Colin Weir gives Arlene Karpan a close-up view of a golden eagle at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale, Alta.  |  Robin and Arlene Karpan photo

Get close and personal with Alberta’s birds of prey

Lincoln the bald eagle perches on Allison’s outstretched arm and waits for a signal. Suddenly he takes to the air and in a matter of seconds reaches the arm of a second handler in the distance. His reward, a tasty bit of fresh meat. Then, swoosh; and he’s back on Allison’s arm as she describes […] Read more

Mountains overlook the Kathleen River in Yukon’s Kluane National Park.    |    Arlene and Robin Karpan photo

Kluane National Park is bold, big and easy to visit

Everything about Kluane National Park is big. It sprawls across southwestern Yukon, is home to the world’s largest ice fields outside the polar regions and has glaciers, wild rivers and wildlife galore. It encompasses 17 of Canada’s 20 tallest mountains, including the imposing Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak at 5,959 metres. The natural features are […] Read more

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