More pictures from Africa

Here are some more pictures from Africa that I’ve had time to process and upload.

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Where The Wild Things Are – My Journey in Africa

 

I was watching with the eyes of a hawk, dreaming of catching a glimpse of that magnificent mane streaked with royal gold, those amber eyes as they gazed imperiously at me. And then, there it was, I finally saw it!

Life’s  got funny way of working out. I started off planning to spend my spring break backpacking Europe, but where did I end up instead? With the flies and mosquitos of Tanzania. How did that happen? Nonsensical Turkish bureaucracy coupled with the fact that my passport counts for jack in the Western world. So I thought to myself, “Hey, Tanzania sounds like fun.”

Fast forward a week, I’m staring over Dar-es-Salaam through the window of an airplane, thinking to myself, “I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing!”

Fast forward another week, and I was thinking to myself, “Holy shit, if I could do that all over again, I would!”

There are some of the products of that one week of madness. Enjoy the photographs, I have tons more that I will continue to post over the next couple of weeks.

 

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I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life, because after Africa, nothing has ever been the same…  – Suzanne Evans

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Albania: A Country The World Forgot

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to go to Albania. Now, I know what you’re thinking because I was thinking the exact same thing. Albania?! Really? Why? But, I didn’t really have a choice. I wanted to go somewhere, and visa issues prevented me from going to anywhere in Europe. Luckily, my US student visa allowed me to visit Albania, so I thought, why not? Honestly, that statement, “why not”, was a microcosm of the whole trip. We traveled with absolutely no plan and no idea of where to go. We google searched Albania and checked the images, and whenever a landscape photograph caught our eye, we looked up where that place was and went there.

One of Albania's many stunning landscape views
One of Albania’s many stunning landscape views

Albania was, in some ways, an illusory country. In the sense that, it seemed like it was completely disconnected from the rest of the world. From the state of the roads and the people we met, I got the impression of a mid-western town in the US that was on the path of industrialization, when suddenly investors decided to up and leave for greener pastures, leaving the inhabitants in a state of perpetual flux, unsure of their position in the grand scheme of things. But, here was the contradictory part. Whereas most midwestern towns in the US are dusty and surrounded by corn fields and flat lands abound all around as far as the eye can see, Albania is surrounded by lush green mountains that encircle the whole country leaving only one side open to the beautiful coast of the Adriatic sea.

Lush green fields constitute a stunning scenery here
Lush green fields constitute a stunning scenery here

People in Albania were also a dichotomy. Some of them were very friendly and willing to help travelers out but most of the people just seemed downright miserable and glared at you with suspicion if you attempted to smile and say hello to them. Given the country’s emergence from a communist dictatorship relatively recently in the mid 90’s, it still seems to be coming to grips with itself. Most young people are without a job and a lot of people just spend their time sitting around doing absolutely nothing except drinking tea and smoking cigarettes.

But, I will say this. Despite how odd the country appears to be and no matter how surly most of the people were, the landscape and scenery you can see there more than makes up for it.

Blue waters, green mountains, skies with the right amount of cloud to them. What more can you ask for?
Blue waters, green mountains, skies with the right amount of cloud to them. What more can you ask for?

Traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller

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Thanks for reading!

Turkey, one instance of stillness at a time

I’ve been on a study abroad for the last two months in Istanbul, and it’s been an absolutely incredible experience. Istanbul is a unique city in almost every regard. Istanbul is a contradiction of every ideal you could imagine, the place where the East and West battle it out and neither could ever emerge supreme. Where fundamentalism and moderatism have an understanding. It’s only here that you could absorb Ottoman culture and learn about this once great empire founded on Islam while sipping on an ice cold beer.

But, one thing about Istanbul that is irrevocably true is that it is one of the most photogenic and picturesque place in the world. And I’ve been documenting the chaos of Istanbul and Turkey over the past few weeks. Hope you enjoy it!

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul

-Alphonse de Lamartine

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Roads to Take, Places to Go

Okay, I know I’ve been quiet for a while on this blog but I want to talk about my plans for the coming Spring Break and what I plan to do. So, seeing as I have 12 days (14 days if I push skipping classes in school (which I probably will)), my plan it go hit Europe backpacking. Now, I don’t want to go see the big cities as is usually the case. I want to go travel and explore the smaller towns and the countryside of Europe. I met up with an Italian friend of mine and he gave me some pretty solid advice. Now, keep in mind that I always over-romanticize stuff in my head and try to do too much so this is still a tentative list. But, if this works out… oh, man!

1) The Eye in Budapest

Okay, so since I’m in Istanbul right now, first stop would be Budapest. The most European of European cities. Stop here for a day, take in the sights, hit all the museums I can and basically try to take in the culture of this wondrous city.

2) Art, music, love, lights. It's got it all.

Next stop will be Vienna (hopefully!). I’ve heard so much and read so much about the art scene in Vienna. I can’t wait to see the architecture of the cathedrals with the massive domed ceilings, be amazed by the handiwork of Jasper John’s and just sit back and take in this wondrous, illuminated city at night.

3) That tower though!

Elegance. Grit. Two sides, one city. My friend who’s helping me plan this trip is from Bologna so he absolutely insisted I go here. The Asinelli tower in Bologna gives you a 360 degree view of the entire city. That’s some Assassin’s Creed shit right there. Apparently this is a city that is very student friendly, packed with bars, pubs and cafes. Good way to start off the Italian leg of my journey.

4) The Cradle of Renaissance

This is one of the cities I’m most excited to see. Like I’ve already mentioned in this post, I hopelessly romanticize stuff and that never helps but every time I hear the name Florence mentioned, it evokes such strong reactions in me. Like I imagine a river canal running through a city with old buildings whose walls are lined with white flowers that are growing off of branches which are creeping along the old stone walls of this magnificent city. Truly excited to see this marvel.

5)

La beautè de la France is up next. I intend to take a train across the south coast of France and try to take a look at three big cities on this coast, Marseille, Monaco and Montpellier. All three absolutely wonderful in their own right and each one with a very different cultural and scenic perspective.

Time permitting, I would love to go and see Bordeaux and the dune la Pilat on the west coast of France, but that seems like it would be a little bit out of the way.

6)

Spain is a country I have always wanted to see, more for it’s rich football heritage (a sport I’m a huge fan of), but this will still be a great opportunity to soak up the Sun and just kick back and relax and take in the sights. I want to go to Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga here. I’m definitely going to keep trying to get off at random points to take in the sights but these are the main places.

7) Lisbon

This is a city that I’m not a 100% convinced will be worth seeing. I’ve only put it on here because my friend told me I absolutely had to go there because it was one of the most beautiful cities he’d seen. To be quite frank, I don’t really know too much about Lisbon but here’s hoping it’s a good time there.

8)

Now, here’s a bit of a dilemma. I won’t be able to do both Berlin and Munich. Although, to be quite fair given my time constraint of two weeks, I won’t be able to do half the cities on this tour. But, I think I’d rather see Berlin than Munich the first time around because it’s supposed to be more of a cultural center and also because it will make it easier to get to…

9) Amsterdam

Now, I know this is a bit of a stereotype that people in Netherlands spend all their time high. And one that was quashed by a Dutch friend of mine for me. But goddammit, I can’t wait to get to Amsterdam and get high as balls and take a bicycle ride through the countryside. I’m really excited about this! Of course, I also do want to go through the museums and art galleries and nightlife Amsterdam has to offer but I love smoking up outdoors and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

Well, there you have it. My list of places I want to see and things I want to do on my first time backpacking through Europe. Now, I know this list seems unrealistic for two weeks and it is. This is just a “bucket list”, a list of places I’d love to do if I had the time. I’m so excited for it to get started though!

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I want to make memories all over the world

Pamukkale, Ephesus and Izmir

Well, here are some more photos from my adventures in Turkey. I had the chance to go see Izmir, Pamukkale and Ephesus which are absolutely beautiful places. They are pretty big touristic attractions but places like this almost always have a side that you would never have imagined. They will always show you a new facet of their nature.

I saw some absolutely incredible things on this trip, especially on Ephesus. From going wine tasting in the lovely village of Sirince to enjoying the hot springs of Pamukkale and finally the beautiful town of Izmir, this trip had it all. The village of Sirince really was something else. One of the most charming places I’ve ever seen and filled with some of the friendliest faces. Stores selling wine are more than happy to welcome you into their establishment and offer you a taste of some of the most beautiful fruit wines. But, the one thing that Sirince has to offer above all else, is an absolutely beautiful view. It quite literally took our breath away.

We also visited the house of the Virgin Mary and while there I saw what is called the Wall of Wishes. It’s where people write down their deepest desires on a piece of paper and tie it up on the wall. Apparently, those wishes come true. Magical!

Adventure is worthwhile

Bodrum – The Town of Many Sides

Me and my roommate decided to take a trip to Bodrum two weekends ago. We didn’t really know what to expect except what we saw off of google images. And we were absolutely blown away by the place. It was a tiny little town that had a population of about a few thousand people when it isn’t summer. It’s a completely different town now that it’s not filled with people and provides a completely different view.

Although, I’ve realized while traveling that you’ll meet the oddest people no matter where you go when you’re traveling. People who do the oddest things, people who have fallen off the grid and realize they enjoy it more than running on the rails of the grid with everyone else.

Okay, that’s enough talking. I’m going to let my pictures do more of the talking now.


Wherever you go, go with all your heart