Ships, Trains and Automobiles…
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.
In southwestern France, limestone cliffs pitted with caves where humans have set up camp since the dawn of time have made the Valley of the Vézère a key area of world prehistory.
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.
Newly opened Lascaux IV, the spectacular replica of France’s most celebrated cave, brings into focus the riches of the unique UNESCO World Heritage Lascaux site and a better understanding of the history of Paleolithic cave art.
A prehistoric land of rugged gravel plains bordered by massive conical kopjies and flat-topped mountains, surreally beautiful Damaraland is one of Namibia’s best-kept secrets.
This next stage of my 2,000-mile journey around Namibia takes me from the quaint Atlantic resort of Swakopmund to the barren shores of the Skeleton Coast.
Day Three of my 2000-mile journey across Namibia takes me from the scorched Great Dune Field of the Namib to the eerie fogbound shores of Walvis Bay.
Day Two of my 2,000-mile journey across Namibia begins in Sossusvlei, watching the sun rise over the iconic red dunes of the Namib Desert.
From the central Khomas Highlands and Windhoek to the Namib Desert, the first stage of a 2,000-mile adventure across Namibia.
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.
Hard to imagine but the landscape keeps getting more dramatic as we zigzag up and down the dirt roads of the Agrafa, deep in the Evrytania region toward Lake Kremaston, the largest artificial lake in Greece.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…