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Reethi Faru resort 2021 - the Maldives

islands in the sun

overcast 85 °F
View Peru 2021-2022 & Maldives 2021 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

We found a good deal for a week long stay at a fancy resort in the middle of one of the atoll of islands in the Maldives. It took 2 days of travel to get there and 2 days on the way back since it's pretty much on the other side of the world, but totally worth it.

It is a super unique location and experience to see all these tiny islands in the middle of a huge ocean. They are somewhat close to each other (a couple miles in any direction) but far enough that you feel isolated on a private island and can barely see the next one in the chain on the horizon.

Most of the islands are private resorts. Ours had a gym, sport courts, several pools, many beaches, bars, restaurants, and about 100 bungalows/rooms. We opted to go all in and enjoy one of the villas that sits above the water in a shallow coral reef pool area. We could dive off the back deck into the water and snorkel or swim around and see the fish, coral, jellyfish, etc..

Each day was a different experience. We did snorkel trips to swim with turtles one day, we saw manta rays another day, and ocean dolphins, went on a sunset boat cruise, visited a tiny sand reef island that you could walk around in about a minute. Other days we worked out, went to the beaches, relaxed in the villa porch, visited all the bars.

Recommend:

  • splurge on an above water villa for the unique experience and to swim whenever you want
  • go on some guided trips to see fish, sharks, manta rays, turtles, reefs
  • you can skip the capital of Male, there's not much to do there and it's just a point of transfer for international flights to the other islands / resorts

Trip Map

Pictures

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Video

videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=murktravels+maldives&sp=QgIIAQ%253D%253D

Links

MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 15:21 Archived in Maldives Republic Tagged beaches islands sunsets maldives asia murktravels 2021 Comments (0)

2020

what just happened?

sunny 80 °F
View Colorado and Utah 2020 & Montana & Wyoming 2020 & Turkey 2020 & 14ers 2017+ & Israel 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

Looking Back

2020:
Well, that was an interesting year.
There was some things that were new and crazy like the pandemic and my truck getting stolen and totaled. Meanwhile other things stayed the same just like any other year with camping, hiking, biking, running, volleyball, moving, and road trips.

Most activities this year was somehow affected by COVID related news, including working remotely for 41 weeks of the year. I had several concerts, events, and international travel cancelled. The trips would have been to Italy, Croatia, Austria, Canada, and the Cayman Islands.

However that allowed me to take more US based trips. I was able to check out a lot of National Parks included Rocky Mountain, Colorado Monument, Dinosaur Monument, Arches, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons. Plus had the time to see a lot of family, friends, and enjoy hobbies (all at a distance of course).

Well, here's the review:

Activities

Things that happened in 2020:

Big Travels

Quick Trips

Challenges

Events & other activities

  • moved to downtown Denver - February
  • had 4Runner stolen, along with all my camping and outdoor gear, to be found a week later totaled and trashed by drug addicts - August
  • concerts: none
  • races: none
  • volleyball, biking, running, walking, hiking
  • Denver Travel Show
  • Prudence turned 3 - August

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 03:21 Archived in USA Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes trees museums nature travel california colorado mountain egypt turkey utah camp africa usa rockies festival hike bike israel europe asia denver qatar roadtrip montana wyoming macedonia ultra challenge sup nationalparks 14er 2020 murktravels in_review fkkt Comments (0)

Istanbul 2020 - Turkey

Turkey for Thanksgiving - the country not the bird

sunny 40 °F
View Turkey 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

After being mostly contained all year (minus some road trips, camping, hiking, and seeing family) we decided it was time to break out of the country. It wasn't an easy decision. To travel during a pandemic, knowing that if everyone wouldn't have traveled anywhere for a month at the start of this thing, it would be over long ago.
We considered the safety of travel; however we, the airlines, the hotels, and almost everyone we interacted with took great precautions.
We considered the impacts to family and friends and even strangers; but we quarantined before and after and got tested several times.
We considered the financial impacts; it wasn't that much for us, but it was a huge difference to the groups we talked to that rely on tourism to live.

Our trip included a flight from Denver to DC, then a long ride to Doha Qatar. Once there, we couldn't leave the airport, so managed overnight there before heading onto Istanbul Turkey. We were in Turkey for Turkey Day ... although we ended up eating lamb instead. During the day was some sight seeing, and during night for a week or so was working, back on Denver time.

But then there was a full week of vacation. It included seeing more of Istanbul. It is such an interesting city where Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all meet and have cultural influence. I also spent a few days in the Cappadocia region. It's pretty much right in the middle of the country and is known for the fairy chimney rock formations and the underground cities and churches carved into that same rock.

We took a hot air balloon ride, visited countless mosques, had great local food, witnessed talented artists making Turkish rugs and pottery by hand, tasted local wine, toured underground cisterns, museums, castles, churches, did some shopping and bartering at the bazaars, slept in a cave (hotel), experienced a Turkish full service bath (hammam), and again ate some really good food.

We also add a few days of the vacation in North Macedonia.

Recommend - Istanbul:

  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Galata Tower - to watch the sunset
  • Dolmabache Palace
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Kadikoy & Moda
  • full Hammam experience

Recommend - Cappadocia:

  • watching a sunrise with a hot air balloon ride over the region
  • Goreme Open Air Museum
  • views from Uchisar castle
  • underground city tour

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and for this trip : Turkey album

Cappadocia
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Dolmabahce Palace
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views around Istanbul
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Beyazit and Ortakoy Mosques
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Istanbul at sunset from Galata Tower
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Links

MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 20:43 Archived in Turkey Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises churches boats museums travel turkey wine europe asia 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Jerusalem 2020 - Israel

pilgrimage

sunny 70 °F
View Israel 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

Dad and I took a family and group pilgrimage to the Christian holy lands in Israel. Our agenda took us from the capital Tel Aviv to most parts of the country. We stayed up north around the Sea of Galilee, got to check out the Mediterranean Sea coast on the west, drove through part of the West Bank and Golan Heights, stayed in Jerusalem, and then headed south to the Dead Sea and Red Sea.

There is an amazing amount of history in this region of the world. Lots of the cities are just layers of civilizations built over the previous ones. You can see a large influence of Europe due to the Roman rule for so long, and currently there's a very international feel to some of the large more culturally modern cities. Although it seems like most of the Israeli's prefer to socially separate themselves and resist any change.

It's definitely recommended, and was very helpful that we had a knowledgeable guide to lead us around and provide more insight.
Afterward we added on some time in Egypt.

Recommend:

  • Caesarea historic site
  • Beit She'an ruins
  • Dead Sea float
  • all of Jerusalem: 4 quarters, Israeli museum, Yeshuda market
  • Sea of Galilee area

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
Israel folder

Roman Ruins
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Sea of Galilee
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Dead Sea
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rural view
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urban view (Jerusalem)
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 09:15 Archived in Israel Tagged me churches history israel asia 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Nagoya 2019 - Japan

one stop

overcast 55 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

light show

We didn't spend much time in Nagoya. Got in late one night and left early the next morning, but there was one reason we went. South of town, there's Nabana No Sato. For a couple months each year, this is a cherry blossom and festival Christmas lights extravaganza. We saw, by far, the most and biggest showing of cherry blossoms in the gardens of the site. There was also so many lights. It included sections of long tunnels of lights, tree covered lights, water shows, and a whole set of lights that was set to music and had moving images covering historic parts of Japan. It had a big section shaped like Mt Fuji. Very entertaining.

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Light Show Videos

Nabana No Sato Mt Fuji
Nabana No Sato Light Walk Tunnel

Trip Map

Pictures

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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 03:07 Archived in Japan Tagged japan asia murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Osaka 2019 - Japan

sumo-tastic

sunny 70 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

party town

One immediate difference from Kyoto, is that Osaka is a party town. It's a gritty town (in terms of overall spotlessly clean Japan), where bars and lounges and shopping is open late, there's sketchy alleyways, and a buzzing energy to the city alive with people looking for their version of a great night.

not so classic Japan

We stayed in the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori neighborhood where nearly every building had one if not all five floors containing a small bar (4-12 person), mostly with people singling karaoke and drinking heavily. We checked out the Amerikana area with shops selling vintage american style 80's wear, with some local Japanese stores mixed in. There was also a modern zoo and entertainment center near the developing Tennoji metro stop. We wandered some local markets that looked like a permanent garage sale spot, and saw the worlds largest ferris wheel ride. There was a lot in Osaka that was nothing like the sites we can to accept as normal Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto.

still classic Japan

We did also see some more typical Japanese items. There was the Shitennoji temple and pagoda, the Osaka park with it's blooming cherry trees, the Osaka castle, and delicious fresh fish and noodle restaurants (and one where we tried Kobe beef). And perhaps the most traditional Japanese event, was the national sumo tournament we got to witness.

There were 30+ match-ups that we saw throughout the full day tournament. It was one out of 15 days that the tournament lasts to determine the best of the best. There are several levels of skill that the wrestlers progress through and the talent got better and better later into the day. Each match up lasted about 5 minutes. Most of that was a warm up ceremony. It consisted of an official yelling out some commands that instructed the wrestlers of the stages of stretching, throwing lucky salt powder, going into several trial stances, and then the final actual battle. It was a furious and brutal flash of pushing, slapping, throwing, grunting. And yet it was balanced with such nimbleness and agility. There was also incredible sportsmanship with no anger at losing and no gloating at winning. Each match started and ended with bows and the contestants peacefully walking into and out of the platform. Quite an experience.

Recommend:

  • sumo tournament
  • Dotonbori nightlife and river walk
  • America village
  • Shitennoji

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Sumo Videos

Ceremony
Entrance of wrestlers
Warmup practices
Big Battle
Long Battle

Pictures

Osaka castle
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Ferris Wheel
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Sumo tournament
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 01:10 Archived in Japan Tagged parties trains japan castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

Kyoto and Hakone 2019 - Japan

history in real life

overcast 60 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

classic spa

After leaving Tokyo, we headed to the area of Odawara and Hakone, to spend the night at a ryokan. It's a traditional Japanese inn, involving shoes off, straw mat floors, mattress on floor for bedding, tea ceremony, traditional meals, with kimono-like robes ... all very authentic. There was also public and private onsens (hot springs water spa) available. It was very relaxing. The one we chose was also close to the Japanese museum for the Little Prince book, including a replica French town and information about the author's life. Sharon is a big fan, so we checked that out before hopping another bullet train (Shinkansen) to the former capital of Kyoto.

classic Japan

Kyoto, the very historic and ancient Japanese city. It's well known for all the shrines, temples, and religious sites. Here we saw a lot of locals and families dressed in traditional kimonos and clothes. First up was a smaller Buddhist temple that we randomly stumbled upon taking a back way (a less crowded way) to a more famous site. I don't even remember the name of it (Otani?), but it was very peaceful. Then onto a large packed site of Kiyomizu-dera. It has a very instagram infamous temple balcony as well as several pagodas. It's part of the UNESCO world heritage site within Kyoto made up of several temple grounds. We then wandered around the historic area of Gion and found the Hokanji temple pagoda (which was a famous picture we used as the background photo of our trip plan).

Our second day in Kyoto involved a quick train ride a little south of town center. That took us to Fushimi Inari. It's a mountain (really a small hill, compared to Colorado living) that is covered in orange torii gates as memorials to relatives that have passed away. Some are huge enough to walk through (they go over the pathways), while others are small hand held versions just laying around. There's miles of trails and tens of thousands of the gates. We walked to the top of the mountain and had some great views of the city. We ended our time in the city at Nishiki market. It had all authentic local food and crafts, and not so tourist based souvenir junk seen at a lot of popular markets in Japan.

Recommend:

  • a stay at a ryoken w/ an onsen
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Fushimi Inari
  • timing - if you're really into temples and history you could spend a week here. we only had a couple partial days to see some of the famous sites that were relatively close to the train station. but there's a ton more that was on our list that we could have done if there was more time: silver pagoda, bamboo forest, golden temple, parks, philosophers walk

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Pictures

View of Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera
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the Gion pagoda
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orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 02:12 Archived in Japan Tagged churches skylines trains nature japan temple travel castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

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