Eastern Europe: On and Off the Beaten Track
This talk will feature some of the small historic towns and beautiful countryside in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary. Dotted through this landscape are castles, ancient churches, mountains and hiking trails.
The New South Africa
Ten years after the end of apartheid, South Africa is a nation with a vivid past and a hopeful future. Beautiful mountain and coastal scenery, vibrant cultures, great game parks, warm temperatures, amazing flora and fauna and a mature wine industry all combine to make South Africa a great travel destination. The talk will recap a five-week trip that took place in the Fall of 2003. Join our speakers as they review their overland travels.
Norway: Fabulous Fjords, Falls, and Ferries
Join us on a 3,000 mile, 3 week journey through breathtaking fjord country and then to the Lofoten Islands, far above the Arctic Circle. Abundant long tunnels, soaring bridges and efficient car ferries link even the most remote mountain and fishing villages. It's no surprise that a recent National Geographic Traveler poll of experts on "stewardship" rated the fjords of Norway as the number one tourist location on the planet, in terms of environmental conditions, cultural integrity, aesthetics, and tourism management.The fjords feature massive waterfalls, stunning reflections and lighting effects, narrow canyons, bucolic villages, farmsteads perched on unlikely ledges, and distant mountain vistas.
Reaching for Heaven: Cathedrals and Churches of Europe
Using 3 projectors, Wilbur Bluhm will illustrate more than 75 of the cathedrals and churches that he has visited on his 5 trips to Europe, including most of the countries of Western Europe, as well as Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. While many of these architectural treasures are well known to travelers, others are small and/or remote, but equally fascinating.
Off the Beaten Track in Mongolia
Bouncing around Mongolia, the world's most sparsely populated country, gives new meaning to the phrase "off the beaten track" if you can even find one. Only three percent of Mongolia's roads are paved. From the alpine environment of mountain-ringed Hovsgol Lake on the Siberian border to the sand dunes of the Gobi Desert on the Chinese border, the grasslands seem to go on forever.
We'll begin our expedition in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia's capital and only major city. There we'll have good seats for Naadam, the country's biggest annual festival, featuring archery, wrestling (nine hours worth for the photographer), horse racing, and anklebone shooting with a mini-crossbow. Sounds unusual? Wait until you see the two intertwined acrobats who present the strangest profiles among the hospitable, colorful and immensely resourceful people we'll meet along the way. This is the Mongol nation, squarely on the beaten track from nomadic to urban culture, and from communism's second oldest state to a modern market economy.
As we travel from one ger (yurt) camp to another, we'll also stop off at the site of Kharakorum, Genghis Khan's capital; the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag, renowned for its dinosaur eggs and bones; and the "three beauty" mountains and icy gorge of Gurvansaikhan National Park. We'll keep our eyes open for Bactrian camels, yak-cows (they interbreed), the southernmost reindeer, lots of sheep and goats, and a touring vehicle that was sometimes four-wheeled and sometimes three-wheeled, depending on the availability of spare tires.
China and Tibet 1991: A Moment in Changing Times
Kathie and Mike Van Ronzelen visited China and Tibet in 1991, a time when independent travel in China was relatively uncommon. This was also a time of nascent change in China, post-Tiananmen Square and pre-MacDonalds. Then as today, China provides a wonderful mixture of history, politics, and economic experimentation, sustained by the timeless character of the Chinese people.
An "UNTOUR" to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest
Jim and Judy Heltzel spent three weeks in May and June, 2003 visiting Prague, Budapest and Vienna. The Heltzels' visit was a "city trip" and focused on the art, music and history of each capital. Jim will describe their experiences, including the spring music festival in Prague, a performance by the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest and participating in a church service in Vienna at which a Haydn Mass was performed.
Botswana and the Victoria Falls
Southern Africa! The Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta, and the Victoria Falls: special sights at special sites! How people and animals adapt to geography and geology, from desert to waterways to the world's largest waterfall. Eyeball to eyeball with baboon, giraffe, hippo, elephant, and Bushmen!
Derek Stables will add a few images of the Victoria Falls at different seasons, together with an extravaganza of elephants in Botswana's Chobe Park.
Northwest India: Empire of the Spirit
Gene and Kathy Fletcher are avid travelers, averaging 2 or more international trips per year. Gene will illustrate the history, culture, and exquisite monuments of this exotic, but accessible country, based on their four trips to the Northwestern states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Kashmir, as well as the nearby cities of Delhi and Agra. Their travels included two unique train journeys, "The Palace on Wheels" and "The Royal Orient."
This Web site created by:
Mid-Valley Travel Club