Like many freighters around the world, the Algoma Equinox, which traverses the St. Lawrence and four Great Lakes twice a month, also occasionally carries people. Travelers willing to take the slow boat get a private cabin, three meals a day and shore leave wherever the ship loads, unloads or stops at a lock.
A relentless icy wind swept in from San Francisco Bay, blowing away the fog to reveal the 19th century three-masted schooner C.A. Thayer anchored offshore. Farther out, Alcatraz Island was circled by seagulls and besieged by an armada of tour boats plowing through the chop.
When I was a little girl, my grandparents gifted me with a beautiful set of Beatrix Potter books for Christmas one year. I could barely wait for everyone to finish unwrapping presents so that I could sneak off to my room with my treasure. The first Potter story I read on that long ago Christmas Day was "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher," about a determined frog whose fishing trip turned out to be not quite what he expected.
After graduating from college in 2008, Kelly Lewis traveled the world solo. She spent a year in New Zealand and backpacked from one end of South America to the other. In the process, she relied on guidebooks. But they didn’t give her all the information she needed, especially as a woman. “I would have loved if someone would have told me it’s really hard to find tampons in Buenos Aires,” she said. “And why doesn’t anyone tell you this particular bus station is sketchy at night?”
I based my riding route on a pair of roads that bisect the Chianti region, following the recommendations of motorcycling friends. Both were said to offer the best in curving climbs, bella vistas and access to attractive hill towns.
A word, please, about Italian drivers. They were weaned on Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Lamborghinis. They are expert operators, generally, who seem to think every trip to the supermarket is a Formula One event.
Our captain, the avuncular "Marvelous" Marvin Mullings, pilots our boat, the Always Something, away from a squall and toward a quiet beach - quiet, that is until all the other boat captains of Providenciales, the most-visited of the Turks and Caicos Islands, reach the same conclusion and join us, forming a moored flotilla. Marvin is one-part seaman, one-part showman; he encourages us to attend to his safety instructions while gently inebriating us on rum punch. We then snorkel above a school of small, blue and utterly complacent fish, next climb back onboard for our next destination, Half Moon Beach.
Knott's Soak City in Buena Park announced last week the addition of two new water slide attractions, including a thrill ride that drops guests through a trapdoor from a tower more than seven stories tall.
Staring at the horizon, I might have been looking at a vast canvas where the technique of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, was used to create a specific mood. One minute sunshine dappled the landscape; the next misty rain enveloped it.
When you’re planning a European vacation, paying for expensive airline tickets is almost always an unfortunate necessity. But once you’ve taken care of the flights, it’s time to make your money work for you – and there are plenty of destinations in Europe where you’ll be surprised at how far the dollar stretches. From favorable exchange rates and economic uncertainty, to political upheaval and the simple fact of cheaper costs of living, there are plenty of factors keeping prices low in both familiar and unexpected destinations. Here are our picks for the best budget destinations in Europe right now.