Arrow-right Camera

Travel

Now: Thu., Jan. 18, 2018, 8:29 p.m. | Search

Discovering the magic of Edinburgh

Just a cannonball’s throw away, the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, stretches toward the Firth of Forth, a blue streak in the distance. (Tom Shroder / For The Washington Post)
The doors of the Airlink 100 bus from Edinburgh airport hissed open at what we thought was the stop nearest to our hotel. The desk clerk I’d emailed said the stop was directly in front of the hotel, which was supposed to be close to the city center. As the bus pulled away, we did not appear to be either opposite the hotel or near the center of anything, except a row of low-rise brown stone structures and a four-lane road. Wrong stop.

Dead-of-winter trips from northern lights to festivals

This Jan. 30, 2015, file photo shows John Houghton, of Vermontville, N.Y., and his sled dog team, giving a ride to a couple, in a snow fall, around Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Mel Evans / Associated Press)
Despite frigid temperatures plaguing some parts of the U.S., winter does have unique charms, whether it’s getting cozy by a fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate in a mountain inn or heading outdoors to a magical landscape of forests and mountains sparkling with snow.

Cruising around Cape Horn is South American adventure

The mountains and glaciers of the Chilean fjords were spectacular. (Doug Hansen / TNS)
A surprisingly cold wind swept across the desolate beach at Volunteer Point, one of the Falkland Islands’ most popular tourist destinations, but the throngs of king, gentoo and Magellanic penguins didn’t seem to mind. This sight made the two hours of bumpy four-wheeling over roadless peat beds worthwhile, and neither the overcast skies nor the midsummer chill could dampen the excitement I felt as I gazed at the largest colony of king penguins outside of Antarctica. More than a thousand of the stately birds huddled in a protective circle, many straddling a single egg or feeding a downy gray chick. Occasionally a few adults waddled unsteadily away from the group, past a separate cluster of gentoo penguins, looking for their next meal in the frigid, steel-gray South Atlantic waters. As I photographed this milange of assorted penguins, I felt that this extraordinary penguin encounter alone made our cruise worthwhile.

Milwaukee: More than just beer here

The Milwaukee Art Museum has an impressive Georgia O’Keefe collection, but the building’s architecture alone is worth a visit. (Photo courtesy Travel Wisconsin)
Milwaukee is like a smaller, more navigable Chicago, just as beautiful with its Lake Michigan shoreline. Just as trendy with its bars, hotels and restaurants. And just as artsy with its museums and public sculptures.

Winter’s magic: Snow brings solitude and plenty of options for fun at Yosemite National Park

The Majestic Hotel in Yosemite National Park. (Yosemite Hospitality)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – Yosemite National Park might not seem like an ideal winter destination, particularly if you’re from a part of the country where you’d like to trade in road salt for rim salt on your margarita and leave the words “wind chill” behind. But Yosemite in winter is magical, as I discovered last year on a trip there with my family just after Christmas. There’s snowboarding and skiing, both downhill and cross-country, as well as sledding (pick up a plastic saucer at a sporting goods store on the way). You can also ice skate at a rink in the shadow of the famed granite formation known as Half Dome. Park rangers also lead snowshoe walks (free with $3 suggested donation).

Monarchs in Mexico allow brush with fragile beauty

Monarch butterfly populations have been on the decline, but swarms of the colorful insects can still be found in certain parts of Mexico. ( (Terri Colby / TNS)
OCAMPO, Mexico – This is a story that must begin at the end. But oh, what an end. I stood on a forested mountaintop in Mexico in late February, mesmerized by monarch butterflies swirling around me, darting in and out of the trees and pockets of sunlight. They were high in the blue skies, clumped by the thousands on tree trunks and branches, clustered on woodland flowers and swarming in small streams of water on the forest floor. The sound of their wings was like a whisper on the breeze.

New Mexico: Balloon rides, natural wonders, Georgia O’Keeffe

This July 2017 photo shows a Rainbow Ryders hot air balloon in flight over the Rio Grande Valley surrounding Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hot air balloon rides are one of the main outdoor activities tourists enjoy in New Mexico due to optimal climate conditions in the state. (AP Photo/Amir Bibawy) ORG XMIT: NYLS211 (Amir Bibawy / AP)
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Away from bustling Santa Fe and quirky Albuquerque, New Mexico offers stunning natural wonders, wide expanses of desert and mountains and clear skies that guarantee endless days of sightseeing and outdoor fun. On a recent trip, I got to experience all that, plus delicious food, a rodeo and a hot-air balloon ride.