International Appalachian Trail

August 11, 2012

I have a friend whose parents one day decided to sell their house, put all their belongings in storage, and hike the Appalachian Trail from the beginning in Georgia to the end in Maine.  My friend’s parents didn’t give him much warning so he was equally as shocked as we were to learn of this when he shared it with us shortly after finding out.  My friend wanted to join them but he wasn’t able to leave so quickly.  He waited a few months and took a bus to Virginia to meet with them and finish the journey the rest of the way to Maine.  He ended up hiking about half of the trail and was gone for about 4 months.  Even though it’s been over five years since returning, every time I hang out with him we talk about hiking and mountains and his experience hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Recently I learned something new about the Appalachian Trail.  More than 200 million years ago, the mountain range that spans the East Coast (the Appalachian Mountains) used to be part of a larger mountain range that now lies in Canada, Europe, and Northwestern Africa.  Hundreds of millions of years ago these different mountain ranges were connected as one back in the Pangaea Era when there was only one large land mass.  The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) project was initially started by the Governor of Maine to create an international partnership with Canada by extending the Appalachian Train from where it ends in Maine further into parts of Canada that are part of the same mountain range.  Slowly, the project grew to include other countries and the idea is now to “connect all of those mountains that were created when the ancient continent Pangaea was formed 300 million years ago.”

As part of the international agreement between Maine and Canada in relation to the International Appalachian Trail, in September 2008 Resolution 32-6 was formed which “commits the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador ‘to continue to work closely with the various organizations that are developing and maintaining these trails, in order to maximize their positive impact on our tourism industry and further promote the feeling of connectiveness that exist between our respective jurisdictions.'”

The mission of the International Appalachian Trail is to establish a long-distance walking trail that extends to all geographic regions once connected by the “Appalachian Mountain” range, formed more than 250 million years ago on the super-continent Pangea.

In addition to connecting people and places, the goal is to promote natural and cultural heritage, health and fitness, environmental stewardship, fellowship and understanding, cross-border cooperation, and rural economic development through eco and adventure tourism.

National Geographic included the International Appalachian Trail as one of the World’s Best Hikes in their recent article.  The series by National Geographic includes 20 amazing hikes from around the world.  The “World’s Best Hikes: Epic Trails” article was written by Doug Schnitzspahn who has worked for the National Park Services in Montana and Idaho.  He is currently the editor-in-chief for Elevation Outdoors magazine.

A truly great trail winds into the essence of a place, so when assembling this list of the world’s great hikes we kept an eye on more than the footpath. We looked for walks that travel deeper into a location’s history and culture. Sure, there’s outdoor adventure on each of these 20 hikes, but the trails also tell a rich story. So here they are, the holy grails of trails across the world. —Doug Schnitzspahn



Flagler Films recently released a 6-minute video on YouTube about the IAT in Ireland.  They are in discussions with PBS to produce a 3-hr segment about the International Appalachian Trail so I will keep my eye out to see what developments come in the future.

Other Links:

Flagler Films, IAT News:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=61&cntnt01returnid=15

IAT Wikipedia:

Intelligent Travel Blog:

GORP Article:


“NYC to Switzerland in one minute for just $2.25”

May 13, 2012

MySwitzerland is sponsoring the S-shuttle in NYC which is the shuttle train/subway from Time’s Square to Grand Central.  I’m surprised more of the trains don’t have such sponsoring as it was a somewhat refreshing experience riding the S-train sometimes because of the decorative advertising.

To mark the launch of their summer campaign, Switzerland Tourism along with its partners is transforming a subway shuttle train into a veritable Swiss journey. Both the outside and the inside of the train will be completely covered with Swiss imagery. New York City’s S shuttle runs between Grand Central Station and Times Square. It is the shortest regular service in the system, traveling the 0.8 miles in one minute.

All aboard – next stop: Switzerland

Enter contest to win a new prize each week

If you ride the train between Times Square and Grand Central Station you can enjoy Switzerland for a few minutes and marvel at the majestic scenery. For a chance to win a fabulous prize, enter our weekly contest. With a little luck it could be – “All aboard! Next stop for you: Switzerland.”


Cities of Switzerland

May 13, 2012

I came across this website called MySwitzerland and it has a cool timeline feature in which it recommends an itinerary for spending a day in that city, called “A Perfect Day In…”

The five largest cities of Switzerland are:

1. Basel

2. Bern

3. Geneva

4. Lausanne

5. Lugano

(Click on the links for each country to see the timeline feature by MySwitzerland)

MySwitzerland Cities of Switzerland link

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Swiss Alps

May 13, 2012

The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps Mountain Range in Europe that lie within Switzerland.  They cover 65% of Switzerland’s surface area and are widely known throughout the world as a top destination for skiing.   Original tourists from Britain visited to summit the high peaks and hike the vast mountains and today that remains one of the top reasons people visit.

Because Switzerland has a vast network of public transportation, most mountain villages can be reached by public transportation without the need of renting a car.  Most villages are within 3 hours of a large city, and the furthest cities are 4-6 hours away.

Links for Swiss Skiing:

Wikipedia information

Telegraph Ski Info

SkiBound website


Travel Deal to Switzerland

May 12, 2012

Air & 6 nights hotel from $1,199 by Budget Travel

On this highly civilized six-night escape to Switzerland, travelers will stay in a 19th-century château between Lake Geneva and the Jura Mountains.

The Real Deal Airfare to Geneva from New York; accommodations at the Château de Divonne, 15 minutes from the Geneva airport; and fuel surcharges.

When Mar. 3, 2011; Mar. 10 ($1,399); Mar. 17-31 ($1,499); Apr. 7 ($1,599); Apr. 14-May 26 ($1,999).

Why It’s a Deal Airfare and accommodations cost about $1,261 if booking independently.

The Fine Print Mention promo code BTMAG332. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal. SS $499.

Gateways New York City.

Contact Foreign Independent Tours, 800/248-3487,,7062/

Traveling to Switzerland

May 12, 2012

Trip Advisor vacation packages travel info on Swiz

Budget Travel info

Travel Zoo trips

SwissTrip ski trips


This is my 100th blog post since I created my blog a little bit more than two years ago.  Thank you so so so much to everyone who has given support by reading my blog and providing constructive criticism.

Weekend Spotlight

May 11, 2012

This weekend the spotlight is on Switzerland.

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Photos from TripAdvisor

Links about Switzerland:

Wikipedia page

Lonely Planet website

BBC News country profile

Official website of Switzerland tourism

NYTimes World News about Switzerland