Lazy Days

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I’m here in Olympos, on the Lycian Coast, and I’ve decided that it’s the perfect place to wind down my last few days in Turkey. This is definitely a backpacker town, and I’ve been doing little else but lounging around the guesthouse garden in a hammock, going to the beach, and if we’re really feeling adventurous, walking twenty minutes up the road for coffee and dessert. (And I have finally found a place in this country that serves real coffee! Actual, sippable drip coffee, in a decent sized mug with real milk! It has been ages since I’ve had anything but Nescafe or small but potent shots of Turkish coffee.) Continue reading

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

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

The night I didn’t end up staying in a capsule.

Though I spent my first two nights in Tokyo at Khaosan Original Hostel in Asakusa, I felt that no trip to Tokyo would be complete without staying at least one night in a capsule hotel. I first came across this concept years ago while reading William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer (which has since become one of my favorite books), where the down-and-out protagonist, Case, is staying in one at the beginning of the novel because he can afford nothing better.

Now there are tons of capsule hotels in Tokyo that cater mainly to salarymen who have stayed out too late (or gotten too drunk) to catch the train home. Some are actually quite luxurious with tons of amenities, while others are very basic and a bit seedy. I apparently had the misfortune to find the seediest one in all of Tokyo. 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

Santa Marta and La Brisa Loca

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Santa Marta was not a place I expected to stay long. When I first arrived from Barranquilla, I expected a short stopover, maybe one night, but I kept extending my stay until I had spent nearly a week in town. Santa Marta’s central location makes it a great base to explore the nearby town of Taganga, head to Tayrona National Park, or serve as a starting-off point for a trek to Ciudad Perdida (something I sadly missed out on this trip). To be perfectly honest, though, I wasn’t doing much of anything that week. Santa Marta is also a popular vacation destination for Colombians (it’s where my Barranquilla-born friend used to spend his summers), and I was taking it easy like them. Continue reading