The Dubai Spice Market – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Traditional Souks - The Spice Market

While Dubai is most famous for its skyscrapers, luxury resorts, and incredible malls there is another side to Dubai which is equally impressive and enjoyable.  While most of what you picture as Dubai has been built in the last 20 years the city actually has a long and rich history.  One of the most enjoyable ways to dive into that history is to head down to the local Souks which are outdoor markets.  Despite the brutal heat and humidity we decided to check out the local spice market.  A winding warren of small partially covered streets the spice market, clothing market, house supplies market, gold and silver markets all blend together in a wonderful mixture of goods, people, smells and experiences.  Each spice stand is overflowing with tubs and 50kg sacks of dried goods, spices, and minerals.  Each a vibrant but distinctly different color ranging from rich blues to rust-colored oranges. The vendors were mostly fairly polite, though some still fall back into the attempts at high-pressure sales that you might expect.

Dubai’s old souks are a must-see part of any visit to Dubai.  Not only are they enjoyable in their own right, but they serve as a wonderful way to frame the contrasts between Old Dubai and New.

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

Dubai is also a convenient stop over location if you are visiting the Indian Ocean. I recently swapped stories with Charles Duncombe, director of Holidays Please as he went to Dubai and the Maldives on his honeymoon. He said, “Because Dubai is relatively modest in size we crammed loads in within just a few days. There is so much variety, as one day I was sand dune surfing and the next I was indoor skiing with 90 degree outside temperatures! It’s also pretty affordable at the moment with the number of hotels that have been built recently. At the risk of a shameless plug our site has found Dubai Holidays starting under $100 a night on an accommodation only basis.”

A Hungarian Stairway To Heaven – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Inside Saint Stephen's Basilica

I’ll confess, I can be pretty lazy.  On more than one occasion I’ve looked at a long, winding flight of steps…let out an “oof” and sat down with that, “I’ll see you when you get back” look on my face.  I find this to be especially true in places that like to advertise the number of steps.  Things like, “600 steps to the top!” may seem like great inspiration…but they’re really only good for bragging rights and illiciting the ire of pale-faced friends later down the road. That said, after a few minutes to huff and puff I inevitably find myself trudging up whatever large staircase I’ve found before me.  Some spiral in graceful arcs, others are tight tunnel-like staircases that leave you dreading the inevitable traffic jam when you meet someone heading back down on the same stairs.  Yet others, like in Nafplio zig zag up the exterior of a large cliff face.  Of all these different types I often find the graceful spiral stair to be the most beautiful.  Not because of the view out non-existent windows…never that…but rather, because a glimpse back down the stair’s spiral reminds me of of the swirling shape of a beautiful seashell.

The staircase featured in the photo for this post hails from Saint Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.  The basilica is a beautiful building that offers a commanding view of the surrounding city.  It provides a great opportunity to examine the multi-colored rooftops of nearby buildings, while simultaneously looking across at Buda Castle and the Palatial Hill. Oh, and for those of you who have an even more pronounced hatred of stairs than I do? I’ll confess that there is even an elevator, though I advise you skip it.  The view back down the stairwell is well worth a little added huffing and puffing – besides, it’s good for you…right?

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

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – A Danish Windmill in Snow

Copenhagen in Winter

The historic Kastellet military fortification is located in the heart of central Copenhagen. The fortification is hailed as one of the best protected fortifications in Europe and in its heyday connected to the series of ramparts which encircled the historic city and protected it from invaders. While the Kastellet fortification is fascinating and dates back to 1624, what’s more important for the sake of this post is the Windmill situated within the fortress’ sloped earthen walls. This windmill was built in 1847 and replaced a previous windmill that had stood in the same spot for over a hundred years. Unbelievably, the windmill is still working, though it was closed for the winter during my visit.  This photo showcases leftover snowfall, the windmill and one of the city’s many cathedrals in the background on the opposite side of the fortress’s moat.

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

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – Sunset Over Antalya

Antalya Near Sunset

This week’s photo was captured along Turkey’s southern coast, also commonly referred to as the Turkish Riviera.  This overlook is located just outside the heart of Antalya near the city’s Archaeology Museum and can be found at the end of the city’s historic tram line.  It had been gently raining all day, then towards the end of the afternoon the sun broke through briefly.   I lucked out and happened to be near a great little cafe.  Eager to soak up the winter sunlight (it was February), I settled in to enjoy a local specialty: freshly squeezed pomegranate mixed with fresh orange juice.   As I relaxed and enjoyed the sun and my drink – I noticed the hazy feel which was created by the clouds colliding with the near by mountains and looked up just in time to see this gentleman pausing to enjoy the view.   Enjoy!

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

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – Perito Moreno Glacier

Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier - Patagonia, Argentina

Located in the heart of southern Patagonia in Argentina the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world which is currently growing. Perito Moreno is part of Los Glaciares National Park in the Santa Cruz Province. Unlike many of its siblings which are covered in a thick layer of black dirt Perito Moreno tends to be a fairly clean glacier. This means easy access to beautiful white glacial ridges and the chance to see the deep blues of glacial ice that is at times thousands of years old. The glacier is approximately 19 miles long, can be up to 550 feet deep, and has an average depth of around 240 feet. This Andes-fed glacier system is part of  the third largest fresh water reserve in the world.

I took this photo of the side of the glacier near its calving edge during an ice trek which wound up along the side of the glacier, past several waterfalls and finally out towards the center of the Perito Moreno. After pausing for lunch in a light snow storm we worked our way back down towards the glacier’s leading edge.  The entire experience was stunning.

To view previous posts in the Friday Week Travel Photo Series click here.