Page 9 of D MJ Binkley Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Bhutan » Paro October 28th 2012

Passing thoughts on two weeks in Shangril – La: At some point, your mind sends you the message that the repository is full. It’s not unlike a memory chip where you’ve maxed out the storage space. Our minds are saturated with knowledge and stories concerning Buddhism, Buddha, the second Buddha, The Tibeten Master, the Tantric Master, the Crazy monk and various other deities. Turns out they have about one thousand, but frankly we’re not sure anyone’s got a tote board on exactly how many. Each valley or mountainside seems to have at least one. Buddhism is much more complex than meets the heathen eye. And of course just when you think you’ve got a toe hold on some of the most basic knowledge….you don’t. It’s been a great gig being here these past two weeks. We’ve ... read more
A good day for hiking
Tiger's Nest again
Ready to ride

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang October 24th 2012

As you fly into Bhutan you are quickly reminded that this is a country of mountains. Most of the towns are built in the valleys between the mountains but a few villages are perched high up in the clouds. This country is green and lush due to the many evergreen trees along with a smattering of deciduous trees that are now currently turning soft fall colors. It is such a treat. Not that much snow falls on most of the mountains due to the latitude of Bhutan and the current weather patterns. We are told if you come in April all the spring flowers will be in bloom and it is amazing. This portion of our voyage brought us to some of the places that many westerners do not have the opportunity to visit, mainly due ... read more
Yak it up
Location is everything
Punakha Valley

Asia » Bhutan » Paro October 18th 2012

Shangri-La has become synomous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia-- a permanently happy land, islolated from the outside world. Bhutan seems to fit this definition. Happiness is the Kingdom of Bhutan Bhutan has a philosophy they call Gross National Happiness. They define this by creating a world of well-being and happiness. This means they live life in balance. Sort of dividing things up evenly…, sleep and play…..the modern world could learn a few things from Bhutan. Now, we’re not trying to espouse some Buddhist-induced state of “total enlightenment,” but the Bhutanese are seriously interested in the psychological health of its citizens. Not a bad philosophy to latch onto all things considered. Research has shown that increasing le... read more
179 feet tall
Mt. Everest
Druk 11000

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu October 14th 2012

A note from both of us: Just a reminder that this blog is full of personal opinions and impressions and in no way meant to offend anyone, but to share our honest feelings. We are of the impression that almost every reader of TravelBlog does not want any wind blown up their skirt and wants to know the impressions of the people who have traveled to countries throughout the world. So, with that being said…. The transition from Northern European everyday amenities was to be expected, given that we were leaving Germany, one of the most organized and modern nations in the world, and transitioning to Nepal, which of course, is not. And this was clearly the case when we arrived in the country’s largest city, Kathmandu. Nepal is the size ... read more
Buddha is looking at you
Smiling Faces in Nepal
MJ and Buddha

Asia » Nepal » Pokhara October 11th 2012

It doesn’t always turn out the way you plan it. Sometimes you learn to just roll with it despite the obstacles you face. Our time in Pokhara turned out to be a bit different than expected. Okay, maybe more so. We left the mountains of Tanzen and headed towards the more mountainous enclave of Pokhara. At this point, it would be great to regale you with some fabulous tale, but the short of it is that about an hour short of our destination, we stopped for a biologic break. The facilities were located several steps down, and Dave slipped on some water and his feet flew out from under him. He slammed his left shoulder into a cement wall, which resulted in a nasty abrasion and his full weight came slamming down on a cement step ... read more
Protection from the sun
Come to the Himalayas
Taking flight

Asia » Nepal » Tanzen October 7th 2012

We managed to get out of Kathmandu finally (more on that in later blog) a week ago and have since traveled among the farmlands, countryside and jungles of Nepal. Today we drove up into the mountains and are enjoying the slightly cooler weather. The intent of this blog is to begin to tell you about some of the things we have seen on our drive and the observations we’ve made and the impressions we have been left with while traveling in this beautiful, yet poor nation. We would first ask for some forgiveness for some of the photos, as most are snapshots taken from a moving vehicle as we moved about the country. Anyone who has attempted to stick a camera out of a moving vehicle on a bad road can testify that the quality of ... read more
People watching
Colorful ending today
Wrecked truck

Asia » Nepal » Lumbini October 5th 2012

Anytime you find yourself in Lumbini, Nepal, there is really only one remotely plausible explanation for your arrival; you have come to the visit the monasteries and temples that are located at the birthplace of Buddha. Lumbini is a rather non-descript town located less than ten kilometers from the Indian border and unless you knew that it was a special sanctum for Buddhists, you would most certainly keep traveling as there is really no such thing as advertising for this sort of thing. And so, a day after leaving the hot and sweltering environs of Chitwan National Park, (sorry we keep on harping about the heat, but damn it man, it’s seriously warm here!) we spent the day tromping around Lumbini in temperatures of 40C (104 F). And don’t forget to factor in the humidity and ... read more
Young Monks Study
Hand painted Buddha
Buddha Statue

Asia » Nepal » Chitwan October 4th 2012

The transition from Western Europe to the jungle primeval was stark to no one’s surprise, but it provided many beautiful encounters. The park is far away from the madness (and general filth) of Kathmandu and affords the opportunity to see all manner of wildlife. Chitwan National Park is known for its bird life, rhinos, elephant breeding area and the elusive tiger. We didn’t see hide nor hare of a tiger, but then again, few do….even the guides. But it’s a great tourist hook, we’re sure. The drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan is a five-hour drive that would challenge the shock absorbers and framework of the best of vehicles. To merely describe the roads as full of pot holes and the like would be letting the general description of the road off easy. The route (calling this ... read more
Elephant Bath
Don't mess with me.
Flowers abound

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich September 26th 2012

For those of you who find beer to be their primary choice of adult beverage, this blog’s for you. This entry is not for the person who “occasionally” has a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon, and certainly not for those who indulge in low calorie beers. You may simply move on friend, for this is a blog that centers on the gathering of thousands of Germans and others making the pilgrimage to the center of the beer universe…..Oktoberfest!! A time each fall when men slap on their best lederhosen, don a hat that sometimes resembles the one that Marvin the Martian wears on those Warner Bros. cartoons, and women wear dresses that accentuate a certain part of their anatomy. And then the drinking begins…. Attended by well over 6 million festival goers each year, ... read more
Cheers my friend
Brutus can party!
Just one more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Berchtesgaden September 23rd 2012

After a wonderful time in Berlin, we headed off in search of new adventures in Germany. Picture a nation with over 80 million people in an area the size of Montana and you’ve got a quick reference for size of it all. But of course there lies much diversity in this land and we soon found this out. We are excited by train travel. This is most likely because there are so few to travel on in the States. The notion is quite romantic to us, so we started our voyage out of Berlin to Munich on the Ice train. Relaxing and decadent. It is said this train can go 180 km per hour. On this voyage, it did not. Too many stops and not enough straight track to allow for full throttle. We sailed along ... read more
Ulm, Germany
Brutus in Berchtesgaden
Beautiful roof tops

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