Laguna de los Tres (Fitz Roy): The Iconic Patagonian Hike in all its Fall Finery

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Early morning view of Fitz Roy from our El Chalén hotel—C.Helbig

On our first morning in El Chaltén, Argentina we woke up to a fiery red Mount Fitz Roy. I was beyond excited. Clear days are few and far between in southern Patagonia. Our guesthouse host recommended we do the Laguna de los Tres hike (also called Cerro Fitz Roy) for the best close-up views of the crown jewel of Patagonia. This hike, located in Los Glaciares National Park, has it all—granite spires, giant glaciers, turquoise lakes and pretty forests that pop with unbelievable colours if you’re lucky enough to be there in fall. Laguna de Los Tres is surprisingly accessible and relatively easy if you’re reasonably fit.  From start to finish, this hike is as stunning as they come.   Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Argentina, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

WINE-der WOMAN at the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon

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Team Wine-der Woman running through the vineyards—C.Helbig

It’s my favourite weekend of the year! It’s filled with belly laughs, outrageous silliness and much wine consumption with great friends. This is our fourth year participating in the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon, an annual event that takes place in the vineyards of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Named the 2017 Canadian Event of the Year at the Canadian Tourism Awards, the “marathon” is an 18 km (11.2 mile) course that winds its way through bucolic countryside with more than a dozen wine tasting and food sampling stops along the way. There are no prizes for speed, only creativity. After being pushed off the podium last year, we were thrilled to reclaim first prize with our WINE-der WOMAN costume. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Crazy Fun Stuff, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

El Chaltén, Argentina: The Day Hiking Capital of Patagonia

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View of Fitz Roy from El Chaltén bus station—C.Helbig

No camping! That had been the key request. Mike wanted a comfy bed and hot shower at the end of a long day of hiking in Patagonia. I had always associated Torres del Paine in Chile with epic Patagonian hikes. Much to my dismay, I read that the best way to see those iconic rock spires was on multi-day treks. Then, with a little research, I leaned about El Chaltén, Argentina. This tiny town sits underneath the mother of Patagonia’s granite towers, Mount Fitz Roy. It’s a charmingly quirky place with an end-of-the-earth feel and plenty of accommodations to suit hikers of all budgets. Trailheads to the most amazing day hikes in Patagonia start right in town. Let me introduce you to a few of them.

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Categories: Activities, Argentina, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

My 10 Perfect Moments in Argentina

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Llama against the stark beauty of northwestern Argentina—C.Helbig

We just got home from a month in South America: three weeks in Argentina, a 4-day jeep tour in southern Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, and a few days in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Yup, a whirlwind of greatest hits and a few off-the- beaten-path gems. This is the first in a series of posts about the natural wonders and cultures of these countries. I’m still on cloud nine thinking about all our amazing experiences. I’m going to start with the highlights of our travels in Argentina. They aren’t in any specific order, except perhaps the first one. Continue reading

Categories: Argentina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Seven Stress-busting Activities in Bangkok

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Bangkok’s flower market—C.Helbig

Bangkok is an awesome city, but it’s also hot, noisy, smelly, chaotic and traffic-choked. Exploring Bangkok on a quick visit and trying to fit in all its spectacular attractions feels like you’ve been put through the spin cycle (a very hot and humid one). Fellow blogger, Planet Bell, said it best: It’s an assault on the senses. I urge you to read his hilarious and oh so accurate description of the craziness that is Bangkok. It’s where I got my inspiration for this post. There’s plenty of information out there on Bangkok’s must-sees. This post is about my very subjective tips on how to survive the must-sees—activities that calm the senses and evaporate the sweat (sort of). Some may surprise you. And, most of them are cheap or free. Continue reading

Categories: Places, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , | 25 Comments

The Fascinating and Troubled Floating Village of Kompong Luong, Cambodia

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 Kompong Luong floating village in Cambodia—C.Helbig

I’ve been putting off writing about our visit to Kompong Luong, a large floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia. Maybe it’s because I was somewhat uncomfortable being there. Also, my knowledge about the community is poor, so I feel ill-equipped to write about it. And, my photos, taken in the bright glare of midday, look as washed-out as I felt. Nevertheless, as I think back at our short time at Kompong Luong it was one of our more unique travel experiences. Imagine, a community of over 1000 families largely dependent on fishing, where everything floats: temples, markets, clinics, restaurants, a police station, even a karaoke bar…Sadly, it and other communities on the Tonlé Sap face major problems.  Continue reading

Categories: Cambodia, Places | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

Winter hike and overnight at Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park

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Elfin Lakes Trail, Garibaldi Provincial Park—C.Helbig

I have raved about this hike in summer and now I’m going to sing its praises in winter. The snowy mountain scenery along the Elfin Lakes trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia, is stunning. Hiking it on a windstill day, under a cerulean sky is pure happiness for me.  It’s still early in 2018, but our hike to Elfin Lakes and overnight at its backcountry shelter may well turn out to be the highlight of my year.  Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

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