Monday, March 23, 2015

City Break: Stay In Bern, Travel Free

Bern is a really fun city to explore after your Swiss hiking tour. From trendy eateries and cafes, to world class shopping and art, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. It’s also a perfectly preserved medieval city, making it a photographer and history buff’s dream. The perfectly preserved Old Town is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

If you stay overnight in Bern, then you’ll travel for free with the Bern Ticket on Bern’s extensive public transportation system. The Bern ticket covers your entire stay and includes the famous Gurten funicular, the funicular Marzilibahn and the elevator to the Cathedral Platform. The Cathedral Platform is a viewing platform on the Berner Münster, a Gothic cathedral in the center of town dating to 1421. The Münster is Switzerland's tallest cathedral. The viewing platform offers 365-degree views of the city and the peaks of the Berner Oberland on a clear day.

Click here for more info on the Bern Ticket, and a list of more fun things to do in Bern.

Image by Chris Pranskatis

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring has Sprung! Flower Covered Meadows and Mountain Ooh-La-La

What better way to celebrate spring than with this picture of dandelions blanketing a rolling green meadow in the Italian Dolomites! This meadow is called the Alpe di Siusi, or Seiser Alm in the local German language. It's actually the largest high elevation meadow in Europe, making it the largest "alp" in the Alps. The mountain in the background is called the Sciliar, or Schlern in German.

Ken Fuhrer shot this image during a private Italian Dolomites Trek last June. If you like flower-covered meadows, then you'll love the Italian Dolomites!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Morning On The Irish Coast

Th' Anam Tho' Dhia! but there it is —
The dawn on the hills of Ireland!
God's angels lifting the night's black veil,
From the fair, sweet face of my sireland!
O, Ireland, isn't grand you look—
Like a bride in her rich adornin'!
With all the pent-up love of my heart,
I bid you the top o' the mornin'!

Excerpt from "Morning on the Irish Coast" ("The Exiles Return") by John Locke (1847-1899).

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Image: Dingle Way Hiking Tour, Ireland
By Karen Walker

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hike Montenegro-New Spaces Available

This is your chance! We've had a couple of spaces become available on our popular Montenegro hiking tour. This tour was previously sold out. Here is the current availability.

September 15-22, 2015—Two Spaces Available
September 16-23, 2015—Sold Out
September 23-30, 2015—Two Spaces Available (1 double room)

We love this trip, and we know you'll love it too! Click here to see the full Montenegro itinerary.

Please send us an email to join one of these trips. Or call:
In the U.S. 888.586.8365
International +1 970.728.6481

See you in Montenegro!

Image by Ken Fuhrer

Friday, March 06, 2015

See Nepal Before It Changes Forever! | Hike with Renowned Explorer Ace Kvale

Image: Ivoha/shutterstock

Have you subscribed to our e-newsletter? Click here to subscribe, and get all the latest offers and news. From our latest edition:

Time is running out for an ancient kingdom in Nepal, and we'd like you to see it before it changes forever.
Situated on the mountainous, windswept border of Nepal and the People's Republic of China, Upper Mustang (the former Tibetan Kingdom of Lo) is a perfectly preserved artifact of Tibetan culture and customs. In point-of-fact, it's one of the last places on earth where Tibetan dialects, rituals and an accompanying Buddhist religion still survive largely intact. This is the land where dragons still hide in caves, and monks pray to ward off evil spirits. In short, Upper Mustang is a world of myth.

The New York Times wrote a very nice story about Upper Mustang in an article titled, Myths and Mountains in Nepal. They also put together a very nice slide show of the region.

Please read the story, then visit our website to check out our Nepal: The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang hiking tour. If you register for this trip, then you'll spend 18 days photographing and exploring incalculable treasures and landscapes that will steal your breath away. You'll hike to remote monasteries and ancient cave temples adorned with gold and silver-gilded frescoes that rival the art in Italy's Sistine Chapel. You'll also stop for reflection at one of many carved-stone chortas, (a small Buddhist stupa), that line the centuries-old trade route between the tiny farming and herding villages of the region. It is worth noting that you'll follow a Himalayan salt trade route (between Tibet and India) that has been in use for more than 600 years.

The real highlight of this trip is the visit to Lo Manthang, the capital of the former Lo Kingdom-a walled city that looks exactly as it did when it was built in 1380. Lose track of time as you wander among the whitewashed, mud brick walls of the city. Dip into a local teashop to purchase a bit of refreshment or a tiny keepsake from your journey. If everything goes to plan, you might even have an audience with Raja Jigme Palba Bista, the last surviving king of Mustang. He was Mustang's king, (and still is to many residents), before the Nepalese government ordered a cessation of the monarchy in 2008. Retire to the comfort of your Tibetan style guesthouse and dream about the 26,000-foot Annapurna mountain range standing guard outside your door. 

Ace Kvale will lead this trip. Ace has traveled to more than sixty countries, including nearly 30 expeditions to Asia and the Himalaya. He is also one of the world's top adventure photographers. Ace knows Nepal, and continues to document the rapid changes sweeping across the region, most notably the completion of a motorable road that connects Mustang with urban centers in the north and south. Recent development in Upper Mustang promises prosperity for local residents, but it also brings a radical departure from a much older, traditional way of life. If any person is qualified to show you the beauty of Nepal, and the unique culture of an ancient kingdom balancing on the precipice of the modern world, it is Ace.

Our Nepal: The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang hiking tour runs May 23-June 9 2015. Please contact us to join this very special journey.

See you in Nepal! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia—You Need To Go Now!

This is the view of Lake Bohinj, day six on our guided Slovenia Triglav Circuit hiking tour. We hike down from a mountain hut called the Dom na Komni, then we spend two nights in a great hotel on the shores of Lake Bohinj.

Our Slovenia hiking tour sells out every year, and it’s no surprise. The hiking satisfies, and the views are divine. Get there while you can!

Photo by Ken Fuhrer

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Alphorns Included on Swiss Hikes!

A few days ago we posted images of these bagpipers on the Hiker’s Haute Route. Here’s another shot from that same day.

Just a few hours later, on the descent to the tiny village of Gruben, RW trip leader Dave Gruss and his guests had a chance to try their hand at a very ancient form of alpine communication, the Swiss alphorn.

Dave writes, “On the other side hiking down into Gruben we came upon a farm with a few folks sitting on their porch. The gentleman with the alpenhorn chatted me up and the next thing you know he pulls the horn out of a bag and gets a few of our crew on the deck giving it hell. Great stuff!”

Great stuff indeed!

If you’ve got your own alphorn, then by all means, bring it on your next hiking tour in Switzerland. Don’t have your own horn? No worries. Alphorns have a way of showing up on Ryder-Walker hiking tours!

Photo by Dave Gruss