Turkey 2012

Visiting Turkey; Istanbul and Ephesus in 2012

Turkey 2012 Turkey 2012

Vietnam & Bangkok 2009

Vietnam & Bangkok- 17 days July 2009

Vietnam & Bangkok 2009 Vietnam & Bangkok 2009

Morocco 2012

Morocco; Marrakech, Fez, Volubilis, Meknes and Casablanca in October of 2012

Morocco 2012 Morocco 2012

Japan 2011

Sushi, Shrines and Shinkansen; 8 Days in Tokyo and Kyoto in April 2011

Japan 2011 Japan 2011

Rome 2009

Mozzarella, Museums & Macchiato; A Week in Rome, October 2009

Rome 2009 Rome 2009
Post image for What’s new on wired2theworld? Cambodia, Burma, London, China and Italy, oh my!

I’m behind on blog posts. Like really, really, behind on writing about the wonderful places we’ve been in the last year. But I’d like to change that so I’m putting it out there, making it public, in the hopes I’ll be publicly shamed encouraged enough to finish in less time than it took me to write about our last trip, to Peru (which took an entire year!).

So what’s up and coming? I’m not sure where to begin, but this is where we’ve been in the last 12 months:

In July 2014 David and I went to Cambodia and Burma for two weeks. We spent time with the Ponheary Ly Foundation, visited Koh Ker school, stayed at the feels-like-home Seven Candles Guesthouse, spent a night at a village guesthouse in Srayang, and trekked though the jungle near Koh Ker visiting temples most tourists never see (like the one below).

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From there we flew to Burma, visiting the temples along the plains of Bagan, stayed in an over water bungalow on Inle Lake, and ended the trip prowling the streets of Yangon, searching out street food and exploring the crumbling architecture, all while happily ensconced in colonial splendor of the Strand Hotel.

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Over Christmas week 2014, we flew to London to spend the week with David’s family in a London suburb called Chiswick. Even though a lot of sightseeing and transportation options were closed for the holidays, we still managed to visit Greenwich and the British Mueseum, go on two London walking tours, visit the castle at Hampton Court, explore the Chiswick neighborhood, eat in several pubs, and celebrate Christmas by cooking a roast of beef and a goose! On our last day we journeyed to Oxford to visit friends before flying home.

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In April 2015, my mother and I spent a week split between Hong Kong and Shanghai which included an overnight train trip between the two. Both cities are extremely modern and frenetic, but we were also able to get out to nature on Lantau Island off Hong Kong and see one of the world’s largest sitting buddhas. We had a room with a million dollar view (below) and a “budget” price, and ate delicious dim sum. The overnight train trip to Shanghai was quite the experience and a lot of fun.

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Shanghai had both great cocktails with an amazing view, and the best dumplings in the world for just pennies. We saw a touristy “water town”, ate street food for breakfast, stared at modern art, and walked through the Sunday marriage market in People’s Square. There were temples, and towers and plenty of markets, oh my!

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Then there’s the next trip; in July David and I will head to Italy to celebrate our upcoming 20 year wedding anniversary, hitting some of the same highlights we did on our honeymoon and making new memories. We’ll start in the small Tuscan town of Pienza, spend a night next to Pompeii, move on to the Amalfi Coast and end in one of our favorite cities, Rome.

Looking at all that, I’m exhausted! No wonder I can’t find the time to write. But we’ve been blessed with a fantastic 12 months of travel and I’m going to do my best to get back to work on sharing it.

Here’s what I’d like to know from you; do you prefer to read about trips in order in which they occurred, or does it not matter, just as long as there’s something to read. If it doesn’t matter, let me know if you have a preference as to what you’d like to read about first.

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Lima Mercado de Surquillo and Historical District

by wired2theworld on April 6, 2015

Post image for Lima Mercado de Surquillo and Historical District

On our last day in Lima we walked from the hotel to the Mercado de Surquillo at the corner of Avenida Paseo de la Republica and Narciso de la Colina. If you’re staying in Miraflores and enjoy wandering food markets this one is well worth the stop.

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From the market we took a bus to the historical center and walked around. The main cathedral was closed, but lovely from the outside.

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The buildings surrounding the main square were all colonial and beautifully preserved.

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It wasn’t planned but we happened to pass by the Gastronomy Museum which is right near the main square, so of course, we had to go inside. There are tons of interesting exhibits on the food of Peru, but this version of the Last Supper with Jesus presiding of a meal of cuy (guinea pig) might just win.

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Below, so that’s what quinoa looks like when it grows…

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After the museum we had lunch at T’anta and then walked around a little more, eventually ending up at the Cathedral de San Francisco where there are catacombs.

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Below, the Cathedral de San Franciso, below which there are catacombs. In order to see them, you must go on a tour and we were not allowed to take photos. It’s interesting but I have to say my claustrophobia kicked in when I realized we were under ground, in an earthquake prone region, in an area filled with thousands of human bones. Yeah, that.

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Lima Dining; Alfresco, Maido and T’anta

March 4, 2015

Lima is quickly becoming one of the gastronomic capitals of the world. We only had a day and a half and I wanted to make it count. I’d done a lot of research on where to eat and I had big plans for a ceviche-a-thon. It all seemed to go out the window once we arrived and realized how far apart everything was (the city is HUGE), and it was complicated by the fact that we were there on a holiday weekend (Easter) and many places were closed.

We arrived in the early afternoon and looking for a place nearby for lunch, went to a restaurant called Alfresco based on the recommendation of the concierge. While it’s clearly a popular place, we weren’t especially impressed with the food though perhaps we picked the wrong things; a couple ceviches and cocktails were about $40. Again, we felt our choices were limited.

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For dinner we went to the critically acclaimed restaurant Maido, which if it doesn’t have a Michelin Star, it should. This place is Japanese-Peruvian fusion done with flair and everything we tasted made sense. It wasn’t forced. The chef, Mitsuharu Tsumura, is Peruvian born of Japanese descent,  and trained in the US and Japan before returning to Peru. We did the Nikki Experience; this was a 15 course, splash out meal. I’ve eaten in restaurants of this caliber all over the world, and the tab, while pricey, was well valued and probably 40% less than a similar meal would cost in Los Angeles, Paris, or London. David had a beverage tasting to go with each course and it was very well thought out, ranging from local beers and peruvian fermented corn drink, to sake, to cocktails with Pisco, to South American wines.

The menu was presented on a …

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Lima Peru; Parque Kennedy and Parque de Amor

March 2, 2015
Thumbnail image for Lima Peru; Parque Kennedy and Parque de Amor

We only had a day and a half on arrival to Lima from Cusco and we tried to make the most of it. But Lima is much larger than we expected and getting around isn’t that easy unless you rely on taxis, we we don’t really like. Lima reminds me a lot of Los Angeles, both in climate and proximity to the ocean, and in the fact that it’s very spread out.

For our transfer from the airport to the hotel we used a service called Taxidatum. I think it’s like Uber in that you’re picked up by someone in a private car and driven to your destination for a flat rate. It was $20 from the airport to the hotel and the service worked so well, we booked the return to the airport online the next day.

We stayed in the Miraflores neighborhood at the Sheraton Four Points. The hotel is perfectly fine, in a really good location (for Miraflores) and we were given breakfast with our Cash + Points room rate. The hotel is within walking distance of the ocean and the Parque Kennedy and has access to decent public transportation. There’s also a grocery store nearby which is handy for snack and Pisco purchases.

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We had lunch at a local restaurant (dining will be detailed in a later post) and then walked down the road to the ocean and checked out the view which very much reminded me of Santa Monica and the Parque de Amor with its famous statue.

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On the way back to the hotel we went to the Parque Kennedy, well known for its abandoned cat population. These cats seemed far from feral, and most had learned how to beg for food from the park visitors. As much as I love cats, it …

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Eating and Drinking in Cusco Peru

February 14, 2015
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We ate (and drank!) very well in Cusco. There’s no shortage of decent restaurants and bars, especially those catering to tourists. But don’t feel that you have to spend a ton of money; one of my favorite meals was in the Mercado and cost us all of about $2 for a giant bowl of chicken soup. That said, craft cocktails, especially those with Pisco in them, are available in force on many menus, and go well beyond the pisco sour.

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Address: Portal de Carnes 154, Cusco, Peru

This was our first meal in Cusco, a late lunch, and while it was nothing special in terms of food, it was decent and the view of the main square cannot be beat. Lunch was about $20.

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Chicken Soup in the Mercado San Pedro

If you see this woman making chicken soup in the market, eat there. That is all.

Actually, a bit more…There are probably ten stalls in the market selling chicken soup, but hers was the one with the most patrons. That says a lot. There was a wait for a seat on one of the two benches and when two opened up right in front of her, she told someone trying to cut in line to let the tourists sit.

We each got a big bowl of Caldo de Pollo for about $2. The broth is fragrant and flavorful, and the vegetables are cooked in it and pulled out along with whole chickens when tender. Pasta of varying shapes and sizes is dumped into the simmering broth. When you order, she takes a big cleaver and hacks apart the bird, tossing chunks into the bowl with vegetables and a ladle or two of the broth with the pasta.Cusco Dining02

Limo
Address: Portal de Carnes 236, Cusco, Peru

This place …

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Walking Around Cusco

January 17, 2015
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We didn’t do too much sightseeing in Cusco. First, we only had about a day and a half in the city and second, I pretty much felt like I could not catch my breath the entire time we were there. I found myself really looking forward to getting back to sea level once we returned to Lima. This was a bit odd to me because I didn’t really feel this way at the higher elevations we visited in the Sacred Valley, some of them well over Cusco’s 11,800 foot elevation.

On our first day there we didn’t arrive until mid afternoon, had lunch, then had to deal with a bit of a hotel glitch so all we did was walk around the Plaza de Armas area a bit. We’d wanted to visit some of the churches but many were closed for Holy Week (the week before Easter). Also, we were a bit put off my steep entrance fees to the main Cathedral (almost $10). Fortunately, the next evening we were able to go inside during a service open to the public and part of the Easter Week celebration of the Stations of the Cross procession. We even got to hear the choir sing which was wonderful.

On day two we visited the central market and the Museo de Sitio del Qoricancha (covered by the bolleto touristico) where we could not take photos inside. Still, it was very interesting to see the history of the Inca there in the small rooms under a park in the city center.

 

 

We also walked around the San Blas neighborhood taking in its views and funky vibe and stopping for a beer in a small hostel with a fantastic view. This is a neighborhood filled with youth hostels and hippie kids …

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Mercado San Pedro, Cusco Peru

October 25, 2014
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If a town has a market, you know we’ll be there.

On the morning of our second day in Cusco we got up fairly early and headed out toward the Mercado San Pedro, Cusco’s central market, where any and all manner of foodstuffs are sold. This is my kind of market; not only can you find the raw product; eggs, vegetables, meats, fish, but there are plenty of stalls selling prepared foods to eat there or take away. We were so entranced by all the chicken soup stalls that we decided to come back later for lunch (which will be covered in a later post about dining in Cusco).

Warning: if you are the type who is squeamish about things like pictures of pig’s heads you might not want to scroll down too far. Or maybe go really, really fast past them….

If you find yourself in Cusco, and are ready for something other than stones and ruins, get yourself on over there, you won’t be disappointed. It’s only about a 5 or 6 block walk from the main square.

They say a photo is worth 1000 words so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves….

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The Road to Cusco; Of Llamas And Stones

October 20, 2014
Thumbnail image for The Road to Cusco; Of Llamas And Stones

For our last day in the sacred valley we hired Percy to take us to Cusco by car with stops at various sites along the way, combining transportation and sightseeing. As I said in the post about Pisac, knowing what I know now, I would have scheduled Pisac for this day, and perhaps skipped the stops at Tambomachay and Pukapukara. That would have saved us a couple of hours in the car the day before and allowed for more relaxation. All of the entrances to the ruins were covered under our Bolleto Touritstico Pass.

Our first stop was at a cultural center clearly set up for tourists but it was interesting nonetheless. There were several large pens with all the different pack/wool/meat animals in the region including llamas, alpacas, vicunas, all of which could be hand-fed grasses. There were people demonstrating weaving and exhibits about how the various natural dyes are made and examples of the hundreds of types of potatoes and corn grown in the area. Worth a stop. No cost (unless you buy souvenirs) and they have clean restrooms.


The next stop were the sites of Tambomachay and Pukapukara which are across the road from one another. Tambomachay, also known as Los Banos del Inca (the baths of the Inca) is the home of a freshwater spring and most likely used for ceremonies by priests and royalty, rather than public bathing. Water still flows today.

 

Across the road is Pukapukara which has a stunning view of the valley from the top of the site.

Pukapukara is thought to be a fortress or a resting place for travelers on the way from the Sacred Valley to Cusco as it sits right on an ancient pathway between the two.

The next stop, Q’enqo, gave us our first look …

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