Showing posts from February, 2015

Travels of a Lifetime VBlog Series: Machu Picchu

Series #6: Machu Picchu, A Mysterious Landscape   We flew into Cusco, and from there, we traveled by car through the region’s famous mountain: the Andes. Shrouded by clouds, the snow-capped mountains disappeared and reappeared before our eyes. We stopped to admire the beauty of the ‘Sacred Valley of the Incas’, our first stop, before the next town to catch the train to Machu Picchu. Earlier that day, I suffered some discomfort from the high altitude that I was prompted to ask our guide if there was another route to Machu Picchu. But after being treated to a grand vista overlooking the Sacred Valley, the train ride and the exhilarating bus ride of a hairpin turn after hairpin turn between granite rocks and the mighty green mountains to reach Machu Picchu, I was reminded of the saying, “It’s not about the destination, but the journey”. However, Machu Picchu was certainly a destination – the Inca’s idea of heaven. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight as we reached the “PAR

Montevideo, Uruguay: Where's the Beef

Tell anyone that you’re going to Argentina and they’ll tell you to try the ‘steak that melts in your mouth’ in Buenos Aires. Yes, eating beef is quintessential as Tango in Argentina. On a trip to South America, we stopped in Montevideo, Uruguay before Buenos Aires, so that’s where I got my introduction to Tango (a topic worthy of another blog) and the food scene, which is a lot of meat. The importance of the beef industry is evident everywhere in South America, but nowhere more so than in the restaurant and stalls of Mercado Del Puerto in Montevideo, Uruguay. There are barbecued beef the size of 'South America', beef platters, steak sandwiches, barbecued kidneys and sausages, blood sausages, chorizo and snacks of spicy sausage in a hot dog roll, and beef club sandwiches. While I understand that food represents so much about a country's culture, the display of meats in Mercado Del Puerto brings to mind a list of questions about beef and the environmen

Travels of a Lifetime VBlog Series: Southern Patagonia, Chile

Series #5: Torres Del Paine National Park, Southern Patagonia I caught my first glimpse of the distinct peaks (Torres) from Lake Sarmiento, an interesting lake that looked as if it had a ring around it. Leading up to Lake Sarmiento, we passed the Deciduous Magellan Forest with poplar and conifer trees but mostly dominated by Lenga trees. Then on to Patagonian plains and plateau covered in pampas and walled by rocky hills: a landscape said to be lower than sea level and created by glacial movement. And of course, the famous symbol of anything Patagonia, the horn-shaped towers (the jagged mountain peaks) dominated the horizon and could be seen from all directions. With the changeable weather, the snow-capped mountains suddenly appeared with glorious blue light or buried under a shroud of dense, gray clouds. The sky was vast and dominating. Milky aqua waters of Rio Paine and lakes were part of the surreal landscape. While I expected to see glaciers near the mountain, I was surprised to

Travels of a Lifetime, VBlog Series: Ballooning Over Cappadocia

Series 4:  Ballooning Over Cappadocia   Comprised of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Rock Sites of Cappadocia and Göreme National Park, Cappadocia is located on the central Anatolia plateau in Turkey. It is described by UNESCO WHC as a plateau within a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos.   The density of its rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within the rock formations make it one of the world's most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes.   Click HERE to watch it on You Tube or click the thumbnail below. It was early dawn when we left our hotel for a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Our driver navigated through the labyrinth of narrow roads, and headed towards a hillside walled by rocks with doors before finding our balloon in an agricultural area. I wasn’t sure whether our driver was lost looking for our