Luxury Yurt Camping in Lanzarote

As we drive north from Arrecife to the small coastal village of Arrieta, we immediately notice how different Lanzarote looks from the other Canary Islands we have visited. Most obvious is the lack of high-rise buildings and huge tourist complexes. The black scorched land along the coast is dotted with small white-washed villages and traditional windmills. We marvel at the bizarre landscape of terraced cones, squat craters, and soil that shimmers with onyx hues of the volcanic spectrum. It seems like a spectacular location for our glamping experience at Lanzarote Retreats. Continue…

Ait Benhaddou and the Oases

If our lead picture looks familiar, it’s probably because it is one of the most filmed locations in Morocco. The ksar (fortified village) of Ait Benhaddou has been popping up in movies for decades. From The Man Who Would Be King to The Mummy to Gladiator, Ait Benhaddou is arguably Morocco’s most celebrated big screen legend. And if you are a Game of Thrones fan, this is the epic city of Yunkai (minus the giant CGI pyramids.) Can you believe it, we’ve visited Yunkai and Astapor in the same trip?

The UNESCO world heritage site was our entry point to the river valleys and remote oases of the Moroccan Sahara. The whole region is a playground for culture junkies and adventure travel fans. We grabbed another rental car in Ouarzazate, Morocco’s desert take on Hollywood, and set out on an epic seven-day exploration winding and bumping our way from ksar to ksar, kasbah to kasbah. I would officially like to thank Thomas for Continue…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Surprisingly Cool Santiago

Patio Bellavista, Santiago

Santiago de Chile… quick, name one tourist attraction that comes to mind. Nothing? We had exactly the same response. Latin America’s fastest growing city is definitely not the first entry on most travelers’ bucket lists. We certainly didn’t have any expectations when we planned a 3-day stay in Santiago to wait for our flight to Easter Island. The giant metropolis of five million was just going to be another quick stop en route to a more exotic destination. But then something happened. We suddenly discovered we really liked the city.

It’s true, there are no world-famous monuments, no Eiffel Tower, no Pyramid of the Sun, no Taj Mahal, but there’s a subtle attraction to Santiago, a laid-back and easy-going vibe that spoke to us. In some ways, it reminded us Continue…