Simplicity and slowness are core components of virtually all the best adventures. Walking is king of both of these. ~Alastair Humphreys
“What do you mean, nobody sells food? We need a meal! We’re hungry,” I gasp.
“Sorry, sorry, only in summer. But I think they have toste (toasted sandwich),” the man hastens to say, pointing at the open-air teahouse, where a waiter is serving Coen Turkish tea as we speak.
What hiker can survive on toasted sandwiches? Not me. Continue reading
I was looking out over the Mediterranean dotted with a couple of sailing boats. Low rolling hills line the horizon. The image was framed by Corinthian columns covered in flowering vines. I felt as if I was on vacation in Greece, Italy, or Spain. Did that make sense, with my being 9,350 feet above sea level, in Quito, Ecuador’s capital? Not really. Continue reading
It was almost like a dance: seven rambunctious Andean Condors hopping around chunks of mule and calf. On other days the carrion might be alpaca, sheep, or rabbit. Males generally have the first go but Awu is a female that is able to stand up for herself and makes sure she gets the piece she wants to have. When two condors wanted the same piece they each tore on a side of it as if it were a game of tug-of-war. Continue reading
“If you turn around you will see the entire row of pyramids,” Alice said. I pulled lightly on the reins and Esthela immediately reacted, at which I quietly breathed a sigh of relief because truth be said, I was not so sure that she would listen to me. Continue reading
“Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase it and chase it directly, it will elude you, but if you sit quietly and busy yourself with other things, it will come and light upon your shoulder.” ~Old Chinese Proverb
What’s so special about a butterfly, you may ask. Well, I got a visit from one who cleaned my keyboard. Seriously. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, Fernando Polanco Plaza invited us to Hacienda Zuleta, his family farmstead in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Continue reading
“You know what would be a great idea?” Coen asked as we moved up the last steps of the stairs that brought us to a 30-meter-high watchtower.
“What?” David, our guide, asked.
“To serve champagne upstairs. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic surprise?”
David didn’t respond and we continued our way up. Continue reading
For weeks we had been traveling through the Amazon Forest in Brazil. Some areas consist of virgin forest, but large parts have made way for cattle ranching. The region is known as the Arc of Deforestation. From Mato Grosso we drove into Rondônia, the state where in the 1980s each minute an area the size of a football field was deforested – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a period of 10 years. The speed of cutting down forest has diminished, but the deforestation is an ongoing process. Continue reading
White whiskered spider monkey (©Will Carter)
In 2013, the Cristalino Jungle Lodge was selected as one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 25 Best Ecolodges. Continue reading
Throughout our more-than-ten-year journey we’ve met people in intriguing ways, which in some cases has led to a long-lasting friendship: people who stopped us in the street to invite us to their house, an invitation through our website. We love the sightseeing and roaming-the-countryside aspect of traveling; however, in the end our warmest memories are always related to people. Continue reading
I sit on the landing stage. The moon glistens on the Suriname River and the rainforest across the river has become a black wall. Croaking frogs and chirping crickets penetrate the silence of the night. I have traveled deep into the Surinamese rainforest. Continue reading
At 6 a.m. the sun is rising rapidly above the horizon, yet not burning fiercely as it will in a couple of hours. I stroll over the sandy plain dotted with shrubs that feed the local horses and donkeys. Behind me is the village of Jericoacoara, along Brazil’s northeast coast. In front of me are only dunes. They attract like a magnet. Continue reading
I am lying stretched out on a wooden bed covered with a brightly striped bath towel. The sun prickles my skin and a breeze caresses my body, preventing me from overheating (note to self: next time slather myself in sun lotion before lying down).
I look at the ripples on the transparent, blue water of the swimming pool – large enough to swim laps and surrounded by wooden walkways. Behind the pool a fence of woven branches of a local shrub separates Pousada Vila Bela Vista from the white sand beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Continue reading
Edited to add, 2017: Marcel and Sandra no longer run this guesthouse, but Kite World Wide does.
At the end of a long day of exploring of Brazil’s beaches we meet the kitesurfers first. It’s late afternoon and Coen and I are in search of a place to spend the night. We drive onto Tatajuba Beach and see the sky filled with a dozen colorful kite sails: with wind force six the skillful kitesurfers put on a fantastic show of sailing at enormous speeds including spectacular jumps. Continue reading
Salar de Uyuni, in southwest Bolivia, is a vast ocean of white of 130 by 90 kilometers surrounded by the Andes Mountains – it is said to be the largest salt flat in the world containing some 10 billion tons of salt. At the entrance are series of salt pyramids that have been scraped together from the surface and are ready to be transported to the nearby village of Colchani.
Wherever we look we see white. It looks like a world of fresh snow which has not yet been disturbed by footsteps. Continue reading