There’s Alice!

The Other Australia

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Many travelers to Australia know the big cities–Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth. Every American that does a work holiday Down Under will undoubtedly take away memories from Australia’s pristine beaches and well known urban spots, but few take the intrepid journey to its famous Outback.

We did.

If you want to know what the middle of nowhere looks like, look no further. Of course we mean this in a good way; there’s really no other place on Earth like the Outback. And in this far away place, right in the middle of the country, is a town called Alice Springs. A world within itself, Alice offers stunning views and outdoor treks through rugged terrain. Plus you’re literally in the middle of nowhere. How many people can say that?!

There’s also the wildlife–wild kangaroos, wallabies, giant lizards, and one of the deadliest snakes in the world. No worries, as the locals say. If you’re looking for a break from Australia’s urban scene, give this place a try. Our only regret is not staying longer.

Oh yeah, we got to ride camels, too.

Official tourism site

A Lake Near the Olympics

Somewhere in Canada…

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We love British Columbia. Maybe that’s evident from all the BC-related posts on this site. If you’re looking for something different and want to get away from civilization for a while, Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is the place to go. It’s not in the remote Canadian Arctic, but it’s far enough away to become one with nature for a while. It’s about a two-hour drive north of Vancouver, with a good chunk of that drive being on a gravel road–at least it was that way in 2009.

Be aware that there might not be much in the way of facilities. Maybe an outhouse, but that’s about it.

If you feel isolated and decide you need to connect with people again, Whistler, where all the 2010 Winter Olympics alpine events were held, is only an hour away. It’s an Aspen-like place. Basically, your typical ski village.

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More about Callaghan Park

More about Whistler

A Walk Through the Woods

If You’re Up for a Stroll, This Will Work

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Unlike the grueling climb at Grouse Grind, Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a nice, easy stroll through the woods. A quick drive from the city center, this place looks like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Nature at its best. Lots of tall trees.

Learn more at the official site

Cruisin’ on Porto’s Douro River

A Place Stuck in Time (that’s a good thing)

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Porto, or Oporto, is Portugal preserved. Simply put, it’s an awesome place. An old city with a Venice-like character to it, but without so many waterways, except for the Douro River.

It’s the Douro River that makes Porto so cool. They’ve made an industry out of river cruises. Down at the main river launch, which is easy enough to find, you can choose from a short, half-hour trip around the immediate area for €10-€20, or you can reserve a luxury cruise that lasts a lot longer, for a lot more money.

A 30-minute boat ride is easy enough to find since there are plenty of private charter boats that will take people cruising around the river while blasting Portuguese pop music on deck. Cheap, fun, unconventional. Enjoy it.

Cold War Memories from Berlin

For History Buffs, a Must See

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Today, Berlin is the thriving capital of a modern nation, but its recent history puts it at the front line of the Cold War, where East met West. Literally.

Relics of Europe’s communist era are scattered throughout the city, from remains of the Berlin Wall to Checkpoint Charlie, perhaps the world’s most famous crossing. These reminders are preserved to help us remember what the world was once like, and how close we came to ending it.

Anyway, on a lighter note, Berlin has great nightlife, friendly people, and great views of the city from its TV tower. If you’re lucky, you can find re-enactors at Checkpoint Charlie dressed up and walking around as Soviet and East German “officials”, selling you related merchandise, like a reproduction East German visa.

More about Checkpoint Charlie