Basking in Bilbao’s Renaissance: A Walking Tour of the Basque City

As we passed Bilbao’s state-of-the art structures, juxtaposed with timeless buildings flashing Old World flair, I had a hard time imagining what the Basque Country’s largest city was like before the Guggenheim Museum sparked its economic renaissance in the late 1990s. Still new to Bilbao, I was also fascinated with what constituted a Basque identity – what makes the Basque people unique from others in Spain.Continue reading “Basking in Bilbao’s Renaissance: A Walking Tour of the Basque City”

Photo du Jour: An Elephant and His Mahout – Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Responding to a command from his mahout, while ascending the walkway leading to Fort Amer, an elephant pauses. When I visited the Amber fortress, which was built in the 1590s, I opted to make my approach on foot. Nevertheless, I found the sight of a caravan of elephants to be a timeless one.

Photo du Jour: Strolling Silhouette – Prague

Prague is, without a doubt, one of my favorite European cities, thanks to its incredible blend of architectural styles, its sweeping views, and its intriguing history. As a child, our dear family friend and my first piano teacher, Erna, shared fascinating tales of what life was like in Prague in the 1930s. These anecdotes aboutContinue reading “Photo du Jour: Strolling Silhouette – Prague”

Vivacious Venice: The Third Time’s a Charm

It is often said that the third time’s a charm… Though I don’t believe that even the most hapless travel endeavor could ever be classified as a failure — since the opportunity to learn about oneself or the world is too great — my third visit to Venice was nevertheless the most enchanting. My firstContinue reading “Vivacious Venice: The Third Time’s a Charm”

The Taj Mahal: A Monument to Love… Or Corn?

You’ve undoubtedly seen images of the Taj Mahal many, many times. Still, nothing can quite compare you for your first glimpse of this marvelous mausoleum. On the morning I planned to visit, I woke up with the roosters. It was my first time in India and I was determined to arrive before thousands of additionalContinue reading “The Taj Mahal: A Monument to Love… Or Corn?”

A Butterfly Fashion Show at the Penang Butterfly Farm

As a young girl, I was the epitome of a tomboy. I’d spend hours in my childhood home’s back yard in the Midwestern United States. I’d hunt for critters large and small, tend to my open air clubhouse, and maintain the ravine’s trails as if I were a park ranger. Because of this past, it’sContinue reading “A Butterfly Fashion Show at the Penang Butterfly Farm”

Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos

On a shady street on which we regularly strolled during our stay in Luang Prabang, Laos, we watched a sculptor as he gradually turned rustic concrete into the smooth likeness of Buddha. I wonder what the man pondered on those quiet afternoons — as he was overlooked by other Buddhist figures in progress — inContinue reading “Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos”

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”