Happy New Year’s to Everyone

Toasting to 2017

We are wrapping up 2016 in Bangkok, one of our all-time favorite cities to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. We are wishing all of our family and friends a happy new year, and we hope we have inspired you with some of our travels.

In 2016, we made it to eleven countries on four continents traveling through Germany, Italy, Portugal, the U.S., Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, the Czech Republic, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. While 2015 was all about nature and wildlife, 2016 was all about cities and food. Yes, South America left us a bit starved for nourishment. Continue…

Merry Tri-National Christmas

Christmas in Central World, Bangkok

If you are one of those people who complains about how early the Christmas decorations go up each year, Asia is not for you. Starting the day after Halloween (there’s no Thanksgiving here), the Christmas trees started popping up around us in Osaka. The tinsel and the carols followed us to Kyoto. We explored the temples and fall foliage to a sound track of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Jingle Bells. From Japan, we made our way to Taiwan where we discovered crowded German-style Christmas markets filled with bratwurst, gluhwein, pretzels and Chinese dumplings.

Yes, we swayed to Stille Nacht (Silent Night in German) as we stared up at Taipei 101, Asia’s most stunning skyscraper, and basked in the light of fake log fires and a sea of twinkly Christmas lights. From Taiwan, we Continue…

Tokyo Food Tours

Tokyo Food Tours

Japan had been on our bucket list for a while, but the actual decision to come here was made in the spur of a moment. “I want to go to Japan and eat,” Tony said one afternoon after an uninspired meal. No sooner did he utter these words than I booked us a flight to Tokyo, sushi wonderland and foodie capital for many travelers. After having spent five years in Asia, we considered ourselves relative experts on Asian cuisine. Obviously, all we had to do was walk the capital’s busy streets and fill our bellies with exotic delicacies. Or so we thought.

It turns out that Japan is a whole different kettle of fish. With a population of over 13 million, metropolitan Tokyo seems to have almost as many restaurants, food stalls and izakayas as it has people. Yes, there is such a thing as too many options. What should you have for lunch? A Michelin-starred bento plate or green tea soba noodles? How about yamaimo or fugu? Oh, that’s right – one can make you sick, the other can potentially kill you. Add to that language difficulties and chokingly high prices, and you find yourself Continue…

The Rockabillies of Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park Rockabillies

The Rockabillies of Yoyogi Park are, perhaps, the best example of what makes Tokyo so Tokyo. This city is all about awesome subcultures, retro tongue-in-cheek chic, music, and serious love for everything fun.

For more than 30 years, these Tokyo icons have been gathering on Sundays at the southeastern corner of Yoyogi Park to dazzle visitors with their dance moves, humor and extreme vertical hair. They don’t do it for money; they don’t ask for a thing. They just Continue…

The Red Spider Lilies of Kinchakuda

japan-spider-lilies-2

No, we didn’t come to Japan during the cherry blossom season. 🙁 But it turns out that Japan has a whole lot of surprises up is floral kimono sleeves. We just randomly stumbled upon this little known (outside Japan) event, the blooming of the red spider lilies of Kinchakuda (巾着田).

Located a mere hour outside Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, Kinchakuda Park lies on a forested bend along the shores of the Koma River. For about 8-10 days each year, a spectacular red carpet of lilies forms beneath the trees creating a fairy tale scene unlike anything we have ever encountered before Continue…

Rockin’ Room with a Space-Age View

View from our apartment in Nishi Shinjuku

We came to Japan with one major goal in mind, to experience the awesomeness, the craziness, the cuteness, the unexpectedness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness of the Japanese people. In other words, the Japaneseness.

When we told friends that we would be spending half of our time in the country just in Tokyo, they seemed a bit surprised by our decision. Why so focused on the capital? Why? Because Tokyo is prime hunting ground for everything that makes Japan so Japanese. We want skyscrapers decorated in giant video screens, anime madness, hustle and bustle, Harajuku girls, streets aflow with humanity, and food, food, food. First reaction to Tokyo… fabulous shock! It’s overwhelming in the most positive sense of the word. Continue…

Happy Birthday Thomas

Happy Birthday Thomas 2016

Happy birthday to one of the planet’s greatest explorers. What better way to celebrate than by diving into one of the craziest, most over the top cities in the world… Tokyo. This is going to be good.

Kasbah du Toubkal – Luxury Trekking in the High Atlas

As we sit sipping sweet mint tea gazing out the sculpted slopes of the Imlil Valley, the call to prayer echoes up from the Berber villages below. I adjust the cushy pillows around me and lean out to take in the mountain panorama that surrounds the Kasbah du Toubkal. Behind our hill-top refuge rises the barren, rocky peak of Mt. Toubkal, which at 4,167 m (13,670 ft) ranks as the highest mountain in North Africa. Opposite us, a wondrous waterfall pours into an oasis of walnut, apple, and – most importantly – cherry trees. It’s literally raining cherries in the valley below.

When trekkers talk dream destinations, the conversations often turn to distant lands such as Nepal, northern India, Tibet or Peru. Scanning our archives will prove that these reputations are well deserved. But trekkers-in-the-know keep a few dazzling finds to themselves, off-the-beaten-track treasures where the hiking enthusiast can walk the trails without the crowds. One of the best kept secrets Continue…

Shades of Merzouga

Merzouga is one of Morocco’s top desert destinations. The sweeping dune sea, which has been featured in films such as The Prince of Persia and The Mummy, is where everyone comes to live out their desert dreams. Of course, we showed up in the middle of a series of raging sandstorms with blistering 105+ temperatures, so our desert dream felt a bit more like a very sandy, very hot hallucination.

Yes, we spent a great deal of our time in our hotel room watching the dunes push their way through the gap under our door. When the winds dropped a bit, we moved to the hotel restaurant and sipped mint tea with clouds of sand swirling around us as the hotel owner sat staring out an open door wondering aloud why his hotel was so empty. (Gee, I wonder why!) On two occasions, the wind stopped and we ran out the door into the Continue…