Nine Hours In Bogota

A statue done by local sculptor seems to gaze up the mountain to the church at Montserrat

Frankly, when I told my friends that I was traveling through Colombia on a recent trip to South America most of them thought I was crazy. Incessant news stories of kidnappings, terrorism and drug deals gone wrong in the 80’s and 90’s had most people believing I’d be a victim of a drive-by within minutes of setting foot on Colombian soil.

Riders Of The Purple Range

Stuart R. Watkins - Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies

There is one not-to-be-missed experience, however, that should be on everyone’s “maple leaf” bucket list. I am referred to a luxurious summer horseback adventure with the venerable 91-year-old Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies (TRCR).

Dracula’s Grave

Snagov monastery altar and Dracula's tomb

Last Halloween I had the opportunity to tour Romania and specifically the portion of the country known as Transylvania. Visiting Vlad’s birth place, the town of Sighisoara and several castles associated with him, our last day was devoted to Snagov Island, a place where legend says the body of Vlad “Dracula” is interred.

In the Shadows of Volcanoes

Laguna de Apoyo

Centuries ago, high atop a hill of solidified magma next to the caldera, a Spanish holy man placed a special cross, intending to exorcise the evil presence from the mountain. So far it hasn’t worked. The locals still know the volcano better by its sobriquet La Boca del Infierno: “the Mouth of Hell.”

Africville

Welcome To Africville

Perhaps they will contemplate racism and injustice and forge a link with a bygone past of laughing children, smiling elders, rollicking church services and a community that endured more than 150 years…but is no more.