Travelers Roundtable

Author: Kevin Revolinski

I had already gotten a full dose of the natural beauty and adventure along the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. But if I had to choose my favorite moment, it had to be the single activity in which I was not a participant but a spectator.

An hour after coming ashore, I am climbing brick stairs that are warped with wear from the elements and the bare feet of the faithful over several hundred years.

While one could spend an eternity exploring the rich layers of culture and history in Istanbul, what lies deeper into Anatolia is equally wondrous. If you have the time, perhaps just an extra week, there are a couple places you can try to work into your itinerary.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear Mardi Gras, I think drunken revelry and “show us yer boobs!” A driver in Trinidad once told me the ladies’ Carnival costumes could be picked up in a small envelope. In Rio, maybe just stapled to a postcard. In other words, not exactly a family event. If you want something a bit less racy but no less fun and exotic, consider getting whacked in the streets of Sicily.

If Jordan had a calling card in the tourism industry, it would most likely be The Treasury. The rosy-colored, rock-cut star of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra had a film career (Indiana Jones anyone?) that tickled the imaginations of moviegoers around the world and brought the archaeological park to worldwide recognition. The Treasury is, in fact, not a treasury, but likely a tomb–we don’t know for sure–built by the Nabataeans, but the real treasury of Jordan is much[…]

Thailand is underwater. That’s what people think right now with the massive flooding that seems to have been going on for months – since July, in fact. And unless you’re paying close attention, you might not notice how much more there is to see than the flood zone despite its sometimes shocking reaches. The floods started in the north when the rains came quite a bit harder this monsoon season. At that time, places such as Chiang Mai, the lovely[…]

I am the last human being on the island. Dusk is slipping down over the menagerie behind me like a velvet curtain full of sparkling pinholes. The sea lions, the iguanas, the bird colonies take back their home, and I am the last person to board the launch for the ride back to the ship. My fellow travelers and I will talk into the night like excited school children about our amazing first day in the Galapagos Islands. I have[…]

Follow Kevin’s travels on his travel-planning website, The Mad Traveler, featuring many of his articles, photographs, information about his published travel guides, and more. Kevin is the author of 14 books, including Best Tent Camping Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide, and The Yogurt Man Cometh: Tales of an American Turkey in Teacher and Michigan’s Best Beer Guide. His articles and photography have appeared in a variety of publications including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Miami Herald. He has lived abroad in several places including Italy, Guatemala and Panama, but[…]

I’ve been coming to Bangkok since 2006. That year student protests disrupted a couple days of my business trip and a month later there was a nonviolent coup. I was here when Yellow Shirt protestors shut down the international airport for nine days in 2008. During the Red Shirt riots of 2010, I stayed right at the edge of the barricaded zone and rode in a taxi through the burning tire smoke of the military’s deadly, protest-ending crackdown. A devastating[…]

My friends and I pull over to the side of the road where a sign shows a single black line across its center: Sea Level. This real-life travel moment requires an underscore. Here we are surrounded by desert, baked hills of pale dirt and stone too bright in the midday sun to even look at without sunglasses, and yet being led to think of the other 71% of the earth’s surface that is more fish-friendly. We mark the occasion with[…]

  Towering proudly over the Quetzaltenango basin in the highlands of Guatemala is nature’s perfect cone. Santa Maria, a now dormant volcano—one of thirty volcanoes in this country—can be seen from great distances in any direction, thrusting 12,375 feet into the clouds. Anything this prominent, this beautiful, simply demands to be climbed. In fact, Santa Maria is only one of many popular hikes in the highlands. The breathtaking colors and dramatic landscape are perhaps only matched by the rainbow-colors of[…]

Tip and I stood in line to get our three-day passes for Angkor National Park. Once the clock struck five, we purchased the tickets for the following day, yet we were allowed to enter the park that night, essentially for a free sunset. We hired a guide for our first day, and a driver for the rest of the trip. We stood in line with the guide, our passports, and some unnecessary passport photos in hand. “We don’t allow your own pictures[…]

I come up from the subway and a sky as heavy as slate hangs over Kiev, reflecting in the river below and in the puddles as I cross the brick-paved street.

The radio is a constant hiss of static and occasional comments in Swahili and Steve, our driver, keeps it on but seems to ignore it as we bump along a dusty tire-track road. We stop for a herd of Cape buffalo and the five passengers in the van stand at once to shoot photos out the opened rooftop of our Toyota van. Suddenly Steve grabs the mouthpiece and replies, and without even telling us we are moving on, we are[…]