Monthly Archives: October 2011

Christmas Markets of Eastern Europe

Snowy Church in Budapest, Hungary

Snowy Road in Budapest Starting in mid-November of every year, Christmas Markets start popping up all over Europe. In December of 2010, I took a mini train journey through Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic. The cheery Christmas Markets were definitely one of the highlights of my trip.  Pretzels for Sale in Vienna, Austria – Not sure about ‘Krapfen’  Each city, especially the major capitals is usually home to many different markets ranging in size.  Different markets are usually popular for different reasons – food, crafts, entertainment, decorations. Most major squares will house at least a few Christmas booths … Read More

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My Encounter with the Israeli Military

Israel and Jordan Border near the Red Sea

Israel/Jordan Border near the Red Sea Traveling overseas is always somewhat of a calculated risk. You are purposely placing yourself outside of your comfort zone (which sometimes is half the fun) and sometimes things go wrong. All the sudden you are faced with a problem that would be manageable at home, but in these new surroundings you know no one, you don’t know the laws, you don’t know the language and you are still recovering from the side effects of whatever the heck you ate from that street vendor who you knew looked sketchy but you threw caution to the … Read More

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Trip Planning 101: Pt. II – Buying Airplane Tickets

This post is part of a series on planning a trip. The last post covered choosing a destination. Once you have chosen your destination you can start on the biggest road block – buying plane tickets. For me, this is often the “pulling the trigger” moment which can be nerve wracking. Tickets can be a huge chunk of money and are for the most part non-refundable. Searching For Ticket Prices To help ensure that you make the best decision possible it’s a good idea to do a little research and price comparison. This will be easier if you have very … Read More

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Dr. Fish Spa

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Dinner Time! Siem Reap, the town outside of the Angkor Wat complex, is full of fun things to do and see while you rest up from a busy day at the temples. Shopping, night life, outdoor movie theaters and spas literally cover ever street. When I was there in Summer 2011, the ‘Dr. Fish’ Spa was all the rage. I’m not sure if ‘Dr. Fish’ is the original company or what – but from what I saw they all had the same name. Free beer with Fish Pedicure Most of the places had the same drill. Pay a few dollars and get … Read More

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Trip Planning 101 – Choosing a Destination

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Something I hear people say a lot when discussing upcoming vacations is how stressful it is to plan a trip. Longer trips, especially those overseas can be overwhelming to those who don’t have any experience in being their own travel agent.  Obviously, it can also be very time consuming to plan out a one or two week overseas trip and with the pressures of everyday life some people just don’t have time. There are always travel agents or websites that will help you plan out an itinerary – and I’ve known plenty of people who have had wonderful experiences with pre-planned trips. However, I think that … Read More

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Crazy Train: Battambang’s Bamboo Train

Overgrown Train Tracks for the Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia

View from the Bamboo Train On my way from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh I stopped in a town called Battambang to see some of their Angkor temples and ride the famous (well famous might be questionable) bamboo train. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge the trains were discontinued but the overgrown tracks still remain in many parts of the country. In Battambang, the locals have developed their own system of transportation using these abandoned tracks. Overgrown Train Tracks Passengers sit on platforms built out of bamboo with engines attached to the back where the driver (who controls the … Read More

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Surviving Long Plane Rides

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Long plane rides are without a doubt one of my least favorite parts of traveling. I’m not afraid of flying, but I hate every moment of it. The crowded airports, the long lines, the boring 12 hours in one seat, the horrible airplane food, the noisy children….ick. I have a pretty consistent day dream that mankind invents teleportation and it suddenly becomes possible to visit far flung locations without all the pain of transoceanic flights. Then I think about how it will probably be so expensive that I won’t be able to afford it and so I will just be bitter … Read More

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Graffiti of the World

1984 Olympic Bobsled Track in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Train in Ljubljana, Slovenia 1890 “I was here” in Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap, Cambodia   1980s Olympic Bob Sled Track/ 1990s War Zone in Sarajevo, Bosnia Bethlehem Wall in Palestine

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Lessons learned from arriving in Budapest after dark

Snowy Streets of Budapest After Sunset

My first glimpse of Budapest…. In winter of 2010, I flew into Budapest for a week of work. I had gotten there a few days early so that I would have time to see the city and visit the Christmas Markets. To save money, I was staying in a small hostel prior to checking into my work hotel. My flight landed after dark (which isn’t that late when you think of winter in Eastern Europe) and I had to make my way from the airport to my hostel. Because I knew there was a flat rate shuttle service available at … Read More

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