A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Category — A Day In Pictures

ADIP: Madrid, Spain

A Day in Pictures
Madrid, Spain


After three and a half months in Greater Asia, Madrid was familiar, welcoming – and a bit of a relief. It’s Europe. Like home, only different.


Our friend Gail turned us on to an absolute must in Madrid – churros and chocolate. I had lost twenty pounds in Asia (much needed) – I could see that wasn’t happening in Spain!


On the day we arrived the government announced that unemployment in Spain had reached 17% – but as we walked around Madrid, the city felt full of positive energy. The cafe culture was in full swing everywhere we roamed.


Also apparent: We were back in a Catholic country. Not since South America had we seen such ubiquitous religious iconography.


Not to mention the occasional fallen angel. I suppose even good girls stray from time to time.


After a day exploring Madrid, our only regret was the short amount of time we would be there.

Home was beckoning, and Spain was marked for a return visit.

Our pictures from Madrid are here.

June 19, 2009   1 Comment

ADIP: Hong Kong

A Day in Pictures
Hong Kong, SAR, China


Even in the 16th century the Chinese exported far more than they imported, sending growing quantities of silk and tea to Europe with Portuguese traders.

That changed for a time after the British arrived in Hong Kong because the British brought with them one imported good that could not be resisted: Opium.

The British drug trade led to the First and Second Opium Wars – and ultimately a 99-year British “lease” of Hong Kong. The lease ended in 1997, and Hong Kong was returned to Chinese control.


Today, nearly 12 years after the British handover to the Chinese, Hong Kong remains a global economic center.


Hong Kong’s harbor is one of the world’s most scenic – and busiest. Skyscrapers ring the harbor, and nothing seems to slow the pace of construction.


At night, the harbor comes alive, putting on one of the world’s biggest light shows.


And a streetside version of one of our favorites: Hong Kong Idol.


There are more pictures from Hong Kong here.

April 8, 2009   4 Comments

ADIP: Angkor Wat

A Day in Pictures
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia


The Temples of Angkor Wat are Cambodia’s must see site.

The temples were built around 1100 by King Suryavarman II, a powerful Khmer king, who extended their civilization and empire to northern Thailand, Burma and the northern tip of Malaysia.




King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat to serve as a holy capital city and eventually as his funerary temple.


Angkor Wat is actually a series of temples spread over a very large area.  Each temple has its own unique character and purpose.  In many places, the jungle is reclaiming parts of the temples.


Angelina Jolie fans may recognize some of the temples from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie.


We’ve posted more pictures from Angkor Wat here.

March 30, 2009   4 Comments

ADIP: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Day In Pictures
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


When we left home, “KL” was not on the itinerary. But because it is a primary hub for Air Asia, the region’s premier low cost airline, it became an important transit point for us.


Malaysia is a multicultural society, 64% native Malay, 28% of Chinese descent and 8% of Indian descent. It is also the first Muslim country we visited — approximately 60% of the population practices Islam.

In the streets and markets, you are as likely to see a young male breakdancer as a woman in a full burka. It can make for a series of jarring contrasts.


The Petronas Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest buildings, are KL’s most famous landmark.


Nearby, the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) is a match for any mall in America. Here you find familiar global brands, from Starbucks to California Pizza Kitchen, Polo Ralph Lauren to Nike.



Most of all, we relaxed in KL, burning some of our Starwood Points to enjoy a free stay at Le Meridien Hotel, a real treat.

More pictures from Kuala Lumpur are posted here.

March 11, 2009   1 Comment

ADIP: Bondi Beach, Sydney

A Day in Pictures
Bondi Beach, Sydney


Bondi Beach is a favorite destination for Sydneysiders of all ages. It’s located about four miles east of the city’s central business district. Though beautiful, Bondi can be dangerous for the inexperienced.

The northern end of the beach is considered gentle, but the the southern side is home to a famous rip current known as the “Backpackers’ Express” because of its proximity to the bus stop, and the unwillingness of many tourists to walk the length of the beach to safer swimming.


On 6 February 1938, 5 people drowned and over 250 were rescued after a series of large waves struck the beach and pulled people back into the sea. The day is still referred to as “Black Sunday”.


Bondi Bathers Surf Lifesaving Club is the world’s first surf lifesaving club, founded in 1907. The club holds most Australian Surf Lifesaving medals in Rescue and Resuscitation.

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January 21, 2009   Comments Off on ADIP: Bondi Beach, Sydney

ADIP: Melbourne, Australia

A Day in Pictures
Melbourne, Australia


In 1825 John Batman was sailing a skiff up the Yarra River when he hit a sandbar. Rather than admit his mistake, he announced to his crew that he had found the “ideal place for a village.”

And so Melbourne (say: Mel-bun) was born. Actually, Batman first named it Batmania (thankfully cooler heads prevailed and the name was later changed).


Today Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city – and many consider it the country’s best kept secret.

It is an impressive, cosmopolitan city with an active arts community, a fierce love of sports, and according to one recent report, 30% more restaurants than the city’s population can support.


Shopping is plentiful in the city’s central business district. Buskers provide entertainment along the Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian shopping street. You haven’t really lived until you’ve heard techno-pop played on the didgeridoo.

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January 14, 2009   3 Comments

ADIP: Queenstown

A Day in Pictures
Queenstown, New Zealand


Queenstown is Nature’s Disneyland: It has an incredible setting, an amazing array of adventure activities, a thriving restaurant scene and an almost unlimited supply of extraordinary walks, hikes, tramps and treks.


We didn’t take full advantage of all Queenstown has to offer, but we did enjoy our time here very much, taking in the mountain views and unspoiled environment on several local walks.




We managed to squeeze in a round of golf.


We carved out some time for a harbor cruise.


And stopped by the Minus 5 Ice Bar to enjoy a really cold beverage.



In the end, we were pleased to spend three relaxing days in New Zealand’s adventure capital.


More pictures from Queenstown and the South Island are posted here.

December 8, 2008   Comments Off on ADIP: Queenstown

ADIP: On the Road to Kaikoura


We were standing on a cliff’s edge, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Straight ahead, well over the horizon, was Chile.  To our right, Antarctica.

As we looked left, the cloud cover that had followed us most of the day began to clear, revealing snow-capped mountains leading right up to the water’s edge.

Caroline asked incredulously: “Where the heck are we?”

A day taking in scenery on New Zealand’s South Island will make you wonder.


We had arrived in Picton the night before, on the ferry from Wellington.  The crossing itself was extraordinary, the ship making its way through Marlborough Sounds.


From there we drove south following Highway 1 along the South Island’s east coast.  It’s a drive that first invites, then vanquishes comparisons to California’s Pacific Coast Highway.


After a few hours we reached Kaikoura, a picturesque peninsula town.  There are few places in the world with such awesome mountains so close to the sea.


In Maori legend, Kaikoura was where the demi-god Maui sat when he fished the North Island up from the depths of the sea.

As recently as the 1980s, no one was very interested in Kaikoura – it was known only for its crayfish.


These days, it’s a tourist mecca, known for its surfing, its seal colony and opportunities for whale watching.


More pictures from New Zealand’s South Island are posted here.

December 1, 2008   2 Comments

ADIP: La Recoleta Cemetery

A Day In Pictures
La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires


Interesting story: When Evita Peron died at age 33, the Argentine military was so afraid of the iconic power of her corpse that they hid her body in tomb in Milan, Italy for 16 years.

Twenty years after her death her body was returned to Buenos Aires in the dead of night and laid to rest in her family’s tomb in La Recoleta Cemetery, despite strong objections from the country’s elite.

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September 19, 2008   5 Comments

ADIP: Otavalo Day Trip

A Day In Pictures
Otavalo Day Trip

On Saturday we took a day trip north of Quito to the Otavalo Market and surrounding area.

Otavalo has been a crossroads and market town for thousands of years.  Today tourists from around the world visit by the busload to bargain for rugs, sweaters, jewelry, art and local crafts.

While the market has become a bit of tourist show, it has made Otavalenos the wealthiest, most commercially successful indigenas (indigenous people) in Ecuador.

As we traveled into Ecuador’s northern highlands, the views were spectacular.

Mountain View

The market lived up to advance billing: colorful, vibrant, offering most every product imaginable.

Street View



Knit Hat

But the Otavalenos were more interesting than anything offered for sale.

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August 1, 2008   6 Comments

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