Take a Ferry – The Poor Man’s Cruise! I’m not sure it’ll catch on, but I certainly find it an appealing description. In fact I’m writing this from the deck of a glamorous Blue Star Ferry. As promised I recently escaped from my mountain habitat and began to cruise around the Greek Islands. It’s a bit of a whirlwind tour, at least in comparison with my normal pace and I’m hitting up at least five distinct destinations in only two weeks (ok maybe gentle breeze is more accurate than whirlwind).
Fortunately the sunset doesn’t care if you’re on a fancy cruise or a cheap ferry.
The destinations include Continue reading
It’s not often you find yourself in a snowstorm in July, especially in Italy. Hard to believe that just over a hundred miles (180 km) from here the local Milanese residents are being slowly roasted by the Italian sun like a sun-dried tomatoes. My location as you might have guess is somewhere high in the Alps, perhaps only a 15 minute walk from the unmarked French border. What am I doing here? Well I ask myself the same thing daily, but the simple answer seems to be that I’m developing a masochistic tendency to seek out-of-the-way places that required a week of hard trekking to reach.
My first Christmas in July
This particular trek is known as the Tour du Mt. Blanc, often included in lists of Continue reading
Day 10 – A Walk in the Clouds
Trekking to Everest’s base camp isn’t exactly a common activity, but even so on any given day during the trekking season you’re going to come across more than your fair share of tourists doing exactly the same thing as you are. While that’s not necessarily a bad sign – people are drawn to interesting things – sometimes I need to take the road less traveled, or better yet, not traveled at all.
Not a tree or plant in sight…
It was an acclimatization day and the group decided to go for a modest hike to Continue reading
Day 8 – There and Back Again
I woke up the next morning feeling quite well, although not perfectly rested. One might guess this was because my room was well below freezing, but actually it was due to the altitude. High altitude, it turns out, has an extremely complex set of effects on the human body, two of which often include extremely vivid dreams (or nightmares) and insomnia. Shortness of breath and light headaches are very common as well, although the altitude at which these symptoms start vary for everyone. Those are the little problems; go a little too high too fast and the risks increase. I had been extremely fortunate, only some crazy Technicolor dreams and a little insomnia were bothering me.
Impressive…. (Photo by fellow trekker Otto Lutz)
At this moment I must confess a slight degree of writers block. I suppose the problem is that, in essence, trekking is Continue reading
Day 6 – Recovery
It’s easy to make life sound like a non-stop thrill ride when you’re a travel writer. After all making things sound exciting is part of the job, and with only a post or two a week I think I could make the inside of a cubicle sound exciting (maybe). Of course the reality is that even in the Himalayas there are times that are less than riveting and for me day six was one of those days. The town of Periche is really just a small collection of primitive stone building and their cold architectural simplicity is in perfect harmony with the drab, barren, rocky plain that makes up the local landscape. I spent most of my time there in the generously named “sun room” playing cards in a semi-haze, as antibiotics went on slaughtering tens of thousands of small life forms inside my body.
Taking photos of the Himalayas is even easier than writing about them.
My only break from the general ennui was a visit to the Emergency Rescue Center – you know it’s a dark day Continue reading