Vacations to Enrich Your Life

On our new book shelf here at the AADL you can pick up a copy of The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life, written by Pam Grout & published by National Geographic. The author's intent, as she states in the introduction, is to alter your idea of what vacation is meant to be and offer you the potential to change your life. The experiences are divided into four categories: arts and crafts getaways, learning retreats, volunteer vacations, and wellness escapes. Even if you can't afford some of the fabulous ideas set forth in this book, it's still enjoyable to read about them. Consider a three-day mahout (elephant wrangler) training course in Thailand. Spend a month working for African Impact, a lion rehabilitation center in Zimbabwe. Master the art of blending scotch at the Glengoyne Distillery in the Scottish highlands. Ride horses to Machu Picchu's sacred sister city, Choquequirao, Peru.
The trip that caught my attention is run by COBATI (Community-Based Tourism Initiatives) in Kampala, Uganda. Instead of a typical African safari package that does little to benefit the locals, COBATI homestays offer the amazing opportunity to stay in small, rural villages and learn about the real Uganda. Visit banana plantations, stay with midwives, learn beekeeping & mushroom growing, attend community weddings, visit flower farms and see homesteads with Ankole longhorn cattle (indigenous to Uganda for at least seven centuries). Interested? Visit www.cobati.or.ug or head to the library for a copy of this unique travel guide.

Space Tourism!?!?!?

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Never thought you'd live to see the day when space travel become a tourist attraction, did you? Well, you're living it! Russo-Hungarian software developer Charles Simonyi is traveling with two other personnel who'll be relieving Space Station crew members who recently returned to Earth via Discovery shuttle. Simonyi, Gennady Padalka, a Russian air force colonel and Michael Barratt, a flight engineer and space physician, are expected to dock at the International Space Station at 9:14am EST Saturday morning. Simonyi isn't publicizing how much he paid for passage aboard the Soyuz rocket, bound for the ISS. However, the list price is $35 million. This is Simonyi's second trip to space, and he's indicated that the cost of booking a seat on space shuttles has increased for since his first trip.

BOCD for a spring family road trip

If a driving trip with young children is in your future, say for spring break, be prepared, be very prepared. That could mean checking out PLENTY of family BOCDs from the library. Here’s one from James Herriot to get you started: Treasury for Children, a collection of the author’s stories for kids, including Moses the Kitten, The Market Square Dog, and Smudge the Little Lost Lamb. Happy travels!

World Travel 101

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The Michigan Council of Hostelling International will be in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Downtown Library on Wednesday February 18, 2009 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm to offer tips and resources for travelers getting ready for their first trip or travelers eager to save money. After the program, make sure to check out our selection of travel books to plan your next trip; the Let's Go series is a favorite.

Made in Spain - Cooking an Empanada

If you're looking for a high energy cooking series look no further than Made in Spain with José Andrés. Here's a clip from the show on making an Empanada.

If this looks like your type of cooking show then AADL has both the 2 DVD set of the Made in Spain series and the cookbook that accompanies the series. Many of the episodes include a visit to regions of Spain and restaurants that make the regional specialties, so if you love Spanish food, pick it up. If Made in Spain doesn't fit your taste then we also have many other Spanish cooking items available.

AATA Introduces a New Route

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The Ride (a.k.a. the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti bus system) has introduced a new route just in time for the holidays. On December 1, AATA began service on Route 17; Amtrak-Depot St. This route starts and ends at Blake Transit Center and offers service to City Hall, Community High School, Kerrytown, and the Amtrak station on Depot St. For people like myself, who are planning to take the Amtrak train out of the city for the holidays and who have light baggage, this route offers convenient access to the train station for $1 (or less) per trip. For more details on Route 17 and other services of The Ride, visit their website or call at (734) 996-0400.

Dec. 6, 1947 - Everglades National Park, Florida dedicated by President Harry S Truman

"Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country." With these words, Truman formally dedicated Everglades National Park. This event culminated years of effort by a dedicated group of conservationists to make a national park in the Florida Everglades a reality. For a fascinating and comprehensive history of this amazing wetland, check out Michael Grunwald's The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. Thinking of visiting the park? Check out Hidden Florida Keys and Everglades or Adventure guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades National Park.

The Many Festivals of Mexico

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Join us on Tuesday, Dec. 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm for a fascinating look at some of Mexico's most colorful celebrations! Stephanie Schneiderman of Tia Stephanie Tours returns to AADL with pictures and stories from her journeys to Mexico. Whether it's Night of the Radishes, Day of the Dead, Christmas in different parts of Mexico, or the "velas" of Tehuantepec, Schneiderman's tours always capture the unique local flavor of the festivities. This event will be held Downtown in the Multi-Purpose Room.

1,000 Ultimate Travel Experiences

Whether you are a well-seasoned traveller with a mangled passport, or someone who rarely leaves your spot on the couch, it's likely you will find inspiration in A Rough guide to the world : Make the most of your time on earth. This hefty book is crammed full of amazing travel experiences grouped according to global areas, starting with Britain & Ireland, and finishing with The Polar Regions (you didn't think they'd forget the North and South Pole, did you?). Seeking a natural miracle? Visit Iguazu Falls in Argentina - more than two hundred cascades thundering over an eighty meter cliff, all surrounded by lush tropical forest. Seeking an event to remember? Try April 30th/Queen's Day in Amsterdam (police are forbidden to interfere with any activity, no matter how outrageous). Seeking a wonder of the ancient world? Try the unparalleled Roman archaeological site of Baalbek in Lebanon. (In the words of Robert Byron, it "dwarfs New York into a home of ants".) Seeking a journey closer to home? Grab your bike and ride the Slickrock in Moab, Utah. Personally, I am inspired to plan a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela in Ethiopia. I'll share my injera with you if you'll pay for my plane ticket!

Beijing Olympics

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If you are heading to Beijing to support our atheletes, you might want to check out this blog site before packing your bags. Globespotters offers urban advice from reporters who live there.

Beijing Basics are for smart travelers who plan ahead - with information from airports, getting into town, using the subways, to finding an English-speaking doctor.

If your travel plans include other equally exotic locales such as Mumbai, Bangkok, Moscow or Istanbul, you will be glad you did you homework. Travel safe.

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