Friday, April 16, 2010
The view standing in front of the Lincoln Cathedral
The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England has been a place people come to worship for almost a thousand years. Originally built in 1185, the Cathedral sits on the top of the Lincoln hill making it even more prominent a site in the Lincolnshire area. Featured in in the film "The Da Vinci Code", its easy to see why they chose the spot. Once the tallest building in the world, the Lincoln Cathedral still remains one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The best view of Neuschwanstein Castle comes from St. Mary’s Bridge as seen above
'Mad' King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle is easily the most amazing castle I've seen this far in my travels, and one of the most spectacular buildings. Situated in the foot of the German Alps dividing Germany from Austria, the Castle overlooks not 1, but 2 lakes, is surrounded by mountains on nearly every side, sits above a river and waterfall, and a huge green open field. There is another castle which you'll see from Neuschwanstein, it was built by 'Mad' King Ludwigs father King Ludwig I and is actually quite nice itself. However, 'Mad' King Ludwig decided he needed to one up his father and built his bigger and better, and looking down on Hohenschwangau, so this older castle gets no attention. You may recognize Neuschwanstein castle from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. Although not true, it looks more like they designed the castle from a fairy tale, not vise versa. The inside is as magnificent as the exterior, although 'Mad' King Ludwig II died before he could finish it, so they do not show every room to the public. If you're visiting Bavaria you can not skip this castle. It's an easy day trip from Munich or it's surrounding cities, or you can stay around the Castle in Hohenschwangau or Füssen.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The Sun Pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico
If you visit Mexico City, do not skip out on the Teotihuacan Pyramids. Book a tour out of Mexico City, they'll arrange your transportation to the Pyramids, and bring you by other sites on the way. Your hotel or hostel should be able to book the tour for you. You'll likely get a chance to try different Agave based liquors, including Tequila and Mezcal and get a traditional Mexican meal. Walk from the Moon Pyramid down Avenue of the Dead towards the Sun Pyramid. Climb the Sun Pyramid, touch the Abalone, and climb down. If you arrive at peak hours plan to spend some time waiting in line to climb the Sun Pyramid as limited numbers of people are allowed up at any given time. The stairs are steep and narrow, and its a long ways up, but its worth the climb.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Braşov Sign in Braşov, Transylvania: Romania’s Hollywood Sign
When in Transylvania, you'll likely notice the Braşov sign perched up on the hill of Braşov. Get some exercise and spend a half day hiking up and down. You'll be able to find the trail just by walking up to the hill from wherever you are in town. The hike is moderate, but know if you're coming fresh off the Hike From Buşteni To Babele, that you will probably feel this one also. Enjoy the views of Braşov from the highest point around.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Ferris Wheel from the abandoned town of Pripyat in the Chernobyl Dead Zone
Ukraine tends to be far from the beaten path, even for Eastern Europe; however if you can allocate the time its well worth the visit. Kiev, the capital, is a fantastic city with good night life. And you'll need a full day to venture north to Chernobyl, where the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history took place on April 26th, 1986.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A view up the mountain towards Babele from outside the Buşteni train station
Romania is not a frequented hot spot for travelers. However, its easy to kill a week or two visiting this Eastern European country. If you're a hiker in Romania, you can't leave without hiking from Buşteni to Babele in the Bucegi Mountains of Central Romania. Likely the 2 most popular destinations in Romania are the capital Bucharest, and Transylvania, the home of Dracula. Taking the train between the 2 leads you through Buşteni.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
View of Andorra La Vella
If you're trying to figure out how to get from France to Spain during or around summer, then here's the answer. Rent a car and drive through the Pyrenees. If you enjoy driving, rent something sporty for the mountain roads. Stop and spend a few hours in the highest capital in Europe, Andorra La Vella. Enjoy the fresh mountain air, snap some photos, buy some novelty size bottles of alcohol for cheap, then continue on the pleasant mountain drive. Keep your eye out for castle ruins spread throughout, especially between Andorra and Spain. Expect steep tolls when driving the roads in France.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Entering one of the very small holes leading to the Cu Chi War Tunnels
When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to consider taking a tour of the Cu Chi War Tunnels. It's an easy day trip (not even a full day) from the city, and an interesting way to learn about the Vietnam War. You'll be able to walk (or crawl) through a pitch black tunnel dug for the war. If you're claustrophobic be careful as the tunnel is pitch black and leaves barely enough room to move through on your feet. Your calves will ache when you make it to the end. You'll see remnants of bomb craters, weapons, vehicles, and ammunition used during the war. For a fee you can shoot some of the guns actually used during the war, although its quite expensive. You can also see examples of some of the types of brutal traps placed throughout the jungle during the war.
Monday, March 8, 2010
A short hike up the mountain to the Citadel in Olympos provides this view of the beach
Olympos, Turkey, just outside of Antalya, is the perfect place to visit for a backpacker. Stay in a tree house at Kadirs, meals are included in the cost of your stay. Relax at the beach, explore the ruins, hike, kayak, rock climb, go cliff jumping, scuba diving, go canyoning, see the Chimera Flame, mountain bike, go out on a boat, or play volleyball. Come home, take a nap, then head out to the Hangar Bar at Kadirs for some drinks. When the Hangar Bar closes around 11, the Bull Bar Opens. Go dance and mingle until late night. Olympos is a vacation spot, so everyone is social, it's easy to make new friends from Turkey or anywhere else in the world.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Your typical photo from a hot air balloon trip in Yangshuo, and how our ride started
Yangshuo is a small town along the Li River in the Guilin Area, Guangxi Province of China. The town is surrounded by hundreds of tall and narrow karst peaks. Its the perfect destination for a backpacker, lots of things to do. I recommend the Hot Air Balloon ride, however you may not want to go if rain is in the forecast (as it is frequently). Ride the boat down the Li River from Guilin, then stop off for 3-4 days in Yangshuo. Monkey Jane's hostel is a fun place to stay if you like to drink. Monkey Jane herself likes to hang out with her patrons and is a great host, shes got a bar on the roof where everyone hangs out at night.