A Cat In Kos Castle’s Court – Weekly Travel Photo

Cat Guarding Kos Fortress

While the sound of men at arms, craftsmen  local officials, and traders has long since vanished from the stone walkways and carefully fitted walls that shape Kos Fortress one small army still remains.  The fortress of Kos is manned by a small band of warrior-hunters. Predators that seek out vermin, set upon them, and then plop down in the grass to carefully lick themselves clean, paws stretched high into the air.  Some might argue that they’re the purrrfect guardians for a castle that served its purpose in times of peace and war for generations but which has now retired from service. These guardians casually tolerate visitors – the occasional tourist who makes his way across the site of the old draw-bridge, pays his three lira and gains access to the castle grounds.  Grounds that, at the time of my visit, looked more like a garden for wild flowers than former military instillation. The scent of pollen was thick in the air, mingling with the fresh aroma of ocean salt to add a wonderful sweet perfume to the air. The low rumble of purring cats was accompanied by the audible buzz of the fortress’ airforce – thousands of bees hard at work darting from flower to flower while being equally careful to avoid the casual swat of bored cats relaxing in the late-afternoon sun.

The old crusader castle at Kos, built in part by the Knights of St. John in 1315, was one of my favorite parts of my day-long visit to Kos. The mixture of wild grass-filled moats, and wildflowers so thick they covered the ground with bands of color reminiscent of a rainbow, was deeply relaxing and soothing. It led to an hour of pure relaxation and bliss, made that much better by the nearly complete absence of other tourists.  As far as the guardians?  Well, the cats kept a close watch on me – suspicious but hospitable – as only cats can be.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Startled Lions – Weekly Travel Photo

Lions Started by Elephants - Chobe

While watching a small pride of young lion and lionesses relax in Chobe National Park, Botswana we were treated to an entertaining sight.  The ordinarily confident lions were brought to their feet and startled out of their lazy late afternoon naps when an ambling group of Elephants accidentally wandered into their midst.  While the elephants were somewhat alarmed and surprised it was the lions which found themselves giving way.  After a short, undignified sprint, the lions seemed to notice that we were all watching, slowed to a controlled amble and then plopped back down into the grass.  But, not before changing direction so that they could keep a close, if casual, eye on the elephants.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a  Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Bungee Jumping Victoria Falls – Weekly Travel Photo

Victoria Falls - Zambia

I’m not really a fan of heights. Don’t get me wrong, I love massive mountains, towering skyscrapers, and cliffs that leave you shaking. I just don’t like the fact that you can fall off them. Which probably explains why I’ve never bungee jumped or tried skydiving. I know. I know. Some adventure travel blogger I am, right? Still, I do enjoy watching others plunge to their mostly, probably, likely, completely safe near-deaths. Wingsuit basejumpers? Awesome. Canyon swings? Awesome. Bungee jumping? Pretty darn cool.

In today’s photo I give you the large bridge on the back side of Victoria Falls, shot from the Zambian side. This is the same bridge where a bungee jumper’s bungee snapped last year (oops). If you look closely (you can click the image for a larger version) you’ll spot a successful bungee jumper tantalizing the crocs and dangling a bit above the Zambezi’s raging waters.

Where’s the coolest place you’ve bungee jumped? What’s the wild and craziest thing you’ve done?

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

This post was made possible in part due to the support of the folks at Mahlatini Luxury Travel who offer Zambian safaris.

Leopard In The Dark – Weekly Travel Photo

Wild Leopard - South Luangwa, Zambia

While the racing thud of our heart beats may not have been audible to our insensitive human ears, I wonder if the dull pounding echoed in those of the massive leopard that silently strolled our way. He tolerated us with a veteran expertise that half-ignored us as we jockeyed for position, and half seemed to play with us, the constant click of our dSLRs, the bright glare of our spotlights and the dull rumble of our land cruisers thundering across the otherwise tranquil African landscape.

In the moment, there was little room for fear.  It was driven out by the excitement of having a large male leopard strut its way towards us, only turning to walk around the vehicle slowly but with purpose less than 5 feet off the nose of our land cruiser.  In retrospect though, it is amazing to think how casual and calm an experience it was given the powerful predatory nature of Leopards and their position as one of Africa’s top predators. In the blink of an eye he could have closed the gap, leapt into the exposed bench seats of the cruiser, and caused us significant harm.

Yet, that’s the strange relationship between safari goers and big predators. So long as you stay in the vehicle, respect their space, and keep your head about you…they’re content to leave you be.  To watch you as you watch them.  You know they can smell you, even if their eyesight doesn’t let them make out the distinct shape of your figure.  They know you’re there, but they’re content to focus on their normal prey, and their normal day-to-day activities.  Allowing safari goers to follow and interact with them, at a basic level, as a mixture of voyeur and paparazzi.

It is an incredible experience.  One that I hope this photo from a night Safari with Shenton Safaris (Kaingo.com) in South Luangwa, Zambia helps showcase.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera using a Canon 55-250 mm lens.

Perito Moreno Waterfalls – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

I love hiking near water.  I’m not sure if that love stems from early childhood when I was imprinted with wonderful memories while hiking along snow-melt fed streams in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, or results from having spent the majority of my life in the dry, dust-filled deserts of South-Central Arizona.  Regardless, the opportunity to hike next to/through/along/over rivers and waterfalls is always high on my priority list.  Thus, the chance to hike along and then out onto the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina was extremely appealing.  I signed up, geared up, and was off on a full-day hike.  What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the chance to hike along the base of a series of steep cliff faces decorated by rich, blooming vegetation and roaring waterfalls.  After all, when I think of Glaciers I think of snow and ice…not green vegetation and blooming flowers.  In the photo featured in today’s weekly travel photograph the glacier is immediately behind me.  The waterfall pictured flowed down across the path, before cascading over a swath of black rocks and then diving into a channel carved beneath the base of the glacier.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.