There’s a place in Turkey where I descended into the bowels of the earth, terrified I’d never resurface, then flew to the highest reaches of the heavens, afraid I’d plummet to my doom. I laughed and made jokes, yet I was also silent, pondering the sacred. I felt corporeal and ethereal, often at the same time. Where was I? Cappadocia, of course–the central Turkish region famed for its strange geological formations, hot air balloons and spectacular Whirling Dervishes. If you’re going on a Backroads Turkey trip, it’s an unforgettable place to extend your vacation.
Take a deep breath in. That’s the literal definition of ‘inspire.’ And it’s what The Banff Centre does best. Their mandate is ‘Inspiring Creativity’ and they do it like nobody else on the planet. I promise you this: If you venture off Banff Avenue for a short walk up Tunnel Mountain, you’ll find yourself in the most inspiring place on earth.
Asking “Why Indochina?” is like asking why you ride. Is it the anticipation of what’s around the corner? The thrill of a place you’ve never been? Maybe it’s the serenity of a quiet footpath that’s 2,000 years old. Or experiencing Hoi An, a 2nd-century fishing village blending modern luxury with dynamic history. How about the fun of passing rice paddies in a blur of speed? Perhaps touching the ethereal ruins of Angkor with your own hands. Everything that’s exhilarating about biking makes the ride here an incredible adventure.
We always think of traveling as a way to discover the world and to learn about different cultures. For me, travelling is also about returning to my roots and rediscovering who I am. Leading the Active Gourmet trip in Tuscany is a chance to see my homeland through the eyes of our guests and to learn new things about myself. After all, food and wine are just catalysts. In Italy it’s all about sharing. And talking. Very loudly!
There’s nothing quite like hiking in the Swiss Alps. Over the years, I’ve thought about what makes hiking in Switzerland unique and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not merely the perfect signage. Here are a few of the elements that make the land of cheese and chocolate an exceptional place to hike.
“Awesome!” As a parent, you may try to avoid the word. But in this case, as you gaze out over the Grand Canyon, marveling at the play of light and shadow across the endless expanse, it’s perfect. And the words keep coming. Whether you’re exploring a wonderland of hoodoos and pinnacles in Bryce Canyon (“sweet!”). Traipsing amid the soaring walls and hanging gardens of a slot canyon in Zion (“epic!”). Or laughing at fireside stories under a star-speckled sky (“those leaders are so fly!”). You’ll try to contain yourself. But you can’t. Because the whole experience is truly…awesome.
You might think of coffee as just a hot beverage you drink from a paper cup in the car on the way to work. Here in Italy, coffee is not simply a drink, it’s a key aspect of the culture. It’s a social event and a tradition that Italians proudly preserve. If you find yourself looking for a pick-me-up in Italy, here are some helpful tips on what–and when–to order.
Waffles in Belgium have a distinct connection to the city or town in which they were developed, and many families and regions guard their recipes as precious secrets. When my Belgian grandma made waffles, drafts of warm air would billow out of the kitchen, filling the house with a delicious smell. While leading Backroads’ Holland and Belgium biking trips this past summer, I encountered this familiar sweet scent in the Belgian city of Bruges. It instantly kicked my senses into a frenzy, renewing my love of waffles.
Like many first-time travelers to Ireland, I had a vision of what lay ahead as my flight cruised towards the Emerald Isle. Lush hills and the rugged coastline, sheep and their shepherds, whiskey and Guinness, the melodic Irish lilt. What I didn’t yet realize was that, while the landscape and natural beauty of Ireland are majestic, it’s the Irish people who make the country truly captivating. It’s the Irish spirit–a magnetic, almost irresistible pull–that drives visitors to return again and again.
Though the Dutch may claim the title for Amsterdam, Copenhagen is considered by many to be the biking capital of the world. In fact, half of all Danes commute to work by bicycle. While bicycle commuting is gaining momentum in many major cities in the United States, touted as a mode of transportation that is friendly to the environment and the waistline, it hasn’t quite infiltrated American culture in the same way. If one looks closely at Danish society, you’ll see that the impact of bicycles on the physical and cultural landscape of its cities runs deep.
Carved by glaciers over millennia, Montana’s Glacier National Park and Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park are nothing short of spectacular. And all of those glacier-carved valleys and dazzling glacial lakes make for some of the most incredible biking routes in North America. Check it out in this short Glacier & Waterton Lakes trip video by Backroads leader and videographer Eric Malkowski.
Oregon is beautiful. From its forests to its deserts, dunes to mountains, vineyards to rivers, it rarely ceases to amaze. But it’s best experienced from the saddle—a bike saddle, that is. I’ve been lucky enough to ride, camp and explore 750 miles of the state I once called home.
In Vietnam, coffee culture is as deep and rich as just about anything else. On old brick sidewalks and in old colonial shops adorned with art deco tiles, old men sit on small stools in the morning and afternoon. They sip little cups of iced-coffee rocket fuel, or as they would say, cafe sua da (or ca phe sua da), while playing checkers and cards.