The Great Clash of Nature-001

Sleeping like Monks in the Caves of Goreme in Cappadocia

As an independent traveler, it happens every so often: You find yourself walking beside a road in the middle of the desert, cars whizzing by you with little regard, no more than a bottle of water and a book in your bag. It was that way one afternoon Read More

DUBAI_0705a

Living Large at the Burj al Arab in Dubai

"Ah, not the elevator," my friend said in the lobby of Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel. "We will ride the submarine to the restaurant." And indeed, we did. After entering a small capsule with bucket seats and fastening our seat belts, lights flickered, Read More

Bridge from Europe to Asia in Istambul

Drifting Between Continents on a Bosphorus Day-Cruise in Istanbul

Talk about Continental Drift: I am floating -- literally -- between Asia and Europe. To my left is familiarity, reassuring names like Paris and Venice, Vienna and Madrid. To my right are places like Kazakhstan and Urumqi: the exotic lands of western Read More

Felucca on the Nile

Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt

What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past Read More

Egypt's El Alamein Miliatary Museum

Paying Respects at Egypt’s El-Alamein Battlefield and Museum

To one side of me is the deep, oversaturated blue of the Mediterranean. To the other, the beige sands of the Sahara glare in a sun suitable for neither mad dogs nor Englishmen. Every once in a while there is barbed wire fence, less often, a sign Read More

Mahane Yehuda market fills with people on a Friday afternoon (Photo by Rachael Cerrotti)

Eating Your Way Through Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market

Nir walked onto our bus with a decadent smelling plastic container fogged over from freshly baked warmth. This was one of the perks of having locals on our trip: Being Israeli, Nir had known exactly where to go when our tour group stopped at Mahane Read More

A wall of gold bracelets in Dubai's Gold Souk

What to Buy in Dubai: Souvenir Shopping in one of the World’s Bizarre Bazaars

I am standing in a shopping mall. To my left, a realistically sculpted male mannequin is showing off a trendy pair of overly tight underwear, complete with bumps that leave nothing to the imagination. In front of me, a sign implores visitors to dress Read More

The steep Snake Path winds up Masada (Melanie Radzicki McManus).

Hiking up Masada in Israel

The air still holds the night’s chill, although the inky sky is beginning to show just the faintest hint of light. Throngs of students laugh and joke and generally clog the ramp leading to the top of Masada, an arid rock plateau south of Jerusalem Read More

The Grotto of the Nativity, where it is said Christ was born. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Blundering Into Bethlehem

The rental car is safely back without a scratch and filled with gas, and the hold on our credit cards is off. So the story can be told. We were SUPPOSED to drive to the main checkpoint leading into Bethlehem, which is located just across the border, Read More

Tel Aviv from the Bike Path

Exploring Tel Aviv, Israel, by Bicycle

The traffic is snarled and the rules of engagement remind me of a cross between the New Jersey Turnpike and mid-town Manhattan during a gridlock alert. Finding a parking space looks to be a national sport – although one with very few rules, as people Read More

Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

Visit Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque: a Masterpiece of Islamic Architecture

We stare at the dazzling white columns surrounding the courtyard of the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, the sunlight forming pools on the marble mozaic floor. The effect is mesmerizing, a play of light and perspective that renders us momentarily Read More

Taking in the view after scrambling to the top of the Mountain in Wadi Rum (Photo by Rachael Cerrotti)

Living and Hiking with the Bedouins at Jordan’s Wadi Rum

Just 70 kilometers north of Aqaba, there is a Bedouin Village in a place called Wadi Rum. The valley, or wadi -- one of Jordan’s most important historical sites --  is cut into the sandstone and granite cliffs in a landscape so stark it is known as Read More

A herd of cranes

Watching a Tri-Continental Bird Migration in Israel’s Hula Valley

If you were a bird, and for some reason known only to your creator, you found it essential each year to fly thousands of miles between the northern reaches of Europe and the southern end of Africa, somewhere in the middle of your trip, you would -- Read More

bottlenose dolphins

Snorkeling and Diving with Dolphins in Eilat, Israel

The dolphin is swimming so close that I could reach out and touch it, and it looks much larger than I had expected. I remind myself that being underwater has a magnification effect; things appear a third larger than they are. Even so, this toothsome Read More

A camel wrangler in Petra

Exploring the Ruined City of Petra in Jordan

My conversation with Nasser started the way these conversations so often do. “30 dinar! It’s a good price!” “No, it’s too much.” “How much you want to pay?” “I don’t want to pay, I want to walk.” “25 dinar, then. I give you good price.” And Read More

sunset over Nile

Visiting Egypt’s Ruins from a Nile River Cruise

Look at a physical map of north Africa -- a map with brown mountains and green forests and beige deserts -- and you will see thousands of miles of sandy beige, and, then, a thin green line. The Nile. Life giver. In ancient times, the rising and Read More

Burj Khalifa

Taking an Architecture Tour of Dubai

The title of this article would have been impossible a mere 50 years ago. Back then, what is now the high-gloss oil-infused city-state of Dubai was little more than a desert outpost with more sand than pavement. Even until the 1990s, it wouldn't have Read More