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Back from Alaska; where to go next?
Old 08-27-2008, 01:18 PM   #1
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Back from Alaska; where to go next?

I recently returned from two weeks in Alaska (a cruise, and then camping/hiking for a week). It was an amazing trip (I'll answer questions if anyone has any...).

So, since I can't NOT be looking forward to a vacation, I am trying to decide where to go next. Next spring, I am "celebrating" my 40th birthday So I am thinking of traveling in March or April, but I am open to next summer as well.

Here are the ideas that are at the top of the list:

Portugal: Bike tour - biking and staying in castles/manors along the way
Yellowstone/Grand Tetons - camping/hiking
Argentina - Buenos Aires, wine tasting/hiking in Mendoza, Iguaza Falls
Greece: cruise through the Greek Isles, Turkey, etc

I like all of the ideas. Having said that: I've been to Greece, but two friends want to do the cruise (and I'm sure it would be great). My best friend really wants to do the biking in Portugal, I really want to start visiting South America and we drink a lot of Argentinian wines right now.....

I would have done a poll, but didn't know how. So, thoughts?

Oh, and just for completeness, we are also going to try to go to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.

Karen
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:20 PM   #2
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Give New Zealand a try.
new zealand landscape - Google Image Search
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We've done three of your four trips
Old 08-27-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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We've done three of your four trips

Portugal, Argentina, Greece (but not a cruise).

All would be fabulous trips.

The Argentina itinerary is the same: We spent three days in BA, with a side trip across the Plata to Colonia in Uruguay. We flew out to Mendoza for 3 days, and then flew to Iguazu for three days, before coming back to BA/Recoleta for a few days.

Portugal - we rented a car after 3 days in Lisbon, went north to Coimbra, then to east/Spanish border for Evora and Estremoz, then south to the Algarve, and stayed in Sagres, finally spending last two days in Caiscas on the Atlantic.

Greece: 5 days on W. Crete, 5 days on Lesbos, four days in Athens.

Great trips all. Portugal is a bit large (and hilly) to bike trip. Staying in Posadas, and manors is a must, though!
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:42 PM   #4
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My wife had a great time biking in Portugal with an organized bike tour company (as opposed to a disorganized one). She did get her plane tickets stolen and the hotels they stayed in had no phones in the rooms back then. Nevertheless, she had a great time. It seems that biking in Portugal would be the most different from the choices you gave us.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:08 PM   #5
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Depending on what you mean by "cruise"...

Some years back SO and I took a sailing cruise through the Greek Islands with several others. We rented a boat complete with Skipper so we couldn't get into too much trouble, but we did a lot of the sailing ourselves.

It was a great mix -- learned a little about sailing, went wherever and whenever we wanted, slept on the boat and bought groceries, etc. for meals at sea, and ate in restaurants for dinner or when we were in port. We got a great mix of the top tourist stops, some small and uncrowded islands with great beaches, and some locations of great historical interest.

One of the top three trips of my life . . . . . thus far!!

Let us know what you decide -- any one of them should be wonderful.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:19 AM   #6
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My top two are touring East African game parks (Kenya and Tanzania) and Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley in Peru.

If you go to East Africa, don't do the tour minibus thing, sign up for a walking / camping tour. Cheaper and much more enjoyable, IMHO. Be sure to spend some time with villagers.

If you go to Peru allow yourself time to adjust to the altitude change.

Not as spectacular as Machu Picchu, but nearly so and more accessible, is Tikal in Guatemala.
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! My expanded list covers things you have mentioned - NZ, Peru, Africa. NZ and Africa I tend to think of as longer trips - like 3 weeks to a month, so that's why they aren't on the short list for next year. Probably be a few years before I shoot for those. I would love to hike to Macchu Piccu.

Caroline - my friends were thinking an actual cruise with a cruise line - but I like how you did it!

Another friend suggested holding off on Portugal until the dollar gets stronger, which is good point.

There's a possibility now that some other friends are traveling to Buenos Aires over Thanksgiving - I couldn't make a long trip out of that, but if we did a 5 or 6 day trip there, then I might lean toward Yellowstone in the late spring.

So much to think about! Keep the ideas coming!
Karen
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:46 PM   #8
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Oh, and just for completeness, we are also going to try to go to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
As you probably already know - ticket go on sale soon (within a month) and will be gone very quickly (within weeks) - plan your events now.
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thanks Slouch - I am on the Vancouver Olympics email alert list. Tickets go on sale in October. You have to buy tickets from the approved IOC vendors - we'll see what kinds of packages they offer.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:50 PM   #10
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Thanks Slouch - I am on the Vancouver Olympics email alert list. Tickets go on sale in October. You have to buy tickets from the approved IOC vendors - we'll see what kinds of packages they offer.
I enjoy being able to eavesdrop on the goings of all you rich people.

Sounds very nice. though if I had that money I would likely just invest most of it anyway.

Ha
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:55 PM   #11
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I enjoy being able to eavesdrop on the goings of all you rich people.

Sounds very nice. though if I had that money I would likely just invest most of it anyway.

Ha

You're in Seattle - it's a relatively short drive to Whistler - you could probably car pool with everyone else going in 2010 - ticket prices are anywhere from $40-50 to several hundred dollars depending on event and seating/location. I think it's worth going for the experience at least 1x in your life.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:11 PM   #12
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I agree with slouch - it's a life's goal of mine to see the Olympics, and we loved Vancouver so much that we thought it would be perfect. I like the winter Olympics better than the summer games.

Ha - I am not rich, far from it. I am still working, single, pay a mortgage by myself here in DC etc, etc. I don't spend much money on "things", I'd rather spend it on experiences. I save 30% of my income and travel with what's left over after the bills are paid.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:22 PM   #13
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I also went to Alaska this year (loved it!), but I also just got back from Machu Picchu and hiking the Inca Trail. If you have an interest in doing this and are in good shape, I highly recommend it. The trail is quite tough, but doable, and you feel a real sense of accomplishment at the end, not to mention that the end is Machu Picchu - the icing on the cake so to speak. Really an amazing, beautiful and spiritual place. No matter how many times you've seen pictures, you still aren't prepared for the impact in person.

I found Peru to be very easy to get around in. It helps to speak a bit of Spanish but I found that many people (at least in the more touristy areas) do speak a little English. Also, the exchange rate is still pretty favorable so now is a great time to visit South America. I spent a total of 10 days there. The hike was through an organized company, but otherwise I made my own arrangements. The only thing to be careful of is that if you are interested in hiking the Inca Trail, you have to get a permit and they are sold out several months in advance for the high season (May-Sept) and are non-transferable. Nov - Feb/March is the rainy season down there (the trail is closed for maintenance every Feb), but April would probably be a good month - it would be right after the rains so everything would be very green.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:11 PM   #14
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We were in Buenos Aires a few years ago. LOVED it. It felt like Paris, but waaaaay cheaper. Too bad it takes so frickin' long to get there.

The Portugal bike trip sounds fantastic; I've always wanted to go to Portugal.

Also, I'd love to rent a canal barge and barge through the Netherlands & Belgium. Sounds very low-key and very fun!
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:43 AM   #15
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We were in Victoria/Vancouver in Sep. Drove up to Whistler. They were working on improving/enlarging the road in preparation for the Olympics. Never skied in my life, and never will. But I had been to Vail, Aspen, and was able to see how Whistler is rated #1 in North America. Summer or winter, it's beautiful. With hotel rooms already expensive in normal time, I wonder how much higher it will be during the Olympics!
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:59 AM   #16
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Our next potential long trip will come in about a year. We're either going to Australia or the poorhouse.
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:34 PM   #17
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Our next potential long trip will come in about a year. We're either going to Australia or the poorhouse.
Hmm. I am thinking about a return trip to Australia and NZ for ourselves. But after reading your post, I thought of some ideas.

1) How about doing both? Australia, THEN, the poorhouse.

2) How about combining them? Poorhouse IN Australia.

Seriously, people who frequent this forum are not the type who finance their vacation with credit cards, nor use the money earmarked for scheduled expenses. However, for me, I am afraid my mind may not feel at ease to enjoy the trip, while my portfolio is stairstepping down mucho each day like today. But then, by next year, things may start to turn around already. One can certainly hope.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:41 AM   #18
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A cruise anywhere is the best way to go, in my book, unless you want to stay on land for more than 1 day at ports. i do the all-in-one air/cruise packages. all i have to do is pack and show up at the airport on time. the rest of the trip is a breeze...oh, except for deciding on port excursions and what to order for dinner or what deck chair to stretch out in or which side of the boat the porpoises may be on.
have fun deciding!
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:01 PM   #19
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The Tour de Mont Blanc is a classic trek that takes approximately 10 days. Beautiful scenery, three countries (France, Italy, Switzerland), and reasonably easy if you are in decent physical condition.

If you're up for something a bit more challenging, try the Tour of the Matterhorn, or the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.
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