Your West Valley News: Travel


  • Sand dunes, clay castles line road to Timbuktu

    Erg Chebbi, Morocco • The bright black silhouettes of our three-camel caravan shone against a tall sand dune like a background drawing of the Three Kings in a Nativity scene.While Georgie, as I had nicknamed my blonde dromedary camel, plodded through this remote corner of Morocco at the edge of the Saharan Desert, I was transfixed by our reflection — because it was well past sunset and there was no moon.With the complete lack of artificial lights, the vault of stars was bright enough to cast shadows, but I was struck by how this desert constantly upends expectations.Shadows without light, luxuriant bursts of palms among stretches of barren land where you’d swear you’ll never see water again, canyon rock formations that turn out to be fortified villages — a three-day guided driving loop from Marrakech to the dunes of Erg Chebbi in early summer was one mirage-like surprise after another.After all, I was following one of Africa’s most mythic, and historic, trading routes: the road to Timbuktu, lined with centuries-old castles, oases and the occasional camel-crossing road warning.Dune-riding dromedaries

  • Travelers celebrate fall of Berlin Wall

    Stewart Travel is offering tours to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.The fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany marked the end of Communism in the former Eastern Bloc countries of East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.Festivals, open-air exhibits, memorials, fireworks and music provided the setting of another great street party on Nov. 9, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.The event featured 8,000 illuminated white balloons, marking a nine-mile section of where the wall once stood.Matthias and Sara Kort, a married couple who serve as tour guides in Berlin and throughout Europe, released one of the balloons together during the 25th anniversary festivities.For more information about escorted tours of Central Europe, contact Stewart Travel at 888-926-1703.

  • Barcelona’s attractions satisfy big spenders, backpackers

    Barcelona, Spain (AP) • Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s beautiful, the food is fantastic and while you can drop a lot of money on nightclubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, many of the city’s world-famous attractions are absolutely free to big spenders and backpackers alike.GaudiIf you leave Barcelona without seeing the work of Antoni Gaudi, then you haven’t really seen Barcelona. The architect’s works include a massive church, La Sagrada Familia, still under construction nearly 90 years after his death. This living work of art — like all Gaudi creations — is fanciful, quirky, brilliant and complex, a mass of spires, pillars and mosaics. Gaudi’s strange and whimsical park, Parc Guell, is known for its undulating tiled seats and fairy-tale turrets. The city is also home to several Gaudi-designed apartment complexes, like La Pedrera, and you can even find Gaudi lampposts on Plaza Real.Las RamblasThis is another essential Barcelona experience: strolling Las Ramblas. The crowded, tree-lined pedestrian mall is filled with street performers, restaurants, bars and kiosks selling souvenirs, flowers and food. You’ll see a street mosaic by Joan Miro, a fountain and several landmarks, including theaters and the baroque Palace of the Virreina. It’s a fun place to people-watch, but be sure to also watch for tourist scams, overpriced goods and pickpockets.La Boqueria

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