The three-hour drive from Paro to Punakha crosses over Dochula Pass at 3100 meters – site of the Druk Wangyal Chortens. The 108 chortens (stupas) commemorate Bhutanese soldiers who died in the 2003 war against insurgents from India. The vast majority of photos I had seen prior to visiting Bhutan were of monasteries and mountains. The incredibly fertile valleys and lush landscapes were a total surprise. Punakha is located at 1200 meters which makes it an ideal first stop for flat landers (those who reside near or at sea level). There are two major rivers: the Mo (mother) and Pho (father) that provide ample water for irrigation. Continue reading “Bhutan | Picture Perfect Punakha”
The Kingdom of Bhutan has been on my must see list for 25 years. When I first heard about this jewel of a country nestled in the Himalayas between India and China, it had only recently opened to tourism. While it took me much longer than expected to finally make the trip, it was well worth the wait! Continue reading “Bhutan | Preview of Coming Attractions”
Another fascinating part of Rapa Nui culture is the Tangata Manu ritual. An annual competition was based at the village of Orongo, adjacent to Rano Kau. Hieroglyphics at the site illustrate the patron god Make Make and other mythological creatures.
Miles from nowhere – the nearest inhabited land is 1289 miles away – Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) is one of the most enchanting and remarkable places I have visited. In the tradition of great things coming in small packages, this 63 square mile triangular-shaped island has enough wonderful sites and activities to warrant spending at least a week. We barely scratched the surface with six full days of hiking, biking and exploring and hope to return one day. Continue reading “Rapa Nui | Seeing is Believing Pt I”
I had to restrain myself from subtitling this post “A Llama’s Eye View”! They are so engaging (from afar) and I couldn’t get enough of them. However, the real attraction at Machu Picchu is the amazing architecture. The citadel at Machu Picchu (which means Old Peak in Quechuan) dates to the mid-15th century when it was built under the aegis of Inca Sapa Pachacuti. (NB: The term Inca applies only to the rulers and the civilization; the indigenous people are Quechua.) Continue reading “Magnificent Machu Pichu – a Closer Look”
There are two main ways to get to Machu Picchu with variations on each. You can hike for four-five days along the Inca Trail or you can take the train to Aguas Calientes followed by a bus ride or a moderately challenging 90-minute trek to the sanctuary.
Peru’s Sacred Valley took my breath away – literally and figuratively. The valley floor is at 3000 meters above sea level outside of Pisac and descends over its 100 kilometers to just above 2000 meters near Machu Picchu. Also known as the Urubamba valley, its namesake river meanders the entire length and irrigates the otherwise arid region. Continue reading “Peru |Highlights of the Sacred Valley”
Many believe that January was named for Janus, the Roman god of gates and beginnings, usually portrayed with two faces: one looking back and other forward. It seems only fitting to begin this year with an overview of 2017 and some plans for 2018. With trips spanning four continents and including one of the most remote places on earth, 2017 was a banner year. Scroll down for highlights from the past twelve months and click on links for more info. Continue reading “2017 – a Wonder-Full Year”