Our Favorite Photos: 9 Countries & 3,000,000 Steps of Travel

On our 123rd day of our travels we took our 3,000,000th step (tracked daily with our Jawbone Up pedometers).  In 123 days we’ve taken 47 taxis, 41 busses, 16 trains, 11 ferries, 11 planes, 3 rental cars, a handful of motor bikes, and exactly one hot-air balloon.  It’s been an amazing trip and we thought it’d be a good time to pick out our favorite photos.  Here they are, in reverse order (from Indonesia all the way back to May in Morocco!):

(note: you can click any of the images for a larger version and a description or you can head over to Flickr to see ’em all)

Indonesia (1 month)

Trusty Steed
We chartered this fine outrigger sailboat to get us from Nusa Lembongan back to Bali (a 1.5 hour crossing). The mast and boom were made of bamboo and the sail was fashioned from a blue tarp (and was slightly torn in a few places). The boat itself was less than 4 feet wide at its widest point and was painted a jaunty pink and baby-blue.

43 ft cliff jump
This was a 43 foot cliff jump on a tiny island next to Nusa Lembongan (which is an island off of Bali!). We drove there over a narrow suspension bridge on a motor bike to go exploring.

Seaweed Farmers
Seaweed farmers hard at work! The work their “fields” in flat little boats, while the elderly wander the beaches with little handheld nets to grab what washes in. The seaweed isn’t for eating– it’s used for a binding agent in cosmetics (mostly in Japan).

Ubud Dancers
Dancers a Ubud Palace, rocking to crazy Indonesian xylophones. A big part of Indonesian choreography is eyes and facial expressions.

Water Palace
The water temple in Ubud, flanked by lilly pads.

Opera Monkey
No, he’s not singing– he’s yawning after going for an underwater swim in a big fountain. Taken at the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud Sanctuary in Ubud, Indonesia. We caught a video of him swimming.

Nepal (3 weeks)

Scarecrow and Rice Paddies
Taken at 8,000 feet or so in the middle of a 12-day trek up to Annapurna Base Camp. So spooky.

D.B. (our porter/guide) and local fauna
D.B. was all smiles, kindness, and ridiculous endurance as he carried our 17kg of gear for 12 days. The dog followed us from our first step until the end of our first day (I’ve never had a wild dog “adopt” me for so long).

Porters of Nepal
The porters of Nepal lug 200 pound loads (no exaggeration) strapped to their foreheads up mountains for days (wearing flipflops or rubber boots, depending on their tolerance of leeches). They climb tens of thousands of feet over dozens of miles and do it with a smile.

Dancer in Chomrong, Nepal
Chomrong was an actual village (versus just a cluster of teahouses for trekkers). The locals did some dancing for us and our new camera did a great job capturing this dancer’s serene expression on low light.

Machapuchare, Nepal
Fishtail mountain peaking/peeking out from the clouds.

Day 11
The 11th day of our Nepal Trek at the top of @ (sunrise).

Freshly birthed baby goat checking out the drying red peppers in Bhaktapur.

India (8 days)

Monkey see
One of the monkeys in Mussoorie chilling on a railing.

Cloud Break in Mussoorie
Stunning view down the mountain from Mussoorie. We walked 15km downhill to Kempty Falls and were accosted several times by carloads of Indian tourists who wanted pictures of us. We always obliged– hard to say no to our fans.

Turkey (1 month)

Interior, Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque — probably the most beautiful interior of the trip.

Istanbul Royal Cistern
The below the streets of Istanbul.

Blue Mosque at night
The Blue Mosque from outside at night.

Maybe our favorite 80 minutes of the trip– hot air ballooning at sunrise over Capadoccia.

Balloons over Cappadocia
More balloons.

Roman Amphitheater
The theater behind Pamukkale— the best preserved ancient theater we saw (and we almost didn’t bother hiking up to it).

Pools of Pamukkale
The amazing blue pools on the calcium mountain that is Pamukkale (Turkey).

Kas, Turkey
Alex hiked up to some tombs at sunrise to get this shot of Kas.

The stunning view over Kaleköy, from the hilltop castle. Look closely in the water and you can see a Lycian tomb.

Lycian Tomb
The Lycian tomb from the previous picture.

Italy (5 days in Venice!)

The Canals of Venice
Rare example of a single gondola in muggy Venice.

Croatia (3 weeks)

Bird's Eye at Plitvice
Walking a high trail at the lower lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park, we caught this view down at a walkway. Crazy colors with the travertine-dust lake floor and a dozen “little” waterfalls to be seen.

Plitvice Lakes (Croatia)
Perhaps Alex’s favorite place of the trip. Trevertine-lined lakes with cascading waterfalls. Dozens (hundreds?) of falls with brilliant blue lakes. We went early in the morning and had the upper lakes almost to ourselves.

Split, Croatia
Old town Split is built inside a massive palace of an ancient roman emperor. Crazy mix of modern, ancient, and medieval construction blended together.

Red Roofed City
The red rooftops of Dubrovnik, Croatia as seen from the city walls. You can walk the entire loop around the wall (about 2km).

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Small harbor at Dubrovnik (we kayaked out of here). A few game of thrones episodes were filmed at this spot.

Czech Republic (2 weeks)

A view of the Charles River in Prague.

Wedding Anniversary at Kutna Hora
We spent our wedding anniversary visiting this church in Kutna Hora, which had the bones of 40,000 people artfully stacked, crafted into chandeliers, etc. Sadly, it was not our ivory anniversary, but it was still cool.

St. Barbara's Church
The cathedral at Kutna Hora.

Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov, a tiny village in the Czech Republic made tinier with tilt-shifting. One of our favorite small towns, despite the slightly gruff nature of Eastern Europeans.

Spain (3 weeks)

Plaza de España in Seville, Spain. The filmed a chunk of one of the awful Star Wars prequels here.

Granada. This is the Alhambra (pretty on the outside, but gorgeous on the inside– we did a night tour).

The Espacio Metropol Parasol in Seville. It’s the largest wooden structure in the world (locals call it the “mushroom”).

Ronda, Spain
Probably our favorite small town (favorite to Hemingway and Orson Welles) was Ronda. It’s small and set atop a large plateau with a massive bridge across the gorge splitting the town in two.

Rhonda Spain
Another shot of Ronda, showing the gorgeous farmland that’s below the town.

Marbella, Spain
Old Town in Marbella, Spain.

Morocco (3 weeks)

Surf and Turf
We wandered down the lagoon at Oualidia to find fishing boats being hauled up on shore full of fish. Locals swarmed for an impromptu auction (our host bought a massive collection of seafood). The local horses wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Beach Camel in Essaouira, Morocco
We walked for hours down this beach to find an ancient castle near Essaouria that someone had tried to build in the surf (it had largely melted). This camel startled me.

Medieval Essaouira
Essaouira featured ancient buildings and bright blue boats. Many scenes from Game of Thrones were shot here.

Castle in the Gorge
We stayed at this lodge at the end of Tinghir Gorge in Morocco, several miles past the cluster of other lodges. With a family of Berber nomads camped below us, it felt otherworldly.

Sunrise in the Sahara
We rode camels for half a day to get to berber camp– a little cluster of tents and rugs among the dunes. After a fitful sleep (sand kept falling on our faces thru the top of the tent due to a mild sandstorm outside), we got up to see the sunrise.

Ships of the Desert
Our trusty steeds who took us into the Sahara Desert. You cannot imagine the discomfort of riding a camel down a steep dune.

Fez Medina
The old city of Fes is a medieval warren of shopping insanity. Over the centuries, merchants have organized into “Souks” – clusters of folks selling the same thing who pack and unpack their wares every day. Our Dar (guesthouse with a courtyard) took us through the “Shoe Souk”– a sea of footware. This is the pottery area..

Fez Tannery
Steaming vats of dye and bird shit color your leather, people. This was “brown day” – they apparently shift colors every few days.

Last Rites
We took a cooking class in Fez (at Cafe Clock), which started with a trip to the market to buy our ingredients. One ingredient was this chicken, who seemed unwilling to participate. He was later resting with preserved lemons in a tagine.