Nova Scotia, A Unique Canadian Travel Destination, If You’re Going To Visit A Canadian Province!

Nova Scotia is a unique province situated in Eastern Canada. Here are the “Top 10″ reasons to visit this great Canadian Province.

There are many places and things for you to enjoy while spending time in N.S. Here we are only going to talk about a few “Top 10″ destinations and things that one must experience in this province.

Having lived here for all of my 52 years, I have traveled throughout most of the province, and every now and then I find myself surprised at the things I find. It may be something as simple as a look-off that I had never been too, or great scenery “that my wife enjoys to great extent so she can add to her huge database of pictures she has taken from travelling along Nova Scotia shores throughout her life”, it never ceases to amaze me what a true gem this province really is.

1. The Bay of Fundy is a natural in itself, but taking in a whale watching tour will surely bring a tingle to your soul, there are many species of whales that play in Bay of Fundy and some of the best places to reserve your whale watching tour is in Briar Island, found in Digby Co. If you ever find the time to take in this tour, you surely will be talking about it for years to come. PS: Don’t forget to bring a friend.

2. From boating to swimming in some of the large lakes found throughout many regions of NS, the fun on our waters does not stop in inland waterways. Taking the salt water plunge for a great scuba diving experience or maybe belly up to a deep sea fishing excursion that if available in many coastal regions that are easily accessible by car. If none of the above is to your liking simply spending a bit of time relaxing on a beach or seashore either reading a book or taking in the native wildlife can be spiritual at best. The spring and summer months are the best choices for you to indulge in these avenues.

3. Bike the many miles of paths found throughout the scenic areas surrounding top destinations and points of interests. For those of you that are not familiar with our largest cities, such as Halifax and Dartmouth, you will be surprised at the biking options surrounding these large cities. My own son has been going to college in HFX for over 3 years, and is an avid bicycler and every weekend he finds different locations to explore on his bicycle. If you own a bicycle, do not forget it when you visit with us!

4. A relaxing day may consist of camping, canoeing or Kayaking, or maybe just simply visiting a park as a great way to spend a relaxing day, Kejimkujik and Shubenacadie are among our “must visit” best parks to visit while spending time here. “Don’t forget to bring your camera”

5. Most of us have heard of Sable Island, but very few of us have set foot there! If this is of interest to you, please contact your local government representative as the first part of your plan to visit this island, it is of great importance to note: If you wish to visit Sable Island and see an actual Sable Island horse, there is a lot of red tape to go through prior to attempting this top destination. “Definitely worth the effort to get permission to visit this great place”

6. Small towns & villages; Small towns and villages are found encircling this entire province. I believe that if you enjoy spending time taking in scenic small towns and villages found throughout your travels, the Evangeline Trail should be one of your top drive destinations. The Southwest Nova Scotia towns found on the trail, “The many small Acadian communities” is a must travel piece of roadway for you to enjoy, take in the many accessible wharf’s and the “soon to be extinct” lighthouses that are still visible for you to fill your photo albums of great scenic photographs for you to enjoy in many years to come.

7. Take a trip to Peggy’s Cove – Visit the Peggy’s cove Light house, take in a great meal at the Sou’Wester Restaurant, visit the tourist Gift Shop that is located at the Peggy’s cove Lighthouse. This picturesque destination can be found just 35 minutes from Halifax Nova Scotia on the scenic Lighthouse Route along the Southeast Shore of Nova Scotia.

Peggy’s Cove is the location where Swiss air Flight 111 Crashed on 02 September 1998″. Remember that sad day, cast among a unique rock landscape is the memorial for the victims of Swissair Flight 111.

8. Visit a Halifax Gallery: A local gallery found at the Public Archives Building in Halifax, shows the work of sculptor/painter – William E. deGarthe. William E. deGarthe (1907-1983) who was born in Finland eventually immigrated to Canada in 1926. Initially he studied art in Europe, moved on to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and also under Stanley Royle at Mount Allison University found in Sackville NB. He then taught at the former Nova Scotia College of Art and owned deGarthe Advertising Art in Halifax.

For many years, deGarthe spent the best part of spring and summer at Peggy’s Cove, where he also painted marine scenes that included residents of the village and other nearby coastal communities in his work. To this day, there are literally hundreds of his paintings hanging in homes, offices and galleries found around the world.

Must see this; He sculpted an outcropping 30 m (100 ft) granite face of rock which he named Fisherman’s Monument which he dedicated to Nova Scotian fisherman.

9. Move Nova Scotia at the top of your list of travel destinations, our unique adventures and great travel destinations will put a smile on your face. This article could go on and on forever, the many caves that could be explored, the many museums we have yet to talk about, such as the Tuna Wharf Museum” You might not have heard about it but people from around the world visit here!, and the Cabot Trail that we have yet to talk about, “if you were to take a drive here in the fall it would leave you in awe, I could go on and on and on… Put this place on your list of places to visit. NS gives the traveler a unique perspective on travel destinations. Come on in and visit Nova Scotia, enjoy the unique adventures this great travel destination has to offer.

10. It will not take a lot of time before you get a sense of how friendly Nova Scotians are. One Great Province.

Nova Scotia Canada, the eastern most Atlantic Province is well knows for its rich culture and diverse history. From the French Acadian’s found in many small communities throughout Southwest Nova Scotia “Digby & Yarmouth Co.” to it’s largest cities like Halifax & Dartmouth. Experience NS like your on a mission. Learn more about this great Canadian Province and its diverse people.

Canada – A Wonderful Place to Spend Your Vacations

Canada is one of the best places for holidays. If you want to make your tour special, affordable and full of charm than this place is an ideal choice for you. Canada is also awesome place to celebrate your honeymoon. If you are adventure lover, than there are lot of choices available for you. Vacations in Canada offer you to enjoy lot of festivals. Its culture and adventure experience makes its unique tourist destination. Within your budget, you can travel all the famous destinations in the country. This country has something for everyone.

If you are thinking Canada as a next version of US, than it will be big mistake. This country has lot of new things to enjoy. If we talk about the wild northern Canada that I must say that this place is very different from rest of the world. You will have some unique and adventures experience at this place.

The interesting mixture of the French, British and some local culture and civilization Canada is has an excellent culture. These all things make it different from US. Beside of this Canada is full of glamour life and modern life style. You will enjoy your every bit of life there. Canada is measured as a honeymoon paradise. The luminous Fairmont winery Lake Louise is the famous honeymoon destinations in this country.

You can easily manage a tremendous tour to Canada. I am sure that it will be a captivating experience for you. You can easily watch popular bear playing grounds there. Its major points of attractions are is its park, island, excellent buildings and its bears parks. This country is full of Museums and Galleries. It is worldwide famous for its traditional galleries. These galleries are the reflection of Canadian tradition. If you want to have a perfect picture of its culture, you must watch its museums and galleries. The steel and bronze statues are also extremely beautiful.

Canada can be visit throughout the year but in my perception, the best time to visit this beautiful country is in summer. Majority of people used to visit this place in summers in order to take the advantage of its pleasant weather. Sandbanks and Wasaga Beach are another remarkable tourist places in Canada, where you can enjoy some of your precious moments.

Adventure Travel Destinations 2015 – Top Picks

The popularity of adventure excursions are one of the major trends in the travel industry that continues to grow. Combining everything from trekking and mountaineering to rafting, zip-lining and bungee jumping with uniquely individual cultures and exotic surroundings, these destinations have just about everything an adventure traveler could ask for. The following are some of the very best places to fulfill your desire for adventure.

British Columbia, Canada

Situated in Western Canada, British Columbia is a year round adventurer’s Eden offering mountain ranges, the Pacific coast and a myriad of lakes. Possibilities for invigorating outdoor activity include mountain biking, hiking, and climbing your way through the Canadian Rockies. Had enough of all this fun on dry land? The Pacific Ocean beckons with an array of wonderful sailing and sea kayaking experiences. Don’t forget to visit Vancouver while in this region as well. With spectacular views as well as multicultural charm and celebrated Canadian generosity, you’ll have all you need for a memorably adventurous trip.

Croatia

With its rich cultural history, Croatia’s place as a communications hub is marked with countless monuments ranging from Ancient Greco-Roman to New Age Secession. Croatia has a diverse natural allure. Its landscape ranges from flat plains to low mountains and highlands making it a great place for your next adventure. Inland, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, adventure racing, camping, horseback riding, hunting, skiing, fishing, white water rafting and spelunking are popular among tourists and residents alike. Sailing, diving, kayaking and canoeing are top picks on the water. Croatia also contains ten nature parks and eight national parks as well as a multitude of special ranges.

The Himalayas – Nepal/Tibet/Bhutan

One of the most strikingly picturesque ranges on the planet, the renowned Himalayas offer some fantastic hiking tours, outrageous paddling junkets, and the most demanding mountaineering excursions around. Combine these features with the area’s singular culture and spiritualism and you won’t be disappointed with a trip to Nepal, Tibet, or Bhutan. Each has its own individual charm and in order to explore any one of them, you’ll have to pass through Katmandu, a city that is as varied and diverse as the Himalaya mountain range itself.

Home to eight of the tallest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest, Nepal is proud of its mountain sports and rich culture. Known as the birth place of adventure travel, Nepal knows how to spoil backpackers, thrill seekers, and contemporary wanderers, alike. Trekking, mountaineering, climbing and mountain biking are some of the most well-known tourist activities here; however, rafting, bungee jumping, motorcycling, hot air ballooning, paragliding and mountain flights are also readily available. The southern part of Nepal, the Terai, features national parks and game preserves that offer elephant back or 4 x 4 safaris to see rhinos, Bengal tigers and crocodiles as well as an infinite number of bird and butterfly species. Cultural treks are easily found in Nepal and usually take you to the Numbur Cheese Circuit, Indigenous Peoples Trail, Tamang Heritage Trail or Chepang Heritage Trail, to name but a few.

While a comparable Himalayan adventure may be found in Tibet, the expansively, austere Tibetan Plateau will make your adventure an original unto itself. This is the side of the mountain you’re able to literally drive up to get to Everest Base Camp. On the way, you’ll be able to view Buddhist monasteries dotting the countryside located in some of the most surprisingly unlikely areas. In all probability Tibet’s borders will stay open for the remainder of 2010, unexpected regional conflicts notwithstanding, making it even more available to thrill seekers than it has been for the past two years.

Bhutan is possibly one of the most obscure and least familiar of these three Himalayan adventure sites. The government of this small monarchy has taken action to make certain that the nation retains its conventional values and has set restrictions on the total number of tourists it is willing to receive. Once admitted however, travelers are invited to tour age-old monasteries and secluded villages, while journeying through the eastern portion of the Himalaya, affording a brief look at a way of life that has remained, for the most part, untouched for centuries.

These are just the beginning! Looking for more adrenaline pumping locations and experiences? Be sure to check out Adventure Travel Destinations 2010 – More Top Picks where we’ll look at some suggestions encompassing the tropical to the frigid in terms of climate and dry land as well as water with regard to the adventure of your choice.

Canada Makes a Statement!

Coming off a disappointing finish in the 2006 Winter Olympics, Team Canada has one agenda on it’s mind. And that is GOLD! Anything less would be a another disappointment Olympic outing especially this year because they are in front of their own.

After a scoreless first period team Canada would unleash their weapons. Starting off the onslaught was Jerome Iginla on the power play off a Sidney Crosby feed. Canada’s next goal would come off a Chris Pronger blast from the point that Dany Heatley would redirect in for a 2-0 Canadian lead.

Norway’s best chance to score a goal would be on a 5-3 power play opportunity where they did move the puck well and the few chances they had Roberto Luongo was there.

Soon after Canada would kill off the two minor power plays and wasted no time to strike again. Mike Richards would fake one way from behind the Norway goal then come back around and slam it home on his second attempt.

Canada was full speed ahead from there on taking a 3-0 lead into the locker room. As they dominated in the second they did the same in the third adding another five goals on their way to a 8-0 win in their opener.

Canada’s lamp lighters were Jerome Iginla who was good for a hat-trick while Dany Heatley had two. Richards, Getzlaf and Perry would also put home a goal each in the win.

Roberto Luongo turned away all of Norway’s 15 shots on goal getting the shut-out. Luongo got the starting nod as everyone thought it would be Marty Broduer, I think Canada’s coaching staff made the right decision going with the younger Luongo who has been on his game of late for the Canucks. But it wouldn’t of mattered who Canada placed between the pipes last night as the out come would of been the same.

Canada’s speed, size and depth showed in this match as this team did exactly what they wanted to do in their first outing. Come out and dominate! Canada dominated in their opener and the Swiss team is up next who lost to the USA earlier in the day. Another game Canada should roll though as the big one from the preliminary round will be played on Sunday night.

Banff – The Ultimate Romantic Travel Destination – Take Your Relationship To The Next Level

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in this romantic travel destination. Take that “special someone” to Banff. I’m a hopeless romantic. I enjoy the element of surprise when planning something special for that loved one.

Looking for some romantic ideas for that great romantic weekend getaway? Are you someone who just doesn’t have the imagination for planning something memorable. Firstly… Banff is beautiful in summer or winter. Those majestic Rockies look gorgeous in all seasons.

We have some very romantic hotels in the area. The Banff Springs Hotel is a “castle.” It’s surrounded by mountains on all sides with staggering views. The services offered here range from twelve choices of cuisine, the world class Willow Stream Spa, a scenic golf course and much much more.

There are some beautiful parks for that traditional “romantic picnic.” Cascade Garden is unique and a great example of the Canadian landscape right in town. So is Central Park with the Bow River winding it’s way through Banff. There’s always Cascade Ponds. It’s a small man made lake with islands, and a soft flowing creek at one end. Just a few minutes outside Banff. Very idyllic on a hot summer day!

If you want some clean fresh air….there are some great hiking trails around town. Most of these are very scenic, very easy and very romantic! Or take a walking tour of town with some thirty points of interest. If you’re in for a little more of a challenge….do some mountain biking, or kayaking on the Bow River, or climb that mountain. There are lots of mountains to choose from!

Still looking for a few more romantic ideas….you could always take the “love of your life” up the Banff Gondola. There are breathtaking views of all the mountain ranges up there. You can see for miles….have a latte or a very intimate lunch or dinner. If that isn’t enough….then the ultimate helicopter ride through the Rockies should do the trick.

The winter season in Banff is just as romantic. Icicles, snowflakes and warm roaring fireplaces can get take you to the next level of your relationship. Remember the movie Dr. Zhivago? Well, imagine dog sledding through tranquil forests, horse drawn sleigh rides with the sound of the crisp snow underneath you, or ice skating on any number of ponds.

If you’re looking for something a little more “French,” then the Chateau Lake Louise could be your next romantic travel destination. It’s situated around a lake at the base of a glacier. So beautiful, with very unique architecture. Once again this romantic hotel offers everything you could want for in a romantic weekend getaway. Maybe a walk around the lake, or how about canoeing by the glacier or a beautiful gourmet dinner in one of eight dining areas.

Banff is definitely a Romantic Travel Destination. The romance potential here is limitless….use some imagination, surprise the “love of your life.” Could there be a marriage proposal around the corner!

The Kitco Raid and Why It Is Not Safe to Store Gold in Canada

I know that my articles have many readers in North America – both from the USA and from Canada. Canada has a very respectable image internationally (the Canadian government rarely stirs up trouble outside its borders), and the Canadian banking system is admittedly much more stable than the US. Even the currency has been doing well, backed in part by Canada’s huge wealth of gold and other natural resources.

You might think, then, that Canada would be the perfect asset protection haven. In fact, we frequently receive enquiries from US Americans asking how to open bank accounts in Canada, or thinking that the Canadian dollar is a safe haven against collapse of the US dollar. But people who think Canada is a good investment alternative to US instability and systemic insecurity are seriously mistaken. The raid on Kitco last week amply demonstrated this, if it wasn’t already obvious.

Considering how much money Canada makes from precious metals and mining companies, you would think they might respect the gold business. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that one of the world’s largest gold trading and research firms is Canadian – and it was this firm, Kitco, that was raided by authorities in Quebec last week. Almost every precious metals site out there links to the famous Kitco charts.

A friend of mine who has a gold investing blog recently warned about how the US Government was looking to “regulate” gold trading companies. Regulate, he says, “is a code-word for, take-over, destroy or monopolize.”

He had been warning against this trend in the US, but he probably wasn’t surprised that Canada took the lead. More than 175 Revenu Quebec agents conducted raids related to Kitco on homes, offices, accountancy firms and bankruptcy trustees in the Montreal area. In other words, Kitco was raided big-time by the equivalent of the IRS, and a court-appointed receiver is now controlling the company.

Kitco has not been formally charged with anything. As my friend Jeff noted, “Kitco has been a highly respected and reputable precious metals dealer for decades in Canada and it is highly, highly unlikely that they have done anything improper.”

The allegations, as I understand them, apparently center on supposed sales tax evasion. Because scrap gold is subject to tax but bullion isn’t, allegedly Kitco was buying scrap gold, paying the sales tax to the sellers (local jewelery firms or small gold dealers) then legitimately reclaiming the sales tax paid. Since Kitco was selling bullion, they were not obliged to charge sales tax. Therefore they would have been receiving large tax rebates on a regular basis – something governments obviously hate!

All this is quite legal and normal, but it’s possible that the sellers of the scrap gold simply disappeared, instead of handing over the sales tax to the government as they were supposed to. This means that on the one hand the government were not receiving the tax, but on the other hand they were paying it out to Kitco. In Europe this is called “missing trader fraud” or “carousel fraud” and also reached epidemic levels a couple of years ago on easily tradeable high value items like microchips, until governments had to introduce special regulations in this regard (as a side note, readers might remember how the closure of the Netherlands-Antilles based bank First Curacao International Bank in 2006 and the arrest of billionaire banker and oil trader John Duess was also apparently down to this type of fraud.)

I would say it is very unlikely that Kitco were deliberately involved in this, but they probably made the mistake of expecting the Canadian government to play by the rules. Once Kitco has paid the taxes and received a valid invoice, it’s certainly not Kitco’s responsibility to make sure the third party actually pays the taxes due. Kitco didn’t design the system. Unfortunately, Revenu Quebec doesn’t seem to see it this way.

Basically, the raid is about teaching people a lesson. Those involved in the gold business are not popular with governments. Those receiving tax rebates are not popular either. And the Canadian taxman has learned from the US about high profile, publicity seeking cases where you accuse first, destroy somebody’s business, then later look at the facts.

As for the bigger picture, Jthe article also highlights five top reasons why the Canadian dollar will not survive a US dollar collapse:

The Canadian economy is very tied to the US economy
The Canadian Government is intent on devaluing the Canadian dollar alongside the US
The Bank of Canada has virtually no gold backing the Canadian dollar
All that does back the Canadian dollar is the US dollar and other fiat currencies
The Canadian dollar is not used globally

What can we learn from this?

Again I preach diversification, diversification and diversification. Western countries like the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia (did I hear the words ‘Perth Mint’?) are NOT safe places to keep your physical precious metals.

Our favored gold storage location is still Switzerland. Switzerland is the centre of the world gold trade, a bastion of stability, and it is just unthinkable that the Swiss government would do something like the Kitco raid.

Singapore is also an upcoming gold storage haven. It isn’t yet able to compete with Switzerland on pricing and volume, but several storage facilities are now offering precious metals storage in the duty free zone at Changi Airport. Finally, Hong Kong is another good option.

A New and Popular Travel Destination – The Middle East

Once called the Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel have become popular travel destinations. Visited by themselves or in combination, most travelers return satisfied and surprised by their travel experience. For many, they have been on a truly remarkable holiday with a difference. So why is this so? To best answer this, we need to know a little more about these countries and how to travel to and within them.

*How to get there

Most travelers come by air. The national capitals of Damascus, Amman, Beirut and Tel Aviv all have international airports that are serviced by a range of international and Middle Eastern carriers. Both bus and private car travel is possible between most of the countries. Generally these are via a number of single crossing points like Syria-Lebanon and Syria-Jordan (at Derá on the new highway that links the two countries). Land routes exist to bordering countries. Land travel into/from Israel is more restricted. The most common point of entry is via the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge from Jordan. Syria has a somewhat dated rail network. Some services only run weekly but those on the popular central routes operate several services each day.

*How to get around

Trains, buses and taxi’s form the centerpiece of Middle Eastern travel services. Car hire with a guide is provided by many local tourist operators. They generally are cost effective and worth considering. Use Google to find them and always ask for (and check) references. Most will require half of the booking fee wired to them before they will confirm the bookings. A number of international companies including the overland companies offer tours. Again check with Google. A number of universities offer summer archaeological digs. Many of these are fee based and no experience is required.

*When to go

The Middle East enjoys a Mediterranean climate but the summers are hot and the winters cold, especially in the north. March to May is the best time to visit. Those who want to soak up the sun will find the coastal areas mid summer comfortable as temperatures are often influenced by cooler coastal breezes. The area suffers from winter rainfall that can make sightseeing difficult and snow covers the mountains between Lebanon and Syria mid winter.

*The Countries

Syria – Syria is modern, easy to travel in and relatively safe. It’s affordable if you keep away from the more expensive five star international hotels. It has a myriad of charms with excellent food, breathtaking scenery, tons of places of historic interest and friendly people. English is generally spoken in most hotels and markets in the major centers. Damascus is the major attraction with its wonderful markets and historic mosques and palaces. The Umayyad Mosque and the nearby mausoleum of Saladin (one of the greatest heroes of Arab’s history), are a “must see”. Plan a couple of days to enjoy Damascus. Consider at staying in one of the renovated boutique hotels that have sprung up in the past ten years. Many of these are ancient palaces in the Old City and are well worth the little extra cost. Do take the time to drive out to Palmyra for the site of the city that built to rival Rome. Homs with its water wheels in on the road to Apamea. This has an avenue of two kilometers of granite columns. Both are worth visiting and are part of 20 or more major archaeological sites that can be visited by tourists. Wandering around ruins of forts, mosques, churches and palaces provides a wonderful insight into what life was like two thousand years ago. Looping back towards Damascus is the most famous of the Crusader castles, Krak des Chevaliers. It is remarkably intact and it will be enjoyed by castle enthusiasts.

Jordan – Jordan has a huge selection of fascinating history to offer the tourists. It is steeped in the history of the Old Testament. The ancient cities of Petra and Jerash date back to Roman times when they were great trading cities along the Silk Road. Jerash is the “Pompeii of the East” and needs a little background reading to fully appreciate the historic context of the site. Take your time to explore it; you are walking through centuries of history. Although Amman is the relatively modern capital of Jordan, you’ll find the satellite city of Salt with its narrow streets and quaint houses is worth the visit. Jordan has a fascinating history of craft, Bedouin weaving, embroidery, pottery and ceramics, jewellery and glassblowing. These crafts are still very much part of Jordanian life today. The Bedouin hospitality and wonderful local cuisine is legendary.

Driving south from Amman you’ll find the now spreading town of Petra. To walk down the half mile long suq, you will be surprised by the beauty of the pink stone Treasury at the entrance of the old city of Petra. It will take your breath away. Read about Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who discovered Petra in 1812, before you go. His is indeed an amazing story. South of Petra is the now modern port of Aqaba made famous by Lawrence of Arabia. West of here you’ll find Wadi Rum where the film of Lawrence’s war-time exploits was made. Here, an option is to stay with the Bedouins in their cloth covered black tents. They are remarkably comfortable. Take a camel ride out to the secret camp where Lawrence planned his desert campaigns. You might return a little saddle sore but you will have really “ridden” in the footsteps of history.

Lebanon – Lebanon is a relatively small country. The highlights are generally along the coast. Here is the colorful coastal town of Byblos and further north is the ancient Crusader city of Tripoli with it’s interesting souqs (markets), mosques and hammams (baths). Turning inland, you will pass through the picturesque villages of the Qadisha Valley, through the Cedars and on to historic Baalbeck which has magnificent Roman ruins said by some to be the best preserved in the world, The route continues through the vineyards at Bekaa and then Umayyad ruins of Aanjar. Nearby is the charming village of Deiral-Qamar and the Beiteddine palace with its wonderful gardens.

Israel – Don’t ignore Israel as a possible travel destination. Access difficulties can be overcome by careful planning or with the help of an experienced travel operator. It’s the Holy Land and steeped in history. Most visitors head for Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho but there lots of little know archaeological sites like the old Roman capital of Galilee called Tzipori. In Jerusalem, the old City of David, The Citadel and Church of the Holy Sepulcher with the nearby Wailing Wall, draws the most tourists. What is believed to be the oldest church in the world is in Bethlehem. A silver star marks the place where it is believed that Christ was born.

Some tourists choose to visit the Dead Sea. It is off Highway 90 west of Jerusalem. Personally, although unique, I think that it is overrated. Those with more time might consider visiting Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Further a field you’ll find Masada with its spectacular ruined fortress.

Take care in Israel photographing or showing interest in border and military installations or personnel. You’ll get used the very obvious security presence.

*Visas

All these countries have different visa requirements. Generally Israel does not require a visa for most western countries. Tourists are allowed a stay of up to 90 days. However, it is necessary to avoid getting your passport stamped upon entry or exit as this causes problems of entry into Lebanon and Syria. Ask the border officials to stamp your entry permit instead. Better still, put Israel last on your itinerary. Jordanian visas can be obtained upon arrival at the airport and at most border crossings. It is best to get Syrian visas in advance. USA, most EU, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand passport holders can get a visa to enter Lebanon at the border. Jordan allows entry/exit to Israel via the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge without a multi-entry visa.

*Recommendation

The countries of the Middle East are attractive and exciting travel destinations. The people that you’ll meet are friendly and if your leave politics aside, you’ll have a very enjoyable travel experience. Middle eastern cooking is a highlight and in all countries you’ll find an amazing array of low cost local restaurants. Try the local beers and wines and few of the specialized drinks like Arak (Lion’s milk) which is commonly served with mezze. Talk to your travel agent or check out travel sites on Google. You are guaranteed to have a holiday of lifetime.

The author was in the Middle East in 1986 and Syria and Jordan in 2007. You can read about his fascinating journey in his book Following Marco Polo’s Silk Road. It will make a great Christmas present for someone who loves traveling.

The author was born in UK, brought up in South Africa, married in London to a New Zealander and now lives in Sydney, Australia. He has travelled to more than 70 countries and is the author of a book that describes his travels along the Silk Road called Following Marco Polo’s Silk Road.