Archives for January 2015

Travelly Picture: Ek Balam Ruins, Mexico

We spent a few weeks travelling around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and seeing the Ek Balam ruins were without a doubt one of the highlights. We got to the Ek Balam ruins late in the afternoon and had the place pretty much to ourselves. This was the view from the top of some ancient something or another built by people called Mayans.

Oh yeah, if you click on the picture, I think it gets bigger.

Ek balam ruins

Seein’ The States: Arches National Park, Utah

USA

I guess it’s predictable, but living abroad has totally made me appreciate travelling in the U.S.A. way more than I used to.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never met a road trip I didn’t like driving 10 hours for, and as a result, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of America’s crown jewels over the years. Mount Rushmore, the Rocky Mountains, the childhood homes of each and every American Idol winner, just to name a few. For the better part my adult life though, most of my daydreams have been of international places.

Nowadays, whenever I see a copy of the U.S.A. travel guide at our local newsstand, I just stand there thumbing through the pages pretending I’m thinking of buying it awestruck at all the U.S.A. truly has to offer. I guess it’s one of those absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder kind of things.

Therefore, I decided that every time I come home from now on out I am going to try and see bits and pieces of the United States that I have never seen before. This past Thanksgiving was the first test of this new mantra, as Julia and I flew to Arizona to spend it with my cousins and parents, which was totally fitting as we had spent last winter living among the cactus and cotton-candy sunsets of the Grand Canyon State.

arches national park

We flew to Arizona, but we drove back to St. Louis with my parents. Now, we could have just driven the most direct route back to Missouri, but I insisted we should take the scenic route and check out Arches National Park in Utah. I had never stepped foot in Utah, and I thought Arches National Park would be the perfect place to see some scenery on a late November day and just take some time to appreciate the good ol’ U. S. of A.

We set out from Phoenix around a quarter after sunrise and slowly worked our way up the state to Flagstaff. I just love Flagstaff, everything from its name to its Route 66 history and its pine covered hills is awesome. Anyway, from there it was on to two lane roads all the way up through Arizona’s northern tier and straight on ’til Utah. I did all the driving that way my parents could enjoy the scenery, and what scenery it was, especially when we finally arrived at Arches National Park late in the afternoon.

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arches national park

arches national park

arches national park

We only spent around two hours at Arches National Park, and while I know that may be considered a criminally small amount of to time to some, it was still great to see it. I loved how you would see shade upon shade of desert orange landscapes but then in the next breath see snow-capped mountains off in the distance.

arches national park

arches national park

A baby blue sky brushed with only just the finest touch of wispy white clouds was above, and added something really special to the scene. And since we were there in such clear late afternoon light, the red rocks looked like they were almost glowing. Sadly, we didn’t have the time to get up close to the most famous formation at Arches National Park, Delicate Arch, but we did see it from a distance, and I’ve been told that still counts for something.

arches national park

Oh, and if you are wondering, I guess all these arches were created through a process called wind erosion or something like that.

 

Travelly Picture: Langkawi Island, Malaysia

In addition to figuring out where we are going to travel this year, one thing I’ve also decided early on here in 2015 is that I want to try and stick to a more regular posting schedule here on worldwide Scott (please note the fact that I have spelled worldwide with lower case letters and capitalized Scott in an attempt to be cool). So, therefore, from here on out, you can count on two posts a week.

And one of these posts is going to be the Travelly Picture of the Week, which debuts today.

All these images will be pictures I have taken on my travels over the last few years, and I’m hoping they can bring something or another to the table. I can’t guarantee that they are necessarily good pictures and that they are going to inspire you, but I can promise that they will be pictures.

For the inaugural Travelly Picture of the Week, I have selected a shot I took on Langkawi Island, Malaysia. We were walking down the beach around sunset and saw these kids playing on these wooden poles in the sea, and I had a camera, and one thing led to another.

Oh yeah, if you click on the picture, I think it gets bigger or something.

Langkawi Island Malaysia

Where We Want To Go in 2015

Well, the dust has finally settled on the holidays and 2015 is definitely in full swing here in Amsterdam. It may have taken a bit longer for the dust to settle here compared to most places though, but we got there. Why? Well, the Amsterdam air was full of powder and particulate from the, like, kagillion fireworks that were set off during the final days of 2014.

We were warned about the fiery chaos that would rain down around New Year’s all year, but we still could not believe our eyes and ears when dusk fell over the city on New Year’s Eve. It was like a war zone, not that I would know anything about an actual war zone, though. We are talking non-stop amateur firework displays the size and quality of what would you see being set off by a town in America on July 4th. It was cool and all, but a little bit scary too as I am not entirely sure some of the 12 year old kids on our street setting things off were schooled in the latest firework-lighting safety procedures.  This video gives you a good idea of the scene, just remember that those fireworks were going off over residential streets.

One of the first things Julia and I did in 2015 was to both make lists of where we would like to go in Europe this year. 2014 was kind of  our “ok, let’s get settled in Amsterdam and lay low year”, so we’d like to go a few more places in 2015.

We compared our lists and the places that turned up on both became our travel goals for the year. So, without further adieu, here are our 2015 travel plans, assuming things go according to plan, because that always happens.

bayeux france

Normandy, France

This trip was actually booked back in 2014, so it’s 99% going to happen. We bought train tickets online two months ago to Paris, since they were practically giving them away. Almost immediately after booking, we started thinking that Paris may be a bit too busy and hectic for Holly to handle. And since Julia and I have each been there before, why not go to Normandy, as we both have really wanted to go there for a long time. We will be breezing into Paris on the 3.5 hour Thalys train from Amsterdam, picking up a rental car, and then heading straight out to Normandy. Well, we may go down to the Eiffel tower and get a picture of Holly in front of it though before we leave, because, you know.

I am really looking forward to paying my respects and “learning things” at the D-Day Landing Beaches during the day, and then eating some fresh seafood and drinking Normandy Cider at night.

wroclaw poland

Poland

I have Polish heritage, it’s a country I have never been before, it’s not too far from Holland, and apparently dogs are welcomed with open arms. Poland seems like a perfect place to go in the Spring before the summer high season hits. Obviously the classic move is to go to Krakow as it is the most popular destination in Poland, and I imagine we will go there, but I would like to see one or two other places too. Heck, we may even get crazy and go to Warsaw, which as of this writing, I have never seen or heard anything about.

Svaneti Georgia mountains

Georgia (the country)

We’ve been talking about going to Georgia for a while now, and it seems like this summer may be the perfect time to go. I have heard great things about Georgian wine and the food is supposed to be borderline halfway decent, too. The capital city Tbilisi is allegedly Belgrade-esque cool and the Svaneti region pictured above is supposedly dotted with amazing scenery worth the price of admission alone. Speaking of that, prices are relatively cheap in Georgia, so it could be a good place to grab an apartment for a week or two and just take our time seeing the country while the Basset Hound stays in Holland.

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Italy

Try as I might, I can never completely shake a desire to go to Italy off my list, and luckily, Julia feels the same way. We really want to go to Sicily, but since neither of us have ever been to the lakes of Northern Italy (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda) either, we may end up there. I’ve almost gone there a couple times, but was never able to pull it off. I have spent so much time being well behaved inside the Bellagio casino in Vegas, I almost feel like I owe it to them the to see the real Bellagio on Lake Como. Wherever we end up in Italy, it should be fantastic.

Ideally, we’d do a combo of Sicily/Lakes, but I’m guessing we will have to just pick one. If we go up north, I’d love to tie this into maybe a night or two in Torino or Ferrara as they are apparently amazing food spots. Italy seems like a perfect spot for Fall, but who knows.

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Portugal

It may be a stretch to even attempt to squeeze in Portugal, but it came up on both of our lists too, why not chuck it up here. I would love to go to Porto and sip on some Port wine and watch a sunset from a romantic hilltop apartment (they have those, right?). I’d also love to see some smaller towns along the middle coast of Portugal, as it seems the beaches of the Algarve and Lisbon tend to hog all the attention here.

If we can, we also would love to see some other places in The Netherlands like Utrecht, Delft, the beaches, and maybe even some cute small town with canals and bridges and stuff. Plans could also swerve if we are, cough, lucky enough, cough, to have any family members come and visit.

Well, as they say in the movies …. “that ‘oughta hold us for a while”.

Photo Credits: 1,2,3,4,5