Weekly travel rail, with Grand Canyon tourist guide, the top 10 free attractions in the U.S. and more.
American Tourist: Grand Canyon National Park
What is it: The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in Arizona. The canyon is 277 miles long, ranges in width from four to 18 miles and attains a depth of more than a mile. There are two ways to approach the canyon: the remote North Rim and the more accessible (and therefore more crowded) South Rim. Both areas have several options for camping, as well as hotels and restaurants.
Hot spot: Grand Canyon National Park is one of the world’s premier natural attractions, attracting about 5 million visitors per year.
What’s there to do? Besides the breathtaking scenery, popular activities include nature walks and hikes, whitewater rafting, motorcoach tours, mule tours, ranger programs, stargazing and more.
Airport access: Most Grand Canyon visitors fly into one of two metropolitan airports located within half a day's drive of the South Rim: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, which is 275 miles from the South Rim, or Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, 230 miles from the South Rim. Commuter flights are available from Phoenix to Flagstaff, which is 90 miles southeast of the South Rim.
Cost: All vehicles entering the park must pay a $25 entrance fee, which is good for seven days. Individuals on foot or on a bike must pay a $12 entrance fee, also good for seven days.
Sources/more information: Wikipedia.org; http://wikitravel.org/en/Grand_Canyon; http://www.nps.gov/grca;
A traveler who passed through Narita airport in Tokyo by now likely has found quite a “gift” from customs agents in his luggage – marijuana. Agents were conducting a drug test for sniffer dogs when they lost track of the person whose bag the weed was placed into, and the dogs weren’t able to track down the “perpetrator.”
TripAdvisor.com recently named the top 10 free attractions in the U.S. Here’s the list:
1. The Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas
2. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va..
3. Waimea Canyon, Waimea, Hawaii
4. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
5. Angel's Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
6. The USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu
7. Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, California
8. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
9. The Freedom Trail in Boston
10. Central Park in New York City
Good to Know
You might want to stay out of the Innerste river in central Germany for the time being – two city workers recently reported a crocodile in the river. Officials aren’t sure if it’s actually a croc (alligator and caiman are the other possibilities), but they believe someone released it into the river.
- If you visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, you can see demonstrations of nautical rescue techniques performed using Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. (Wikitravel.org)
- The ossuary at St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai houses the skulls of 1,400 years' worth of monks. (Wikitravel.org)
Travel Tip: Finding cheap tickets
- Last-minute flights are expensive. Book as early as you can to get the best deals, as the cheap fare classes fill up fast.
- Quick trips are expensive. Many cheap fares require staying at least three nights, and the famous Saturday night stay requirement — designed to trap businessmen who want to return home for the weekend — is still in force in many places.
- Monday morning and Friday evening are the most popular times for businessmen to fly, which makes seats hard to find.
- Holiday seasons are bad times to fly, because everybody else is also on the move.
- When buying a ticket, it would seem obvious to call up the airline itself, but counter-intuitively this is often the most expensive way to get a ticket. Cheap fare classes are often sold to travel agents in bulk, so the airline only has the expensive ones left for itself. (Wikipedia)
Talk Like a Local: Dutch
What is your name?
- Hoe heet u? (hoo HAYT uu?)
What is your name? (informal)
- Hoe heet je? (hoo HAYT yuh?)
GateHouse News Service