How to Experience Temecula

From up here, this could easily be Napa. It could easily be Italy, or France. The sentiment is echoed by the other twelve people sharing a hot air balloon basket with me as we float lazily on the early morning breeze. Vineyards, orchards, and elegant chateaux beneath us, blue skies above broken up by the…

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Editor’s note: for most of us in the West, we think of Jerusalem as the center of world religion, home to some of the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But for those of eastern faiths, this seems the place to go! Thank you, Sam, for your story and the journey into a place…

Casa Grande Ruins and Hohokam Culture

What makes a culture impressive? What makes a building project awe-inspiring or an engineering feat worthy of praise? Questions like these spiral through my head as I gaze at the ruins of Casa Grande, a four story building constructed by the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People. The desert air here in central Arizona is dry and…

All About Griffith Park

Nestled in the mountains between the trendy neighborhood of Los Feliz and the San Fernando Valley communities of Glendale and Burbank lies Griffith Park, a Los Angeles wonder. At more than 4,000 acres, it is one of the largest city parks in the country (more than five times the size of Central Park in New…

Hagia Sophia: History, Legacy, Controversy

As the old song says, Istanbul was Constantinople. (It was also Byzantium, but our story begins a couple centuries after this first - and less famous - name change.) Few remnants remain in Turkey's largest city from this earlier period. There are ancient cisterns that helped sustain the city through numerous sieges, and some wall…

A Weekend in Morro Bay, California

California's central coast - basically the entirety from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz - is worth exploring. Beautiful rocky coastline nestles with sandy beaches, historic towns sit alongside stunning resorts, and mountains meet the blue of the Pacific in ways that are bound to capture both your heart and imagination. Sitting just north of San…

Japan’s Spectacular Himeji Castle

As American tourists, we tend to think of Europe as the pinnacle for spectacular castles. However, while certainly there are some amazing castles all across the European continent, that perspective ignores one of feudalism's greatest homes: Japan. Japanese feudal society was every bit as complex as that in Europe, and with it came - as…

The Temples of Siem Reap

In the year 802 CE, Khmer ruler Jayavarman II moved his Capitol and court to the new city of Angkor and declared himself to be a god-king. A few decades later, in 889, Yasovarman I ascended to the throne and undertook one of the most massive building projects of the pre-industrial world. Over the next…