Toasting Another Year in Travel

Travel in 2015

This has been an incredible year in travel for us. Our New Year’s resolution for 2015 was to slow down a bit and take it all in. A quick glance at our Instagram feed proves that our resolution has been both a huge success and a glorious failure. I’m happy to say that we did take much more time to relax, stay in a few key destinations, and reconnect with friends and family.

Having said that, we made it to four continents and the South Pacific traveling through Argentina, Antarctica, Chile & Easter Island, Uruguay, Brazil, Turkey, Germany, Italy, the Vatican, Spain, the Czech Republic and Austria. It’s been a year of adventurous achievements including cruising the glacial waters of Patagonia to Cape Horn, independently hiking the full circuit at Torres del Paine, camping and kayaking in Antarctica, diving Easter Island and Mallorca, and walking the ancient walls of Istanbul and Rome. We even walked across an entire country twice! (Of course, it was Continue…

Mallorca Highlights for Adventurers

Palma cathedral, Mallorca

Twenty-five years after my first visit to Mallorca, I returned to the Mediterranean island in October with Tony in tow. Like many visitors, my first experience here was a rushed trip spent on the busy tourist beaches near Palma. It was only later, through a German magazine article, that I learnt just how many adventurous activities I had missed. So this time around, I wanted to do it right. During our two weeks on the island, Tony and I set out together to discover the best of what the largest Balearic island has to offer. Continue…

Tony and Larry’s Awesome Istanbul Adventure

Tony and Larry walking the Theodosian Walls

Sometimes, you just have to grab your dad and go have an adventure, right? This trip was something special, something very different. In my years of travel blogging, this stands WAY out as one of my favorite travel moments. Because of the way it began, and the epic dad & son experience it became.

So how did we end up in Istanbul?

In 2013, Thomas and I joined a group of friends from Berlin in our favorite city on the planet, Istanbul. I had been to Istanbul twice before and had seen most of the tourist attractions there, but there was one thing I had never done, one thing I insisted we do: I wanted to Continue…

Hanging out in Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After spending a year and a half in Latin America, Rio de Janeiro was our final stop in the Americas before heading back to Europe. Rio is one of those epic, world-famous cities we always knew we wanted to spend some time in. While it is neither the capital nor the biggest city in Brazil (that would be Brasilia and São Paulo), Rio attracts the highest number of visitors of any city in the country. And we wanted to be part of that.

In my tourist fantasy, Rio was all about caipirinhas on Copacabana Beach, rhythmic samba music, boundless zest for life, and gorgeous Brazilians strutting their stuff on the powdery sands. And – oh my god – it’s all true! Continue…

Esteros del Iberá

Gliding through the shallow waters of the lagoon, our motorboat cut through a floating island of purple water hyacinths before coming to a sudden stop. In the distance, we could hear the loud squawking of a southern screamer. We scanned the sprawling floral carpet of blooming vines and water plants for life. Just as Tony leaned over to photograph a baby caiman hiding between the flower petals, our guide Javier pointed at a set of giant antlers peeking out from behind a tuft of tall reeds. The marsh deer moved quietly along the shore, its orangish fur glowing in the morning sun. As Javier pushed the boat back with a paddle, a capybara sprang up from its hiding place and stared us down as we Continue…

Don’t Miss the Berlin Festival of Lights 2015

Berlin Festival of LIghts

The Berlin Festival of Lights just started this weekend and will continue until October 18. Although we aren’t currently in Berlin, we did want to take the opportunity to draw our visitors’ attention to the dates and encourage anyone in the area to hightail it to Berlin to check out one of our favorite yearly events. Photographers will definitely want to take in the 10-day festival… but don’t forget those tripods because all the action takes place after dark.

If you aren’t in the area or you want to get an idea of what the spectacular event looks like, check out our online gallery which is composed of shots taken during the 2012 and 2013 festivals. Very cool.

A Hop, a Skip and a Jump to Uruguay

Plaza with silk floss tree in Colonia del Sacramento

Uruguay is the smallest Spanish-speaking country in South America. Wedged in between its big brothers Argentina and Brazil, it is often seen as the stepchild of the continent and bypassed by many tourists. However, there are many reasons why travelers might want to consider a visit to Uruguay: a traditional estancia stay in the countryside, beach hopping and clubbing in Punta del Este or sand dune hiking in Cabo Polonia to name just a few.

Our reason for visiting was a lot more practical – we were in Buenos Aires and needed to replenish our supply of US dollars. Since dollars are easily obtainable in Uruguay and we had never visited the country, a trip seemed like a no-brainer. After all, getting there from Argentina’s capital is Continue…

5 Top Mendoza Highlights

Mendoza wine tasting

After leaving Valparaíso and crossing back over the Andes mountain range into Argentina, we stopped to explore the bustling town of Mendoza before moving on to Buenos Aires. In the shadow of the mighty, snow-covered Andes surrounded by picturesque vineyards, Mendoza is probably most familiar to wine connoisseurs and mountaineers. Tony and I definitely fall somewhere in between – we do like ourselves a good glass of wine, and we clearly love those peaks. While both wine tasting and day hiking are obvious choices in and around Mendoza, there are some other cool activities that visitors might want to consider when passing through the region. Continue…

Valparaíso, a City as a Canvas

Graffiti street art, Valparaíso

Grotesque faces glare down at me, others smile angelically and stare into nothingness. Tony aims his camera at a long-necked woman whose Medusa-like hair is a tangle of colorful strokes. I’m bombarded with supersized hummingbirds. Ahead, an ocelot roams through a forest of hot pink trees while a young Indian girl in red performs a tribal dance. No, this is not a dream. We are wandering the narrow alleys of Valparaíso, a city that plays the role of a canvas for urban artists. Imaginative graffiti and politically charged street art cover everything. The effect is spectacular.

Valpo, as locals call it, is just a couple of hours from Santiago. Its labyrinthine backstreets and passageways are spread out across a series of over 40 hilltop neighborhoods. Cerros Concepción and Allegre are the most popular hoods; they bring in Continue…

Easter Island Reality Check

Easter Island problems

As I mentioned in our previous post, Easter Island is remote. To be blunt, the isolated Polynesian island represents one of the ultimate travel dead-ends. Yes, some people manage to “drop by” on trans-South Pacific flights from Chile via Tahiti to Australia or New Zealand, but even that “bargain” is not such a bargain. In other words, you come here because you have gone WAY out of your way to experience its amazing history and culture.

As I hinted at in our previous post, nationalist unrest meant that it was NOT business as usual during our visit to Easter Island. Our first full day, we were scheduled to go on a tour with a local company based in Hanga Roa. Just as we were leaving, national park officials stopped our bus and announced that a band of angry locals had blocked the roads out of town and had taken over the national park. Continue…