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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    There's bungee jumping at the state fair. And then there's bungee jumping off a 700-foot dam on the edge of Switzerland.

    The interweb is abuzz with lists of must-dos and must-sees for the coming year. We know what's good for us, and we're not adding these crazy jumps to any of them.

    1. The Contra Dam in Ticino, Switzerland
    In the opening scene of "GoldenEye," James Bond jumps from this 720-foot dam on a river in Switzerland. Average Joe tourists can have their own 007 moment with a number of guided bungee excursions. If you're psycho, try it backwards. Or at night.

    2. Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado
    This bridge is actually mind-boggling: like a little string between two cliffs, it hangs 1,053 feet above the gorge below. The free fall from the edge lasts for five seconds, after which time BASE jumpers open their parachutes and sail to the gorge's floor. An extreme events company used to host an annual, invitation-only BASE jumping event here, but then it was mysteriously cancelled... which is probably for the better.


    3. Bloukrans Bridge Bungee in South Africa
    This is the highest commercial bridge bungee in the world, at 709 feet of sheer, belly-dropping terror. You can sign up to walk the bridge... or you can sign up to jump off it. Bloukrans is the site of many record-breaking jumps, including the most bungee jumps in 24 hours (107, though the record has since been beaten) and the oldest person to bungee jump (Mohr Keet, at 96 years old).

    4. Phi Phi Island, Thailand
    Tiny wooden ladders snaked up the side of the Viking Caves on Phi Phi Island during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series this fall. World-class divers fell 82 feet in a mind-blowing spectacle. Tourism websites recommend you start with the island's smaller cliffs, for obvious reasons.


    5. Gudvangen, Norway
    In the mountains of Norway, daredevils prefer to attack their BASE jump in one of two ways: from a helicopter, or while wearing a wingsuit. The special suit increases lift, so you can enjoy a few extra seconds of (terror-stricken) soaring before you pull your parachute.

    6. Brontallo, Switzerland
    Nobody's stopping you from diving here... well maybe one of Brontallo's 50 residents will catch you, but they'll probably call all their friends to watch your fall from the 78-foot cliffs around their tiny Swiss town. The World High Diving Federation hosts a competition here each summer, with judges sitting casually in holes of the craggy cliffs.

    7. Kuala Lumpur Tower, Malaysia
    This autumn, 103 BASE jumpers from all over the world converged to hurl themselves -- without a bungee cord -- off this Malaysian tower that measures 1,379 high. Feel free to consider joining next year's event.

    8. La Quebrada in Acapulco, Mexico
    Divers must have perfect timing to survive this jump, as the ocean only opens to a safe depth for five seconds between waves. Though the stakes are high, generations of locals have trained for this jump. They bravely show their skills to tourists in both daytime and terrifying, torch-lit nighttime shows.

    9. Nevis Bungee in Queenstown, Australia
    Staff will "lull you into a false sense of security" with a calming van ride to the highest bungee in Australia. After some pump-up music, take the 439-foot plunge and smile for the gimmicky video recorders.

    10. Ponte Colossus in Italy
    Near a little village between Milan and Turin, bungee fanatics pilgrimage to a colossal, eight-tiered bridge whose height lives up to its name. The initial fall of 499 feet takes about 4.5 seconds. Apparently, that's not enough-- jumpers often come back for more.

    11. Rick's Cafe in Negril, Jamaica
    This Rasta-themed cafe is a hit with tourists, who come for rollicking happy hours and gorgeous ocean views from the cliffs outside. While locals make the 35-foot dive into the water in an attempt to earn tips, tourists all too often try the jump for themselves... sometimes with life-altering injuries as a result.

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    Not to sound ungrateful to the gods of culture, but once you've seen one museum, you sometimes feel like you've seen them all.

    Looking for something extra crazy to do on your EuroTrip? Allow us to highlight the wacko-ist spots in each city on your map.

    You could sip tea with the queen.
    You should sip tea with an imaginary family in Dennis Severs' House. In the 70s, an American named Dennis Severs bought this dilapidated red-brick home and turned it into a living space for the Jervises, a family of silk weavers that existed only in his imagination. Severs kept wood fires burning, candles lit, tea poured and half-eaten toast on the table for his nonexistent companions, creating an entire world for them. Today, you can still tour the house and let its eerie feeling of emptiness overwhelm you.

    You could tour Museum Island.
    You should tour Tropical Islands, the artificial rainforest conglomeration in an old airship hanger in the middle of an empty field. Developed by a Malaysian entrepreneur, Tropical Islands is part water park, part botanical garden, part spa and part campground-- you can stay there overnight in a tent. A wonderland of restaurants, water slides, and dance shows all converge under the massive glass dome, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
    tropical islands berlin

    You could sample whiskey at the Jameson Distillery.
    You should sample nudism with the elderly men at Forty Foot, an ice-cold bathing pool in Dublin Bay. The spot serves as the opening scene for James Joyce's "Ulysses," and it used to be a gentlemen's-only bathing club. Now, all genders and ages are welcome, but old guys still rule. People say a plunge in the frigid water is healthy for the skin... which is probably just an excuse for them to do it naked.
    forty foot dublin

    You could see Manneken-Pis.
    You should opt for some more lively little humans at the Theatre Royal de Toone, a kooky live puppet show in the attic of an old family house. With help from their hardworking owners, marionettes act out plays from Shakespeare and Molière while you sip beer, stunned by their Flemish accents. Well-loved (aka creepy and overused) puppets lay limp in the museum once their stage days are over.

    You could visit artworks in the Lourve.
    You should ...go to the Lourve. But afterward, you should become a living part of live art installations at Dimanche Rouge. Once per month, offbeat artists gather in a theater or warehouse for "experimental performances"-- you might see a faceless man eating dinner alone or a young woman strapped to a piece of meat, with naked people coating each other in paint between acts. Don't miss the guy who will turn you into a banana.

    You could take a walking tour of the city's Catholic churches.
    You should ingest a heavy dose of conspiracy at the Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. This one-room exhibit in the back of a church displays items that serve as proof for a location between heaven and hell. There are books and a hat upon which dead souls have apparently left handprints and a burned piece of wall where churchgoers say they saw a man's face through the flames.

    You could ride bikes calmly through the canals.
    You should pump the breaks (or not) in the carver, a slick little motorcycle-car hybrid that lets you lean into turns and touch the ground with your hand while simultaneously maneuvering the track at up to 115 mph. The carver was developed in the Netherlands, so closed-course driving sessions abound.

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    Near pretty much nothing you've ever heard of sits the world's largest salt mine museum.

    Ok, it might sound dreadfully boring when you hear it, but LOOK how cool this place is:

    salina turda

    salina turda

    The mine, which sits in Transylvania, was originally established by hand and machine (as opposed to explosives) in the 17th century (the first mention of the mines dates back to May 1271). It was converted into a museum in 1992, where visitors can descend as far as 400 feet to hang out at the mine's ferris wheel, bowling alley, mini golf course, amphitheater and, oh, take a boat ride on the lake.

    It's Christmas at the mine!
    salina turda

    Be sure to dress warmly though, because the mine averages a temperature of 50-55˚F with 80% humidity.
    salina turda

    The museum boasts three mines: Terezia, which is the deepest at about 393 feet, Anton (roughly 354 feet) and Rudolf (about 138 feet).
    salina turda

    salina turda

    Salt is reflected in the lake.
    salina turda

    So next time you find yourself making your way to Transylvania, scoot on over to Turda to take in this totally bizarro but super magical site.

    Salina Turda from on Vimeo.

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    (Relaxnews) - It may be a while before equestrian ski joring becomes an official Olympic winter sport, but according to a list curated by editors of National Geographic magazine, the cowboy sport for skiers is the reason Whitefish, Montana was named one of the best winter trips for 2014.

    It’s an eclectic list that conspicuously omits sun-soaked tropical islands for little-known alternatives like Tanzania for its African music festival in February; Oman for a scenic coastal drive; and the beaches of Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

    Likewise, instead of typical ski destinations in the French Alps or Colorado, editors point readers to the slopes of Georgia and the Gudauri Ski Resort, described as a strikingly beautiful, winter playground or Le Massif de Charlevoix in Quebec, which offers a 2,526 foot (770 meter) vertical drop.

    For those who’ve never been able to reconcile their inner cowboy with their love for the slopes, the Whitefish Winter Carnival Ski Joring Championships is for you.

    A variation of the Norwegian sport ski driving, equestrian ski joring involves a horseback rider pulling a skier who holds onto a tow or rope akin to water skiing.

    The championships will be held in January.

    Perhaps the only predictable and conventional choice on the list is Paris, described as being never more Parisian than in the winter, when tourist crowds are sparse and hotel rates lower than usual.

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    SantaCon Vancouver 2013 proved that even jolly old St. Nick can't help being naughty at least once a year.

    Vancouver bore witness to a spirit of debauchery on Saturday as hundreds of red-suited revellers hit the streets (and the bars) for the annual SantaCon, a pub crawl that takes place in over 300 locations around the world.

    Check out photos of SantaCon 2013 in Vancouver. The story continues below the slideshow:

    Vancouver's event began at the No. 5 Orange strip club in the Downtown Eastside at around 11 a.m., CBC News reported.

    From there, it moved along Main Street through Chinatown to the Ivanhoe Pub. Participants were later spotted further south along Main Street, heading towards the Olympic Village.

    The Canadian Press captured several photos of Santas shocking onlookers, shooting pool and even napping in a bar as the day took its toll.

    An estimated 317 events were to take place around the world on Saturday in cities such as New York, Tel Aviv and Adelaide, Australia, The Province reported.

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    For this week's travel zen, we're taking you to South Africa, in honor of Nelson Mandela.

    With gorgeous beaches, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cities like Cape Town, there is something for every South Africa traveler.

    Where have you traveled for a moment of zen? Email with your travel zen or submit below!

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    The new year is rapidly approaching and we're making resolutions and wish lists for the year of travel ahead.

    If you crossed some adventures off your 2013 travel bucket list, surely you'll need some new additions. Check out these awesome, under-the-radar destinations you should add to your list for 2014.

    Colmar, France
    colmar france
    Colmar is a medieval storybook town that looks like it's straight out of Beauty and the Beast. Charming canals, picturesque homes and delicious Alsatian wines make this the ideal French destination.

    Ouro Preto, Brazil
    ouro preto
    Brazil will have a good year in 2014. Travelers will flock to major cities like Rio, Sao Paolo and Brasilia (among others) for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We're not trying to say you shouldn't go to those cities. But once you've had your fill, check out Ouro Preto, a historic colonial mining town that's a bit more low-key than the big cities.

    Kosrae, Micronesia
    This magical little Pacific Island is filled with adventure. Untouched and undeveloped, Kosrae is a hot spot for ecotourism and sustainable travel. Lush greenery, the ancient stone city of Lelu and renowned scuba diving are just a few reasons to visit Kosrae.

    Grand Rapids & Lake Michigan's Gold Coast
    grand rapids michigan
    Lonely Planet named Grand Rapids the top U.S. destination to check out in 2014. Grand Rapids has been voted the best beer city in America and boasts more than 25 craft breweries nearby. The city also has a lively art scene and tons of festivals. Thirty miles away, Lake Michigan's Gold Coast offers the prime location for an unexpected beach getaway with 300 miles of gorgeous waterfront.

    Colca Canyon, Peru
    colca canyon
    Colca Canyon is often overshadowed by Machu Picchu, but it's certainly worthy of it's own visit. Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is surrounded by the Colca Valley, which has pre-Incan roots. The canyon also offers archeological wonders and an array of unique species (like the Andean Condor).

    Virunga Mountains, East Africa
    virunga national park
    A chain of volcanoes in East Africa, the Virunga Mountains are as beautiful as they are exciting. The mountains span three countries -- Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda -- and are home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Virguna National Park, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo's section of the mountains, is the perfect place to explore this natural wonder.

    Ikaria, Greece
    A Greek island in the Aegean Sea, Ikaria has a rich history and even richer natural wonders. In Greek mythology, Ikaria is hailed as the birthplace of Dionysos, god of wine. You can still sample Ikaria's famous red wine today. The island is a place of such zen wonder, people there forget to die.

    Banaue, Philippines
    Banaue and it's signature rice terraces are a sight everyone needs to see. The rice terraces are mystifying and Banaue itself is the perfect affordable base, especially compared to other tourist spots in the Philippines.

    Inchcolm Island, Firth of Forth, Scotland
    inchcolm island
    The island of Inchcolm is home to one of Scotland's best-preserved medieval treasures, Inchcolm Abbey. After checking out the abbey, explore the island's natural habitat and wildlife.

    Lombok is a destination for adventure-craving nature lovers, but it truly is a destination with something for everybody. Lombok is located in Nusa Tenggara, an arc of Indonesian islands that stretch toward Northern Australia. Stunning blue waters are a favorite of surfers, lush greenery and volcanoes draw hikers and explorers, and white sand beaches encourages all visitors to relax and get tan.

    Yukon, Canada
    We know... Yukon? But seriously, Yukon is where you should be going if you're looking for adventure, wilderness and a lack of overpopulation. Yukon is largely untouched and is a welcome escape from everyday life for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. Visitors can climb Canada's five tallest mountains, explore the eclectic vibe of Dawson city and taken an unparalleled canoe trip down the Yukon River.

    Charleston, South Carolina
    charleston south carolina
    With great food, beautiful beaches and tons of Southern charm, Charleston, South Carolina, is a must-visit American destination. The city is rich in both history and buttery biscuits topped with fried chicken. That should be reason enough to go.

    Tasmania, Australia
    Australia is an awesome country, for many reasons. Most tourists are drawn to the mainland cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. An island off the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania was once thought of as an isolated wilderness. The island is now an easily accessible wonderland. Explore wildlife at Narawntapu National Park, go bushwalking, climb Cradle Mountain, traverse the Huon Valley -- there's no shortage of adventure.

    Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
    colonia del sacramento
    Uruguay has been in the news a lot lately for becoming the first country to legalize marijuana trade. The spotlight will likely draw tourists, so why not get in on the fun? Colonia del Sacramento is a picturesque town that also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wander Barrio Histórico, visit the city's museums and make sure to get in some quality beach time.

    Let us know what's on your 2014 travel bucket list in the comments!

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    Ask people in Hawaii why it's the healthiest state in the country and they probably won't cite the low percentage of smokers as an important factor.

    In fact, they probably won't cite any of the statistics (low rates of uninsured, low obesity rates, and high rates of childhood immunization) that recently made Hawaii America's healthiest state.

    But they certainly won't argue with the title either.

    Instead, they'll likely cite parts of their daily lifestyle -- things like the below -- that make living aloha stress-free, active and sustainable. Statistics are all well and good, but people in Hawaii also feel healthier, which, after all, is just as important.

    1. You never need a StairMaster:

    Hikes in Hawaii aren't just beautiful, they're everywhere.

    hike hawaii

    2. You don't need to go to a class or have noise canceling head-phones to relax:

    Zen isn't something you search for or pay coaches to provide; it's all around you.

    yoga hawaii

    3. This is breakfast:

    Acai bowls are delicious, ubiquitous and loaded with fresh fruit and antioxidants.


    4. This grows in your backyard:

    We all know the health benefits of avocados, but Hawaii's backyard produce (which also includes mangos and papayas, among others) takes local, organic farming to a whole new level.


    5. No matter how stressed you get, this is always an option:

    Scientific studies show that the ocean has strong and varied affects on the human brain. HuffPost Hawaii's unscientific studies show that just five-minutes in the ocean water can undo a week's worth of stress.

    floating in water hawaii

    6. When everything else feels bad, the sun still feels so, so good:

    With proper SPF, of course.

    smiling in sun

    7. You see something awe-inspiring on a regular basis:

    Experiencing awe is said to slow down time, making you less impatient and more satisfied with life.

    waterfall hawaii

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    As the holiday season arrives, many are busy planning road trips to visit family or much-awaited winter getaways.

    The highest number of collisions in Alberta last year occurred during December, and RCMP are reminding drivers to be safe and prepare before getting behind the wheel this season.

    “Drive Safe. It’s a phrase we hear so often during the holidays. Yet, we often don’t follow the simple steps that can make the difference between a good holiday memory and a sad one. Safety is in all of our hands," said Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver.

    A few steps can be taken to keep family and friends safe while travelling during this busy time, including ensuring a vehicle is in good working condition and keeping an emergency road kit in the car.

    As thousands prepare to take road trips this holiday season, here's what Alberta Transportation says needs to be done before getting on the road:

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    A keyhole in a door in Rome. A hidden, three-bench park in Paris. These are the kinds of spots that offer such unique, such pristine views of our world's monuments that we should probably keep them as secrets all to ourselves. But c'mon, we're nicer than that...

    ...Just don't tell anybody else.

    1. The Knights of Malta Keyhole, Rome
    Secret view of: St. Peter's Basilica
    This is the mother of all secret viewing spots. It's a teensy-tiny keyhole in a door which, if you peer through and allow your eyes to focus, perfectly frames St. Peter's Basilica in the distance. The hole is in a door at the villa which serves as headquarters for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the world's oldest order of knighthood. To get to it, climb Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills upon which ancient Rome was built.

    2. The Champ de Mars Mini-Park, Paris
    Secret view of: The Eiffel Tower
    There are loads of places to watch the Eiffel Tower's nightly light show, and it's pretty much guaranteed you'll rub shoulders with hoards of other tourists at all of them. But this is not so in what claims is an always-empty, hidden park. According to their site:

    As you approach the Tower from the Champ de Mars (the long green park behind the Tower), head towards the Seine on the right side of the Tower. You will first come to an unexpected pond few know of, just before, and almost beneath the Tower... Just beyond the pond, and somewhat hidden behind the foliage, is a walkway that climbs up to a small, almost camouflaged mini “park”, consisting of only 3 benches and a retro street light.

    Sounds très romantique to us.

    *Note: This is not a view of the tower from the secret park. We couldn't find any photos from that spot... it's that secret.

    3. Liberty State Park, New Jersey
    Secret view of: The Statue of Liberty
    The Staten Island Ferry and all those tour boats are so overrated... and total seasickness hotbeds. For a local's view of the statue, take a quick ferry or train ride out of Manhattan to the New Jersey side of the harbor, where grassy fields and fresh air await. It's the closest view you'll get without rocking around on a crowded sea vessel. Unfortunately (yet to the delight of some tourists), the view here is of Ms. Liberty's backside.

    4. Invalids' Cemetery, Berlin
    Secret view of: The Berlin Wall
    It's not painted in psychedelic colors, and there aren't any souvenir kiosks, but this is probably the most authentic -- and secret -- slice of Berlin Wall you're ever going to see. Built in 1748, Invalids' Cemetery was intended for Prussian soldiers. Later, the Nazi regime used it as a resting place for a number of its top leaders, like Army commander Werner von Fritsch. When the Wall went up, over a third of the cemetery was destroyed to make room for watch towers and barracks. Today, in eerie silence, you can walk through the broken, wood-paneled wall from what was once East Germany to the West.

    5. The Battistero, Pisa
    Secret view of: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
    You could take those cheesy "leaning against the Leaning Tower" photos on the ground, but the aerial view from the top of Pisa's baptistry is one to die -- er, climb -- for. Pass the throngs of tourists at the famous bronze doors and ascend the baptistry's stairs to its second level, where you'll watch the tower lean from way up high.
    potters fields park london

    6. Mount Lee, Los Angeles
    Secret view of: The Hollywood Sign
    The most awesome place to see the sign is not on the road, but rather on a hike-- up in the hills, you'll see the sign clearly without buildings getting in the way. On the Mount Lee hike, you have the option to duck out from the regular trail and take a secret path that leads right up behind the Hollywood Sign's massive white letters. To find it, clamber a couple miles up the Mount Lee trail with everyone else, then take a sharp turn at the summit. You'll end up behind a fence with the word "Hollywood" and all of Los Angeles at your feet. It's tempting to hop over and touch the letters... if you do, make sure you can outrun the police helicopters.

    7. Potters Fields Park, London
    Secret view of: The Tower Bridge
    Take a pair of buses to "one of the few remaining green open spaces" along the River Thames. You'll get some sun and a stellar view of the Tower Bridge's first arch while less savvy folk try to snap pictures from the street.

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    American tourists are known for being the world's worst tourists. But encountering Americans behaving poorly isn't so much about the tourists, but the location.

    Americans aren't the only perpetrators of bad tourism, they just happen to get a lot of flack for it.

    The following cities are known for being hot spots for hedonistic Americans to get slopppy and have a good time, for better or worse. You've been warned.


    If you grew up watching The OC, you know Tijuana is where all the cool kids in SoCal go to party. A quick drive from the U.S./Mexico border, Tijuana is a spot where Americans love to drink too much tequila, dance at the disco and potentially engage in other activities that would be illegal back home.

    jamaica drinking
    A spring break favorite, Jamaica is popular for two things: rum and beaches. Americans love to go to Jamaica to drink fruity frozen drinks, lay by the water, drink more and party.

    cancun spring break
    Cancun during college break season is a sight to be seen. Resorts are flooded with giant crowds of raucous visitors -- many of whom are under 21 and revel in the opportunity to drink legally.

    amsterdam marijuana
    You'll find intoxicated and/or stoned Americans wandering the streets of Amsterdam having their time of their lives. While some states in the U.S. are decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, in most areas it's still strictly illegal. From the red light district to the famous marijuana coffee shops, Amsterdam is a mecca of illicit activity.

    thailand debauchery
    There's all kinds of fun to be had in Thailand that's way off limits in America. There's debauchery of all kinds -- from drunken Full Moon Parties to rampant sex tourism.

    Las Vegas
    las vegas party
    Yes, Las Vegas is in America. But you'd be hard pressed to find another place that's basically synonymous with indulging in bad behavior and letting loose. Americans go to Las Vegas to go clubbing, gamble and drink too much. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

    dublin beer
    Beer, Saint Patrick's day, and, well, beer, are major draws that attract party-ready Americans to Dublin. Even Obama gets in on the fun.

    Anywhere American Students Study Abroad
    students party
    Many (but not all) American students have a tendency to go a bit wild during their semesters abroad. Bad behavior usually consists of public intoxication and making fools of themselves. Many collegians are getting their first tastes of international freedom and the overwhelming attitude is not giving damn.

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    There are some wackadoo laws out there for drivers. Who better to make a list of the 50 most bizarre than an international freight shipping company like Barrington Freight?

    From driving a car dirty in Russia ("Nyet!") to a totally bizarre $78 fee for hitting a pedestrian, here are some of the more inane rules of the road around our fine, fine world.

    50 Insane Laws2 50 Insane Driving Laws From Around The World

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    (Relaxnews) - Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed up with Dr. Seuss in a collaboration that will bring the iconic children’s book characters to life aboard 24 ships across their fleet.

    On the menu: green eggs and ham. Onboard: a few cats in hats and perhaps a tall, curmudgeonly, green, furry fellow who defies species categorization, but is actually a big softie.

    The Seuss at Sea program will roll out in February aboard the Carnival Splendor with full implementation by 2015.

    Every ship will feature a selection of classic Dr. Seuss books, toys and themed activities, while popular characters will also be available for photo opportunities and meet-and-greets.

    Select ships will include a Dr. Seuss Bookville center dedicated to Seuss-themed play, readings and games.

    The Dr. Seuss-themed cruise package will be Carnival’s attempt at wooing families away from kid-friendly rivals like Disney cruises and Royal Caribbean packages, starring popular DreamWorks characters like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.

    Norwegian also offers a Nickelodeon-themed cruise.

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    Nobody likes the person who incessantly talks on their cell phone in public.

    But what about the person who pranks the cell phone addicts by sitting next to them and pretending to be on the other end of the call? If the enemy of your enemy is your friend, the so-called "cell phone crasher" might just be a hero.

    In this instance, the "crasher" is one Greg Benson, who sets his sights on travelers glued to their cell phones in an unnamed airport terminal. A camera, filming from afar, captures the awkward hilarity that ensues when Benson approaches people on their phones, then responds to their overheard conversations as if he is the person they're actually talking to. Sounds confusing; works brilliantly.

    Inevitably, the chatterboxes catch on, at which point the good-natured Benson defuses the potentially angry confrontation with a smile.

    If only every layover could be this entertaining.

    WATCH the YouTube video, above.

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    These natural wonders and man-made marvels -- overwhelmed by thousands if not millions of tourists per year -- are being altered and eroded, some beyond repair.

    By Lianna TrubowitzCondé Nast Traveler

    More from Condé Nast Traveler:

  • Must-Have Gadgets for Every Traveler

  • Incredible Treehouse Hotels

  • The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the World

  • 12 Travel Mistakes You're Definitely Making

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    Christmas shopping for the constant traveller is not always an easy task.

    After all, what do you get someone who's always on the go? Well, as glamorous as the idea of 24/7 globe-trotting sounds, the reality is less than picture-perfect.

    Between the jet-lag they’ll face with during those double-digit hour-long flights or fighting for some peace and quiet on that jam-packed bus, there are some downsides to a typically awesome lifestyle.

    Fortunately, it's the season for giving and in this day and age, if there’s a problem then there’s a good chance a gadget or gift that can fix it. To make things a bit easier during the hectic holidays, The Huffington Post Canada Travel has round up a few gift ideas for the traveller always on the move.

    With Files From Brian Trinh and Waheeda Harris

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    Imagine this: you come home to hear some rustling in the basement. You take your dog downstairs with you to see what's going on.

    Once down there, you think you see a house cat. But it isn't long before you take a closer look at the animal and realize it's about three times bigger than your typical domestic feline. It has black-tufted ears and a stubby tail.

    Yes, it's a bobcat. And Nelson resident Leanne Kalabis came face-to-face with one in her family home when it entered through a basement door after it apparently blew open on Friday afternoon, The Nelson Star reported.

    Check out images the tangled bobcat. Story continues after the slideshow:

    The dog and the bobcat fought with each other before the feline scaled a wall and found itself stuck.

    "It became pretty entangled in the blinds, as it was thrashing and hissing at my dog," Kalabis told the newspaper.

    Not entirely sure how to deal with the intruder, she called her neighbour Dr. Jim Noiles over, who didn't initially believe what had happened, Global News reported.

    "We sort of looked at each other and said ‘well, what do we do now?'" he told the network.

    An RCMP officer came over and figured out a solution using duct tape, two broom handles and a knife to cut the bobcat out of its trap, CBC News reported.

    The cat ran at some basement windows in an effort to exit the property before eventually finding the basement door.

    Kalabis said she will be sure to double-check that her basement door is closed from now on.

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    MADRID (AP) — A high-speed rail service linking Spain and France has been inaugurated that will cut the journey time between Barcelona and Paris by half.

    Up until now the train journey between these two cities lasted some 12 hours, but the new tracks will enable passengers to complete it in just over six. Spain's tourism statistics agency Frontur says travelers make 82 million trips between the two countries annually, mostly by car.

    Spain's train operator RENFE said Sunday it hopes to lure some air-travel passengers.

    The service, which opened Sunday, will also provide bullet trains to cities like Madrid, Marseille, Toulouse and Lyon.

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    LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) — Southwest Airlines is adding two new nonstop flights to Portland, Ore., and Oakland, Calif., from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

    The seasonal service announced Monday will begin on June 8. The new destinations from BWI Airport were part of the airline's June 2014 schedule update. Portland is a new market for BWI travelers. The airport says Oakland will complement other flights to the San Francisco area.

    Airport CEO Paul Wiedefeld says the new service means more flight options for business and leisure travel between the East and West coasts. He says it will help BWI drive transportation, economic development and tourism.

    Southwest is BWI's largest airline. Along with its subsidiary AirTran Airways, Southwest serves nearly 71 percent of BWI's passenger traffic.

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    Vancouver, a place that is known for having the ritziest condo and being the priciest city to live in North America, can add a new feather to its hat: Canada's most expensive location for expatriates.

    Lotusland ranks first among Canadian cities on ECA International's biannual Cost of Living survey, which is calculated by comparing the costs of a basket of day-to-day goods and services in 440 locations around the world. It does not include the cost of accommodations, utilities, car purchases or school fees.

    The company, which advises businesses on assigning and managing employees internationally, uses the survey to assist clients when they calculate cost of living allowances in their workers' pay packages.

    While ranking first in Canada, Vancouver still fell short of the top spot in North America behind Manhattan (which is calculated separately from New York City), Honolulu, Hawaii generally, and NYC.

    Vancouver was ranked 53rd worldwide.

    Caracas, Venezuela ranked as the world's most expensive city for expatriates, followed by Luanda, Angola and Oslo, Norway.

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