• Tiger by the Tail

    Tiger by the Tail

    Outside Para, Bhutan.  February 21, 2015. I had a tiger by the tail. Or it had me. In the last few years I’ve hiked far greater distances....

  • Burial, Emily’s Ashes on Water

    Burial, Emily’s Ashes on Water

    Crouched on the diving platform at the aft of  boat, I held one fourth of a dead human in my hands. Several crew members were moving just...

  • Eating Thailand

    Eating Thailand

    We were eating Thailand.  We ate from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, from Sukhothai to Chiang Rai, from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok. February 2015 As one guy remarked...

  • Thai Dancers with unexpected grace

    Thai Dancers, Unexpected Grace

    Two of my worlds collide in Bangkok, saved by Thai dancers, unexpected grace, and continuing a centuries-old tradition of royal Thai dance. February 2015 First, I love...

  • Siberian Express Dreams

    Siberian Express Dreams, #7 Meeting People.

    Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China, late December, 2014. Part 7: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving...

Minoan Dreams

Knossos, Crete. September 7, 2014.

Extinct bulls, naked youth, mythological beasts . . . the stuff of Minoan dreams.

Extinct bulls, naked youth, and mythological beasts are the shadowy figures in the Minoan dreams of reconstructed Knossos, here in Crete, where the Aegean ends and the Mediterranean begins.

For all the power of its story at the genesis of Minoan dreams, the archeological site of Knossos is modest in so many ways. It’s approached via a simple municipal bus from the Cretan port town of Heraklion, a short ride, worth only a Euro fifty. There are just a few souvenir stands, content to let you wander by without making offers of rare items specially priced only for you, my friend. A couple of guides make half-hearted pitches and drop back soon enough. A cheap ticket in hand, I’m standing at the beginning of European history as we know it, staring eye to eye at the man who, right or wrong, is responsible for our take on old Knossos and all things Minoan, Arthur Evans. I blink first and Evans wins the staring contest. He should. He’s made of bronze. Appropriate to this low key colossus of history, even Evans is reduced to a bust.

Read More

Travel Coincidences

Coincidences tumble one after another in Guanajuato and beyond.

 

It was no coincidence that my wife Chris and I were on the bus, grinding up the mountains and across the broad, 6000 foot high plateau from Mexico City, bound for Guanajuato, the place of silver and mummies and disappearing roads. We were happy to be going back, but we were going for just one reason which started years before.

 

It started as my business was finishing up a long season of tough jobs; I would be closing down until the next season. Ben, a young man who worked for me said he wanted to light out for Mexico. Where should he go, he wondered. I love Mexico, travel it extensively, so coincidentally, I wrote a list for him starting with Guanajuato. I first reached Guanajuato in 1968 and have returned time after time, captivated by its history, its combination of stark simplicity and exuberant Mexican rococo architecture, and its slow evolution from an unknown to a more appreciated destination.

 

Ben made it Guanajuato, a couple of hundred miles northwest of Mexico City. There, in a hostel, he lost his leather jacket and my list. But his adventures continued as he improvised and made Mexican travel his own.

Read More

cheese and sausage ooo la la

Wheels of Cheese and Sausages on the Street
Annecy’s market is a reminder of the humble beginnings of great food.

 

I sometimes hear people speak in an authoritive tone on how rich, refined or even overwrought French cooking is. Of course, it isn’t. Any market spread out along the cobblestoned street is a reminder of the humble beginnings of great food, and Annecy, France, serves up a fine one.

Read More