Entering the Anti-Atlas

From Mirleft, we wound our way up into the exotic Anti-Atlas Mountains, a southern extension of the better known Atlas range. The desert mountainscapes here are harsh and extraordinary with huge geological uplifts and vertical layers of earth that leave visitors gasping at every turn. Overloaded trucks, goat herds, and psycho Moroccan drivers barreling down the middle of the road also leave them gasping. (Thomas dodged and weaved like a pro!)

When I first visited this remote region in 1989, the slopes were dotted with beautiful peach-colored mud villages full of traditional families living the way they had lived for generations. The adobe architecture was carefully maintained and houses were decorated with white outlines and gorgeous tribal designs. We discovered that in the last 27 years a lot has changed. Many of the picturesque villages have Continue…

Witnessing Legzira

Working our way south from Essaouira, we stopped in Agadir overnight to pick up a rental car for our explorations of southern Morocco’s Souss region. From Agadir, we drove south via the walled city of Tiznit. (Tiznit was where we suddenly realized we literally had no idea where or how to park in Morocco! We improvised.) After exploring the walls and checking out the town’s crazy minaret, which seems to be sprouting branches, we wound down the barren yet beautiful coast to our real destination Legzira Beach near the town of Mirleft Continue…

Kicking Back in Essaouira

Just a few hours to the west, the walled city of Essaouira has a much more relaxed vibe than frenetic Marrakesh. Perhaps, it’s the seaside setting, or quite possibly its the town’s history as a key destination on the hippie trail. Both Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens found their way here in the ’60s, and – more importantly – I happened through in the late ’80s. If those ramparts look a little familiar, that might be because they were used in Orson Welles’ Othello and they pop up in Continue…

Escaping to Riad Les Yeux Bleus

Yes, Marrakesh is madness, mayhem and pure melodrama, so of course we totally love it! But even for culture-chaos junkies like us, there are moments when you just need an oasis of calm. To be honest, every single time I left the medina, we really needed a place to chill. Luckily, many of the city’s old riads, traditional Moroccan houses or palaces, have been converted into luxurious boutique hotels which make for the perfect place to hide away (especially when it is 100 F outside!!!) Continue…

Marrakesh Madness

Twenty-seven years ago, I told my parents I was going on a camping trip to Wisconsin with my friend Robin. Instead, I secretly took off on a wild adventure to Morocco, which marked the beginning of a lifetime of independent travel. Now, I have returned with Thomas to relive a bit of those early days and dive back into one of the craziest, most colorful adventure travel destinations on the planet. Continue…

Top 10 Castles in and around Lisbon

Lisbon is prime territory for people like us, devoted castle hunters who long for turrets and palatial grandeur. The moment we arrived in the city, the impressive stone walls of the Moorish Castle San Jorge looming over the city announced we had come to the right place. The capital of Portugal and the surrounding region boast so many extraordinary fortresses, palaces and royal villas that you can literally spend weeks bouncing from one to another. Actually, psycho architecture junkies that we are, we did just that.

What surprised us most was the diversity of what we found. You can literally go to every castle because they are Continue…

Loving Lisbon

Rua Augusta Arch

Life on the road is awesome, but – to be honest – it can be exhausting. Recent months have seen us bouncing from Berlin to Mallorca to Rome to Munich to Ulm to Prague to Salzburg to Milan… ugh, I was having fun, but I was totally kaput.

“I need to just sit somewhere… anywhere… for a few weeks,” I told Thomas, “I need to rest.” So, he booked an apartment in Lisbon for six weeks. Yay!!!

That turned out to be a great decision. Situated at the furthest extremes of the Iberian peninsula, beautiful Lisbon feels slightly forgotten by the rest of Europe. It’s not that the city doesn’t have tourists, it does. It just feels like Lisbon is Continue…

Lisbon Oceanarium

One of Lisbon’s number one Tripadvisor attractions is the Oceanário de Lisboa, an architectural statement in the futuristic Parque das Nações on the Tagus River. The highly conceptual building houses the city’s cutting-edge aquarium designed by architect Peter Chermayeff. Its centerpiece, a massive cylindrical tank holding 100 species, serves as the heart of this aquarium experience.

As visitors circle the 5-million-liter saltwater tank on two different viewing floors, their perspectives constantly shift. They can be eye-to-eye with a school of mackerel floating at the top, or get a close-up look of a bottom-dwelling leopard shark on the sandy floor. The pre-designed path around the aquarium also passes through many smaller side exhibits representing marine habitats from the North Atlantic, the temperate Pacific, the tropical Indian, and the Antarctic Continue…

Lisbon Food Tours: Wine Tasting, Cooking & Walking Tours

Lisbon Food Tours: Enjoying wine tasting in Lisbon

Portuguese food is a topic Tony and I knew very little about. Although we had encountered variations of Portuguese dishes in former colonies such as Macau, Brazil and the Indian regions of Goa and Diu, not much seemed familiar as we made our way through the narrow streets of Lisbon’s old town. Local specialties were advertised at every corner: Pastel de Belém, pata negra ham, bacalhau or vinho verde. But where to start?

Our awesome experience with various food tours in Rome had taught us that it’s sometimes better (and easier) to leave it up to the experts. Why fight it, right? So just as we did in Italy, we sought out the advice of local gourmands. In order to get a good understanding of what authentic Portuguese cuisine was really like, we chose three different Lisbon food tours: a wine tasting, a food walking tour, and a cooking class. As fast as you can say “salada de bacalhau com grão de bico”, we were on our way to becoming experts. Continue…

Praia do Tamariz and More

We are starting up a new collection of the world’s coolest beaches to help shake off those cloudy-day blues. So if you are pining for sun, sand and… a castle, here is our first entry:

Praia do Tamariz in Estoril, Portugal

Beach: Praia do Tamariz

Location: Estoril, Portugal (just outside Lisbon)

What’s Cool: Where else can you lie on the golden sand and gaze up at a castle sitting smack-dab on the beach. Also don’t miss the great coastal walk from Cascais all the way down to the cliffs of Praia da Azarujinha.

Not enough? We’ve chosen quite a few unique beach destinations to start our expanding list of the world’s most awesome beaches. >>> Take me to the List >>>