Postcard from Lago de Atitlán

Posted: September 10, 2014 in Writing

Like all good postcards, this arrives after we’ve left our last location. Spending time in this spectacularly beautiful area is something I would highly recommend. We’ll write in more detail later about the various villages and activities on the lake, but for now, just a few images to pique your interest.

Our home for five nights:

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> In Panajachel, near the dock:

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> Santo Tomás cathedral in Santiago:

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> Maximón, the patron saint of Santiago–a mix of a Mayan trickster god and Judas Iscariot. Locals pay tribute in alcohol, tobacco and money.

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> Long hike to Santa Cruz (our lodge is in the distance, just below the bend of that large tree branch in the left foreground), we were rewarded with this view…

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> …and this delicious pepián lunch (a whopping $4) at the CECAP vocational/culinary school cafe: >

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> Sunday market in Chichicastenango, flowers and much, much more…

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> Another hike, this time up into the 100-acre nature preserve behind the lodge.

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> This view never got old:

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> Really, this is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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Postcard from Tikal #2

Posted: September 6, 2014 in Writing

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> Enjoying our time in Guatemala immensely! We’ll write about our trip in more detail when we get home, but for now, here are a few more images from Tikal, this time of some flora & fauna we encountered on our sunrise hike through the jungle. >

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> Coati, little raccoon-like animals

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> Ceiba tree, the “tree of life” and national tree of Guatemala.

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> Fire ants. We walked over tons of columns of these, including one giant anthill about three feet high and ten feet across.

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> And, the ever present howler monkey. We heard their massive territorial roars throughout our morning at Tikal, but they’re often hard to spot clearly as they hang out in the very top branches of the trees.

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> We also saw many spider monkeys, flying toucans, a few wild turkeys, and one brief glimpse of the gorgeously plumed quetzal. Most we’re too quick to catch on film. >
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Postcard from Tikal #1

Posted: September 4, 2014 in Writing

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Next stop: Guatemala

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Writing

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

20140802-102643-37603852.jpgWhile last year saw us blogging throughout the many, many months of planning, organizing, research and bookings that led up to our amazing India/Nepal trip* in October, this year we’ve been mostly silent on this blog about where this year’s vacation is. Not because it’s a secret, but because compared to last year, this was a relatively easy trip to plan. All the pieces seemed to fall into place quite easily.

It started with a Groupon. I forget which of us came across it, but one of us said to the other, “hey, doesn’t this place look nice.” Something jogged my memory that I had seen the particular lodge in a travel magazine tucked under our coffee table, so we looked into it a bit more, and the more we did the more we liked what we read and saw, on TripAdvisor and YouTube and elsewhere. A small eco-lodge on Lake Atitlan…

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The Art of Packing

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Writing

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

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On our first trip–our honeymoon sixteen years ago–we brought one large wheeled suitcase, a smaller wheeled roll-aboard, a carry-on duffel bag, and two personal bags. That trip was 11 days, all in Great Britain, where, although neither of us had ever been, we could be relatively certain of the conditions and climate. We did not have room for souvenirs.

Last year, we managed 18 days visiting four cities in India and Nepal with two large (but still carry-on size) backpacks. And, we had room to bring back a wok, bedspread, several pashminas, tea, and a few articles of clothing.

So what changed in those intervening years?

We learned the secret of packing light. We learned that we enjoy ourselves far more with less in our bag to worry about.

We’ve written about this before in a general way, but we still often get asked “but how do you do it?”

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Going to Kathmandu

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Travel

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

Sorry for the delay in getting to this final city from our Indian & Nepal adventure. It’s somewhat surreal to me that it’s been just over six months since we boarded a flight towards this amazing part of the world. And it really has taken us almost this long to sort through not just our actual photographs, but our memories and impressions and figure out how best to explain it all. So far we’ve covered Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata; here, finally, is Kathmandu.

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Last but certainly not least, the final leg of our India/Nepal adventure: Kathmandu. The flight from Kolkata to Kathmandu itself was uneventful, or at least what we came to understand as typical for India: numerous physical inspections of both bag and person (the latter being quite intimate on occasion, but always behind a curtain) and once on the plane, a general lack of adherence to rules (literally everyone but us stands up and opens the overhead…

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Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

After a great first couple of days in Kolkata, we were keen to see what the next two days would hold. (If you missed Kolkata part 1, click here to read it.)

Our third day in the city coincided with Kali Puja, and we decided to make our way to Mullik Ghat, by the Hoogly river under the Howrah bridge, to see the large flower market there. Checking a map, we saw we could take the subway a few stops, and then walk a short distance from there. The subway part of the journey was fine, if a bit alarming: I’ve never seen people push onto a subway with such zeal. Ever, in my life. The doors open, and the people on the platform dive into the car as though there were pots of gold for the first one in. They don’t let anyone get out; old people are trampeled, clothing is grabbed. I’m…

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