Ah, Austria. We could wax artistic about Vienna’s museums, poke fun at the people in period outfits selling classical music concert tickets, tell stories about Euro 2008, or tempt you with impressions of Viennese coffee houses and flaky apple strudel.
But what fun would that be? You can read about that in the New York Times Travel Section, Conde Naste Traveler or any other travel magazine.
Instead we’ll share how, with the help of an Austrian friend and an unplanned turn of events, we discovered the real Austria in the country’s Weinviertel (Wine Quarter) about an hour outside of Vienna. Continue Reading »
We have been in Prague – our previous home – for a little over a week now. We’ve noticed our friends’ questions regarding our journey and current state huddling around certain themes.
Although we can’t succinctly recreate online the atmosphere of a Pilsner beer-driven discussion in a Czech pub, we can attempt to answer these questions with astounding brevity in case you’re also curious. [Twitter’s limit is 140 characters.]
1a. How do you stay sane while being together 24 hours a day? (Politically Correct Version)
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We were on another long-distance bus in the middle of nowhere, this time in heart of China’s Yunnan province. Heavy, sporadic rains danced on rice terraces whose luxuriant greens complemented the surrounding hills of red clay. It was just another iconic, beautiful moment on our journey through China.
Then came the symphony of throat-clearing and phlegm-dredging; pools of mucous-laden saliva slowly crept along the metal crevices in the aisle. Continue Reading »
Imagine hiking with a Vogue cover girl and not realizing it.
As if our trek around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal wasn’t interesting enough, we accomplished it with Australian supermodel Gemma Ward close at hand most of the way.
Unfortunately, the rumors regarding Gemma’s identity didn’t begin circulating until the final days of the trek. “I think she’s a model. I’m sure I’ve seen her on Fashion TV,” echoed among the young Israelis – fresh from military service – trekking with us. [Aside: Fashion TV piped into Israeli military barracks?!]
And we only truly believed them when we connected to the internet and found the photo above. By then it was too late to play alpine paparazzi. But we did get a peek. Continue Reading »
As scheduled, we are flying to Europe today from China.
Asia has been our home for almost 18 months. Now that we’ve become accustomed to dumplings, noodle soup and Nescafe with condensed milk for breakfast, we depart with mixed emotions (well, our emotions towards Nescafe are clear: we are very happy to leave it behind). We also leave behind the richness of Asia’s chaotic streets for a different European pace punctuated with cafes and medieval stone architecture. Continue Reading »
Lhasa. The name has a particularly mysterious and forbidden ring to it these days. Maybe it’s images of Tibetan cowboys on the high plateau or flashes of defiant monks protesting in the face of Chinese police last March.
Recently, the Chinese government reported that the situation in Tibet was “back to normal” in preparation for the arrival of the Olympic flame there. Even with the Olympic torch safely relayed through Lhasa this past weekend with an escort squadron of blue track-suited torch guards, Tibet still remains closed to foreigners.
We travelers always hope for a bite of the forbidden travel fruit. So imagine our excitement when we checked in for our flight at an empty Kathmandu, Nepal airport a few weeks ago and learned that our flight to Chengdu, China was laying over in Lhasa. Continue Reading »
Filed Under: Nepal
by Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott
Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit trek didn’t make the first cut of our respective **25 Things To Do Before I Die lists. But maybe it should have.
With bathroom books like 1000 Places To See Before You Die serving as life-prescriptive authorities, we’re hesitant to describe anything as a “must-do life experience.” “Must-do” sounds presumptuous and “life experience” sounds trite. But what the heck. Continue Reading »
Though we are not mountaineers, we have done our share of trekking. Then, just last week, we came off a 15-day trek in the Himalayas in Nepal that looked and felt something like a “best of” of our previous treks. We would like to think that’s saying something, what with journeys in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma and bits of the western United States under our hiking belts. Continue Reading »
I’m not normally moved to poetry, but India is a place of firsts. I wrote this in Kolkata (Calcutta), but was reminded of it today as I walked the streets of Thamel, Kathmandu’s backpacker ghetto.
This poem is for all who ceaselessly sidle up to me as I walk down the street, befriending me only for the sake of a sale. Although I’m certain those who inspired this poem are unlikely to ever see it, I offer it just the same. Continue Reading »
Wondering where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to? Our recent Twitter updates from the hills of Sikkim were all a facade.
We ran out of money. So Audrey went looking for work in Varanasi, India’s holiest city. And this is what she found.
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