Photos

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Penang's George Town is a living still life museum. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Great street food, Chinese-influenced architecture and an easygoing pace await in Penang, Malaysia.

Thailand's eastern Coast sees more local tourism than it does pale westerners seeking holiday tans. We spent a week and a half traveling south from the Bangkok beach getaway of Hua Hin to the fishing village of Prachuap Khiri Khan to sleepy Songkhla in the south.

Once a great capital city of Siam, today Ayutthaya's ruins, river life and night markets have an unrushed sultry backwater feel.

From grand boulevards to back alley night markets to the Reclining Buddha, here are some of the highlights from our seven days and nights in the heart of Thailand.

I know, I know: food porn. But Thai street food is too pretty not to post pictures.

We enjoyed five days in Kathmandu, departing on April 20th five days before the Gorkha earthquake. Here are some of our favorite images from our stay including many shots of local residents, all of whom we hope are safe.

Known locally as Kwa Bahal, this temple drips figures and metalwork. We wish these pictures could also carry the sound of monks chanting and the heady atmosphere of incense. Since the earthquake, the fate of this temple is unknown

We celebrated the lunar calendar year in Bhaktapur, Nepal, a week before the earthquake. Unfortunately, the year 2072 will go down in history as devastating for the people and cultural heritage of the Kathmandu valley.

Pokhara is a lake town (about 200 kilometers from the earthquake's epicenter) in central Nepal's Himalayan foothills. As the clouds roll in and out, dramatic mountain views appear and disappear, including several snow-capped peaks that loom over the lake from above 23,000 feet. Good coffee and Tibetan food visibility is less weather dependent.

Just over the Indian-Nepal border lies serene Lumbini, the Buddha's birthplace where prayer flags, turtle ponds and peace plazas all pay tribute.

Designed on a grand scale, the crumbling mausoleums and mansions of Lucknow are enlivened by its gregarious people and vibrant food scene. Smokey ground mutton kebabs as soft and succulent as foie gras are this city's specialty.

The international pilgrimage city of Bodhgaya is home to the Mahabodhi Temple, erected in the historic place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. A sprawling Bodhi tree grows in the spot where the Buddha once meditated.

Once a jewel in the British Crown, Darjeeling is still “Queen of the stations,” and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s toy train still whistles and puffs its way past mountain villages, tea plantations and, if the clouds lift, Himalayan vistas.

Located a bustling 12 kilometer auto rickshaw ride from Varanasi, Sarnath is where the Buddha first began teaching after attaining enlightenment. It is the first of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites we’ll be visiting on this trip, along with Bodhgaya (where the Buddha became enlightened) and Kushinagar (where the Buddha died) in India, and Lumbini, Nepal (the Buddha’s birthplace).

From morning bathing rituals and laundry washing to evening floating candle offerings to round the clock cremation ceremonies, the ghats (stone steps) along the Ganges in Varanasi host a constant flow of spiritual spectacle.

Sublime sandstone carving and a sexy overtone. Parental discretion is advised!

At the eastern edge of the Thar Desert, rubbing uncomfortably against Pakistan, Jaisalmer remains arid and hospitable.

With maharaja mystique around every turn, Jodhpur's Mehrangarh Fort is arguably the most magnificent is all of Rajasthan.

Get ready! Get set! Color! From the days before the festival, when mounds of bright power line the streetside shops, to the beginning of cleanup, you an see it all here.

From the exotic fort to the blue rooftops to the bustling back alleys below, street life in Jodhpur is a wild ride.

The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples of Ellora (AD 600-1000) have special sentimental meaning for us; we took a self portrait in this same location on our first year-long honeymoon eleven years ago.

The Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta have been tucked into a horseshoe-shaped gorge since between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD.

The view from the top of the world in the wondrous ruins of Hampi: south side view and north side view, both at sunset. Big files!

Hanuman, a Hindu god and aid to Rama, is often portrayed with a monkey’s head and/or monkey-like anatomy. His image is very common in the area around Hampi because the hill across the river from the ruins is—in the view of some—is his birthplace. Here is a collection of some of his images that we snapped over a couple days’ time.

Scattered in among Hampi's boulders, bananas and riverbeds lie the 14th century ruins of the lost Vijayanagar empire.

We spent five days in Bhimavaram touring the water, health and livelihood programs of the Byrraju Foundation and their partner organizations. Everywhere we went, the people of the Foundation and the villages welcomed us. Here are just a few of the people we met and worked with along the way.

Indian train stations are a world unto themselves.

The old City lies south of a lake, but the modern metropolis now surrounds Hussain Sagar. Most of these snaps were taken in the heart of the Old City, near the Charminar, a monument to a long drought ended.

No other city in the world stands with a foot in two continents. Like salad dressing that refuses to emulsify, Istanbul is an unsettled fusion of Eastern and Western perspectives and prerogatives. Whether gazed upon from an Asian or European vantage, this iconic city is as complex as it is beautiful.

This 10th century B.C. Neolithic sanctuary, still being excavated today in Southeastern Turkey and not yet developed for mass tourism, is considered to be the oldest known religious site in the world, and the birthplace of architecture. Towering T-shaped pillars arranged in circular patterns were carved, decorated with striking animal and human figures, and erected using stone-age tools. Hundreds of detected pillars have yet to be uncovered. The guards are sneaking in catnaps now because this astonishing archeological site won't stay quiet for long.

Saniurfa, claimed birthplace of the prophet Abraham, with a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor, is a pilgrimage site and melting pot for Kurds, Arabs and many religious sects. No fishing in the sacred lake where visiting families overfeed the sacred carp (legend has it you’ll go blind if you try to catch one). Instead, fill up on grilled lamb or liver flatbread sandwiches washed down with ayran, a refreshing yogurt-based drink.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 when a large collection of mosaics was unearthed in Turkey from the time of Alexander the Great, just as dams on the Euphrates River were being installed and the ancient city of Zeugma was about to be flooded. The stunning new Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum opened in 2012.

Proclaimed by many to be Turkey's culinary capital, the city's cuisine is spicy, garlicky and herbaceous. With pistachios aplenty, Gaziantep is a baklava bonanza.

This Turkish capital city is vibrant, sprawling and contemporary thanks, in no small part, to the reform and modernization efforts of Atatürk, whose compelling tomb is a testament to the power of his legacy. Meanwhile, atop the towers of the walled old city, kids still fly homemade kites.

Over 1.5 million Turks and others visit Konya each year to walk in Rumi's footsteps, visit his tomb in the Mevlâna Museum, soak up Seljuk culture and watch dervishes whirl.

From our base in Göreme, we watched over sixty balloons launch each morning in Cappadocia. Up, up and away!

Explore the red mesas, eroded bluffs, conical rocks and fairy chimneys of the Cappadocian landscape where people have been carving out and occupying cave dwellings for centuries, from Byzantine Christian monastics to today's tourist hotel operators. Meanwhile, local agricultural life goes on.

From Naxos, we spent an afternoon on the docks watching the boats come in and out of Santorini port en route by ferry to Kos.

From the scary looking (but perfectly harmless) ladybird spider to the purple stink lily (which smells like rotting meat), here are some of our favorite wildlife sitings from Greece.

Walking in the footsteps of characters Christopher’s favorite novel, The Devil Is Dead, we hiked from the Naxos island village of Filoti and picnicked on rocky slope of Mt. Zeus.

Waves, white walls and winding alleys washed down with Greek Coffee.

Tucked into the steeps side of Mount Parnassus rests the quiet town of Delphi and the ancient ruins of the Delphic Oracle of Apollo.

Images of Athenian Culture, then and now, from the Ancient Agora and National Archeological Museum to corner cafés and street performers

We spent a full day exploring the Acropolis, from the flood of international tourists in the morning to the quiet crowd-free glow of the afternoon. Jigsaw puzzle restoration efforts are ongoing.

Street life, souvlaki and an afternoon visit to the Temple of Zeus are highlights of our first day Athens, Greece while views of the Acropolis foreshadow adventures ahead.

In a bit more than 36 hours we traversed from Palermo to Brindisi along the sole of the Italian boot. Here are some things we saw.

This exotic port city is a chaotic and cacophonous mix of dockside activity, eclectic street markets and high fashion shopping districts set against a dramatic backdrop of crumbling Baroque facades and war-torn palazzi. It's also home to some of the best street food in the world.

We departed Cagliari at sunset and arrived in Palermo on a sparkling morning at sunrise

Sardinia's capital cityscape is punctuated by street art. I especially enjoyed discovering CRISPA's work. Take a look.

Sardinia's capital city is a collage of centuries-old history, contemporary street art and Mediterranean coastline

During the quiet hours of the early afternoon, Sassari's streets empty to reveal a patchwork of dilapidated architecture from Medieval times to Gothic gargoyles to Art Nouveau. Later, as the sun moves across the sky, the streets of this inviting Sardinian city come to life.

Winding hillside roads with panoramic vistas connect the coastal cities and villages along Sardinia's northwest coast.

Breathe in the sea air and take in the Mediterranean views from the docks of Marseille, past the French island of Corsica and on to the Italian island of Sardinia. All aboard for Porto Torres!

The French call it the 'TGV.' Their bullet train does fly through the countryside. It's a pleasure to ride and these photographs were taken on the six-hour journey from Bordeaux to Marseille. You'll excuse the blurr. In most cases we were traveling more than 100 miles per hour.

Are these really all of our pictures from France? A handful of highlights from five all too short days traveling from Bordeaux' Gare de St. Jean to the old port of Marseille.

From sea and sand to surf and turf, this pretty, international city is tastes as good as it looks

Book sellers, stamp collectors, pet dealers and antique traders converge weekly in Bilbao's old town

Guggenheim gawking and pintxos gnawing in this Basque city with an attitude

Nestled against limestone cliffs, the sidra flows freely in this small, North Atlantic fishing village

Ocean vistas and promenades are contrasted with signs of economic hardship in this Asturian port city

Four days of festivities, fanfare and food in Spain's delightful Asturian capital

This Galician beauty offers a city center just blocks from the beach, the Torre de Hércules (a lighthouse with first century AD Roman-built innards), and a seafood-driven tapas scene at night.

From medieval architecture to fresh octopus: images of the Galician good life

Catholic brotherhoods lead daily processions through the stone streets of Santiago, Spain in the first days of Holy Week

En route from the Andalusian coast to Galicia, and sandwiched between night busses, we packed in a full day of picnics, public parks and modern art in Madrid, Spain

The waters between Morocco and Spain are busy and beautiful.

These are the symbols that guide you on your journey from Africa to Europe.

Morocco is a fabulous mix of color, finish, design, and naturalism. Here is a taste of architectural detail.

Twin Peaks meets Blue Velvet? Tucked into a split in the Rif mountains, Chefchaouen is a beguiling, otherworldly retreat.

From soup to nuts to goat's heads: images from behind the walls of the medina

Now home to nesting storks, the Badi Palace was once fit for a king

Take a stroll along the docks of North Africa's biggest working port, and tuck into a seafood feast at an open air fish house

The atmosphere outside the largest mosque in Morocco, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, is like that on a seaside boardwalk, complete with caramel corn and balloon vendors

Something wicked this way comes: as night sets in, this main square and market is home to snake charmers, storytellers, medicine men and minstrels

Practice your bartering skills in the covered market streets of Marrakesh, Morocco

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Christopher, happy birthday to you!

Chris indulges in pastéis de nata, still warm from the ovens at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém

Try not to get lost as you meander through the decoratively cobblestoned streets of Lisbon with your head down

From tagging vandalism to urban masterpieces, street art is everywhere in Lisbon

Vistas, trolleys and slices of life

From our first 24 hours in Lisbon

Pastries, seafood and other highlights from Lisbon's tables

On layover in the Madrid International Airport, en route to Lisbon

One Response

  1. Susan Mock
    Susan Mock / 4-5-2014 / ·

    I especially appreciate the portraits of the travelers in this series of exquisite photos.

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