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Chichen-Itza

Dennis Nicklaus - 12-Nov-20

Chichen-Itza

I visited Chichen Itza in 2003 with my family, when you could still climb on and in the El Castillo pyramid. It's very enjoyable and iconic, I guess, but it is  not my favorite ancient Maya site.  I've visited a couple dozen different of the ancient cities around Mexico and Guatemala so far. While Chichen Itza is large and there is a lot to see, especially the impressive Ball Court, I prefer several others ahead of it.  I think my main complaints against CI are that it is over-touristed and has relatively little historic "atmosphere". My feelings are also probably tainted a little bit by the fact that we hired one of the official guides there for our  tour, and he was not very good

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Lalibela

Dennis Nicklaus - 21-Feb-20

Lalibela

I only had time for two nights in Ethiopia as a layover at the end of my Rwanda-Uganda safari trip, and the first of those had to be in Addis Ababa because my flight got in fairly late.  I decided to take an early morning flight to Lalibela and spend about 28 hours there.  I am so glad I did because it was very impressive. I was a little rushed (the churches being closed from 12-2:00 didn't help), but I got to see all the in-town rock cut churches and just barely had time to get up to Asheton Maryam, another rock cut church at a monastery on a mountain overlooking Lalibela.  My photo here is of one of the churches, Bet Amanuel, which is thought to have possibly been the chapel for the royal family in Lalibela

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Dennis Nicklaus - 20-Feb-20

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

I think  "Bwindi Impenetrable Forest" is my favorite park name in the world -- the most evocative of adventure.  It lived up to its name and feeling for us with our gorilla trek.  We visited to seek gorillas, of course, and had an amazing time. We chose to trek from Buhoma and were assigned to the Mubare group, which has one of the 3 biggest silverbacks in the forest.  At around 195 kg, he is very impressive and looks even bigger in person.  We hiked about two hours to reach our gorilla group. We started on a trail up one steep ridge past some farms and eventually diving into the forest full of very tall trees

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Imeong Conservation Area (T)

Dennis Nicklaus - 19-Aug-19

Imeong Conservation Area (T)

For one day of our Palau vacation, we decided to rent a car and have a self-made circle-island tour of Babeldaob, the largest island of Palau. Armed with our Cultural, Natural and Historical Sites of Palau pocket guide and map we set off.  We noticed the Imeong Traditional Village on our map and thought it sounded interesting. We drove through where we thought it should be from the map, but didn't notice anything other than a very small modern settlement. Turning around and coming back, we finally noticed a wooden sign saying "Imeiuns Ancient Village" and "Emeraech (North Star) Stone Path."  We walked up a gently sloping 4 meter wide stone path/staircase made of black basalt stones

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Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin

Dennis Nicklaus - 17-Aug-19

Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin

This site was one I had never heard of before investigating the UNESCO sites of Israel, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.  I guess it really isn't featured in package tours because it doesn't have a strong religious connection, so in that way it is a lot less visited. But for our independent tour, it was an easy drive from Tel Aviv.

There are three main types of caves here: the more residential caves of Maresha, the Sidonian tombs, and the bell caves which are former chalk quarries. As a bonus, right across the road you get a Roman amphitheater, crusader ruins, and more.

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Update 18.05.20
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