Meanderings around the world

I have always been fascinated by the Flying Dutchman, the ghost ship doomed to seemingly randomly sail the wide oceans forever, appearing here today, there tomorrow. And like the lost souls on this vessel, I see more and more people today traveling around the globe in similar vein. They move in a  haze. Today is Tuesday; we must be in Belgium. Have we seen Manneke Pis yet?

What do you do now that you are retired?: “We travel ....  like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, we are doom’d, for a certain term,, to walk the night .... we drive from A to B, fly from C to D, ride a camel from a mirage to a chimera, and soon we are lost in a phantasmagoria of jumbled cities, lost horizons, and some distant anthropological museum.  Yes, we have been on the top of Huayna Picchu, with Macchu Pichu far down below us,  we have been enthralled by the serene beauty of Inle Lake in Myanmar,  we have seemingly been everywhere and probably learned nothing of what is important.


So that is why I wrote these travel journals. When old age and stiff limbs, extreme weather variations, and political upheavals will prevent us from traveling any more, I will reread these travel journals again, and then, maybe, I will understand the essence of what I missed.  But you, my dear reader, you may find out from these travel blogs what we found out the hard way, the better way to get from A to C without having to go through B, and without having to pay a fortune to do so.

This site is a collection of some of the travel notes I have written of our travels. As time goes by, I will keep adding to the travel advice in this website. I have covered Alaska, that Grand Country, as seen from a cruise-tour as well as by independent travel. It is a huge country, from Barrow way up in the North, to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula more to the south. There is a piece on Myanmar, also known as Burma in days past, with its gentle people,  saffron-robed monks, golden temple domes, and dreamy landscapes.  The Road to Mandalay we traveled before the typhoon of 2008 struck and before the regime cracked down on foreign visitors. Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell would probably have shuddered at what had happened.

La Ruta Maya describes our sojourn through El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, visiting the Mayan sites at Ceren, Copan, Tik’al, Yaxha, and Lamanai. Interesting and enjoyable were visits to La Antigua Guatemala, the Pacaya Crater, and learning more about the cult of Maximon. We have marveled at the sensuous and serene beauty of the sculpted red Navajo sandstone in Antelope Canyon, one of the most exquisite places we have seen.

I have covered Ireland, that verdant island with the welcoming B&Bs and with the surprisingly good food. There is Mallorca, a vacation destination for many Europeans, where once Chopin spent a winter with his lover Georges Sand, and where the patron saint is Santa Catalina Thomas, renowned for her humility. She would have cringed in horror, if she finds out what she has been elected to. Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands make for interesting contrasts. They do share the atrocious weather. And what can I say about Argentina, one of our most favorite places. Where the atmosphere is civilized, the steaks are huge, and where the tango reigns supreme.

You go to Jordan, because you want to visit Petra, that ancient city of the Nabateans carved in the rocks. But Jordan is steeped in events described in the Old Testament. This is where Charlton Heston came down the mountain bearing the Ten Commandments, and where Moses did his best to steer his unruly people in the right direction. Then there is Greece, the land of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but now better explored by rental car and by ferry.

There is of course more stuff in this travel blog, which I have added after writing this preface. And there is certainly more detail in a travel advice than what is necessary to make a travel journal interesting. Unless you are planning to go there. Then this travel guide with the additional information may make your travel companions look in awe at you for your savoir faire, as you explain to them the fine points of the hieroglyphs on the temple walls in the lost jungle. Or how not to write a travel guide or travel blog.

But remember the Arab saying shown above: “Al-gharib a’ma, walaw basir”. “He may be clever, but the foreigner is still blind”. This is the seemingly essence of life, the blind leading the ignorant. So beware what you learned here.

But travel and enjoy. Time is shorter than you think. I saw this ancient gravestone in the cathedral of Sibiu, Romania.  The text above and below the laughing skull says:

Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi”, or

Today Me, Tomorrow You

Very apt.

If you wish to write me, please do so at Please be patient, if I don’t reply immediately. I may be on vacation.

Happy readings.

Travels with Hok.

Travels with Hok

From the top of Huayna Picchu; Macchu Pichu is far down in the distance.

The serene beauty of Inle Lake in Myanmar.