Posts filtered by tags: Cultural Travel[x]


 

Easter Island – One of the Most Spiritual Places on Earth

For years, friends have raved that Easter Island is the most spiritual place they have ever visited. This speck of land in the eastern Pacific, known to locals as Rapa Nui, had been on my wish list for years. Since childhood I had read about the Moai, enormous statues the indigenous people carved from volcanic tuff and raised on platforms near the shoreline. Explorers and visitors alike have always been intrigued by the mystery of Easter Island. Where did the first inhabitants come from? When di...
Tags: Travel, Earth, Culture, Chile, Pacific, Cultural Travel, Easter Island, Polynesia, Rapa Nui, South Pacific travel


PHOTO: Salto Grande Waterfall in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The tour guide promised the trail to Salto Grande Waterfall in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park was easy. “Just a 20 minute walk,” he said. As a casual aside, he advised us to take our jackets, as it “might be a little windy up there.” The first 15 minutes were a breeze. A graveled path led through a field of flower-strewn tall grass, with the famous horns of the Cordillera Paine Massif peeking over the top. A stretch of turquoise river came into view and the thunderous... The post PHOTO: ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Chile, Patagonia, South America, Cultural Travel, Torres Del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Torres del Paine National Park Chile, Cordillera Paine Massif, Salto Grande Waterfall


PHOTO: Lago Nordenskjold Viewpoint in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

What struck me most about Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian region of Chile were the colors. Depending upon the angle of the sun, the mountains of the Cordillera Paine Massif range from the deepest black to pale gray, lavender, and Wedgwood blue. As the sun sets, abundant feldspar in the granite flanks reflect iridescent orange patches. Add snowy peaks and grass covered foothills, and the mountains of Torres del Paine become a veritable rocky rainbow. Even the name of the park is ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Chile, Patagonia, South America, Cultural Travel, Patagonian, Torres Del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Paine, Wedgwood, Torres del Paine National Park Chile, Cordillera Paine Massif


Torres del Paine National Park in Chile – One of the World’s Beautiful Places

Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is one of the world’s beautiful places. The centerpiece of the park is a branch of the Andes mountain range known as the Cordillera del Paine. Located in the southern Patagonian region of the country, the park’s magnificent scenery includes lakes ranging from ultramarine blue to brilliant turquoise, raging waterfalls, deep green valleys, and vast glaciers that cascade down mountainsides. Most awe inspiring are mountains themselves. In geological terms, the...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Chile, Patagonia, Cultural Travel, Andes, Patagonian, Torres Del Paine, Paine National Park, South America Travel, Cordillera del Paine Located, Cordillera Massif


PHOTO: Guanaco Surveys its Domain in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

When my tour van entered Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonian Chile, our guide enlisted us as wildlife spotters. She ticked off some of the species we might see. The Patagonian Puma is the most sought after sighting, however they are reclusive and usually stay far away from the only road through the park. But if we had sharp eyes we might spot one of two varieties of fox; the small, endangered Huemul deer; Andean Condors; Southern Crested Caracaras (a large bird of prey); the Patagonian ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Chile, Patagonia, South America, Cultural Travel, Torres, Torres Del Paine, Paine National Park, Guanaco, Patagonian Chile, Torres del Paine National Park Chile, Patagonian Puma, Southern Crested Caracaras


PHOTO: Waterfront in the Town of Puerto Natales, Chile

The pretty little town of Puerto Natales is perhaps best known as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian region of Chile. But I discovered an intriguing backstory. The town is located on the Señoret Channel, which connects Última Esperanza Sound with Bahía Desengaño, eventually leading to the Straits of Magellan and the Atlantic Ocean. Última Esperanza translates to “last hope,” while Desengaño translates to “disillusionment” or “disenchantment.” I stood on the shores of...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Chile, Patagonia, South America, Cultural Travel, Magellan, Patagonian, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales Chile, Señoret Channel, Bahía Desengaño, Atlantic Ocean Última Esperanza


Police and Demonstrators Continue to Battle in Santiago, Chile

Pop-pop-pop-pop!! I was staying in a guest house less than two blocks away from Plaza Italia, the epicenter of political protests that happen most evenings in Santiago, Chile. Sirens had been screaming up and down the avenue outside my window for more than an hour when the first four shots rang out. The screams of demonstrators and rocks bounding off police armored vehicles, punctuated by occasional gunfire, continued until 10 p.m. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the protest dissolved and quie...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Santiago, Chile, Demonstrations, Cultural Travel, SANTIAGO Chile, South America Travel, Plaza Italia


Is it Safe to Travel to Santiago, Chile? Police and Demonstrators Continue to Battle.

Pop-pop-pop-pop!! I was staying in a guest house less than two blocks away from Plaza Italia, the epicenter of political protests that happen most evenings in Santiago, Chile. Sirens had been screaming up and down the avenue outside my window for more than an hour when the first four shots rang out. The screams of demonstrators and rocks bounding off police armored vehicles, punctuated by occasional gunfire, continued until 10 p.m. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the protest dissolved and quie...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Santiago, Chile, Demonstrations, Cultural Travel, SANTIAGO Chile, South America Travel, Plaza Italia


Consecrating my Bronze Buddha Statue in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For years, I’d been searching for a bronze Buddha statue to place on my home altar. I knew the pose I preferred, the one known as Calling The Earth to Witness. It depicts Buddha sitting with legs crossed in full lotus position, left hand resting in his lap palm upward and right hand resting on his knee with fingers pointing to the ground, palm inward. It is the definition of the moment of enlightenment for the Buddha. None of the images I considered were quite right, until I... The post Consecra...
Tags: Travel, Earth, Culture, Thailand, Buddhism, Cultural Travel, Chiang Mai, Asia Travel, Buddha, Chiang Mai Thailand, Bronze Buddha Statue


A Delightful Day in Frankfurt, Germany

I admit it. My travel stamina is not what it used to be. As I’ve aged, long-haul flights have become more difficult. I can tolerate eight or nine hours but anything longer than that and I’m in misery. These days I break up my itinerary whenever possible. On a recent trip home to Bangkok, I stopped for a day in Frankfurt, Germany, before continuing on to Bangkok. Though I usually dislike visiting a city for just a day or two, in this case it was the perfect amount... The post A Delightful Day in ...
Tags: Travel, Germany, Culture, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, FRANKFURT Germany


Bergen, Norway – A City Built by Codfish

A salty sea-scent hung in the air as I strolled around the historic Hanseatic Wharf in Bergen. In earlier centuries, the fragrance would have been a bit more, well…ripe, to be kind. I tried to imagine how it must have smelled in centuries past, when the fishing fleet delivered thousands of tons of codfish to the pier every year. First, the livers of the cod were cut out, stuffed into giant vats, and set out under a blistering summer sun. The fish fermented in the heat, forcing the... The post Be...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Norway, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Bergen, Hanseatic League, Bergen Norway, Bryggen, Codfish


PHOTO: View from Geiranger Skywalk, atop Dalsnibba Mountain in Norway

A still photo can barely convey the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but this view from the Geiranger Skywalk, perched on the craggy peak of Dalsnibba Mountain, comes close. We’d driven to the top along a ribbon of winding road, a portion of which can be seen at the bottom of the valley. Mesmerized by an otherworldly landscape of warped rocks and deep blue glacial lakes, conversation virtually stopped in the bus. We scrambled from side to side, snapping photos of one spectacular view aft...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Norway, Cultural Travel, Dalsnibba, Geiranger Skywalk, Dalsnibba Mountain


PHOTO: Seven Sisters Waterfall in Geiranger Fjord, Norway

It’s a tale of eternal, unrequited love. Deep within Geiranger Fjord, Seven Sisters waterfall plummets from vertical cliffs into the ultramarine waters of Norway’s most stunning gorge. The name of the waterfall is no mystery. In times of heavy rainfall, its twining strands resemble the hair of seven women. Directly across the fjord another waterfall gazes longingly at the sisters. Legend says that this second cascade, known as “The Suitor,” asked one of the sisters for her hand in marriage. When...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Norway, Waterfalls, Cultural Travel, Geiranger, Fjords, Geiranger Fjord Norway, Geiranger Fjord Seven Sisters


VIDEO: Riding Norway’s Spectacular Flam Railway

I’m in love with train travel. I never miss an opportunity to ride the rails. During my many years as a travel writer and photographer, I’ve been blessed to take some of the world’s most spectacular train rides. I rode the El Chepe train through Mexico’s Copper Canyon, enjoyed magnificent scenery on the TranzAlpine Express route between Christchurch and Greymouth on New Zealand’s South Island, took the train from Cusco, Ecuador to Machu Picchu, and rode the Bernina Express train over the Swiss A...
Tags: Travel, Videos, Mexico, Trains, Culture, New Zealand, Norway, Christchurch, Machu Picchu, Europe Travel, South Island, Cultural Travel, Greymouth, Copper Canyon, El Chepe, Bernina Express


Mystery of the 1,500-Year Old Carved Animal Heads from the Oseberg Grave Ship

If I had to choose one word to describe Viking civilization, it would be mystery. The popular TV series by the History Channel paints Vikings as bloodthirsty warriors. While it is true they sailed far and wide, discovering new lands and raiding settlements, they spent most of their time farming. Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets. They weren’t dirty, uncivilized cretins. Even the way we refer to them is incorrect. The word Viking hails from the ancient Norse word for a raid or trading trip. They...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Norway, Vikings, Oslo, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Oseberg Grave Ship, History Channel paints Vikings


PHOTO: Riding a Troll Car to the Foot of Norway’s Briksdal Glacier

Glaciers might be a dime a dozen in Norway, but I know of no other place in the world where I could get to one in a “Troll Car.” Actually, these 7-seater open-air buggies have only been transporting tourists to the foot of the Briksdal Glacier since 2004. For 100 years prior to that, farmers carted visitors through the fjord by horse and carriage. The weather was grey and threatening rain on the day my Collette tour group arrived, but I wasn’t about to let a little bit... The post PHOTO: Riding ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Norway, Glaciers, Cultural Travel, Collette, Briksdal


PHOTO: Götaplatsen, the Main Square and Cultural Heart of Gothenburg, Sweden

With only a couple of hours to explore Gothenburg, Sweden, I struggled over how to spend my time. My Collette tour manager had suggested a boat tour of the canals that lace the city. Never one to follow the crowds, I instead decided on a self-guided walking tour of the city center. Beginning at the bridge over the Kungsportsbron canal, I strolled down Avenyn, the main boulevard in Gothenburg. Scores of shops, restaurants, galleries, and clubs lined the broad avenue on its gently rising path to G...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Sweden, Culture, Gothenburg, Cultural Travel, Gothenburg Sweden, Collette, Main Square, Avenyn, Götaplatsen


PHOTO: Freezing My Butt Off at the Stockholm ICEBAR

I’m definitely not a fan of being cold, so I thought twice about visiting the Stockholm ICEBAR during my Spectacular Scandinavia tour with Collette. I’d heard the walls were built of ice, likewise the bar stools were made of ice. Heck, even the drink glasses were carved from ice! And of course the bar must be maintained at below-freezing temperatures to keep all that ice in a solid state (23 degrees Fahrenheit, to be precise). But in the end, the idea of an entire bar built of ice... The post PH...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Sweden, Culture, Stockholm, Cultural Travel, Collette, Ice bar, ICEBAR, Stockholm ICEBAR


VIDEO: Raising the Vasa Warship from its Watery Grave in Stockholm, Sweden

In the 1620’s, intent on making Sweden a mighty military power, King Gustavus Adolphus began constructing a fleet of warships. The Vasa warship, first of the massive vessels to be completed, was the most powerful warship that had ever sailed the Baltic Sea. It measured more than 226-feet long and was 164-feet tall from the keel to the top of its main mast. It had ten sails, 64 cannons, and 132 tons of ballast. And it was staggeringly heavy. Even so, the King insisted that hundreds of hand-carved...
Tags: Travel, Videos, Sweden, Culture, Scandinavia, Baltic Sea, Stockholm, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Stockholm Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, Vasa Museum, Vasa warship, Watery Grave


PHOTO: Member of Swedish Royal Guards Stands Sentry at the Royal Palace

The Swedish Royal Guards have been protecting the Royal Family for nearly 500 years. First assembled in 1523, the guards were initially tasked with maintaining law and order in the city of Stockholm and serving as fire-fighters. Over time, their mandate was narrowed. Today the 50-60 soldiers who serve in the Royal Guards are responsible safeguarding the Royal Palace of Stockholm and Drottningholm Palace. They also act as an honorary guard to King Carl XVI Gustav when required, as well as perform...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Sweden, Culture, Stockholm, Cultural Travel, Royal Palace, Carl XVI Gustav, Royal Guards, Swedish Royal Guards, Royal Palace of Stockholm


VIDEO: Sweden’s Crystal Kingdom – Kosta Boda Glassworks

From an early age, I was fascinated by the art of glassblowing. In those days, my exposure was limited to visiting tourist shops during family vacations, where glassblowers created a menagerie of crystal animals. I was transfixed each time an artist extracted a molten blob of glass from a blast furnace and fashioned it into a lifelike creature by forcing air through a blowpipe. To this day I have a box of those precious hand-blown glass animals, wrapped in tissue and stored in a safe place. My g...
Tags: Travel, Videos, Sweden, Culture, Glass Blowing, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Kosta Boda glassworks


PHOTO: A Dark and Brooding Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerød, Denmark

Though I’m usually quite lucky with weather during my travels, an occasional storm is unavoidable. But inclement weather isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it evokes a mood that seems perfectly suited to a site, and that’s exactly what happened during my tour of Frederiksborg Palace. Within moments of our arrival, thunder rumbled overhead and fat drops began to splatter the gravel. Cruel clouds roiled and descended upon the palace. Surrounded by bruised light, the green copper roof and spires ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Denmark, Copenhagen, Cultural Travel, Frederiksborg Palace


PHOTO: View Down Frederiksholms Kanal in Copenhagen, Denmark

This view down Frederiksholms Kanal is one of the prettiest sights in Copenhagen. The canal runs along one side of the small island of Slotsholmen, which is home to Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Stables. The Prince’s Mansion (upper left) once served as the official residence of the Crown Prince of Denmark. Today it houses the National Museum of Denmark. The three-arched Storm Bridge at center is named after the “Storm on Copenhagen,” a military action that occurred during the 17th century ...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Denmark, Copenhagen, Cultural Travel, Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen Denmark, National Museum of Denmark, Frederiksholms Kanal, Slotsholmen, Prince s Mansion


VIDEO: The Kladruber Horses of the Danish Royal Family

Like thousands of tourists before me, I made my way to Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark. But rather than join the queues waiting to visit the Parliament and Supreme Court, I decided to stroll around the exterior. At the rear of the palace, an electrified fence surrounded a pasture where two enormous white Kladruber horses stood. The one nearest me rolled his big black eye, scoping me out. “Beauty,” I said quietly. Curious, he trotted over to get a better look. I began to talk to him....
Tags: Travel, Videos, Culture, Denmark, Copenhagen, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Christiansborg Palace, Kladruber horses, Royal Stables


PHOTO: Copenhagen Harbour, From Industrial Eyesore to Recreational Wonderland

Since its founding, Copenhagen, Denmark, has been inextricably linked to water. The earliest written mention of the Danish capital is found in a 12th century book, which referred to the city as “Merchants’ Harbour.” This was undoubtedly a reference to the waterway we now know as Copenhagen Harbour. This broad and sheltered inlet, which provides the best approach to the Baltic Sea in all of Europe, allowed Copenhagen to develop into a powerful trading center. Unfortunately, as the city grew and p...
Tags: Travel, Europe, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Denmark, Copenhagen, Baltic Sea, Cultural Travel, Copenhagen Denmark


Vicenza, Italy – An Open Air Museum of Palladian Architecture

Challenge anyone to list the world’s most famous architects and names like Frank Lloyd Wright, Antoni Gaudí, and I.M. Pei will likely be bandied about. Most would be surprised, however, to learn that a 16th century Italian architect known as Palladio is widely considered to be the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture. Born as Andrea Di Pietro della Gondola in Padua, Italy, he was apprenticed to a sculptor at an early age. By the age of 16 he had moved to Vicenza to ...
Tags: Travel, Culture, Architecture, Italy, Vicenza, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Palladio, Palladian villas


PHOTO: Sun Sets Over Piazza dei Signori in Vicenza, Italy

Midway between the cities of Venice and Verona in northern Italy, lies a third “V” – the tiny town of Vicenza. Though smaller and lesser known that its more famous neighbors, Vicenza nonetheless packs a punch in terms of history, culture, and especially architecture. In 1994, Vicenza was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its concentration of buildings designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. But in my opinion no other place displays the city’s beauty better than its centra...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Unesco, Italy, Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Piazza, Cultural Travel, Vicenza Italy, Andrea Palladio, Piazza dei Signori


PHOTO: Strolling Along the Shore of Lake Garda in Peschiera del Garda, Italy

I’ve long been fascinated by the idea of the Lakes District in Italy. The roots of my fascination may lie in the many movies that have been filmed there. Casino Royale, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, A Month By the Lake, Ocean’s Twelve, and Man on Fire, among others, were all filmed at Lake Como. Though I’d previously spent time at Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland, and viewed Lake Como from a bus on my way to take the famous Bernina Express train to... The post PHOTO: Strolling...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Culture, Italy, Switzerland, Cultural Travel, Lake Garda, Bernina Express, Lake Lugano, Lakes District, PESCHIERA DEL GARDA Italy, Lake Ocean


Munich, Germany: So Much More than Oktoberfest

When discussing what to do in Munich, Germany, many travel writers wax lyrical about Oktoberfest. Ah, the beer! The sing-alongs! The pretzels, bratwurst, and schnitzel! But the festival also has its drawbacks. More than 6 million visitors descend upon the city every year beginning on the third Saturday of September. If, like me, you’re no fan of crowds, Oktoberfest may not be the best time to visit Germany’s third largest city. Fortunately, Munich has so much more to offer than the world’s bigge...
Tags: Travel, Videos, Germany, Culture, Munich, Europe Travel, Cultural Travel, Munich Germany


PHOTO: A Sobering Visit to Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany

We humans are fascinated by disasters. We find it impossible to look away from a car wreck. When a disaster of enormous consequence occurs, our first impulse is to tell someone. Cable news stations are acutely aware of this tendency; they capitalize upon it with round-the-clock coverage of hurricanes, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks. For the most part, I believe it would be healthier not to be quite so fascinated with such events. However, I also believe that some disasters must never be f...
Tags: Travel, Daily Photo, Photography, Germany, Culture, Munich, Bavaria, Cultural Travel, Munich Germany, Dachau, Dachau Concentration Camp