As we take off for Central America (this time to Costa Rica), we think back to our first visit to the region a couple of years ago: Antigua, Guatemala.
Although Antigua has a reputation for being touristy, we found that it wasn’t too difficult to get lost and find a slice of authentic Guatemalan life. One of our favorite places to do this: Antigua’s central market.
Walk past the front section of the market, past the souvenirs and freshly cut fruit intended for gringos, and just keep going back, back — deep into the market, maybe even into the adjacent back parking lot areas where on weekends vendors come from neighboring villages.
It’s beyond this first scratch where you’ll find it: real life. Open the panorama to full screen to see it. Continue Reading »
First day of our Markha Valley trek. We weren’t quite certain what to expect for the remaining six days of trekking through the Himalayas, but we were sure the following day would be steep and uphill, to 4,950 meters/16,200 feet. So on our first day on the trail we were relieved to find relative flatness, to lose ourselves in the red rocks of the canyon around us and to look off into the distance of the climb that awaited us.
Open the panorama to full screen to join us on that first day of our Markha Valley trek. Continue Reading »
While traveling, we often find ourselves focused on the present. This is a good thing. Then, something helps us appreciate the history, the roots of where we happen to be. This too, is useful because it provides perspective.
Likir Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh, at almost 1,000 years old, is one of those places.
For much of our visit to Likir Monastery we were alone, save a sole monk who tidied up and made sure visitors took their shoes off before entering the temples. We enjoyed it all in peace and found ourselves stepping back, literally and figuratively, just trying to imagine how monks had gathered in those spaces for centuries — chanting, meditating, praying.
Open the panorama to full screen to see if you can imagine it yourself. Continue Reading »
Five days into our Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh, India. We were on our way to Nimiling, a summer hangout for local shepherds (with their flocks of sheep, goats and cattle/yak hybrids called zos) and the overnight base camp for our final ascent to Gongmaru La Pass (5,130 meters/16,800 feet). That morning we endured and enjoyed our share of steep climbs, losing ourselves to the mountains and our slow, deliberate pace.
Then a break: a lunchtime spot at peaceful clear lake with views of Kang Yatze Peak (6,400 meters / 21,000 feet) and the Zanskar range. In so many ways, we felt very much like we were on top of the world. Continue Reading »
There are certain parts of the world that simply cry out: Road Trip! You know the requisite ingredients: rugged cliffs dropping into blue ocean waters, waves crashing against rocky outcroppings, and pockets of white foam shooting into the air. Roads wind, barely two lanes wide, cars hug mountain turns. Drivers and passengers crane their necks to catch a glimpse — the glimpse — over the next cliff, wanting to pull off for the perfect photo.
The whole thing sounds cliché, perhaps, but maybe that’s just because that’s the way it really is. There are a few drives in this world that deliver on all of this. And Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town happens to be one of them. Continue Reading »
“If you look up, at just the right time, you’ll see a peacock on the ceiling,” our guide, Javad, explained as he walked us under the gilded and tiled dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran.
We craned our necks, searching for just the right angle. With the aid of sunlight passing through a nearby window, an image of a peacock — previously unseen, now tail shimmering — was revealed to us brush strokes. Intermittent cries of “Oh!” indicated when everyone in the room “got it.” Continue Reading »
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 »