Of the multitude of moments that I experience while traveling there is one type in particular that always warms my heart. These are the moments where old couples that have obviously shared and made a life together are spotted relaxing or interacting. Often set to the backdrop of ancient city streets and gorgeous historic landmarks. In these moments the detail and complex stories worn into the faces of the lovers mirror the rich depth and history of the backdrop that surrounds them. These moments add such incredible warmth and light to otherwise dead and lonely views that I often find myself smiling and hoping that some day, forty or fifty years from now, I’ll enjoy the same type of close relationship and rich history. Who knows, perhaps if I’m lucky I’ll even capture the imagination and lens of a young traveler as he or she explores an alien land and vibrant culture for the first time.
This particular moment was captured in Istanbul in the courtyard for one of the city’s many large mosques. I’d been sitting and relaxing after a tour of the mosque’s gorgeous grounds and decided to rest my feet. With my feet sprawled out in front of me, I sat in a corner as a mixture of tourists and locals entered the courtyard and made their way inside. The couple in this week’s photo had just exited the mosque and decided to relax in the shade of a nearby corner. As they slowly and careful settled down onto the stone steps they looked after each other, and moved with the flow and synchronicity that comes with sharing a lifetime together. Reflecting on that moment still brings a large grin to my face.
Scarpa Mojito Shoes – Product Review
The folks at Blacks Online recently reached out to me and asked if I was interested in reviewing a pair of shoes. As you may recall, I have my long-running boot gallery which has, up until recently, been populated predominantly by shots of me in my Keen Targhee IIs. I told them I was looking for a replacement that was waterproof, durable, good for hiking on dirt paths, but also wearable and attractive enough for use in the city. As a backpacker I typically want a pair of shoes that won’t get wet if it rains, that are incredibly versatile (rain, snow, mud, you name it), and which let me tromp through Scottish peat bogs during the day, and then get into a relaxed night club that evening for cocktails. The Keens have been good for walking around the city and tramping through wet marshes, but are unfortunately quite ugly. Not crock ugly, mind you, but they definitely leave something to be desired for a casual walk around town that doesn’t scream “tourist”. A similar challenge that seems persistent across the board when talking about hiking/city crossover shoes. I don’t understand what it is about shoe companies that makes them think garish colors and hideous shoes should be the only option on the market. The Keens are also absolutely worthless on ice and wet rocks where the tread/rubber combination has left me awkwardly ice skating on multiple occasions.
My contact at Blacks came up with a pair of Scarpa Mojitos as a suggestion. I liked the look, and was particularly drawn to the fact that they have both Gore-Tex uppers and Vibram soles. I’ve had the Mojitos a couple weeks now and am so far very impressed. They’re a great shoe for walking around the city, quite comfortable, and seem to be extremely durable. I’ve spent several 6 hour days walking the city in them, in both sunny weather and rain and been quite happy with how my feet felt afterwards. Especially given that my feet are still adjusting to the shoes.
There are two quirky aspects of the Scarpas…one which I think is advantageous, the other less so. For those familiar with climbing shoes, you’ll notice that the Mojitos have a similar appearance. This comes from the laces which travel all the way to the toe of the shoe where they meet the rubberized toe guard. Scarpa describes the Mojitos as approach shoes and definitely borrows from their reputation and experience in the climbing shoe sector. The added laces seem to provide a better fit for my feet and one of the things I loved about my Keens was the rock-guard that protected my toes and the shoes in cases where I dragged my feet, or accidentally hooked a protruding rock. While not as robust, the Mojitos retain this feature, and the rubberized nature of the covering also helps keep the shoes dry when walking through wet grass, rain puddles or snow. This is also where the second quirky aspect and my one complaint comes in. Because the shoe laces stretch all the way down to the toe, it means that the gap between the shoe tongue and sides of the shoe is longer and closer to the ground than in other standard hiking shoes. While experimenting with the shoes in an outdoor fountain (trial by fire), I noticed that the proximity between the toe and the start of the laces made it much easier for water to sneak into the shoe. This wasn’t an issue with the suede Gore-Tex tops which worked perfectly, but rather with how close the seam is to the toe. For general/casual use this wouldn’t be an issue, but as someone who periodically likes to walk across shallow streams and creeks, it means I’ll definitely have to be slightly more careful and keep the water depth about an inch shallower than I have in the past.
I’ve been very happy with the build quality of the Scarpa Mojitos. The shoes appear to have an excellent tread, and I’m always impressed by the quality of Vibrams soles. The suede uppers which make up the majority of the shoe have high quality stitching and are both durable and attractive. The shoes MSRP for 125 GBP on the Blacks website which is comparable to most hiking shoes in their category. If you’re looking for a good crossover shoe, they’re definitely worth considering. The shoes have lived up to my expectations so far, and I’ll be taking them as my primary traveling shoe for my upcoming trip to Belgium.
Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.
**The pair of Scarpa Mojitos reviewed in this post were provided as a complimentary sample by Blacks Online for consideration. My review of the shoes and their performance is independent and in no way influenced by Blacks or Scarpa.