On the way to the Sahara desert, we made a brief stop at the Ait-Ben-Haddou UNESCO site. The site is recognized as a great example of a ksar, a collection of earthen dwellings built behind defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers. At one time, the village was part of a thriving commercial trading route between the Sudan and Marrakesh. Today however, the site has been abandoned except for tourists, hawkers selling their wares, and the film industry. The guides make sure to let you know that the movie Gladiator and scenes in The Game of Thrones were filmed here.
My Sahara Desert experience was hosted by Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps. All content is my own.
The historic west Texas towns of Terlingua and Lajitas share a common location as gateway towns for both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Though only fifteen minutes apart, their personalities are as distinct as their heritage. On my recent visit, I found that both towns are very much a reflection of their historic cemeteries: Terlingua is wild and woolly while Lajitas is more sedate and proper.
“Please. Come into my shop. Let me show you what I have. I will make you a good deal”. This was the constant litany that accosted us as we wandered the narrow lanes in historic Stone Town. But I wasn’t interested just in shopping. What I was really on the hunt for was to see the famous carved Zanzibar doors.
Barns and quilts. Both of these represent unique aspects of America’s traditional farming heritage. Today, old barns and old quilts are lovingly preserved as a link to a slowly disappearing lifestyle. What better way to foster awareness of America’s legacy and history than a Quilt Barn (or Barn Quilt) Trail through the rural landscape.
Enjoying a hamam, or Turkish bath in Istanbul is a unique experience in Turkey. I wanted to try it on my first visit to Istanbul, but to do so, I would have to set aside my inhibitions about being seen naked by strangers. Could I do that?
Paris has the Palace of Versailles. Vienna has the Hofburg Palace. London has Buckingham Palace. In Istanbul, it is Topkapi Palace that was the opulent home to the Sultan rulers of the Ottoman Empire and their female entourage for almost 400 years. Learn about what went on behind the walls of the Topkapi Palace harem.
To step through the door into Hagia Irene in Istanbul is to step through a time portal back to fourth century Constantinople. Before the more famous Hagia Sofia was built, Hagia Irene served as the main church for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Irene also served as a model for the construction of the Hagia Sofia next door.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful and famous mosques in Istanbul around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
There is no doubt that the city of Istanbul is steeped in thousands of years of history – history that can still be touched today. Sitting beneath modern city streets that are teeming with pedestrian, automobile and tram traffic, a walk through the underground space of the Basilica Cistern is an opportunity to physically experience a world that existed 1500 years ago.
Take a walk along Dubai Creek and explore its two sides to find remnants of Dubai old town. It is along the shores of Dubai Creek that the area was settled in the 1830’s, and it is here where I was able to still find some examples of traditional Dubai. On the south side of the creek is the Bur Dubai neighborhood where I explored the Al Fahidi Historical area, the Dubai Museum and the Bur Dubai Souq. Then, after taking a ride across the creek on a traditional abra to the northern Deira side, I explored the exotic Spice and Gold Souqs.