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...]

Dune Climbing in the Namib Desert, Namibia [360-Degree Panorama]

Namibia dune

It’s just past dawn and as the sun begins its arc, the Namib Desert sand dunes turn from tinted pink to deep orange. The contrast between the cloudless blue sky and the dune's edge becomes a clear line in starkness. In this early morning, there's a narrow window of time until the angle of the sun and the heat of the desert strip away the crispness and the vibrance in … [Read more...]

Persian Design at the Jameh Mosque – Yazd, Iran [360-Degree Panorama]

Yazd, Iran

Yazd, a historically Zoroastrian town and a sort of desert outpost that took in people fleeing persecution and wars in other parts of the country, is one of our favorite cities in Iran. Its old city is almost entirely built in brown-red adobe clay, helping to blend it into the surrounding desert landscape and to keep its building interiors cool.Ones eyes adapt to … [Read more...]

Amidst Piles of Freshness: Antigua Central Market, Guatemala [360-Degree Panorama]

Antigua Market

As we take off for Central America (this time to Costa Rica), we think back to our first visit to the region a couple of years ago: Antigua, Guatemala.Although Antigua has a reputation for being touristy, we found that it wasn't too difficult to get lost and find a slice of authentic Guatemalan life. One of our favorite places to do this: Antigua's central … [Read more...]