Seeing a Kathakali Performance in Kerala

Demoness in Kathakali performance

For visitors to the Indian state of Kerala, one of the obvious highlights – besides exploring the Kerala backwaters by houseboat – is attending a traditional Kathakali performance. Dating back to the 17th century, these colorful musical performances offer up a combination of traditional dance and rhythmic music punctuated with wild shrieks and maniacal laughs. They are quite the experience!

So what is it all about? Plotlines are usually drawn from the Hindu classics such as the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas as well as folk mythology.


10 Highest Mountains in the World

Tony backed by Everest at the Gokyo Ri overlook

Can you name the top ten highest mountains in the world? You can probably name Everest, and if you are clued in, maybe K2. But can you list any of the others? Most people can’t. That quickly changes for travelers to the mountains of southern Asia.

Yes, when it comes to spectacular peaks, you really don’t have to scour the world to find them. In fact, you could theoretically complete your collection with a visit to just two countries, Nepal and Pakistan. Throw in visits to Tibet and India, and you can take in all the best views.


India’s Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

Masterpiece cave painting at Bhimbetka

The Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, a collection of more than 600 prehistoric cave paintings, was one of the main reasons we wanted to visit Bhopal, India. Boasting the oldest traces of human presence on the subcontinent as well as cave paintings dating back to the Mesolithic period, this just might be the best contender for the title of “the birthplace of India.”


Rajasthan Camel Safari

Everybody does it here – it has become somewhat of a touristic cliche. It can range from a luxury tented eco-experience to an off-the-beaten-track adventure. You might find yourself in a sea of tourists waiting to pose for a portrait on a dune, or perhaps like us, you’ll end up sitting out a sandstorm in a herder’s desert wigwam. It is the Rajasthani camel safari, and it is whatever you make it.

Eager to make ours an adventure, we did our homework first. There are endless options in Rajasthan, but we wanted to get Continue…

Top Things to Do and Places to Visit in Jodhpur

Places to visit in Jodhpur: View of Mehrangarh Fort from Jaswant Thada

Situated on the edge of the Thar Desert, the walled city of Jodhpur definitely lives up to our definition of a desert dream. Known throughout Rajasthan as the Blue City, Jodhpur is an atmospheric tangle of blue-washed medieval lanes leading everywhere and nowhere. Hidden treasures abound from ancient havelis to spice-scented bazaars to exotic smoke-filled temples.

Once you enter the blue labyrinth of Rajasthan’s second largest city – one of our favorite places in the country – it is easy to lose track of time and space. But never fear. To help you make the most of your stay, we have compiled a list of our favorite things to do and best places to visit in Jodhpur. Continue…

Our Roughest Roads

Madagascar south of Maroantsetra – 2003

Recently, we were asked about the worst roads we had ever been on. Hmmm, there’s a post in that question, I suddenly thought to myself. Thomas and I sat down to reflect on the thousands of roads we had traveled – the breakdowns, the potholes, the drop-offs, the landslides, the dust, the terrifying drivers – and came up with a list of some of the most challenging stretches we had experienced. As with all such questions, the year we traveled these roads is also relevant because things change. Here’s a list of our roughest roads Continue…

Pir Dastgir Sahib Shrine Destroyed by Fire

Waking up this morning to a series of ┬ámessages from Kashmiris, we were devastated to discover that the Pir Dastgir Sahib, perhaps the most stunning Sufi shrine in Srinagar, Kashmir, had been destroyed by fire. This is a tragic loss for Kashmiris, who are mourning the destruction of one of their most beloved religious sites. It also represents a heartbreaking loss of world architectural and cultural heritage. It is being reported that holy relics from the shrine have been saved. Continue…

Two Years on the Road

Just Click a Thumbnail Above to Begin

Wow, two years! We can hardly believe it ourselves. It seems like we just set out from Berlin last week. From Germany to Hong Kong across China and Tibet to India via Nepal, year one saw a lot of movement. Our second year has been almost entirely spent on the Subcontinent. But as those who have followed along have seen, India is a world unto itself. To recall some of our adventures, we’ve put together an interactive gallery.

Passage OUT of India

This country is hard. No destination has ever challenged us in the way India has. While still in Nepal, travelers laughed hysterically at the idea of our spending a year here. “You’ll never manage a year there,” they ridiculed, “You’ll be lucky if you make it two weeks!”

Well, we’ve spent a total of 15 months here. So, do we like it? The question almost seems ridiculous. We hate the country, and we love it. Every day we find ourselves cursing this place and swearing we are going to leave. And then moments later, we discover something wondrous. We’ve never witnessed such cruelty, but somehow the moments of kindness seem all the more touching. The country is one massive contradiction, so it is not surprising that our responses should be contradictory.

Hindu gods? Or South Park characters?

After two days in India, our philosophy became “Let’s just see the whole damn country and get the hell out and never come back!” But now, somehow the idea of not returning to India seems terrifying. Why? Traveling here is such an intense experience. Somehow every single day seems like it is filled with major life lessons. Or, perhaps, we just have a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome.

So we are off to Bangkok to find some cheap tickets to the U.S. But don’t worry, our adventures aren’t over. They’ve only just begun!