This Adventurous Life

A young couple exploring the world…and their 30's

Posts from the ‘UNESCO’ category

We never predicted what an impact the August 2011 issue of Outside Magazine would have on us when we brought it in from our mailbox or even that the time-consuming process of cashing in airline miles for magazine subscriptions would be worth something so much more one day.  You see, there was one article in that issue that opened up a series of emotions and wonderment in the both of us.  As it turns out, one article is all it takes to change a couple of people.

Most of the time if you ask us about the problems of the world, we will tell you that people are the problem…over population, greed, disrespect for the earth and other living creatures, etc.  Population encroachment on natural land is something we see everywhere we travel, and it is never any less disappointing.  So, when we travel we try to always visit and support national parks and conservation efforts, and directly link the money we pour into a destination with our values.  It’s often not easy and sometimes really not cheap, however, worth every penny.

“Number One With a Bullet” is the article I am referencing.  I highly recommend reading it.  It is thought provoking, to say the least.

So, a little over a year after reading this article we decided it was necessary to go to Assam, the northeast state of India running along the Bramahputra River.  Specifically, we needed to visit Kaziranga National Park, with one of the most successful animal conservation efforts in history.  (well, successful and probably also controversial)  What an amazing accomplishment, especially for India, a land of overpopulation to the extreme.  Assam is special though.  It is the less traveled, bio-cultural hotspot of India.  The India we hoped for.  We stayed with Diphlu River Lodge and loved every bit of it.  The staff, safaris, oh the food-yummmm!  They care, too.  When they saw how much we loved and appreciated nature and the animals’ livelihoods they were so happy.  They showed us the real Kaziranga, and we got to know the people who love the land and animals.

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Here are the park guides getting ready to saddle up their elephants for an early morning safari on elephant back. Here, some elephants are domestic and some are wild. We hope that by asking about the care of the elephants and showing we value the elephants- the result will be better lives for them at the hands of their owners.

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Here is a visual of the one horned rhino relaxing in a grass marsh while we travel up to it on the back of an elephant. The grass plains of Kaziranga are easiest to travel on elephant back because the “elephant” grass is so tall and thick to travel through for humans.

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A park ranger must accompany each vehicle entering the park. Each ranger has a very old gun, assuming it is from the days of British Colonialism. Yes, they are very much that old and rusty looking. Only once was our ranger ready to fire into the air because a rhino was getting too close to us. It works as a warning for the rhinos to retreat from the scene.

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We didn’t see any Bengal tigers. Kaziranga has the highest population of them in all of India, however they are very elusive only coming out at night usually. Most safari guides will tell you they *almost saw one this one time. Our guide had seen many of them at this one particular spot where he would sit for hours…something we weren’t capable of doing. But tracks! We saw tracks by the river.

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The rhino was the last of the big five I had yet to see in the wild. There are five types of rhinos. Our next mission may be to see all five types. This particular rhino is very archaic looking with what looks like shielding plates around its body.

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One of our safaris was over at the west end of Kaziranga on a trail that was only recently opened up by the park service. In fact, the Diphlu manager and staff had never been in this direction before. We jumped at their offer to head that way, and had fun experiencing our safari with the manager and chef of Diphlu. The gibbons, however, didn’t like our company too much. They definitely gang peed on us as we drove through the park. Gibbon pee went in my eye. Yep. We were a mess, a histerically laughing mess.

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Water buffalo crossing the Bramahputra river.

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Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve

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To the staff at Diphlu, if we ever have the opportunity to return to Assam, we will definitely see you again and bring as many other travelers with us as we can. We really cherish our memories with you in Kaziranga.

“Number One With a Bullet” and Kaziranga’s success has us wondering if we approve or disapprove of the antipoaching policies adopted there.  If we ever go through with our magazine article club (a version of a book club), I would pick this article to discuss…

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Spending Valentines Day in Hawaii is pretty awesome.  So is making a summary video of all of our past year’s travels for my husband! 🙂

2012 was such an amazing year for us.  We went on great trips with friends and family, and are so fortunate that we are surrounded by people who appreciate traveling with us.

So, here is an entirely imperfect yet awesome video I slapped together for you, Cayle.  You continue to amaze me with your love, generosity, and energy.  Enjoy “Ode to 2012.”  Happy Valentines Day!

 

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About two months ago we started planning to visit India.  We went into the planning stages knowing we wouldn’t be able to see it all.  Our wish lists were quickly whittled away to a realistic agenda.  While we are sad to cut out Varanasi, Darjeeling, and McLeod Ganj to name a few, we are happy to have determined a focused trip where we will experience a few areas well rather than rushing all over the place.

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Roman Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum of Rome. Taking this photograph convinced me that black and white photography would be an art worth mastering.

Last winter we spent a few whirlwind days in Rome hitting the highlights. Some of the most enchanting spots were the remnants of the ancient Roman empire still standing after 2 millennia.

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Take an early morning train from Roma to Napoli.  It is about 3 hours from the central train station in Rome to Piazza Garibaldi in Naples.  Purchase tickets for the Circumvesuviana while in the train station in Naples and then head downstairs to catch the next train.  They leave very frequently.  Get off the train at Pompeii Scavi, which puts you less than a quarter mile from the entrance.  Obviously, wear good walking shoes.  I am always amazed when we do a day trip and see a scowling woman wearing heels or visibly ruined intricate sandals while walking around an archeological site.  Don’t be that lady.  Reverse the order of things for your return paying attention to the last times train depart your locations.
BBC has a detailed article about the disaster of Pompeii.  In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted burying the town of Pompeii under 13 to 30 feet of volcanic ash raining down for over six hours.  Historical accounts of the eruption show the town was completely unprepared.  People and animals were killed either by the heat or suffocation, and the city was essentially stopped in time.  Pompeii is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site receiving over 2,500,000 visitors each year.
You can see the structure of columns as they existed under the beautiful facades.  It was very cold and rainy when we visited, which added to the mystical atmosphere.  (My attire was not warm enough, forcing me to purchase a cheesy Italia soccer zip up outside the entrance and experience the price gouging-blah!)
The original copper statue of the dancing Faun is held in the National Museum in Naples.  I am thankful for the replica in its place helping us to see what it was really like at the House of the Faun, which was built in the 2nd Century BC.
The volcanic ash preserved Pompeii to an unbelievable extent.  Original paint colors are seen in this courtyard.
Modern day architecture and interiors would never stand up to the quality of centuries old construction seen here.  I could not believe they let us walk on these amazing mosaic floors.  Cayle and I were basically tip toeing around on some of them, I’m sure looking ridiculous.
Modern day familiarity with Russian River Brews Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder received their names from the first hand accounts recorded by Pliny the Younger of the Vesuvius eruption from his position across the bay.  Pliny the Elder, his uncle, died while trying to rescue victims in Pompeii.  Pliny’s letter gives the most detailed account of the event.  Pliny the Younger has been labeled the best beer in the world.
Pompeii is an easy day trip from Rome.  You feel an enormous presence surrounding you, and feel entirely connected to to the history of humanity.  You don’t want to miss it.  If the weather had been nicer we would have picnicked out in a courtyard.  If you have time, visit the National Museum in Naples where many of the larger, detailed mosaics and sculptures are preserved from Pompeii.  Fill your belly with some delicious pizza while you are at it, and only then jump back on the train for your return to Rome.

Here is a blog created by and for people who have worked on the archeological excavation and reconstruction of Pompeii if you want more information: Blogging Pompeii

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We have some catching up to do, putting it mildly.  We haven’t yet shared how we started off 2012.  We typically don’t consider Europe when we travel because, you know, you can “do” it with kids.  One of our main travel philosophies is to take advantage of our young, healthy, energetic, kidless status…a philosophy we have REALLY strayed from this year, and happily.  (but we are planning to make up for it in 2013!)
January 1, 2012 we landed in Rome to power through the city in typical tourist fashion visiting all of the amazing art, architecture, and historical sites we were tested on years ago in art history courses.  Here is a preview of our time in the capital.  Please do come back soon for specifics on this trip and stories of the many additional trips we have yet to share with you from this year.
…. enjoyed delicious food
….and shot away with our new cameras
Founded in 753 BC with its fountains, aqueducts, bridges, statues, and columns, Rome continues to be saturated with legendary beauty.  We were happy to go in the “off-season” because we can’t imagine the dense crowds that befall on the city in the summer.  This is the Arch of Constantine as seen from the Colosseum.  The Arch of Constantine was the finish line for the 1960 Summer Olympics marathon event.  
….meandered through the slim streets of the city.  
Rome’s history is incredible!  Roman architecture was first starting to be restored before the USA was even a figment of thought.  

Like I said, we have a lot of catching up to do including posts on specific experiences we had in Rome.   So, do come back soon because we will more consistently be sharing our travels with you!

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We may have drawn out the blogging of our week in Paris a little too long. The city is just such an alive and electric place that each day seems like 3 when we look back. It is been hard to cut anything out when retelling the story. We really did save the best of Paris for the end of our trip. The best museum(The Louvre), the best meal(Le Grapillon on NYE) and best experience(running around the city drinking champagne at midnight).

The Louvre has two entrances(that I know of), the main outdoor entrance at the famous(infamous?) glass pyramid and this back entrance at the inverted but equally impressive glass pyramid. I recommend this one because of the dramatically shorter line and protection from the rain.
Some of the art at the Louvre is more impressive than I could have imagined(e.g. “Winged Victory”, “Liberty Leading the People” ) Others like the Mona Lisa above, are a bit disappointing. As if being tiny, far away and behind bullet proof glass wasn’t bad enough, there is a constant crowd of people straining to get the same bad photograph.
In complete contrast, “The Astronomer” one of Vermeer’s 34 known paintings in the world was unprotected and ignored in the corner of a side room.
The aforementioned “pyramid entrance” with ever-present long and winding line.
Outside of Restaurant le Grappillon. Site of one of the best meals of my life. For new years eve we ate there with our friends EF and MF sharing a fabulous and very french meal of foie gras, scallops, escargot, oysters, lobster and more.
Walking through the courtyard of the Louvre at night on our way to celebrate new years was a beautiful and unexpected  experience.
The Louvre and its pyramids in all their surreal, city of light glory.
A little early in the night to be our official new years eve kiss but the dramatic setting will live on in our memories.
Walking through Parisian crowds on NYE towards the Eiffel Tower for midnight champagne. The energy of Paris at night was infectious.
This moment has inspired us to try to celebrate New Years Eve on every continent(So far we have N America, Africa and now Europe)

The next morning we woke up and flew on to Rome to continue our whirlwind tour of some Europe’s most famous sites. Blog posts of this, our more recent trip to Jamaica and upcoming road trip/dogsledding in Scandinavia are on their way soon!

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