Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slovenia: A Place to Linger

Welcome to Slovenia!  Some countries feature stunning, world-class sights, but when I board the plane to leave, I'm happy to go.  Other countries do not feature such world-class sights, but they are so charming and comfortable that I have the urge to skip my outgoing flight and start looking for apartments.  Slovenia is one of those countries.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Croatia: Red Roofs and Blue Waters

Welcome to Croatia!  Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Croatia features stunning coastal areas, historic buildings, and a charming, hybrid Eastern European and Mediterranean culture.  We spent almost a week exploring the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik, as well as the ancient Roman city of Split and the surrounding coastal areas.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sarajevo: A Rose by Any Other Name...

Welcome to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  We spent two days exploring the city, which, during the 1990's, suffered through the longest siege in military history.  But now, the kebabs are back on the grill, the bazaars are back in business, and the city has returned to being a friendly, lively destination for travelers.   You can still see many "Sarajevo Roses"--flower-like scars of mortar shell explosions on the pavement--but there are now more actual roses flowering in this vibrant city.  Click the link to read more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turkey: Blue Waters and Ancient Ruins

We explored the southwestern portion of Turkey, which features the stunning blue waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and the incredible Greco-Roman ruins of Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Hierapolis.  Click the link to read more about our visit, to see a photo of me looking crazed as I leap off a two-story boat, to see videos of two very different Roman-style gladiator duels, and to learn of the departure of a beloved member of our traveling gang.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Istanbul: Crossroads of the World

Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey!  My home state of Indiana used to refer to itself as the "Crossroads of America."  Istanbul, which sits at the intersection of Europe and Asia and has been the capital of four separate empires--Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman--could justifiably lay claim to the title, Crossroads of the World.  We spent a few days exploring the palaces, monuments, mosques, bazaars and restaurants in this incredible city.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Greece: Ancient Temples, Blue Waters and Economic Woes

Welcome to Greece!  During our brief, two-day visit, we toured the ancient ruins around Athens, sailed across clear blue waters to the island of Aegina, ate delicious Greek food, and witnessed a protest march related to Greece's economic crisis.  Click the link to read more.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Communism in Central Europe

In Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, each country's respective communist government fell nearly simultaneously in 1989.  Although each country has since embraced capitalism, the lingering effects of communism are still felt today.  During our visits to the three countries, we toured museums, sites and memorials related to the former communist governments.  Click the link to read more.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Holocaust Sites in Central Europe

During our time in Central Europe, we visited numerous memorials and sites related to the darkest event of the 20th Century: the holocaust.  The holocaust sites we visited included Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Terezin work camp in the Czech Republic, Oscar Schindler's factory in Krakow, Poland, and holocaust memorials and museums in Budapest, Prague and Vienna.  The holocaust deeply scarred the populace of the entire region, and each place has its own way of honoring the victims and remembering the crimes in hopes that they are never repeated.

Monday, September 17, 2012

When you say "Vienna," what do you think?

Welcome to Vienna!  When you say "Vienna," people think of different things: music, sausage, desserts, beautiful buildings, and much more.  We squeezed a lot of fun into our two-day visit to this beautiful city.  Click the link to read more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Budapest on Hungary's Natıonal Day

Welcome to Budapest, Hungary!  Our quick vısıt to Budapest coincided wıth Hungary's Natıonal Day, August 20th (Hungary's equıvalent to Amerıca's Independence Day).  Our visit included monuments, fireworks, goulash, a sacred crown and a mummified right hand.  Clıck the lınk to read more.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Southern Poland: From Mountains to Mines

Welcome to southern Poland!  Over the course of fıve days, we vısıted Krakow and Zakopane (as well as Auschwıtz, whıch wıll be covered ın a separate blog post).  We saw southern Poland from atop mountaıns to the depths of a salt mıne, and many places in between.  Clıck the lınk to read more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prague: Surprises Around Every Corner

Welcome to Prague, in the Czech Republic!  Over the course of three days, we toured Prague and took day trips to the nearby towns of Terezin (which will be covered in a different blog post) and Kutna Hora.  From a seemingly ordinary country church which revealed a ghoulish creativity, to a simple statue which revealed the history of the country, we were often surprised during our short visit to the Czech Republic.  Click the link to read more.

Monday, August 20, 2012

South Africa's Wild Coast: Surf & Safari

Welcome to the east coast of South Africa, known as the "Wild Coast."  We drove along that coast, exploring empty beaches, petting lion cubs and cheetahs, and taking our final African safari of this trip.  Lastly, we drove through South Africa's mountainous region on our way to the airport.  Click the link to read about the conclusion of the African portion of our journey.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hermanus, South Africa: Swimming with Sharks

There is an area near Hermanus, South Africa which is known as "shark alley," and which features the densest known population of Great White Sharks in the world.  We boarded a boat and went to shark alley.  Then we got in the water.  Click the link to read more.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cape Town Region: Wine, Penguins and a Beautiful City

Welcome to the Cape Town region of South Africa.  Cape Town is the most popular tourist destination in the entire continent of Africa.  After spending a few days in the region, it's easy to see why.  Click the link to read more about our visit to the Cape Town region.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Namibia: Land of Sand and Diamonds

"Namib" means "vast place," and the desert lands of Namibia really puts the "namib" in Namibia.  We spent a week exploring Namibia, visiting the oldest and tallest sand dunes in the world, some of the richest diamond fields in the world, and lots and lots of vast, empty spaces.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Etosha National Park: A Do-It-Yourself Safari

 Welcome to Etosha National Park, in northern Namibia.  Etosha is a large wildlife sanctuary, where wooded plains filled with 150 species of large mammals surround a vast salt-desert depression.  We embarked on a safari in Etosha in our rental car, without a guide.  Click the link to see how we fared

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Okavango Delta: A Safari That's All Wet

Welcome to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, which is one of the world's largest inland waterways and home to over 250,000 large mammals.  During our four days in the area, we saw the Delta from a helicopter, a motor boat, a canoe, on foot, and from a tent.  Click the link to read more about our safari in the Okavango Delta.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nepal: Top of the World

Welcome to Nepal, home of stupas and sherpas, yaks and yetis, trekkers and the tallest mountains in the world.  Click the link to read about our nine-day visit to Nepal.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Life and Death in India: Same As It Ever Was

This post focuses on our experiences of daily life (and death) in India--especially in Varanasi, which is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Portraits of India

Based on our experience in India, Indians love having their pictures taken.  And Nick has a special talent for getting people to pose for photos.  So it's not surprising that we have many portraits of Indians we encountered during our time in the country.  Click the link to see a selection of these photos.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Planes, Trains and Auto-Rickshaws: Transport in India

We visited ten cities during our visit to India, and transporting ourselves between and within these cities proved to be an adventure.  The streets, rivers and rails of India are often chaotic, noisy, full of vehicles, pedestrians, cattle, dogs, and goats.  Around every corner seem to be perils, both petty and serious, as well as unexpected treats.  After a short time, if you are open to it, the chaos almost magically transforms into a beautiful ballet, full of intricate movement and vivid color.  The everyday scenes flashing by seem to encapsulate the entire experience of life in a whirlwind of sights, sounds and smells.  It's tough to capture that with a camera, but click the link to see a few of my videos and photos related to transport in India.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Indian By Design: Buildings and Monuments of India

India has some impressive ancient buildings, forts and churches.  During our five weeks in India, we visited a sampling of these buildings, including the Taj Mahal, which is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings ever built.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eye of the Tiger: Ranthambore National Park, India

Welcome to Ranthambore National Park in northern India, home of one of the most majestic predators in the jungle: the tiger.  Over the course of three days, we went on three safaris in the national park.  Click the link to read about our attempt to look into the eye of a tiger.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Come Sail Away: A houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kerala, India

Welcome to India!  We eased into our five-week visit to India by spending two nights cruising along the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, in southwestern India.  We were lucky enough to be joined by a former co-worker of mine and her friend.  Click the link to read about our delightful cruise.