Kathmandu’s Sherpa Outdoor Orphan Home

 Sherpa Outdoor

Last month, my camera and I spent two weeks at the Sherpa Outdoor Orphan Home in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was my second visit in just over a year. This time, though, I had an opportunity join the household as a sort of grandfather-with-a-camera — sharing mealtimes, interacting with the children, and following their daily routine. I was impressed at what I found. Continue reading

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A vibrant Cologne Christmas–Part II

Cologne ChristmasCologne’s Christmas markets began with the Markt der Engel, or Market of Angels, with new venues being added over the years. The first market is still a favorite for many people, and I loved it. Newer additions have their own attractions, though, and I found something to enjoy at each one. Continue reading

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A vibrant Cologne Christmas–Part I

 Cologne Christmas

Cologne, Germany is a magnet for fans of Christmas markets. It’s one of the most-visited Advent season celebrations anywhere, located in seven venues spread across the city, and finding your way can be a daunting prospect. This year, I had an opportunity to be in town for opening day, before crowds arrived in their thousands, and over several days, managed to visit all seven markets. It was a glorious start to a Rhineland Christmas season in this vibrant metropolis with a 2,000-year history. Continue reading

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A cozy Düsseldorf Christmas

Dusseldorf Christmas

There are Christmas markets all over Europe, but some of the best are in Germany. No surprise, since so many of our holiday traditions were born there: advent wreaths with their candles, and decorated Christmas trees, to name just two. I was delighted to be invited for the beginning of the Christmas season in Düsseldorf, where the market opens a few days before others in the region. Continue reading

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A “Pure Ceylon Tea” experience in Sri Lanka

Sri LankaNo trip to Sri Lanka is complete without at least a pass through the country’s glorious central hill country. Go one better, though, and take your time: chug past tea plantations on one of the world’s great train rides–stop off to visit a tea factory–and spend a few nights in the cool, misty realm of a former British hill station. During our month-long stay in Sri Lanka, Tom and I did all of these things. Here are five indelible memories of our travels through Sri Lanka’s “pure Ceylon tea” country. Continue reading

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The slow train to Ella, Sri Lanka

Sri LankaThere is no hurrying a Sri Lankan hill country train, nor would you want to. The joy is in the going, the landscape that glides by, and the fact that you’re sharing the world of the people who live in this special place. You can travel from Kandy to Ella in one go (and vice versa), but we suggest breaking the seven-hour journey and slowing down even more. Continue reading

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Living like a local in Lisbon

Alcântara's Praça CalvárioWhen we decided to return to Portugal for a month-long stay, Anita and I wanted to be based in Lisbon, but away from much-touristed Alfama. After some looking around the internet, we settled on an apartment in Alcântara, and looked forward to our view of the Tagus, easy access to transport, and a creative vibe. We found all these things and more. Continue reading

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In an Alentejo bakery, the way of family

Alentejo bakery

Portugal food stories are all about traditions, and very often, family traditions, emanating from home kitchens. And those stories can be found in the most unlikely, out-of-the-way places. In an Alentejo bakery, we had an opportunity to meet three generations of a family whose baked goods start out small and travel big, making the journey from Portel to Lisbon and beyond. Continue reading

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Bacalhau: Portugal’s “faithful friend”

codfishFor a country with abundant seafood right on its Atlantic doorstep, it can seem a bit wacky to a visitor that the Portuguese are obsessed with a fish not found in nearby waters, but thousands of miles away. Or that they wax nostalgic for salted fish when sublimely fresh is all around them. But it’s a fact: they do! Although we’d not previously been big fans of codfish, Tom and I have now tried bacalhau in numerous preparations, and are developing an appreciation for King Codfish as we travel around Portugal.

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Every day a spa day in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Ayurvedic treatments at the Amaya Hills spaAfter two weeks of fabulous temples, wildlife viewing and more in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Tom and I headed for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second largest city. Spice village en route? Check. Temple of the Tooth? Check. Tea Museum? Check. Kandy had much more to offer, but we were about out of energy for sightseeing. So, it was time to take a break. What better place to do this, than the hills above the busting city? Continue reading

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