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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.