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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » London City October 23rd 2016

With our flight home not scheduled until the afternoon, Kevin and I wanted to get up early in order to get in one last bit of sightseeing before making our way back home. We started walking to this place we had gotten a recommendation for breakfast called Bill's on Kensington High Street. As we cut through a neighborhood, we found a bike rental stand and had the great idea to rent bikes for the morning for our sightseeing. With our newly rented bikes, we rode the rest of the way to Bill's for breakfast. With our stomachs filled and bodies warmed up with coffee, we rode our rental bikes through the cool crisp morning towards nearby Kensington Park. The park was peaceful at this early morning hour as we rode through the park where the leaves ... read more
Bike Riding through Kensington Gardens
The Fall Colors in Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » London City October 22nd 2016

At breakfast this morning, we ran into Faisal who had shown up to the hotel to wish safe travels to those who were heading out today. We hung out with him for a bit on the outdoor terrace while having some morning coffee before Kevin and I were picked up by our taxi to take us to Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. Our flight to London was on Royal Jordanian Airlines. I had purposefully arranged our flights to ensure we had an overnight layover in London and some time to take in some of the important sights. Kevin had connected with some friends of his who lived in the area and they were going to pick him up upon arrival at Heathrow airport in order to hang out. That left me to explore London this ... read more
The London Underground
London Museum of Natural History

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba October 21st 2016

Today was the official last full day of our tour around Jordan and as we all climbed into the van that would take us north to the city of Jerash, we all came to the somber realization that the end was near. Driving into northern Jordan, I was amazed by the number of refugee encampments that we had driven by. Our guide Faisal had explained that not all of these were Syrian refugees but many of them were Palestinians living in the encampments for over 10 years. He had indicated that estimates range from 1/3 to about 40% of the Jordanian population consisting of refugees. That high proportion of the population just amazed me. We pulled into the Jerash ruins which are considered to be of the best preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. I ... read more
Hadrian's Arch in Jerash
Hadrian's Arch in Jerash
The Jerash Visitor's Center

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba October 20th 2016

After a great 2 days of exploring the ruins at Petra, we headed off towards Madaba just outside of Amman. On our way to Madaba, we would have several stops to check out some additional sights of Jordan. The first stop was really just a quick road side stop to stretch our legs. Our van pulled over the side of the road where Faisal explained that below us was the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Jordan. However from our vantage point, it looked like a dry and deserted wasteland. After this quick 15 minute stop, we headed towards the town of Karak where we would visit it's castle. Perched on top of a hill with great views of the surrounding area, Karak Castle is a fortified castle from the era of the Crusades. ... read more
Canon at Karak Castle
The View from Karak Castle
Exploring Karak Castle

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 19th 2016

It was an early breakfast this morning as the plan was to head out with Kevin and Patrick to hike into Petra via a much longer and less traveled route. However, at breakfast I just wasn't ready to head out at such an early hour so I took my time eating breakfast and let Kevin and Patrick head out with Brent, Jocelyn, and Ronan. It was quite the sight to see Brent and Jocelyn dressed up as the characters from Indiana Jones as they set out for today's hike. I would find out later that there was a reason to this. I wasn't dissapointed in not joining them as it would be nice to just go at my own pace and have a little alone time to enjoy Petra all by myself. I eventually headed out ... read more
Early Morning Walk Through The Siq in Petra
Approaching The Treasury
The Treasury at Petra

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 18th 2016

After another sub-par night of sleeping, as we awoke to leave our desert camp in Wadi Rum. Our camp hosts provided us with a light breakfast and as we prepared to set off, we all gathered to collectively say our thanks to the Sheikh. We had appointed Kevin to give our thanks on behalf of all of us as we all set off in 2 vehicles. The Sheikh drove one of the vehicles and as we blasted some Jordanian music as we drove through the desert with the windows down. They dropped us off at a spot where a bunch of camels were awaiting and those of us who wanted to ride would ride the camels back to Wadi Rum town. 3 local teenage boys lead us and the camels back to town for the 45 ... read more
Driving in Wadi Rum
Driving in Wadi Rum
Camel Riding in Wadi Rum

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum October 17th 2016

After a rather uncomfortable night of sleep where I probably got no more than 4 hours of total sleep time, Kevin and I awoke and made our way over to a nearby rock to catch the sunrise. To our surprise, Sophie was already there with the same idea and the 3 of us enjoyed the peaceful calm of a desert sunrise. Today, we were to set out for a long day hike out into the Wadi Rum desert. We set out just after breakfast and already the morning had become quite warm. Heading out into the desert, it was pretty clear who would be leading the pack. Kevin, Ronan, Patrick, and myself lead the way while everyone else seemed to linger towards the back of the pack. This was one of the highlights for me during ... read more
Waiting For The Sunrise
Waiting For The Sunrise
Waiting For The Sunrise

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum October 16th 2016

After breakfast this morning, we all packed into our shuttle van for the 5 hour drive south to Wadi Rum. As we approached the outskirts of Amman, our guide Faisal gave us some background about himself and talked a little about Jordanian history and culture. Our destination today was the desert area of Wadi Rum and it's famous lunar landscape. Wadi Rum is best known as the setting for Lawrence of Arabia and most recently, was the filming site for Matt Damon's The Martian. First stop was at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center where we had just enough time to stretch our legs and have our first views of the amazing rock formations in the area most notably, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Here, a few of the guys took the opportunity to purchase a red ... read more
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Rock Formation
Wadi Rum Visitor's Center
Wadi Rum Visitor's Center

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman October 15th 2016

As one of the wonders of the modern world and an icon to fans of the movie Indiana Jones, the Treasury in Petra is clearly at the top of most travel wish lists. So when the decision to go to Jordan was made, my friend Kevin who is a huge Indiana Jones fan, was the most logical choice to be my travel partner. We had a long 10 hour flight on American Airlines to London where we then had a 4 hour layover before connecting to Amman, Jordan on Royal Jordanian Airlines. Arriving just before midnight, clearing customs and immigration was a slow process but while in line, I meet a guy named Josh from London who just so happens to be doing a similar tour around Jordan but with G Adventures. Finally clearing customs, the ... read more
View From The Hotel Room
The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm May 31st 2016

Today was going to be a long travel day as we made our way back home to Los Angeles. We had an early but short morning flight from Helsinki to Stockholm where we then had about a 7 hour layover. Upon arrival in Stockholm, I quickly realized that I had left my passport on the plane. After quickly making my way back to the terminal and realizing that there was no way they would let me back on the plane, I had to quickly figure out what to do next. I just needed to ensure that somebody retrieved the passport before the plan took off for it's next destination. For the next hour, I was given the run-around until finally I was able to get somebody who informed me that a passport was in their possession. ... read more
The Uppsala Cathedral
The Uppsala Cathedral
Storatorget in Uppsala

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