Phalluses and Fairy Chimneys: Cappadocia in a Nutshell

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I’ve been here in beautiful Göreme, Cappadocia for the past few days and while high season means the area is completely overrun with tourists, it’s still even more gorgeous than I had previously imagined. The unique landscape was formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, and while everyone calls the resulting conical peaks “fairy chimneys”… let’s face it guys, we all know what they look like. I guess “massive stone penises” would just be too crude to appeal to the Turkish Tourism Board.

But why would fairies need such large chimneys, anyway? Continue reading

Pamukkale, The Cotton Castle

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After two nights in Selçuk, I took the three-hour bus ride to the small village of Pamukkale. It was even smaller than I expected, truly a one-horse town that seems to be entirely sustained by the tourism industry. Accommodation options there were rather limited: the hostel I booked had pretty good ratings but was actually kind of weird, and the bathroom door in our dorm didn’t actually close. But honestly, it’s not like anyone is really going to spend more than a night there. Continue reading

A Night Under the Stars in Wadi Rum

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My new French friends and I hopped in a taxi at the Jordanian border and set off on our 45-minute drive to Wadi Rum. While Etienne sat up front and chatted with our driver, I spent most of the time looking out the window at the vast, unchanging desert landscape. Though Israel has miles of uninhabited desert as well, this seemed different somehow. We saw almost nothing: lots of sand and rocks with one main road running in between, a single railroad track (that I later learned doesn’t carry passengers and is mostly for show), and power lines. An amazing abundance of power lines, though I couldn’t tell you where they led to or from. Continue reading

Road Trip to the Weirdest Hostel in the World

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After bumming around Jerusalem for a few days, I ran into two people I had met back in Tel Aviv, Jon and Jahan. Jon was on a mission to get down to Eilat for some diving in the Red Sea, and Jahan was looking for an adventure to fill her last few days before she flew back home. It was pretty easy for them to convince me to come along. (Actually they snuck into my dorm room one morning, stared at me until I woke up, and basically said “Are you in or what?”) Road Trip! Continue reading

Minca: the best place in Colombia I never planned on going to.

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Minca is one of those small towns that the Lonely Planet barely devotes a page to, so it was never part of my itinerary. I had barely even heard of the place until meeting Jay in Santa Marta, and it turned out that he owned a hostel up there in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After traveling with him and Susan to Tayrona, where I picked his brain about what Minca was like, I decided I should see it for myself and we decided to meet there in a couple days. Continue reading

Tayrona National Park Pt. 3: Sleeping in hammocks is overrated.

[This is Part 3 of my Tayrona adventure. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.]

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So when I left off last I had been crowing about how I scored the last available hammock in the mirador for the night. I may have celebrated that victory a bit too quickly though, because those fancy hammocks are up at the top of this big rock formation and right over the water, and it was absolutely freezing once the sun went down! Plus, my amazing luck meant that it took until that exact day, nearly two weeks into my trip, for the traveler’s sickness to hit and that was the furthest area from the camp restroom. It also meant a somewhat treacherous climb in the dark over slippery rocks. (Seriously guys, bring a flashlight, no matter where in Tayrona you end up staying.) Continue reading

Tayrona National Park Pt. 2: Arrecifes to Cabo San Juan

[This is part 2 of my Tayrona adventure. Part 1 can be found here.]

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After taking leave of our horses at the end of the trail, we walked through a small campsite until we got our first view of beach, Arrecifes. It was absolutely beautiful, the most breathtaking scenery I had seen so far in Colombia. The beach was surprisingly still and quiet, probably owing to the fact that the currents there are too dangerous to swim in so people don’t tend to stay there. There are big signs proclaiming this fact: Continue reading