Travel Club


Meeting Archive


January, 2011:

A Danish Treat
Dick and Jane Groff

Join us as we explore the tiny country of Denmark, from its grand, grand castles, built by the larger-than-life Frederick IV, to the intimate pleasures of "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen." Learn why the Danes consider themselves to be the happiest people on earth: windmills, recycling, "Danish modern", Hans Christian Andersen, Tivoli, smørrebrød, and the pursuit of that elusive, hard-to-define, but prized quality, known as "hyggelig." Contrary to the oft-quoted line in Shakespeare's Hamlet, we found that, "Nothing is rotten in the state of Denmark!"

February, 2011:

Northern Peru–Beyond Machu Picchu
Virginia Vanderbilt

If you tell people that you’re going to Peru, they assume that you will just visit those icons of Incan culture, Machu Picchu and Cuzco. Virginia challenges that assumption by illustrating other ancient cultures in Northern Peru. She begins with Moche and Chimu sites near Trujillo, including the Huaca de la Luna, the Huaca El Brujo, and the Chan Chan complex, capital of the 12C Chimu Empire. Further north, she shows us the Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan at Lambayeque and aspects of Sican culture at Ferrenafe. But YES, she will take us south to Machu Picchu and Cuzco!


March, 2011:

Oxford & the Oxfordshire Cotswolds
Dreaming Spires, Golden Stones, and Trendy Townies
Darlene Strozut

Oxford, of dreaming spires and 1000 year traditions, is also one of England’s most hip, diverse cities, where factory workers and the world’s elite have lived, fought and partied for centuries. The surrounding Oxfordshire countryside is dotted with Hobbit-evoking villages of honey-hued stone, ducal palaces, quaint breweries, and hounds and horses. Oxford was the English Civil War capital for Charles I, and Hitler’s choice for his triumphal English capital after Nazi conquest. Today, a neighboring market town is the seat of the British Prime Minister. Kings were crowned here, churches were founded here, martyrs were burned here and Middle Earth and the White Rabbit were birthed here. Oxford and Oxfordshire have been at the heart of English history before recorded history, but more, they are places of the imagination.


April, 2011:

Intense India
Don Jacobsen

India is not a destination for the faint-of-heart but, armed with every shot and pill recommended by the CDC and with your ever-present water bottle, you can survive India in fine style and witness one of the great civilizations of the world. Incredible sights are everywhere: Bengal tigers in Ranthambhore Tiger Preserve; Agra's Taj Mahal and Agra Fort; the exotic temples of Khajuraho; incredible palaces; and the ghats along the Ganges River. The modern--Mercedes Benzes, cell phones, and five-star hotels--co-exist with the very traditional--camel carts, elephants, cows sleeping in the streets, and make-shift shanties leaning against walls. Contrast Delhi, the noisy and chaotic metropolis of fifteen million plus inhabitants, all traveling the streets at the same time, with the "living past" of rural Rajasthan's time-machine. Let the annual Pushkar Camel Fair, a meeting of nomads, camels, cattle and horses, take you back a thousand years.


May, 2011:

Boondocking in Botswana
Camping Wild and Alone in a Land Rover

Charlie Wilson

Charlie will describe his family's four week independent trip to Botswana in 2006. They rented a Land Rover Defender, fully equipped with a winch and snorkel etc., and camped on their own, visiting Chobe; the Okavango Delta; Savuti; Nxai & Makgadikgadi Pans; the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; and the adjacent Caprivi Strip in Namibia. Armed with their GPS (and mapping software downloaded from the Web, they drove over 2000 miles, mostly off road, without local guides and meeting no other Americans. They survived a breakdown on the Trans-Kalahari Road, a rogue elephant in camp, and numerous wildlife encounters. They are planning their return visit.


June, 2011:

The Amazon: Life on the River

Gene Davis

Come with us along the Amazon, one of the least traveled, yet most exciting venues on earth. The world's largest river measures 3900 miles in length from Peru to the Atlantic Ocean, averages one to 24 miles wide in the dry season, and carries 20% of the earth's fresh water supply.

Our journey encompasses 2400 miles from Iquitos, Peru to Belem, Brazil on the Amazon estuary. Along the way, we visit Manaus, the rubber boom town with the world's most remote opera house, but most of our trip passes through dense jungle, populated mainly by poor indigenous peoples and teeming with exotic wildlife.


September, 2011:

Italy: The Veneto and the Dolomites

Ken Leach

The Veneto province of NE Italy, with Venice as its capital, is visited by over 60 million tourists every year; however, many confine their visit to Venice before moving south to other regions of Italy. Those that take the time to explore more of the Veneto are richly rewarded by the cities of Verona, Vicenza, and Padua and by the scenery of Lake Garda and the Dolomites. This region was subject to invasion more often than most in Italy, which makes for an interesting, storied history and rich cultural diversity.


October, 2011:

Your Return Visit to London

Chuck & Cherie Bennett

So, you've been to London once or twice and you've seen some or all of the biggies: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, The Tower, London Eye, British Museum, and a few other exhausting museums. Now, what do you do for an encore? Your best move is to hire as your private guides Cherie Bennett (12+ visits to London) and Chuck Bennett (not quite as many, but enough). Ah, but there's the small problem of the economy, you say! In that case, your next best choice is attendance at this illustrated presentation by two of Salem's most devoted Anglophiles and frequent speakers to the Travel Club.


November, 2011:

Canyon Country USA

Kris & Carolyn Gorsuch

Kris and Carolyn will illustrate the very best of their favorite haunts in the American Southwest, from Joshua Tree and Death Valley in California, through Bryce Canyon and Arches National Parks and the Escalante Staircase in Utah, to the Grand Canyon. A single look at the geology of the breathtaking layer cake of slick rock, sand, slot canyons, and striated cliffs that constitute the Colorado Plateau can take you back 2 billion years, yet there are also more recent archaeological treasures in the pictographs and cliff dwellings of the Ancient Ones.

For the text of their presentation, please click here.

(This is a text only file. The file would be too large to post if it included all the photos.)

December, 2011:

Travels in Tunisia

Ken & Pat Simila

Ken and Pat's trip in 2009 included Tunis, the capital; Jerba, a balmy Mediterranean island; remains of ancient Carthage and numerous Roman buildings; and a narrow-gauge railroad through the Seldja Gorge. Rich agricultural areas in the Atlas Mountains' foothills of the North contrast with dry lakes in the South and sweeping desert vistas, including WWII battle sites and "Star Wars" movie sets. The people are friendly and the dominant Islamic culture tolerates other religions. Recent elections hold promise of a real "Arab Spring," so plan your visit!


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Peter Ronai
Mid-Valley Travel Club