Archive for Travel Off The Beaten Path – Historical

An Ode to Cipro….How do I Love Thee!!

The street vendor. Simultaneously your best friend and your worst enemy. Who can resist an awesome photo eating fried crickets in Thailand or balot (duck embryo) in the Philippines? Of course there is also the dare factor along with the “how many chances do I get to try this” multiplier. Many people have traded that photo for 4 days in the bathroom http://www.sfa.univ-savoie.fr/sciences/misc/phpcheck/kamagra-pas-cher.html.

Not to fear, however!! Ever since Cipro (Ciproflaxin to the medically inclined) was invented, people have been able to cut it to a day or so. Ah, the possibilities and photo opportunities!

To the inventor of Cipro, I hoist a drink from a dirty cup along with mystery meat on a stick! You are awesome!

The Orkhon Valley – Where did all the people go?

Alright, so they’ve been gone a very long time, since the Genghis Khan days to be exact. What was once the center of his empire is basically a huge meadow, thousands of square miles wide. If you want to go there, the best way is on horseback and it is definitely off the beaten path www.truba.gov.tr. Miles and miles of Mongolian beauty with remnants of the old grandeur of the Golden Horde. I keep thinking two things: no phone (sweet) and fly fishing (also sweet).

Rick Steves – Pretty nerdy but he knows what’s up!

So I went to Germany,had some extra time and pulled out my handy Rick Steves book on the country. Turns out he was talking up Rothenberg, mentioned a place to stay and the person to talk to to book it. I took his advice and it was exactly, and I mean EXACTLY like he said it. Also exactly how I liked my stay, including price range and all. I logged it in my mind, pretty cool book http://homepage.westmont.edu/make_account/images/pic/acrobat-xi-pro.html. Later I’m in London with another book of his (and it was leading me right all the time as well) and I was getting pretty jazzed on him when some guy comes up to me and tries to buy the book from me! He said he couldn’t find it, needed it and would I please sell it to him, full price plus extra. I turned him down because THESE BOOKS ROCK! I don’t agree with him politically and he definitely drank the Euro kool-aid but his books are pretty sweet!

Koh Samet – They just need laser beams on their heads

Koh Samet Island has one of those adventure rides where you really didn’t know what you were getting in for. Disguised as a fish farm, and at a very reasonable price, you can walk along floating planks and feed the fish with…. yourself. On both sides of the bouncing planks, should you feel unsteady, you have a choice to fall into the turtle tank or the shark tank, for example. Other tanks (all easily accessible through a welcoming, open top) have less dangerous but still inviting fish to feed. As an added bonus and in case the fish aren’t at a full frenzy, you can buy little fishies to throw in and really stir them up. I actually dug it. Just don’t put your hands too close to the water, watch who you share a plank with and keep to an outside plank!

The Blue Info sign… Learn it, know it, love it

Some people pass these things by without even knowing they are there. The traveler, however, especially the laid-back, unprepared, backpack type traveler lives by them. The blue info sign is the ticket to confidence, the opposite of the confused look. Nothing like getting off a train, figuring out what city you’re in, finding a blue sign and voila! You’re off with a handfull of pamphlets, reservations to some event and a map to your home. The kid behind the counter made a commission, the bed and breakfast lady is preparing your room and most importantly, you’re on the inside!

The Moscow Metro – Those WWII POW’s really can work!

If you do make it to Moscow to see Red Square or……. well, Red Square, you definitely need to make a side trip just to cruise around on the metro. Basically, it’s the Soviet apology to its citizens for the fact that they had to live 4 families to a room. At least everyone could go to the metro to see chandeliers, statues, murals and pretend that they live in a palace instead of jammed into a tiny flat. Created using thousands of Nazi slaves, it is quite an achievement and a testament to what a dictatorship can do with the slaves from another dictatorship.

Graz – Cool and not just because Arnold is from there

Austria isn’t exactly off the beaten path and Graz is one of the most beautiful parts of that well travelled land. Yes, it’s cool because this is where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born but that’s just the cheesy, outer shell. Just a step off that path, into the side of a mountain, there is a large tunnel with dark side-rooms and foreboding bars closing them off. The tunnel is a WWII refuge that served as a Nazi storage place as well as a hiding place for the Austrians when they were finally getting some payback for believing they could jack with the rest of the world. Pretty impressive reminder of what the war was like, swastikas and all.