When we travel, we aim to maximize our depth of understanding of a place relative to the limited amount of time we have to spend there. We try to plan our visit to each location around the people we know, the recommendations they make and a list of sights that we’ve developed independently through our own research. Planning our visit to Kyrgyzstan was no exception. However, the wide cross-section of people, sights and activities to which we had access provided us the opportunity to dig more deeply than usual. Continue Reading »
We’re here in Beijing, China and the only things going up more rapidly than new buildings are Christmas trees (mostly fake, of course). Last night, we became nostalgic while strolling past another giant shopping center Christmas tree, this one shielded by a roof that houses the world’s largest LED video screen (250 meters long by 30 meters wide).
Though the proliferation of Christmas decorations in Beijing is remarkable, their presence just doesn’t capture the holiday spirit like a European Christmas market would. So, we offer a walk down European Christmas Market memory lane and our “Best of” European Christmas Markets list. Continue Reading »
A couple of our online store customers have brought to our attention that, while they are pleased with the printing and artistic quality of the photographs, the calendars in our online store do not have the name and location of each image. Unfortunately, this is a technical limitation of Cafepress. Continue Reading »
Barely recovering from self-inflicted death march from Kazakh mountains. Copter airlift looked likely. Rappelling down waterfall = escape.
– Our Twitter update from Almaty, Kazakhstan on 3 September 2007
My, how things can go wrong. Continue Reading »
Sometimes we seek beauty and sometimes we find it. Sometimes we seek a thrill and it finds us, giving us more than we had bargained for. Along our journey into the Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan, we encountered pieces of history, stunning landscape, a draining hike, and the softer side of Almaty. The only thing missing: a map. Continue Reading »
We’re headed next to Qingdao to look for my grandfather’s birthplace and the house my great-grandparents built.
–explaining our travel plans in China to a group of expats at a Thanksgiving
dinner in Beijing.
The group appeared utterly confused. I don’t look like I’m of Chinese heritage in the least. So how is it that my grandfather was born in China? Continue Reading »
In late September, we headed into the mountains of eastern Kyrgyzstan with a stash of US dollars tucked away in our money belts for emergencies. When we emerged a week later, that same stash was worth about 5% less. No surprise that the dollar was trading lower. This has been the pattern for some time now, particularly since we began our travels one year ago. Continue Reading »
We thought we were royally screwed yesterday. Our website shut us out. We couldn’t post comments, create new posts or access other back-end functionality that allows us to manage the site. We received messages that our website’s spam filter had “caught” us and was trying to protect the website…from us, its creators! Being blocked from sites and functionality is nothing new for us (this is a common problem in Central Asia and China), but being shut out by our own site is. Continue Reading »
Though long-term travel has its advantages, physical and emotional challenges are plenty. It also involves quite a bit of continual planning and preparation. In order to better maintain our sanity and preserve our marriage while on the road, we’ve recently decided to return to a practice that we applied successfully while traveling through Europe for five months in 2000. This little life hack technique goes by different names, but we call it “My Day, Your Day.” Continue Reading »
One year ago today, we left our home in Prague to begin this journey of ours. Our first stop was Dresden, Germany where we found the Christmas spirit in its Advent markets on our way to Southeast Asia.
We have a soft and nostalgic spot for Christmas markets. We were first hooked by our experience nine years ago at the markets in Munich (Germany), Salzburg and Hall (Austria). The storybook images in our heads sprang to life there in the midst of snow-capped mountains as communities gathered at dusk to drink spiced wine, eat freshly roasted chestnuts out of small paper bags and shop for handmade decorations. Spices wafted from stalls serving waffles and candied almonds and gift stalls burst with nutcrackers and wood-carved incense-burning Santa figurines. Continue Reading »