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…

Italian Caponata- K’s Special

This post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and writer for K’s Kitchen!) I apologize for taking a break from K’s kitchen for sometime…I thought that I’d have a lot of time during the summer but my work kept me busy until we left for 9 Day Balkans Road Trip. The good news is that we had a great harvest of tomatoes, basil, Sri Lankan chili, and thyme in our small garden on the balcony. We were indeed busy watering and taking care of the plants every morning before we went to work, but our effort really paid off!! Today, I’d like to introduce you to Caponata- K’s Special. This dish is one of my favorites because it’s healthy and remains tasty for a couple of days. Ingredients (for 3-4 people) Onions: One big size or two medium size-chopped to 1cm pieces Paprika: 3 Red and 2 Yellow (if you Read full article…

Old Fashion Transport: Travel Photo Contest Friday 22

Update: The winner is Dave…again…come on people don’t let him beat you next week! Thanks again to Simon and her wonderful picture. Here’s what she had to say “I shot the photo in Brazil, in one of the many small fishermen villages in Cearà state (don’t ask me the village name, I’ve seen too many…). What makes the place special? The never ending untamed beach, the wild sea and the local fishermen transporting their goods on the small buggy pulled by a tired horse. The feeling of being in a place where time has a different measure, life is hard and nature is wild. But also a place full of charm, and so touching.” The image is just as calming as Simon’s words. Dave, got to pick his link this week and boy did he! In dedication to his new daughter Miriam, born 10/10/10, he’s sharing “one of my favorite Read full article…

As I travel I encounter all sorts of cultural divides and misconceptions that stem from American TV. For the longest time everyone I met thought America was one big crew of either the hill living “Beverly Hills 90210″ or the beach going “Baywatch”. You can’t blame them, the export of American pop culture is all many people have to base their judgments on. But it has made my life quite maddening at times as I suffered though question after question on LA life an culture. In some ways I see my travels as a way to show others a different side of America. Well, my last ten years of work has been undone by no other than an international conspiracy by MTV and its Japanese counterpart. In March the “Jersey Shore” hit Japan and thanks to an article from March on CNN International the conspiracy has been exposed. Apparently, neither Read full article…

Hungry Sheep: Travel Photo Contest Friday 21

Update: The winner is Alicja! Although to be fair she was on the hike! The picture was taken while hiking up Mount Korab in Macedonia. It is the highest peak in BOTH Macedonia and Albania as the peak is right on the boarder. The hike up covers some truly amazing mountain scenery and as expected is in the middle of nowhere, creating a scene that many of you guessed was out of Nepal or the Central Asian States. The shepherd in the picture was quite happy to chat for a while but very disappointed that none of us smoked cigarettes…there aren’t really any stores nearby.  Stay tuned for longer articles on hiking Korab as well as Macedonia’s other main peak Tito. Alicja doesn’t have a website but we will figure out a prize! Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday. If you’re a new friend, each week I post a beautiful Read full article…

Japan Blog Matsuri Theme for October is....Submit your articles NOW

Todd’s Wandering is the happy host of the October Japan Blog Matsuri. We’re looking for the best, the brightest and most unique bloggers to join the Japan Blog Matsuri (psst…that means “festival/carnival”, and everyone is welcome to join). Before I reveal this October’s theme a  huge thanks to last month’s host, Nippon-Ichigo and their fun theme Japanese Music. Ok, ok, October’s THEME is… “Japan Highlights!” Yup, a whole Matsuri dedicated to the best Japan has to offer…or at least what YOU think are Japan’s best places, experiences, activities…whatever. Everyone has a different idea of what Japan is, and different reasons for visiting. What are  the things you ABSOLUTELY MUST see, visit, hear, taste or do while in Japan? You can offer advice on the top 3 places to visit, the top 5 foods to eat, the best sake to drink, the best clubs, the most remote temple, the place to 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…

Impossibly Blue Tropical River: Travel Photo Contest Friday 20

Update: The winner is Brett! The picture was taken in In Kanchanaburi, Thailand at Erwan National park and waterfall of the same name. Just down the street from where the Bridge of the River Kwai story was based, this beautiful river and waterfall system is full of little fish who eat away at your dead skin. Strange feeling but definitely worth the trip. The bonus is that you’ll likely be one of the few foreign tourist there as most will be down at the beaches of the southern coast. Brett’s prize is a link to his very cool Travel and Foodie blog:  Our Tasty Travels. Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday. If you’re a new friend, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels and you guess where it is. The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country, and River’s Read full article…

Iwayaji Temple Japan- My Favorite Place in the World

I’m not the type of person to have favorites. Whether they are movies, places, people, authors or anything else. My tastes and my boredom levels change too quickly to push any one place above another. But when I was asked by the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Carnival to write about my favorite place in the world, I knew immediately where it was, the back side of Iwayaji Temple on Shikoku Japan. A Little Background Iwayaji Temple is the 45th temple on the Pilgrimage to the 88 Buddhist Temples of Shikoku, located in Ehime Prefecture. The pilgrimage, covering 1,200-1,400 kilometers depending on who you believe, is Japan’s most famous and visited pilgrimage. Still going strong after more than 1,000 years, legend attributes the pilgrimage to the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi who was born and gained enlightenment on the Island of Shikoku. Not satisfied with just enlightenment, he also created the Read full article…

Beautiful Friday: Croatia at Sunset

Today there is no Photo Friday Contest, and instead just a beautiful view from my recent road trip through Croatia. This photo was taken at sunset in the marina that makes up half the town of Skradin down river from the famous Krka National Park. Skradin is your gateway to the Krak National Park where the river flows through the forest collecting in pools created by biochemical processes and resulting in thousands of waterfalls. My next post will be a photo journey through the park and its amazing waterfalls, but today I want to leave you with a beautiful start to the weekend.

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