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Photo of the Day – Rynek Glowny, Krakow, Poland

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Rynek Glowny, Krakow, Poland

Dating back to the 13th century, Krakow’s enormous Rynek Glowny (Grand Square) is surrounded by historical townhouses, palaces and churches (including St. Mary’s Basilica, pictured below) and is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful town squares. It is Europe’s largest medieval square and in 2005 it was named the World’s Best Square by the Project for Public Spaces. Though it’s lively and crowded year-round, on December 31st it is home to Poland’s largest New Year’s Eve party. From artists and floral carts to horse-drawn carriages and fire dancers, the main square in Krakow Poland offers some of the best people-watching in all of Europe.

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Photo of the Day – Nusa Dua Bali, Indonesia

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Nusa Dua Bali, Indonesia

Thoughts of Bali bring to mind luxurious resorts, pristine beaches like the resort area of Nusa Dua Bali and especially the stunning rice terraces of the Ubud region. But Bali is also a land of ritual and religion. Delicate offerings of flowers, rice and burning incense to the Gods are found daily dotting every corner of the island. There is a Hindu temple in every village and a shrine in every  field. Exploration is a must. But sometimes the best thing to do on the “Island of the Gods” is relax on the beach with a cold Bintang in hand and revel in the peace and tranquility that is Bali. And you can rest assured I did a solid amount of that when I visited Nusa Dua Bali on my search for the world’s perfect beach on Round the World #5.

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Photo of the Day – Jemaa el Fna Marrakech, Morocco

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Jemaa el Fna Marrakech, Morocco

At the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech Morocco’s most famous square hums with activity from early morning til late at night. The spice vendors, healers and henna tattoo artists of the daytime give way to story-tellers, acrobats and dozens of restaurants on wheels at dusk. But it’s the snake charmers of Jemaa el Fna that captivate amid the chaos. If you’re planning to take a picture, a tip of 10-20 dirham is expected – try to get away without paying and don’t be surprised when they chase you down (as this one is doing to the guy next to me). With the largest souk in Morocco and numerous exotic dining options, Marrakech is marvelous city to visit… but take my word for it and think twice if you’re considering running a marathon there.

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Photo of the Day – Uchisar Castle, Cappadocia

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Uchisar Castle, Cappadocia

Situated at the highest point in Cappadocia, just 5 miles from Goreme, Uchisar Castle sits atop a giant hill overlooking the town of Uchisar and is visible for miles. The fairy chimneys surrounding Uchisar were hollowed out and used as graves during the Roman period. Within the multi-level castle, dozens of rooms are hollowed out and connected by a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways. Due to erosion in some places, most of the interior is closed to visitors but stairs scale the exterior and lead up to an amazing panoramic view from the top. A climb up the stairs of Uchisar Castle is a must when visiting the Cappadocia region and was a highlight of my first day there.

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Photo of the Day – Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland

After the obligatory visit to the Blue Lagoon and a thorough exploration of the colorful capital of Reykjavik it’s time to hit the road for a look at the Iceland’s stunning geothermal interior. Get your own wheels for the day and drive the 180-mile loop into the center of the island and back known as the Golden Circle. The three primary stops on the route are the national park Pingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss and the geothermally-active valley of Haukadalur, home to the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. On first approach to Gullfoss, the impressive falls are almost hidden from view. But once you step closer to the edge you’ll be wowed by the rushing Hvita river as it flows down into a wide, three-step staircase before plunging abruptly in two stages into a crevice 105 feet deep. Its prominent position on the Golden Circle tour makes the Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland’s most popular with visitors.  

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Photo of the Day – Story Bridge Brisbane, Australia

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Story Bridge Brisbane, Australia

While many people have heard of Sydney, Australia’s adrenaline-inspiring Harbor Bridge Climb, most may not be aware that there are just two other places in the world where you can experience a similar lofty urban climb – and both just happen to be Down Under. Auckland, New Zealand and Brisbane, Australia also offer their version of Sydney’s popular tourist attraction (I’ve done two out of the three climbs). Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge spans the Brisbane River and is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. Named for prominent public servant John Douglas Storey, the heritage-listed bridge boasts 360 degree views over all of Brisbane and offers group climbs, educational climbs and even twilight “get engaged” climbs.

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Photo of the Day – Pamukkale, Turkey

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Pamukkale, Turkey

Its name translates as “cotton castle” in Turkish and you’ll quickly understand why when you get your first look at the billowing travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Though they have the appearance of salt, the scalloped terraces of Pamukkale are actually made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by the thermal waters of 17 hot water springs. The temperature of the water ranges from 95 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Up until the mid 20th century, hotels were located at the top of the terraces and some siphoned water from the pools. A road was also used for vehicle traffic to the top. The hotels, the road and just too many people in the pools, caused a big environmental problem. In 1997, UNESCO came in and took down the hotels and converted the road to a walking path. Today, a channel system keeps some pools dry for several days while water flows to others. This changes frequently and since the system was put in place the site has been slowly recovering. The entire site also includes the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis and it’s a must-see when visiting southern Turkey.

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