Articles Tagged with: bucket list


Seniors Seek Peru’s Hidden Treasures

Peru, The Empire Of Hidden Treasures has so much to offer senior visitors. The country is larger than France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland combined. It is the third largest country in South America bordered to the north by Ecuador and Colombia, to the east by Brazil and Bolivia, to the south by Chile and to the west by the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Most of us have heard of the enigmatic complex of Machu Picchu, the most important and beautiful legacy of the ancient Peruvian culture. It is part of the Historic Sanctuary of the same name, which is also one of the few places in the Americas placed on both the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Lists by UNESCO.

Over 250 species of orchids have been counted in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, as well as numerous birds such as hummingbirds, waterfowl and the majestic Andean Condor. Located high on top of a mountain the site complements the exuberant nature that surrounds it, creating a one of a kind site in the world.

Seniors will discover that Peru has not forgotten its roots. Today, as in the past, Peruvians are proud of their cultural and ethnic identity. Festivals and traditions are everyday affairs.

Seniors Visit Cusco and Walk The Inca Trail

The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, is without a doubt one of the most important destinations in Peru. However the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is the star attraction. For senior hikers, the Inca Trail is Peru’s best known hike, combining a stunning mix of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest and rich subtropical jungle.

Essentially the Inca Trail is a mountainous jungle hike leading to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu. The 45km trek can be covered in 4 days, arriving at Machu Picchu at daybreak on the final day before returning to Cusco by train in the afternoon. The Andes of Peru are amazingly stunning. Home to millions of highland Indians who still speak the native tongue of Quechua and practice the times of years past.

Scenic Beauty, Inca History and Wild Animals

Whether you want to trek the hallowed Inca Trail, drink pisco sours in a sleepy colonial town, swim with pink dolphins or paddle your way down the Amazon in a dugout canoe – or all of the above – this is a country that’s ripe for exploring.

This was a fun blog… there is so much to share about Peru.  It’s a country full of scenic beauty, Inca history, wild animals galore, friendly people, great music, a fascinating coastline, rivers, lakes and so much more. So what are you waiting for seniors? Two of my grandchildren are taking a school trip to discover the highlights of Peru . And it’s on their grandpa’s “travel bucket list.” jeb


Did You Say “Hanoi”?

Yes, Hanoi has become a hot spot for senior travelers. Most of us have the name Hanoi in our memories associated with war . But today Hanoi has evolved into a traveler’s delight. It is presently undergoing a huge building boom and senior travelers  will find that it is a city largely unscathed from the decades of war.

Ha Noi as it is called, is the capital of Vietnam and is filled with French flair. In 2010 Hanoi turned 1,000 years old.   Hà Nội  = “Between Rivers” or “River Interior”),  remains the center of Vietnam culture, history and tourism and one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam and Indochina.

Given the political and historical importance of Hanoi and its burgeoning population of over three million, it’s a surprisingly low-key city with a more intimate appeal than brash, young Ho Chi Minh City. The capital is one of the most beautiful of the colonial Indochinese cities and is often the start or end point of a trip to Vietnam, and what a great welcome or farewell it will be for you.

Know before you go is always good advice and Hanoi is no exception. Lonely Planet invites senior visitors to “Imagine a city where the exotic chic of old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new. Where the medieval and modern co-exist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history.”

The Old Quarter Draws Senior Visitors

The Old Quarter is the primary reason Hanoi is a #1 tourist attraction, with its 36 streets and guilds. The Quarter is most popular for its history, architecture, and different products as well as the daily life of the locals that live there. The Old Quarter is a “cauldron of commerce” and the commercial heart since the 15th century.

Hanoi’s traffic is chaotic, with seemingly perpetual traffic jams, and a large number of almost suicidal motorcyclists and pedestrians and an intoxicating tangle of streets. One couple advises that you hire a Green Tourist electric car (US$7 for an hour) to drive around the Old Quarter.

Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter comprises narrow streets packed with shops selling all kinds of goods, each street named for its primary goods. Experienced visitors suggest the Water Puppet Theatre, the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison Museum (“The Hanoi Hilton”). So take your pick.

For every glitzy mall in Hanoi there’s an incense-filled temple nearby and cultural influences of the past are still part of the modern-day fabric. Temples and pagodas…more than six hundred hail from the original, eleventh-century city.

The UK Telegraph has good travel advice on Vietnam and Hanoi. This travel blog was a joy to write. I could have continued for three more blogs… Hanoi is that kind of city.  So put it on your “travel bucket list”. Should make for a great adventure. jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel , Asia/Pacific


Seniors Get “Valley Fever”

Monument Valley

My wife suggested to me today  that I might write a travel blog for seniors on famous valleys. Sounded good to me…then I started to investigate the topic. Boy, did I ever get in over my head on this one.  I soon discovered a plethora of information on famous valleys all over the world.

I use the words, ‘Valley Fever’, tongue in cheek, because in Arizona there is a dreaded illness called “Valley Fever.” It’s a nasty lung infection from a fungus that becomes airborne when dust around construction areas and agricultural areas is transported by the wind. I won’t pursue that one. Look it up for yourself if you’re interested.  I will however get into valleys…hundreds of them.

A valley in its broadest geographic sense is also known as a dale. A valley through which a river runs may be referred to as a vale. A small, secluded, and often wooded valley is known as a dell or in Scotland as a glen. A wide, flat valley through which a river runs is known in Scotland as a strath.

I found out very quickly that there are river valleys, vales, U-shaped valleys, tunnel valleys, meltwater valleys, transition forms and valley shoulders, hanging valleys, valley floors, and hollows. Some are also called a canyon, gorge, cove or coon.

Copper Canyon

This URL has a few great photos of valleys like the famed Kashmir Valley (said to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the entire world), Valley of the Kings and Indus Valley.

American Valleys Draw Seniors

The Grand Canyon outshines all the others for sheer size and if you have never been there, it should be on your “bucket list.”  The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters).

There is Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border or the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Then there is California with Yosemite Valley, Death Valley, Napa Valley , The San Joaquin Valley and The Tri-Valley.  All are notable for one reason or another.

National Geographic has some great photos of famous valleys. Olympic Valley, Las Vegas Valley, Palo Duro Canyon, Rio Grande Valley, Sonoma Valley, Las Vegas Valley, The San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley (CA).

Bend in Grand Canyon

Valleys that I am well acquainted with in France include the Rhone Valley and the Loire Valley. The Loire is where senior travelers will find dozens of famous chateaux along the Loire River and was the hunting grounds of French kings. And in the Rhone Valley, seniors will want your corkscrew.

Huffington Post notes 21 Insanely Gorgeous Valleys Around the World and I invite you to choose one that stands out above all the others. Tough job it is. For me it is the Grand Canyon. jeb


Mazatlán Reaches Out To Seniors

Mazatlán is a perennial favorite with North American senior sunbirds and snowbirds alike. Endowed with a shoreline sprinkled with beckoning islands, a lovely seaside promenade, miles of golden beaches and blue lagoons, it lives up to its moniker, “Pearl of the Pacific.” Is it safe?  Rest assured.  Hear what these experienced visitors have to say about the city.

Mazatlán (the locals and visitors call it Maz) that means “place of the deer” in the Nahuatl Indian language. Yes, it’s famous for its fine beaches and a wonderful historical downtown section. Senior travelers will discover Mazatlán to be a socially and economically diverse city, with more than 350,000 welcoming people of all races. It is a popular vacation and retirement destination for Europeans, Canadians and Americans.

Beach Resort, Historic Site and Romantic City

TripAdvisor invites seniors to enjoy Mazatlán… a historic capital, a beach resort, a lively and romantic town. Whatever you look for in a Mexican vacation is on the menu in Mazatlán . Returning travelers rave about the welcoming Mazatlecos, who treat you like old amigos, as well as the beaches, the food, the weather, the music and the feeling of never wanting to leave.

And attractions… how about Trip Advisor’s 104 suggestions for starters.  I dearly love Mexico and the many wonderful places to visit. Fodor’s can help you get around efficiently in town with sights, restaurants, entertainment, activities and travel tips. They are always a good resource for travelers.

Senior visitors will not want to miss walking along the Malecon. Do you know what a Malecon is? It’s a jetty or breakwater. Malecón is a word used in Spanish-speaking countries for a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront. So now you know. It stretches from the original Mazatlán past the Golden Zone to the end of Cerritos Beach. Mazatlán’s waterfront street (the Malecon) is the backbone of the city.

Seniors Discover Premier Destination

The location on the Mexican Gold Coast boasts long stretches of palm–lined beaches, ideal for experiencing spectacular sunsets. You may choose to be pampered in Mazatlán’s luxury hotels and resorts. Senior visitors may want to visit the active seaport and historical attractions or enjoy hiking, bird–watching or aquatic sports. Mazatlán offers a great vacation for senior travelers.

I found a super walking tour for you to consider with many worthwhile things to see and do in town. I’ll depart today with these folks called the “ Best Mazatlán Information Resource .” You judge, but it looked pretty classy to me. The Plaza Machado is a spot not to be missed.

I think you will really enjoy exploring Mazatlán so much that you may want to return again and again.  It’s on my bucket list. jeb

Filed under : Mexico


Seniors Make San Luis Valley Road Trip

For a senior trip into history, few parts of the American Southwest can top southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley, a 125-mile (200-kilometer) stretch of the Rockies front range defined by the high mountains of the Sangre de Cristos to the east and the San Juans to the west. National Geographic has a new booklet out called ’500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips’ and the San Luis Valley is one of them.

The San Luis Valley is technically a high desert, but the surface is underlain by shallow aquifers that in places form lakes, marshlands, and warm springs. By the late 19th century, much of the land was cultivated, crossed by irrigation canals and wagon roads. The valley’s scattered wetlands are home to eagles, waders, and waterfowl.

The Valley receives little precipitation and is made up of desert lands, but the temperatures can be very comfortable in the summer and very cold on winter nights. Wikipedia will fill seniors in on all the specs of the Valley and notes that about 50% of the 2,000,000 acres in the San Luis Valley is privately owned. The Valley has the second largest aquifer on the continent underground and the 8000 square mile, six county Alpine valley makes the San Luis Valley one of the most unique areas in the world.

Valley’s History Intrigues Senior Travelers

A major trade route, The Old Spanish Trail, passed through the Valley that runs about 125 miles long and 65 miles wide and it is one of the largest high desert valleys in the world, lying at an altitude of over 7,000 feet. The oldest evidence of humans in the San Luis Valley area dates back an estimated 11,000 years. The area contains some of the oldest prehistoric archaeological sites in North America. San Luis is the oldest town in Colorado and the valley adds to fascinating Colorado history .

A cavalcade of characters, some famous, some infamous, and some downright notorious, have stepped across the Valley landscape. Diego de Vargas, Zebulon Pike, John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith, Calamity Jane, Poker Alice, Ulysses S. Grant,—the names associated with the valley’s history read like a western epic.

This area is rich in history. This part of southern Colorado used to be part of New Mexico Territory before Colorado Territory was formed in 1861. Pioneers came up from New Mexico, following the Rio Grande north. Congress has approved funding for the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and locals are having meetings on how they will preserve their heritage and share their history with senior travelers.
There are wild horses in the valley, around Wild Horse Mesa , near the new Mexico border and senior citizens are building retirement homes on Wild Horse Mesa to enjoy the beautiful scenery and quiet country life.
Enjoy the valley.  My wife has put it on her bucket list. jeb


Seniors Love the Loire and Saumur

Saumur is a small historical town in the French region of Pays de la Loire , site of a dramatically situated château and the heart of its own world-renowned wine district. Population 30,000. Of all the Loire’s comfortable towns, seniors will find Saumur, perhaps the most elegantly bourgeois, with its graceful Château lording it over the handsome townhouses spread out below on both banks of the Loire River and on the large island mid-stream.

It’s a great city for simply spreading out to visit other famous castle sites such as Chinon, Angers, Blois, Chenonceau, Amboise, Usse, Blois, Orléans and Villandry.  Anyway that you slice the town, it’s the castle that draws your immediate attention when you enter Saumur.

Here are 13 suggested activities or things to see and do in town.  For me a highlight would be the Musee du Champignon (Mushroom Museum)… I have always wondered just how they grow them, and I eat a lot of them.

Château Catches Seniors’ Attention

Saumur with its fairy-tale château , towering above the town and the River Loire was built largely in the 14th century by Louis I Duc d’Anjou. Today it houses the Horse Museum and the Decorative Arts Museum, parts of the interior may be closed to visitors at the moment due to renovations taking place. Senior visitors might want to see the Gothic church of St. Pierre and the town’s oldest church Notre-Dame de Nantilly which contains a 16th century tapestry collection.

Saumur is home to the French National Riding School and stages famous equestrian events and riding galas, the Cavalry museum may be of interest to senior citizens. I have fond memories my visit to Saumur and the castle as well as the Troglodyte Village de Rochemenier approximately 20km from Saumur that is worth doing. This unusual museum of Troglodyte dwellings carved out of the local stone give an insight into a unique way of life. It was as the French say…”Extra!”

Lovely Loire is a Scene in Itself

If you have never traveled along the Loire River to take in the multitude of castles and unique scenery, senior travelers, put it on your bucket list. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. The region was the favorite getaway for the kings of France and you will learn why.

The châteaux, get this, numbering more than three hundred, represent a nation of builders starting with the necessary castle fortifications in the 10th century to the splendor of those built half a millennium later. When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux, the nobility, not wanting or even daring to be far from the seat of power, followed suit. Their presence in the lush, fertile valley began attracting the very best landscape designers. The Loire River is over 170 miles making it the longest river in the country.

Oh yes, and enjoy sampling some of the world famous Loire Valley wines from the region as well. jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel , Europe , Wine Trips


Seniors Love Rail Travel on The Ghan

I wrote a while back on the famed Blue Train in South Africa.  My recent Travel Magazine has an article entitled “A Window Seat to the World” on rail journeys of a lifetime. If senior citizens have not yet traveled by train, you are in for a real treat. I’ve been on the French TGV several times and in Japan whizzed by terrain on the Shinkansen known as the “Bullet Train.”  I wrote a blog on the Trans Canadian Railway as well. The Ghan is one of those famous rail journeys that seniors will find thrilling.

The Ghan. It’s an odd name for a train but in Australian history it is a living legend, for it is the ultimate journey through the heart of the continent. A hundred and fifty years ago, the first camels were imported along with their handlers from Afghanistan and, in true Australian style, they soon shortened their name to ‘Ghan’. The Ghan train derives its name from these early pioneers and its emblem of an Afghan on a camel is in recognition of their efforts in opening up the harsh interior to the rest of Australia .

The Ghan Has a History

Their website is loaded with information of every nature that will help you make plans to enjoy a ride on that train. They call it “The Great Southern Rail: Time to Explore. So seniors, immerse yourself in the timelessness of rail travel and be inspired by the diversity and beauty of the landscape unfolding beyond the window. Enjoy first class dining, new friends and Explore and Discover Stops in Alice Springs and Katherine.

The Ghan is not just an Australian icon, but the journey of a lifetime. I’ve always said the same thing about the journey from Moscow across China on the Trans-Siberian Rail Road. It’s one of those adventures on my “bucket list”.  The Trans Mongolian is also called “The Vodka Train.”  But back to the Ghan.

Australian rail passes are the key to exploring this diverse country, from Sydney, to the Outback, to the Great Barrier Reef and everywhere in between. Try to get a seat in the Outback Explorer Lounge or if you would like, a private carriage.

A Suggested Route for Senior Travelers

Australia’s red center is one of the most spectacular wildernesses in the world, and the Ghan is unquestionably the most comfortable way to see it. The train runs through the heart of the country: 2,979km (1,861 miles) between the south coast at Adelaide and the north coast at Darwin, taking two nights and three days and senior travelers will pass by Alice Springs. Go to TripAdvisor on the Ghan and read the blogs. I’ll depart today with a few “tips” to make that journey a great one. Enjoy. jeb


World’s Most Sacred Places

We know of Notre-Dame de Paris and Machu Picchu as well as the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and senior travelers enjoy visiting these plus a host of other sacred places. I recall a friend who had traveled the world.  When I asked him the neatest places he had personally visited he replied that he dearly loved Jordan, but that “Hawaii was paradise.”  If you have been to there, you know why Andy chose Hawaii.  But what did he find so neat in Jordan?  Well, Petra is there. It is a renown site and is a sacred place for many senior visitors.

Senior Visitors Discover Petra

Petra is one of the most sacred places in the Mideast. Petra means “stone” in Arabic and when you arrive on site you will learn why.  There you will see the famous rock-cut architecture as well as a water conduit system.And what a world wonder it is. A treasure of the ancient world, hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains and boasting incomparable scenes that make it a majestic and imposing site, Petra remains almost untouched by centuries of visitors. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1985. So ready your eyes on Petra via YouTube .

Angkor Wat

Located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a site that senior friends have found to be one of the highlights of their world tour. Here you’ll find a place of peace and power.It’s a Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the entire world. Angkor Wat (meaning: “Capital Temple”) is an ancient temple complex (originally Hindu but later becoming Buddhist) dating from the twelfth century C.E. It’s located about 200 miles from the capital of Phnom Pehn in Cambodia. So join the walk through the temple grounds.

Japan’s Sacred Mountain

Mount Fuji in Japan is a national symbol.  You can easily see it from Tokyo, only 60 miles away.  It is the tallest peak in the country and the “most sacred mountain” in Japan.  It is said that climbing Mount Fuji can make for lifelong memories. Plan your hike in July or August, a time usually free of snow and relatively mild. Mount Fuji is actually one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.”

And The Parthenon…

In Athens, senior travelers will find the most famous surviving building of Ancient Greece and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Neolithic remains discovered on the slopes of the Acropolis indicate a continuous settlement on the hill from at least 2800 BC. The temple was dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena.

So there you have four of the top ten to visit .  The others include Tikal, the Sistine Chapel, The Great Pyramid, St Peters Basilica and the Temple Explatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  You can research each of them on Google or Wikipedia.

Enjoy your sacred journeys. jeb


Seniors Dive Into EcoTours

Ecotourism is in. Seniors are searching out great tours that focus on visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas. They are popping up more and more all over the world and for good reason. They seem to be everywhere.

Here’s one that just crossed my desk, a series by GoAheadTours and they all look great. They have a whole new series that I think  seniors will find of interest if you are at all interested in nature and ecology. I remember well an ecology course I took, as part of my biology major in college. It is a fascinating area.

Here’s the scoop on their offerings: “Get a closer look at vibrant communities while supporting conservation programs and local economies. Our itineraries highlight businesses and organizations that give back to local people and support wildlife—so while you explore natural landscapes and share in cultural experiences, you’ll also bring awareness and travel dollars to meaningful initiatives.”

Senior citizens will be able to get a look at vibrant communities while supporting conservation programs and local economies. Your tour will include: round-trip airfares, hotels and eco-lodges, expert tour directors, select meals and private transportation. Seniors will be able to engage in activities that benefit surrounding communities and fund wildlife conservation efforts. How about learning handicrafts and cultural traditions from the locals?  You will travel on immersive adventures designed to make a positive impact on your adventure abroad.

EcoTours Call For Seniors

Here are your choices that will take senior citizens all over the globe. Consider Australia and Tasmania and the Wild Forests in that area. Your eco-friendly Aussie adventure will take you to the cities of the mainland and lead you through the rich wilds of Tasmania. The tours all run from 9 to 14 days in length.

On to Africa and Botswana and Zimbabwe called the Untouched Africa. Costa Rica is high on my “bucket list” and here’s why . The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are great areas to study nature. Guatemala is cool. I’ve been there.  I invite you to take in Belize and Guatemala and the tropical wildlife that is in abundance.

And we could not leave out Kenya and a Wildlife Safari with GoAhead. There senior travelers will search out the Big Five on game drives through the wild savannah and discover the many ways Kenyan communities are coming together to protect their heritage and wildlife.

Let’s include Peru, the Amazon Jungle and culture surrounding Lake Titicaca .  Those will highlight Peru at its best. Lastly your EcoTour will include Tanzania full of wildlife and herds of animals roam as they did before humankind. The mighty Masai endure as they have for centuries.

Are you ready for an adventure in any of these tours?  Then contact GoAhead , make your reservation and enjoy one of their amazing EcoTours. jeb


Seniors Visit Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the largest city (population 550,000) in Lithuania . Wondering where Lithuania is located? It’s on the Baltic Coast. Check out this map and seniors will note that it is just north of Poland and south of Latvia.

Vilnius is an attractive capital with Baroque architecture, churches, medieval towers and one of Europe’s finest “ Old Towns .”  The city was founded in 1323, stretched to be the largest country in Europe, and housed a number of cultures, religions and traditions as well as received the best architects and artists from all over Europe. It‘s a mix of beautiful nature, historical landmarks, good food, and “kind people.” Vilnius has interesting history and seniors will discover that the destiny of Vilnius due to its proximity was to be closely intertwined with that of Poland.

Old Town Tops List of Attractions

I know from visiting European capitals that I would head for the old historical portion of the city first.  So let’s see what attracts tourists to Vilnius’ Old Town .  Wikipedia notes that “The Old Town of Vilnius is one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in central Europe.

Vilnius, situated on the banks of the rivers Neris and Vilnia, was founded in 1323 when Grand Duke Gediminas built a castle there. Today the tower of this castle is one of the landmarks and symbols of the city. Vilnius, in Your Pocket Guide , is in English and has everything you’ll want to know about the city.

Shopping? Yes, lots of great shopping for the ladies. Many first timers begin their exploration of Vilnius with a climb to Gediminas Castle , which towers over the old city as a lasting symbol of the strength of Vilnius’ founder. Wanderlust has their TOP TEN for you to check out.

You’ll find that there are several tours available and Viator has a wide selection. A popular tour is the hot air balloon ride over the city. The little red City Tour Bus looks like a fun tour. What the heck, let’s take a private tour instead and see things “up close” and with a personal guide. It’s a lively, fascinating and beautiful city and it seems like there are activities and events going on year round.

Vilnius Attracts Senior Travelers

One of the top attractions in the city is the Money Museum .  TripAdvisor is offers 80 additional sites . The KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus) ranks high with senior visitors as well. Lonely Planet can help you get to Vilnius as well as finding some recommended hotels.  The local Tourist Information Center caters to English-speaking tourists and can provide maps, suggestions and walking tours. If senior travelers enjoy festivals, concerts, performances, exhibitions and sporting events, here’s the calendar of upcoming performances .

Vilnius looks like a great place to spend maybe a week folks.  It’s on my bucket list.  Put it on yours too. jeb

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