About Robert Schrader

Robert Schrader

Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who's been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as "CNNGo" and "Shanghaiist" along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.


Latest Posts by Robert Schrader

Caucasus: Its Culture, History, Architecture & Wild Highlands

September 25, 2014 by  

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Armenia Monastery

Imagine an early morning departure. It was the wee hours of the morning and I was on a Lufthansa Airbus A320 flying through the pitch dark, somewhere over a Sea that looks especially Black under circumstances like these. I’m the only one not sleeping, save for the stewardesses whispering to one another in German at the back of the aircraft and, hopefully, the pilots. I should be resting – I’ve just completed a long journey and have an even longer one ahead of me – but my thoughts have me wide awake.

The actualization of my maiden voyage to the Caucasus has been two years in the making, to say nothing of the decade or so that have passed since I first made a wish to visit the wild highlands where Europe and Asia kiss, and where empires spanning both continents have sent their young men to die. Although 14 days have now passed and my wish is now fulfilled, I feel that rather than moving past where I was when I walked onto the streets of Tbilisi just before sunrise, I have simply hit the reset button.

Which is to say, without going into too many personal details, that while I arrived calm, collected and ready (on paper, anyway) to give 110% of myself to the long lists of goals I’d laid out, there were a number of latent, invisible demons within me that could only be brought out by the trials and tribulations I would face traveling through this trying, turbulent region, from my trek in the shadows of the Europe’s second-highest peak, to my pit stop in in the Kakhetian wine country; and from the high on which I departed glitzy, glamorous Baku, Azerbaijan, to how trapped and despondent just four days in Kim Kardashian’s homeland left me feeling.

I lost the plot quite a few times during my two-week Caucasus trip – and my temper a few more times than that – but I am departing cleansed of the mental, emotional and spiritual toxins that only a travel-prescribed cocktail of culture shock, movement and humility can purge. I hope these photos make you want to visit the Caucasus but more than that, I hope they convey to you the transformation being here manifested in me.

Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
David Gareja, Georgia
David Gareja, Georgia
Kazbegi, Georgia
Kazbegi, Georgia
Kazbegi, Georgia
Kazbegi, Georgia
Sighnaghi, Georgia
Sighnaghi, Georgia
Sighnaghi, Georgia
Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan
Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia
Lake Sevan, Armenia
Lake Sevan, Armenia
Tbilisi, Georgia

The Historical & Somewhat Complex Land of Armenia

September 25, 2014 by  

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Armenia has had a tough go at it. The country is lilliputian, landlocked and lacking in most worthwhile natural resources. The most famous living members of the Armenian race are Kim Kardashian and Cher who, like the vast majority of Armenians, live outside of Armenia. The Turks tried to erase them from the pages of history 99 years ago and the Azeris would do it now if they knew they could get away with it, which means Armenia’s only true friend is Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin! I feel for Armenia – I really do.

And I really like Armenian people. Every Armenian I’ve ever met has been excessively kind, to say nothing of the passion they exude for their country. In fact, I decided I wanted to visit Armenia within a few minutes of meeting my very first Armenian, a woman named Agnes, at a wine tasting in Portugal in 2011. She was convincing – and I was convinced.

The Armenians I met on the marshrutka from Tbilisi to Yerevan galvanized this conviction. One, an elderly woman who didn’t speak any English, used her facial expressions and gestures to invite me down to the river near where our minibus made a pit stop, and shared tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh-baked bread with me. As we enjoyed our lunch under the shade of an overgrown grapevine, a younger Armenian woman joined us, and used her English skills to help me ask my new friend a little about herself. When we finally arrived to Yerevan, she (the younger one, this is) helped me get a taxi to my hotel.

Or at least, she tried.

“Train station?” he asked, after I showed him a map of my hotel’s location, along with its name and address translated into Armenian script.

I put the map close to his face and pointed to the exact location of my destinations – nothing. Likewise, even when my new Armenian friend dictated exactly where I needed to go, in Armenian, he draw a blank.

Looking back, I suppose he might’ve been illiterate, but it didn’t matter: He wouldn’t have been able to do anything for me but take my money and drive me someplace I didn’t want or need to go.

I tried to look on the bright side. I’d been sitting for over six hours, after all, so a walk wouldn’t kill me. Plus, it would allow me to familiarize myself with the layout of the city before I even officially began exploring later that evening, which was great since I had a packed schedule without a lot of time dedicated simply to enjoying Yerevan. I felt optimistic as I headed in the general direction of the city center.

“Yerevan is like Tbilisi, but much smaller,” my friend and fellow blogger Becki had advised me last week as we were having coffee along Rustaveli Avenue in the Georgian capital, a few hours in advance of my short trip to Azerbaijan. “And with basically nothing to do – you can see it all in half a day.”

I tried to keep these words in mind as I headed out into Yerevan with my camera a couple hours before sunset. Knowing the extent to which genocide and the Communist period had robbed Yerevan of much of its soul, I decided my first stops would be the Blue Mosque and the Opera House, two of the only surviving historical buildings in Yerevan. Neither were even one percent as charming their similarly-named counterparts in other European cities, to say nothing of how bland everything that sat between them was.

Even the so-called Cascade, a massive concrete staircase that connects the center of Yerevan with a monument built to commemorate 50 years of Soviet rule, failed to evoke any sort of reaction from me – intellectual, emotional or creative. Mount Ararat, the city’s landmark, was almost invisible through the layer of the haze that had built up by the time I reached the Mother of Armenia, home to a statue of an angry-looking woman and one of Yerevan’s highest viewpoints. I felt less than inspired, but I once again put on my rose-colored glasses.

The rest of Armenia, I reassured myself as the last rays of sun disappeared behind the city, will seem even more amazing now.

 Some say the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude, but for me it’s bullshit. If the road from where I am to where I want to be is covered in bullshit, it matters not if my glass is half-full or half-empty. All the water will be spilled in my lap by the time I arrive, the glass broken on the ground and my feet cut up from walking on it.

Every road in Armenia is covered in bullshit, even the newly-paved highway between Yerevan and Lake Sevan, the massive body of freshwater that is Armenia’s consolation prize for lacking a proper seaside. Getting anywhere or doing anything in Armenia, whether you need a taxi from the central bus station to a well-known city center hotel, or a minibus to the country’s most ubiquitous landmark, is a fucking ordeal.

Unless you go on an organized tour, which was the only thing that allowed me to see Lake Sevan, the rock-hewn Geghard Monastery and first-century pagan temple of Garni within the span of a few hours during my second day in Armenia. I was on a high from these blissful, few hours when I woke up my third morning, with the intent of taking the aforementioned minibus to the aforementioned ubiquitous landmark, Tatev Monastery, located about 200 km southeast of Yerevan.

I knew getting to Tatev would be a long journey (on account of the bullshit-covered roads) and an indirect one (I would first need to go to the town of Goris, where I would check into a guest house, before continuing on to the monastery itself). But I also assumed that it would be doable, given that I woke up and set out early and that I arranged the aforementioned guest house and onward journey to the monastery before I set out.

And, you know, the fact that Tatev Monastery is Armenia’s most ubiquitous landmark.

The first pile of bullshit I stepped in was that of my own negligence. I failed to consider that Yerevan might have more than one bus station, and so I wasted an hour walking (I didn’t dare summon another braindead taxi driver) to and from the one where I’d arrived from Tbilisi. Sure enough, buses to Goris did not run from there.

That’s fine, I mustered a smile as I walked back up the steps of the majestic Tufenkian Historic Yerevan Hotel, whose marketing manager was nice enough to put me up during my time in Yerevan. Nothing wrong with asking for help.

And help the front desk staff did, or at least they tried. As I suspected, I had initially gone to the wrong bus station, and they assured me several buses going to Goris (or at least, in that general direction) would be waiting for me when I got to the “correct” one. So confident were they in what they told me – and so empathetic RE: my previous experiences with taxi drivers – that they encouraged me to enjoy a walk southward through the city en route to said bus station.

Buses to Goris did not run from this bus station, either.

If I’m honest I was furious, in no small part because the only English word any of the people around me seemed to know was “taxi,” which they blurted out in a guttural bellow not unlike the verbalizations of a Downs syndrome child. But in spite of that – and in spite of the fact that my feet were close to bleeding and my sanity/spirit close to breaking by this time – I still remained committed to solving my problem. I will go back to the hotel, I vowed, and if worse comes to worse, I will just head back to Tbilisi.

Of course, I really didn’t want to do that – visiting Tatev was probably my top reason for visiting Armenia in the first place, what with it being the country’s most ubiquitous landmark. And so, I re-entered the hotel prepared to do anything to achieve that goal, save for paying some tout tens of thousands of dram to take me there by taxi. Which, incidentally, was the first thing the well-meaning concierge suggested.

After a few more minutes of brainstorming, the front desk proposed I take a taxi (which they would arrange) back to the station, where my driver would assist me in finding exactly the point minibuses to Goris (which they still insisted existed) would leave from.

It’s almost over, I smiled and breathed deeply as I saw the car pull up outside the hotel. You’re almost there.

I knew it was a bad sign when the taxi driver barked something at me in Armenian as I sat down – he clearly knew nothing of any of my plans. The front desk staff immediately came out and explained it to him but even then, he brought me to the train station, not the bus station. And even when we arrived at the bus station (the “correct” one, of course), nothing had changed – there were still no buses to Goris. I was about to have the driver take me back to the hotel, where I imagined I would just curl up in a ball on the floor and cry, when a tall, balding fellow wearing a pink polo shirt and white man-capris approached me.

“Taxi to Goris,” he said with a smile, “4,000 dram.”

I did the conversion in my head. That’s only $10 – no way it’s legit.

“Ten dollars,” he read my mind. “Minibus already left at 7 a.m. and it was 3,500.”

He pointed me in the direction of a Mercedes station wagon, in whose backseat two older ladies were sitting with their hands clasped and half-smiled on their faces. A share taxi! I reveled in the seeming evidence that I wasn’t going to be baited-and-switched. This, I can do.

As the driver of the Mom-mobile (who was not the pink-clad man who had booked my proverbial trip for me) loaded my second bag into its trunk, I felt slightly worried that I was only the third of five potential passengers to Goris – if you’ve ever traveled in a developing country, you know shared private transport doesn’t leave until every seat is full, sometimes with more than one person.

But after all I had been through up to that point, I refused to fall into outright pessimism. It will be 15 minutes, maybe 30. After 30 I’ll leave – and that will be it! But we will be gone long before then.

Wouldn’t you know, the car was still there after 30 minutes. It was still there after 45, too – wanting to give the driver the benefit of the doubt, I allotted him a 15-minute grace period – so after an hour, Mr. Clam Diggers had re-adjusted my quote. “You want to go now? Three people,” he pointed at me and the two older ladies, “each 5,000, not 4,000. OK?”

I nodded, realizing the price for an immediate departure was a mere $2.50 in addition to what I’d already committed to paying. “We leave right now?”

He smiled. “Of course.”

We hadn’t left after 15 more minutes, so I grabbed my bag (I say “grabbed,” but I basically had to pry it out of the vehicle, which took at least 15 additional minutes) and walked back into central Yerevan, which took an additional 30 minutes. Not wanting to burden the hotel with additional trouble, I sat down at the first bar I saw and did the only thing a bougey backpacker can do in a situation like this: Drown my sorrows in a glass of local wine – and bitch about them on Facebook via free Wi-Fi, which I also used to ascertain that I had missed the last marshrutka back to Tbilisi.

I’m marooned, I sipped my Armenian dry white. I’m fucking marooned.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “Why didn’t he learn some Armenian (or, at least, Russian)?” To this I would respond with the following: 1) Fuck y’all, I’m from Texas 2) Have you ever tried to learn Armenian (or, at least, Russian)? and 3) Fuck y’all, I’m from Texas.

“OK,” you proceed, shocked at my vulgarity but still wanting to understand the sort of thought process that might’ve lead me to my own destiny. “So why didn’t you build an extra day or two in your schedule? Surely, with how much you travel, you must’ve known that complications such as this are possible.”

“I’m still from Texas,” I continue, “and I still say ‘fuck y’all.’ But more than that, Armenia is the size of Massachusetts, and the primary aim of my visit there was to visit its most ubiquitous landmark.” If anything, my decision to budget four days for this – which would’ve allotted two for Tatev, plus one for my foolproof day tour and one day in dull-as-dirt Yerevan – was too generous.

Of course, some of it was my fault – it takes two to tango. (Or whatever kind of dance they do in Armenia.)

As I chatted with the young, English-speaking woman I met on the way to Armenia from Georgia, I’d joked that my minimum threshold for a successful trip to Armenia would be having a more positive association of the country than Kim K and/or Cher. And as I think back on my breezy stroll along Lake Sevan, the haunting serenade of a choir singing fourth-century hymns at Geghard, the timeless splendor Garni exuded as the sun set over the gorge behind it and the warm hospitality of everyone at the Tufenkian Heritage Hotel, I feel humbled by the depth of beauty I experienced during my very short time in Armenia.

But as I awaited my departure from the lilliputian, landlocked, resource-poor country, surrounded by enemies, sucking on Russia’s oily tit and still reeling from its having nearly been annihilated a century ago next year, I felt alienated, despondent and jaded, not only by Armenia’s lacking infrastructure for independent travelers, but also, by my own hubris.

Welcome to Sighnaghi, Apparently the Fakest Town in Georgia

September 21, 2014 by  

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I tend to value the opinions of locals more than those of other travelers, but I was conflicted when a man I met on my flight to Tbilisi told me to avoid the small town of Sighnaghi. “It’s incredibly fake,” he explained, then rattled off a list of other destinations in Georgia that would be more worthy of my attention. “Trust me – you don’t want to waste your time in Sighnaghi.”

The nature of my conflict was two-fold. On one hand, I’d been recommended Sighnaghi by Katie Aune, who is something of an expert in the realm of Caucasus travel. Furthermore, the fact was that my tight travel schedule wouldn’t allow me to visit the other places he’d recommended, one of which (Svaneti) would also put a dent in my budget on account of the fact that you have to fly there.

Of course, my travel itineraries are never set in stone, so I decided to wait out the decision until it absolutely had to be made, i.e. after exploring Tbilisi and then, the charming foothills of Mt. Kazbeg, one of the highest peaks in Europe. And when I say “until it absolutely had to be made,” I mean literally right up to the moment. In fact, when I arrived back in Tbilisi early Monday afternoon, I hadn’t officially decided whether I would be continuing on to Sighnaghi.

To be sure, the conflict my interaction with the Georgian man on the plane had stirred in me was still unresolved. Adding to his testimony (but not taking away from Katie’s in any way), many of the photos I saw of Sighnaghi online were uninspiring. They didn’t show a place that was altogether fake, but one that seemed, I don’t know – boring?

As you can probably guess solely due to the fact that I published this post, I did end up taking Katie’s advice and heading to Sighnaghi. Whether you’ve got a trip to Sighnaghi on the horizon or it’s way down your bucket list, these photos should help you make the decision as to whether the town is worth a stop on your Georgia itinerary.

(Hint: Sometimes, it is better to trust a traveler than a local.)

The Breathtaking Georgian Caucasus Range & Amirani

September 19, 2014 by  

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The legend of Mt. Kazbeg, the jewel of the eastern Caucasus range – and one of Europe’s highest peaks – centers around Amirani, Georgian mythology’s answer to the Prometheus myth. As I reached the 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, however, the 16,500-foot summit of Kazbeg towering above me, the words of a different legend came to mind: The haze condensing around me wasn’t quite purple, but I felt as much like Jimi in that moment as I ever will.

I turned my back on the haunting monastery and looked down on the town of Stepantsminda, whose metal-roofed houses looked as small as grains of sand beneath the jagged mountain peaks.

Not that I’ve never felt this way before. From the Alps to the Andes, and from the volcanoes of East Java, Indonesia to the bear-filled slopes of the Sierra Nevada, it’s no secret that I love to get as high as Hendrix, albeit it in a different way. Still, as I sat in the shadows of Mt. Kazbeg and breathed the cold mountain air in as deeply as I could, I knew that I had never been anyplace else like this. The best mountains are like the best lovers: No matter how many you’ve had before, or how good they’ve been, it always feels like the first time.

Like the very first time? OK, I promise no more classic rock references.

The point is that I cannot comprehend why Georgia is not the most popular country in the world for travelers – I can only assume, once word gets out, that it will be. I say this only having visited Tbilisi, the national capital, and now the region around Mt. Kazbeg: I’m just five days into a trip that will last almost two weeks and span two more countries. It’s a trip that’s only going to give me a small sample of everything the Caucasus has to offer, and will leave me feeling as satisfied that I decided to come here as I am devastated I don’t have longer.

My stay in mountainous eastern Georgia is certainly a microcosm of this larger truth. To be sure, although I supplemented my hike up to Gergeti Trinity Church with a day trip to the epic Juta Valley and the village of Sno (whose name I can only assume seems more apt in winter), I turned down more than a dozen other activities due to the length of my stay, ranging from scenic camping, to days-long trekking, to scaling Mt. Kazberg itself – with a guide, of course.

Oh well, here’s to next time!

 

Georgia’s Historical Capital of Tbilisi & All Things Balkan, Byzantine & Levantine

September 17, 2014 by  

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I know more about the history of the Caucasus than the average person, but I had absolutely no idea what to expect of modern-day Tbilisi when I arrived early Wednesday morning. I’d spent nearly 30 hours en route to the Georgian capital, but found myself strangely energized from basically the moment I stepped out onto the street.

This was in part due to my extraordinarily attractive taxi driver, in part due to the oppressive pounding of the bass in his black Mercedes (which wasn’t actually a taxi) and in part due to how off-guard Tbilisi took me as we approached it. Somewhere between Balkan, Byzantine and Levantine in its topography, its cityscape has a decidedly European ambiance: Historical, even timeless churches, fortresses and other structures, punctuated by strangely futuristic infrastructure.

My first on-the-ground Google search revealed to me that sunrise would occur at 6:21 a.m., and since it was already past four by the time I set my bags down in my hotel room, I thought setting out with my camera would be a better use of time than attempting to sleep – God knows I was feeling inspired.

And yet as I walked out onto the nearly empty streets of the city, and headed down the hill from where I was staying toward the river and the center of town, a strange sense of creative insecurity overcame me, due in no small part to how difficult my new tripod seemed to operate. I’ve always found evening photography intimidating, but when I’ve needed to take night shots, I’ve found stationary objects (and, more occasionally, my own core strength) to provide enough steadiness to avoid blur.

To be sure, between the time it took to find an ideal vantage point, the awkward process of figuring out the tripod and how frustrated I felt by the time both those issues were resolved, I had lost a great deal of my inspiration by the time I hit the shutter button for the first time. Not to mention, the sun was beginning to rise – and it wasn’t a particularly beautiful sunrise.

You might even say I was upset by the time I started heading back up the hill to my hotel, which is probably the first reason I took a liking to the sweet dog I passed on the way. He had some kind of plastic tag stapled in his ear, which told me he was either rabid or being tracked by the city, but whatever the reason I kept my distance – or at least I tried to.

And yet he followed me all the way up the hill to my hotel, even when an old woman on one of the grapevine-draped balconies along the way dropped a full loaf of bread onto the street, and even though I didn’t have any food to give him. I took my time making the journey of what should’ve been 15 minutes, stopping for five or even 10 to take a single photo – and I took many single photos by the time I arrived at my final destination, many of which had been of my companion.

A profound sadness began to my ache into my head and my heart as I opened the gate and closed it behind me, my four-legged friend waiting patiently on the ground – in his eyes, it seemed he was stopped short of expecting anything out of me, but was perhaps hoping for it. After a few minutes in my room sorting through my photos, I got a strange feeling that he wasn’t gone yet and sure enough, I opened the gate to find him patiently waiting. I gestured to him to stay a few minutes longer – if I was going to go back out into the city without even a cat nap, I needed to rinse off.

I hurried as fast as I could  but unfortunately, by the time I came downstairs again, he was gone. I hoped he had found food, or a more loyal friend – although given his physical condition, I was more fearful that someone had been mean or even abusive to him – but in my heart of hearts, I was deeply sad. His beautiful, wandering soul had held hands with mine, if only for mere moments, and his sudden disappearance drew attention to the solitude to which I’ve become much too accustomed.

I’ve been on the lookout for my canine companion while exploring Tbilisi the past couple days, but my search has thus far come up empty. In spite of how briefly I knew this dear creature, the vacuum his absence created has proven curative to the strange creative insecurity I felt just before I met him – I hope my presence bestowed a similar gift upon him.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Knowing the Rules & Passenger Rights Before You Book Your Flight

September 14, 2014 by  

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What Are Your Rights as an Airline Passenger?

In spite of how much I travel, I’m generally pretty lucky when it comes to delayed and canceled flights. Since never check baggage, I also never have to worry about losing bags or seeking compensation for lost bags. As a general rule, you could say the topic of “Airline Passenger Rights” never crosses my mind.

That all changed earlier this year, when I was flying home to see my family – or at least, when I was scheduled to fly home.

“Your flight to Chicago will be delayed by at least an hour,” the gate agent in Austin informed me, “which means that you’ll miss your flight to St. Louis – the last flight to St. Louis.”

I was freaking out inside my head, but on the surface I was calm. I hadn’t consulted www.flightright.com to learn my passenger rights, but I was pretty certain I knew them. Or was I?

Compensation for Delayed or Canceled Flights

That’s no problem, I thought, before confirming with the gate agent that this was actually the case. They’ll just book a hotel for me in Chicago, and I’ll take the first flight out tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple.

“Your inbound flight is delayed due to weather,” she explained, when I presumptively asked how and when I would receive my hotel voucher. “We don’t offer any compensation for acts of God.”

“No food, even?” I asked, slightly panicked. “No lounge access?”

 She shook her head. “But we may be able to get you on a flight with a different airline.”

Airlines are only legally required to compensate you for a delayed or canceled flight when it relates to issues they can control – equipment malfunctions or crew delays, for example. For external circumstances like weather and air traffic, you are mostly on your own, although if you ask nicely, the gate agent may try and confirm a seat for you on another airline’s flight, by virtue of something known as an interline agreement.

Denied Boarding Compensation

But what if you are denied boarding on a flight that arrives and departs on time? In this instance, be it due to overbooking or another factor, the issue of denied boarding compensation comes into play.

In some cases the airline must pay you cash, in addition to providing you with a confirmed seat on another flight. On a recent flight from Newark to Austin, for example, United Airlines was offering up to $700 for passengers to give up their seats on a severely overbooked flight. No one volunteered, so they had to bump several passengers involuntarily, leading to even higher denied boarding compensation.

Under other circumstances, you are not eligible for denied boarding compensation. For example, if you are not in your gate area when the final boarding call for your flight is made, you may have to buy a new ticket entirely. Likewise, if you are denied boarding due to intoxication, you not only risk losing your seat, but incurring legal action in some jurisdictions.

Compensation for Lost or Stolen Baggage

When I was traveling in Bolivia in 2011, I met an Englishman named Nick. In spite of how cute Nick looked in the clothes he was wearing, they weren’t his.

“Our luggage got stolen on the way to Caracas,” he said, after telling me about his and his friend’s trip up to that point. “Thankfully, BA gave us 500 quid so we could buy new clothes.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, laughing, “these clothes neither suit nor fit me.”

The main reason I never check luggage is because, eventual compensation notwithstanding, the process of being reimbursed for lost, stolen or delayed luggage can be long and complicated – you might not get the money until after your trip. And that’s if you get any! Plus, each airline has different maximum liabilities depending on from where and to where you’re flying, which can make it confusing even to know your entitlements.

Exploring Vietnam Through a Camera Lens in Full Color

September 1, 2014 by  

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Vietnam was the first country I visited after officially becoming location-independent, and for that reason alone it will always hold a special significance to me. In this way, my trip to Vietnam was also one of the last I took purely as a traveler, and not as a “travel blogger,” “travel writer” or “travel photographer.” Looking back through my photos and reading back through the writing I did at the time, I find work that is both embarrassing and refreshing in how unfocused it is.

 

Five Star Luxury at Bali’s Grand Mirage Resort

August 15, 2014 by  

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Grand Mirage Bali Resort

 

The five-star Bali resort, Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali, is exquisitely situated on the beige powdery sand-beach pointing the azure Indian Ocean. It is renowned as a leading resort that delivers unbeatable all-inclusive experiences. Once you book the all-inclusive package, you will enjoy the cozy room, appetizing food, fresh drink, fun activities, and relaxing spa treatments.

The Room

There are 301 rooms and suites in the four-storey building. All are tastefully designed with typical Balinese decoration. You can choose the garden vista of Deluxe Garden View Room or the ocean panorama of Deluxe Ocean View Room. Both of them are exceptional. Those two categories of rooms measure 42 sqm with either double or twin bed. If you prefer a bigger room, you can stay at Ocean View Suite. The suite is 80 sqm with separate seating area.

Are you traveling with your family or your couple? This resort provides special rooms for both couple and family. Romantic Ocean View Room is purposely for couple. The room is appointed with a double bed with canopy. For a family holiday, Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali features Family Ocean View Suite- a spacious suite with two king-size beds.

The Food & Beverage

This leading resort offers 3 restaurants and 2 bars plus 24-hour room service. The all-inclusive package allows the customers to taste the dishes in those restaurants and selected beverages in the bars. What a paradise for foodies! There is a 24-hour restaurant, Grand Café that offers awesome view of the pool and the sea. The Italian food lovers can grab a seat in La Cascata which is open only for dinner. Another restaurant is Jukung Grill- an al fresco restaurant on the beach serving grilled meat.

If you love to soak in a swimming pool while sipping the cocktails, Coconut Pool bar is a perfect spot for you. This swim-up bar offers fresh juices, mocktails, and cocktails. On top of that, there is Panorama lounge in the lobby level with a vision to the ocean.

The Activities

Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali offers miscellaneous activities from sports to cultural activities. For those who long to explore the sea, water sport like Seawalker, catamaran, will suit you well. The culture traveler will love janur weaving, Balinese cooking class, and Balinese costumes.

The Spa

Thalasso Bali Spa is renowned with its unique treatments that apply oceanic elements such as seaweed and seawater. The signature treatment of this spa is aquamedic pool- a 380 sea water pool. The pool is equipped with jets that will press several points of the body and bring you to a notable relaxing moment.

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