Nothing says Victoria like the city’s iconic Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel.  |  Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

The many faces of Victoria can keep visitors hopping

Victoria excels as a destination. What impresses us most is that it appeals to a wide array of visitors, from history and culture buffs to nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, foodies, golfers, or those who simply like to wander around the stunning setting. Two of the city’s most iconic buildings face the central Inner Harbour. Appropriately, […] Read more

Negotiating the murky world of travel review sites

When planning a trip, most people rely on travel review websites such as Trip Advisor to see how tour companies, hotels or restaurants stack up. Years ago, reviews were the domain of those who did this for a living or were involved in the travel industry, but today regular folks write most online reviews. The […] Read more

The setting sun illuminates the cliffs of Lake Diefenbaker. | Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Lake Diefenbaker offers a tremendous variety of scenery, activities

Massive Lake Diefenbaker dominates summer recreation in southern Saskatchewan. Its 800 kilometres of shoreline boasts three provincial parks, three regional parks, plus various recreation sites. Most visitors have favourite spots that they keep returning to, but we wanted to look at the big picture by circling the entire lake. What impressed us most about the […] Read more


The moon over Hoi An was full during the city’s lantern festival.  |  Arlene and Robin Karpan photos

Enjoying rural Vietnam was trip’s highlight

We passed field after field of rice, corn, taro root, and practically every other imaginable vegetable and herb. Most striking was the intensity of agriculture, and how immaculately everything is kept, especially considering that so much work is done by hand. Riding bicycles through the countryside isn’t the reason we came to Hoi An, but […] Read more

A willingness to plan is part of the decision on whether to travel on your own or go with an escorted group.  |  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo photo

Taking a vacation: independent or escorted group travel?

Which is best, travelling on your own or taking a group tour? The answer is: it depends — on a lot of things. An important factor is whether you enjoy planning an independent trip, and are willing to invest the time and effort. The good news is that in recent years, the proliferation of online […] Read more


The town of Sumpango, Guatemala combines All Saints Day celebrations with a major kite festival. It is believed on this day that family can communicate with the spirits of the departed by flying kites. | Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Celebrating All Saints Day Guatemala style

Dressed in their Sunday best, families sat down to a picnic amid the elaborate flower displays. Kids ran around flying kites, while an ice cream seller did a thriving business from his hand-wheeled cart. Music played as we followed throngs of visitors wandering around. The only unusual part of the festive atmosphere is that we […] Read more

The red leaves of mountain maple trees, centre, contrasts with the gold and green of the mixed wood forest in Cypress Hills.  |  Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Enjoy colourful autumn with trips close to home

Fall is our favourite time to wander around the west. Forests are draped in gold, summertime crowds have cleared out of the parks and accommodation and campsites are more readily available, sometimes at off-season rates. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of free admission to national parks during 2017, fall is the perfect time, especially […] Read more

A water bus travels the Grand Canal. | Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Venice rich with historic treasures

Europe is chock-a-block with historic towns and cities, but Venice stands in a class by itself. No matter how many photos you see of this famous water-borne city, nothing prepares you for experiencing its stunning setting in person. Built on a cluster of small marshy islands as a refuge against barbarian invasions, Venice rose over […] Read more


The view from the Hotel Sacacomie was breathtaking. | Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Wandering through Authentic Quebec

The biggest challenge in travelling to Quebec is deciding where to go. As Canada’s largest province, the array of attractive possibilities can be overwhelming. A great place to start is a region identifying itself as Authentic Quebec, a blending of some of the best that La Belle Province has to offer, but in a manageable […] Read more

Walking on the active sand dunes at sunset, Great Sand Hills.  MIDDLE RIGHT: 70 Mile Butte is illuminated by the setting sun at Grasslands National Park.  |  Arlene & Robin Karpan photo

Sun works its magic in Saskatchewan

The Canadian Prairies have the world’s most stunning sunrises and sunsets. Match a colourful sky with dynamite scenery and the effect can be even more dazzling. If you’re wandering around southern Saskatchewan this summer, try these five fabulous and easy to reach viewpoints to watch the sun do its magic. The name comes from the […] Read more