Wow Place #70: International Antarctic Center

The first thing you notice upon stepping into the Storm Dome is your difficulty breathing. The next thing you notice is how hard it is to move. Or to think. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The sign outside the room warned that temperatures could drop to minus 8° Celsius, with a minus 18°C wind. That’s […]

Wow Place #69: Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona

“Dave, can you help me secure my tent?” “I’ll try, Astrid. It’s super windy up here on the rim.” “Dave can you help me with MY tent?” “I’m doing my best, Johann. Ask Katrina to help you.” “Dave, my suitcase just slid down into the valley!” “Really Katrina?!!” What a ridiculous situation I’ve put myself […]

Wow Place #68: Armstrong Woods

When visitors talk about traveling to California, they’re mostly thinking about hitting the two big cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles: San Francisco for its hills and cable cars, Los Angeles for its beaches, palm trees and Disneyland. If they have any extra free time, perhaps people will squeeze in a visit to the wine […]

Wow Place #67: Bologna, Italy

So much of what makes a Wow place a Wow place is the unexpected. You arrive in a city, a park, a museum, whatever, thinking it’s just a brief stop on the way to someplace better, and then realize that where you’re at is astonishing in its own right. Such are my feelings about Bologna, […]

Wow Place #65: Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

I’ve written quite a lot about the amazing natural gifts to be experienced in Japan (ie. Wow Place #59 Nakatsu Gorge, #40 Oirase Gorge, #34 The Nakasendo, and #25 Kumano Kodo). Someday I’ll do an entire trip to Japan where I avoid ALL the major cities completely and just revel in nature. But that does […]

Wow Place #64: Corcovado National Forest, Costa Rica

Walking in a rainforest is a pretty incredible experience. But you really do need a guide. It’s not because of forest dangers like snakes, spiders and poisonous plants, which no doubt exist (and we happily avoided). It’s more because the guides in places like Corcovado National Forest in southwest Costa Rica have eyes like hawks. […]

Wow Place #63: Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Me: “So Jack, how do I meet a Brazilian girl?” David: “It’s pretty simple. Here in Rio, the locals are called Cariocas. You wanna meet a Carioca girl, just make eye contact, go up to her and say hello.” Me: “But won’t that be too forward?” David: “Are you kidding? Rio is the flirtiest city […]

Wow Place #61: Naoshima

I took a few semesters of art history in college. I like art museums; I really do. But surely there’s a more interesting way to display art than simply hanging it on a wall, indoors, behind a plane of clear plexiglass. Wasn’t art made for interaction? Funny you should ask. On an obscure island in […]