Category Archives: Travel

Aussies Plan Nordic Walking Trips to Austria

Two itineraries aimed at fitness walkers & leisure walkers

I have a T-shirt showing a road sign with an image of a kangaroo and a diagonal line through it and a acaption that reads: “No Kangaroos in Austria.” My then young-teen son brought it to me from a People to People exchange program to Europe. When I think of a group of Australians heading the Austria, that shirt comes to mind.

The Nordic Walking Academy, which brought a group to the Alps last year, is oganizing two back-to-back trips to  in June 2011, so there will be a bunch of folks from the land of the kangaroos to the Austria for a Nordic Walking itinerary in the Alps of Austria, German, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Dates: Leisure Tour (1½ to 3 hours of Nordic Walking daily) Monday, June 6 through Wednesday, June 15; Fitness Tour (2½ to 4+ hours of walking),  Saturday, June 18 through Monday, June 27.

Tour leaders Patrick Burtschler grew up in the Grosses Walsertal, a glorious UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in western Austria where the program is based, and Maree Farnsworth lived there with him for several years, to they know the territoryand speak the local dialect. Participants meet at the main railway station in the town of Feldkirch in western Austria, so it would hook in well with other travels in Europe. The cost of the trip does not include air fare, so there’s mostly likely no reason for Nordic Walkers from elsewhere not to sign up — except that they won’t participate in the 6-week preparation. Click here for details of the entire program including cost and signup deadlines — and enticing photos, and I wish I could include a larger version in this post than the one (above left) that I captured from their website. For more information, contact

Fall Walking Vacations from Wayfarers

Pack your poles and explore beguiling domestic destinations in September or October

The Wayfarers’ Walking Vacations in the US this fall offer a stress-free way maintain fitness, see wonderful scenery at a step-by-step pace and also sample seasonal and regional specialties from chilies to chalupas, blueberries to burritos. The company, in its 27th season, has programs in three states this fall: Maine, New Mexico and Utah . 

Well-known photojournalist Ellen Barone joins one of the two New Mexico Walks (September 12-17) as a special guest lecturer and facilitator providing one-on-one guidance on improving photography, developing a digital storytelling perspective and even marketing one’s work for wannabe photojournalists.

The Wayfarers offers eco-aware “walking” holidays combining culture and fitness 85 Walks in 14 countries, including the following domestic itineraries:

  • New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment. September 12-17 and October 10-15, 6 days/5 nights. Walkers cover 5-7 miles per day, with elevation gains of 300 to 500 feet at elevations up to 7,000 feet $2,595 per person, based on double occupancy.
  • Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks. September 26 – October 2, 7 days/6 nights. Walkers cover 5-7 miles per day, with elevation gains of up to 1,000 feet. $2,795 PPDO.
  • The Coast of Maine: Camden and Acadia. September 19-24 and October 3-8.6 days/5 nights. Walkers cover 7-10 miles per day. $2,695 PPDO.

All 2010 itineraries are priced at or below 2009 rates, and Wayfarers’ Walks are all-inclusive. For more information or to book a Walk, visit the website or call 800-249-4620. 

Instructor Rick Deutsch taught Nordic Walking on a Crystal cruise

Nordic Walking instructor and hiking guide Rick Deutsch recently returned from a Middle East cruise on  the “Crystal Symphony,” where he taught Nordic Walking from 7:30 to 8 :30 a.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every day. He also presented two lectures, one a NW overview and the other “Exercise with Scenery: Hiking.” Deutsch is also a hiking guide in the Sierra, so the 103-degree temperatures reached in Oman were off the chart for him.

He reports that he had about 30 people try Nordic Walking. Most had been unaware of it, but once they tried it, all could feel the muscular involvement after just one lap around the ship’s 1/3-mile Promenade Deck. One woman, who had a recent hip and knee replacements, was happy with the new-found stability and balancethat the poles gave her. Deutsch noted that “Crystal is loaded with many on board activities so we competed for guests’ time. Formal nights meant folks were getting ready early and attendance for the poles waned.”

He sent several images to share here.

Below, poles laid out and ready for class.

LEKI’s quick release strap is better shown than explained.

Detusch stresses stablity, showing people the advantage of Nordic Walking poles for people with balance issues or who are recuperating from surgery.

Deutsch demonstrating how it’s done on the deck.

Detusch helped the fitness staff get the hang of sizing poles. Here, one of the fitnss team is sizing polls for a passenger named Margaret,.who Deutsch said, “used poles religiously.”

Nothing writ in stone yet, but Detusch might be leading another set of shipboard classes this fall.

New York Resort and Illinois Trainer Offer Nordic Walking

Two states in two time zones with Nordic Walking options

It is not unusual to find European resort properties that offer Nordic Walking classes, but when an American resort offers the option of poles, it is worth noting. The Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles near Albany, New York, offers instructor-led fitness classes and activities that include fitness walking. The resort notes, “Enjoy an invigorating walk through the beautiful Village of Skaneateles. Nordic Walking Poles are available.”  Is this a class option or a group walk with poles as an optinon? I don’t know. What kind of poles?  I don’t know that either. But I am glad to read that fitness walking with poles is available. Reservations: 315-685-1927

Also, Illinois fitness trainer Nancy Trock, whose ACE personal trainer profile indicates that she specializes in working with “boomers like me,” older adults and healthy adults, meets Nordic Walking students at the Oak Park Library in June. It is unclear whether she has scheduled classes meeting there or arranges to meet clients there — or both. A 75-minute classs costs $35 ($100 additional to keep the Exel poles). Reach Nancy Trock at 708-699-GOOD (4663) or or by Email to During library hours, June clinics meet by the main Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street or elsewhere by appointment.

Return of Nordic Walking Cruise

Crystal Cruises reprises shipboard Nordic Walking

Last year, very much in the last minute because that’s when I learned about it, I wrote a post about Crystal Cruise’s introduction of aboard-ship Nordic Walking as a fitness option on an October cruise. I didn’t have any photos, and I rued the fact that my post was so late that no one could likely book the trip. Crystal has engaged Nordic Walking instructor Rick Deutsch to train instructors on the “Crystal Symphony’s” May 12 sailing from Dubai to Athens to train the line’s fitness instructors on how to lead demonstration classes at sea. Deutsch is president of Carpe Diem Experience in San Jose, California.

Deutsch shared this photo and also reports, “Since the complimentary Nordic Walking program rolled out six months ago, several hundred guests have been able to try fitness walking with lightweight poles. Through a partnership with LEKI USA…Crystal’s Nordic Walking program takes full advantage of the expansive 360-degree promenade decks aboard Crystal ships.”

Sounds good to me!

Nordic Walking in the Veneto

Region near Venice abounds in trails, vineyards and scenery. Join a tour — if you can find one

Tour Leader Venice is either a tour operator in Italy or a marketing or umbrella “organization” for tour operators that, among other services is promoting guided group Nordic Walking excursions in the Veneto region. Think wine. Think grappa. Think Proseco. Think beautiful scenery. Think ample opportunities to go Nordic Walking.

In particular, the hilly area around Treviso, the capital of the eponymous province of Treviso at Italy’s eastern boot cuff, seems to have embarked on an initiative this year called Sport in Treviso 360 °,  a single active outdoor-oriented program that ranges from participation in major sporting events to trips led by naturalist-guides. There are frequent Nordic Walking, including by moonlight.

I wish I could give you prices. I wish I could give you detailed itineraries. But I can’t even find easy contact information — no link from the Tour Leader Venice website to get in touch with anyone, no phone or fax number and not even a functioning link on the “About Us” button. The best I can do, if you’re interested in this intriguing region for Nordic Walking and if you are traveling that way, is to point you to the web  page labeled “Treviso: The Most Important Province for Sport! Some Appointment”, then suggest that you scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment — and wish you good luck. For my part, I’d just head to Venice, the municipality of Treviso or even Trieste to the east and take potluck in finding a program. Or grab my little English-Italian dictionary, my poles and a map and head out.

Note: I subsequently received a clarifying message about this business. Please read the comment section for more information.

"Volcanic Ash Affects Nordic Walking"

That was the headline to a post on a UK blog called Simply Nordic Walking. How?, I wondered. Thick air that unpleasant to breathe and irritating to the eyes, perhaps? An anticipated shipment of poles that were grounded in the place of manufacture? Neither of those.The blogger, Peter Young who teaches Nordic Walking in southwest London but whose photo (left) was taken in beautiful Scotland, went on to report that during the week of interrupted, delayed and canceled travel, “Even one of our regular walkers found that her planned weekend break in Krakow fell victim to the ash cloud. It may have been a blessing in disguise, given the State Funeral for the President. The other bonus was that it meant she could come walking in beautiful Bushy Park!”

Anyone living in London or traveling to who wants to join Young’s Nordic Walkers can call him at 07703-404-931. He provides poles. He gives lessons in the Southwest London area starting at £10, with taster sessions (i.e., demo) sessions for £5. He reminds us that the fresh air and scenery are free — and when I look at his posts, each accompanied by a photo, currently of London in spring — I think that’s one of the aspects of Nordic Walking that I treasure most as well.

Couple to Commence Walk/Hike Around Lake Superior

Full Circle Superior to be a five-month, 1,700-mile itinerary to honor the greatest of the Great Lakes

Mike Link was a founder of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the first executive director of the Audubon Center of the North Woods near Sandstone, Minnesota. His partner, Kate Crowley, also a veteran naturalist, has been involved in education and animals, first at Minnesota Zoo, then also at the Audubon Center. Through 24 books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles, they have their lives and their passion for the wilderness and nature. They have experienced almost every wilderness area in the country.

Their most ambitious adventure will be when they leave their home in Willow River, Minnesota, on April 29 to begin a counterclockwise walk/hike all the way around Lake Superior. Beginning and ending in Duluth. they expect to cover three states and one province and over a five- to six-month period. Their expedition, called Full Circle Superior, will be the first ever shoreline “circumnavigation” on foot, keeping as close to the lake as possible. It will also bring together people, ideas and issues from science, community, economy, education and the environment on both the US and Canadian sides of the lake.

I write this post not just out of great admiration for their goals and their environmental, international and community ethos, but also because Nordic Walking is a small part of this very big picture. Great Lakes Nordic Walking is a sponsor of this epic walk (think about that, Bill Bryson!), and Rhea Kontos of Nordic Walk This Way (center, between Mike and Kate) presented them with two pairs of Gabel poles to ease their journey, which will — by the way — be supported. With the assistance of their SAG wagon driver, Amanda Hakala, they will conduct ongoing research. They will make point samples, discrete observations and photographs, which scientists and students at several universities and research institutes can follow remotely. It is anticipated to become the first and most complete inter-disciplinary database of its kind on Lake Superior.

On Saturday, April 24, beginning at 3:30 p.m., just a few days before setting off, Mike Link will be a speaker at the annual Midwest Mountaineering’s 50th Outdoor Adventure Expo. Mike and Kate  will be writing a blog on their website. I intend to follow it. Will you?

Exploritas Nordic Walking Vacations

Upcoming trips to California and Michigan Nordic Walking options 
Exploritas, the organization formerly known as Elderhostel, is loosening its requirements for age 55 and older participate in its exploratory, learning and adventure vacations. While it is not activevly recruiting younger travelers and adventurers, it now welcomes them if they have an interest in a trip or an activity. Parent/adult offspring traveling twosomes and May-December couples presumably find the new name and the new attitude welcoming.

  • Napa Valley Fitness, Nordic Walking and Wine (#17658RJ)  is a new four-night program (March 14-18, 2010) with accommodations at American Canyon, California, four breakfasts, three lunches, four dinners and a variety of fitness, wellness, nutrition, yoga, a winter visit and two days of Nordic Walking up to 10 miles. $843 per person, double occupancy; $1,091 single or $595 commuter (no accommodations).
  •  Achieve Winter Fitness: Relax, Revitalize, Reconnect! (#16783RJ) is a three-night program (January 17-20, 2010) based at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. The program includes three breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners, holistic nutrition counseling, stress reduction and improvement of emotional health through meditation and tai chi, Nordic Walking, foot- and hand-massage therapy, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dancing for health, Fitness after 50, GPS outdoor treasure hunt, owl calling and much more.  $484 PP/DO;  $562 single or $364 commuter.  
  •  Women’s Wellness Retreat: Renew, Relax and Reconnect (#16964RJ) is a new five-night program (February 7-12), also at Kettunen Center. Activities are designed to help participants express creativity, improve fitness, enjoy outdoor recreation and gaining opportunities and just have fun and relax. This winter escape begins with a wine-and-cheese tasting on Sunday evening and further includes five breakfasts, five lunches and four dinners. Programs include speakers and sessions in aromatherapy, healthy cooking with herbs, herbal and conventional medicine, Nordic Walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, relaxation techniques (tai chi, meditation and yoga) and creative sessions on glass jewelry making, flower arranging and dancing. $716 PP/DO, $841 single and commute $516.

Reserve online or call 1-800-454-5768.

Exerstriding at Sea

Nordic Walking classes and instructor training on Caribbean cruise

I recently posted news of Crystal Cruises’ Nordic Walking program on two ships and two itineraries, one in the Mediterranean and one aboard the “Crystal Serenity” that sailed out of New York today for Montreal. Tom Rutlin is taking his Exerstrider poles and Exerstrider Method aboard the “Norwegian Sky” for a three-day cruise to the Nassau, Bahamas, and Great Stirrup Key, March 5-8. Rutlin plans to conduct daily early-morning and sunset Exerstride Method instructional walks around the ship’s deck track that measures out to 3.5 laps to the mile deck, as well as Exterstrider excursions ashore. There will also be an Exterstrider Method instructor training and certification course aboard.

Prices per person, based on two sharing a cabin:
Premium Package Rate – EMNW Instructor Class + Cruise
Balcony, $719, and Oceanview, $559, including EMNW Instructor Class fee and a free pair of poles)

Enhanced Participation Package Rate – twice-daily on-board Exerstriding group instruction by Tom Rutlin + Cruise
Balcony, $620, and Oceanview, $460

Companion Cruise Package Rate (no Exerstriding included)
Balcony, $545, and Oceanview, $385

The regular cruise package includes stateroom berth and ocean transportation (duh!), regular on-ship meals, taxes, surcharges and port fees, and someone called a “cruise escort.” Optional shore excursion are, of course, additional. Also extra are airfare, airport-pier transfers, optional cancellation insurance, pre- or post-cruise expenses (whatever that’s supposed to mean), gratuities and “personal matters.”

For more information or to book this trip, which Rutlin recommends doing ASAP as only a limited number of cabins have been set aside, contact Jim Richardson, Vision 2000 Travel Group, 800-387-2440 or 416-686-3362, Ext. 1or