Ships, Trains and Automobiles…

Andalusia Road Trip – Seville – A tale of two cultures

Andalusia Road Trip – Seville – A tale of two cultures

Throughout Andalusia, displays of Catholic might compete with the memories of Moorish rule. Especially in Seville, where the largest Gothic cathedral in the world sits on the site of the great 12th century Aljiama mosque, just a few steps away from the magnificent Alcàzar palace, built by Christian kings in the post-Islamic Mudéjar style.

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Along the Dordogne River Valley – Life in the Past Lane

Along the Dordogne River Valley – Life in the Past Lane

Throughout Medieval and Renaissance times, the Dordogne Valley, an especially scenic patch of southwestern France, experienced a tumultuous history that led to the construction of countless fortified castles and abbeys. Many of them are still standing today, beautifully maintained and ready to welcome visitors.

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The Odyssey Revisited – From Meteora Back to Athens

The Odyssey Revisited – From Meteora Back to Athens

Today we visit Meteora, one of the largest Orthodox monastic complexes in Greece, built from the fourteenth to sixteenth century on gigantic sandstone pillars towering over the Thessaly Plain. Of the original 24 monasteries, only six remain and are still home to small religious communities.

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The Odyssey Revisited – Delphi to Karpenisi

The Odyssey Revisited – Delphi to Karpenisi

It’s Day Two of my Tripology off-road adventure through the mountains of Central Greece. The morning sun is dissipating the last of the early mist as we meander down a country road toward the sea. I marvel at the serenity of the bucolic setting, until Nikos Manolis, our lead driver leads us onto a narrow gravel road.

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The Odyssey Revisited – Athens to Delphi

The Odyssey Revisited – Athens to Delphi

Even before I ever set foot in the country I knew of its myriad islands and endless coastline. Add a plethora of archeological treasures in various stages of restoration, bountiful dinners of taverna fare and soulful rebetika music. I felt I had Greece covered.

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Darwin and Me – A Galapagos adventure

Darwin and Me – A Galapagos adventure

In 1831, Charles Darwin boarded the Beagle as a naturalist on a survey expedition along the coasts of South America. His momentous visit to the Galapagos Archipelago has captured the imagination of adventure tourists ever since.

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Bhutanese rural life on the westward road to Paro

Bhutanese rural life on the westward road to Paro

We are entering the final week of our itinerary around Bhutan. In the highest valley in the Bhumthang district we overnight in the remote, high altitude village of Ura, where we are the overnight guests of a local family. The people in this remote rural community are mainly sheep and yak herders, and believed to be the descendants of Bhutan’s earliest inhabitants.

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White-knuckle road travel in Eastern Bhutan

White-knuckle road travel in Eastern Bhutan

As the tiger flies (in Bhutanese lore, tigers do more than their fair share of flying) the distance between Jakar, capital of the Bumthang district in central Bhutan and Mongar, gateway to the eastern part of the country, is approximately 35 miles. For humans however, the only option is a 125-mile, daylong roller-coaster road trip that includes a steep ascent to Bhutan’s highest pass, Thrumshing La.

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The spiritual heart of Bhutan

The spiritual heart of Bhutan

It’s only 80 miles from Wangdi to Trongsa, the geographical center of Bhutan, but the drive takes a solid five hours of hairpin turns up and down a narrow and improbably steep road. Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan, is built on a spur overlooking a deep gorge of the Mangde River. From here, the view goes on forever, from the sky-high mountain range to the bottom of the gorge, a striking reminder of the dzong’s original strategic purpose.

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Eastward into the Myth

Eastward into the Myth

Wedged high in the eastern end of the Himalayas, Bhutan is one the most isolated countries in the word, and the last remaining Buddhist kingdom. Today we leave the capital, Thimphu, to start our journey eastward deep into the country’s heartland.

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In the Land of the Thunder Dragon

In the Land of the Thunder Dragon

The flight into Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, has to be one of the most spectacular in the world. We get an eye-level view of the Himalayas gleaming against a robin-egg blue sky, including Mounts Everest and Kanchenjunga and the sacred mountain of the Bhutanese Buddhists, Mount Jomulhari, before floating down into a layer of puffy clouds. When we emerge below the cloud cover, the plane is wending its way along a deep tree-lined valley dotted with farmhouses clinging to its slopes. I understand why only the handful of Druk Air pilots are certified to fly into this airport.

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Josette King

I was barely in my teens when travel became a driving force in my life. Now as a travel writer and photographer, I have visited over 45 countries in some of the most photogenic corners of the planet, taking tens of thousands of pictures along the way. With my work, I thrive to capture the natural and cultural uniqueness of each area I visit. Get to know me better…

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