Travel Update

It’s April 22 and I am almost ready to launch my revised photo website. I am excited about this because my current site is really stalled in 2011, and I want to add photos and comment from an exciting trip to West Africa ( Ghana, Togo, Benin) in December 2011 and January, 2012, as well as other places listed below and visited recently.

In 2012 We made our first extensive visit to Hawaii, spending 6 weeks on Maui, Molokai, the Big Island, and Kauai. Hardly new territory for many people, but i did try to get to some out-of-the-way places ( by Hawaii standards) .Somewhat more exotic was a month in little-visited Bangladesh, a land with few visitors, interesting , welcoming people, and fascinating tribal traditions in the Chittagong hills.This was followed by another month in Burma (Myanmar), just recently opened (or, at least part of the country is now open again)It was particularly interesting for Alison and I to return to Burma after a short visit to the country in 1980. at that time one could only get a 7 day visa, and travel was slow and difficult. We did return to Bagan, which we had first seen in 1980, and noted a vast increase in number of tourists and tremendous changes in tourist infrastructure with many hotels and restaurants now existing in a place that we remembered as having a very few homestay-style lodgings and not much in the way of eating establishments.

In fall of 2013 we visited Yunnan province in southern China. this trip was highlighted by an 8 day challenging (for us) trek through mountains along the Yangtze river. This area is home to a number of ethnic groups living traditional subsistence farming or fishing lives, mostly outside the mainstream of modern Chinese life.The countryside is beautiful, as are the people.After 3 weeks in China we spent a month in Sri Lanka, a jewel of a place, with some lovely beaches, exquisite Buddhist monuments. the country is still recovering from the ravages of a horrific civil war, which was finally concluded in 2010 or so, and the effects of the horrendous tsunami which devestated many parts of asia a few years ago.

Last year, 2014, Alison and I decided we should put our Italian lessons to the test by spending a few weeks in a part of Italy where few foreign visitors venture. We chose Matera, a small city in the province of Basilicata,near the “instep” of the boot of Italy. Basilicata has traditionally been the poorest region in Italy, and in Matera many people lived in caves until the 1960s, living hardscrabble lives. Matters have improved in Matera but many of the small villages in this mountainous area remain very poor, although we were pleasantly surprised at the the warm reception we received in these isolated villages. Our fairly terrible Italian was both necessary and appreciated as we drove from village to village in our rented Smart Car. Good Friday in Matera was interesting, as a statue of the Virgin was carried through town with a stop in front of every church.We did spend another week or so in more -visited cities such as Venice, Verona, and Padua but our 3 weeks in Matera and surrounding area was the highlight.From Italy we made our first trip to Berlin, and logged many, many hours in the wonderful museums ( 12 museums, 14 days!!).

Most recently we were in Argentina for 6 weeks, and spent an additional 3 weeks on a 100 passenger ship travelling to Falkland Islands( Las Malvinas as the Argentinians call these islands), South Georgia Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula.What an opportunity for lovers of nature, and lovers of photography. Antarctica went beyond our expectations, and Argentina had everything- the best beef in the world, excellent wine, fabulous scenery, and lively and generous people.

So, it is time now to get some of the photographs from these recent adventures uploaded and available to be shared with you. I am on it !!