On the way back to the lodge after a game drive on the 445,000 acre NamibRand Nature Reserve, our ranger Siegfried asked if we wanted to stop, watch the sun go down, and have a true African sundowner. For my brother and I it was a spontaneous gesture, but Siegfried had the moment planned all along. From the back of the truck he pulled out a table and cooler. We snacked on nuts and bilton (beef jerky) while sipping on Johnny Walker and ginger ale. Not a bad life thanks to a thoughtful guide. It's a moment I'll always remember--spending the sunset with my bro in Namibia.
Tucson is predictably well-endowed with Mexican restaurants...But it's still worth driving about an hour south to the little town of Tubac for a meal at Elvira's.
Upon entering the cool space, you won't be surprised to learn that the chef/owner got degrees in design and graphic arts before going to cooking school. The restaurant, family-owned since 1927, is named after Ruben Monroy's grandmother. Originally located in Nogales, Mexico, Elvira's moved up to Tubac a few years ago...
Have a welcoming "Hola-tequila-shot" (just fifty cents!) while perusing the menu...I had the pipián rojo mole--perfectly tender chicken under a vibrant sauce made with ground pumpkin seeds; my wife tried the day's light lunch special of mushroom enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, and for out-of-town family, the squash-blossom-stuffed poblano chile relleno "Frida Kahlo." Beef tongue with salsa verde and the other...
I was teaching language methodology in Urumqi for the summer and our host (the department head) decided to drive us out to Hami and Tulupan for the day. We had not left this city of over 1 million people in a month so th 4 hour trek out through the Taklimakan Desert was even more amazing that we had anticipated. We were used to seeing camels in town, especially in Uyghur markets and we saw a few dejected camels available for rides in Tulupan. Our guide got all excited and said he "knew a guy." We had a great time trying 30 kinds of raisins, learning a Mashraf dance performance and seeing the reburied mummies (write me if you want to read something controversial!) and on the way back to the city, we stopped in the middle of nowhere and this guy shows up. We drove right into the desert and there were about a dozen camels in a pen made of rope and a few boards and we took a ride! It was...
The trees look as if they have plotted a slow attack to take over the road. Vines hang down trying to slyly block my way and hinder my vision. The road isn’t straight nor does it have any defined shoulders or boundaries. The asphalt is laid around each tree trunk making the road look like a frayed ribbon blowing in the wind.
The drive around the Puna region of the Big Island is what Sunday drives are made of; curves, views, and solitude all requiring you to slow down and enjoy each minute ticking away in the day.
Take a drive on the secluded coastal roads (Highway 137 and Pohaiki Road). The views are phenomenal and you will hardly see another person or car. You can pull over, walk out on the rocky coast, and sit taking it all in with no one around.
Where fairies come down to bathe and fell in love with a prince, according to local folklore. Situated at 10,000 feet above the sea level, this breathtaking lake seems like a place where fairies would gather. An hour long strenuous drive away from Naraan, a small town in Northern Pakistan, this lake is quiet hard to reach, but the difficulties add in to it's beauty. Surrounded by ice-capped Himalayan peaks, it's emerald waters reflect their true beauty. Although, old- fashioned boats often disturb the calm surface by stirring the jewel toned waters but bring in the human factor into an otherwise surreal setting. This lake shows the best of nature.
Albania recently built a freeway from the coast to Kosovo. However, unless you have a very good road map or speak Albanian, it can be hard to find the freeway. Like most Balkan countries, Albania likes to put the next town on road signs, rather than the general direction of the road, or whether there are any large cities or important junctions coming up. The result? Unless you have a good map, you ain't finding the freeway, and asking the man with the pig in the back of his cart isn't going to help (I tried.)
But though we didn't mean to take the five hour drive through the back and beyond of Albania, it was well worth it. The road is deserted and twisty, the scenery is amazing, and there are many interesting overgrown communist monuments along the way, including bunkers built by Albania's crazy ex-dictator to repel invasion from Italy.
Driving Highway 1 through Big Sur is one of my favorite California experiences. Last year, I made the stunning trip north after visiting my family in Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving. Fall is one of the best times to visit because the cold fog that often cloaks the coastline has already given way to California's "Indian Summer" sunshine.
I usually stop at the Henry Miller Library and the Big Sur bakery and try to reserve enough time for a trip to the beach (Pfeiffer and Andrew Miller are two favorites) or a hike through the redwoods (Limekiln State Park stands out.)
In the evening, I'll grab a casual dinner or drink at Fernwood and be tempted to stay for the night. If you can't afford Post Ranch and Ventana Inn, a cabin at Deetjens or a yurt at Treebones are wonderful alternatives, as is a campsite at Kirk Creek. And no Big Sur trip is complete without a middle-of-the-night dip in the hot...
We spent a day in Bosnia, it's an easy drive from Dubrovnik. The transition was dramatic: from the Latin alphabet to the Cyrillic; from lazy tourists driving Fiats to vigilant UN peacekeepers driving tanks.
This bridge was destroyed in 1993 during the war, and rebuilt in 2004. When we visited, in 2005, many buildings in town were still pockmarked with bullets or fully shelled, but this bridge was fresh—and promising.
The drive from Mendoza along the international road to Santiago de Chile provides some truly stunning views of the Andean peaks. This region is where some of the highest mountains in the Andes lie, including the tallest peak in South America- Aconcagua. During the summer months, as you leave Mendoza, the mountains are an array of reds, oranges and browns and as the altitude increases they become coated with a sparkling layer of snow.
Young and poor, but frequent-flier-mile rich, my wife and I were able to go to Corsica for our first anniversary...Staying with friends always helps...They lived in Ajaccio, (birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte), and at sunset one evening, they took us for a drive a couple of miles to the west of the city. Dotting the island's coast are the distinctive Genoese towers, fortifications built during the 16th century, and here is the view from one of them, from La Tour de la Parata, perched on cliffs at what feels like the end of the world...Ahh, to be newly married and in the Mediterranean...
Located a short drive out of Barcelona, Montserrat Monastery is a must see while in Barcelona. Try the honey and fig cakes. There are many tour operators that offer this day trip from Barcelona. Take your time and hike some of the trails. The views are incredible!
Driving south from Reno, Nev., my then-fiancée and I were slightly anxious. We were on our way to the wedding of one of Kate’s best friends to a Patagonia-sponsored rock climber who had completed first ascents and other impressive feats throughout the world. Their wedding location was the famous Buttermilk Country bouldering area outside their hometown of Bishop, Calif., and the invitation had said to wear comfortable shoes and prepare for a hike. We knew their other friends were in the upper echelon of the climbing community, a veritable who’s who in a world we knew nothing about. We felt so pedestrian.
As we approached Mono Lake, these thoughts were still with us. I knew the lake was a natural wonder with some cool rock formations, but the sun was setting fast, and it just looked like a big, ordinary lake from SH 395. After some hesitation, we fortunately made the left turn onto the...
I lived in Colorado for 15 years and explored some areas quite a bit, camera in hand. The Crested Butte area is one of the prettiest areas in the state. Crested Butte is known as a ski destination, but I went in summer and autumn and loved it. Get in the car, drive...a 4 wheel drive vehicle helps. Or, get out and hike. There is so much to see. In summer, the wildflowers are in bloom. In autumn, one of the largest aspen forests in North America turns a golden yellow. Simply gorgeous. This dirt road leads up to the little town of Gothic, a research center. You can keep going further up the road or you can walk it. Kebler Pass Road is also a must. All in all, the Crested Butte area is a great destination!
A string of random events had landed me with a house/dog sitting gig in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Every morning at 5am, before the temperature climbed well into the 90s I took the dog for a walk up the dusty road, greeting happy workers biking into work and children waiting to go to school.
One morning a mare appeared out of nowhere. Hooves pounding the ground at a full gallop, she disappeared as quickly as she'd appeared, in a cloud of dust. A beautiful morning in Nica.
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green hills) make it one of the most picturesque journeys on the west coast.
The easy way to get up to the entrance of the citadel at Machu Picchu is to take a bus. It's can be a pretty scary ride with all the hairpin turns. So instead, hike up There are cut-troughs will help. It won't take more than an hour, and it will get you in shape for another great hike, Wayna Picchu. Wayna Picchu overlooks Machu Picchu. Its an advanced hike but so worth the effort! My recommendation for going to Machu Picchu is to stay in the area for three or four days, and stay at the incredible Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Eat great, sleep well, enjoy a fireplace in your suite and have a massage each day. That will ensure that you will enjoy the hikes and the natural beauty so much more.
At the very northern tip of the Isle of Skye, which is an island off of the upper north western shore of Scotland, are the ruins of Duntulm Castle. To get there, you have to drive for several hours on narrow dirt roads, but the sense of remoteness and peacefulness is worth it. There is a tiny bed & breakfast nearby, which also feels a little lost in time, in a good way.
...watching condors soaring on morning thermals over the Colca gorge, deeper than the Grand Canyon...one of the highlights of Peru. This area is becoming more visited, but it's still a bit off the beaten path--no airport or train station near here--you have to take a 4x4 or a bus from Arequipa, several hours away over the llama-strewn altiplano on a rough road, surrounded by snowcapped volcanoes and an almost lunar-landscape. At the highest point, you go over Patapampa pass, about 16,000 ft./4910 m. above sea-level--be careful if altitude sickness has been an issue for you...
The most rugged, sketchy roads always seem to lead to the best surf breaks. This photo captures the early morning drive over the hill to Cerritos beach in Baja Mexico. Down below I discovered perfect, glassy rights and only a few early risers in the water. In the distance at the point is Hacienda Cerritos, a boutique hotel from which you can stumble out of bed and down to the surf. Mario Beceril, a Baja native, runs a great surf school from the beach for anyone who needs a lesson. mariosurfschool.com