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Photo of the Day – Sunset over Bagan, Myanmar

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Sunset over Bagan, Myanmar

While Bagan’s reign of power may have ended when the city was partially destroyed by the Mongols in 1287, what remains of this Kingdom is still a sight to behold. Marco Polo once described it as a “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes” and in the mid-9th century as many as 13,000 temples and stupas may have graced the 26-mile plain. Today, more than 2,000 temples still stand – some large and well-preserved, others tiny and crumbling in overgrown brush. With so many temples to choose from around Bagan, it’s impossible to see them all. But no matter how many temples you manage to squeeze into your day, watching the sunset over Bagan from the Shwesandaw Pagoda is the perfect finale. Foreign and Burmese tourists alike make the steep climb up the large steps of Shwesandaw to gather at the small top of the “sunset temple” each night. The climb is worth the vertigo-inducing effort for a panoramic view of thousands of temples as they burn orange with the sun’s setting rays creating a sunset over Bagan that is likely to be one of your most memorable Myanmar experiences.

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Photo of the Day – Torres del Paine Patagonia, Chile

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Torres del Paine Patagonia, Chile

Chile’s spectacular Torres del Paine National Park is best known for the Cerro Paine Grande mountain range and its centerpiece the, Torres del Paine Patagonia. Literally translated as “Towers of Pain” these gigantic granite monoliths were shaped by the forces of glacial ice. Though their exact heights have been argued over the years, the South Tower is thought to be the highest at 8200 feet. During my stay at explora Patagonia I had incredible views of the three towers from my room. On my last day, I hiked the scenic Aonikenk Trail up to a cave with ancient Indian cave paintings. It was an exceptional day – perfect weather, not too hot, and tons of guanacos (a llama relative) to entertain us along the trail. It’s incredibly peaceful to hike in Torres del Paine Patagonia, the air is so clean and fresh it’s like inhaling nature with every breath.

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Photo of the Day – Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef

Last night on the Amazing Race (not surprisingly, my favorite show) the prize for the team that finished first was a trip to the incredible Hayman Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef. I was instantly taken back to my own Hayman Island experience on my trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands on Round the World #8. I’m not sure if the winners of this leg (Brendon and Rachel) understood at the time what a tremendous prize this was, but they will soon learn that Hayman Island is truly one in a million. From the minute you step onto the luxury yacht at the Hamilton Island airport – luggage instantly replaced with a glass of champagne (a good trade any day of the week) – the Hayman Island experience is first class. The island is the farthest north of the Whitsundays which makes it the closest to the Great Barrier Reef. During my stay, my favorite experience was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef and the magnificent swirl of sand known as Whitehaven Beach.

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Photo of the Day – Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke

One of the best experiences of my Caribbean cruise with Carnival a while back was our stop in Tortola. Thanks to a tip from a fellow cruiser, we’d booked a catamaran trip to the beautiful island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Our specific destination? The infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. Home of the original “Painkiller” and the self-proclaimed most famous beach bar in the world, the Soggy Dollar Bar sits on one of the most perfect stretches of sand in the Caribbean, White Bay Beach. The Painkiller is a top secret tropical concoction of premium dark Rum, Cream of Coconut, pineapple and orange juice topped with freshly grated Grenadian nutmeg. Conveniently, this delightful adult beverage pairs perfectly with a hammock and the gentle swaying of palm trees. There’s no dock on White Bay, so when you arrive plan on getting a little wet to get ashore (hence the bar’s name), but it’s well worth the brief dip in the turquoise Caribbean sea (you were going to get in eventually anyway, right?).

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Photo of the Day – Camel Ride Around the Pyramids

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Camel Ride Around the Pyramids

It’s Throwback Thursday and today’s photo takes me all the way back to Round the World #1 (it’s hard to believe that was 9 years ago!). One of the top “must-sees” on my first trip around the world was the Pyramids at Giza. I even hired an Egyptologist guide (Nora) for an in-depth Egyptian experience. On our first stop of the day at the pyramids, Nora suggested a camel ride around the pyramids. Figuring “when in Rome,” I was game. Little did I know what an adventure this would be. After Nora negotiated a fair rate on my behalf with the camel owner, I was off. Not with the camel owner, mind you, but with his 10-year-old son as my camel guide through the desert…. 

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Photo of the Day – Iceberg Graveyard Antarctica

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Iceberg Graveyard Antarctica

One of my favorite days on my Antarctic cruise last year with Quark Expeditions was our afternoon zodiac cruise through the Iceberg Graveyard Antarctica. As we glided through Pleneau Bay in a zodiac, we stared in awe at the skyscraper-sized ice formations surrounding us; each a more startling shade of iridescent blue than the last. Our guide, Krystle, told us that Pleneau was always her favorite place to visit on Antarctic voyages because the constant shifting ice meant you never knew what you were going to see from week to week. So what is an Iceberg Graveyard? Basically, it’s a place where icebergs have run aground and are slowly melting. The National Snow and Ice Data Center provides a more in-depth explanation, “Icebergs form when chunks of ice calve, or break off, from glaciers, ice shelves or a larger iceberg. Icebergs travel with ocean currents, sometimes smashing up against the shore or getting caught in shallow waters.” An iceberg graveyard in an incredible place to visit and I feel very fortunate to have seen one.

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Photo of the Day – Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island

Ahu Tongariki – also known as “the fifteen” – is Easter Island’s most famous site and probably the image that comes to mind when you think of this remote South Pacific island. In fact, Easter Island is the most isolated inhabited island in the world according to the United Nations. It’s also an undisputed archaeological treasure and one of the world’s greatest mysteries. But even on an island that’s home to more than 20,000 archaeological sites, Ahu Tongariki is a startlingly impressive site. Legend has it that the moai were toppled in the 1700′s during the island’s civil wars. Then, in 1960, a tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of Chile swept them inland.  In the 1990′s, the Chilean government led a restoration project that was completed in 1996 making it the largest collection of re-erected moais on the island. 

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