Alaska – The Sea

    In Homer, Alaska there are T-shirts and hats with these words printed in block letters:          “A Small Drinking Village with a Big Fishing Problem”. Much of the town exists on a spit five miles from the mainland. Old fisherman saloons and new, generic box houses line the scape of snowcapped mountains rising out of the ocean. It is truly an unusual place. We spent a brief amount of time in Homer then jumped on the Gizmo and made the trip to Halibut Cove. In our nine days in Alaska my friends and I spent a much of our time on the water fishing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding. These photographs are my homage to our time on the Alaskan sea. Alaska_post_01 Alaska_post_02 Alaska_post_03 Alaska_post_04 Alaska_post_05 Alaska_post_06 Alaska_post_07 Alaska_post_08 Alaska_post_09 Alaska_post_10 Alaska_post_11 Alaska_post_12 Alaska_post_13 Alaska_post_14

Val Rosandra

Trieste_01On my last day in Italy I rode a bus into the mountains and debarked at a stop in the Val Rosandra Nature Reserve, moderately far from any signs of civilization. Unable to find directions in English, I asked a few climbers along the way and they were more than helpful. The canyon was breathtaking with it’s silvery trees and golden riverbed, home to a thin emerald line of water winding below the steep rocky trail. I reached the road in Rosandra just before sunset, starving, and lucky enough to find a delicious, modestly priced café. I accidentally bought something with meat in it. I didn’t care, I ate it anyway. The bus ride back to Trieste was an introspective one. I spent the last few hours before my train to Prague napping by the water. Trieste_02 Trieste_03  Trieste_06 Trieste_07Trieste_08 Trieste_09 Trieste_10 Trieste_11 Trieste_12 Trieste_13  Trieste_16 Trieste_17

Slovenia & Italia

Slovenia_Post01
Slovenia stole my heart. The all-night train from Belgrade traversed Croatia in darkness then eased into Slovenia as the sun rose. I leaned out the window and let the cold March air touch my face as the train wound through along the breathtaking Sava river. When I arrived in Ljubljana I had hardly sleep, but I was too restless to stay in my hostel. I walked around the quaint city for 2 hours, enthralled with the inventive architecture and brightly painted exteriors. In the center of town sits a local market complete with a milk dispensing machine that is refilled every 4 hours with fresh, unpasteurized milk from a nearby farm. That night I went out by myself to a bar on the outskirts of town nicknamed the “Graffiti Bar”. It was worth the walk. I befriended a small group of Slovenians who whole-heartedly adopted me for the night. We drank Lasko and “Bear Blood”, danced inside and played music outside around the bonfire till 4am.

Slovenia_Post02 Slovenia_Post03   The next day I left for Lake Bled, a haven known as The Jewel of Slovenia. The name is not an exaggeration. The calm beauty of Bled was unparalleled on this trip. Abound with castles, placid water, and stunning views of the Alps, Bled was the kind of place I’d like to return to and stay a while. The 20 Czech hockey players in my hostel added an edge to the experience. I was talked into joining them for a late-night visit to the casino, which turned out being somewhat lucrative for me at the blackjack table. They were a rowdy bunch of characters if I’ve ever seen one. Undoubtedly a loving bunch. Slovenia_Post04 Slovenia_Post05 Slovenia_Post06My next move was the Alpe Adia. The hike was primarily in nature, but it ended in the Italian port town of Trieste. Trieste is not a tourist town. I hardly met a soul who spoke English, and after days of hiking, I was used to minimal conversing. These two kind men below picked me up hitch-hiking over the Italian border from Slovenia. I’d veered from the trail and was nowhere close to the town I was supposed to be in. They laughed at my story and decided that I would go to lunch at a pizzeria with them and they would take me to San Lorenzo. In a patchwork version of Italian, Spanish and English, they told me about their grandchildren and asked about my parents, my travels, and my work. I was informed that I was their granddaughter for the day, and that if I needed anything while I was in the region I was to call or email them. When they dropped me off in San Lorenzo I was strangely glad I had gotten lost. 

Slovenia_Post15Slovenia_Post07 Slovenia_Post08 Slovenia_Post09 Slovenia_Post10Slovenia_Post11 Slovenia_Post12 Slovenia_Post13 Slovenia_Post14  Slovenia_Post16 Slovenia_Post17 Slovenia_Post18 Slovenia_Post19 Slovenia_Post20

Belgrade

Belgrad_01        In Belgrád, Emilia and I met up with Sonja, another friend made in India last year. The three of us became close during our six week training course and the trip to Agra that we made upon it’s completion. It had been a year and two months, and it was heart-warming to hear Sonja’s exuberant voice. Her friends were lovely people, and the city had an openness to it that made me I fall in love with Belgrád in the two days that I spent there.Belgrad_02 Belgrad_03Belgrad_09 Belgrad_10Belgrad_04 Belgrad_05 Belgrad_06  Extra-3Belgrad_08   Belgrad_11  Belgrad_13Extra-1Belgrad_14Belgrad_16

Hungary: Our last day

Budapest_Last01  On my last day in Hungary Emilia took me to the “tourist market” where we abstained from purchasing anything, and simply observed. We had done our shopping already at a more traditional market where I tried all kinds of Hungarian treats like Lángos: essentially fried dough with fresh garlic and my favorite, Pogácsa: a scrumptious bite sized biscuit with cheese and often potato mixed into the dough. About two hours outside of Budapest we stopped in the smaller city of Szeged, which was comparatively quaint and busting with students from the University. Szeged is famous for it’s Halászlé, otherwise known as Fishermen’s Soup. At the best restaurant in town, we split a large bowl of the delicious scarlet colored soup. The waiter gave us large red bibs, which I donned unabashedly after Amelia explained the tradition. Still in sight of the Serbian border, Emilia and I switched seats, and I entered a Eastern Europe country in the drivers seat for the first time. Budapest_Last02Budapest_Last02 Budapest_Last03 Budapest_Last05Budapest_Last04    Budapest_Last07Budapest_Last09Budapest_Last08Budapest_Last11Budapest_Last14Budapest_Last12Budapest_Last13Budapest_Last17Budapest_Last15Budapest_Last18Budapest_Last16

Buda & Pest

Buda&pest_Post01  I didn’t know there were 2 sides. Buda came thousands of years before Pest. Buda has History, Pest is Fashionable. While Buda was Roman, with Prestige and violence abound, Pest was Agrarian, still growing up.                                                                                                            It is a separation of Young and Old, assigned existence on their respective sides of the Danube. I was told the older, more refined part of town was superior.   I disagreed. The Young, wild side captured my heart by a mile.                                                                                                That wasn’t the first time. I doubt it’s the last.

Budapest_redo-2 Buda&pest_Post03 Buda&pest_Post04 Buda&pest_Post05 Buda&pest_Post06 Buda&pest_Post07 Buda&pest_Post08 Buda&pest_Post09 Buda&pest_Post10 Buda&pest_Post11 Buda&pest_Post12 Buda&pest_Post13 Buda&pest_Post15 Buda&pest_Post14 Buda&pest_Post16 Buda&pest_Post17 Buda&pest_Post18 Buda&pest_Post19 Buda&pest_Post20 Budapest_redo-1

Darjeeling my Darling

Darjeeling01

Darjeeling My Darling is the name of a poem Katie, Darjeeling’s biggest fan, wrote about her favorite place.

     When we arrived in Darjeeling it felt like someone had taken a weight off our shoulders. It was relief in a place akin to a ski town in our jostled minds. People were nice, and unobtrusive, we bundled up in wool scarves and socks and drank hot tea with views of snow capped K3 out the window. While we were there we went trekking and unknowingly embarked for Nepal, we paraglided off  the side of a mountain, we saw the town from a new perspective on a cable ride with Caroline and the Aussies boys. We spent Thanksgiving there, and I didn’t expect to do anything in honor of the strange holiday, but I ended up enjoying it more than many years previous. An American, three Canadians, two Australians, and one Brit, we had a delicious Indian dinner and a hot toddy or two and went around the table saying what we were thankful for. Some said the beer, I said I was thankful to be traveling in India and to have met such amazing people to share my travels with.

Darjeeling02

Darjeeling03

Darjeeling04

Darjeeling05

Darjeeling06

Darjeeling07

Darjeeling08

Darjeeling09

Darjeeling10

Darjeeling11

Darjeeling12

Darjeeling13

Darjeeling14

Darjeeling15

Darjeeling16

Darjeeling17

Darjeeling18

Darjeeling20

Darjeeling21

Darjeeling22

Darjeeling23

Darjeeling24

Kurseong

Kurseong01

     These images were taken at the Kurseong Macaiberry Organic Tea factory. It was an off season, so the place was a bit desolate. The quiet machines made for a semi-poetic stillness as we walked through the dusty rooms. There were a few men and women still at work, but the place was settling into the winter months when the Pekoe blooms are left untouched. The later pictures are of the family I stayed with in Kurseong. The young girl’s name is Shinju, which her father told me means Lotus in Nepali. She was quite a little character, always running into out room looking for the “makeup,” that we never wore.

Kurseong02

Kurseong03

Kurseong04

Kurseong05

Kurseong06

Kurseong07

Kurseong08

Kurseong10

Kurseong11

Kurseong12

Kurseong13

Kurseong14

Kurseong15

Kurseong16

Kurseong17

Kurseong18

Kurseong20

Kurseong21

Varanasi

Varanasi_river01

View of the burning ghats from a rowboat. 

       Varanasi, the place where people come to die. In the narrow streets bodies covered with colorful silk, lined with carnations and roses are carried past on the shoulders of their male relatives. I stopped walking outside the break in the wall, where men weigh the massive pieces of scented wood they use to build funeral pyres. Just past the gates, where photography is prohibited, are the cremation ghats, steps to the river laden with burning bodies. Varanasi is the Hindu capital of India. It is said that if you die on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, you are absolved of sin, and your soul is released from Maya, the painful cycle of death and rebirth. It was a very intense city, the air weighs down on your body in a different way. I avoid the subject of death. In Varanasi, death confronts you. It is natural, not something to be overlooked or dressed up, just the end of maya, the end of pain.

Varanasi_river02

Varanasi_river03

Varanasi_river04

Varanasi_river05

Varanasi_river06

Varanasi_river07

Varanasi_river08

Varanasi_river09

Varanasi_river10

Varanasi_river11

Varanasi_river12

Varanasi_river13

Varanasi_river14

Varanasi_river15

Varanasi_river16

Varanasi_river17

Varanasi_river18

Varanasi_river19

Varanasi_river20

Varanasi_river21

Varanasi_river22

Varanasi_river23

Varanasi_river24