In a typical European medieval town, its castle lay at its heart. In Edinburgh, however, its castle is its head — the head of a fish, to be more precise. The Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh that spills from the castle forms a sort of spine of the fish to which many closes (alleys) are connected.
And although Edinburgh has evolved over the centuries, much of the Old Town looks like one imagines it might have centuries ago, like something you might have even seen in Harry Potter. Continue Reading »
A long horizon, inky waters and waning light. What is it about all this that delivers a sense of peace and perspective, of one’s small place in this world? The rhythm of the waves serves as a sort of meditative mantra, keeping petty stresses and worries in their place, at bay.
We recently arrived at this spot on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, and ended our first day at Morgan’s Rock gazing out over this. Open up the panorama below to full screen to enjoy a bit of this experience at home. Continue Reading »
Antarctica, uninhabitable in the truest sense of the word. No human can survive it naturally. So what is it that draws us in, makes us want to visit, explore, push the boundaries, and place it on the bucket list?
Open up the panorama below from Detaille Island, just south of the Antarctic Circle, for a clue. Continue Reading »
Dawn breaks in a village above holy Lake Khecheopalri in Sikkim, a semi-autonomous state of northeast India tucked into the Himalayas. In the early morning, children stumble half asleep through the village to the Buddhist monastery school as the sun rises over the nearby mountains. Our reason for rising early on the morning this photo was taken: to grab a glimpse of the elusive peak of Mount Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest. Continue Reading »
Up until our recent travels into the heart of port wine country, and despite countless glasses of the stuff under my belt, I was still tempted to consider port as a heavy drink that was quaffed by older British men with a cigar after a pot roast dinner.
Then we traveled deep into the Douro Valley in northern Portugal, the epicenter of port wine. And there, things opened up to me. Continue Reading »
Ever go to a market expecting one thing, only to find something refreshingly different? That’s how it was with our visit to the Saturday morning market near Pont de l’Alma in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. It’s only a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee and a handful of Paris top ten sights. Given all this, we figured the market fancy, polished, and full of tour groups.
It wasn’t. Continue Reading »
The Louvre Pyramid. Love it or hate it? Continue Reading »
Just outside the big city bustle of Tokyo lies little Kamakura, once the political and cultural capital of Japan during the 12th to 14th centuries. Kamakura is one of those places whose city map paralyzes the indecisive, for every few blocks is another Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple, many of which run 700-800 years old.
So where to get started? Continue Reading »
Walk through the tunnel of ten thousand vermillion torii (gates) snaking their way up the mountain at Fushimi Inari Shrine outside of Kyoto and you’ll soon realize that no two are exactly the same. Look one way and you’ll see bare, unadorned orange posts. Turn the other and you’ll see the names of all the businesses or individuals who donated each gate as a sign of gratitude for their prosperity. Among the thankful, a range — from men of small business to giants of Japanese industry hailing from companies like Hitachi or Panasonic.
No business is too big to be thankful to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, sake and prosperity. Continue Reading »
Whales with legs? In the desert?
That’s what you’ll find in the Valley of the Whales (Wadi El-Hitan) in Fayoum, Egypt. More accurately, you’ll find the over 35 million year-old fossilized remains of whales with short legs, appendages marking their evolution from land mammals to sea mammals. Continue Reading »