My favourite beaches from around the world

Some of my happiest memories from early childhood is when my parents announced we’d be spending the day at the beach. Mom would prepare thickly buttered salami on rye sandwiches; dad would pack up the Oldsmobile. Off we’d drive to Long Sault, a park along the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario. The beach was no great shakes, but at the time I thought it was the best place in the world. While my taste in beaches has changed (some might call me a beach snob), I’m still delighted by a great day at the beach. Here are some of my favourite beaches.

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Categories: France, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, United States | Tags: , , | 64 Comments

100th Post: Ten Places that have “Stuck with Me”


Skyline Ridge Loop at Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish, British Columbia

I was going to continue with my Laos series when I noticed that this is my 100th post. To celebrate, I decided to do a post about places that have stuck in my mind and in my heart. It was a tough exercise limiting this to only ten (there are many runners up). I took a broad approach to the word “place” and the list includes countries, regions, and provinces. A few of the places are from visits that happened long before I’d ever heard the word “blog” or even used a computer, and I’m happy to be sharing these “old” favourites. Thank you for reading, for your likes and comments, and motivating me to keep at it. Continue reading

Categories: British Columbia, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Namibia, Places, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Indonesia’s Mount Bromo: After the Sunrise

Mount Bromo in Java Indonesia just before sunrise—Caroline Helbig

Mount Bromo in Java Indonesia just before sunrise—Caroline Helbig

Mount Bromo, the star among volcanoes in Indonesia, is at its scenic best at sunrise, but stay after the tours have gone to feel its sacred splendor.

I first laid eyes on Mount Bromo, on the Indonesian island of Java, in 1991. The sight of the smoldering volcano rising from within an enormous sea of volcanic sand took my breath away. A few travel moments elicit a spiritual connection and stay etched in memory forever; this was one of them. Twenty years later, I was once again enraptured by Mount Bromo. Continue reading

Categories: Indonesia | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen: The World’s Largest Acid Lake

At the crater rim: Kawah Ijen—Caroline Helbig

At the crater rim: Kawah Ijen—Caroline Helbig

The turquoise acid lake deep inside Kawah Ijen (Ijen crater) looks like it could be home to one of James Bond’s diabolical foes. Incredibly beautiful, but possessing the strength of car battery acid, Kawah Ijen is the world’s largest sulfuric acid lake.

Traveling to this remote part of East Java Indonesia, I was overwhelmed by the scenery and humbled by the men who earn their living here. Kawah Ijen is the site of an extremely labour intensive sulfur mining operation. Watching the miners go about their daily work—a job so physically demanding and dangerous— you’ll think twice before complaining about your job again. Continue reading

Categories: Hiking, Indonesia | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Indonesia’s Bunaken Cha Cha: Top-Notch Family Friendly Diving

Beautiful Bunaken Island, Indonesia—Caroline Helbig

Beautiful Bunaken Island, Indonesia—Caroline Helbig

Tucked away on remote Bunaken Island, off the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, lies the small, intimate Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort. The warm, clear waters around the resort are part of Bunaken National Marine Park, one of the world’s richest aquatic ecosystems and finest diving destinations. Many resorts on Bunaken and nearby Manado cater to the hard-core diver. Bunaken Cha Cha offers a top-notch diving program for all levels, and welcomes families and non-divers. Continue reading

Categories: Indonesia, Scuba Diving/Snorkelling | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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