Feature

Petra, Jordan: When dreams live up to expectations

It is rare for our dreams and expectations to live up to reality. Often times we build a destination up in our minds only to be disappointed by cheesy touristic over development, or feeling cheated by travel writers and documentarists eager to oversell and hide the negative. As I drove along the barren coastal Dead Sea road my driver nonchalantly waved his hand, “This used to be Sodom and Gomorrah.” Twenty minutes earlier he had pointed to where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. Amazed by how everyday his comment was I pushed to know more. “What’s the site called?” “Baptism Place.” He never took his eyes off the road. I thought he just didn’t know the name in English until I saw a large blue highway sign announcing the exit. It read simply, “Baptism Place.” Understatement was becoming common as I drove with friends for 3 hours to Read full article…

How to make Japanese Gyoza (in Chinese Jyaozi/ in English Potstickers)

This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife! “What is your fiancé’s favorite food?” This was one of my hen night questions. ‘Gyoza!’ (normally called potstickers in English). I got the answer right and at the same time I became determined that I had to cook this dish very well all the time! [Todd here, isn't Kay a lovely wife?! I am a lucky man.] Well, the truth is that I also love Gyoza, but the problem is that we can’t buy the Gyoza skin in Kosovo. If we want to eat something we have to find a way, so I started making Gyoza from the scratch! If you have a Chinese (or Japanese/Korean) store near by, you can simply buy the skin (it is much easier and takes less time). In Japan we usually fry Read full article…

10 Free Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan

Many people dream of traveling to Japan and experiencing this unique island first hand. Culture, history, technology, fashion and food blend together in an unforgettable experience that not only rewards the intrepid traveler but has fueled pop culture around the world for decades. Japan has taken on a somewhat mythical persona as it highlights its cultural differences to the outside world and implanting the desire to visit the country in minds of countless travelers. However, one myth has served to repel would be visitors:  Japan is extremely expensive. While its true Japan can be expensive, a trip to Tokyo can still be done on a budget and can cost much less than a jaunt to Europe’s largest cities. A journey to Japan can be incredibly rewarding without cashing out your child’s education fund. I lived in Japan for over 5 years, and my wife is from Tokyo. Since we travel Read full article…

Top 5 Foods to Eat and Experience in Japan

No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing Japanese food the way the locals do. In Japan there is no way to separate eating from the atmosphere and experience. Food in Japan touches all of the senses from the minimalistic elegance of sashimi to the visual gourmet versions of hamburger patties. There’s more to Japanese food than sushi but let’s face it, navigating the difficult menus in a New York Japanese restaurant can be daunting enough, let alone tackling lesser known dishes on their home turf.  With Fall in full swing, and November Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Surviving in Japan tackling the topic of Fall foods in Japan, I started to think about what I love to eat in Japan this time of the year. This made me hungry and ruined all objectivity, displaced Fall and set me down the path to the 5 foods I love to eat Read full article…

2 Reasons to visit Slovenia: Bled and Bohinj

I know what you’re thinking: “Slovenia, where the hell is that?” Or possibly: “What, only 2 reasons, is that all you’ve got? Are you getting lazy Todd? I mean all the other Top [insert arbitrary number] Lists have WAY more than just 2.” Truth be told, I never thought about visiting Slovenia until recently. My other little secret is that there are more than 2 reasons to visit this amazing country but you shouldn’t need any more than these two. Bam! How do you feel now? Feeling silly? Ready to trust me? Huh? Huh? Also, this is not a post about everything Slovenia has to offer. Over one week I only went to two places. Turns out it was enough to get me itching to head back. I took a week off work and headed into the mountains to work on my Shikoku Pilgrimage book. I’m happy to report that Read full article…

The Happiness Chart (psst It's really simple)

The Happiness Chart The Lifestyle Strategies section is all about helping you find your perfect life, showing you there are alternatives to what everyone else implies life should be (no one says it out loud). Being happy is probably the most important measure of a perfect life. If we don’t love what we’re doing, who we spend our hours, days, minutes with, how can we expect to treat others well or help make the world a little better? May people have told me to grow up, stop being so naïve. Life is harsh, it sucks sometimes and you have to just bear it and move on. True, but move on to what? You also have a choice to work hard to not fall into a pattern you’re not happy with. It may sound selfish but our own happiness is the most important thing. Without it how can we hope to Read full article…

Hiking Dragash, Kosovo: Brod to the old Macedonian Smuggling Pass

Winter is approaching but there are still a few weeks left of crisp clear hiking air awaiting you in the mountains of Dragash. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo. To help spur sustainable eco-tourism to the region and highlight an untouched wonder in the Balkans I’m helping to write a hiking guide to the Dragash Region implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Finland government. What better way to experience this traditional area than by hiking to the old pass to Tetovo, Macedonia. Not Read full article…

Amazing Waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia

Rivers and waterfalls are not the first images to come to mind when Croatia is discussed. Most people dream of exploring the ancient Venetian cities, dramatic islands and Roman ruins of the Dalmatian Coast. But located just a few hours drive from Split, near the amazing but underrated old city of Sibenikk, is a true natural wonder, Krka National Park. Take a break from century old monuments to explore the thousand year old monuments of nature. The Kraka river flows through a limestone gorge and at points spreads throughout an expansive forest. The area is made up of karst environments, which form when carbon dioxide dissolves with water on carbonate rock (limestone). Over a period of thousands of years this ongoing process has created unique geomorphological features on the surface of the rocks through which the Krka river flows. What? Basically, its a biochemical process that is constantly evolving and Read full article…

Balkan Highlights: road trip from Kosovo to Croatia and back

I love a good road trip. There is nothing quite as satisfying as cruising through a country’s winding back roads to really get to know the local landscape, people and discover spots that you would have missed arriving by air. Of course if you have even more time then riding a bike or walking can be even better ways to become intimate with your destinations. But a car provides a level of freedom and flexibility (motorbikes as well!) that allows you to explore extensively but also smell the air and fresh bread baking in the morning. When we set off on our 9 day Western Balkan road trip we didn’t know what to expect. All we had was a map, a tent, a rough idea of where to go and few hotel bookings that kept us grounded but not constrained.  This was by choice as getting lost and having adventures Read full article…

Hiking Dragash, Kosovo: Restelica to Brod

Mountain shepherds, enormous Sharr Dogs, free roaming horses, pristine babbling streams and dramatic mountains are just a small taste of what awaits you in Dragash. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo. To help spur sustainable eco-tourism to the region and highlight an untouched wonder in the Balkans I’m helping to write a hiking guide to the Dragash Region funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The last hike was a steep climb from Brod to Mt. Cule. Easy Hike from Restelica to Brod (or the other way around) Read full article…

© 2006-2010 Todd's Wanderings Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha