Category Archives: Cultural Curiosities

What Is A Yeti?

In 1921, British explorer and politician Charles Howard-Bury spotted massive footprints while on an expedition to Mount Everest. His Sherpa guide informed him that they must be those of the “metoh-kangmi,” the rough English translation being, “man-bear snowman.” From this, the world first heard of the abominable snowman, or yeti, one of the most persistent and widely known legends of our time. But where did this folklore originate before being introduced to the West? And why does it persist today among the people who call the mighty Himalayas home?

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Walking the Camino de Santiago

To truly understand the significance of the Camino, you have to travel at least a part of it yourself. I did and what I discovered is that at the heart of this storied path of quaint villages, picturesque landscapes and historical relics lies a deep spiritual journey – one that began with Roman-era Christians but now includes people from many different walks of life.

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Sailing Through History Along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

Floating atop the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, a 110-year-old wooden masterpiece named Bozidar, meaning “God’s gift,” awaits our arrival. As we finish our hike through charming coastal villages, centuries-old olive groves and secluded bays, the rocky trail conveniently ends at a small dock where Bozidar’s dingy picks us up to whisk us out to our group’s private boat for the week.

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Switzerland’s Hidden Secrets

My Backroads guests and I have just piled into the Sunnbüel cable car and we're ready to ascend over 3,800 feet to begin our hike across the Gimme Pass. It's day two of our Switzerland Walking & Hiking Trip and I'm about to tell my guests something that I know nobody will believe.

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5 Strange Foods Around the World

Here at Backroads we like to find adventure in the great outdoors--cycling through rural countryside or hiking over mountain passes with the wind whipping through our hair. All of this is wonderful, but sometimes our most memorable adventures can be found right on a plate in front of us. Bugs, intestines, rodents. In many parts of the world, these are delicacies in the same league as lobster or caviar. So how "weird" does it get? Who better to ask than our fearless, world traveling, eat-anything-that's-not-poisonous Backroads Trip Leaders!

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Glaciers – Where to See Them Before They’re Gone

Glaciers, massive conglomerations of ice, snow and rock, are among the world's greatest wonders. But they're also slowly disappearing. These natural phenomena, which have come and gone throughout Earth's long geological history, appear to be in the process of documenting another chapter in our planet's story. But while most glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, certain destinations still provide an abundance waiting to be appreciated. What many don't realize is that many of Earth's most beautiful places, while devoid of glaciers today, were actually sculpted and created by these fascinating features and are home to unforgettable scenery.

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What Are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

If you've done much traveling, you've likely encountered a UNESCO World Heritage site. The term may spark immediate interest but what exactly does it mean? While UNESCO is best known for identifying its famous World Heritage sites, it's an incredibly nuanced intercontinental coalition with enormous goals.

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Rhine River Cruise Biking: Europe’s Easygoing Bike Paths

As I pedaled along the riverside bike path on a clear and sunny day, I couldn’t let go of the feeling that something about this riding just felt different. I was leading our Rhine River Cruise biking trip last summer and the thought kept dancing in the corner of my mind, ever-present as the smile that wouldn’t leave my face. Finally, it dawned on me.

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Women of Tuscany’s L’Eroica Vintage Bike Race

It isn’t just cool that we’re a group of chicks on bikes, it’s phenomenal that we’re a team of women riding vintage bicycles in a historically male-dominated Tuscan race. We’re five Backroads Trip Leaders who have each led trips in Tuscany, and we’ve been planning to partake in the famed L’Eroica vintage bicycling race together for almost a year. This is my second experience racing L’Eroica in Tuscany, and this time I feel like I belong.

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Loire Valley Châteaux

In French, 'castles' translates to 'châteaux' and throughout the country there are many châteaux that embody the extravagance of French nobility from centuries past. The epicenter of this 16th to 18th-century lifestyle was the Loire Valley, located two hours southwest of Paris and the perfect setting for royal summer escapades.

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