildings and nature's spectacular cloud forests, lush, sub-tropical jungle, and stunning mountain vistas. The normal start of the “classic” trail is at kilometer 82 on the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Challenging (but do-able for the reasonably fit) ascents and descents are the order of the next three days, culminating in the memorable and moving climax of Intipunku, the Inca's Gateway to the Sun, which provides the first picture-framed look of the lost city of Machu Picchu.

Walking vacation experts since 1984, British-founded and -owned The Wayfarers offers hiking vacations with an emphasis on culture and fitness, exclusive entrées into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are rated easy to energetic and span 14 countries, ranging from 5 to 12 days. The Wayfarers is proud to be a member of Trusted Adventures, an alliance of independently owned and operated small adventure travel companies recognized for their mission to provide the finest active vacations around the world.


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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road

April 29, 2010

Under the Volcano: Getting Home


Blog-1
George Square in Glasgow, taken my last night in Scotland (Nathan Borchelt)

After over a week of delays, packing my kit four times in seven days, buying a new carry-on bag to avoid shoving the new clothes purchased out of need into my small suitcase, three futile early morning wake-up calls for flights that never departed, and one fruitless pre-dawn trip to the airport, I was finally heading home.

After the chaos I’d seen at the airport last Wednesday, the day the closure of the UK airspace was lifted, I expected bedlam. But what a difference two days make. I got to the Glasgow airport at 5 a.m., and the crowds were nominal—British Airways hadn’t opened yet, but the queues for Easy Jet’s 6:30 to the coast of southern Spain was fast-moving and seldom long. A group of women, all wearing bright orange shirts that proclaimed “Hen Party” over the photo of the bride-to-be, were able to get sorted within 15 minutes, and when BA opened a hour and a half before my 7 o’clock to Heathrow, I was checked in and through security with over an hour to spare.

But then there was Heathrow.

Continue reading "Under the Volcano: Getting Home" »


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Related Topics: European Travel

April 28, 2010

Best Louisville Bars for a Kentucky Derby Day Bourbon


Kentucky-derby-2010
(courtesy of gotolouisville.com/Churchill Downs & Reed Palmer)

Ice Box is in, Eskendereya is out, and this Friday morning, I'll pile into a car to drive to Louisville for the 136th-annual Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. I'm not much one for horse racing, or gambling really, but I do have a strange affinity for seer-sucker, straw hats, and hauling coolers through muddy infields.

Still, no visit to Bourbon Country would be complete without, well, bourbon, that corn-based American spirit aged in new, charred oak barrels. The Visitor's Bureau of Louisville sends out a "Bourbon Country Passport" listing all of the city's fine public houses, but even though I'm traveling with some college buddies, hitting every top bourbon joint in Louisville seems like a tall order. Here are three I plan to visit after Kentucky Derby 2010—assuming I'm not covered in infield mud.

Continue reading "Best Louisville Bars for a Kentucky Derby Day Bourbon" »


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Destination 3 Degrees: Blown Away



By Guest Blogger
04/28/2010

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Destination 3 degrees
SMOOTH SAILING: Calm winds and water give the team an easy jaunt (Chris Aguilar)

Editor's Note: Jennifer Holcomb is an adventure writer and paddler who will accompany the Destination 3 Degrees team on their stand-up paddle adventure across Hawaii's legendary channels. The journey will benefit Algalita Marine Research Foundation, helping to protect the oceans from plastics contamination. This is the second in a series recounting their journeys. Catch up on the previous post here.  

After only about two weeks, 55 paddled miles, three islands, dozens of creature encounters, and 35-knot winds, we've been blown away.

Our original start date was Monday, April 5, from the Big Island. No real reason—we knew that nature would tell us when—we just needed a date to start and Monday seemed like a good choice. The gale-force winds whipping across the leeward side of the island were our first clue that we weren't going anywhere for awhile. Leeward on the Big Island is in the shadow of the volcano Mauna Kea, and normally quite calm as a result. The winds were cranking.

That first channel for the doomed April 5 start was the Alenuihaha, which links the Big Island to Maui. Mauna Kea (the tallest mountain in the world at 13,796 feet above sea level, and 33,000 feet from base to summit) is on one side, and Haleakala, another volcano, at 10,023 feet above sea level, is on Maui. The wind is funneled through the channel between the volcanoes and accelerates to nearly double the wind speed on shore. If we were experiencing 25 or so knot winds, the channel was pushing 50. So we waited. Every morning we'd check NOAA sites, and naval sites, buoy readings, and weather stations; we'd check in with a Professor Caldwell at the University of Hawaii and boat captains who made their livings in these channels, all in the hope that something or someone would tell us "go." By Monday we were sure (pretty sure) that the high-pressure system demolishing our channel was going to break down, giving us about a 24-hour window to make our move. And it did.

Continue reading "Destination 3 Degrees: Blown Away" »


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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road

April 27, 2010

Great Walks of the World: Camino de Santiago de Compostela


Santiago de Compostela-spain-the wayfarers
TWO IS COMPANY: Santiago de Compostela, Spain (The Wayfarers)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post is part of a series profiling ten of the world's great long-distance walking trails. Thanks to The Wayfarers, with over 25 years experience out in the field, for their help in compiling these recommendations.

An early guidebook for walkers was written in 1132 by Pope Calixtus II, who described the pilgrimage route from the French Pyrenees to the shrine of St. James in the Gothic cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia in northwest Spain. Today, this is known as the French Way of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (St. James's Way) and is but one of a string of historic European pilgrimage routes dating from the 9th century that converge at Saint Lago's shrine. Depending on the starting point, the walk can be as short as 47 miles from the port of A Coruna or as long as 620 miles from Seville. The 485-mile French Way is the most popular (about 100,000 people walk it each year) and has the best supported infrastructure of any of the routes. It starts at St. Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees and traverses the north of the Iberian peninsula through landscapes ranging from the contrasting hills of the Basque country and Galicia and the flat and frequently hot central section. The route is way-marked in the countryside with big yellow arrows and in urban areas with scallop shell signs. Self-guided or guided trips, a wide range of accommodation, and baggage transfers are all available.

Walking vacation experts since 1984, British-founded and -owned The Wayfarers offers hiking vacations with an emphasis on culture and fitness, exclusive entrées into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are rated easy to energetic and span 14 countries, ranging from 5 to 12 days. The Wayfarers is proud to be a member of Trusted Adventures, an alliance of independently owned and operated small adventure travel companies recognized for their mission to provide the finest active vacations around the world.


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Related Topics: Trip Ideas

April 26, 2010

Share Your Travel Advice and Win a Free Flight Voucher!



By awayblog
04/26/2010

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TravelQ&A

Calling all travelers! Your fellow Away.com readers need your travel advice. Visit our newly launched Travelers' Corner to browse hundreds of reader-submitted travel questions for trips that they're planning to destinations throughout the world. From the best romantic hideaways in the Caribbean to family-friendly road trips through the Rockies to advice on traveling by train in Italy, our readers need guidance—and who better to offer that guidance than our experienced, world-roving posse of readers. And to thank you for your wise words, we'll be awarding four flight vouchers to the four best user-submitted answers over the next 12 months! (Some conditions apply; CLICK HERE to download the official contest rules.)

So whether you're able to dish the local dirt on the best places to see, stay, and eat in your hometown, or you're a globetrotting adventurer and can dispense some of your hard-earned travel insights for places near and far, our readers (and Away.com) would love to hear from you. Click the links below to find out about our first two lucky winnners!

Winner #1: Courtenay O., Florida
Winner #2: Cristina W., Washington, D.C.
Winner #3: Sue M, Illinois
Winner #4: Deadline for entries April 22, 2011; winner to be announced on or around April 26.


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Related Topics: Away.com News · Free Stuff · Travel Tips

The View of the Volcano from Scotland: Ashes Pass


Blog2
A coy shot from Buchanan Street in Glasgow—a city unaware of the volcanic delays (Nathan Borchelt)

The clouds have parted and the skies are clear—and it’s odd to write that and mean it 100 percent literally. After endless chaos that had me at the airport in Glasgow at 4 a.m. based on contradictory information via phone, email, and the net; after the volcano issued forth another burst of ash into European sky the day before; after hearing that flights were still on, then all airports in the UK were closed, then that they opened; after packing for the fourth time in seven days and going to the airport to witness stranded families and irate patriarchs trying to find shelter for his family (which spawned three generations, all clustered around their suitcases); after seeing a boy of nine crying inconsolably about just wanting to go home and a U.S. traveler who drove from London to Glasgow only to drive back ranting about just wanting to “get off this damn rock”; I have an exit out.

Continue reading "The View of the Volcano from Scotland: Ashes Pass" »


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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · European Travel

Get on Board With an Australia Rail Pass



By Guest Blogger
04/26/2010

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Ayers Rock
ALONG THE JOURNEY: Uluru, Australia (Tourism Australia)

With an Australia Rail Pass, you can enjoy flexible travel across this vast continent known for a wide range of beautiful settings and attractions. From the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, to Uluru/Ayers Rock in the Outback, an Australia Rail Pass is the perfect accessory to savor the journey just as much as the destination. Begin in the city of your choice and map out a route to include all the favourites.

Famous Aussie Rail Journeys

The Indian Pacific
The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Adelaide to Perth runs three nights in either direction and has departures twice weekly in both directions. After departing Sydney, enjoy stops in Broken Hill, Adelaide, Kalgoorlie, and finally Perth. Two highlights of the Indian Pacific journey are the Blue Mountains and the plains of the Nullarbor desert, making for spectacular views from your train window and the opportunity to spot wildlife, such as Australia's wedge-tailed eagle.

The Ghan
On the Ghan, begin in Adelaide and travel through the red sands of the Outback, stopping in Alice Springs, famous for nearby Uluru/Ayers Rock, and Katherine known for its spectacular Katherine Gorge. Arrive in Darwin, a beautiful port city and gateway to Asia. The Ghan runs twice weekly from Adelaide to Alice Springs to Darwin, the journey takes two nights in either direction.

Continue reading "Get on Board With an Australia Rail Pass" »


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Related Topics: Trip Ideas
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