There is no greater contrast in travel than moving directly from a developing to a first world country. It is easy to forget how predictable the world can be when transport works on schedule, the environment is respected and society is orderly. We took a drive on the Great Ocean Road in Australia, exploring the coast and visiting wineries following our visits to India and Nepal. Highlights of this itinerary include coastal serenity, wildlife, hiking and vineyards.
India is a different world in every way. The sites, smells, sounds, culture and architecture all stand apart from those found in any other country we have visited. It has a blend of the most amazing and most uncomfortable experiences, making it a destination for travelers who are not faint of heart or stomach. If you are prepared for the adventure, don’t miss these 15 must see places during your visit.
Every old man on the bus was demanding “MOVE, you and your big ass backpacks are blocking the aisle!”. Or at least what we assumed they were saying. In reality, a half dozen agitated men plus another few women were all pointing at us and demanding something incomprehensible through broken teeth in a language which was probably one of India’s 22 official languages. It seemed that everyone wanted us to move somewhere other than where we were standing in our hard won spots in the bus aisle. The only thing between us and moving anywhere were the other 1.4 billion people standing in the aisle with us. But they weren’t the problem, just us. We had fought to get on this bus as it rattled past, barely slowing to allow the hordes of riders to enter. One of us had to dive into the back door while the other sprinted towards the front entrance where there was a just enough of an open step to hold a body braced against the doorway. It seemed that everyone in India was between the two of us as we rode the only bus with enough room, hoping it was going in the right direction. Even the family of five sharing the single seat moped to our left looked quite a bit more comfortable.
We are trying really hard to enjoy India, but it is difficult. We have visited over 50 countries and our month and a half in India has been amongst the least endearing. This is tough to admit as a traveler since every country is supposed to be mystical, tantalizing, or some other rubbish term meant to conjure magic feelings in a land far far away. Occasionally, a country can feel more like a visit to a trash pile and smell like urine. When we arrived in Delhi, our expectations of grandeur were quickly replaced with thoughts of escape to, well, anywhere else.
Have you ever dreamed of trekking through the Himalayan Mountains, surrounded by some of the highest peaks on Earth? We lived out this dream recently, marking one of the most incredible experiences imaginable. Read further for detailed information about trekking the Annapurna Circuit, including everything you need to know to arrive prepared.
We spent eight days having one of the most amazing experiences the world has to offer. We had been dreaming of trekking through the famed Himalayan Mountains for years, and made sure to build our round the world itinerary around a visit to Nepal. We decided to tackle the Annapurna Sanctuary with a destination of Annapurna Base Camp for our first trek in the country. This route takes you amongst some of the highest mountains on earth which culminates below an amphitheater of peaks and offers an experience unlike trekking anywhere else in the world.
Cape Town is one of the most amazing cities in the world. It has all of the best to offer including craggy mountains overlooking a blue ocean, incredible wineries, delicious restaurants with fresh local foods, and outdoor activities galore. It would be easy to confuse this place with a Western city on the coast of Europe or California if it weren’t for the pockets of staggering poverty and unemployment that are present around every corner.
South Africa has been a much different experience than the Eastern parts of the continent. Despite widespread significant social and economic difficulties, the country has first world infrastructure making it feel a world away from our previous stops. Roads are smooth and municipal water is drinkable in the larger cities. At times it is even possible to forget that you are traveling in Africa.
We spent the last month experiencing one of the most incredible areas in the world. Our trip took us overland in Eastern Africa from Kenya to Zimbabwe, passing through six countries along the way. We visited the plains of the Serengeti, saw part of the great migration in Ngorongoro Crater, tasted the tantalizing spices in Zanzibar, slept amongst the elephants in Zambia and the lions in Botswana before rafting the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls.
We spent the last three days camping in the wilderness deep in Africa. The days were spent roaming across dusty plains in search of legendary animals. The nights filled with the sounds of elephants, lions and hyenas. Tanzania is home to the incredible Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater national parks, which cover vast areas of the country. The parks are mostly untouched by man where herds of wildebeest roam, giraffes dot the horizon, and leopards nap high in the trees.
Well that’s a wrap on Europe. We are now off to Africa to experience some of the most amazing wildlife on earth. Camping on the vast Serengeti, scuba diving off the coast of Zanzibar, roaming Chobe Park, taking in Victoria Falls, and hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town to name a few. If we are lucky, we may get to experience the great wildebeest migration on the way. We spent the last fifty-two days exploring some of the known and unknown parts of Europe. From Iceland to Romania, we visited six countries across the continent. Below we discuss the best and worst parts of our travels in this continent, along with some of what we learned along the way.
There is a place where the buildings are brightly painted, cobblestones line the streets, and grape vines grown in every yard. The place is a little town called Sighișoara, found deep in the middle of Romania. The town claims the birth place of Vlad Tepes Dracul, better known as Vlad the Impaler or Dracula.
Transylvania is a region known to all as the home of Dracula but visited by few. The city of Brașov is set in the heart of this region in Romania and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountain range. It is a gorgeous town off the beaten path and one of our most enjoyable visits within Europe.
Prague. Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting this magical city? A place where modern life meets castles, basilicas, and stone bridges. A place with a seemingly infinite sea of terra-cotta roofs and cobblestones streets. A walk through the alleys of Prague is a walk through the Middle Ages. Prague has the allure of Paris with a touch of Eastern Europe. The Czech history has taken different paths than Western Europe, creating a contrasting feel from other well traveled areas.
Some places are worth visiting for the natural wonders, some for the culture, others for the culinary delights. Český Krumlov has a different type of appeal. It is a town where you can step back in time almost 800 years and take a walk through history. The streets are impeccably preserved to maintain the look and feel of its medieval roots.
Our third stop in Hungary took us through rolling farmland to the city of Pécs, an area has been inhabited for 6,000 years. The land has held Celts, been ruled by the Romans, conquered by the Ottomans, and the city has been shaped by its history over the millennia.