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September 8, 2015

New Zealand’s Heaphy Track – One of the Great Walks!

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New Zealand has some of the world’s best walking tracks (or as they call them in Kiwi land, “tramps”!) and the Heaphy Track is one of them.
It is situated on the north western coast of NZ’s South Island within Kahurangi National Park. You can choose to walk the track over either four or five days. My group did it in 4 days but if I had my time over again I would choose the 5 day option. 78.4 km is a long way!

The Heaphy Track is not a circuit track so you have to consider your transport options in and out. You can walk it from South to North (Kohaihai end to Collingwood end) or North to South (Collingwood to Kohaihai). Sometimes 2 groups of friends will arrange to walk the track from opposite ends, meet in the middle and swap the keys to their cars so that they can both drive out. We drove to Karamea (the small township near Kokaihai) from the city of Christchurch and stayed the night. The next morning we took a helicopter flight to the north-eastern end of the track and then walked the track back down to our car. Of course you can arrange to catch the helicopter to either end.

We walked the track from North to South but on reflection I think South to North would have been preferable. There are two reasons for this. On your first day you are carrying more weight because you are carrying food for 4 days. From the southern Karamea end, the the first day involves walking along a largely flat track up the picturesque coastline. Three of the first day’s highlights are the grove of Nikau, Scott’s Beach and the inlet camp site at the end of the day. However, walking from the northern Collingwood end the first day is mostly uphill through beautiful native bush. I found this quite tough with a full backpack and wished I’d walked from the southern end which would’ve allowed me to ease myself into the hike, as it were.

So we walked 5 hours up through the forest to Perry Saddle Hut and stayed there the first night. The next day was a very long day! It took me about 8 hours to walk across the alpine tussock grasslands of the Gouland Downs to the Mackay Hut. It’s supposed to take 6.5 hours but one of my knees was playing up and causing me pain.
Day 3 involved descending through beautiful bush and then crossing and following the gorgeous Heaphy River out to meet the sea where we stayed our 3rd night at the Heaphy Hut. The final day we walked south along the coastal track through the forest of Rata and Karaka trees and Nikau Palms. There are quite a few swing bridge crossings of streams which can swell into torrents after heavy rain so be careful. There are opportunities to walk along the beach in some places. The sea is breathtakingly beautiful but you should NEVER be tempted to go for a swim – it far too dangerous.

The Heaphy Track is one of the great walks of the world. You get to see such diverse landscapes along the way – beech Forest, alpine tussock grassland, podocarp forest and coastal palm trees. I would love to do it again and next time I would be better prepared. I would do some training beforehand and make sure I had more comfortable boots. I developed blisters on the 3rd day and was a bit of a cripple on the last day which was a shame as it did impair my enjoyment of what otherwise was a spectacular last day. Bring some plasters!

Image by Christoph Strassler under Creative Commons license.

May 6, 2015

Travel Trepidation: Fear and Loathing of New Places

Is “Sarah Palin” on that wall?

The US State Department reports that less than 10 percent of Americans travel abroad each year.  Of that small percentage, most visit Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean.  Generally speaking, Americans just don’t travel internationally.  Let us examine the root of this phenomenon: Fear.

Fear of Headlines

We are told the world is a dangerous place.  Turn on CNN, and you are bombarded with terrifying headlines.  Juárez is a war zone!  You’ll be kidnapped, robbed, or worse.”, they tell us.  “They may force you to watch Mexican soap operas!” The media is so negative, it’s no wonder Wisconsin Dells is packed.

Granted, there are some nasty places in the world, and you shouldn’t dismiss the risks.  I am in no way advocating you hop the next flight to Baghdad.

However, I am advocating you take the “gloom and doom” with a grain of salt.  The world is not as scary as Wolf Blitzer’s furry face would lead you to believe.   In fact, you are probably already taking greater risks in your everyday life.  Consider these violent crime rates ¹:

  • United States:  80.1 per 1,000 people
  • Thailand:  8.8 per 1,000 people
  • Colombia:  4.9 per 1,000 people
  • India:  1.6 per 1,000 people
  • Yemen:  1.2 per 1,000 people

According to the data, you are 50 times more likely to be mugged in Chicago than Yemen.  Yet, I don’t think twice about riding the Green Line or strolling down Michigan Avenue at two o’clock in the morning.  You have to discount these statistics, I admit, as the data are probably skewed from unreported crimes, differing crime-counting methodology, and spotty record keeping.  Even still, you’ll find the vast majority of people make it back relatively unscathed.  With the exception of pick pocketing, most travelers avoid major crimes (Again, such as forced exposure to Maria la del Barrio).

Understand that the headlines are sensationalized, and you cannot let them put you off.  Limit your exposure to high-risk situations and make sensible choices.

Fear of the Unfamiliar

Many hesitate to travel because they are afraid of missing their friends, family, and routine.  We cling to familiarity and resist change at every turn.  Most people solve their fears by frequenting the same destinations year after year– Las Vegas every January or Orlando each summer.  There is comfort in the familiar, and routine can be a good thing.  But what’s the fun in that?  Traveling is about discovery and new experiences.  Nervousness should be a prerequisite– expected and embraced.

Nervousness is what makes travel so rewarding.  It gives you that pre-trip high.  Once you get to your destination, your fears melt away.  You left the jitters on the airplane along with your headphones.  You embrace the familiarity of the unfamiliar and stop worrying about your destination.  You are experiencing the destination first hand, and you see your fears of the unfamiliar were unwarranted.

Of course, then there’s the food thing.  Fried cockroaches?  Toasted arachnids?  The mind runs wild with stomach wrenching combinations.  There is no doubt some dishes will be absolutely terrible and will have you running for the bathroom.  However, others will be wonderful, and you’ll crave them the rest of your life.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve salivated at the thought of those lime-drenched, al pastor tacos on that dimly lit street in Mexico City.  ¡Muy delicioso!

Independent travel forces you fend to for yourself, which can be intimidating.  There is no tour guide or concierge to help you along.  But it’s not just you and your tattered Lonely Planet versus the world either— the invisible network of Couchsurfers and hostel-dwellers will help you along the way.

Your trip is a personal thing, and you can shape it to be whatever you want. 

Fear of Perceptions

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get 300 days of vacation at my job.  Most people have to quit or negotiate a leave of absence for a trip like ours.  This is a very scary thing.

Don’t be afraid to get off the career merry-go-round.  You can get right back on when you return.  Admittedly, Kim and I are your typical yuppies, and we aren’t leaving our careers behind to sell hemp necklaces and focus our inner Chi.

Well, at least not indefinitely.

Don’t be afraid of being viewed as irresponsible or uncommitted.  If you do it right, your employer may actually support your decision and welcome you back when you return.  How can anyone fault you for pursuing your dream?  Sometimes we are so worried about how we are perceived that we don’t go to cooking school or join the Peace Corp or take that year off to travel the world.

In summary, don’t let “the fears” paralyze you.  You only live once.  There are thousands of people that travel for months (even years) without being kidnapped by terrorists, subjected to poached monkey brain, or being forever branded as an unhirable hippy.  Just check out our Blogroll.  I think you’ll find a consistent message:

Once you set aside your fears and take that big trip, you’ll never regret it.

So, what are you waiting for?

1. Source:  Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 – 2000 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention)
April 21, 2011

Five Foods We Miss

Five Foods We Miss

We’ve been back in the States for four months now. We’re still pretty unsettled, living with a friend, sleeping on an air mattress, and searching for jobs. Our travels seem almost like a dream at this point. As soon as we got back into the swing of things in the city, it seemed like we never left. It’s hard to believe we did and saw so much.

The single thing we’ve missed most about traveling is the food. We’ve made it a point to seek out some of our favorite dishes from the road here in Chicago. But, it just isn’t the same. Here are some foods that we’ve been pining for lately.

Thai Street Noodles

My favorite thing about Thailand was the street food. Little old ladies at each corner dish out the best soups I’ve ever had from a huge bubbling pot. The soups usually had chicken bits (I don’t want to know which parts…), noodles, and lots of vegetables. The broth was so flavorful and satisfying that we’d have it for almost every meal. Plus, you can’t beat the price. You can get a huge bowl of soup for under $2.

Tomàquet amb pa...

Spanish Tapas and Pan Con Tomate

I love, love, love Spanish food. My favorite tapas were the boquerones (fried white anchovies), fried calamari, and olives. I’m also a huge fan of the Catalan appetizer of pan con tomate. Crunchy toasted sourdough bread is topped with a little olive oil and then a fresh juicy tomato is squeezed over the top. The quality of produce in Spain blew me away. I’ve never had tomatoes that tasted so good!

Thali time - Jodhpur, India

Indian Thali

Indian is always high on our list of favorite foods. One of our favorite items to order in India was Thali. It’s almost like a lunch combo special. You get a big plate with lots of little curries and sauces with bread and rice. It was always very filling, full of flavor, and super cheap.

Middle Eastern Hummus & Falafel

There are a lot of great Mediterranean restaurants in Chicago, but we have not been able to find any that serve up hummus and falafel as good as we had in Egypt and Jordan. Our meal of choice in Jordan usually consisted of a cucumbers, carrots, tomato, and pita along with a big bowl of hummus and a side of freshly fried falafel. This usually cost us just under $2 including a couple of Cokes! I still haven’t quite broken myself of this food habit and head over to our local Middle Eastern joint and get the vegetarian platter at least once a week fro my falafel fix.

Lunch time - Izmir, Turkey

Turkish Kebabs & Tea

Another of our all time favorite street foods is the Turkish Kebab. Chunks of meat are rubbed with lots of yummy spices and grilled before your eyes with peppers and onions. I love the way the Turkish kebab is served wrapped in tortilla-like pita and then a tube of paper that is peeled away as you eat. After you stuff yourself with a kebab you must have the obligatory glass of Turkish tea. Don’t forget the sugar cube!

What foods do you miss?

January 19, 2011

Next Stop: Guatemala!

Next Stop: Guatemala!

I just got to the airport! I’m on my way! I’ve got pretty much the same gear packed with a few different shirts. I’m bringing jeans this time around since I’m going to be staying put for a few weeks at a time and sitting in class all day. And yes, the travel hair dryer and straightener are also coming along! Go ahead and judge, but I’ll be the one with dry, uncurled hair.

I’m excited to test out my new backpack despite the nasty letter from my old pack. I switched from a 70L REI Venus to a 65L REI Ridgeline. The Venus was just too big for my small frame. I’ve been wearing the Ridgeline around a bit, and I really like it. I wish I had chosen it in the first place.

I’m also armed with a new Acer Aspire. The MacBook Pro was just too big and heavy to fit in the backpack with all the camera gear. Plus, Clark needs a computer for his job search and/or travels. This Acer is a real piece of crap, but this blog isn’t going to write itself. Clark’s one post per month won’t satisfy our dozens of readers.

Just made it through security at O’Hare. I’m on Continental Flight 463 leaving at 5:23 this morning. We’ll see how I feel at noon when I finally arrive in Guatemala City and haven’t slept in 24 hours. Maybe I can find a nice comfy bench or piece of carpet to nap on.

I have a few butterflies in my stomach, but I think solo travel will be really good for me. I have to keep reminding myself that I just traveled the world. This should be a piece of cake…o tarta en español.

I’ve smoked hookah in Istanbul, been mobbed by kids in Cairo and Jodhpur, been busted for riding the metro for free in Vienna, driven my scooter into a wall in Cappadocia, CouchSurfed and ridden on local buses in India, attended a Red Shirt rally in Bangkok, and navigated my way through countless train stations and airports. I can handle this.

Wish me luck!

Check out our latest video covering our adventures to date! It includes a new packing time lapse and deleted scenes from our world travels!

January 16, 2011

Five of my Favorite Travel Blogs

Five of my Favorite Travel Blogs

I love when I run across a great blog that was recommended to me by another blogger. Some incredibly “with-it” writers do this weekly or monthly, I’m definitely not organized and dedicated enough to do that. But, I do like the idea, so I thought I’d pass a few along. Maybe I’ll do it again in a few weeks when I make some new discoveries. ENJOY!

Disclaimer: I read a ton of blogs, but these are five blogs that I’ve been really enjoying lately. I definitely don’t want to diss (yes, I used that word) any of my other blog friends! Also, these bloggers paid me the biggest bribes.

Johnny Vagabond

JohnnyVagabond.com – Twitter: @JohnnyVagabond

Not only is Wes a great photographer, but he is an amazing story teller. His photos make me seriously jealous! With each new post I loath love him even more. His recent stuff on India is amazing!

Unbrave Girl

www.unbravegirl.com – Twitter: @unbravegirl

Sally is anything but cowardly. She’s not afraid to make fun of herself or the travel-blog world. She’s truthful, witty, and just plain funny. Her writing style is so natural and readable that you don’t even notice she’s a little long-winded. (I’m not hating, it’s self-proclaimed!)

Adventurous Kate

www.AdventurousKate.com – Twitter: @adventurouskate

Here’s another super-funny, snarky, and bold solo travel girl. Kate’s fun experiences and easygoing style make me smile and even laugh out loud sometimes. She quit her job to travel, write, and show the world that solo female travel is safe and fun.

Bacon is Magic

www.BaconisMagic.ca – Twitter: @Ayngelina

This girl is a risk taker! Her blog is fun, interesting, and truly straight from the heart. She just decided to take a leap of faith and try to travel indefinitely! Check out her photo stream on Flickr too!

One Giant Step

One-Giant-Step.com – Twitter:@OneGiantStep

When we first began planning our RTW trip, we started following this blog. Gillian and Jason did the same thing as us and we used some of their knowledge and tips to help us along our way. One year and fourteen countries later, she’s still blogging and trying to pursue her dreams. Her site is full of great travel info!

January 13, 2011

A Letter from Kim’s Old Backpack

A Letter from Kim’s Old Backpack

Dearest Kim,

It’s been nearly a week since I last saw you. I should have known something was wrong between us. We used to carry everything together. You used to never take your eyes off me, but these past few weeks have been different. You left me completely empty in a cold, dark corner with nothing but my hydration port.

I was so excited when you put me on last Tuesday. “Yay! We are finally together again!”, I thought. As it turns out, it was all a lie.

I had such high hopes when we got to REI. I thought you might buy me some accessories or wanted to brag to the clerk how pretty I look after all these months. But nooooo, you abandoned me! You tossed me aside to be thrown in the storage room with the Christmas rejects.

You didn’t even say goodbye.

When the cashier asked you what was wrong, you said, “It just isn’t right for me.” I still can barely write the words.  Just isn’t right for you?! You hurt me to the zippers, sweet Kim.

How could you after all we’ve been through? Why did you leave me, when we fit so well together? Sure, I might get a little pudgy when fully stuffed. I’m a little heavy sometimes, I admit, but no pack is perfect!

On your way out, I saw you from the returns bin. I nearly broke my internal bladder when I saw the bitter truth. You exchanged me for a newer model! And, what’s worse, you exchanged me for a Ridgeline 65?! A Gregory Baltoro 75, I could understand at least, but a puny, little Ridgeline?

Does that blue floozy have the capacity that I have? Does it have the convenient and spacious outer pocket? Is it fully front-loading? Can it snap around you as tight as I can?  I don’t think so.  What does it have that I don’t, huh?!

To think of all those times I unzipped for you. All those times you reached deep in my compartment.  The thought makes me sick now.

Just so you know, I am done crying for you. My Coating Finish™ shell with individual fibers resulting in reduced water absorption and stronger durability was nearly soaked to the internal frame. The REI Garage Sale is on the 23rd, and I am looking forward to meeting someone who will truly appreciate this sexy, green machine.

I wish you and your J-zipper, strap-deprived sack all the best.  You deserve each other.

Sincerely,

REI Venus 70

P.S. You left a pair of socks in my main compartment. I’m keeping them.

January 12, 2011

Solo Travel – Is it for me?

Solo Travel – Is it for me?

So, I’m heading down to Guatemala in about a week all by myself.  I’ve always wanted to be a Spanish speaker and in Spain my love for the language grew even more. I’m a teacher and just got my Master’s degree in Urban Ed. Leadership. My goal is to be a leader of some sort in a large urban school setting. This means that Spanish will most likely come up every so often and I should probably be able to say more to a parent than “Su hijo es muy malo.” or “¿Dónde está el baño?”

So, I started looking into immersion programs in Central and South America. I found that Antigua, Guatemala is the perfect place to go.  There are over 70 schools there. They set up a home-stay for you (including meals) and give you 5 hours of lessons a day for under $250 a week! How could I not jump at that? I chose the Sevilla Academia de Español. The best part? You pay by the week! If my brain feels fried after three weeks, I’ll stop, if not, keep going! There’s no financial commitment or pressure.

Chinatown - Bangkok, Thailand

Street market in Bangkok's Chinatown

The only thing is, I’m not sure if I’m the solo traveler type. Sure, I can hold my own on “the streets” and not get ripped off by tuk-tuk drivers. I know the ropes of avoiding scams and don’t feel nervous about staying in a hostel or home-stay on my own. It isn’t the “travel” part of the trip I’m nervous about.

There are two things I’m worried about: not enjoying it and being safe.

For me, a lot of the fun of traveling is sharing it with someone. And, I don’t just mean with a spouse.  When I think about my past travels, the memories I have are about the people, not just the places. The moments I remember are heading out with Jesse in London in search of a Harley Davidson shop on a college choir tour, gazing at the Jefferson Memorial from a paddle boat with three high school friends, or stopping in Janesville, Wisconsin to take our pictures with the giant cow with Heather and Allie. I enjoy traveling with people.

Old Town - Dubrovnik, Croatia

Lonely street in Dubrovnik

I was a solo-traveler two times on our RTW trip for just a couple of days when the computer broke. I walked around Dubrovnik for a whole afternoon and pretty much got nothing out of it. I only made mental notes of where to bring Clark when he arrived and which ice cream shops to avoid. I didn’t even take photos. I spent another day reading and relaxing on the beach alone. I didn’t even get in the water. What’s the point when I’m by myself?

Will I even enjoy doing this next leg of my journey alone? More importantly, how will I take pictures of myself with a big SLR camera and short stubby arms?

The other source of anxiety is my safety. Solo women travelers sometimes have a hard time in Latin American countries.  I’ve been reading up and talking to friends who’ve been to these countries. The general idea is to stay in crowded areas and not go out at night, especially alone. Don’t take overnight buses or encourage any cat calls. Don’t respond at all, as that could be considered encouragement.

I experienced some of this in Egypt, Jordan, and India, but I have a feeling it’ll be kicked up a notch in Guatemala, especially without Clark by my side. By the end of our RTW trip, I began to feel pretty safe almost anywhere. I definitely have encountered more violence and theft on the train in Chicago than anywhere we went on our trip.

It doesn’t help that Clark even mentioned being a little worried for my safety. He never had qualms with me riding the El in Chicago late at night or wandering the streets of India alone. Will it really be that bad? Maybe I should re-read our Travel Trepidation post on fear and remind myself that if I don’t jump in and do it, I’ll regret it.

At least during my time at the language school in Antigua, I’ll be able to stay in safe areas. The place is overrun with tourists and I’m sure the school has lots of great advice and tips.  But, I don’t want to just stay in Antigua. After I’m done with classes, I’d like to head out and see more of Guatemala and practice my newly acquired Spanish expertise.

Can I do it alone? Should I try to find another solo traveler to join up with? Can I just tag along with a small group of people? Should I join one of those packaged tour groups I’ve spoken out against so strongly?

So, with all these thoughts running through my  head, I’m getting my gear ready and packed up again. I downgraded to the smaller Ridgeline backpack and am very happy with that decision. (Yes, REI took my old one back after 9 months! The new one was on sale so I got a RTW trip’s use out of the Venus, traded it in for a brand new pack, and got $65 back. This is why I love REI.)

Even with my hesitations, I will be very happy to leave the bitter cold of Chicago behind. It has been a slap in the face after coming straight from months in hot, humid climates. I’m ready to get out of here!

Wish me luck and please comment if you have any advice about solo-female travel!

January 4, 2011

10 Must-Try Drinks Around the World

10 Must-Try Drinks Around the World

I’m always eager to try new drinks when I get to a new country or region. We’ve had cold, gritty Turkish coffee to super-sweet milk tea in Thailand. Here are a few of our favorites!

Chai Guy

Chai Guy by Shabbir Sira

1.Masala Chai – India

Masala chai is one of my favorite things in India. Basically, it is black tea, usually Assam, mixed with milk, sweetener (sugar or honey), and lots of spices.  The spices used will vary from place to place, but the basics are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorn, and cloves. It is available on the streets from Chai Wallahs, on trains, in hotels, and pretty much everywhere you go.

2. Michelada – Mexico

As our friend Bill would say, “Oh. My. God.” This is undoubtedly one of our favorite drink discoveries. We visited Mexico City in 2008 and have been making this tasty beverage for ourselves at home ever since. There are a few variations on the drink, but the traditional Michelada is beer, lime juice, and clamato. It is served in a glass, or big paper cup, with the rim salted and caked with pepper and chili powder. Doesn’t sound good? Just try it! I think you’d be surprised. Another variation leaves out the clamato and chili powder to make a sort of “beergarita”: beer, lime, salted rim. They go over well at a summer BBQ!

3. Augustiner Edelstoff – Munich, Germany

Day after day we found ourselves at the Augustiner beer hall during our week in Munich. The loud, rowdy atmosphere, good food, and great beer were irresistible. You’ve gotta love the waitress carrying three liters of beer in each hand. Our favorite brew is Edelstoff, and a liter will put you back about six euros. Clark was also a fan of the weissbiers.

Clark und bier - Munich, Germany

SinSling

Photo by Linkwize

4. Singapore Sling

This mixed drink is a staple in Singapore. It was invented at the Raffles hotel and can now be found served all over SE Asia. The original recipe uses gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice. The hotel now serves up a pre-mixed version because of the high volume of orders to be filled. You’ll pay almost $30 at the Raffles, but you can get a cheaper version at almost any bar in Singapore. We also found them all over Southeast Asia, of course. It’s the perfect tropical treat, and I enjoyed a few during our two weeks in Bangkok.

5. Super Bock – Portugal

This is the national beer of Portugal and you’ll find it absolutely everywhere. It’s especially good along side the ever-popular bar snack of Lupini beans. This was our beer of choice at only one euro per liter in Lisbon’s Barrio Alto. You can’t beat that and to top it off– you can drink in the street! (Americans get very excited about that kind of thing…)

6. Pomegranate/Orange Juice – Turkey

You can’t beat sipping on a fresh-squeezed juice while wandering through the markets in Istanbul or Izmir.  There are juicing stands every few feet in most major Turkish cities. You can also get the pomegranate straight-up, but we preferred to tone it down with the orange. Plus, the antioxidants in pomegranate supposedly offer a million health benefits from lowering cholesterol to slowing cancer. Just don’t buy it from the stands outside the Blue Mosque (five lira!). Head over to the Grand Bazaar for one-lira cups.

Spremuta di Melograno

Photo by Luca Zappa

7. Chang – Thailand

The beer to drink on the beach in Thailand is Chang. Probably because it’s cheap. We enjoyed quite a few relaxing drinks while sitting at the edge of the lapping waves. After going through some tough travel days to get to the Thai islands, you’ll need a cold one! We also really enjoyed Tiger and Singha, but Chang was the cheapest, so usually our drink of choice! Someone wrote “Donot wory be hppy” on the bottle koozie pictured below, and we just had to have it as a souvenir. If you ever visit the reggae bar on Koh Lipe, please tell them we’re sorry for swiping their foam thingys.

Beach time - Koh Lipe, Thailand

8. Bosnian Coffee

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but Clark really enjoyed this strong drink. Bosnian Coffee is prepared by  by boiling finely powdered roast coffee beans in a small copper pot.  Before pouring the coffee into your little ceramic cup, skim the film and grounds from the top with your spoon.  You can pour your coffee over lumps of sugar or dip your sugar into the coffee and alternate nibbling the sugar and sipping the coffee.  It will mostly likely be served with a little square of Turkish Delight. I like mine with LOTS of sugar.

Coffee time - Sarajevo, Bosnia

9. Port wine – Porto, Portugal

Going for a port-tasting is a must when visiting Porto. If you think you’ve had Port before, think again. The real stuff is incredible! There are countless little wineries along the Douro River that offer free tours and tastings. We went for a hostel outing to the Croft winery and got to taste a few varieties.  The older the port, the sweeter and nuttier the flavor. We’re still waiting for a special occasion to break open the 40-year vintage we bought!

On a side note, the tour guide pouring the wine in the photo had the strangest accent. Even months after leaving Porto, I thought the port’s color came from the “hood”. What’s hood? Beats me. Clark later told me that she was in fact saying “wood”– as in wood from the casks. Oops.

Port Tasting - Porto, Portugal

10. Lassi – India

We enjoyed quite a variety of Lassis in India.  My favorite flavors were banana and Makhani. A Lassi is a creamy yogurt drink sweetened with honey and fruits.  The Makhani lassi is a special variety found in Jodhpur.  This lassi is seasoned with saffron and blended with a tart cheese-like substance. The best one can be found at a little hole-in-the wall cafe/guest house in the main square.

Makhani lassi

Makhani Lassi by by Daniel Bachhuber on Flickr

What’s your favorite drink? Leave your comments below!

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