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Chicago’s Biggest Book Fair Is Back July 23-26

Jul 9, 2015
The Newberry Book Fair on July 23-26, Chicago’s biggest annual used book binge, has something for every reader.

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Travel Diary

Read Eileen’s travel diary and keep up with her travels. You might just pick up some ideas for your next family vacation!

Tierra Atacama, Toco Volcano


It is not easy to breathe the air up around 18,000 feet, especially when hiking straight to the top of a volcano. The Toco Volcano is the most difficult excursion offered by Tierra Atacama, one of San Pedro, Chile’s most luxurious and beautiful boutique hotels. more
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To the hot springs


I’m not dreaming. The handsome, long-haired 29 year old Chilean is Max Vera, who is guiding us on a challenging hike uphill along the canyon floor, scrambling over big rocks, along a sandy trail, in between large “fox tails” that grow in this region and Cacti that are 12 feet high with needles so sharp that local Indian women use them as needles to sew and knit. (more) more
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Chaxa Lake


Day 10 -- Welcome to Laguna de Chaxa (Chaxa Lake) and the National Reserve of Flamingoes that is about an hour from St. Pedro, Chile from where we’re staying at the lovely 32-room Tierra Atacama more
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To the Atacama Desert Region of Chile


Tierra Pool View of Licancabur Volcano
“Use your imagination,” our guide Cristobal Soler tells us. We are in northern Chile now, in the famous Atacama desert region in the Valle de la Luna—Moon Valley—famous for its resemblance to the moon surface and salt and rock formations that look everything like dinosaur heads, to an amphitheater, to the Three Marias more
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Who knows why glaciers are blue?


DAY 8 -- We’re in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the largest in Chile with several hanging glaciers including Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers. We’ve taken a small boat from Puerto Natales, about five minutes from Hotel Remota (www.remota.cl) where we are staying for a three-hour cruise—past a huge waterfall and condor nest! “You read about it in books and then you can look and see it,” says Sandy VanLandingham, from Arizona visiting here with extended family. more
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Whoa Horsie!


DAY 7 in Chile -- It is one of those vacation days I think I must be dreaming. I’m in the Patagonian hills of Chile riding a gentle horse named Chinosca as we climb higher and higher on a traditional estancia or ranch, past grazing sheep and cattle. The hills are dotted with stumps of the traditional Linca trees—cut down in the early 1900s, our guide Alvaro Jaime tells us, both for energy in the new settlement of Puerto Natales and to provide more grazing land in those days. more
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They can’t all be the ‘best day ever’


I’m bushwhacking up a trail in Patagonia, scrambling over loose rocks and getting more frustrated by the minute. My knee aches. The guide is not helpful or attentive. I wish I’d remembered to ask for hiking poles—they really help. I wish he’d remembered to offer them. more
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A stroll through Guanaco and Condor country


This isn’t our neighborhood--the sweeping expanse of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia belongs to herds of rhea (small ostriches), the gray fox, and herds of guanaco—a kind of llama who totally ignore our presence as the males chase each other (only one male can be dominant in a herd of females) and the females nurse their oh so cute babies. more
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New Years Day hike to a lamb BBQ


The whole lamb is roasting on a spit over blistering hot coals in the middle of nowhere--literally. It smells delicious and has been soaked in beer and seasoned only with salt. more
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At the Remota — a unique resort in Patagonia


It's New Year's Eve and I’m writing this in perhaps the most unique resort I’ve ever seen—Hotel Remota outside the Patagonian town of Puerto Natales, a small (perhaps 15,000 people) but growing tourist town for those discovering the wonders of this region. more
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