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!
Ask people in Mexico City and they invariably tell you it’s the world’s second largest city with 36 million inhabitants, second only to Shanghai’s 42 million. Of course, I have no way of independently verifying this, but a Google search reveals that the population is much lower and Mexico City isn’t second. In any event, the place is huge.
Such a huge city has its share of traffic problems and pollution can get very bad. But on the June weekend when I visited, it was sweater cool and the skies were very blue. Situated in a bowl surrounded by mountains, I can see how the pollution can vary. But its elevation usually makes the climate mild, despite the erroneous mythology to the contrary. Traffic, alas, is definitely a problem. I suggest you don’t drive in Mexico City.
No visit to Reykjavik is complete without a visit to the nearby Blue Lagoon. In fact, it’s only 20 minutes from the international airport, so a long stopover is all it really takes to see it. Buses run by Reykjavik Expeditions connect the Blue Lagoon to the airport directly.
An entrance to the Blue Lagoon can be purchased with this transport included. Whenever you plan to go, you have to book in advance because the place is constantly sold-out way ahead.
The Icelandic owner of this spot has seen it become so successful that he is expanding, adding capacity and an attached hotel.