I hadn’t even unpacked my bags from my trip to Amsterdam before I was thinking about where I would go on my next vacation. (Am I the only person who does this?)
So in this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d do something a bit different. Here are five wonderful blogs and posts that have made me want to set off for faraway lands. ( I might have to do this again soon because I already have five more in mind.) Head over to these sites for more drool-worthy photos and luscious descriptions. If you have a moment, go ahead and show some blog love. Get yourself a drink with a little umbrella in it and let’s take a virtual tour around the world.
1. Snow Monkeys: Karmic Cuteness. Hey from Japan.
Just about every post of Emily’s is an eye-opener – whether she is exploring the sumo culture, lounging under the cherry blossoms or spotting geisha, but this one was a Bucket List Alert for me. Emily and family (aka the Clampitts) took a break from eating sea urchin to visit the snow monkeys near Nagano, Japan. Just look at these little red faces relaxing in the onsens (hot springs). Ahhh….
Also, check out her post about the snow monsters. Abominable snowmen? You be the judge.
Emily writes: Technically snow monkeys are the Japanese Macaque. Unique to cold areas of Japan, other than man, these monkeys are the northern most climate dwelling primates.
2. The Long Road North: Southern Cape to Upington. The Kalahari Series, Part II. Notes from Africa.
Sometimes getting there is half the fun. Reading Lisa’s posts describing the 10-hour road trip from her home in the Southern Cape of South Africa to the Kalahari, past incredible vistas as varied as desert scrub, snow-covered mountains and red rock canyons, made me want to hop in the car with a sack of greasy drive-thru food, windows down and radio blasting.
Parts of the landscape reminded me of a road trip I made years ago through Joshua Tree National Park. (Today’s $100,000 question: what music do you listen to while riding through Joshua Tree National Park?)
Lisa writes: For children in South Africa this is an absolute milestone. It’s on the main route from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and breaks the monotony of driving through the Karoo. A place to get out, get some refreshments and get rid of all that energy that has been building up in the car.
3. Where the Buffalo Roam: Yellowstone National Park. Scott’s Eye Photos.
Every time a post from Scott shows up in my inbox, I rush to open it. There is always a spectacular image: A coyote. A buffalo. A blue-footed boobie. It gives me a moment of breathing space from my urban jungle. His photos of animals in particular always seem to capture the essence of their spirit, their very bear-ness, or deer-ness, or pelican-ness.
Do yourself a favor and sign up for his posts. He’s planning a trip to Alaska this summer and the photos are sure to be amazing!
Scott writes: In my four days at Yellowstone I saw a few sunny times as shown in today’s photo but I saw much more time in the rain, snow, and hail – all pretty much to be expected this time of year. In any case, this is a pretty typical sight that you see around the park – Bison (aka Buffalo) grazing in the fields. You can see large herds, just a few together (as in this shot), or lone bulls by themselves. It certainly is a reminder of days gone by as these huge creatures used to roam the west in great numbers.
4. The Long and Winding Road to Hana. Pearls and Prose.
Carole’s photos from her recent trip to Hawaii brought back a lot of wonderful memories as she and I had clearly traveled the same roads. To me, Hawaii proves there is a slice of heaven on earth.
This is one jaw-droppingly beautiful place, but I have an album full of pictures that prove you can take bad photos in Hawaii. Not Carole. It seems that half of photography is knowing where to look, and she knows. Scroll through the posts of her trip and you’ll want to break out your Hawaiian shirt (you know you have one) and listen to IZ.
Carole writes: On the island of Maui, there’s a route called the Road to Hana and it’s fairly well known. Did I mention the curves? They were constant. I have never seen so many on one road in my life. [I just read on Wikipedia that there are 620.] My speed was from 10-15 miles per hour almost the whole way. Although there were some daredevils on the road, it’s supposed to take eight hours to do the entire roundtrip to Hana and back. Five hours if you make no stops.
Thinking about Italy always put a smile on my face. The food. The architecture. The scenery. Thank goodness I found Debra over at Bagni di Lucca and Beyond to take me vicariously from her hamlet just north of Florence all around Italy (and beyond, as the title suggests).
It’s easy to feel that if you’ve seen one quaint Italian village, you’ve seen `em all. But Debra always makes each place feel special, highlighting something unique about that location. In this lovely photo essay, you can see why she makes Bagni di Lucci her home base.
In her spin-off blog, Bella Bagni di Lucca, she takes us on the Lovers’ Walk,
Debra writes: Beside the Lima River at La Villa is the lovely walkway dedicated to the English poets, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, who spent a few summers in Bagni di Lucca in the 1800s. The path was created from the drainage channel of an ancient millpond.
What is your favorite place in the world? One you would visit at a moment’s notice?
Have a great weekend everyone!