Hiking Whistler’s Skywalk North Trail

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Skywalk North: Whistler, British Columbia

I’m so excited about a hike I did earlier this week that I’m taking a short break from my Sri Lanka series to tell you about Whistler’s Skywalk North (better known as one of the trails leading to Iceberg Lake). Despite the clouds and the voracious mosquitoes, Skywalk North was amazing and got me motivated to explore more trails of the Skywalk network. My hiking pals (Morag and Eva) and I love a hike with variety and this one gets top marks: The 23 km lollipop route (a loop with a short repeated section at the start and end) travels through cedar forests, alpine meadows, rocky slopes with dramatic views of the Coast Mountains, and a glacial basin with tumbling waterfalls and the turquoise-hued star attraction— Iceberg Lake. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

Tangalla Beach, Sri Lanka: Which direction should we walk today?

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Happiness at Tangalla Beach

We’re sitting under the canopy of a rickety, bamboo-thatched hut. It’s open on three sides, offering up views of the languid comings and goings along the beach. The floor is an extension of the golden sand that meets the azure sea. On the wall behind us is a massive poster of a chilled-out Bob Marley. There’s a rectangular cut-out in the wall next to Bob, with a view into the rustic kitchen, where  a couple of ladies are sharing laughs as one of them prepares Mike’s fruit juice. This place has become our favourite spot for a break during our long beach walks. Maybe it’s the combination of the beautiful beach, mellow vibe and no decision making except for which direction to walk that’s making me feel unusually content. A young man with a big smile brings Mike his juice, and me, my king coconut. Life is good here on Tangalla Beach. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

Don’t let anyone tell you that Colombo is not worth a visit

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Galle Face Geen, Colombo

I enjoyed Colombo much more than I thought I would. I’d read many reviews that describe Sri Lanka’s capital city as not worth a visit, and plagued by traffic congestion, noise and pollution. Sure it has some of these issues, but not worth a visit—no way. We spent a couple of days there at the start of our trip and it turned out to be a fascinating introduction to the country. What I like most about Colombo is its vibrant and diverse public spaces. The city buzzes with energy, and nowhere is this better displayed than in Pettah’s market streets and at Galle Face Green—my two favourite experiences in Colombo (and among my top memories of our entire trip). Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Happy days in Sri Lanka: Highlights of a 3 1/2 week trip

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Cave temples of Dambulla

Mike and I returned home from Sri Lanka just a week before the heinous Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. I’m still shocked and sad, and have had trouble figuring out what to do with this post. While vacationing in Sri Lanka may not be at the top of your list at the moment, I want to share with you the country we experienced—its stunning beauty, rich culture, friendly people, abundant wildlife and delicious food. Tourism is so vital to the Sri Lankan economy and livelihoods of many people. I hope for peace and stability so visitors will return to this gorgeous country. Over the next months I’ll be writing detailed reports about our trip; for now, here’s the highlights of the happy days we spent in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

What’s it like diving with sharks? Fulidhoo Island, Maldives

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Grey reef shark. Courtesy: Natasha Leisi

In my last post, I introduced Fulidhoo Island in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives. One of my readers, Len (lenjourneys.com), asked me what it feels like to be in the water with sharks. I love this simple, direct question. Thinking about it though, the answer is rather complex. In this post, I’ll share my feelings about diving with sharks (coming from someone who doesn’t do this often) and introduce you to the underwater world around Fulidhoo Island.   Continue reading

Categories: Maldives, Scuba Diving/Snorkelling | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

Affordable Maldives? Discovering Fulidhoo Island

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Fulidhoo Island, Maldives

“Wow, the Maldives!” exclaim our friends when we tell them we’ve booked a trip to the Indian Ocean paradise. It’s a polite disguise for, “Jeez how can you afford that?” People’s image of this tropical nation of coral islands is remarkably consistent: turquoise lagoons, dazzling beaches, luxurious water villas, amazing marine life, and dollar signs…lots of them. They’re correct. But, there’s a largely unknown and non-promoted option that provides an affordable (relatively speaking) and arguably richer alternative to the high-priced resort islands. It’s called local island tourism. Mike and I just returned from a week on Fulidoo Island. We’re tanned and relaxed and have money left in our pockets for our next trip. Continue reading

Categories: Maldives | Tags: , , | 29 Comments

My heart goes out to the people of Sri Lanka

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A family enjoys a stroll at Colombo’s Galle Face Green

Easter Sunday. I wake up to the shocking news of the attacks in Sri Lanka. At last count, at least 207 people killed and 450 injured*. Just a week ago, we arrived home from 23 wonderful days in Sri Lanka.  There’s a post in my WordPress drafts that I had intended to publish today: My favourite moments in Sri Lanka—all sparkling beaches, pretty hikes and playful monkeys. In the aftermath of the appalling attacks it just doesn’t feel right. Instead, I’m starting my Sri Lanka series with a photo collage in gratitude for the daily joy we experienced thanks to the Sri Lankan people. Everywhere we travelled in the country, from the southern beaches to the northern tip of Jaffna, we were met with kindness, openness and smiles. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and all the people of Sri Lanka. May your resilience and positive spirits help you weather this tragedy. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

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