Lalibela, Ethiopia

My main reason for going to Ethiopia was to see the churches of Lalibela — and they were fantastic.  What I didn’t expect was the beauty of the surrounding countryside.  Lalibela is located in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia and is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, lush valleys and colorful farming terraces.  The population…

The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

Seeing the rock-hewn churches of Lalibeli has been on my “Must See” list for a very long time.  I remember reading about the churches in high school when I stumbled across a book on unusual ancient architecture.  Then, while watching an episode of Ancient Aliens, I was reintroduced to them and vowed to make a…

The cemeteries of Kyoto

I love cemeteries! Whenever we travel I try to find the closest one possible. In Kyoto I was lucky enough to simply stumble upon several as I walked through the city.  Death is one of the few truly universal constants and I’m fascinated by the way different cultures honor and venerate their dead. Unlike the…

Cannes, France

Several months ago I got to spend a few days in Cannes. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting… honestly, I think I was expecting something “newer”, something “flashier”, something “larger then life”.  I grew up associating Cannes with luxury hotels, opulent boutiques, impressive yachts and movie stars.  All these things exist in Cannes — but…

Balinese offerings

In the 16th century Islam became the prevailing religion on the island of Java (the geographic and economic center of Indonesia); today, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. With the continuing influx of Islam, the nation’s Hindus fell under increasing persecution and many fled to the island of Bali. Today, Bali has managed…

Luwak Coffee

What happens when you combine a mongoose and coffee beans? Apparently you get the world’s best coffee. Mongoose eats (or should I say, “is force fed”) coffee beans Mongoose poops out coffee beans Humans collect, clean and process the coffee beans The result: animal cruelty and really expensive coffee. I love coffee, but I’ll pass…

Monkey Forest

Let me start by saying, “I LOVE MONKEYS!!!” There is a place in Ubud, Bali called Monkey Forest; it’s one of my favorite places in the world. Monkey Forest is actually a nature preserve and Hindu Temple complex turned tourist attraction. The Ubud Monkey Forest describes its mission as conservation of the area within its boundaries…