291 Chapters
Medium 9781907099106

The Pacific Region

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The Pacific Region

Overlooked by most travelers visiting Colombia, the Pacific region is long overduesome attention, and is slowly but surely opening up to ecotourism. In the north, bordering Panama, this awe-inspiring terrain includes the impenetrable tangle of the Darien, a notoriously lawless area blessed with outstanding biodiversity. The Pacific coast stretches southwards through protective mangrove swamps and bays of crystalline waters, favored by migrating humpback whales. The shore continues all the way along the ports of Buenaventura and Tumaco before reaching the border with Ecuador. The Colombian Pacific region is one of the rainiest on earth, and its fiercely tropical climate and ecosystem, combined with the problems of the armed conflict here, have seriously inhibited successful development of a capable and inclusive infrastructure. However, the Pacific is gradually being placed on the map as a tourist destination. The local populations, of Afro-Colombian and indigenous descent, have set about creating ecolodges geared toward nature lovers, and national parks such as Gorgona, Sanquianga and Utría are receiving more visitors every year.

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Medium 9782067182042

Central and Eastern Oregon

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First settled after the Civil War, Central Oregon was sparsely populated for a century until a tourist economy took root in outdoor recreation in the 1960s. Long an Indian home, eastern Oregon was passed up by early pioneers en route to the fertile Willamette Valley. Later arrivals found this country excellent for ranching and mining.

Today, with 120 days of sunshine annually and plentiful outdoor recreation, including snow skiing, mountain biking, golf and white-water rafting, the Bend area is popular with outdoors enthusiasts, and retirees. To the southwest, Mount Bachelor and the Cascade Lakes beckon anglers, skiers and hikers. To the south, the wildlife-rich Hart and Steens ranges thrust skyward. South of Bend, remnants of ancient volcanic activity can be seen at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. To the east, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument affords a glimpse into the distant past of this geologically rich area.

Despite Oregon’s public image as a land of deep forests, almost two-thirds of the state lies within this vast, thinly populated, largely arid landscape of sagebrush and pine, hawk and coyote.

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Medium 9782067182042

For Kids

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Lake Chelan aa

Hwy. 97, 103mi north of Ellensburg. t 509-682-3503. www.lakechelan.com.

This narrow, 50mi-long lake is a recreational haven at its southern end, anchored by the tiny town of Chelan. At its northern end, wilderness terminates at the deeply forested community of Stehekin, a backpackers’ launch pad into the rugged North Cascades National Forest. The Lady of the Lake passenger ferry and float planes carry travelers between the two points. In and near Chelan are pleasant beaches, including Lake Chelan State Park, with 6,000ft of shoreline. Slidewaters waterpark, in Chelan, offers another water-play option.

Dry Fallsa

On Rte. 17, 17mi north of Soap Lake. www.parks.wa.gov. Open summer daily 6:30am–dusk. Winter 8am–dusk.

Few places offer as raw and memorable a look at geological forces as Dry Falls. The “falls” are a bowl-shaped 400ft chasm, 3.5mi wide, carved into volcanic bedrock in the Columbia Basin desert. Thousands of years ago, catastrophic Ice Age floods surged through here as prehistoric Lake Missoula in Montana periodically broke though its ice dam and sent billions of gallons of water west to the Pacific, carving the Columbia Basin landscape.

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Medium 9781907099229

PERTHSHIRE

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Falklanda

The Dutch engraver, John Slezer’s description of Falkland in the 17C, “a pretty little Town ... a stately Palace”, sums up the town of today. Tucked away at the foot of the Lomond Hills, safe from the depredations of war and strife so endemic to Scottish history, Falkland has retained the peaceful charm of a royal burgh of yesteryear.

= Population: 960.

i Info: The Merchant’s House, 339 High Street, Kirkcaldy; t01592 267 775; www.standrews.co.uk.

Ñ Location: 11mi/18km north of Kirkcaldy.

> Timing: Allow at least 1hr 30min.

A BIT OF HISTORY

Fife, the Centre of the Royal Kingdom – The original castle belonged to the Macduffs, the Earls of Fife, and its early history was marked by the mysterious death in 1402 of David, Duke of Rothesay, heir to Robert III, while staying with his uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany. David’s brother, James I, on his release from imprisonment in England in 1424, set out to restore the power of the monarchy. His revenge was total and in the following year the Albanys were beheaded. Their property, including Falkland, passed to the Crown. James II gifted the castle to Mary of Gueldres in 1451 and followed this in 1458 by raising the town to a royal burgh and the castle to a palace.

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Medium 9782067181977

AOSTA VALLEY

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AOSTA VALLEY

The mighty presence of Monte Bianco looms over this region, where grapes are grown in extreme conditions. The vines tenaciously climb the steep slopes in some of the highest vineyards in Europe, challenging the often adverse conditions. The fact that viticulture in the Aosta Valley has managed to achieve such high levels of quality is greatly due to the regional administration. The decision to focus on excellence resulted in the replanting of vineyards, the protection of native species of vine, investment in wine cooperatives, and use of sustainable, integrated agricultural methods. This commitment has been repaid: though modest in terms of quantity, today the local wine production is of superior quality.

Issogne Castle

Metrò Studio Associato/ UFFICIO REGIONALE INFORMAZIONI TURISTICHE

The terroir

There is a single designation of origin, Valle d’Aosta DOC, which breaks down into further specifications that identify the production zones (Donnas, Enfer d’Arvier, Arnad Montjovet, Nus, Chambave, Torrette, Blanc de Morgex and de La Salle), the types of wine (Rosso, Rosato, Bianco, Passito, Superiore and Spumante) and the varieties of grape used (Chardonnay, Cornalin, Fumin, Gamay, Mayolet, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Premetta, Petite Arvine, Petite Rouge, Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Müller Thurgau). This system of designations covers a wide range of wines, many of which are excellent value for money.

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