Aachen Cathedral: Just Look Up [360-Degree Panorama]

Aachen Cathedral

Some cathedrals -- with their fanciful gargoyles, detailed carvings and elaborate flourishes -- are best admired for their exterior. For others, it's all about appreciating what's inside.What makes Aachen Cathedral so special for me, despite the beauty of its imposing Gothic exterior, are the mystical elements within. … [Read more...]

The Ancient Rock-Carved Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia [360-Degree Panorama]

Lalibela churches

The story goes: almost 900 years ago in Ethiopia there lived a visionary king named Lalibela.Lalibela traveled far and wide, including an extended pilgrimage he took to Jerusalem, after which he brought back home to Ethiopia all he'd seen and learned.When Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the late 12th century and it became too dangerous for devout Ethiopian … [Read more...]

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine on Miyajima Island, Japan [360-Degree Panorama]

miyajima shinto

Miyajima, a sacred island in Japan. So sacred in fact that its famous Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (now a UNESCO site) was designed very cleverly 500 years ago. You see, the raised boards provided a way for pilgrims to visit the island without actually touching sacred land directly. The purity of the island was kept in check for hundreds of years. (Another feature of the … [Read more...]

Prague Astronomical Clock [360-Degree Panorama]

prague clock

As the top of the hour nears in Prague, crowds gather in front of the Astronomical Clock on Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) and wait for the show to begin -- all in a ritual that's happened almost daily for six hundred years of the clock's life.The first attention goes to the twelve apostles that emerge from the little window at the top. They go around in … [Read more...]

Sunrise Towers: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile [360-Degree Panorama]

Torres de Paine

Our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We were huddled together trying to stay warm against the freezing temperatures of the night in a rented tent that wasn't quite meant for people of Dan's height. The temptation to turn off the alarm and roll over instead of heading out into the frigid pitch of pre-dawn was difficult to resist. Under these … [Read more...]

Antarctica, The Lemaire Channel [360-Degree Panorama]

LeMaire Channel

We were on our way north, making the long return journey from south of the Antarctic Circle to our final destination in Ushuaia, Argentina. The captain announced that we would soon be going through the Lemaire Channel, a narrow passage strait in northern Antarctica framed by steep cliffs and icebergs.Everyone aboard ship was invited on deck and to the bridge to … [Read more...]

Thinking Cycles of Renewal: Sunset Puja in Udaipur, India [360-Degree Panorama]

Udaipur, India

The sun sets on another day in Udaipur, India. People gather at the lake's edge to watch the day wind to an end and to take part in evening puja (prayers). This ritual, a daily cycle, elegantly pays reverence and homage to one day while preparing for the next.As we move from reflecting on and closing out the past year to engaging in the new one, I thought of this … [Read more...]

German Christmas Market in Augsburg Old Town [360-Degree Panorama]

augsburg

We edged toward the end of our road trip visit to friends and Christmas markets in the southern German regions of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Our stomachs were full from days of Christmas market comfort foods, "fest" foods like spätzle, bratwurst, schupfnudeln and maultaschen.We'd performed our research to determine which Christmas market served up the best … [Read more...]

Look for Ganesh! Bali Gate in Ubud [360-Degree Panorama]

bali gate

The town of Ubud, Bali. Away from its polished main streets you'll find little alleyways like this, narrow walkways cast, ditches cut on each side. Because of the tropical climate, plants grow and weeds sprout in just about every corner, crack and crevice. Balinese traditional homes, sprawled in giant courtyards, line the sides.Take a stroll, pay close attention, … [Read more...]