About Sherry Ott
Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of http://www.briefcasetobackpack.com, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice. She posts over on https://plus.google.com/103115118174711820529/posts as well.
Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at http://www.ottsworld.com.com.
Latest Posts by Sherry Ott
Every country has them…abandoned scary places. Places that give you goose bumps and make the hair on the back of your neck prickle. For Halloween I thought I’d compile my best scary and creepy pictures from around the globe. It’s heavy on abandoned buildings and cemeteries since those are two things I love to photograph.
Let’s hope you don’t ever get stuck in some of these place alone at night! Trick or Treat! Just in time for Halloween.
The abandoned cafeteria of Beelitz Heilstätten, a sanatorium for tuberculosis treatment methods in the early 20th century near Berlin.
An old crumbling house in Connemara Ireland
Graves in Delhi India
Situated in old East Berlin, the abandoned Alte Fleischfabrik (Old Meat Factory) was owned by the Konsumgenossenschaft (KGB), a consumer association, and was established in 1899.
Graves of the sisters at the Presentation Convent Cemetery in Cork Ireland
A broken lock at one of the many buildings of Beelitz
Voodoo graves in New Orleans
A grave remains in this residential area in Kauai Hawaii
St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Alert Bay BC Canada. Abandoned school where the First Nations people were forced to assimilate into Canadian Catholic culture.
Abandoned home on Maui Hawaii
Beelitz Sanatorium near Berlin also had a dental room…not a place I’d like to be for a tooth ache.
Muckross Abbey in Kilarney Ireland. Old graves intermingle with new among the ruins of an old Abbey. Creepy to walk around on a rainy day.
Old STASI prison cell in East Berlin.
Abandoned house that reminded me of a scene from Poltergeist. Found on Prince Edward Island Canada – the weeds/flowers are a nice touch…
Abandoned Printing factory outside of Berlin
Beelitz room – not too cozy…
A destroyed and abandoned resort along the Lycian Way in Turkey
Cemetery next to the raging sea on Prince Edward Island Canada
I continued to work my way north along the Wild Atlantic Way coastal drive and with each hair raising bend and narrow road I began to fall more in love with the Irish culture and history. This week I crossed 2 counties, County Kerry and County Clare, and took the time to slow down, get out of the car for a bit, and use my own two feet to finally do some walking in Ireland.
I think any good road trip needs to have a mix of driving and activities else you stop really ‘seeing’ things; your eyes get used to simply scanning the road at 50 mph and our brain tunes out the rest. Oh – and your ass gets really sore. I got in touch with Ireland Walk Hike Bike, a local adventure operator along the Wild Atlantic Way, and I was able to get to places off the tourist map as well as learn an immense amount about the history and culture of the area. I went out with them in Killarney and on the Dingle Peninsula and it was so nice to be the passenger for a bit and just soak in knowledge. They took me on little hikes around the area, parks, secret photo spots, crumbling Abbeys, old movie sets, and waterfalls. We braved high winds, and pelting rain, and Linda even held onto me while I inched to the edge and took a picture with gale force winds trying to blow me away!
Then they equipped me with maps, B&B reservations, detailed hiking instructions, and sent me further north on my own to see and hike around the Burren, an other-worldly limestone landscape. I did a 14 km self-guided hike while the rain and wind lined up like planes taking off on a runway and then would come rolling across my path in intervals. I was reminded once again that nothing brings you closer to a culture and feeling of a country than walking through it through the good times and bad weather. And the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a hard day is you get to bask in the glow of satisfaction – and treat yourself to a Guinness at the local pub.
Everything started to really come together this week – the land, people, history, and culture. I can hardly wait to see what next week brings on the road!
The #wildatlanticway lived up to its name today as I was nearly blown off the Kerry cliffs! The blue Atlantic waters below crashed against the coast violently as I held on to the railing!
Take a seat. Walking around Muckross Gardens w @southwestwalks – after the rain the colors come out in full force!
Oh Ireland – I even love you when you rain all day. Scenic lookout in Killarney
A home made for the displaced people of the Blasket Islands. Blasket Islands are pictured in the background. W @southwestwalksI
The road to the sea – not for the faint of heart! This winding sea road was the way to the dock and a landing spot for the people living on the Blasket Islands. Never would have found Dunquin Peir without the help of @southwestwalksI
The Cliffs of Moher at sunset. And I finally learned how to pronounce Moher correctly (it’s not more) thanks to the locals! I did a fabulous 6km hike from the cliffs to the town of Doolin – a great way to get beyond the tourist views!
Doing a self guided walk on the Burren from @southwestwalksi – & staying dry w @exofficio
Stone walls of Ireland fascinate me. I wonder how long some have been around? They use the limestone rocks from the Burren and stack them into fences that run throughout the landscape ensuring that no cows or bulls came charging after me today while I was hiking! They make the Ireland landscape look like a beautiful patchwork quilt.
Which way should I go?! Sightseeing w @southwestwalksi today around Ballyvaughn!
The Burren’s famous Poulnabrone (Portal Tomb) dating back to 3800BC. The capstone alone weighs 1.5 tons- begging the obvious question – how did they do that?!
I kicked off my solo road trip through Ireland in County Cork. It hasn’t taken me long to figure out that the island of Ireland is divided by counties – each person fiercely proud of their own and wary of other counties.
I decided to drive the Wild Atlantic Way and cover as many counties as I could and I kicked off the trip in Cork where I saw an old friend who showed me around the city. From there I picked up my little (and I mean little) red car and hit the road. Sure – that sounds simple – but driving a manual transmission car on the left side of the road took some getting used to. Honestly – I was a wreck of worry, anxiety, and terror.
Until you have taken on this task yourself can you really know how much there is to think about at once when you switch sides of the road and drive in foreign countries. Add to that the notorious winding, one lane roads throughout Ireland – and you have a recipe for disaster – at least that’s how my trip started out.
And that’s precisely why I wanted to do this alone – I knew it would be challenging to drive, navigate, and work on my own on the world’s longest coastal driving route dubbed the Wild Atlantic Way. The beauty of this challenge was that after 1 1/2 days of white knuckle driving and my nose practically on the windshield, something just clicked and it went from terror to sheer fun. I love that crossover – it’s a rush like no other.
So now I’m jetting around in my little red car for the next few weeks around the counties of Ireland. Every day I look out at the views ahead of me and think – it can’t get any better than this – and then it does the next day. So far my adventures around County Cork have taken me on walking tours, kayaking, historical stops, pottery making, and of course the best part to any trip is meeting the locals.
But the most impressive part of my road trip so far has been the photography. Some days I stop at least 3 times an hour to take pictures. The sun, stormy clouds, green hills, black and white cows really are picture perfect here. I let out audible gasps as I round a corner and see a new view. And sometimes I gasp because I round the corner and there is a car coming towards me on a single lane road. I’ve become quite good at backing up.
Much, much more to come on this solo road trip – so stay tuned as I make my way through other counties and adventures! Enjoy County Cork for now…I had so many Instagram pictures I couldn’t even decide what to put in the recap – and all of this only after 5 days of road tripping!
Don’t fence me in! I love the freedom associated with road trips – especially when you are doing it solo!
My Irish steed – don’t you wish you had one of these to zip around the #wildatlanticway ?
Fall has arrived in #Ireland – colorful leaves on UCC campus in Cork.
A web of abandonment. Old #abandoned house along Cotk’s University Walking trail.
Ireland thanks for showing off today with beautiful weather for day 1 of my #soloroadtrip !
Dromberg Stone Circle. An ancient place for ceremonies & burials along the #wildatlanticway
Galley Head on the #wildatlanticway – had a fab afternoon exploring w absolutely no plans and finding views like this.
The clouds look like paintbrush strokes today. What would you paint if the sky were your canvas? #irelandinspires
The most Southwesterly point in Ireland at Mizen Head signal station. They love superlative designations here in Ireland!
The little village of Bantry along the Wild Atlantic Way. #soloroadtrip
Another rainy day #wildatlanticway way activity – stopped at Dunbeacon Pottery & met Helen the potter. A true artist. I was in love with the simple design and color palette. So fun to sit and chat w her about her craft. Wish I had room to take some with me but a picture will have to do.
Yes this is real – passing from county Cork to Kerry I came across this gift of nature.
“Hey, see you next year” Fraser yells as he backs out our boat from the dock and waves to the man on the dock. You can tell they’ve known each other for years. This is the last day the little floating village of Sullivan Bay is operating for the season. They are all packed up and ready to go for the winter. This little community of 40 to 60 people started back in 1929 as a provisioning base for the Great Bear Rainforest area of BC and still serves as that, but it’s a bit more modern now.
It has about 10 colorful houses built on floating platforms, a general store, gas station, a mechanic, laundry mat an airport, and surprisingly a par 1 golf tee. The general store has an air horn hanging on the door and a little sign that tells people to blow it if they need something. We are in remote BC Canada and I’m fascinated by the lives of these people who live in Sullivan Bay. I wish I could stay longer – maybe even tee off, but the bears are calling and the little village is in shut down mode for the season. All I have time for area a few pictures to capture it’s lonely beauty.
Airport waiting area. Float plans service the area. This could be the coolest airport I’ve ever seen.
Old gas can by the dock
Par 1 golf hole…you have to entertain yourself somehow in this little community. However I bet you loose a lot of golf balls!
‘Downtown’ Sullivan Bay
Need to get someone’s attention in Sullivan Bay – just blow the air horn.
Fiords leading into Sullivan Bay
White picket fence
The floating community of Sullivan Bay
Disclosure: I was a guest of Destination BC on this 4 day trip. However all of the opinions expressed here are my own.
The floating walkways at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
My shoes squeak against the rubber ‘no-slip’ mat of the walkway, the air is heavy and the walkway sways ever so slightly reminding me I’m not on solid ground – I’m actually floating. Heavy mist and fog blanket the area in the morning making you feel like the trees are somehow magnets collecting the low hanging clouds in their magnetic field and beckoning them to stay.
Then is hits me, the smell of maple syrup, it’s like a wall of flavor that smacks you in the olfactory nerves and immediately reminds you that you are in Canada. The maple smell is not coming from the millions of trees surrounding me; it’s coming from the floating bakery where Chef Dustin is busy making homemade granola with maple syrup. How can you not love this unique little resort floating in the Nimmo Bay?
I arrived at Nimmo Bay Resort the night before by a series of planes that reminded me of Russian stacking dolls; each getting smaller and smaller the closer I got. The last plane was a floatplane. The are no roads in this part of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, so the only way into Nimmo Bay is boat, float plane, or helicopter. Soaring above the islands and inlets from Port Hardy was mesmerizing. Rainbows graced us with their presence, the sun broke out of the rain clouds and I practically expected a unicorn to appear.
Rainbows from my float plane window!
Smiles everyone, smiles! As the plane pulled up to the dock, a whole team of smiling people were standing on the dock ready to great us. As I looked out of the little plane window, I had childhood television flashbacks of Mr. Roarke. It was as if we were arriving on Fantasy Island however, there were no white tuxes – but there was plenty of fleece.
It takes a unique group of people to work out on a remote resort in the rainforest. First, it takes a love of the outdoors, and second you have to be able to work ‘off the grid’ in a way for 6 months at a time. The family-run resort started back in the 80’s. Floating platforms and raised docks created this small community among the trees. Fraser and Becky run the place with an amazing crew of dedicated nature lovers. Fraser’s parent’s started the lodge and are now semi-retired, living nearby in a bit less remote community. Fraser has taken over the business and continues to build onto it. New cabins are being built this off-season to accompany the yoga/massage room, bakery, lodge, staff living quarters, hot tubs, gift shop, and dry room filled with gear.
Floating arrival dock and doubles as a night fire pit under the stars
Cabins with a perfect view
Activities – Decisions, Decisions
The hardest part of each day was just deciding what to do in this wilderness wonderland. I personally could have just stayed at the resort all day or gone hiking and been happy, but the resort is actually set up to get out via boat and view the wildlife during the day and then come back together in the evenings. The area is known for it’s fishing, whale watching, sea lions, and bear watching; Nimmo Bay Resort is the perfect hopping off point for all of these activities. Plus they had 3 helicopters at their disposal, which made getting even more remote easily possible.
Upon returning at the end of the day’s activities you had more choices. Stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hot tub, massage or drinking wine on the floating dock by the fire pit all before dinner. I chose to relax and soak in the hot tub sipping wine. The sound of the waterfall was mesmerizing as I sunk deeper into the hot tub – it was hot, but it felt good. I closed my eyes and imagined all of the stress oozing out of me in little droplets of sweat forming on my forehead – by wiping my brow I was in essence wiping away the stress. Life was pure and good in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Suddenly there was a commotion in the hot tub next to me as two of the Texans who were on a fishing holiday were causing a ruckus, splashing about getting out of the hot tub. I opened my eyes and made eye contact with them as they were running down the stairs towards the waterfall. Upon making eye contact, one stopped and came back to me and said in a southern drawl, “Come on – come in the waterfall with us, “ he yelled urgently, “you have to come nowwww!” His words trailed off as he seemed to hook me like a fish and tug me along towards the powerful waterfall down the wooden steps. I took the bait and just followed not knowing what else to do. My feet went into the water and it took about 4 steps for the reaction to hit my brain – holy shit it’s cold! But now I was committed, I had to continue. I got close to the spray slowing down with each fanatical step. I quickly dove under the spray and came up under the backside of the waterfall where the other Texan was. We both stood there shaking in cold excitement with big grins on our face. He then gave me the thumbs up and down we went again under the spray, running out of the water on the slippery rocks as fast as we possibly could.
Now I was awake. Really awake. Every neuron was firing, every little hair follicle on my body felt like it was rejoicing – it was completely invigorating – the quickest jolt to the system I’ve ever had.
The cold waterfall!
Activities via helicopter
Food – From Bay to Table
Chef Sandi must have the nicest view out of a kitchen I’ve ever seen. Her kitchen has a big picture window that looks out on the water and the floating dock. She was always found working in front of it talking to people as they pass by and providing the general vibe of the lodge. She worked tirelessly to provide 2 big meals a day for about 20 to 30 guests during the season. While we were there she whipped up incredible meals highlighting the local seafood such as smoked salmon. In fact – we had some sort of seafood every night with the last night ending in a crab feast – pure decadence.
Albacore Tuna~ togadashi seared loin, orange sesame tartar, pickled ginger, cucumber, edemame, pea shoot emulsion aioli
Crab feast! My favorite night!
The sound of the waterfall is always present at the resort – varying in sound and strength depending on what’s happening miles away in the rain forest. This morning it was roaring after a night of rain. The waterfall is actually the heart of this wilderness lodge. The majority of the lodge is powered on hydroelectricity using the waterfall as the source. In addition, it provides all the water for the facility. So yes, that waterfall that I stood under also powers the light bulbs and allowed me to brush my teeth – talk about multi-purpose. And considering we are in a temperate rainforest – there’s plenty of water to keep things going.
Yes, staying at the Nimmo Bay Resort is a splurge at $1500 to $2000 per person per day (all inclusive), but it will be one of the most memorable places you’ll ever go. In fact, it’s the sort of place where all of your fantasies may come true as you float in on de plane, de plane!
Take a seat and enjoy the silence.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort – www.NimmoBay.com
This week I crossed oceans and time zones and landed in my 61st country – Ireland. I am so happy to finally make it here as 8 years ago Ireland was on my original itinerary, and thanks to my obsession with Asia – I never made it here.
The Adventure World Travel Summit is what finally brought me here, but I intend on staying for a while beyond the conference to test my driving skills on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal drive in the world – 1,500 miles winding through little villages, farmlands, and beautiful vistas. I’ll be meandering and adventuring my way solo through portions of the route over the next two weeks. My favorite things about road tripping solo is to meet new people along the way – and I know that Ireland has no shortage of great, friendly people who like to chat over a pint.
Enjoy my feed from Killarney!
Taking a walk thru Kells Bay Gardens in the Ring of Kerry along the Wild Atlantic Way
Arrived in #Ireland to a big storm. You don’t come to Ireland for the weather.
Trying my hand at coasteering (jumping off of cliffs into the water and floating with the wild waves) on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way #2014ATWS
River Flesk in Killarney. #irelandinspires
Listening to a beautiful musical performance by candlelight on Innisfallen Island. #2014ATWS
X marks the spot. Trees in Kell’s Gardens on the Ring of Kerry.
Tonight I lost my Guinness virginity. I not only drank my first one in #Ireland but I poured it myself too!
This October, I found myself in the world of fiords, rain forests, bears, whales, and remote rustic luxury. When I landed in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia Canada it felt other-worldly, sort of like New Zealand or Antarctica. I could hardly believe that a landscape and experience like this was so accessible to people in North America and that I knew so little about it. That all changed this week as I landed on water in a float plane and pulled up to Nimmo Bay Resort in the Southern part of the Great Bear Rainforest.
This is a location that photographers dream of and I’ll be sorting through the images for quite some time. Until then, you can get a glimpse of what I saw and experienced via my Instagram feed. This week’s In-stagram review is all about nature and the great outdoors. We went whale watching and bear watching in addition to hanging out in the waters and floating cabins of Nimmo Bay Resort. All of the experiences seemed to be stitched together on the last day when we met Mike from Sea Wolf Tours who taught about the history of the First Nations tribes in the area and how they related to the land, wildlife, and storytelling.
Double the fun at @nimmobayresort – shot this at dusk while we were coming in after a day of whale watching! #explorebc
Welcome to the Great Bear Rainforest. Arrived by float plane to @nimmobayresort . That was probably one of the most spectacular arrivals I’ve ever done second to Antarctica.
Transient Orcas found in Telegraph Cove area. Normally a group of whales is called a pod – however we all laughed when another boat captain came over the radio in sheer excitement and refered to them as a whack of whales! #explorebc
The helicopters are all safely tucked away for the night as the sun sets on another evening @nimmobayresort – I wonder what helicopters dream about?
Our bear watching venue – quite remote and near a fish ladder where you could watch the salmon making their way upstream. One would think this was enough bear bait for them to make a showing – but alas – they eluded me again.
Heading out for a sunset paddle @nimmobayresort
Totem Poles of Alert Bay – a fascinating and emotional history of the First Nations culture w @seawolftours
The sound of silence. This part of the Great Bear Rainforest @nimmobayresort has grown on top of forested land. The ground is like walking on a sponge. I could have spent hours there listening to the stillness.
Out on the water in beautiful BC!
A house ON the water in Sullivan Bay complete with picket fence. Put me here for the summer and I might actually write that novel I keep thinking about!
A view from Telegraph Cove. The blue skies have decided to show up!
Learning about the history of the First Nations people and residential schools. St. Michael’s is one of the last residential schools (barely) standing at Alert Bay next to the cultural center. #explorebc
Trekking under the jungle canopy in Peru
“The tarantulas are out all night so they won’t care if we are running a bit late,” our amazon jungle guide responded when I asked him if we could move back our night jungle hike in order to watch the World Cup USA/Portugal game. I was actually surprised at his answer for two reasons. First, even though we are in the remote jungle of the Amazon River Basin in Peru with only a generator for power and one TV in the employee’s quarters, we will get to watch the game. The World Cup is without a doubt the one sporting event that the world loves. Second, there are tarantulas out in the jungle close to our little rustic lodges? Eek! I was expecting llamas in Peru – not tarantulas.
From the moment we landed in this hot, tree-dense part of Peru it felt different. It didn’t feel like Peru to me – it felt like Southeast Asia. The rain forest and the river and town just gave me that feeling. Megan felt the same – it brought back memories of Singapore for her and the rain forest that she grew up near. We had a shock to the system as we went from altitude and cool temps in Cusco to landing in the muggy Puerto Maldonado airport. The air was thick – welcome to the jungle.
We were quickly whisked away in a wooden boat for 2 hours on the river traveling to our remote huts in the jungle. During that time our local jungle guide, Fran, explained our activities for the next day. Apparently they included not only tarantulas – but also a 10 km hike in the jungle, fishing, cayman (alligator) spotting, monkeys, and lots of mosquitoes.
This was going to be a jungle animal safari. The Cayman Lodge was a basic jungle lodge situated right on the banks of the Tambopata river. There were simple cabins with bathrooms, mosquitoes nets and we were given ample candles since there was no electricity in the cabins. The eating lodge (also very simple) had generator power from 5 to 10pm –and there was one TV in the employee quarters which they kindly let us sit in and watch the soccer match.
That first night after the game we did go out with into the jungle with only a strong flashlight to see the nocturnal animals of the area. Megan and I were a bit squeamish and held on to each other tight as if we were walking through a haunted jungle – but honestly there was nothing to be scared of. We spotted a large sloth high up in a tree, a number of icky insects, and yes a big, hairy tarantula about 2 feet from us. At one point Fran had us turn off all of our lights to stand in the dark jungle and take it all in. Megan let out a little nervous gasp and held on to me as we were enveloped in darkness and a myriad of strange sounds.
A tarantula not far from our cabin in the surrounding jungle
The next morning we were awoken by a whole new set of sounds. As the sun rose the jungle animals woke up and started being vocal. As I lay in the bed surrounded by my mosquito net I listened intently. Not one single sound was familiar to me – in fact most sounded unreal like a recording you would hear on a Disney jungle ride. I sort of expected a Tarzan yelp to be interjected among the birds. But this was indeed real, and it was probably one of my favorite ways I’ve ever woken up.
After breakfast we were instructed to pick out rubber mud boots for our hike. I was a bit skeptical of hiking 10km in boots that were not real hiking boots – it sounded like a whole lotta blisters if you ask me. However they told me that it would be horribly muddy and that I wouldn’t want to use my own boots – so I took their advice.
Good advice regarding the boots!
The hike was not necessarily hard – it was flat, but it was hot. Fran pointed out various trees and told us stories of jungle life – and we were enveloped among the big trees of the rain forest canopy. We learned how to survive on termites as well as other random jungle facts. I somehow even got Megan to eat a termite! There was a lot of squirming involved – but she did it. We came to a lake and hopped in a wobbly wooden canoe and spent an hour in the hot sun looking for caymans and other bird life. The lake was so still. It felt as if we had found this hidden Lost World as birds took off and landed around us, and we paddled wobbling past caymans that were camouflaged like logs. Occasionally you’d see and hear a pack of monkeys swinging through the trees setting my Tarzan imagination off again.
Termites – dinner if you are in a bind.
Megan eyeing her termite snack.
On our way back to the lodge Fran had promised us some fishing. This normally wouldn’t excite me too much – but when he said we’d be fishing for piranhas – I was hooked (seriously – how could you resist that pun?). He fashioned a fishing pole out of bamboo stick, some fishing wire, and a hook. I felt as if I had entered the set of Giligan’s Island with my homemade fishing pole in hand. He had brought a small bag of raw beef and showed us how to put it in on the hook and fish in the river. It was hot crouching on the banks of the river – but once I start fishing I became addicted and focused despite the sun beating down on me. I had a number of little nibbles and would yank the pole quickly as Fran had showed us – but each time – nothing – just less meat. Even though I had no luck, Fran did. He pulled out a large piranha and we all shrieked in excitement as he showed us the razor teeth. It would be a part of our dinner tonight as we packed up and hiked the rest of the way back to the lodge.
I was surprised at just how much wildlife we were able to see in our short 2 nights at the lodge. Just think what we would have seen if we had stayed a week! We spent the rest of the day hanging around in hammocks, dodging the mosquitoes, and enjoying the sounds of the jungle – minus Tarzan.
A bird searches for food at the lake
Padding through the calm lake waters looking for cayman
A cayman floating in the water – looks just like a log until you see it blink it’s eye.
Megan hiking out towards the lake
Birds at the lake
Green everywhere you look
Our catch of the day – piranha
Disclosure: I was a guest of Intrepid Travel as part of the Niece Project, however all opinions expressed here are my own.