One of my favourite things to do when I first arrive in a new place, is drop my bags somewhere safe and go on a no time restraint, no specific direction, no plans, kind of walk. I let my senses guide me in the direction of excitement and adventure. I stop and chat to people I meet along the way, take in my surroundings, and test my willingness to try new things.
I want to travel back in time to the experience that gave birth to my travel bug. It all happened during the year of 2005. It was my last semester of high school, and spending four months in Paraguay, South America was an opportunity offered by my school as an co-op program in exchange for six credits. I was 17 years old, and boarding my first plane without my parents to a foreign land called Paraguay.
We Hate Expedia and Enterprise right now.
Even so, the working title of this post – Expedia and Enterprise Are Dead To Us – just didn’t feel right. It’s true, in this moment, but harsh nonetheless.
2011 will go down in the books as housing the summer of camping and hiking madness. In honor of that, we want to take a walk down memory lane – and we’re dragging you with us.
I recently attended a travel blogger conference in Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps. A full and interesting program, lots of inspiration and great fun to meet up with fellow bloggers and writers. Hats off to Oliver and Travel Bloggers Unite (TBU) for a well-organised event.
It’s early evening in the village surrounding Qala’at al-Bahrain. The creatively decorated houses remind me of pictures in fairy-tales, especially through the filter of the setting sun. Five horsemen appear out of the dusk in front of the silhouette of a large 16th century Portuguese fort. This is home to Iranians, says Aziz, my guide for the evening. This is a shia village.
Good things to do in St Moritz in autumn:
1) Stroll around gorgeous St Moritz Lake.
2) At Hotel Waldhaus am See, imagine people having a picnic by the lake, chatting, resting, bathing – 100 years ago.
3) Try the yummy local nut cake, Nusstorte.
4) Take the cable car to Corviglia and on to Piz Nair. Walk back down and look out for cute marmots along the mountainside.
The British Museum is one of my faves. The question remains, though – should many of its artefacts be returned to its country of origin? The magnificent Rosetta Stone probably belongs, if not in Rosetta, at least in Egypt. I think it would be fantastic in the new library in Alexandria.
Discovered 212 years ago in the present-day town of el-Rashid (near Alexandria) by Napoleon’s soldiers, the black granite stone was surrendered to Britain after his defeat. When French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion translated the text, he solved one of the world’s great mysteries: how to read the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians.
Let me break it down for you. We shouldn’t like cruise ships. At all.
In addition to the fact that we don’t fit the mold, we’ve been on a ship that was in a major accident (it hit a barge) and on another that refused medical attention when one of us got seriously ill. It’s as though cruises are actively working against us – encouraging us to hate them.
A photo post from my 2008 trip to Paraty, Brazil. Paraty is a small colonial town located in the southern region of the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I’m no photographer but I am proud of some of these shots and hope you like them too.
A bike ride gone awry as 50 miles turn into 70+ with two dog chase scenes and friendly stranger who gave me a ride home.
I always wanted to do one of the Adventurists crazy expeditions. The idea of driving across Europe to Mongolia or driving across India in a rickshaw just sounds like a big ball of fun. We did something similar in India in 2011 by rail, and being a part of a big rally like that is my sort of travel. But now they’ve turned it up a notch… check it out.
On the Fjærland Fjord, Mundal Hotel is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. This family-owned hotel has creaking stairs, a great turret bed room, a library, a billiards room, a music room, deep leather chairs by the fireplace – and books; not just in the library but everywhere. Wherever you go in Fjærland, you’ll find books; indoors and outdoors, along the streets, in barns and in boat sheds. Four kilometres of second-hand and antiquarian books are for sale, mostly on a trust system: take the book you fancy and put money in the tin.
I’m in Pyramiden, once a showcase of the Soviet Union, a perfect mining community, set between mountains, glaciers and fjords in the Svalbard archipelago. Today, it’s an Arctic ghost town! The decision to abandon the settlement was sudden, its implementation even more so. The inhabitants were given just hours to pack their bags and leave. Remnants of that hasty departure are visible everywhere.
Every Thursday, Ashley and Jason Bartner organizes pizza night at their agriturismo. And it doesn’t hurt to have a chef in charge, a chef with years of experience working at top notch restaurants in New York and San Francisco.
Jason believes in the slow food movement, in cooking with the seasons and keeping it simple. You won’t find pizzas with everything here. Instead, each pizza has just a few ingredients, all fresh from the local meat and cheese market and from the garden.
Situated right outside Luxor, Karnak Temple is the largest ancient religious site in the world. An impressive avenue of ram-headed sphinxes connects it with Luxor Temple. Karnak is a place of records: everything here seems to be the biggest and tallest. Its scale defies description. The first pylon (gate) alone is 42 metres high (like a 14-storey building) and 118 metres wide. Ancient Egypt must have been in awe of its builders.
Barentsburg, you say? Where on earth… ? The Svalbard archipelago has four settlements of significant size, one of them is Russian. Norway has sovereignty over the archipelago, but the Treaty of Svalbard ensures all parties equal access to scientific and economic activities in the islands. Barentsburg is Russia’s last remaining settlement in the Arctic.
We’re not too demanding. Before heading to state #49, we wanted Alaska to deliver in only three key areas: incredible camping, beautiful hiking and glaciers galore.
Did we ever get it.
Before getting all fancy schmancy on a cruise ship, we had one more camping adventure in Alaska – in Denali National Park.
Reveling in both a gigantic cup of coffee and a blazing fast Internet connection, I am perfectly content. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I scan the photos we’ve snapped so far. To be able to see and experience all of this – we’re lucky guys.
The only problem is… I’m irritated that others don’t see it that way.
Mong Kok in Hong Kong is a densely packed area of gritty tenement buildings, bustling markets, hotels rented by the hour and Chinese medicine pharmacies alongside spangly electronics shops selling the latest gear. It’s a place where Hong Kongers live, work and shop. The crowds are intense, the traffic frenetic, but it feels alive and vibrant. Take a look at these photos to learn more.
Kyoto has a long history of shojin ryori, the vegetarian cuisine that the Zen Buddhist monks eat in temples in Japan. A cooking class is a great way to learn more about these fascinating dishes which feature many unusual ingredients.
Two sets of couples we know have been robbed in and around Managua over the past 2-3 weeks. Normally I give a location the benefit of the doubt but this is just getting absurd. I want to make sure that you know what to look out for when you are traveling through Nicaragua.
We’ve left the isolated forest service cabin and are no longer living in fear of an unwelcome bear encounter. Also, we’ve had the last of our astronaut food, so we’re happy guys (although the three berry cobbler was surprisingly good).
Before we get to the more splashed out part of this journey, we have a couple more hardcore(ish) adventures planned.
I have been to the Running of the Bulls, but now that I have been to the Running of the Donkeys… I think my travel life is almost complete. At least when it comes to animals and racing. This was from a festival on a small island in Croatia and it was such a weird and fun day. I hope you enjoy the post and the many odd photographs.
Beth of Beers and Beans is one of my favorite travel photographers and she has taken the time to put her years of wisdom behind the camera and in front of the computer editing screen to doing an eBook with some of her best tips. This post is my review of this amazing eBook and from my title… you can tell that I love it.