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Category: Sites

In and around Banff

We spend the first and last couple days of our visit to the Canadian Rockies exploring Banff.  We feel lucky that our first day ends up being the last day of straight months of rain.  Everyone we pass for the rest of the trip are in such high spirits that summer has finally arrived.  That […]

Banff’s Bow Valley Parkway

Like a fairytale complete with tree-lined rolling hills and train whistles on the regular, the highway is our thoroughfare as we bike through Banff’s famous Bow Valley Parkway.  The snow-capped mountains surrounding us tower towards blue skies, and the color of the river running next to us is that same surreal teal that fills the […]

The birds and the bugs

When we tell our guide that there are almost no bugs in San Francisco he says, “Wow… What happened?” The people of Botswana and Zambia, we come to find, have a necessarily different relationship with bugs. When we arrive at the Island of Siankaba, we’re told there are very few bugs, but shine a light […]

Like a Disneyland ride

The pictures tell the story.  This city built with canals as streets, gondolas as its taxis, and a beautifully decaying charm, creates a wonderfully romantic atmosphere.

Murano glassblowing

For as touristy as we know it will be and as it ends up being, the glass blowing demonstration while on Murano Island near Venice is spectacular.  We find ourselves two seats in a hot studio that is somehow much hotter than the very hot day outside.  The actors of the show are a master […]

Transported back to the Renaissance

I’ve never been much of a history buff. The past already happened, irrelevant beyond memorization for exams. But Venice? Venice captivated. We arrived by private boat, speeding through the ocean then slowing to the 5mph speed limit to grace the Grand Canal. Our hotel entrance was unabashedly grand, a contrast to our departure by foot […]

The magic and a little science of port

After learning more, we can appreciate almost any true craft, and port making is no exception.  Which grapes to use, when to stop fermentation using grappa-esque liquor, if and how to age the drink, what to age the drink in, and how long to wait before drinking. After spending over a week in Portugal, we […]

Azulejos

We are immediately taken by the azulejos, the Portuguese blue tiles that cover the inside and outside walls of so many sites.  These tiles are both art and construction material, and they come in the form of realistic stories and geometric patterns. The most traditional are an incredibly calming blue; however, as we explore further, […]

Castle on a Cloud: Pena Palace in Sintra

Tiger’s Nest

Silence except for heavy cold breaths. Lindsey and I sit meditating cross-legged in the upper sanctuary of Tiger’s Nest in front of the great Guru Rinpoche. I focus on focusing. Feeling my breath, hearing my breath, controlling my breath. Then my mind wanders, and I return back to breathing, back to focusing on focusing. No […]