[ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM] — So I was posting live pics of Brussels on my Instagram and someone who follows me shot back “You should go to Antwerp.” Hmmmm, never thought about going there. And this whole trip was a last-minute. “It’s a quick train ride and cooler, smaller and more artsy. Not boring like Brussels.” Really? I’d never even communicated with her before, but her IG name @devils_food_made_in_heaven was intriguing enough, she’d been to amazing restaurants all over. “Yes, you should definitely go to Antwerp!” commented another person I’d never communicated with… a very stylish hotel owner in France (who just happened to be eating in San Sebastian, Spain just right then.) Wow! Two people I’d never spoken with/written to, now telling me to go to
Here’s a quiet little video summary I made of a fabulous two week trip in Morocco in April 2015. I tried to capture the sights, sounds and incomparable experiences of all of Morocco. Marrakesh, the High Atlas Mountains, the desert oasis of Skoura and camping in the Sahara. If you want more detailed information of all the sights in this video, check out the Morocco page on my website. Lots of great pictures, information, maps and links to other resources to help you plan your trip. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
[DALMATIAN COAST, CROATIA] — Highly recommend you try and swing a sailboat charter in Croatia. You can backpack or ferry between islands, but having your own steam allows you to duck in and out of the thousands of islands along the Dalmatian coast. These pics are a companion post to my boat pics, following along our route chronologically so you can get a feel for how you can visit a completely different place every single day, without leaving your boat. You pick up your boat in the surprisingly cool Split, then poke your way amidst the islands towards Dubrovnik. The itinerary is your own. Only a start and end date. The rest is up to you. You can get a boat of virtually any size to match
[SPLIT, CROATIA] — I knew she would be big. I had no idea she’d be THIS big. It was the pictures that got me first. Our awesome travel agent Ginny had been sending me pics of boats all over. “We want something cool” I’d said, these are my best friends. “Can you find a Turkish gulet in Croatia?” I’d seen gulets in Greece, so much better than a typical sailboat. I liked how they’re all built around a big broad dining table straddling across the back, not everyone scrunched in a tight cockpit all the time. There were only a few gulets in Croatia, she found: Awesome boat. Awesome boat. “But THIS one…” Ginny teased. “Oh.My.God.” I became That Guy, the one who talked 11
[MONTE ARGENTARIO | MAREMMA, TUSCANY] — Maremma is the southern edge of Tuscany and goes from the hilly and ferrous inland to the varyingly wild-horse-roaming, swampy and rocky coast. A lot of people just hang out in eastern Tuscany — what Conde Nast Traveller funnily dubbed Chiantishire — and don’t know much about “Hidden Tuscany”, the underdeveloped and handsomely rugged western side. Where we’re going now is Monte Argentario, once an island, but like my stomach, grew beyond its britches, loosened the top button and is now double-belted to the shore. Go check it out on google maps. Some call Monte Argentario the Capri of Tuscany, but I think it is more of its own special thing, much much mellower, less crowded and more treed. Long
[VAL BADIA, ITALY] — You read a lot of about skiing in the Dolomites of Italy, but I can’t believe how little is written about how amazing the Dolomiti are in summer. In the winter, rates are high, availability is low and restaurants are hard to get into. But in the summer, what they call the “off season”, the rates are a fraction of winter, the crowds are small and you almost have the hiking trails to yourself. The Dolomites are aren’t just one range, but dozens. Kinda confusing, especially for me, to piece it all together. It’s all called “Dolomites” or “Alto Adige” and “Süd Tyrol” … and in a part of Italy that was once part of Austria. So the names are always in
[TRENTINO–ITALY] — “Theeesa ees the one.” she said, in that lovely Italan way of needing to add a vowel onto every word. “Theesa one is da best hika in the valley. And ifa you go heer, ita isa the besta viewa inaalla da Dolomites.” That’s Barbara, the owner of my splendid hotel in the Brenta region of the Italian Dolomites. There isn’t just one Dolomite, but many different ranges. But many say this is one of the best sections, centered around the Madonna di Compiglio ski resort, tucked into a valley with over sixty lifts going in all directions. Those looking for some Vail symmetry and organization, this is done the Italian way. Organically, over the time, with lifts taking off in different directions, lobbing people
[HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS, MOROCCO] — I didn’t know there’d be a donkey involved. Actually, I didn’t really know what all would be involved. But there he was, on a foot bridge spanning a roaring river. Staring at me like “Really?”. It would be hard to be a donkey, actually. Getting all the shit jobs that man doesn’t want to do, in this case, carrying my pack and our lunch for the day. And the flies. Man, the flies. A constant swarm of pesky varmints, always, poking your eyes, biting your knees, and just all-around being annoying. 24/7. I hate flies and if I was a donkey, I’d really hate flies. A constant shake of the head to shake them away. My tail in continuous motion to
[MARRAKESH, MOROCCO] — It is the drums that get you first. A full-frontal, heart-fibrillating pounding of Berber rhythms. So intense and staccato-firing that Buddy Rich would have a hard time keeping up. And the flutes. The ear-piercing, high pitched whine of the flutes, constant, taunting cobras to dance on the hot stones. And the people. The rush of endless people. Of every shape, size, color, religion, sunburn, clothing, shape, shoe-type/non-shoe-wearing. And the breeze. A steady wave of warm air that makes the palms, the long robes, the billowing smoke from the merguez grilling in the food stalls all harmonized and flowing like caught in the same current of a river. “Heeeeyyyyyy” he says in an eerily friendly Americanized accent, scaring me from behind. I jumped.
[TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE] — Going to Torres del Paine in Patagonia has been one of my lifelong goals, well, at least for the last 15 years. Finally got a chance to go, paired with a visit to the Atacama Desert in the northern half of Chile — the driest place on the planet (and posts to follow). Patagonia actually straddles Chile and Argentina and I could never figure it out, finally just picked Chile and didn’t even get a chance to see the Argentina side, which people I met strongly recommend. Where is it? Look at a map, find South America, then take a left and go aaallll the way to the bottom. It’s there. End of the earth. It’s hard to figure out what
TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE] — If you’re going to Patagonia the Tierra Hotel is the perfect base to explore Torres del Paine national park. It’s actually inside the park, with stunning views of the steep granite mountains called The Towers. Okay, here’s the deal: the Tierra Hotels in Chile have an awesome setup, all built around the adventure side of travel. There are two different sister hotels, one in the Atacama Desert in the north and the other right next to/inside the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia. You pay one (hefty) price per day, but all your meals and drinks are included, but what is really cool is the “Guide Experience” that comes included. Each hotel has about 10-15 trained guides (and a dozen
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[STOCKHOLM] — Here are some of my favorite sites in Stockholm, like a digital postcard rack for you to explore. Here’s an awesome survey article from a June 2016 Wall Street Journal article on a weekend in Stockholm. I concur with all their tips and suggestions. Here’s a great recap article of all the cool new New Nordic Cuisine in Sweden in the July 2012 Conde Nast Traveler.