The Golden Frog, symbol of Panama, is nearly extinct, making it that much more compelling for some to see. A current effort to revitalize the frog is being led by a Smithsonian research team based in the lovely mountain resort town of El Valle de Anton (El Valle for short) near to where the frog last had its natural habitat. The cumulative efforts to revive the frog are known as Project Golden Frog. In addition to Panama efforts, a major participant in the revitalization project is the San Diego zoo.
Most people come to Banff, Canada, in the Rocky Mountains near Calgary, to take in the fresh mountain air, ski, hike, boat, raft, golf, study at one of its famous institutes, or simply to experience the sheer beauty of the place.
Others come specifically to stay at one of the world’s great luxury resort hotels, the Banff Springs Hotel, currently a part of the Fairmont Hotel chain.
Situated on a high point in Banff, the hotel has an absolutely fantastic mountain view, even when compared to the generally extraordinary views all around Banff.
A museum of particular interest to history buffs is tucked away in the Canadian city of Saskatoon. Its fantastic, newly-opened and highly-acclaimed, modern art museum, is attracting all the attention, but Saskatoon’s Western Development Museum is a work of art in itself, recreating a typical village during the Canadian push westward and documenting the life of its pioneering settlers, many of whom also settled in the northwestern US.
Today I demonstrate how travel opens your eyes and teaches new ideas. I visit a Hutterite colony. I am transported back in time. This community, Riverview, is one-half hour outside of Saskatoon, Canada, but there are similar communities in far northern US states, such as Montana. I called ahead for a tour of a unique way of life in this agrarian religious sect.
I recently travelled to a place where few people go, Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, Canada, but I think is about to start getting a lot of visitors as a result of a new museum opening there. Most Canadians skip right over this gem known affectionately as “Paris on the Prairie,” a nickname recently made into a song by the popular band Tragically Hip. One nice Canadian gentleman told me he was visiting Saskatoon because he had been to every province of Canada except Saskatchewan, and he wanted to go each one. Contrast that with the young lady who explained she was born in Saskatoon, and now worked in Calgary, but that all who come from Saskatoon eventually return there.
A recent trip got me thinking … the end is coming. Everyone can agree that Planet Earth is in a constant state of change. I visited the fantastic Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Canada, near Calgary, and that started my focusing on my epiphany. The museum, dedicated to explaining prehistoric times and the dinosaurs, explained the three cataclysmic events in history (evidenced by telltale signs left in geological remains) when life on Earth was nearly completely extinguished.
Iceland is full of things to see that you won’t find in many places. Visiting the Sólheimajökull glacier was one such amazing place.
I booked a “Southern Coast” tour. The glacier visit was the first stop, but all the stops on the tour were well worth it, even if nothing topped the glacier. The glacier was about one and one-half hours out of Reykjavik.
On a recent trip to Mexico City, my evening flight was cancelled due to storms in Dallas. I was forced to stay overnight at the airport until I could get the next flight in the morning. The morning flight was also cancelled due to the equipment not arriving in Mexico City as a result of the same weather. I didn’t get out until nearly 18 hours after my scheduled departure. All this had an upside. It gave me time to explore Mexico City’s international airport. I was pleasantly surprised.
Mexico City is a wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan city for a quick trip, especially from Texas.
That led me to book a cheap roundtrip flight on American Airlines for $200 from Dallas and a stay at Hotel Geneve ($100/night) for three days. Where else can you go for $500 including airfare? When you arrive in Mexico City’s very modern airport, taxi stands near the exits will arrange for a taxi for a prepaid fare depending on the zone where your hotel is located. The trip cost $25, which I paid with my U.S. credit card. Easy. All the nightmarish tales I was told about how unsafe taxis are, and how they rip you off, no longer apply. Those days are gone. Mexico City has come a long way.
Several years ago, near the city’s main plaza, the Zocolo, and its cathedral, a buried Mayan city was discovered as a new subway line was being excavated. Today, the newish visitor site continues to be excavated and a fantastic museum displays some of the discovered artifacts. The Templo Mayor Museum brings the Mexicas (the word used to describe the indigenous cultures) to life.
You can still see some of these things at the amazing anthropology museum in Mexico City’s Chapultepec park or at the pyramids outside Mexico City at Teotihuacan. This newer museum offers an alternative right in the center of the city!