Venice: Grand or Grating?

I wasn’t sure if I’d love or hate Venice in summer. I’d heard the city was over-crowded, smelly and hot in peak season. I did loathe the crowds around the main tourist areas, and the muggy heat in July was uncomfortable. But I couldn’t help letting the city sweep me away either. That first breathtaking […]

Ruins of Civilization: 5 Lost Cities

The Roman historical sites we visited in both Rome and Pompei got me thinking about just how many ruins I’ve seen in my travels. Many times I’ve sought them out. There’s something fascinating about walking through the remnants of a society and contemplating how and why the place was abandoned. Here are five of the […]

How We Survived (& Enjoyed) Rome in Summer

We knew Rome would be hot in July, but even the Romans were complaining that temperatures were higher than usual. The crowds were at their peak too, but still we were spellbound, following in the footsteps of popes, emperors and gladiators in the Eternal City. A piazza to call home Our home base at the […]

Up the Coast of Croatia

Our first experience of Dubrovnik’s old town was at dusk, and we felt like we’d stepped into a fairy tale. The stone-paved streets are polished smooth as marble by the thousands of feet passing over them daily. The city walls and buildings are made of golden stone with red terracotta roof tiles. As we entered […]

Temples & Tragedy: Angkor & Phnom Penh

I was on my way from Saigon to see the famed temples of Angkor. It was a long, hot, bumpy ride to Phnom Penh. There were miles of rice paddies and many, many water buffalo wading through the watery ditches and fields. Once we crossed the border into Cambodia, almost everyone we passed waved at our van – both […]

Camels & Dunes: Wadi Rum Desert

The back of a 4×4 pickup is a bumpy, windy and downright fun way to see the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. Wind in my hair, holding my scarf tight so it doesn’t fly away, the afternoon sun pulsing down, and Arabic pop music wafting out from the driver’s open window. Golden red rock formations, […]

Classical Ruins in Turkey

Turkey is a paradise for lovers of Greco-Roman history. In fact, it’s been said that there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than there are in Greece or Italy. We managed to see quite a few during our travels around Western and Central Turkey, and each one offered something unique. Ephesus Even though […]

Beauty & Bullet Holes in Croatia

The scenery in Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National park was breathtaking. It was what I imagine the Garden of Eden must have been like, and it was one of the most beautiful sites I saw in Croatia. There were hundreds of waterfalls and cascades of all different sizes connecting a network of 16 beautiful turquoise lakes. The colour of the […]

Perfect Port Days on a Baltic Cruise

When I booked a cruise with a friend around the Baltic Sea in order to see a few cities in Scandinavia, I felt a bit sheepish. After all, I had done my share of poo-poing the idea of cruising in the past. I felt the need to explain to my friends that cruising isn’t always […]

Cuba: Cocktails, Culture & Communism

Cuba is famous for its rum cocktails, and rightly so. It is, after all, the birthplace of Bacardi. There’s the Cuba Libre – simply rum, coke and lime – one of which I enjoyed in the hotel bar just a few short hours after touching down in Havana. Next we have the mojito, and it didn’t […]

Sensory Guatemala: Colour, Sound & Scent

Guatemala is such a treat for the senses. Pastel colonial buildings line the streets in Flores and Antigua. Vibrant textiles, brightly patterned traditional clothing and decorated buses present a swirl of colour. Markets and jungles are a cacophony of sounds and smells, and festivals bring even more sensory delights to the streets. Ancient civilization meets jungle

Peru: The Inca Trail Hiking Experience

Trekking the Inca Trail was both physically and mentally challenging, and the 4-day hiking experience definitely involved some roughing it. Was it worth the effort? Here’s how it all went down …and up … and down … and up. Day 1: uphill all the way Our group of 15 hikers knew we were in for about […]

Planning a Trip to Northern India

India is amazing and intense. It will overwhelm every one of your senses and change your perspectives. I think everyone should go at least once, but as a travel destination, it can be intimidating. Unless you’re a seasoned independent traveler with other developing countries under your belt, a local guide or organized tour is worth considering […]

Romancing the Sandstone: Hiking Petra in Jordan

My day hiking Petra, Jordan’s ancient red rose city: 1500 steps, 25 kms of walking over 9 hours, 600 m of elevation change, 28 degrees Celsius, 2.3 L of water and two lemon mints gulped down, one twisted ankle, 92 photos, one magnificent ancient carved sandstone city, and a whole bunch of stunning views. The Treasury by […]