The town of Ubud, Bali. Away from its polished main streets you’ll find little alleyways like this, narrow walkways cast, ditches cut on each side. Because of the tropical climate, plants grows and weeds sprout in just about every corner, crack and crevice. Balinese traditional homes, sprawled in giant courtyards, line the sides.
Take a stroll, pay close attention, and you may even find an ornate Balinese gate like the one pictured here. Though it looks more like an entrance to a Balinese Hindu temple than a home, it’s “only” a local family courtyard just a few doors down from a home stay where we gathered some rest for two weeks.
Look closer still, and you’ll see Ganesh holding court from inside the gate.
Open up the panorama to full screen and enjoy! Continue Reading »
Ireland road trip, country roads.
When we originally announced our Ireland road trip
, we hinted at disclosing all the details of our Ireland itinerary and recommendations.
Here it is. All that’s fit to print. Continue Reading »
In honor of giving thanks, the best of intentions underpinning the Thanksgiving holiday, I offer this reflection on gratitude — the condition, the emotion and the state of being. Note to Thanksgiving critics, skeptics and cynics: to underscore my awareness of the historical complexity behind the holiday, I point you to this article. Also, if it appears that I’m repeating The Importance of Saying Thank You, I’m not.
Now, on gratitude. Continue Reading »
Whether you’ve been to Machu Picchu or not, chances are that the most common images you’ve seen of it carry a familiar quality about them. Sometimes it takes looking at something iconic from a different perspective, however, to broaden your understanding and appreciation of what it might have taken to create all that’s behind the icon. And so it is with Machu Picchu in Peru.
Machu Picchu is impressive from just about every view, but the perspective in the panorama below provides a visual on what “perched high on a mountain ridge” really means. Continue Reading »
“I set my watch 15 minutes fast. That way, when I die I’ll sneak into heaven before the devil figures out I’m dead.” – words of wisdom from the local dispensary, a spry gentleman one Guinness down in Westport, County Mayo
In almost every country we’ve visited around the world, with perhaps the exception of Bangladesh and Iran, we seem to stumble across an Irish pub. The problem with many of them: there’s usually something dubious, something un-Irish about them.
Possibly the food. Maybe the owners. Definitely the accent. Continue Reading »
It’s just past dawn and as the sun begins its arc, the Namib Desert sand dunes turn from tinted pink to deep orange. The contrast between the cloudless blue sky and the dune’s edge becomes a clear line in starkness. In this early morning, there’s a narrow window of time until the angle of the sun and the heat of the desert strip away the crispness and the vibrance in one of the world’s oldest deserts.
On the edge of that window, we arrive at Big Daddy Dune. Continue Reading »
To suggest that one could experience Johannesburg and Soweto properly in 24 hours is almost patently absurd. But you do what you can, you make the best with the time you have. That’s what we did. And here’s how we did it. Continue Reading »
Off the southwestern corner of Ireland, pitched west of the coast of County Kerry, sit two little islands, one of which has a 600-step stone staircase that appears to wind straight into the sky. Those stairs, it is told, were built by monks who long, long time ago cast themselves away from civilization in order to meditate, study and pray.
This is the island of Skellig Michael.
And we were fortunate enough to see it in a rather unusual state: one of pure, unadulterated sunshine on the most magnificent of Irish autumn days. Continue Reading »
Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that has eluded us all these years. An upcoming road trip around Ireland to discover its landscape, meet its people, and capture a few stories – with a focus on the in-between places – aims to correct that.
Continue Reading »
Yazd, a historically Zoroastrian town and a sort of desert outpost that took in people fleeing persecution and wars in other parts of the country, is one of our favorite cities in Iran. Its old city is almost entirely built in brown-red adobe clay, helping to blend it into the surrounding desert landscape and to keep its building interiors cool.
Ones eyes adapt to this mono-color, after which the bright turquoise and intricate Persian Islamic design in the Jameh Mosque will make you feel like you’ve put on 3-D glasses. Gaze at the mosque’s designs long enough and they’ll dizzy you, pull you in and play tricks on your eyes as you try to discern the calligraphy, symmetry and symbolism buried within.
Open up the panorama below and take a spin around the almost 900-year old mosque, Continue Reading »