Brač, Croatia: Hunting for Hercules in a Roman Quarry

For nearly 2,000 years, limestone has been extracted from quarries on the Croatian island of Brač. In the 3rd century, laborers used this dazzling white stone to build the palace of Emperor Diocletian in the city of Split. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Brač limestone was used to construct the Saint James CathedralContinue reading “Brač, Croatia: Hunting for Hercules in a Roman Quarry”

Escaping to Marjan Hill, the ‘Lungs of Split’ Croatia

Marjan Forest Park is often referred to as the “lungs of Split, Croatia.” The park’s pine forest exhales fresh oxygen into the nearby city — which is removed, but within walking distance. Marjan (or Marjan-Park Šuma, in Croatian) has been a popular recreation spot since at least the 3rd century. Back then, Roman Emperor Diocletian (who hadContinue reading “Escaping to Marjan Hill, the ‘Lungs of Split’ Croatia”

A Day Trip from Split, Croatia: Hiking Mosor

If you spend enough time in Split, eventually the surrounding mountains will start calling you to explore, and rightfully so… Two weeks into our stay in the stunning seaside town, we met up with our local friend, Srđan, eager to retreat to the rugged mountains that so dramatically frame the metropolitan area around Croatia’s second-largest city.

Conquering the Kofel, Oberammergau’s Signature Mountain

Towering over the village of Oberammergau is the Kofel, a Matterhorn-shaped mountain with an elevation of 1,342 meters (4,400 feet). The name Kofel means ‘cone-shaped mountain’ in Celtic, and so hints at the tribes and peoples that once passed through this mountainous part of Germany. The Bavarians we’ve met in this picturesque town are well-versed in theContinue reading “Conquering the Kofel, Oberammergau’s Signature Mountain”

Hiking to Greece’s Majestic Meteora Monasteries

Meteora showcases the perfect marriage of natural and man-made beauty. Crowning the tops of otherworldly rock formations are Eastern Orthodox monasteries — some constructed more than 700 years ago. Monks trying to escape persecution originally built 24 monasteries here. Over the centuries, weather and neglect took their toll on the structures, leaving today’s six activeContinue reading “Hiking to Greece’s Majestic Meteora Monasteries”

Stairway to Heaven: Hiking Through the Batad Rice Terraces in the Philippines

Ifugao tribesman carved the Batad Rice Terraces out of the Cordillera Mountains more than 2,000 years ago. Often cloaked in a mysterious fog, these magnificent rice paddies are located on the Philippine island of Luzon, about 470 km (290 miles) from Manila. Thanks to their grand scale and their amphitheater-like appearance, the terraces have beenContinue reading “Stairway to Heaven: Hiking Through the Batad Rice Terraces in the Philippines”

Snails, Wild Boar & Fairy Tales: Exploring Heidelberg’s Enchanting Forest

The forested hills cradling Heidelberg’s Old Town have been one of my favorite settings in which to explore and escape for the past decade. Before I met my husband, Shawn, I often made the ascent there independently to ponder life goals or jot hand-written letters to family and friends. Sometimes, I’d take friends or myContinue reading “Snails, Wild Boar & Fairy Tales: Exploring Heidelberg’s Enchanting Forest”