LandLopers http://landlopers.com Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:55:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Icelandic Horse: Cutest Reason To Visit Icelandhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/19/icelandic-horse http://landlopers.com/2015/04/19/icelandic-horse#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:55:42 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29642 It seems that everyone I talk to wants to visit Iceland, whether or not they’ve already been or not. Definitely a hot tourist spot at the moment, there are many … Read More

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Iceland Horse

It seems that everyone I talk to wants to visit Iceland, whether or not they’ve already been or not. Definitely a hot tourist spot at the moment, there are many reasons to love this small Nordic country from the capital Reykjavik to those famous natural landscapes we seem to see everyday in social media and elsewhere. It has an odd allure to it unlike any other place and while there are many reasons to visit this endlessly fascinating country, the cutest has to be the Icelandic Horse.

What’s so special about a horse, you may ask? Well, driving around Iceland you’ll quickly discover why they’re such an important part of the travel experience there. All around the country, nearly every field seems to be filled with them, slowly grazing or play fighting with each other, in their own undeniably cute way. They’re cute because these aren’t your normal horses. More pony sized, their diminutive stature and fuzzy winter coats make them seem more like stuffed animals come to life instead of the work and show horses they really are.

The horses arrived into Iceland with the Vikings, the original settlers of Iceland and were quickly mixed with other breeds from Scotland and other areas of the North Atlantic. Through crossbreeding what we know today as the Icelandic Horse developed, a protected breed in the country for more than 1,000 years. They’re short, fuzzy and come in a variety of colors, from stark white to palomino to roan and more. They’ve played an extremely important role in Icelandic life since the beginning, as workhorses, steeds and companions. Mentioned in mythology and the ancient sagas, the Iceland we know and love today wouldn’t exist were it not for these beautiful creatures.

Since they don’t have any natural predators they’re also very easy to approach and are generally docile by nature. So docile, that stopping as you see them on the side of the road is a common and fun travel experience. Always mindful of private property, soon after leaving the city limits of Reykjavik we saw a herd of the horses near the fence abutting the road, so of course we decided to stop. As soon as the car pulled over, the horses walked towards us – obviously we weren’t the first tourists to try this. I immediately felt bad that I didn’t have any food for them, but they didn’t seem to mind, letting me gently pet their heads and wishing I could give them all big hugs.

No matter where we went in Iceland, those quirky, personality-drenched horses were a constant companion, just as they have been to travelers in the country for generations. Generally healthy, no other horses are allowed into Iceland for fear of spreading disease amongst this venerated animal. The commitment in Iceland to protecting and preserving such an important part of daily life even today is very real. I learned this and much more on an afternoon stop at the Fakasel Horse Park, about an hour outside of Reykjavik.

While it’s certainly easy to get your fill of horsey love out in the country, the Horse Park is a great way to meet them in a controlled environment and learn a lot more about their history and how they’re cared for today. There are a few options at the Horse Park, including stable visits offered throughout the day. We signed up and joined one of the trainers as he let us meet some of the dozens of horses who call the park home, showing us how they’re fed and cared for and sharing his love for them with us. While I had seen them in rural farms, it was great to be able to be with them in the warm and calming setting of the stables, petting them and letting them smell me, trying to determine if I had any food.

The main attraction at the Horse Park though is their nightly show that uses special effects to weave together history, Old Norse mythology and exhibition riding to demonstrate the Icelandic horse’s beauty and uniqueness. It sounded a little hokey to me at first, sort of like an Icelandic version of Medieval Times. But it’s not, the show is actually a beautiful way of showcasing the many unique talents of this tiny horse, from its athleticism to its 5-gaits, an oddity in the horse world. More than anything else, throughout both the stable tour and the show, the love for the horses is easily seen on the faces of the riders and trainers. This isn’t just a job for them; it’s really their life’s passion.

So when you visit Iceland, be sure to include a few special horsey moments of your own as you drive around the country searching for thermal pools and stunning waterfalls. While the Icelandic Horse may not get as much attention as the glaciers or dramatic vistas of the country, they’re just as important a part of the travel experience in Iceland as anything else.

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Spring Flowers At The Gates of Rothenburg, Germanyhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/19/spring-of-rothenburg-germany http://landlopers.com/2015/04/19/spring-of-rothenburg-germany#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:50:20 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29672 The post Spring Flowers At The Gates of Rothenburg, Germany appeared first on LandLopers.

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Rothenburg Germany

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Peace and Quiet – My Favorite Places To Get Away From It Allhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/16/peace-quiet http://landlopers.com/2015/04/16/peace-quiet#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:55:31 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29662 PEACE, that’s the theme of #FriFotos this week and a great one at that. While I sometimes enjoy active travels, I also enjoy opportunities to relax, unwind and to seek … Read More

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PEACE, that’s the theme of #FriFotos this week and a great one at that. While I sometimes enjoy active travels, I also enjoy opportunities to relax, unwind and to seek some much needed peace and quiet. With that in mind, here are a few places I love to go to escape from it all.

Challenge At Manele Lanai Hawaii

Lanai, Hawaii

Taiwan

Taiwan

Rottnest Island, Australia

Rottnest Island, Australia

La Residence d'Angkor Siem Reap Cambodia

Siem Reap Cambodia

iceberg antarctica

Antarctica

Island Italy

Northern Italy

Alberta Canada Road

Alberta

Bahamas sunset

Bahamas

Krka Croatia

Croatia

Inch Beach Ireland

Ireland

Overberg South Africa

Overberg, South Africa

Wadi Rum Jordan

Wadi Rum Jordan

Curacao sunset

Curacao

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Colorful City View From The Top Of Freiburg Cathedralhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/16/photo-view-freiburg http://landlopers.com/2015/04/16/photo-view-freiburg#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:50:53 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29667 The post Colorful City View From The Top Of Freiburg Cathedral appeared first on LandLopers.

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Freiburg Germany

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Love At First Sight: Exploring Karnak and Luxor in Egypthttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/15/luxor-egypt http://landlopers.com/2015/04/15/luxor-egypt#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:55:38 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29640 Egypt is just one of those places where special moments seem to be found around every corner. The country enjoys an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ancient sites … Read More

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Luxor Temple Egypt

Egypt is just one of those places where special moments seem to be found around every corner. The country enjoys an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ancient sites and beautiful monuments. For a travel and history nerd like myself, it is the ultimate in travel experiences and while I enjoyed every second of my time in Egypt, there is no doubt that one of the most special experiences was also one of the first I had in the country.

Whether with a group or not, there are many different ways to tour around Egypt but at some point, most tourists will visit the same important sites. I was traveling with the luxury tour provider Insight Vacations, and our first stop on what became a remarkable trip around ancient Egypt was at the legendary temples of Karnak and Luxor.

Arriving into the parking lot of Karnak early in the morning, ours was the only bus there. I didn’t think a lot about it at the time, there were plenty of smaller groups around, but our guide stopped immediately and pointed around us. He said that a few years ago this lot would have been full, but was today just one more example of the dramatic loss of tourism this country has seen and redoubled my beliefs why it’s important to visit now not just to see these amazing sights, but to help Egypt pull itself back up.

Like many of the ancient Egyptian sites, Karnak is large and built into a series of gates and public spaces. I won’t go into the minutiae of each one – truthfully it takes a long time to really learn about and appreciate the significance of everything, but I do want to share two important moments I had while exploring Karnak. One of the largest religious complexes in the world, walking into the first gate of the temple is an ancient walkway flanked by dozens of sphinxes on either side. Slowly approaching and looking up at the great and oversized entrance I couldn’t help but feel humbled, just as I’m sure the ancient Egyptians were thousands of years ago. That was the point, after all, to shock and awe; to show the power and strength of both the gods and rulers, usually one and the same. The fact that I am still able to take the same approach, to feel the same sensation of wonderment and intimidation is amazing if you stop and think about it. To be able to project these feelings across the ages is just more proof of how incredible and intensely powerful the ancient Egyptians were and it sent shivers along my spine.

Karnak Egypt

The second special moment was a purely aesthetic one, and happened as I walked around the labyrinthine Great Hypostyle Hall – Karnak’s most recognizable monument. The massive hall once had a roof that while now gone, was supported by the 134 columns in 16 rows still found there today. When it was built the entire area was richly decorated, and the vibrant colors must have been a wonder to behold in a part of the world where browns are the normal colors of daily life. You can see these colors still both on the columns and the lintels hanging high overhead. Not for the first or last time I stood there, looking up with jaw agape and wondered how, how after millennia of wear and tear and eventual entombment by sand that standing there in 2015 I could still see the colors of the artwork just as if they were painted yesterday. It’s a sensation you’ll never be able to capture in a museum, it’s something that has to be experienced there at that place among the original ruins of this mighty temple.

Not far from Karnak, and almost always visited on the same day, is another impressive Egyptian temple: Luxor. Instead of finding yourself in some far flung and lonely place, the temple is in the middle of the present day city of Luxor, what was once known as Thebes. Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that there has been continuous habitation here since the time of the ancient Egyptians is incredible and I don’t think any of us can really appreciate the weight of history that sits on this otherwise innocent looking temple. Over the years of course sand and the city encroached on the Luxor temple to the point where it was completely covered. You can still see this curious mix of modern with ancient walking through the temple as homes and even a mosque are actually part of the old complex itself.

Never ones for missing an opportunity to impress, the entrance to Luxor is just as dramatic, maybe more so, than at Karnak with giant figures and obelisks flanking the entrance. Another example of how Egyptology has amazed us as a people for generations, one of the smaller obelisks that used to sit here is now in another famous spot – the Place de la Concorde in Paris. That’s right, that impressive obelisk starring in thousands of photos in the City of Lights came from this spot, from Luxor. We arrived a little late and the sun had already started to descend below the horizon, setting the stage for a special twilight walk through this ancient temple. As is common in Egyptian design, it’s a serious of gates and courtyards, leading the visitor from one area to the next and telling a story along the way. Most amazing to me here weren’t the statues or columns, but the engravings that seemed to occupy every spare inch of stone. Telling a variety of stories all important to the temple and the daily lives of the Egyptians, it’s a special look back in time at what was important to them and how they lived their lives. A sort of engraved photo album, a rare opportunity to be transported to another place and time.

Egypt is a country of seemingly endless special moments, but for me the first ones were amongst the most important. As with any place, the more you see of something the more you take it for granted. I know that if I see one more European cathedral I may go insane. But that’s sad, that means I’ve lost some of that initial wonderment that I had to have felt at one time in my life. Throughout my time in Egypt, no matter how many temples I toured (and there are a lot) I never got tired of them. I never bored of hearing about the ancient kings and queens and the complex religious mythology that seemed to govern their every action. I felt like a kid again, cracking open the World Book Encyclopedia and gawking at images of King Tut that jumped off the page. Egypt isn’t your average travel destination and Luxor and Karnak aren’t your average sites, but instead are a part of a total experience that is more incredible than you’ll ever realize until you visit and see it all for yourself.

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Perfect Early Summer Afternoon In Freiburg, Germanyhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/15/summer-afternoon-freiburg http://landlopers.com/2015/04/15/summer-afternoon-freiburg#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:50:15 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29663 The post Perfect Early Summer Afternoon In Freiburg, Germany appeared first on LandLopers.

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FREIBURG GERMANY

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My Favorite Food Moments On Every Continenthttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/favorite-food http://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/favorite-food#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:31:52 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29613 Food is I believe the most important aspect of the travel experience. Through food we form some of our strongest travel memories, scents and sensations that can recall specific moments … Read More

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Avignon France

Food is I believe the most important aspect of the travel experience. Through food we form some of our strongest travel memories, scents and sensations that can recall specific moments in time instantly, even years later. It’s through the stomach that we learn about a new culture, what they value and how they live every day. It’s also something we all have to do, and because of that it is one of the few aspects of the travel experience to which we can all relate. I’ve had many amazing food experiences around the world, from a simple crepe in Paris to a traditional Braai in South Africa, but above everything I’ve consumed, these brief moments in foodie time are amongst my favorite.

North America – Southern BBQ

I’ve lived in 12 states from New Hampshire to Georgia, so it’s hard to lay claim to a region of the United States with a straight face. BUT, if forced to choose, I always say that I’m a son of the south, which is more or less true. Half of my family lives in the south, as I have done since 1991. So, I think it’s ok to also promote our regional cuisine as the best in the country, with great BBQ rising to the top of that delicious list. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a hearty meal of well cooked and well sauced BBQ. Truly an art form, the master cook spends years developing the recipes and hours slow cooking the meat. Served with a variety of sides including baked beans, hushpuppies and French fries, this massive meal may not be appropriate for daily consumption, but is a treat whenever you are lucky enough to enjoy it. All praise the American BBQ sandwich, and long may it cook.

South America – Peumayen Restaurant, Santiago Chile

While there are absolutely some delicious meals to be enjoyed in South America, on the whole I have actually been disappointed by the food there. At times it can be oddly bland and hard to find something local and tasty, depending where you are of course. As a lover of street food and restaurants without any stars, I surprised myself by enjoying a high-end food experience in Santiago, Chile. Not just enjoy it, but so far it’s my favorite food experience on the continent. Peumayen Restaurant means “place dreamed” in Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of Chile. The name is appropriate as it fuses foods that have been eaten in Chile for centuries, but which most of us have never seen before. Taking recipes and traditions from the original people of the region, the chefs have created food that is interesting, different and delicious. My multi-course experience was delivered in fine-dining style, but with tastes and flavors that haven’t been combined in generations. From rolled beef with a Chilean hazelnut crust to lamb tongue with quinoa salad and onion puree, the chef absolutely adds his own personality to the old ways of eating, creating something totally unique. That’s not easy to say and makes the restaurant a must-stop in Santiago.

Cape Malay spices

Africa – Cape Malay Cuisine, Cape Town South Africa

Overall I have always enjoyed the food in South Africa, from the fancy restaurants in Stellenbosch to the street food staple Bunny Chow in Durban. My favorite food experience though is one that went beyond the taste, and introduced me to a culture I would never have learned about otherwise. The Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town is one of the most photographed in town, thanks to the vibrantly painted homes that stand in the shadow of the mountains. It’s a beautiful area, but most tourists come and go without learning very much about the Cape Malay culture. The earliest members of the ethnic group known today as Cape Malay arrived as slaves and were brought to Cape Town from Southeast Asia by the Dutch. Future generations including (now) Indonesian Muslim leaders who were sent into exile and forced to resettle in South Africa. Cape Malays also have a South Asian or Indian heritage, and it was their influence that brought Islam to South Africa. Over time their cultural, and culinary adaptations became ingrained into daily life in South Africa, especially the food and especially in Cape Town. Joining a cooking class in the home of a local resident, I learned how to roll roti and combine flavors for the perfect curry, learning more about the cook and the Cape Malay culture she exemplified in the process. Sure, I went home with a stack of recipes and a newfound taste for spicy Cape Malay food, but also with an intense appreciate for the Bo Kaap in particular and Cape Town as a whole.

Figlmüller Wiener Schnitzel Vienna Austria

Europe – Wiener Schnitzel, Vienna Austria

This was a particularly difficult decision. Europe is probably my favorite foodie destination and I love so much of it, from fresh pastas in Italy to pintxos in Spain and pastries everywhere. But when I think about the one dish I have always enjoyed the most,  I have to say that the classic Weiner Schnitzel is my favorite meal in Europe. This is one of the most touristy meals out there, but it’s famous for a reason – it’s delicious. Sure you can find Wiener Schnitzel (which means schnitzel from Vienna) just about anywhere, but when you’re in Vienna one of the best places to enjoy this traditional delicacy is at Figlmüller’s. Located near St. Stephen’s, the chefs at Figlmüller’s have been creating some of the best versions of Austria’s national dish since 1905; so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. The schnitzels are made from the best cuts of pork and extend well past the edge of the plate – a massive 11 inches in diameter. Still, I found myself devouring this classic dish in no time; it was light, crispy and delicious. You can enjoy schnitzel anywhere, but be sure to try it at Figlmüller’s who really can be credited with transforming this popular dish into the culinary event it is today.

Asia – Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai), Bangkok Thailand

Asia is another location where it’s hard to pick one favorite bite, especially when several countries there are amongst my favorite places to eat anywhere in the world. But food is tied to memory, and because of that I have to choose this dish in Bangkok, not only because it’s delicious but because it means so very much to me on a base, emotional level. Located on the mighty Chao Phraya River, near Thewet Pier, is one of my favorite establishments in Bangkok, the In Love Restaurant. I’ve been each time I visited the Thai capital and thankfully not much has changed. One of the best features of the restaurant isn’t only the food, it’s the view, especially at sunset. Sitting there watching the sky explode in hues of purple and pink as boats race along the busy river captures for me what Bangkok is all about. Fortunately the food is good too. My go-to dish is a simple one, crispy chicken with basil. The combination of flavors isn’t just delicious but exemplify Bangkok for me, and that’s why it’s so special.

Australia – Outback Burger, Broad Arrow Tavern Western Australia

I love Australia dearly and know that I will never bore of exploring this massive and endlessly fascinating country. But for all it does right, Australia is not a prime foodie destination. Sorry, but it’s true. The food is fine, but there’s nothing really notable or classically Australian, aside from perhaps a sausage roll. But I did manage to find one of the best burgers I’ve ever enjoyed, in the middle of the barren Western Australian Outback of all places. The sole survivor of a long since evacuated gold rush town, the lonely Broad Arrow Tavern is located about 40 miles from Kalgoorlie and has been serving customers since 1896. The quintessential Aussie outback pub, the Broad Arrow isn’t famous just for existing, but for the thousands of notes left behind by customers covering every wall inside and out of the tavern. That’s where I had their famous burger, a heap of cheese and meat melting into each other creating what I consider to be an expertly prepared and naturally delicious burger. It was also a treat for this American to enjoy my own personal Crocodile Dundee moment.

antarctica mountain

Antarctica

Yes, I even have a favorite food moment on the icy continent of Antarctica, but it has nothing to do with what I ate and everything to do with the setting. Except at the military and scientific research bases, there aren’t food options per se, all of my meals were consumed on-board the ship I was one as it circled the Antarctic Peninsula. My favorite food memory though happened one morning when we hiked up a snowy mountain; I say mountain but it’s probably just a very large hill. Regardless, it wasn’t easy and at the top I sat on a rock, admiring the stunning views and the hundreds of penguins that waddled around me as I tried to catch my breath. I put my hand in my parka pocket and discovered a granola bar, perfect after the strenuous trek up the top of Orne Island. I munched away as I looked into the abyss, thousands of miles separating me from any form of civilization, a sensation almost impossible to experience anywhere else in the world. It was then and there that the enormity of the Antarctic experience really hit me, and I have that granola bar to thank in large part for that.

So there you have it, my personal list of my favorite foods on all seven continents. You probably don’t agree with some or all of them and that’s fine. Travel in general is an intensely personal experience, and food even more so. It doesn’t matter what you like or don’t like to eat when you travel, what matters is that you try new things and in the process learn more about new cultures than you would in any other way.

Where were some of your favorite meals around the world?

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Beautiful Harbor of Stykkishólmur Icelandhttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/photo-stykkisholmur-iceland http://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/photo-stykkisholmur-iceland#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:30:08 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29629 The post Beautiful Harbor of Stykkishólmur Iceland appeared first on LandLopers.

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Stykkishólmur Iceland

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Ma’In Jordan And The Importance Of Finding Private Escapeshttp://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/main-jordan http://landlopers.com/2015/04/14/main-jordan#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 05:57:07 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29638 Last October, I returned to Jordan for a second trip around the country in an effort to get to know it even better. During my first adventure there I fell … Read More

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Jordan

Last October, I returned to Jordan for a second trip around the country in an effort to get to know it even better. During my first adventure there I fell in love immediately, as many visitors do, thanks not just to amazing sights like Petra, but a combination of the whole experience – from the warm hospitality to some of the best food in the world. There was a special moment for me on my first trip though, one that I wanted to recreate during my second experience in Jordan and a place that eventually taught me a lot about how I travel.

First, How I Travel  

I’ve never been a “let’s spend a week on a beach” kind of traveler. No, I need to be active, whether it’s an exploratory walk around town or something more adventurous. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy lounging around on beaches, I do, but I know myself well enough to understand that it can’t be the entirety of my travel experience. Jordan is NOT a lie on the beach kind of place, although you can certainly find many moments of rest and relaxation, namely around the Dead and Red Seas. But in general, traveling around this sandy country is about visiting the many historical treasures dotting its landscape, and getting closer to nature either at the Dana Biosphere of the UNESCO recognized Wadi Rum Desert. I found a third alternative though, and it’s one that has become a favorite travel memory for me.

Ma’In

Not far from the salty banks of the Dead Sea, up in the mountains is a unique place – Ma’In. Since the Roman era and before, pilgrims have trekked to these rocky cliffs for the curative powers of the thermal hot springs bubbling up from the ground. Among the scraggly bushes and mountains are a series of pools, many of which form natural thermal waterfalls. That’s right, thermal waterfalls, it seems to good to be true; throw in a unicorn and it’d be the ultimate travel experience. But there they are, still attracting locals and tourists alike to bathe in the waters.

There are public pools available but a resort hotel set up shop here years ago and it’s one of the most relaxing and serene luxury properties I have ever visited. The Evason Ma’In Hot Springs Resort and Six Senses Spa is a compact, holistic property built into the mountains and cliffs with one goal in mind – introducing guests to the thermal waters and giving them an opportunity to relax. Turns out, after a week of touring around Jordan that’s exactly what I need on both trips.

My Private Escape

On my first visit it was a quiet time of year, and I luckily had the private thermal waterfall located in the Six Senses Spa all to myself. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was, the week of early wake up times and miles of walking in the hot sun had taken their toll and as I sat there listening to the rush of the waterfall I fell asleep. Waking up, I groggily went for a dip in those famous thermal waters and frankly the rest of the night is a hazy blur. I was so relaxed and content I felt inebriated, which was far from the case. Instead I floated around the hotel, resting in large, oversized chairs and snacking on traditional Jordanian foods – amongst my favorite in the world. It was a private escape, one of the very rare times I’ve actually been able to turn off my brain and relax. It sounds silly, but it’s true, I usually have a really hard time decompressing and doing nothing, but after a day in the mountains with no one else around me and the only sounds those of hawks overhead and the rush of the water, well, I was in heaven.

I was only there for a day, and the first time was several years ago and yet it still means that much to me. It meant so much that I wanted to try to recapture that spirit, that feeling, something that’s hard to do in the travel experience.

Recapturing the Magic

Travel is so special because it is intensely personal and unique. No two people have the same travel experience, even if they’re traveling side by side. So when things go well, it’s hard to try to duplicate those moments. But we all try of course and sometimes, if we’re lucky, it works out. It was with all of this mind that I excitedly hopped out of the van as it pulled in front of the Evason Ma’In for my second immersion into this getaway. Looking around, I was relieved – nothing had changed. The décor was still Thai elegant, the rooms quiet and spacious and the faint smell of sandalwood from countless spa treatments wafted through the entire resort. In other words, I had come home again.

As with my first visit to Ma’In, my second experience was designed to be brief, scheduled at a time in my trip when I knew I would need some time to relax and mentally decompress after an intensely busy week of trekking and exploring. But I was nervous, such is the charm of my personality I guess, I was nervous that I wouldn’t find the same emotional connection with Ma’In that I had on my first. Having incredible travel moments, after all, is much more about the person’s state of mind and not what they’re actually doing. Well, I guess I was sufficiently in need of relaxation, because I found my private waterfall and once again settled into a chair and reached my inner peace. After a few hours I felt refreshed, invigorated and again a little hazy, happy from the euphoria of allowing my body to recharge.

These private escapes are important to us when we travel, and they can happen anywhere. It’s also something important for me to keep in mind. Usually when I travel I go all out, trying to do as much as I can and making use of every second. Ultimately that’s not helpful and actually leads to a form a travel burn out, not just in me but in anyone. Adding some quiet moments, be it in a park or a spa or anywhere where you can relax aren’t just nice elements of a trip, they’re essential if you want to elevate the experience from an Amazing Race style adventure to one that balances both the mind and the body.

Where are some of your special, private escapes?

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Next Stop: Germany!http://landlopers.com/2015/04/13/next-stop-germany-2015 http://landlopers.com/2015/04/13/next-stop-germany-2015#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 04:50:06 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29620 Until last year, my experiences in Germany were oddly limited. One of Europe’s largest countries, and a popular one at that, fate had prevented me from seeing more than a … Read More

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regensburg Germany

Until last year, my experiences in Germany were oddly limited. One of Europe’s largest countries, and a popular one at that, fate had prevented me from seeing more than a sliver of this beautiful destination. That changed when I visited Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Regensburg, Passau and Nuremberg and will continue to evolve in just a couple of days when I once again visit one of my favorite countries.

I’m working with the German National Tourism Board and will be meandering through some truly beautiful parts of Germany on my way to a conference in Hamburg. The goal of the trip is to learn more about some of the classic traditions that make not only the individual regions, but Germany in general a wonderful place to visit. From making traditional pastries to spending the night in a castle, I’ll have the chance to learn a lot more about Germany through its traditional culture and long history.

Some of the highlights of the trip include:

  • Freiburg – This southwestern city is one of the entry points to Germany’s Black Forest and while I’m there I will learn all about Black Forest culture, its food and wine, travel to the top of the Schlossberg and even learn how to make Black Forest Cake with a local baker.
  • Stuttgart – One of Germany’s largest cities, my time in here will spent learning about its considerable history, sampling the region’s famous delicacies and visiting a few quirky museums.
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Known around the world for its well-preserved medieval core, I can’t wait to see what many friends have told me is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. Aside from gawking at the architecture, I will also learn how to make the not-as-well-known but delicious sounding Rothenburger Schneeballen (Snowballs), a pastry that sounds like a match made in heaven for me.
  • Castle time – From there it’s on to Sababurg, the so-called Sleeping Beauty Castle, a nearly 700-year old castle with massive grounds just begging for me to explore them. I’ve never stayed in a real castle and I honestly cannot wait to visit.

It’s not a long trip, but it will be a busy (and fun!) journey through some of Germany’s most iconic landscapes and cities, all the while learning more about the traditions that make them so great to explore. I arrive Wednesday, so be sure to follow along on all of the usual social media channels and look out for the #JoinGermanTradition hashtag as I share what I see and do in Germany. Also be sure to follow the @GermanyTourism Instagram account as I take it over for the duration of my stay.

Do you have any tips for me or is there something you want me to find out while I’m in Germany?

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