December 2015

Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia
Chuck Thu, 2015-12-31 07:00
Roman emperor Diocletian retired in 305 and crossed the Aegean to build some fine ruins to retire in. It’s easy to see why Diocles, as his friends called him (really), liked this spot on the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea. It’s a beautifully picturesque spot ringed with mountains and sheltered from the open sea by islands rising tall from the azure blue waters. His sprawling complex, as much fortress as retirement palace, must have been an impressive sight when it was new. Even as “ruins” today it’s impressive. Split shares tourist prominence on a par with Dubrovnik, Croatia’s other famous...

Zagreb, Croatia

Chuck Tue, 2015-12-29 07:00
Some places sound exotic for the palm trees or the culture foreign to our own or for simply how long it takes to get there. Zagreb sounded exotic to us for very different reasons. Most of the times we had heard of this city, Croatia’s capital, was in news reports from the Balkan wars of the early 90’s. For more than half of our lives, this was a communist country. It’s hard to forget that. Yugoslavia, we were taught, was a socialist backwater that produced very bad automobiles and not much else. Then, after a few years in the power vacuum that followed the death of Marshall Tito, the states...

Planning and Tracking Our Travels

Planning and Tracking Travel
Chuck Sat, 2015-12-26 07:00
When we tell people we’ve been traveling since June of 2014, we get lots of questions, like… How do you plan and keep track of your travels? Do you have to count your visa days? Have you ever made a costly scheduling mistake? How do you know where you’re supposed to be and when? Is string theory truly the unifying theory of the universe? In today’s blog we give you a peak into how we plan and track our travels. You might be surprised that we don’t use a fancy app for our iPhones, like TripCase or Tripomatic. We’ve tried them, and many others. They—and their browser-based counterparts—all work...

Christmas Wishes For You

Christmas Tree, Chester Cathedral, Chester, UK
Chuck Fri, 2015-12-25 07:00
The message of Christmas is simple, and no matter what your religion, faith, or creed, it is one of hope. The message is this: if you let a little bit of goodness into your life, the world can be saved. Merry Christmas to all our family, friends, and followers, wherever you are.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Chuck Thu, 2015-12-24 07:00
We all know the story, don’t we? Ebeneezer Scrooge is a merchant in 19 th century England. He is a man of black and white reality. Christmas is just another day, merely a poor excuse for his employee, Bob Cratchit, to rob his pockets by asking for the day off. When men knock on his business door and ask him—in the spirit of Christmas—to donate to the poor, he suggests the destitute avail themselves of the poor houses his taxes fund. The poor houses are deathly places, worse even than a hungry life on the streets. “But they’d rather die!” the men protest. “Then let them die and decrease the...

Shoppers Rush Home With Their Treasures

Chocolate Santa Clauses
Chuck Tue, 2015-12-22 07:00
Remember: 'Tis the season to be jolly! Someone recently asked me what Christmas was like in Europe; they quickly followed that up with the assumption that they figured it's less commercial. Well, yes and no. Since late November, everywhere we've gone--England, Amsterdam, Berlin, Croatia--there have been Christmas markets. Insofar as the merchants are engaging in commercial enterprise, yes, there is a commercial aspect to Christmas, even here. But it's different. We're not exactly sure why. Perhaps it's that the markets are a deeper tradition than shopping malls and giant corporate retail...

A Week in Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Germany
Chuck Sun, 2015-12-20 07:00
Berlin is a modern, cosmopolitan city filled with culture, art, and sausages. This was our first visit to Berlin. In fact, it’s been 14 years since we’ve been to Germany at all. After a week in Berlin, we’ve decided that’s way too long. The first afternoon of walking around in Berlin, Lori turned to me and said, “I like it.” Indeed. Berlin is modern because, well, we bombed the hell out of the city back in World War II. It’s surprising there are any buildings more than fifty years old left standing, but there are enough to provide a curious mix of old and new. It’s a cosmopolitan city with...

5 Quirky Museums in Amsterdam, And More!

Museums in Amsterdam
Chuck Fri, 2015-12-18 07:00
In today’s blog we present a veritable cornucopia of museum options in Amsterdam! This is what happens when you return to a city for the fifth time. We’ve seen all the “biggies”, like the Rijksmuseum (chock full of Rembrandts and the like) and the Van Gogh Museum (with Van Gogh's art and ear on display 1 ) and of course the Anne Frank House (all several times). So once we left England for a 1-week stopover in Amsterdam before continuing east, we figured it was time to see some of the “other” museums in Amsterdam. This was how we spent our Thanksgiving week, by the way. Granted there were a...

Touring With Custom Google Maps

Google Maps
Chuck Wed, 2015-12-16 07:00
Recently we saw an article that cited Google Maps as the most valuable travel app on our phones. It’s obvious enough that it's easily overlooked as a travel tool. Even if we don’t have local cellular data service, we study Google Maps online for days (sometimes weeks) before we arrive in a destination, and regularly refer to it while we’re there. But then again, Chuck is a certified cartophile. For those of you who don't know it, Google Maps has the ability to create custom maps where you can drop pins, draw routes, and more. Last year for our 6-month visit to Europe we experimented with...

What To Do With Only 1 Day in Edinburgh

HMY Britannia's Ship's Bell
Chuck Mon, 2015-12-14 07:00
We don’t often find ourselves with only one day to explore a new place. That’s the whole point of this full time travel thing: to be able to settle in a place a little longer, to explore a little more, to see and experience beyond a typical vacation or holiday. But sometimes circumstances dictate our travel. In this case we found ourselves with a Sunday morning in northern England and the coming Tuesday evening on the western coast of Scotland with only that bit of free time between. Having never been to Edinburgh, we figured it’d be good for a quick exploration. It would be only one full day...

In Defense of English Cuisine

Fish and Chips, the English Staple
Chuck Sat, 2015-12-12 07:00
Having spent about five of the last eighteen months in the British Isles, we’ve learned a bit about the English and their ways of living. When we tell people about our time in England, frequently the topic of cuisine comes up. Specifically that English cuisine is terrible. We always wonder: what alternate dimension have these people visited? Did they eat out of London dumpsters when they visited? People love stereotypes. They love to believe in them. They love to perpetuate them. We never pontificate about our travels, but we’ve spent enough time in England that we gladly come to the defense...

The Anicent Roman Baths of Bath, England

Roman Baths at Bath, UK
Chuck Fri, 2015-12-11 07:00
While we’re in the mood of disagreeing with one of our favorite travel gurus, whose pseudonym we previously stated as Nick Reves, let’s talk about Bath. This is a town in southwest England that is the site of the excavations of extensive ancient Roman baths. We’ve yet to find a Loo, UK, but that might be because the Romans didn’t call them “loos”. I don’t know the Latin word for a toilet and don’t particularly want to look it up. Nick Reves raves about Bath. It is an impressive sight, we agree, but if one of the reasons to avoid Stonehenge is that it’s out of the way, then few people would...

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