At GoNOMAD we like to feature destinations you won't find in the popular guidebooks, and give you a new slant on popular vacation spots. Our writers travel to all kinds of out-of-the-way places, and some on the beaten track, to provide ideas and information to help you plan your next trip.
A staircase at the spa in Kuks that
once flowed with wine. Photo by
This month Melinda Brasher takes us to Kuks in the Czech Republic, the site of a luxurious spa for the aristocracy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Editor Max Hartshorne visits Haulover Beach in South Florida, one of the country's most famous clothing-optional beaches, and Associate Editor Stephen Hartshorne accepts an invitation from the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma to rediscover America.
Teacher-traveler-author Janis Turk reflects on the bright stars and the all-encompassing silence in Namibia, Robert Painter takes us hiking across the 'roof of the world' in Nepal, and Margie Goldsmith visits the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
GoNOMAD Photographer Paul Shoul journeys to Taiwan, Nanjing and Shanghai and also sends a report from the heart of Chilean Wine Country.
Olga Volobuyeva enjoys the holiday season in Riga, Latvia, where they celebrate Christmas and New Year's twice, and Zoë Smith writes about Jamu -- traditional women's medicine in Java.
All and all, it's just another month of top-notch travel writing on GoNOMAD!
Stories published in November 2010 on GoNOMAD:
Into a Still Country: On Safari in Namibia
Like one who picks up a Bible and drops her finger on a passage for a message from above, in my tent on safari in Namibia, I pick up Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa and am pleased to fall upon this line: 'After a little while, you became aware of how still it was out here. Now, looking back on my life in Africa, I feel that it might altogether be described as the existence of a person who had come from a rushed and noisy world into a still country.'
Haulover State Park, South Florida: A Day at the Nude Beach Every winter, many of us in New England think often about warm weather getaways And which word can conjure up the most vivid memories and warmth? How about Florida, beach, and "clothing optional." OK, more than a few words, but you get the point. Haulover Beach is the holy grail to nudists around the world. It makes every list when writers and nudists compile information about the greatest clothing optional beaches you can find in the world...
An Invitation from the Cherokee Nation: Rediscover America
When I got an invitation to visit the Cherokee Nation, I grabbed it right away -- a chance to learn about the past, present and future of our country through the stories and teachings of this extraordinary people. I have written previously about the wily Cherokee war chief who won independence for Texas (that would be Sam Houston) but he was kind of an honorary Cherokee -- he only lived there for a few years. This would be the real deal...
Digging to China: A Journey to Taipei, Nanjing and Shanghai
When I was 10 years old growing up near Boston, I started to dig to China in my backyard behind the bushes where my mother could not see me from the kitchen window. A friend told me that it was on the on the other side of the world, and they all walked upside down. I had to find out. I made quite a hole; deeper than I was tall, until my father put a stop to my excavation worried that I would puncture a buried gas line..
Jamu in Java: Lessons From The Grandmothers of Indonesia
I’m handed a coconut shell filled with a runny, canary-yellow liquid that looks less than appealing. A little crowd has gathered around the rickety market stall where I stand, a lone farang [foreigner] in the market. They gawk at me, waiting for me to drink the potion. I dart a look at the little old lady and she grins slyly, a rotten arch of teeth rocking in her gums. What the hell, I think, and knock back the liquid as if it were a long, bitter shot of tequila.
Christmas and New Year's in Riga, Latvia We went to Riga in the middle of December for a few days and left several days before Catholic Christmas, but in my head I still have the carols singing, the tower clock striking, and the snow crunching. Winter in Riga is beautiful and exhilarating, and Christmas Eve definitely brings some additional magic. With magnificent architecture, splendid Christmas decorations, markets, inspiring music and delicious food and drinks, Riga will make your Christmas unforgettable...
Kuks, Czech Republic: Eerie Remains of Past Glory
If you were a rich 17th-century aristocrat, out to prove yourself above your peasant background, what else would you do but build an elite spa, complete with racetracks, Italian operas, and fountains spewing wine? That's what František Špork did at Kuks in the Czech Republic, near Hradec Králové. His efforts to impress his rich peers paid off, turning Kuks into a popular watering hole until after his death, when in 1740 a flood washed most of it away...
A Girlfriend Getaway in Glacier Country, Montana
I was skeptical about this girlfriend getaway to Montana. In my mind, Montana—with its Wild West reputation—didn’t conjure up images of relaxing spa treatments and chic wine bars, two things I considered vital to a perfect girls’ retreat. Instead, I pictured rugged terrain, weathered men and far-reaching cattle ranches. Yet while cowboys do indeed roam the expansive scenery, Montana also offers a surprisingly cosmopolitan edge...
Nepal's Annapurna Circuit: Hiking Across the Roof of the World
Trekking over the summit of a pass that would tower above Mt. Rainier by more than a half mile has been the dream of a pair of adventure seekers for more than ten years. I remember when I first told my friend David about this wondrous adventure in Nepal -- an exotic land of which I really knew almost nothing. I had read a story about walking across the “roof of the world,” and instantly this idea moved to the top of my travel priority list...
Memphis, Tennessee: Land of Elvis and Martin Luther King
I’d wanted to visit Memphis from the moment I heard Paul Simon sing about it in 'Graceland.' Memphis is mentioned in the lyrics of more songs than any other city, including Paris. So, a few months ago, I drove to the 'home of the Blues,' and less than two hours away from Clarksdale. First stop: a tour of Sun Studio, a former restaurant turned into a recording studio, and considered the 'Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll...
One Day in Bangkok for Less Than Ten Dollars (US)
If you’re traveling on a budget, Southeast Asia is a great place to do it in. Once you get here, it’s easy to keep the cost of living very low, and have an amazing time on just a few bucks. Take your pick from our recommendations to build your itinerary for a great day in Bangkok, for less than $10 – and easily around $5. Start the day with a visit to one of many incredible temples in Bangkok, one of the city’s biggest draws...
Montana’s Glacier Country: Majestic Mountains, Hip Downtowns and Cozy Lodges The Bar W Guest Ranch consists of a 6,200-square-foot lodge, cabin suites, stables, barns and an entertainment area along with sweeping prairies, lakes, mountains and foothills to help perfect your riding skills. If you are a beginner like me, experienced wranglers will provide you with the necessary tips and tricks of western style riding. One of the many perks of the ranch’s location is the wide range of activities on offer...
Drink Up! A Tour of Chile's Wineries and Vineyards
It is noon on a warm day in the Colchagua valley in Chile, one of the country's premiere wine producing regions. I am seated with a group of new friends at a long table on a porch in the heart of the Casa Silva vineyards. The air is filled with the smokey aroma of merkin-spiced grass-fed beef grilling nearby. Thomas Wilkins of Casa Silva is pouring a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc while telling stories about the earthquake that rocked this region on February 27th.
Malaysian Borneo: A Visit to the Garden of Eden
Borneo is far away and has something that few other islands can boast of -- orangutans. I opted to arrive in Borneo two days before the group with whom I was traveling; (Terra Incognita Ecotours) was to assemble at the Tanjung Aru Shangri-La Resort, just outside of town. I wanted to get a feel for the country from one of the bigger cities and photograph the people and places there before I left the civilized world and headed for the jungle...
Building a House in Guatemala: The Gift of a Home
For a country with one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America, the gift of a house in Guatemala can be life changing. Many of the impoverished people of the rural countryside in Guatemala don’t have much money, and much of their basic necessities are lacking. The act of building a small house out of brick, which costs about 1,700 US dollars to build, can affect a family’s quality of life immensely.