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Friday, August 21, 2009


We just got back from Ottawa, and I just don't know what kept us from visiting before this. It's the capital of Canada but somehow we overlooked it. It's a great city.

The places of greatest interest are easily accessible on foot--London-style Changing of the Guard, world-class museums, a colorful history, great restaurants and performances. We were struck by how clean the city is, too. It also has one of the best hotels in the world, the Fairmonts Chateau Laurier, of the grand hotels built for the Grand Trunk Railway, and a favorite of Winston Churchill and British royalty--right in the middle of the city. (With tourism down, it's offering some great promotions.)

Beyond the history and culture, Ottawa is on the Rideau Canal, which is great for boating and the canal is lined with miles of bicycle trails. On Sundays they close some of the streets for bicycling. And then there's those Beavertails at the Byward Market...
The Seattle Times reported that the number of Americans traveling to Canada is at the lowest point it has been since 1972, due in large part to the recent passport requirement. Something needs to be done to encourage the 70%+ of Americans who do not have passports to get one.

Ours is a beautiful country, but we certainly need to experience more of what's outside our borders if we are to better understand what's going on in the world. (Of course, the small amount of vacation time Americans get is another factor that keeps them closer to home. If more people became aware of the vacation time Europeans enjoy, we'd probably have a revolt. And since most don't travel abroad they don't realize the difference.) But that's another topic for another day.)

Bottom line is that it's important to get outside the box/border and to see what's there. We need to do something to encourage people to get passports so this won't be a deterrent to international travel.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Travel Deal of the Year

Jet Blue is offering unlimited travel with its All-You-Can-Jet Pass. Travel as much as you like between September 8 and October 8, 2009 for $599. You must book by August 21.