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Senior Travel Newsletter: nature, cruise, barging, volunteer vacations.
Senior travel newsletter: nature travel, educational, cultural, volunteer, cruise and barging vacations worldwide.
New stories, February 1, 2015 
TravelWatch: Senior Travel Newsletter.

What's on the Travel News Menu for YOU Today
Senior travel nature vacations, cruise and barging vacations, volunteer vacations worldwide & much more! Would you like to be notified of each bi-monthly issue as it is launched? Click here to add your email to our TravelWatch newsletter notification list. [See our Privacy Policy]

1. Every year, British Columbia's coastal ferries transport millions of people and vehicles across the strait between Vancouver and Victoria. Now there's a whale-watching company combining transportation, downtown to downtown, with thrilling west coast nature spotting, between May and September.
2. For 27 years, 50+ active adventurers have been walking the world exploring 30 destinations on stimulating small-group tours that offer grassroots cultural experiences and spectacular nature. Can you guess the company's name?
3. Kayaking along Venice's iconic canals, paddling to coastal villages along the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre or immersing in the rugged beauty of Wild Sardinia, each kayaking tour offers fresh water-level perspectives on Italy's iconic destinations.
4. Calling volunteers to join a well-established Young at Heart (50+) Tour bringing skills and enthusiasm to remote valleys in Nepal … ten precious days of sharing in May 2015 that will change your life and encourage appreciative villagers of all ages.
5. Here's a charming small book that combines French language with cultural and cuisine history. It is a practical collection of words and phrases to make you sound like a Francophile wine and food connoisseur and have you testing and tasting the book's dozens of recipes with Julia Child flair.

Before planning your next adventure, you may compare accommodation alternatives with sites such as www.trivago.com or use their data base for further information about your destination and read traveler hotel reviews.

Move over BC Ferries – There's Another Way to Ply the Strait between Victoria and Vancouver!

Humpback Whales Breaching. Mark Malleson
British Columbia Ferries has long been the mainstay for travelers crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca by water between Victoria on Vancouver Island and Vancouver on the B.C. Mainland. It can be a very scenic crossing through the Gulf Islands and across the open waters of the strait but the two ferry terminals are each a 45-minute to one-hour drive from the heart of Vancouver and Victoria. This adds almost two hours of driving or bussing to the ferry time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.
If you have no rental car and prefer a more informative crossing downtown to downtown Victoria and Vancouver harbors, there is now a seasonally-operating, passenger-only choice to cater to adventurous travelers from late May to late September. The company is aptly named Prince of Whales, www.princeofwhales.com. This journey may be treated as the ultimate round trip day tour which is what most international visitors choose to do, or as an educational "ferry ride" one way with suitcase in hand in order to linger longer in one of these stimulating cities, possibly returning several days later. Either way, you will turn a standard crossing into an extraordinary nature-spotting journey.
Having spent more than 20 years leading whale watching wildlife viewing excursions in B.C. waters, Prince of Whales is the largest environmentally-friendly whale watching company in the province, making it an ideal candidate to introduce these city-to-city crossings. The first two years of offering these strait-crossing itineraries has illustrated how in demand such an option is when using their comfortable Ocean Magic 62-foot aluminum express cruisers carrying up to 74 passengers.
Left: Prince of Whales Ocean Magic II. Greg Aspa
Bottom Right: Victoria Inner Harbour where Victoria Prince of Whales trips begin and end. Greg Aspa
Traveling at up to 30 knots (55 km/hour), expect an expert onboard naturalist to lead a stimulating voyage of discovery working with the captain to to seek out killer whales, humpback whales, sea birds and other wildlife around the nearby (U.S.) San Juan and (Canadian) Gulf Islands as the vessels make their way from one city to the other. There are crossings in both directions each day of the season and the price includes entrance and quality time to enjoy the world-acclaimed Butchart Gardens just outside Victoria.
Specifically built for whale watching and eco-adventures, the Ocean Magic vessels are designed with awareness of the whale's communication styles maintaining a low sound profile to protect that environment. The vessels feature outdoor viewing areas, heated passenger seating areas, washrooms and a pantry stocked with hot and cold drinks and light snacks for purchase. For complete information, dates and rates, see the Prince of Whales website.
Sea Lions are abundant on the B.C.
south coast.
 Marie O'Shaughnessy
Walking the World, Challenging and Delighting
Active Senior Travelers since 1987
Get Up Go Wild Give Back … now that's a mission that vacationers aged 50+ have found to their liking for the past 27 years, says Walking the World's founder and president, Ward Luthi. "With 30 destinations that we've explored over the years, our small groups with a maximum of 16 active travelers have discovered the world's most magical corners," he recalls. "We have done this with an expectation of meeting the local people, savoring the region's most superb cuisine and taking time to stand and marvel at some of the planet's finest natural beauty."

Walking the World's President, Ward Luthi, admires the view from Quandary Peak, Colorado.

In 2015, Walking the World is offering two ten-day Camino de Santiago walks across parts of northern Spain, with May and October departures.
Launched in 1987, Walking the World, www.walkingtheworld.com, was the first tour operator to offer active outdoor programs for people 50 years of age and better. And, before you ask, there's no upper age limit! Since then thousands of clients have been challenged to lace up their boots, grab a daypack and set off on a well-planned, memorable adventure with certified guides who are the envy of the industry. "Our high rate of return clients confirms our passion for travel and commitment to making it truly meaningful," says Luthi.
A Walking the World group takes a break while exploring the rugged Island of Corsica.
On the itinerary list for 2015, offered between April and November, clients may choose from adventures on three continents: Utah Parks, Spain's Camino de Santiago (May and October departures), Tanzania, Ireland, Corsica, Italy (Tuscany and the Dolomites), Sicily, Costa Rica, France's Provence and the U.S. state of Maine with forests be-decked in their dazzling autumn colors. There are always some new destinations and some perennial favorites such as the ten-day walk along Spain's Camino de Santiago.
As part of its on-going Walking with a Purpose commitment to give back to people who lack access to basic amenities of life we often take for granted, Walking the World has just unveiled a striking new T-shirt fundraiser. The company donates US$9.00 from the sale of each shirt to plant trees, build schools, and provide clean cook stoves to families in Central American countries.
Images courtesy of Walking the World.
A high-quality, 100% ring spun organic cotton T-shirt sells for US$29 with $9 going to Walking with a Purpose charities in Central America.
Kayaking to Italy's Historic Seaside Villages, Sardinia's
Coastal Wilderness AND through Venice's Iconic Canals!
"When you think of Italy, kayaking is hardly the first thing that comes to mind," says Grant Thompson, Tofino Expeditions' Founder and President. "That's what I thought until I started paddling there and discovering a completely new dimension to one of the world's best loved travel destinations."
Left: Kayaking the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre: Enjoy la dolce vita, the sweet life, on one of the most richly magnificent coastlines in the world. July and August, seven days, Easy.
Right: Kayaking Cinque Terre and Sardinia: Combine two of Italy's most distinctive regions into a single amazing kayak vacation. June to September, 11 days, Easy-Intermediate.
Thompson shares more of what motivated him to launch the most diverse Italian kayaking tour program available anywhere. "With clear warm water that is invitingly swimmable from May through early October, the Mediterranean is pretty much perfect for kayaking," he recalls, "and the amazing range of landforms and microclimates gives Italy its distinctive regional character and an ancient history that enhances remarkably different paddling experiences."

"At their heart, the small villages of coastal Italy are a culture of small boats and the warm welcome that paddlers receive continues to charm and impress me with every trip. Of course, you work up an appetite when you paddle and there really is no finer place to eat than Italy. Every village has a proud specialty done better there than anywhere else. You experience the truest expression of local cuisine."
Left: Venice and the Lagoon: Discover the grandeur of Venice from the unique perspective of your own kayak. May to October, eight days, Easy-Intermediate.
Right: Italy Kayaking Wild Sardinia: Explore the crystal clear waters and rugged beauty of Europe's last wild island. June to September, nine days, Easy
Since 1988 multi-award winning Tofino Expeditions, www.tofino.com, has offered inspired sea kayaking tours and courses in British Columbia's Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and Mexico's Baja California. The company also offers sea kayak adventures worldwide in: Italy, the Amazon rainforest, the Costa Verde of Brazil, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Croatia's Dalmatian Coast and the Galapagos Islands. The vast majority of trips in North America and overseas, include visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Italian itineraries were awarded Best Tours in Europe 2014 by National Geographic Traveler Magazine's Tours of a Lifetime.
Images © to Tofino Expeditions.
Nepal Young at Heart Tour (for 50+) Welcomes Volunteers!
Now in its fourth year developed and coordinated by New Zealand-based Global Volunteer Network, the Nepal Young at Heart volunteer Tour caters to volunteers aged 50 years or better who are ready for their next adventure and an opportunity to bring their skills and enthusiasm to appreciative villagers.
A main focus for the 10-day Young at Heart Tour, May 6 to 16, 2015, is to provide creative learning to school children in remote areas of Nepal. Depending on the volunteer's passion/skills, the topics taught will vary. You may teach the children a range of topics from English, poetry and art to geography and environmental issues. Sometimes this can be done through song and dance … it's really about learning in a creative manner, regardless of the topic. There is absolutely no creativity in the classrooms in Nepal, everything is learned by rote, regardless of comprehension, so this tour is designed to be a special release from the usual classroom teaching methods. It is, indeed, a gift to both children and teachers!

Creatively engaging with local people brings laughter and satisfaction to the volunteer experience.
Alongside the creative learning project, volunteers have the chance to interact with children in local homes. This involves helping them with their homework and weekend activities, as well as sharing a range of cross-cultural activities with their host family and local community. Volunteers learn about the charm and attraction of the Nepal culture through cooking and language lessons throughout the tour. Volunteers also participate in a Walking tour and museum visit in Patan. Volunteers have 24/7 in-country support throughout their stay in Nepal.
Nepalese children in remote areas are delighted to learn new dances with volunteers.
Since its founding in 2002, the efforts of Global Volunteer Network, www.globalvolunteernetwork.org have inspired learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. GVN works with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges. Recommended by Bill Gates and CNN, it has to date placed more than 19,700 volunteers in affordable, rewarding projects worldwide. Most programs are 75% female to 25% male participants. In our publication's Travel Article Library, you will find an inspiring article about the founding of the organization and its wide-ranging projects.
Images courtesy of Global Volunteer Network.

Volunteers may choose to join villagers in many activities such as harvesting in valley fields.
Master the Culture, Language and Savoir Faire of French Cuisine
A Creative Present for a Francophile Friend or Family Member!
The Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas is a challenging book to review. Pourquoi? Because in a modest 272 pages it dares to combine insights into French culture and culinary history, an eminently-practical collection of words and phrases designed to build verbal confidence in its readers, and offer a wide range of genuine French recipes both traditional and avant garde! Of course, a glass or two of French wine also builds confidence to converse with the waiter when enquiring, "Which wine do you recommend for a lamb stew?" Or quel vin me recommendez-vous pour un gigot d'agneau? But you already knew that!
The Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas.
Whether or not you have yet had the good fortune to set foot in France, you're probably already familiar with such words as baguette, croissant, macaron or ratatouille. Food is part of social customs and holds values that have been passed from generation to generation, to the point that it's almost become a citizen itself. It is, in fact, so embedded in French culture that in 2010, UNESCO named French cuisine part of the world's intangible cultural heritage.

Perhaps you dream of renting an apartment for a week or a month in Paris and wonder how you will navigate the local grocery shops, or perhaps you want to get off the tourist path with a rental car to explore the charming medieval villages and towns sprinkled around the base of the French Pyrenees Mountains. This book will allow you to relax in the most traditional of local bistros. Or without so much as a thought of flying to France, you may simply want to improve your French cuisine cooking skills and impress friends at dinner parties. From getting to know the typical ingredients found in a French kitchen to learning how to cook world-famous dishes, this too is a valuable book for you.
The author, Victoria Mas, is a French native raised in the south of France and fed unique local specialties from her village. After studying in California, she got her master's degree in literature from Paris's Sorbonne University and remembers all the times she fortified herself at her favorite Montmartre bakery to get through the exams. Victoria has worked as a cultural columnist, a photographer, and a screenwriter and writer for various projects in film, theater, and TV. She is devoted to writing and sharing her passion for French food with which, like all her compatriots, she's had a romance since childhood.

The Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas. Ulysses Press, published November 2014, Hardback, US$15.95, 272 pages. ISBN: 978-1-61243-355-4. Available in Kindle version or hard cover at Amazon and at local book shops..

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