Banff: Escape to the Rugged Beauty of Canada’s First National Park. A traveler finds peace and herself in Alberta’s wilderness.
The maple leaves
It is July 1 in Banff, Alberta, and residents are celebrating Canada Day as the country readies for the big bash in 2017, when Canada marks its 150th anniversary as a nation. The food stalls offer bison jerky and stone-fruit juices and vegetable samosas. Performers are attired in costumes from many lands. Singers belt out a universal message of love and harmony in many tongues. Read more
Angling for its turn on the world stage, this tiny island nation is embracing a reboot while holding fast to a formidable heritage.
Fortified town of Mdina
We’re in Malta’s ancient fortified town of Mdina, on Pjazza Mesquita, 30 or so English-speaking tourists wearing an inordinate number of Game of Thrones T-shirts for our show-themed tour. Before us hang the balconies where scheming Lord Baelish displayed his prostitutes and Ned Stark, Lord Paramount of the North, is horrified to find his wife. Everything around us—walls, paving stones—is golden-hued limestone, interrupted only by green shutters and black iron curving over windows. Read more
Lake Baikal is the freshwater lake with greatest volume in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water, and at 1,642 m, the deepest.
In total there are less than 60 native fish species in the lake, but more than half of these are endemic. The families Abyssocottidae (deep-water sculpins), Comephoridae (golomyankas or Baikal oilfish) and Cottocomephoridae (Baikal sculpins), and the subfamily Cottinae (part of the cottid family) are entirely restricted to the lake basin. Read more
Just a few hours outside Montreal, the Laurentian Mountains and the surrounding small towns offer visitors miles of hiking trails, spectacular views, and sparkling lakes.
Find Small-Town Charm
Your first destination out of town should be the lakeside hamlet of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, just over an hour northwest of Montreal. The town sits a few miles off Highway 15, the main artery in these parts, but feels a world apart. The town dates back to 1849, when pioneering traders settled here. By the early 20th century, the town had become a popular destination for travelers. In the winter, visitors came to cross-country ski and ice-skate. In the summer, people stopped to enjoy the beautiful, forested hills and wholesome, restorative setting. In fact, the area was home to several sanatoriums where folks would come to convalesce in the healthy air. Read more