Palle Bo is a long time radioproducer who has sold his house, car and all of his furniture so he could travel around the world. He has an ambition to visit every country in the world and you can join his trip in this podcast. Come along as he meet the locals and experience Palle's excitements and concerns regarding the life as digital nomad.
3D/BINAURAL AUDIO In parts of this episode, I used a special recording technique. Some call it binaural audio; some spatial audio and I normally just say 3D audio. This technique creates a three-dimensional audio effect that brings out so much more detail and depth than regular stereo (where the sound comes from only left and right). So, put on your headphones and give this episode a listen to get the full experience. Levántate y brilla desde Colombia Well, before I landed in Colombia, I had a few difficulties boarding my flight in Madrid, Spain. I wasn’t in a hurry to get on the plane as I already booked my seat online. So, to avoid standing in line, I just sat around until there were hardly any people left. That turned out to be a mistake – and something that would almost make me miss my flight. This is the story we’re starting with. Only so you can learn from my mistake. And there’s a solution to my problem and a great travel tip at the end of that. PRE-FLIGHT TURBULENCE Prior to arriving at the airport, I made sure that I had everything in order. I got my Covid test, filled out all the immigration forms for entering Colombia and was pretty sure that I has everything sorted. But then when I got to the gate (as one of the last people to board) I was asked for a return ticket or an onward ticket as proof that I wouldn’t overstay my visit in Colombia. And I didn’t have any of that. I told the boarding gate official that I had visited the website of the government of Colombia and followed the steps described and nowhere did it say that I had to have a return or onward ticket. He said he was following orders, and that I had to buy either a return or onward ticket – right then and there. Then, when he saw that I was one of the last in the line and he was about to close the gate, he just casually (without any empathy) said: “I suppose you cannot fly, sir”. And then he spoke in Spanish to some of the other passengers in a similar situation. I was totally stressed out and quickly got on Skyscanner.com to desperately buy a ticket anywhere out of Colombia so he would let me on the plane. At the same time, worried that he would give my ticket to someone else. To be honest this is such a rookie mistake from me. I’ve experienced a similar situation before in my time as a nomad. I guess I’ve just gotten a bit rusty during Covid… RADIO VAGABOND TRAVEL TIP #1 Not all, but some countries, do require that you have an onward ticket. Why is this? Well, countries want to make sure that you don’t overstay the set amount of time you can be in their country. It’s also to prevent illegal immigration and also because they want to confirm that you have enough money to actually buy a ticket and leave the country. Honestly, these are all very valid reasons. The airlines are held responsible and are required to check for proof of onward travel. They don’t always ask so you could be lucky and board without it. But my advice is don’t take that chance and end up like me: frantically trying to book an onward ticket on your phone just as they are closing the boarding gate. ALL ABOARD…? I went on Skyscanner and searched “Medellín, Colombia to anywhere” looking for the cheapest ticket. As I was stressing out trying to enter my credit card details on my phone, someone asked me if they could hotspot my phone just as the boarding gate official was asking me if I have checked a bag. Like he’s in a rush to get my bag out of the plane – as I’m obviously not going to fly. And then he gets in an argument with the other passengers for the same issues as me which was adding to the already tense mood. Finally, my onward ticket to Panama got confirmed as I approached the tiny General of the Boarding Gate Republic. My heart was racing. I didn’t want to get told that my onward ticket was somehow invalid and that I wouldn’t be able to board my flight. Thankfully, he accepted my onward ticket and my ticket to board the flight, and I was off, not without exchanging a few terse words in his direction for the way the situation was handled. RADIO VAGABOND TRAVEL TIP #2 There are ways to avoid getting in a situation like this. If you don’t know where you want to go and when you want to leave, you can find an airline that will let you refund and get your money back. An easier option is to use Onward Ticket [https://onwardticket.com/] which allows you to “rent” a ticket for $12 which is valid for 48 hours. They send you a confirmation to show to the airline and then this onward ticket is cancelled once you have arrived. NOT SO FAST, PALLE When I eventually got on the plane and strapped my seatbelt it was 5.02 pm. Then 6 hours later, I was back inside the terminal… Ice in the flight engine delayed our flight. We were asked to disembark a few times and had to wait for ages in the airport. This, of course, impacted my plans upon arrival, including arranging my meeting with my Airbnb host in Medellín. I was expecting us to fly at around midnight. That didn’t happen. We waited another 5 hours before we were airborne. It seemed as though I would never reach Colombia… TOUCHDOWN IN COLOMBIA...FINALLY We eventually arrived at 09.30 and went through immigration – without them asking to see an onward ticket. Go figure. The good news was that I didn’t arrive in the middle of the night like I was worried about. But the driver (that my host Rob had sent) did. He’d been waiting for me since 3am. Juan Pablo, the now slightly annoyed driver, only spoke Spanish and my Spanish definitely has room for improvement. So, one of the first things I did after I got settled in my apartment in Laureles in Medellín was to look for a Spanish class. I found Alejandra and we ended up doing 3 one-ton-one classes every week for 3 months – even after I left Colombia. She’s a really great teacher and makes it individual for each student. She knew I had a passion for producing podcasts, so one week my homework was to do a 2-minute podcast about Medellín in Spanish. You can listen to it after this week’s episode. Drop me a line if you’re looking for a great Spanish teacher. I’d love to connect you with Alejandra. 7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT COLOMBIA 1. MEDELLÍN IS THE SECOND-LARGEST CITY IN COLOMBIA After the capital Bogotá, Medellín [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medell%C3%ADn] is the second-largest city in Colombia. As of September 2019, the population of Medellín is about 2.5 million people (3.7 million in the metro area) and covers a total area of 381 square kilometres (147 square miles) and is 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) above sea level. It’s located in the central region of the Andes Mountains in South America. 2. MEDELLÍN IS KNOWN AS THE CITY OF THE ETERNAL SPRING That might be because the weather’s typically a perfect 70-75 °F (22-23 °C) no matter the season. So, flowers on balconies and terraces, in gardens and parks, on sidewalk café tables, bloom all year. It’s also known as “Capital of the Mountain”, and speaking of flowers it also has the nickname “City of the Flowers”. 3. CABLE CARS ARE USED FOR MASS PUBLIC TRANSPORT Unlike expensive, touristy cable cars in other cities, the MetroCable here is a regular part of the city’s public transport system [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRst6zCllgY]. And this was something they did before any other city in the world. So, while you’re cruising up high, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with locals heading home after work. Medellín has an incredible skyline dotted with skyscrapers, grand colonial buildings, and colourful homes. And it looks extra good when you’re zipping over the scene in a cable car. And Lonely Planet describes the Medellín cable car system as “possibly the least expensive but most comprehensive and photogenic city tour in the world.” 4. BIG OUTDOOR ESCALATOR Medellín is surrounded by mountains so getting public transport to the steepest corners of the city isn’t easy. So, the city planners got a bright idea: They decided to build an outdoor escalator. The Comuna 13 neighbourhood [http://visita.medellin.travel/en/district-13] is on a steep hillside – and before the people living here had to climb the equivalent of 28 stories to get home from the city centre. Now, the journey takes six minutes, and the views get increasingly impressive as you glide up the hill. 5. MEDELLÍN AWARDED THE MOST INNOVATIVE CITY OF 2013 The Urban Land Institute awarded Medellín “the Innovative City of the Year award” in 2013. Tramways, cable cars and the outdoor escalators were a big part of this, but also the city’s world-class art galleries, libraries, and public spaces. Later, in 2016, Medellín won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, a sort of “urbanism Nobel prize”. Medellín got this because of its transformation into an outstanding liveable city. 6. MEDELLÍN IS NOT A DANGEROUS CITY ANYMORE Twenty-five years ago, Time magazine dubbed Medellin “the most dangerous city on earth”. It was here that Pablo Escobar [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Escobar] had his Medellín Cartel – a powerful and highly organized Colombian drug cartel and terrorist-type criminal organization. Escobar and other drug lords lived like princes. Judges and policemen were assassinated on a daily basis, and ordinary people disappeared overnight without trace. You might have seen Narcos on Netflix that tells the story of the life of Pablo Escobar and the rise and fall of the Medellín Cartel. By the way, it’s important to say that this is fiction and according to the locals only partly a true story. Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993, yet still many people to this day think that Colombia and especially Medellín is a dangerous place to visit. But since then, the city has been transformed. Obviously, it’s a big city and not without problems; but it’s really not more dangerous than any other big city. 7. FROM MURDER CAPITAL TO NOMAD HOTSPOT So, Medellín went from the murder capital of the world to a hipster holiday destination and a digital nomad hotspot. VISITING COMUNA 13 Comuna 13 is famous for the outdoor escalator but just as much for its amazing street art. Local artists are responsible for the colourful murals. Back in the day, Comuna 13 was the most dangerous district in the most dangerous city in the world. And it actually only got worse after Escobar was killed. The real violence in Comuna 13 only started after his death in 1993. The power vacuum created a bloody battle between left-wing guerrilla, right-wing paramilitary groups, and local street gangs. They all wanted to take control over Comuna 13, and between 1997 and 2002 the murder rate in Medellín tripled. The district was divided into zones of guerrillas and the paramilitary. There were ‘invisible borders’ everywhere, and if you crossed one, it could mean the difference between life and death. If you had said just 15 years ago that you were going to Comuna 13, people would have thought you were crazy. And that’s where I’m going next. Still today, it is not 100% safe, but this district is on the road to recovery. One of the positive influences is the Comuna 13 street art. TOURING COMUNA 13 I signed up for a 2.5-hour tour of Comuna 13 to experience the urban art, dance, and hear some amazing stories see the transformation of this district with my own eyes. For years, Comuna 13 was considered one of the most dangerous areas in Colombia but today it’s an awesome example of change. My local guide, Laura, works for Zippy Tour [https://www.zippytourcomuna13.com/] and lives in the area and we ended the tour at the house she lives in with her family – way up the hill of Comuna 13. Before the tour started, Laura asked us not to give the local children any money as there are more than enough opportunities for them to earn money and giving them a ‘hand out’ will not incentivise them to take these opportunities available to them. And many of them will use the money to purchase drugs as drug use remain a problem in this area. “We’ve been doing tours here for the past 5 years. We want to show people the beauty of Comuna 13 and the stores behind the art, the community, and the history of violence that has been transformed in recent years. Unfortunately, our tour business has suffered due to Covid-19 but we are so happy to still receive tourists despite the situation.” LIFE IN COMUNA 13 Laura has lived here in Comuna 13 her entire life. Her parents got married when they were very young. “My mother was 15 and my father was 18 when they got married because back then there was an agreement between families who had many children. For example, my father had 19 siblings and my mother had 21 siblings. It was a way to get them out of the house quickly to become financially independent.” Her parents were very poor and couldn’t afford to buy land or a house. But at the time – around the start of the 1980s – the government began giving free land in Comuna 13 which her parents acquired. So, Laura has fond memories of living here when she was a girl in the ’80s. And the invisible borders I was talking about earlier first came later. So, she didn’t see any dead people in the streets, the quality of life when it comes to health was very bad. “The situation was bad, but the community made it a pleasant place to live. They held fiestas and concerts, and I have fond memories of growing up here.” Laura explained that it was like a forgotten part of the city. It was just poor people living here, so it was like the government didn’t care about them. Laura told us that as a girl, she never once saw any police presence in the area ever. So, the locals decided to create their own illegal security protection group called the Popular Militias. They started out well, taking care of the community and protecting the children from nefarious activities at night. However, over time, the Popular Militias began to become dangerous and everything changed when Pablo Escobar died. Yes, everything would change when Pablo Escobar died in 1993. At the time Laura was around 11 years old. And as we talked about earlier, this was when things turned really bad here in Comuna 13. When Escobar was at his peak with the Medellín Cartel he recruited a lot of young people in Comuna 13. “Escobar’s cartel began recruiting young people from poor neighbourhoods around the city, including here in Comuna 13, to work in their organisation. Often, this included crimes such as kidnapping, torture, assassinations, local terrorism, and drug trafficking. Escobar even offered 1 million Colombian pesos for every policeman killed, which of course made many poor and disadvantaged people eager to get involved in a life of crime. It was easy, fast money. Escobar was responsible for arranging the killing of 657 policemen in Medellín.” And as you might remember, the hunt for Pablo Escobar ended when he was shot on a roof in Comuna 11, not far from here. “The government thought that once Escobar was dead, things would be better. This was not the case. Many people and crime organisations wanted to take control and the violence spread rapidly throughout the country. Many criminal syndicates joined forces and urban warfare was rampant. Many innocent people lost their lives.” During that time, the government had many operations to get law and order brought to Comuna 13. They all failed. So, in October 2002 they did a more drastic operation. Operation Orion was “the largest urban military operation ever to take place in Colombia” and lasted for four days. WARM COLOMBIAN HOSPITALITY We continued to Laura’s home and had cold beer on the balcony with a stunning view of Comuna 13 and Medellín. On the way, we saw a lot of amazing street art and was witness to several dance acts. Even though a part of it was on the escalators, it was still a lot of walking uphill. I chatted to Laura and found out more about life living in Comuna 13 and sharing a home with so many siblings and family members. Before I put my microphone away and enjoyed the view and chats with new friends, Laura had some final words about her country. “Colombia is more than coffee and Narcos. Colombia has so much to offer both locals and visitors alike. We have a beautiful paradise filled with wonderfully warm people.” Amen to that, Laura. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR COLOMBIA For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit the official website of the Colombian government [https://www.gov.co/home/]. Make sure the Colombia is open for tourism before booking your trip.
A warm hello from sunny Florida, USA. The glorious thing about the CouchSurfing community is that you get to make friends all over the world. In fact, the community is so warm that you also get to meet their friends (and friends of friends), too. When I CouchSurfed through Connecticut [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/north-america/usa/connecticut/] I got to know Jason and the ConnectiCouch crew. When I came to Florida, I asked him if they knew of anyone’s couch I could crash on when I’m here. The answer was “Yes, you absolutely must meet Cynthia when you’re in Florida!”. So, after making contact with her we arranged to meet at the beautiful Lake Wales, smack in the middle of Florida. She lives close by, and I told her I would wait for her on a lakeside bench. When I arrived, I saw a woman sitting on a nearby bench wearing a South African cowboy hat. Something told me this was Cynthia. Of course, it was her. We exchanged warm Florida greetings and I immediately put her to task by asking her to tell me some interesting facts about where we were. INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS PART OF FLORIDA 1. LAKE WAILES WAS A BEACH Cynthia tells me that when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth, the area that is now Lake Wales was actually a beach, so the geology of the region is very unique from the rest of Florida. 2. WALES TOWN/WAILES LAKE The town of Lake Wales is spelt differently from the actual lake of Lake Wailes. In the 1800s the town was served and given the name Lake Wales. Then, in the early 1900s when the area was plotted, they named the lake, Lake Wailes. 3. RURAL 30 years ago, the town only had 10,000 people and one traffic light. Today, they have around 18,000 people and a few more traffic lights. 4. CENTRAL Lake Wales is very centrally located. It is about an hour south of Orlando and close to four hours from Miami. Each coastline is about an hour east/west. Cynthia wears a necklace that is a world map as a reminder of her spirit of adventure. She has travelled to 117 countries so far, all 50 US states, and isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon. We were talking about cool it was to meet up at the suggestion of our mutual CouchSurfing friends. “For me, CouchSurfing isn’t about the couch it’s about the people you meet along the way. I have been blessed to meet over 1100 people in person. I have been CouchSurfing for a long time, and I am actually one of the CouchSurfing ambassadors for the United States, together with Jason and three others. We really believe in the power of community and connecting the world one person at a time”. ROLLING UP SPOOK HILL After our lakeside chat/meet ‘n greet, Cynthia and I got into our cars and headed for Spook Hill [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spook_Hill], a famous attraction in this part of Florida. Spook Hill is a gravity hill, an optical illusion that makes viewers believe that cars seemingly roll uphill, defying the laws of gravity. When I got there, I could see with my own eyes that the hill goes up. “Wow, it really is big and definitely is going up,” I said. “Is it?” Cynthia asked with a knowing grin. The sign at the foot of Spook Hill tells the story of the legend (next to a drawing of a ghost): “Ages ago, an Indian Torn on Lake Wailes lake was plagued with raids by a Huge Gator. The town’s Great Warrior Chief and the gator was killed in the Final Battle that created the huge swampy depression nearby. The chief was buried on its north side. Later, Pioneer Haulers coming from the foot of the old army trail atop the ridge above found their horses laboring here… at the foot of the ridge … and called it Spook Hill. Is it the gator seeking revenge or the chief protecting his land???” And then the sign says: “Stop the car on the white line, place it in neutral and let it roll back.” I did just that. I stopped at the white line at the bottom of the hill. I placed it in neutral and low and behold…it rolled back. Really spooky. Or could it be just an optical illusion? Check it out for yourself on this video [https://youtu.be/CUlF5bjVLqQ]. COUCHSURFING Let’s talk a little bit about CouchSurfing. I’m sure most of you know what it is but for the uninitiated: It’s an online platform called CouchSurfing.com [https://www.couchsurfing.com/] where you can either host or stay with someone. No money changes hands: you pay with a little gift, a dinner, or simply by telling a story, singing a song or being a great guest. Usually, you don’t really spend the night on a couch. In the 50+ times I’ve CouchSurfed, I’ve only slept on a couch once. And that was a big one – on a blueberry farm in Maine [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/190-maine-blueberries-and-pickled-sea-snails/]. The most important thing is that you get to meet amazing locals and as a host, you get to meet some interesting people from around the world. It’s such a great platform. (COUCH)SURFING THE PANDEMIC WAVE Obviously, it’s also been tough for CouchSurfing during the Pandemic. Recently, they have had to ask users in their home market USA to pay a little bit to keep the platform alive. The community has grown very rapidly since it started. When Cynthia joined in 2007, there were roughly 100,000 people on the site. She knew almost all of them either through direct contact or by four degrees of separation. They used to have aviators on the site displaying how each member was connected. Since then, the community has grown so big that we have unfortunately lost the sense of a close-knit community. With more traffic to the site and the growing demand, it is also impossible to expect the site to run for free. She tells me that she heard, they have about six servers in India: that is A LOT of data which costs money. As an unpaid CouchSurfing ambassador, I asked Cynthia if she could talk a little bit about this. “As soon as we introduced payment on the site, it of course changed the nature of the experience and divided the community as many people felt it lost its spirit. On top of this, the pandemic has negatively affected the CouchSurfing community due to travel restrictions and social distancing. So, the site is undergoing changes at the moment. I hope that the CouchSurfing community will come out of this stronger and better. And I still believe in the core mission of the initiative: to connect the world.” It’s really not a lot to pay to keep the CouchSurfing community alive, it’s only around $15 a year, which, for what it gives you, is really nothing. MULTITALENTED CYNTHIA Cynthia and I chatted a lot about her background and how she was ended up securing a full-ride scholarship to an exclusive school in Kensington, UK. Well, a step further than exclusive... her teacher was a member of the British parliament and she got to meet then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Our conversation meandered from school and travel, the past and the future. Even about her travels to Swaziland (Eswatini), and both Antarctica and the Antarctic – and the funny restroom situation they have on the expeditions there. This is definitely an episode you want to listen to. Cynthia is a really remarkable person and it was so fun chatting to her and getting inspired by her ambitious and warm spirit. We even talked about plans for her to travel again when the travel restrictions ease a bit. This episode was recorded in August 2021 and Cynthia actually did get to travel to the Balkans in September. She visited eight countries in four weeks, including six new countries, bringing her Country Count to 123. And we are actually seriously talking about doing a trip to Kenya and Uganda soon. So, who knows if there’s going to be a “Podcast 2.0 from Nairobi”. You can follow Cynthia on Facebook as Cynthia Globe (Globetrotting LadyLawyer Cynthia) [https://www.facebook.com/ladylawyer.cynthia]. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR USA (AUG 2021) This episode is from August 2021. For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit the USA’s official travel state website [https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html]. Make sure the USA is open for tourism before booking your trip.
Uma recepção calorosa from Rio de Janeiro My first Sunday morning in Rio gave me the quintessential Brazilian experience: chilling on a packedCopacabana beach [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copacabana,_Rio_de_Janeiro]listening to traditional samba music performed by a group of local friends sitting around a breakfast table. It didn't seem like these people were an organised band, and they weren't doing it to make money from tips. I just got the feeling that they were doing it for the love of samba. How can you not have a smile on your face when you find yourself experiencing this beauty on the world's most iconic beach only a few minutes’ walk from where you stay? What a city! The night before, I also got to hear some Brazilian samba. I teamed up with a friend of mine, Shannon from Los Angeles, and asked some locals where we could find a unique samba experience. SATURDAY NIGHT SAMBA We were given insiders information on where to find a tiny samba bar known only to locals. When we arrived, we couldn't believe just how authentic this place was. It was a small bar – kinda like a bodega. The band was not on a stage; they were just sitting around a table with their instruments and drinks. The place was packed, and we were standing around their table in a circle. It was a truly unique experience. After the band put down their instruments in favour of their drinks, we stepped outside onto the street and walked a bit until we came across another very local place where they had a karaoke night. It didn't have any windows, so people walking by could hear the not-so-great 'singers' attempting their versions of famous songs. Shannon's face lit up, and with a big smile, she said, "Hey Palle, let's go in and get a drink". The thing is, Shannon "Sangin' Diva" Pearson is a professional singer. She began her professional career at the age of 15, doing studio work around Los Angeles. Over the years, she's had the privilege of sharing the stage as a backing singer for artists like Natalie Cole, George Duke, Stanley Clark, Al Jarreau, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, Evelyn Champagne King, Sean "P-diddy" Combs, Kelis, Leona Lewis, Katy Perry, and many others. She's also appeared on TV shows like Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, America's Got Talent, and even How I Met Your Mother. As a solo artist, she's performed all over the world asSangindiva Shannon [https://www.sangindiva.com/]. And now this singing diva was about to have her Brazilian debut in a not-so-fancy little karaoke bar in Rio de Janeiro. The people in there had no idea what was about to happen. Shannon was almost jumping in her seat and smiled like a kid in a candy store when she was flipping through the song folder to pick a song. She then went up to the lady controlling the show and pointed at a song. When it was her turn, we all sensed that this was a professional from the second she was handed the microphone. She connected instantly with the sleepy people in the room with her presence. She then belted out a loud "Hello from Los Angeles California!". And then the music started: Whitney Houston'sI Wanna Dance with Somebody. Unlike other karaoke singers, she was not looking at the screen for the lyrics. She was looking at the audience, dancing and spinning around. The people on the street stopped and looked in awe of what was going on. It was like they were looking and thinking, "Wait a minute, didn't Whitney pass away a long time ago?". We ended up staying there for hours, and Shannon kept going back on stage again and again… Check out Shannon's outstanding performance below. https://youtu.be/nZnWVsxriJE [https://youtu.be/nZnWVsxriJE] ESCADARIA SELARÓN OR SELARÓN STEPS The following day, I met up with Shannon on Copacabana beach, and we were both still high on the musical experience from the night before. We strolled along the beachside, taking in the sights and sounds of this splendid place. We then slowly headed to the next beach over,Ipanema [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipanema]. We found ourselves at the 'hippy market', a lovely little flea market kitted out with artsy items such as musical instruments, brightly coloured shirts, hats, and curiosities. We then headed up toEscadaria Selarón [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escadaria_Selar%C3%B3n], also known as the Selarón Steps – a world-famous steps attraction in Rio de Janeiro and the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as his "tribute to the Brazilian people". In 1990, Selarón began renovating the steps that ran along the front of his house. At first, neighbours mocked him for his choice of colours as he covered the steps in fragments of blue, green and yellow tiles – the colours of the Brazilian flag. It started as a side-project to his main passion, painting, but it soon became an obsession. He was constantly running out of money for the project, so he sold paintings to fund his work. It was long and exhausting work, but he continued on and eventually covered the entire set of steps in tiles, ceramics and mirrors. There are 215 steps, measuring 125 metres long, covered in more than 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. It is considered an iconic tourist attraction of Rio de Janeiro, with travellers from across the globe visiting it every day. The steps have been featured in many famous magazines, newspapers, travel shows, documentaries, commercials, and music videos. National Geographic Channel, American Express, Coca-Cola, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Time and Playboy are just some of the media outlets that have featured the iconic steps. The steps have also been featured in many music videos, such as Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams'Beautiful [https://youtu.be/_FE194VN6c4]. Snoop and Pharrell are not here today, but halfway up the steps, we met a young local couple with hip-hop names: Biggie and Dou. They were relaxing at a pop-up bar that was selling the iconic Brazilian drink,Caipirinha [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha]. "There are so many amazing things to experience when living in Rio. Us locals are very warm and inviting. The stories are true: we listen to samba and dance every day of our lives. Plus, we give the best warm hugs." I sampled a Brazilian hug from Dou, and they weren't wrong. When I asked about the crime aspect of the city, they said that it is like any city in the world: as locals, there are certain places to avoid at night. Using common sense, they said, is key. Shannon and I ended up having quite a few Caipirinhas. It was a fun weekend with a friend I met onNomad Cruise 7 [https://www.nomadcruise.com/]: a two-week "floating conference at sea" from Spain to Brazil. NOMAD CRUISE I hopped on a cruise ship in Spain with 500 other digital nomads and aspiring entrepreneurs from 42 countries for a two-week networking conference across the Atlantic. I met up with old friends from previous Nomad Cruises and made new friends along the way. On Nomad Cruise 7, I met Tarek Kholoussy, founder ofNomads Giving Back [https://nomadsgivingback.com/], who has a corporate background in Wall Street. He was working for Goldman Sachs when he decided to get out of the rat race and become a digital nomad. On the cruise, Tarek gave a talk about his journey and goals: one of which was to create a social enterprise. At the end of his talk, he publicly announced the launch of Nomads Giving Back. A few days after we set foot on land, I pulled Tarek aside in a café in Porto de Galinhas on the east coast of Brazil for a chat. This was before I arrived in Rio. DITCHING CORPORATE FOR SOCIAL Tarek told me he always had a passion for social causes thanks to his entrepreneurial heart, but his background had always been corporate. He joined Nomad Cruise to pitch his Nomads Giving Back concept to the nomad community: to inspire nomads and travellers to give back to the communities they visit. From his inspiring talk, he was met with overwhelming support from the nomad community, including the founder of Nomad Cruise, Johannes Voelkner, who suggested they collaborate. "Every digital nomad realises just how amazing our lives are having the opportunity to travel the world and experience things many will never the chance to. And it becomes more meaningful when we are able to engage with local communities we travel to uplift and help develop. The aim is to make this global world feel like a close-knit community helping each other along the way." BACK IN RIO WITH NOMADS GIVING BACK Jumping back to the present in Rio, I met up again with Tarek who found the first project here for Nomads Giving Back. They teamed up with the philanthropic organisation/schoolSolar Meninos de Luz [https://www.meninosdeluz.org.br/en/]situated in a favela close to Copacabana. Tarek tells me that the idea for this first NGB-program is inspired by the power of the Nomad Cruise conference, where attendees learn how to improve their digital marketing skills (among many other things). Tarek and the Nomads Giving Back team decided to use some of the funds collected at the fundraising dinner on the ship to create a digital skills program for students who would not otherwise have access to it. Many digital nomads earn their income from digital skills, and Tarek and the team sought to pay it forward by channelling donations to advance digital skill learning among disadvantaged youth here in Rio de Janeiro. Tarek and I caught up again to talk more about the new project. We both realised how fortunate we are to live a nomadic lifestyle and how much we have always wanted to give back to the communities we visit. "Digital nomads are mostly entrepreneurs working light without the backing of large corporations, so we don't have deep pockets. But there are so many other ways we can give back that doesn't require loads of money. Being a nomad is about freedom of choice, and part of that is defining what is important to you. For instance, in one night at the charity dinner on Nomad Cruise 7, we raised thousands of Euros." "Over and above, nomads are volunteering to help with their skills and talents: like the website and branding and business development. This shows the power of the nomad community and the power connecting through the same principles and values." Solar Meninos de Luz has spent nearly 40 years serving their local community. We were given a tour by Manu, a former student of the school and the perfect ambassador for the program. In fact, she came here when she was only three months old. "We have been here for 27 years doing a great job at educating the local community, with a holistic approach. We have 420 students, 115 volunteers, and 113 employees working in the school. We also provide over 1,200 meals every day as students arrive at 7am and leave at 6pm, so we provide 3 meals to each student every day. It is a lot of hard work but we love what we do here." Manu tells us that the school relies on public and private funds and donations to keep the facilities running. We walked around the school and met some of the students. We were then treated to a nativity themed music and dance performance by the students. It was really great and so lovely to see the kids singing and dancing. Then an adult choir came onto the stage and gave an incredible performance. MORE ABOUT SOLAR MENINOS DE LUZ In walking distance from Solar Meninos de Luz is theCopacabana Palace [https://www.belmond.com/hotels/south-america/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/belmond-copacabana-palace/], one of Brazil's biggest and most luxurious hotels. It was the location of a fundraising event I was attending for the project. The luxury of the place is quite the contrast to the favela up the road. But that is both the charm and complexity of this historical city. Solar Meninos de Luz is a philanthropic organisation that promotes education, sports, arts and culture, basic healthcare, and professional training support. It was founded 34 years ago and have assisted over 5,000 locals. Famous Brazilian authorPaolo Cohelo [https://paulocoelhoblog.com/]who wrote The Alchemist (1988) and The Pilgrimage (1987), among many others, is a major long-time sponsor of the school. He donated his villa, which is now part of the campus and serves as the library. After months of planning, the Digital Skills Program officially launched a few months later. Nomads Giving Back were able to teach things like content marketing, SEO, and Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn Marketing. The 14 students learned how to think strategically, generate their leads, promote their personal brand, effectively use each social media platform, and much more. Upon completion, they were able to implement what they learned to start and grow their own business or better prepare themselves for job opportunities. MIT MASTERCARD BLEV KOPIERET Out of nowhere, I received a call from my bank back in Denmark informing me of suspicious activity on my Mastercard. Apparently, some dick in the USA tried to draw $400 from my account. So, my Mastercard was blocked for security purposes, but thankfully your dapper Danish vagabond travels with a spare Visa, so my samba-licious adventures could continue. I later found out that my card was copied by someone moving close to me with some kind of electronic device that copied all the info of the wireless function on my card. Maybe it happened at the market on Sunday, where I was close to a lot of people. Since then, I've gotten a new wallet where my cards are protected in a metal case. SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN Sugarloaf Mountain is one of Rio's most iconic attractions. It is a beautiful peak that rises 396 meters high and presents a bird's eye view of Rio de Janeiro from the mouth of Guanabara Bay. The cable car trip up is a sensation, and the panoramic views from the peak are absolutely breath-taking. The original cable car was built in 1912 and then rebuilt in the '70s and again in 2008. I planned to meet up with a few digital nomads for a hike on one of the hills. Then, we planned to catch the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain to enjoy the sunset. We made it to the summit just in time to watch the sunset. And boy, was the hike worth it. And as the sun was setting with a stunning view of Rio de Janeiro, it's also time to let the sun go down on this episode. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya. FLASHBACK EPISODES WITH TAREK You should also go back to the archive andlisten to the two episodes [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/?s=tarek]I recorded with Tarek to learn more about his story. It's genuinely fascinating. SUPPORT SOLAR MENINOS DE LUZ If you would like to help support the continuous education and development of the youth in Rio de Janeiro,visit their website [https://www.meninosdeluz.org.br/en/]to find out more. SUPPORT NOMADS GIVING BACK Join the community of nomads giving back by visiting theirwebsite [https://nomadsgivingback.com/]to find out how you start your giving back journey today. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR BRAZIL (OCT 2021) This episode was recorded when Brazil was open for travel. For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit theBrazilian government's official website [https://www.gov.br/mre/en]. Make sure Brazil is open for tourism before booking your trip.
SUNRISE ON THE BEACH Welcome to an episode from Sri Lanka. This is a rerun and a mix of two of my episodes from here. I visited the island in 2019, just before the pandemic shot the world (and Sri Lanka) down. Now that everything is slowly opening again, I wanted to remind you of the beauties of this country and its people. As you’re joining us in this episode, we’re staying at a hotel calledPigeon Island Beach Resort [http://www.hotels25.dk/Hotel/Pigeon_Island_Beach_Resort.htm] at the eastern part of the island. It’s literally on the beach just north of Trincomalee. The next morning I got up at 5 am so I could go to the beach facing east and record a time-lapse as the sun was rising. Much to my dislike, eleven young men were walking into my shot. Then I realized that they were pulling a rope. They were dragging a net full of fish out of the water, and I went over there and helped them pull it for a while. Someone later told me that when tourists do that, they share a few of the fish with the people that have helped them. I didn’t stay to the very end, so I never got my fish, because I needed to go and get ready for the next day of exploring. I want to go back and spend at least a week at Pigeon Island Beach Resort. Especially when I saw that they have a Scuba Diving Centre, and it’s just been too long since I’ve been scuba diving. But the itinerary didn’t give me time for that, so I guess that gives me another reason to come back to Sri Lanka. FACTS ABOUT WHERE WE ARE * The highest point in Sri Lanka is Mount Pedro, reaching 2,524 meters above sea level. * With over 400 waterfalls, Sri Lanka has perhaps the largest number of waterfalls of any country in the world, in comparison to its size. Bambarakanda Falls is the tallest waterfall in the country, with a height of 263 meters. * There are 22 national parks and 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. CONTROLLING BULLS IN A FORREST NEAR HABARANA It was time to head down to Habarana 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Trincomalee. This is where we’re staying tonight and also where we’re going into nature. When we get close to Habarana, we leave the paved road and on a dirt road get to a small clearing in the forest. We about to go deep into the forest on small Bullock Carts. Four people in each cart with two white bulls dragging us. I was in front with the guy steering the cart and controlling the bulls. He had commands for left, right, stop, and go faster. The bulls seemed quite lazy, but he was sitting right behind them, and if he swung his leg just a little bit, he would give them a gentle kick in the balls. And that would make them go fast. Halfway he gave me control of the cart and jumped off. So, there I was, controlling a bullock cart on a dirt road in a forest in Sri Lanka. Now that was a first for me. And no, I didn’t kick any balls. WATCH TOWER AT THE RICE FIELDS We still had a bit of a walk to do before reaching our destination. On the way, we saw a tree hut close to a rice field. This hut is used for keeping guard at night and scaring animals that might away with firecrackers and drums. We crossed the river in a double-paired canoe – kind of a catamaran that they use for fishing. The river wasn’t that wide because it’s dry season right now. In the wet season, the water level will rise a couple of meters and makes the river much wider. We’re heading towards the small village where we will experience a traditional authentic Village Lunch and get a local cooking demonstration. We also go on an elephant safari and see herds of elephants in the wild. And then after a bit more walking, we got to a small house with a grass roof. Inside was a smiling Sri Lankan woman about to cut a coconut in half with a big knife. AUTHENTIC VILLAGE EXPERIENCE I get to taste a bit of the coconut milk, and then she starts grinding the inside of the coconut. She’s using a piece of metal at the end of a stick she’s sitting on. The desiccated coconut falls on a banana leave. It looks so easy, and yet we can see that she was very skillful. She has done this a million times before. Especially after Joanna and Viola from the group tried to do it, we realized that they just didn’t have the same touch. We go outside where there’s a big rock. Here she puts some chili and salt and starts rubbing with another stone the size of a loaf of bread. She adds the desiccated coconut, onion, and lemon, and rubs some more. This coconut paste was scooped back to the banana leave and was to be a little part of the meal that awaits us. This coconut paste was to be a little part of the meal that awaits us. The rice and the chicken drum stick curry had been cooked over a fire outside the hut. And there was so much delicious food on this authentic Sri Lankan buffet that we were eating with our hands. There was so much delicious food on this authentic Sri Lankan buffet that we were eating with our hands. On the way back to the bus, we sailed a bit more in the catamaran canoes, following the river on to a lake. Visiting this small village in the forest, having the authentic Sri Lankan lunch prepared like it’s been done for centuries in a small hut with a grass roof, eating with our hands was truly an experience. ELEPHANT SAFARI But the afternoon was about to get even better: We were going on an elephant safari. For the next couple of hours, we were driving around a big area where close to one hundred elephants were roaming freely – like they are supposed to. We’re in Minneriya National Park, best known for its large herds of Elephants – generally well over 100 elephants at a time nearby area of the Minneriya reservoir. It’s situated in the south-central area of the island and comprises of grasslands, thorny scrubs, and many valuable species of trees. Apart from elephants, species of deer, wild boar, water buffalo, and jackals are some of the wild animals found, along with a variety of avifauna that abounds the park. PALLE ON THE SOAPBOX: DON’T RIDE ELEPHANTS If you’ve followed me for a while, and especially heard my episode from Chiang Mai in Thailand, you will know how I feel about elephant riding. You should never ever do that. The elephant back is not built for it, and it’s just plain cruel to do so, in my opinion. A guy from the company that did the village experience and the elephant safari gave me his business card when we were having lunch. I noticed that it said “Elephant Riding” on the card, and I asked one of our guides if this was something they still do. He went and asked him and got back to me and said that they stopped doing this more than a year ago. They just had more business cards. To me, that was a valid explanation, and I understood. I accepted that, so we went on the elephant safari. As I’m editing this episode, I visit this company’s website and see that they still have Elephant Riding on the site. If they have stopped it, and of course I expect that they did, I find it weird that they didn’t remove those pages from the website. That’s why I won’t mention the name of the company here – as I usually would until I know for sure that they have stopped elephant riding. If you go to Sri Lanka – and please do because this is a fantastic country; do the elephant safari, do the village experience, but do your best to make sure that you don’t do it with a company that does elephant riding. Be responsible as a traveler. It might be a cultural thing, and I do respect the Sri Lankan culture and that they have to make money off the tourists, but I simply can’t support something that is cruel to animals. So I would never go riding elephants, I wouldn’t go to bullfighting or go swimming with dolphins (like I did in the Bahamas before I knew better). All this is my own genuine opinion. THE ANCIENT CITY OF POLONNARUWE The next day we start at another place here in Sri Lanka with a name that’s difficult to say but worth visiting. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa is aUNESCO World Heritage Site [https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/201/]and the second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. The Chola dynasty first established Polonnaruwa as their capital in the year 993. Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. And as a fun fact, it was used as a backdrop to the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. It’s a beautiful place that also holds some beautiful statues. SURPRISE AT HOTEL SIGIRIYA The next day we were going to lunch when some surprising turned up in the outskirts of a forest. The lunch was to be hadHotel Sigiriya [http://www.hotels25.dk/Hotel/Hotel_Sigiriya.htm]– with a magnificent view of the iconic Sigiriya rock, that we were going to climb in the afternoon. And boy, were we in for a surprise. First, we stop at the edge of a forest with several tuk-tuks are waiting for us, decorated with flowers and balloons. After a short drive, we get to a luxury hotel and are greeted by local musicians and dancers that take us to the back of the garden, passing the pool area. We are greeted by local musicians and dancers that take us to the back of the garden. Here we could experience how they prepare the traditional food that we were having for lunch. It’s in the style of a traditional Sri Lankan village that we saw earlier. I asked the general manager of the hotel, Suresh, to explain where we are. “We’re in the center of the Cultural Triangle, at Hotel Sigiriya, with a nice pool area, where you can see the Sigiriya Rock while you’re dipping.” He tells me that 90% of people visiting Sri Lanka come to this part of the island, even though it’s not near the coastline. They come for hiking, bird watching, and to see the Sigiriya Rock. Also, it’s quite normal to see elephants crossing the road here. CLIMBING SIGIRIYA ROCK In the afternoon, we were hiking up to the top of Sigiriya Rock – also aUNESCO World Heritage Site [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/202]. It holds an ancient rock fortress and is nearly 200 meters (660 ft) high. This unique Rock Fortress or “castle in the sky” is a massive monolith of red stone. It got the name Sigiriya or in English: “Lion Rock” because the entrance to the climb to the summit is reached between the paws of a lion. It was a bit tough but so worth it to get up there. For me, this was the highlight of the day. I felt I was at the rooftop of Sri Lanka, walking around the ruins with an astonishing view as the sun was slowly setting. DISCLAIMER: This trip was made possible by Sri Lanka Tourism, but the content is with my own direction and genuine opinions. LINKS: Sri Lanka Tourism [http://www.srilanka.travel/] UNESCO about Polonnaruwa [https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/201/] Hotel Sigiriya [http://www.hotels25.dk/Hotel/Hotel_Sigiriya.htm] UNESCO about Sigiriya Rock [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/202]
Hey from The Big Apple I started my adventure in the Big Apple sitting in a park in Brooklyn on a Saturday morning watching small kids and grown-ups playing football – yes, as a European, this is what I call the game where someone kicks a round ball with their feet. I'm waiting to meet up with my friend Scott Gurian. Even though we'd never met prior, we do consider each other friends. Scott is a fellow veteran travel podcaster and one of the best in the business. He's the guy from theFar from Home [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/]podcast you must have heard me talk about many times here on the Radio Vagabond travel podcast. Scott planned to spend his Saturday with me in Brooklyn, Queens, and New York showing me around some interesting places in his hood while we chatted and got to know each other. Scott lives in nearby Jersey, just across the Hudson River, so we're Close to Home for Scott today. As we walked over to Scott's car — a nice big new Toyota — I immediately joked that it was very different from the small, old car that played a big part in thefirst season of his podcast [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/season-one]. FAR FROM HOME Scott participated in the Mongol Rally and drove a tiny, beaten out Nissan Micra stick shift across Europe and Asia about five years ago for an epic 18,000 mile (29,000 km). He did this crazy adventure from the UK to Mongolia with his brother and two friends – and after that, he decided to drive back in the same car. The first season of Far from Home is outstanding and got me hooked on the podcast long before we knew each other. I highly recommend listening to it if you haven't already. Also,watch a few clips [https://vimeo.com/292620454]of his journey to experience the trials and tribulations first-hand. Naturally, he has so many memorable stories and anecdotes from that trip, so I wanted to find out which stand out most in his memory. "Oh, so many. Driving across Iran with my brother and two friends (as Americans and Brits) was amazing; the friendliness of the people was memorable. Also, travelling through 'untouched' countries in central Asia like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, etc., was excellent.SeeingCappadocia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappadocia]in Turkey with its hot air balloons was also amazing. And, of course, Mongolia is incredible with its vast open spaces and extraordinary scenery. It took us about seven weeks to travel from the UK to Mongolia, so as you can imagine, I have many incredible memories from that trip." Scott wanted to see more of the world, so instead of flying back to Europe (like any sane human would), he decided to drive back to explore more countries and regions, like Siberia in Russia. THROAT SINGING IN SIBERIA In one of the episodes of Season 2, Scott visits the remote south SiberianRepublic of Tuva [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuva]to learn about the traditional instruments and the ancient art ofthroat singing [https://vimeo.com/353654651]. He even attempts to throat sing himself! Read more about this visit and see photos and videoshere. [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/news/0203] "Russia is such an enormous country with so many different regions home to vastly different cultures. Tuva was a 12 hour journey out the way to visit and it is so unique. It is close to Mongolia so the Tuvans look very similar to Mongolians." HALLUCINATING ON AYAHUASCA IN PERU In another episode, he meets a medicine man who invited him to attend a hallucinogenic healing ceremony where he drank ayahuasca. All while holding his microphone. Have a listen to the episodeby clicking here [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/news/206]. CLOSE TO HOME Due to the pandemic, Scott hasn't been able to travel overseas. But he is content as he tells me that living in Jersey, there is a lot of adventure that awaits in and around New York. He started cooking and even home-brewing to keep his itchy travel feet scratched. Scott was due to meet me atAfricaBurn [https://tickets.afrikaburn.com/]– the South African Burning Man just outside Cape Town when lockdown hit. Scott stayed in Jersey, and I was stuck in Cape Town for a while (so be sure tolisten to my Radio Vagabond South African [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/africa/south-africa/]travel adventures). We were supposed to travel a bit of South Africa together, but alas, it was not meant to be. SCOTT GURIAN'S NEW YORK TRAVEL GUIDE One of the cool things about making friends worldwide is that they can show you places you usually wouldn't visit. Because I had visited New York several times before, Scott wanted to take me to places few tourists would know about. Here is a list of Scott's unusual but must-visit places in New York Scott took me to: DUMBO A part of Brooklyn is called DUMBO [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbo,_Brooklyn] aka "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass" is a trendy neighbourhood to walk through Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT MUSEUM In an old subway station, you can visit the New York City Transit Museum [https://www.nycgo.com/museums-galleries/new-york-transit-museum/]. Move further down and see some 100-year-old subway cars. WILLIAMSBURG Williamsburg [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamsburg,_Brooklyn] is a hipster neighbourhood that is cool to stroll through. QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART Next to where they hosted the World Fair, you find Queens Museum of Art [https://queensmuseum.org/], where the Panorama is now housed – a scaled model of every borough in the greater New York area in the 1960's. THE CITY RELIQUARY The City Reliquary [https://www.cityreliquary.org/] is a not-for-profit community museum and civic organization located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s really cool and weird – and connects visitors to both the past and present of New York. We walked around Brooklyn for a bit and found the iconic Instagram spot with the bridge in the background. You might remember it from the gangster movie 'Once Upon a Time in America' poster. Then visited a place with a lot of food trucks calledSmorgesburg [https://www.smorgasburg.com/]. As far as I know, this word comes from the Danishsmørrebrød, and then Americans started saying it like theSwedish Chef from Muppet Show [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE]. Unfortunately, we didn't find any Danishsmørrebrødat Smorgesburg. Another thing we couldn't find after that was… Scott's car. After a slight ordeal trying to locate his car, we eventually found it after getting help from the police. Even locals can get lost in New York. Go figure :) TAJIKISTAN POLICE Our polite encounter with the NYPD reminded me of Scott's experience with the local police in Tajikistan on his trip. I asked him to talk about his experience. "There is a lot of corruption in central Asian countries like Tajikistan. Our British friends in another Nissan Micra got pulled over by some traffic cops who actually aimed their radar gun at another car, and then tried to say it was them who was speeding. My brother's and I stopped too and heard that they demanded $100 which was a month salary here and crazy. Specially since they weren't speeding. It was clearly a scam, and we didn't want to give in to the bribe/corruption stigma. After a long time, we eventually settled on handing over a bottle of vodka, and we were back on the road." Scott secretly recorded the entire encounter that you can listen to in its entirety inEpisode 16 of Far from Home [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/news/2018/road-gets-rougher], Season 1. Scott tells about more traffic cop encounters he had in central Asia. Most of the time, the cops were polite and never gave them any unnecessary issues. We exchanged stories about the amazing people we get to meet on the road. Scott paid particular mention to the wonderful Iranian popularity he experienced. Thanks to Scott for taking me around the New York area on a beautiful Saturday. I hope to team up with him soon to do some travelling together and collaborate on future episodes of both our podcasts. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. NEW YORK FLASHBACKS If you want to listen to more of my travels through New York from previous visits, simply follow the link:The Radio Vagabond Travel Podcast in New York [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/north-america/usa/new-york/]. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR NEW YORK (OCT 2021) This episode was from the end of August 2021, when New York was open for travel if you (like me) didn't travel to the country from Europe. Please visit New York City's official website for the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations. [https://www.nycgo.com/coronavirus-information-and-resources-for-travelers]Make sure New York is open for tourism before booking your trip.
OM SUASTIASTU FROM BALI Before I tell you about drinking the world's most expensive coffee made from beans that have passed through a cat and pooped out, let's kick off this week's episode with an Balinese language lesson. THE RADIO VAGABOND LANGUAGE SCHOOL: BALINESE I always try to learn a few words and phrases when I visit a new place. For today's The Radio Vagabond language school lesson, we'll learn essential Balinese phrases: Hello:Om suastiastuGood morning:Rahajeng semeng My name is Palle:Wastan tiang Palle Thank you:Suksuma I’M IN BALI, BABY Bali is an island province in Indonesia, so obviously, they speak Indonesian, but they also have their own language – Balinese. Despite practising the basics above, I still managed to mess up suksuma(thank you) when I met Putu, our local guide. Luckily for me, Putu was a good guy and didn't make me feel silly. FUN WITH NAMES Putu explained a few funny things regarding people's names on the island of Bali. In general, Balinese people name their children depending on the order they are born, and the names are the same for both males and females: * The firstborn child is named Wayan, Putu, or Gede. * The second is named Made or Kadek. * The third child goes by Nyoman or Komang. * And the fourth is named Ketut – like the old wise Balinese man in Eat, Pray, Love (which translates to" little banana") So, what do they call their fifth child, you may ask? Well, they simply start over again and name him or her Wayan, Putu or Gede. Anyway, together with a few friends, we asked Putu (a firstborn) to take us around to some interesting places in Bali. But before we explore, let's learn more about this beautiful island. 7 FACTS ABOUT BALI 1. DIGITAL NOMAD HOTSPOT Bali is a small, well-known beautiful island in Indonesia (Southeast Asia). The capital,Denpasar [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denpasar], is the island's largest city and home to the international airport. But the most well-known Balinese places are probably Ubud (in the centre of the island) and the beach town of Canggu (on the western part of the island). Both are hotspots for digital nomads like me. 2. HINDUISM IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Muslim-majority Indonesia. 86.9% of the population are devoted to Balinese Hinduism. 3. BALI IS A SMALL ISLAND Bali is 95 miles (153 km) from east to west and only 69 miles (112 km) from north to south. It has a population of 4.3 million people. 4. TOURISM IS VERY IMPORTANT Pre-Covid, they had almost 6.3 million tourists stop by every year. Tourism is the beating heart of their economy, as around 80% of the island's economy depends on tourism. As you can imagine, it's been a tough couple of years forBali during COVID [https://www.statista.com/statistics/976842/foreign-tourist-arrivals-numbers-bali-indonesia/]. The 6.3 million visitors in 2019 dropped to less than 1.1 million in 2020. 5. NEW YEAR'S EVE IS QUIET Unlike almost everywhere else in the world, there are no big parties on New Year's Eve in Bali. The day is calledNyepi [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyepi], and it's a day of silence and meditation. The whole island shuts down, and no work, travelling, or even noise is allowed. When I heard this, I thought, "What…? That's what I experienced as I (sort of) remember a big New Year's Eve party here". That's because Nyepi is not celebrated on December 31st but mainly in March. 6. BABIES NEVER TOUCH THE GROUND In their first few months, Balinese babies are thought to be connected to the spirits and to stay connected, and they should not touch the ground. When they are about three months old, the infants finally touch the ground, and their family holds a big celebration to mark the occasion. 7. THEY ONLY HAVE TWO SEASONS It's moderate throughout the year, and Bali has only two seasons: the dry season (April to October) and the wet season (October to April). MONKEYING AROUND IN BALI Putu picked us up in Canggu. He had a great sightseeing adventure in store for us, including a visit to the cat poop cafe (well, not really, but kind of). More on this later. On the way to the coffee farm, we passed the cultural centre of the island: Ubud. We drove past the famousAjuna Statue [https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12379/arjuna-statue/], which Putu explains is part of the Hindu religion. We talk about how tolerance is a major part of the island culture. We made our way to the famousUbud Monkey Forest [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubud_Monkey_Forest], which is a forest filled with, you guessed it, monkeys. The guidebook tells me not to carry anything in my hand as the cheeky monkeys will likely come and take it from you. I held my podcast microphone and was a bit worried that they would steal it from me and take over this podcast. BALINESE HUMOUR Back in the car, we chatted more about the funny name situation on the island, and Putu decided to tell a joke. Let me set it up: Four people get on a plane. One is from Paris, one is from Denmark, and the other two are from Bali, named Putu and Made. "The Parisian drops her perfume but doesn't mind because there is a lot of perfume in Paris. Then, the Danish drops his chocolate but also doesn't mind because there is a lot of chocolate in Denmark (apparently). Then, Made drops Putu out the window, but doesn't mind because there are many Putu’s in Bali…" I love Balinese humour, even though I don't always totally understand it. Like, when Ketut told a joke to Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love… that Ketut cannot fly on an airplane because Ketut has no teeth. Julia Roberts seemed to get the joke. Somebody, please write to me [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/] and explain that joke to me. Speaking of jokes, a few cat poop jokes coming up: COFFEE LUWAK (AKA CAT POOP COFFEE) We eventually made it to the coffee plantation that makes the world's most expensive coffee: Coffee Luwak – orKopi luwak [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_luwak]. It is made from partially digested coffee cherries that have been eaten and pooped out by a shy cat-like creature called theAsian palm civet [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_palm_civet]. Then, hard-working coffee farmers go through the cat poop and dig out the coffee which they use to make Kopi Luwak. No wonder it's the most expensive coffee in the world. At the plantation, we met our female guide, who is probably called Putu or Kadek but goes by the name Monica, who tells us more about how the Luwak Coffee is made. "They eat any kind of coffee bean, as long as the quality is good. They don't chew the bean, so it passes through in its entirety." As she was talking about the process, I couldn't help wondering how in the world they thought of taking coffee beans out of cat poop and use them to make coffee. Even thought, I REALLY want my coffee in the morning, there are limits. "The first time this process was accidentally discovered was in Sumatra in the early 18th Century. The farmers realised that a lot of their coffee beans were disappearing, and they soon found them again in the poop of the Asian palm civets roaming the grounds. The farmers used the poop beans to make coffee and discovered that it had a unique taste thanks to the intervention by the civets." The part of the coffee plantation that is open to the public has a cage with a few Asian palm civets, a beautiful café area with a stunning view, and a few coffee plants. Monica tells us that there is a bigger area outside this part with many more plants and that they harvest every six months. But Luwak Coffee is not seasonal and is available all year round. She then takes us on a tour of the plantation where we ate fresh coffee beans (from the plant, from the plant, I promise…). "We clean the beans three times and then roast them. In the roasting process, the soft skin of the beans burns away, leaving the quality bean. Each roast takes about 45mins per kilogram". PERCOLATED POOP TASTING After we toured the farm, we were served ten small cups of coffee. One of them was the very special and super expensive Luwak Coffee. Is it as good as the price tag indicates? Yes! It was really good... even if the beans had been inside a cat a few hours prior, probably. GET PURIFIED IN HOLY (BUT MAYBE DIRTY) WATER Our next stop was the Hindu Balinese water temple calledTirta Empul Temple [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirta_Empul]– in Balinese: Pura Tirta Empul. Tirta Empulmeans 'Holy Spring' in Balinese. The temple compound consists of a bathing structure, famous for its spring water that Balinese Hindus consider holy, so they go here for ritual purification. Putu explains: "People come here for healing. There are 14 different water streams, and each has a different function. Like, one is for the heart, the other for the skin, etc. You must go through each water stream in order. Before entering the water, you must pray and bless your body for healing. Once you are in the water, you must give a gift of a flower to the statues." There are so many people lined up to go in the holy water. For most of the time, Tirta Empul is believed to be a source of clean water for ritual bathing. But, according to areport in 2017 [https://coconuts.co/bali/news/e-coli-found-bali-temple-water-gianyar-regency-focusing-water-quality-standards/], authorities were investigating reports of water pollution and health risk at the Tirta Empul Temple. So, if you go in, try not to drink any of the water. Until the next time, my name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. BALI FLASHBACK If you want to hear more from Bali, go back and listen toepisode 184 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/184-fivelements-bali/]where I spent a few days at an amazing place called Fivelements Resort. PODCAST RECOMMENDATION If you like this podcast, I'm sure you will love the podcast calledFar from Home [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/#:~:text=Far%20From%20Home%20is%20an,Iran%2C%20Chernobyl%2C%20and%20Mongolia.]. It's by Scott Gurian – a New Yorker who travels around the world to some far-away places totally off the beaten path. Like when he went to a wedding in Kazakhstan. Listen here. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR BALI For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit Bali'sofficial tourism website [https://bali.com/bali/corona-virus-bali-indonesia/]. Make sure Bali is open for tourism before booking your trip.
Meet Mark Wolter of the Youtube channel, Wolters World [https://www.youtube.com/c/woltersworld/]. For 12 years he's been giving us honest travel advice on different places around the world. If you're going somewhere there's a good chance that he's done a few videos from the place. woltersworld.com [https://woltersworld.com/] facebook.com/woltersworld [https://www.facebook.com/woltersworld] twitter.com/woltersworld [https://twitter.com/woltersworld]
An ass-slapping hello from Dominica Before we kick off this episode, I have a suggestion: Get your headphones on! 3D AUDIO RECORDING If you prefer to read about my awesome adventures here on my travel blog rather than listening to my sultry voice in my travel podcast, that’s awesome. But...you’re kind of missing out on the true Radio Vagabond experience – hear me out... When doing my travel podcast episodes, I try really hard to create an immersive audio experience for the benefit of my loyal listeners. I record a lot of live-action elements and add music, interviews, and diegetic sounds for an up-close and personal listening experience. For example, after reading this blog post I highly recommend you give this episode a listen as I used a special binaural recording technique [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_recording]. It’s also known as 3D recording, so I suggest you put on headphones for this one to get the best experience. Ready? Let’s jump into it. My name is Palle Bo, and this is The Radio Vagabond episode 210. Welcome to Dominica in the Caribbean Sea. HANGING WITH MY BEACHES IN ANTIGUA Before I got to the island of Dominica, I revisited another one of my favourite islands in the region where I spent a week prior – the beautiful Antigua in the island nation Antigua and Barbuda [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigua_and_Barbuda]. Since I have already seen every corner of the island known for its 365 beaches, I decided to do a trip around the island on a catamaran ship and see the beaches that way. The trip was amazing. We took a long stop at one of the beaches where we got to snorkel in the corals for a few hours. I absolutely love this place and the people. They are so chill and have a great sense of humour, perfectly encapsulated by our hilarious tour guide. If you haven’t heard the three episodes [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/?s=antigua] from the last time I was here, I highly encourage you to go back and listen to them. But not right now because we’re about to arrive in Dominica. DELIGHTFUL DOMINICA When I saw in the cruise itinerary that we were going to visit Dominica [https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominica], I thought it was the Dominican Republic [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic]. But Dominica is not the Dominican Republic – it’s a separate island and independent country over 1,000 km (600 miles) away in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The official name of the country is The Commonwealth of Dominica, but people mostly refer to it simply as Dominica. It was named by Christopher Columbus after the Spanish word for Sunday, the day of the week on which he first spotted it. Our cruise ship docked in the capital city of Roseau, located on the western side of the island. And the island is small: only 47 km (29 miles) from top to bottom and 26 km (16 miles) at its widest. That makes the tiny island only 750 km2 (290 sq miles) in total. Technically, you can drive around the island along most of the coastline in 5-6 hours but driving on the island of Dominica is not for the faint of heart. Of the 780 km (484 miles) of highways in Dominica, nearly half are unpaved. And cars are driven on the left-hand side. I didn’t drive myself. I booked an excursion and went on a bus with local Alvin as our guide. We headed to one of the many stunning waterfalls on the island – Jacko Falls [https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147284-d12219347-Reviews-Jacko_Falls-Morne_Trois_Pitons_National_Park_Saint_Patrick_Parish_Dominica.html]. I got to chat with Alvin which I’ll tell you about, but first let’s learn more about Dominica. 5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DOMINICA 1. There’s a river for every day of the year While Antigua and Barbuda has one beach for every day of the year, Dominica has over 365 rivers – one river for every day of the year. With so much water running around, it’s no surprise that Dominica is also a dream destination to chase waterfalls. 2. It’s home to the second-largest boiling lake in the world Dominica is home to the second-largest boiling lake in the world after New Zealand. It’s one of the most famous places on the island, especially for hikers. But this is no easy stroll – you’ll need 6 hours to get there and back. 3. There are nine active volcanoes Dominica has nine active volcanoes – the world’s highest concentration! But don’t worry, there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1997 and before that, it was in 1880. So, being a volcanic island, the beaches are black. 4. Two-thirds of Dominica is covered in rainforest Gorgeous tropical rainforests cover over two-thirds of the island. And these rainforests are home to more than 1,000 different plant species – so hiking here is great. 5. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed in Dominica Dominica is one of the filming locations used in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. The place where Will Turner and his shipmates are hanging in bone cages (called “Cannibal Island” in the film) is right here in Dominica. As you heard, Dominica is home to endless rivers, waterfalls, rainforests, and volcanoes – and for that, they have earned the nickname ‘the nature isle of the Caribbean’. ALVIN OUR DOMINICAN TOUR GUIDE When we arrived at the stunning Jacko Falls, I took the opportunity to get to know our warm and friendly tour guide, Alvin (“like the chipmunk” he jokes). “This beautiful Jacko Falls is part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park [https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/814/] which is named as a World Heritage Site. We are about 2,000 feet above sea level.” I spoke to Alvin about a study I came across that stated that out of 22 Caribbean islands tracked, Dominica was the least visited by tourists. But this study is from 2008 and this has changed a bit since then. “Yes, back in 2008 not many cruise ships visited Dominica. But since then, a lot has changed thankfully, and we receive many tourists visiting from the cruise ships. In fact, before 2008, banana harvesting, and exporting was Dominica’s main source of wealth. Since then, our tourism industry has overtaken. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing fewer visitors to our island nation”. Everybody on the island has their part to play in terms of keeping our tourism industry the country’s main source of income – the shops, bars, restaurants all come together to make it a magical place. “We are all very appreciative of tourists coming to visit and we all try our best to make their visit as pleasant as possible, so they leave with only the best memories”. THE QUEEN, COMMONWEALTH, AND CRICKET Alvin tells me that Dominica is still part of the Commonwealth, although they got their independence in 1978, so the Queen still features on Dominican currency and the drive on the left side of the road – like they do in Great Britain and most other former British colonies. Their national sport is cricket, too. Speaking of sport, Dominica only had 2 people competing in the Olympics in Tokyo. Dennick Luke in the Men's 800 meters event and Thea LaFond in the Women's triple jump. And no… they did not take home any medals to this tiny island nation. As we drove back to Roseau, we could see the city from above and the fairly new multi-purpose Windsor Park Stadium. It serves as the national stadium and is used mostly for cricket matches. It cost $17 million (€12 million) to build and was paid for by China as a gift to the people of Dominica. DOMINICAN FOOD IS SUPER HEALTHY I noticed that all the restaurants offer such incredible food that is also so healthy. I asked Alvin more about the local cuisine. “Yes, the Dominican diet is very healthy, like most local Caribbean food. We are a great place for vegetarian travellers as most of our dishes are packed with loads of vegetables and greens. We also eat a lot of seafood, a lot more than red meat and pork. That keeps us healthy” But Alvin ended with an important piece of information… “But most importantly, we enjoy a little sip of rum now and then. In Dominica, we don’t call it rum, rather we have a few names for it: “Grandma Medicine” and, my personal favourite, SMACK MY ASS AND TAKE ME TO BED”. I really love this place. SMACK MY ASS TO LIVE LONGER The mix of clean food and ass-smacking clearly has its benefits. Dominica was home to one of the longest-living humans in history. When Elizabeth Pampo passed away in 2003, she was 128 years old and the World’s oldest living person [https://www.thedominican.net/articles/pampo.htm]. And almost even more interesting: there were at least 17 other people older than 100 years in Dominica at the time (with 4 of them living very close to Ma Pampo). With a population of only 70,000, Dominica has the highest concentration of people older than 100. Alvin’s own grandmother is one of them. “My grandmother is 105 years old. She is still going strong: she loves to potter in the garden every morning and loves spending time with her family and friends. And gets a shot of rum every day”. VISIT DOMINICA AND MEET ALVIN FOR YOURSELF You can reach Alvin at Hibiscus Eco Tours [https://discoverdominica.com/en/places/131/hibiscus-eco-tours]. You can call them on +1 767-615-8281 or send them an e-mail [http://firstname.lastname@example.org/]. When saying goodbye to Alvin, I said that the only bad thing about my visit was that it wasn’t long enough. And I wasn’t even kidding. Dominica really is one of those places where I would have loved to spend some more time. I felt right at home and would love to come back. Soon... After waving off Alvin, we headed back on the cruise ship. For my health, I decided to finish off my Dominican experience at the pool bar with a little sip of rum – or, as I will now forever refer to it as, an ‘ass-smack’ before taking myself to bed. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See you. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR DOMINICA (SEPT 2021) Is Dominica open for travel? This episode is recorded in August 2021 and Dominica was open for travel. For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit their official website [https://dominica.gov.dm/]. Make sure Dominica is open for tourism before booking your trip. PODCAST RECOMMENDATION If you love listening to The Radio Vagabond, then you will definitely enjoy the travel podcast Far From Home [https://farfromhomepodcast.org/#:~:text=Far%20From%20Home%20is%20an,Iran%2C%20Chernobyl%2C%20and%20Mongolia.]. It is produced by long-time radio producer Scott Gurian who travels around the world to some extreme faraway places.
It is exactly twenty years after the tragic events in Manhattan, New York. And since I was there a few days before the anniversary and stayed at an Airbnb that was there when the Twin Towers came down, I decided to make a special episode for us all to remember how it affected our worlds.
It is exactly twenty years after the tragic events in Manhattan, New York. And since I was there a few days before the anniversary and stayed at an Airbnb with a guy that was there when the Twin Towers came down, I decided to make a special episode for us all to remember how it affected our worlds.
Welcome back to the second half of my day with Andrés at various places around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. If you haven’t heard the first half, you should go back and listen to that one first. We’re in Panajachel in the northern part of the lake. While waiting for Siobhan to arrive, Andrés and I stopped for a slow lunch in the heart of the town. As it turns out, Siobhan arrived later than expected when it was getting dark, and the last regular lancha/boat had left. But Andrés managed to call someone to pick us up in Pana and take us back to San Lucas. While sitting at the pier waiting for the boat, Andrés told me how he ended up running an Airbnb in Guatemala. GUESTHOUSE IN GUATEMALA “It all began in 1987 when I visited Honduras for the first time at the invitation of a priest who was critical about US policy in Central America. He invited us to protest the USA embassy by pouring blood on the walls as a metaphor for the bloody policies and bloodshed US policies were having on Central America at the time. I was critical of US policy in South and Central America as my uncle was imprisoned and my cousin was killed by Ronald Reagan’s Contras defending the revolution of Nicaragua.” After being involved in another protest the following year in Guatemala, Andrés was caught and deported back to the USA. At a talk in Washington DC, he met Narda, a woman from Honduras who gave a talk. After he returned to Honduras to visit her, a true romance blossomed between them. The two dated long-distance, on and off for 13 years. But just as Andrés was getting into telling me the actual way he ended up in Guatemala, our boat arrived. A DOG’S LIFE We then made our way back to San Lucas Tolimán, and the guesthouse Andrés runs. He calls it Casa Catzij named after his wonderful dog, Catzij. She used to be a street dog but found out that she gets a lot of attention and good food with Andrés. You can take the dog out of the streets, but you can’t really take the street out of the dog. So, she still runs around San Lucas Tolimán on her own, and it seems like everyone in town and around the lake knows her. She joined us on the day trip, and every time we strolled around town, rarely on a leash. One day when we were walking, a friend of André’s was driving by and rolled down the window to say hi. And Catzij knows her too, so she jumped through the window of the car onto her lap in the driver’s seat. And she’s not a small dog. CASA CATZIJ Andrés, Siobhan, Catzij, and I eventually arrived at Casa Catzij where we met Alexa, a guest who regularly lives here for months at a time on each visit. There is a lot of “hygge” here (a Danish word for cosiness famous around the world). Andrés even has the book about hygge on his bookshelf. And together in the living room around the fireplace with a lot of hygge, we sat down to continue the story on how Andrés ended up running a guesthouse in Guatemala. “Unfortunately, my life partner Narda passed away after heart surgery which ended up breaking my heart. But Narda introduced me to my good friend, Chati, who I have known for about 25 years. Chati worked as an administrator for one of the poshest hotels in San Lucas Tolimán. Two years ago, I came here to write with my Goddaughter, Erica. I fell in love with the town, and after returning to California for a bit, I soon found myself back here. Chanti var på jagt efter et hus og inviterede mig med for at se det. Hun var ikke interesseret og det lykkedes mig. At lave en aftale med ejeren – og nu er det lavet om til en Airbnb. Chanti was house hunting and asked me along to look at this place. She wasn’t interested and I wasn’t even looking for a house. But I managed to strike up an agreement with the owner to renovate the house and turn it into an Airbnb.” “PALLE’S PICKUP” FROM GUATEMALA I am so happy that I made some interesting new friends during my stay at Casa Catzij in San Lucas Tolimán at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Meeting Alexa, Siobhan, and Andrés was the best thing that has happened to me for a long time. Andrés’ ability to talk to everyone and immerse himself into the small local community impressed me a lot. When we walked through town, I could see how much the locals like him (and his dog, Catzij). A short walk to the market can take a long time. He is clearly not just an American outsider. He is one of the locals, and that is so inspiring. Obviously, it helps that he’s fluent in Spanish, but even though I’m not, I learned a lot from Andrés. Just a few words in the local language helps. And trying to remember the names of people I meet. VISIT CASA CATZIJ I definitely recommend staying atCasa Catzij [https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/45185429?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=3fda7dea-4aa9-4631-b990-75e97b9df30d]and spending some time with Andrés and Catzij if you’re visiting Guatemala. By the way, two tiny kittens also moved into the house when I was there. Go meet them and say hi from me. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. COVID-19 TRAVEL AND TOURISM RULES FOR GUATEMALA AUGUST 2021 For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit thiswebsite [https://gt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/]. Make sure Guatemala is open for tourism before booking your trip.
Buenos días from Guatemala. After getting an Uber from where I lived in Zone 10 to the bus station in Guatemala City, I took a 3.5-hour bus trip headed West to Lake Atitlán. MEETING ANDRÉS As you heard in theinterview episode with Siobhan [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/interview-siobhan-is-an-unintentional-digital-nomad-beyond-50/]last week, we got to know each other when she was organising theDigital Nomads Beyond 50 [https://digital-nomads-beyond-50-summit-2021.heysummit.com/]online summit, where I was one of the speakers. One of the other speakers was an American writer, Andrés, who has also worked in radio for many years. I met him in real life for the first time in San Lucas Tolimán on the shore of Lake Atitlán. Andrés is writing a book – or should I say a literary project, because it's so much more than just a book. Actually, Andrés likes to call it"the book that is writing him". He's living in San Lucas Tolimán on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Here he runs asmall guest house [https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/45185429?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=3fda7dea-4aa9-4631-b990-75e97b9df30d], and when I planned to visit Guatemala, I decided to come and spend some time here. We quickly connected, and I feel I've made a friend for life. ARRIVING IN SAN LUCAS TOLIMÁN San Lucas Tolimán is a small town of 17,000 people. It sits on the south-eastern shore ofLake Atitlán [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Atitl%C3%A1n]– Lago de Atitlán. There are 11 towns and villages around Lake Atitlan, and the best way to visit them is to get on a small boat. It's cheap and by far the fastest way. A few days later, Siobhan joined the little nomad community in San Lucas on a beautiful Sunday. She arrived by bus from the airport in Guatemala City later in the afternoon. Since she would end up in Panajachel on the other side of the lake, we went to pick her up and decided to make a day of it. Andrés and I decided to take a day trip to visit a few other places on the lake's eastern shore. Together with his dog Catzij (who follows him everywhere), we jumped on a "lancha [https://www.lanchasguatemala.com/]" – a small boat. BOATING LAKE ATITLÁN The trip was amazing; we saw so many locals enjoying a typical relaxing Sunday by the lake. The water is a little cold, but Andrés tells me there are a few hot baths around the area. Our first stop wasSan Antonio Palopó [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_Palop%C3%B3], a small town with a few cooperatives that Andrés wanted to show me. The first one was right on the shore where the lancha dropped us off — a chocolate factory where I got to meet Elias, who took me through the whole process. ELIAS & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY "This is where we make love and happiness," says Elias. There are three main regions in Guatemala where the cacao plants are found. He tells me they ferment the white seeds for five days using banana leaves in boxes, creating a natural yeast. This creates 70% alcohol which is illegal in Guatemala (5-12 seeds is like having a tequila shot). Then they sundry the cacao for up to 90 days, after which they roast them for 25mins. Then Elias shows me how to grind the cacao. I ended up buying more than I needed. Some of it was some round chocolate bars with different flavours for making hot chocolate. Really yummy-yummy (as Elias calls it). After the tour, we walked through the city and also went into a small shop with a lot of textiles. This is part of a women's cooperative. Here I met Flor, who is one of these women. FLOR THE GUATEMALAN ARTISAN "16 women are part of the cooperative and each one works on their own product. One family works on the shirts, another on the backpacks, and my family works on the traditional Guatemalan clothing attire," she says. It takes about three weeks to produce one tablecloth using an entire belt loom. Flor tells us about the manufacturing process and the reason why the items they sell cost little. The shop is a bit tucked away in a small street and can be hard to find. So, they also sell their products on markets and in small pop-up shops at the harbour. Flor is such a lovely woman, and it was so interesting to learn more about how they make such stunning garments. SANTA CATARINA PALOPÓ As planned, we caught a pickup truck taxi from San Antonio Palopó to Santa Catarina Palopó. Or as we started calling these two little towns: San Antonio Palle Bo and Santa Catarina Palle Bo. As we were walking through Santa Catarina Palopó, we turned down a small street to the lake and met a little girl in a shop selling something that looked like it could have been made by Flor and the other women in the cooperative. Lake Atitlan is one of themost beautiful lakes I've ever seen [https://www.google.com/search?q=Atitlan+lake&rlz=1C1CHBF_enZA758ZA758&sxsrf=AOaemvKB81jRbpylR9U6VkUnjlQ1XwG3SQ:1631011859674&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi1ppTU2OzyAhUZs6QKHf4fAocQ_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1366&bih=635]. It sparkles in the sunlight and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes covered with blooming wildflowers. It's in the Guatemalan Highlands of theSierra Madre Mountain range [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Madre_de_Chiapas]and sits 1,562 m (5,125 ft) above sea level. From here, you can look across the lake to where we were staying in San Lucas Tolimán, including the three major volcanoes: Volcán Atitlán, Volcán Tolimán, and further out to the right Volcán San Pedro. You can also see a big rock at Cerro de Oro close to San Lucas Tolimán, which Andrés explains the local legend about it being the head of one of the volcanos. "The legend says that there was a fight between the Gods Atitlán and Tolimán, which ended with Atitlán beheading Tolimán. And so this rock at Cerro de Oro is believed to be the decapitated head of Tolimán." PANA-MAZING PANAJACHEL We continued toPanajachel [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panajachel](or just Pana as they call it) situated along the way west and still in the northern part of the lake. Pana is known as a tourist town: it's well-developed with a lot of resources for both locals and expats alike. It has the perfect mix of natural beauty, good prices, easy travel connections, and some of the best shopping in Guatemala. Also, there are plenty of tour agencies offering day trips and tours around the entire lake. It's here in Panajachel we're meeting Siobhan in a few hours. And together, we ask Andrés to tell us the story of how he ended up running an Airbnb guesthouse in San Lucas Tolimán. And since Andrés is a storyteller, we don't have room for that in this episode. The good news is that you'll get the episode with Andrés' story already tomorrow. My name is Palopó, and I gotta keep moving. See you. COVID-19 TRAVEL and TOURISM RULES FOR GUATEMALA AUGUST 2021 For the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and tourist regulations, please visit thiswebsite [https://gt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/]. Make sure Guatemala is open for tourism before booking your trip.
I boarded the Celebrity Cruise ship, Equinox, on the pier in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with my cabin-roomie, Siobhan – that I featured in the latest episode. My name is Palle Bo. Welcome back to all new episodes of The Radio Vagabond. This is Season 7, episode 206, and today we're going to St. Croix – one of the US Virgin Islands. CRUISING IN A PANDEMIC This episode is recorded just a few days ago, as cruising is starting up again after the pandemic. And they are taking so many precautions for our safety. As we all know (from the beginning of the pandemic), a cruise ship is not the best place to be if there's a Coronavirus outbreak. They require that all passengers are fully vaccinated, and on top of that, we all need to have a Covid test to board. Plus, they are sailing with less than half as many passengers as they have the capacity for. Also, as I mentioned in the latest episode a few days ago, they changed the itinerary, and then at some ports, we're only allowed to leave the ship on port days if we go on one of their excursions. Everything is to prevent any cases of Covid on the ship. So, we're probably relatively safe – and thank God (even though it could make this podcast go viral). WELCOME TO SAINT CROIX As we set foot on land at the first stop on the cruise, we're greeted by local dancers, a DJ, and some guys on stilts. It's a special place for me as a Dane because the US Virgin Islands used to be a part of my home country, Denmark. But let’s start with seven facts about where we are: 1. YOU STILL SEE A BIT OF DENMARK HERE Up until March 1917, they were called the Danish West Indies, and still, there is a lot of Danish history here. Like location names. The street sign in Kings Street also has the Danish name Kongensgade. There's also a Kirkegade (Church Street). Today, I'm visiting Frederiksted and Christiansted – also very typical names for Danish kings. 2. A VERY BIG REAL ESTATE DEAL Denmark sold the islands for 25 million USD in gold (around 554 million USD in current money). Someone might call it "a very big real estate deal"... 3. THE CAPITAL IS NOT ON THE BIGGEST ISLAND St. Croix is the largest of the islands in the territory. But the capital, Charlotte Amalie, is located on St. Thomas. 4. THE LAST VIRGIN Most people know that there are three main US Virgin Islands, but not that many years ago, a fourth was added: tiny Water Island, located off the coast of St. Thomas. And it is tiny – less than one square mile (around two square kilometres), and the USA bought it for a cool $10,000, making it what locals playfully call "The Last Virgin." 5. HALF OF THE POPULATION IS ON SAINT CROIX The population of St. Croix is a bit more than 50,000 – almost half of the populations on the islands. 6. AN ISLAND WITH A LITTLE MOUNTAIN The highest point of St. Croix is Mount Eagle, at 355 meters (1,165 ft). 7. TWO CITIES GAVE IT THE NICKNAME St. Croix's nickname is "Twin City", for its two towns, Frederiksted on the western end (where we dock with the cruise) and the bigger, Christiansted, on the northeast part of the island (where I'm going later today). ONE COFFEE AND TWO CHATS, PLEASE I start my day in Frederiksted, before I go on a tour in Christiansted. I went to a coffee shop for some coffee and better Wi-Fi than what is available on the ship. After walking around the city, I ended up in a place calledPolly's at the Pier [http://pollysatthepierstcroix.com/]. I got chatting with the owner, Susan. She tells me that she's from Colorado and came here to the island looking for a warm place to retire. And then she ended up buying the coffee shop in the middle of the pandemic. In my conversation with her, she confirms that there is a thing called "island time" here, and you do get a bit of Island fever. But Susan likes it here and have no plans of leaving anytime soon. We're sitting in the courtyard behind the café with chickens running around us. And there's also a place where you can rent a bicycle. Here I meet Rebecca, who is she's born and raised here. Please have a listen to the episode to hear my conversation with these two women. Then you will also hear my alarm going off in the middle of the last chat – reminding me that it's time for me to get ready to go on the tour to Christiansted. CHRISTIANSTED AND THE TEN-DOLLAR MAN At the beginning of the walking tour, our guide goes into a 2-minute statement given to her by Celebrity Cruises. They asked her to read it to us, and it's all about the things we need to know about how to act when going on a walking tour in Covid-times. And guess what? We need to wash our hands, maintain social distancing, and always wear a mask. You know all the same things we've been hearing 200 million times in the last 18 months… But good to know that they are taking it seriously. OUR HEAVENLY TOURGUIDE Our guide is a slightly older woman with the wonderful name Heavenly Petersen. Yes, her first name is really Heavenly, and the last name is Petersen – which is a unique Danish way of spelling it. She confirms my suspicion that she has Danish ancestors, so I tell her that I'm from Denmark. And much to my surprise, I get no reaction. I was expecting a "wow, really" or "maybe we're related" or just a smile. But nothing. There was no reaction whatsoever – just a "good to meet you, sir" a few seconds later. So, I thought she might not have heard me, and I repeated myself:"My name is Palle, and I am from DENMARK". Again, nothing. I found it funny and slightly weird, and I still thought that she didn't hear it. But a bit later, I find out that she did. When we came to the entrance of the fort Christiansvern, there was a "Skillerhouse" outside. It's a little red human-size house that is uniquely Danish. It's where a soldier can stand in when it rains, and we have them outside the royal castle in Copenhagen, Amalienborg. And as I mention that to Heavenly, she shows me that she did hear that I was"the gentleman from Denmark". MY NAME IS ALEXANDER HAMILTON " How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?" These are words from the famous Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton, and he grew up right here on St. Croix and later became one of the founding fathers of the United States – and got his face is on the ten-dollar bill. We walk inside fort Christiansvern and hear more about this man and his mother, Rachel Faucett Lavien, who spent time in a prison cell here. STORY OF HAMILTON AND HIS MOTHER RACHEL Inside Hamilton's mother's prison cell, which they call Rachel's Room, Heavenly Petersen tells me that Rachel was sent in jail with a push from her, John Michael Lavien, for having"flirtatious ways".But it might have been just a bit more than flirting. While she was married to Lavien, she and another man, Cronenberg, were caught in a bedroom, undressed and (as it said in the court documents)"with more circumstances that sufficiently demonstrated their shameless intercourse and scandalous life." So, this is why Lin-Manuel Miranda refers to Alexander Hamilton as a son of a whore in the hit musical. Both Rachel and Cronenberg ended up in jail for several months for their adultery. Rachel 6 months here in Christiansvern. Once released, Cronenberg was booted off the island and later showed up in St. Thomas. Rachel had to promise that she would go back to her husband and be very nice to him and do everything he told her to do. But she tricked him and left the island to go back to Nevis, another Caribbean Island in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Here she met Scotsman, James Hamilton, and they had two sons when she still was married to Lavien: James Hamilton Jr and one they named Alexander. Lavien asked for a divorce in 1759 when James Jr was six and Alexander was two years old – or maybe four – it's a bit uncertain when exactly he was born. When James Hamilton Sr. heard about her real husband asking for a divorce, he abandoned her. She was alone back here in Christiansted on St. Croix with the two boys, where she supported them by keeping a small store – now knowns as the Hamilton House. But not for long. She contracted yellow fever and died on February 19, 1768, leaving Alexander orphaned at 13 (or 11). NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT So, how does this bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman become one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the ten-dollar face? "He got a lot farther by working a lot harder. By being a lot smarter. By being a self-starter.And by fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter. " Despite only being in his teenage years, he proved capable enough as a trader to be left in charge of the firm for five months while the owner was at sea. He was also an avid reader and later also a writer. He began to desire a life outside St. Croix. So, he was not throwing away his shots. For the rest of the history, go see the Hamilton musical [https://hamiltonmusical.com/new-york/home/] on Broadway in New York… If you can get tickets. MUCH MORE TO DO ON SAINT CROIX THAN JUST HISTORY And if you come to St. Croix, you should go on a historical tour of this place even if you're not Danish. But there are100 things to do on St. Croix [https://www.gotostcroix.com/st-croix-blog/100-things-to-do-st-croix/]. Adventure, arts and culture, food and drinks, scuba diving and water sports. Click the link and see a list of the 100 things to do. This was what I chose to do in the few hours I was here, but I might come back again and do some of the other 99. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Welcome back to all-new episodes of The Radio Vagabond podcast. I hope you’ve enjoyed the flashback episodes; I’ve given you this month. But now we’re about to start Season 7 – a season that will be different in so many ways. The next four months, I’ll take you around the globe … to Andorra, Bali, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jordan, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, a few places in the United States, and then we’ll be in St. Croix – one of the US Virgin Islands in the first one in a few days… That’s a part of a Caribbean Cruise, that I’m on right now – as I’m saying these words. In fact, I’m recording this in the cabin on the good ship, Celebrity Equinox, with a view of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a cabin that I’m sharing with today’s guest. Her name is Siobhan Farr and she’s the “spark originator” aka founder of the summit and community called Digital Nomads Beyond 50. Join herFacebook Group [https://www.facebook.com/groups/digitalnomadsbeyond50]. Enjoy my conversation with her, and at the end of it, you can also hear a bit of my upcoming cruise – that got changed at the last minute.
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Belgrade in Serbia and was recorded in August 2016. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/004-serbia/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/004-serbia/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
Next week, we’re back with all new episodes of The Radio Vagabond, as we start Season 7 in a few days – a season that will be different in so many ways. The next four months, I’ll take you around the globe … to Andorra, Bali, Brazil, Chile, Dominica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jordan, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, a few places in the United States, and then we’ll be in St. Croix – one of the US Virgin Islands. As always you will get travel episodes on Wednesdays and then a few interview episodes in the weekends. And in fact, we kick it off already Monday with a special episode where you get to meet my roomy on a Caribbean Cruise. Her name is Siobhan Farr and she’s the “spark originator” aka founder of the summit and community called Digital Nomads Beyond 50.
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Asheville and Greensboro in North Carolina and was recorded in September 2017. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/091-north-carolina/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/091-north-carolina/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Cap Skirring in Senegal and was recorded in January 2018. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/121-cap-skirring/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/121-cap-skirring/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from the Philippines and was recorded in October 2016. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/010-philippines-1/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/010-philippines-1/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Antigua in the Caribbean and was recorded in May 2019. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/130-antigua/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/130-antigua/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Kosovo and was recorded in April 2018. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/174-kosovo-is-a-beautiful-little-country-with-a-lot-of-history/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/174-kosovo-is-a-beautiful-little-country-with-a-lot-of-history/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is about the Oscar-winning documentary with Steven “Sugar” and was recorded in January 2018 in Cape Town. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/148-finding-sugar-in-cape-town/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/148-finding-sugar-in-cape-town/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Abu Dhabi, UAE and was recorded in September 2016. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/007-abu-dhabi/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/007-abu-dhabi/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Bahamas and was recorded in June 2017 EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/055-bahamas/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/055-bahamas/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Pattaya in Thailand and was recorded in December 2016 EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/027-pattaya/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/027-pattaya/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Jeju Island, South Korea and was recorded in March 2017. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/042-south-korea/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/042-south-korea/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from Atlanta and was recorded in August 2017. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/083-atlanta/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/083-atlanta/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. This episode is from The Nomad Cruise from Malaga to Athens and was recorded in April 2018. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/170-journey-meet-249-nomads-wheres-wally/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/170-journey-meet-249-nomads-wheres-wally/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
ZIM-ZALA-BIM FROM FLORIDA Welcome to the season 6 finale of The Radio Vagabond travel podcast. In the true spirit of season finales, this one is extra-long and exciting. First, I travel to Key West and visit Ernest Hemingway’s 6-toed cats. Then, I make my way to Orlando for something truly magical. UNLOCKING KEY WEST Key West [https://fla-keys.com/] is the southernmost point of the United States, and as I mentioned in the previous Radio Vagabond episode from Cancún [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/203-mexico-cancun/], it is also the closest point to Cuba. It sits at the end of the Florida Keys as a series of hundreds of small islands spanning more than 100 miles (160 km) from one end to the other. The drive takes roughly 2.5 hours from end-to-end but you could make a full day of it and stop at some interesting places [https://www.earthtrekkers.com/florida-keys-road-trip-best-things-to-do/] along the way if you’re in the mood for discovery. Key West is famous for its watersports, lively nightlife, amazing beaches, historic sites, and its pastel coloured conch-style architecture [https://www.themarkerkeywest.com/blog/conch-architecture/]. Walking around Key West is probably the best way to see it. You get to see some intriguing homes, courtyards, and gardens while enjoying an adult beverage, great food, and live music. You can start in the center of town at the Key West City Cemetery [https://www.keywesttravelguide.com/key-west-cemetery-map-self-guided-tour/] where you can get a glimpse of the island city’s past and its morbid sense of humor, as exhibited by gravestones that read, "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight" and "I told you I was sick". Duval Street is one of the most energetic strips of shops, bars, and cafes anywhere in the world that is host to the famous Sloppy Joe’s bar [https://sloppyjoes.com/history/], a favorite hangout of famed American author, Ernest Hemingway [https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ernest-Hemingway]. The tormented writer lived on the island in the 1930’s and did a lot of his writing here (roughly 60% of his life’s work) — when he wasn’t getting sloppy-drunk at Sloppy Joe’s. HEMINGWAY & KEY WEST The author’s home is now converted into one of the biggest attractions on the island: the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum [https://www.hemingwayhome.com/]. The house is now occupied by over 56 cats, and the cat theme is a special feature of the house. Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds now are actual descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. Key West is a small island, and it is absolutely possible that many of the cats on the island are related. Touring the house and the office where Hemingway did his writing was very interesting. But one of the more stunning and unusual features of the Hemingway Home property is the in-ground swimming pool — an extraordinary luxury for a residential home in 1930s Key West. The final cost of construction in 1938 was $20,000. Even more mind-boggling is the sheer labour of digging a massive hole in solid coral. The Hemingway pool — the only one within 100 miles in the 1930s — was truly an impressive architectural feat. Apparently, Ernest did complain to his wife Pauline about the growing expenses of construction costs. The story goes that he was frustrated and threw down a penny on the half-built pool patio and said: “Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so you might as well have that!” Now, there is a penny embedded in cement at the north end of the pool to memorialise Ernest’s outburst. I got chatting to Rusty, one of the tour guides and Hemingway aficionado who told me a bit more about the larger-than-life author and his works. “The Old Man and the Sea [https://www.amazon.com/s?k=old+man+and+sea+book&gclid=CjwKCAjwx8iIBhBwEiwA2quaq3G5NI358Sjyp-YLeBbbWFK8H4Yw1V9JfICvn0Qsm6L_6YF6sJWewRoC_aMQAvD_BwE&hvadid=409975549352&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9011894&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=3072881320846525995&hvtargid=kwd-424060882045&hydadcr=10020_11275042&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_3wt97mlpw1_b] is perhaps his most famous work as it is taught in most schools. But I think a good place to start is his first novel The Sun Also Rises [https://www.amazon.com/Sun-Also-Rises-Hemingway-Library/dp/1501121960/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Sun+Also+Rises&qid=1628613084&sr=8-1] which is a wonderful recapitulation of his time in France and Spain. It is a great novel based on real people he met while in Europe. But for me, I really love To Have and To Have Not [https://www.amazon.com/Have-Not-Ernest-Hemingway/dp/0684818981/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=To+Have+and+To+Have+Not&qid=1628613143&sr=8-1], which is the only of his world based in Key West and even gives Sloppy Joe Russel a cameo.” “Traveling made Hemingway the man we was. He was a journalist first and foremost, so he wrote about what he experienced that inspired his books. Without his traveling, he wouldn't have been as prolific as he was” Rusty tells me. MAGICAL ORLANDO Florida is a big flat state – and another part of it attracts even more visitors thanks to its boat load of theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, LEGOLAND, and many more. In Orlando, I met Stefan Oswald – my Airbnb host and part-time magician who turned out to be a really interesting guy. When he was younger, he travelled around Europe and did street magic. And I was curious to know how that happened. “I watched a lecture by the great magician Coz Cosmo who travelled around the world performing magic for a living. Thought to myself, “Wow, that's amazing. I want to do that”. So, I put on a show in Dupont Circle in D.C. which was successful. It progressed into a bigger show with more audience members. I was working a part-time job at that time while performing magic on the streets. Performing street magic seemed like the perfect way to travel. So, I bought a one-way ticket to Madrid with only my show items in a carry-on bag with a change of underwear and a toothbrush – no credit card or cash. I had a few 6-minute shows that I travelled around performing which turned out to be a great adventure.” Stefan stayed at hostels and random beds he found out about on his travels. After Madrid, he moved on to Barcelona where the crazy stuff happened… “I started performing street magic on Las Ramblas, which is forbidden. But within a minute, I had a huge crowd watching me until the police came to disperse the crowd. They told me I was not allowed in Barcelona anymore… On my way back to my hostel in a shady part of the city, I was stopped by a group of prostitutes who intended to rob me. But after I showed them a card trick, they ended up tipping me!” After our chat, I recorded a short Facebook Live video of Stefan performing a quick trick for me. I’ve watched the video so many times and it still blows my mind that I can’t figure out how he does it. Can you figure out how he does it? Go to The Radio Vagabond on Facebook [http://facebook.com/theradiovagabond] and give me your best guess. HOSTING EMPIRE From Spain, Stefan’s magic dreams led him to Paris and then Amsterdam, where he learned a lot from other street performers and perfected his craft. During his time in Europe, he discovered Couchsurfing which inspired Stefan to host people from around the world. He then started managing three Airbnbs [http://airbnb.com/] and rented out a few cars (including a Tesla) on Turo [http://turu.com/], which is how I came to meet the magical host. When I met Stefan, he was busy building his Airbnb and hostel empire. Check out the 3D animation [https://youtu.be/dr8G1LlPA7k] of his idea of a Top-Hat-hostel. Well, that plan with the hostels has been put on the back burner for now due to something called “Covid 19”. Let’s just say the timing for a huge project like that wasn’t perfect. Still, it might happen sometime in the future but in any case, so much has happened since then. Apart from his dreams to build a hotel/hosting empire, Stefan’s entrepreneurial mindset drives him to develop new ideas constantly. He also tells me about how he worked as a Professional Cuddler, his desire to produce a thousand children, and having a thousand hostels to fund his work on technology that will make us live for 500 years and have gills and falcon eyes...Oh, plus sending microorganisms to more than 30,000 planets to see which ones will sustain human life – and then send self-replicating robots to the ones that will. Wow, right? The way Stefan Oswald’s mind works reminds me of someone who has founded PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and just comes up with ideas constantly. Is he the next Elon Musk and how can I invest in OsCorp™, as he called it…? MØDE MED TRYLLE-STEFAN IGEN HER I 2021 Jeg har faktisk lige besøgt Stefan igen for omkring en uge siden, og hold da op, hvor er der sket mange ting i den korte tid, jeg har været væk. Han bor i et nyt hus, som han kalder The Magic Mansion [https://youtu.be/_zenIqawXNI]. Hans ”tusinde-vandrehjem-plan” er som nævnt sat i bero, og i stedet er han gået andre veje. ”Siden vi så hinanden sidste gang, er jeg flyttet her til Magic Mansion, som jeg har startet sammen med andre tryllekunstnere. Jeg optrådte dagligt i The Great Magic Hall i tre år – hvilket også blev aflyst på grund af Corona-pandemien. Og det var begrænset med turister i mine Airbnb-lejligheder. Derfor måtte jeg ændre min forretningsmodel for at tjene penge og har konverteret mine lejligheder til langtidsleje. Jeg slog mig sammen med en anden tryllekunstner-ven, og vi driver nu udlejning med firmaet Super Host Florida [https://www.superhostflorida.com/] og udlejer biler under navnet Sling Kings [https://www.sling-kings.com/]. Vi har 6 Tesla’er og 35 Slingshots [https://www.sling-kings.com/], som vi snart fordobler. De går som varmt brød. Stefan har også en plan om at blive vagabond. Han arbejder på en plan om at rejse til 52 lande på 52 uger og lave trylleshows i teatre. He transitioned his Airbnb rental business from short- to long-term occupations. He also plans to become a fellow travelling vagabond himself. He has his sights set on traveling to 52 countries in 52 weeks and performing magic in theatres around the world. Du kan følge ham på Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/magictrickguy/] og følge med I om han kommer i nærheden af dig. Han påstår, at Danmark er på listen. Be sure to check out Stefan’s magic tour here [https://www.instagram.com/magictrickguy/]. AND FOR MY FINAL TRICK... TA-DAAA! That’s it for Season 6 of The Radio Vagabond. In this season, I’ve been mostly in the US but with visits to Canada and Mexico. But all North America. Season 7 starts in September and that is going to be so different. We’re going to many different countries and even many different continents. Join me in Guatemala, Bali, El Salvador, Caribbean, Andorra, Uruguay, Yellowstone National Park, Rio de Janeiro, and so many other exciting places. It’s going to be a whole new experience listening to The Radio Vagabond, and I can’t wait to share it with you. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Hola from Cancún, Mexico In this episode, I visit one of the most visited and touristy places in Mexico: Cancún on the Caribbean coast of the country because, why not? Let’s get into the fiesta spirit and kick off with a classic pub quiz question: what’s closer to Cuba: Key West, Florida, or Cancún? If you look at a map, Cancún appears the closest to Cuba, right? Wrong. In fact, Key West is 151 km (94 miles) from the closest coast of Cuba, and Cancún comes in 2nd place at 206 km (128 miles). Now drink! After nearly missing my flight to Cancún due to the airport flight gate being in Spanish, I soon found myself in the air sipping on a travel-sized Cuba Libre to get into the vibe. After a little while, I looked out the window to see my next destination: a beautiful white sandy coastline with palm trees met with a crystal-clear ocean. The excitement was real. TOUCHDOWN IN CANCÚN The first two items on my list of things to do in Cancún were to visit a local art museum and go scuba diving. The only issue I had was to decide which to do first (#firstworldproblems). Being in complete holiday relax mode, I struggled to make up my mind so I decided to do both — at the same time. But first… 7 SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT CANCÚN 1. You Won’t Burn Your Feet on the Beach You know how you burn your feet when you walk on a tropical beach without sandals somewhere in the world? Well, not here in Cancún. The 14-mile-long shimmering white sand beach is actually not made out of sand as we know it. It’s actually crushed coral, meaning it will naturally feel cool underneath bare feet – no matter how hot the weather. 2. Only Three People Lived Here Cancún is a major tourist destination that attracts a whopping 700,000 people every year, which is almost as many people as locals. Today, Cancún has a population of around 888,797 people. But this has not always been the case. In 1970, the official population was only 3. Not 300 or 3,000. No, only 3 people, and they were the caretakers of a coconut plantation. Now, it’s completely different. The city currently has 4,674 hotels and around 30,000 hotel rooms. 3. Cancún Has a Huge Mexican Flag If you’re in the buzzing hotel zone, you will notice an enormous Mexican flag – or as they call it here, gran Bandera Mexicana. It’s made out of the same material used to make parachutes (probably to make it lighter, but it’s still quite heavy). The flag itself weighs 228 kg (503 pounds) and took 40 soldiers to raise up a 105-meter (344ft) flagpole. This is something you can see in other places in Mexico, as it’s part of a program which started in 1999, called “banderas monumentales [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banderas_monumentales]”, Spanish for "monumental flags". They’re a collection of tall flagpoles located throughout Mexico. 4. The Beach Was Destroyed When Hurricane Wilma hit Cancún in 2005, it wrecked 8 miles of its beautiful beaches. And Cancún without a beach isn’t really much of a tourist attraction, so it underwent a major beach restoration project from 2009 to 2010. They added 1.3 billion gallons of white sand – scooped up from the seabed to the coast at the cost of around $70 million U.S. dollars. 5. Turtles Lay Eggs on the Beach Each May, thousands of turtles return to their original home here in Cancún to lay eggs on the beaches, and their nests are located right in the heart of the Hotel Zone. Thankfully, the hotel owners, employees, and even visitors help to ensure the eggs are protected and safe from harm. So, if you happen to go in May, areas of the beach are closed to tourists so that the turtles can go about their business in peace. 6. Swim with Tons of Whale Sharks Between May and September, literally tons of whale sharks visit waters just off Cancún. They are absolutely massive – some of them the size of a bus, but they’re completely harmless and will happily let you join them for a swim. 7. The World’s Second Biggest Barrier Reef is Here We all know Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef as the biggest coral structure in the world. But number two is right here: the Maya Barrier Reef is the second-largest coral reef in the world, and one of Cancún’s major attractions boasting stunning marine life, swaying corals, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Great for snorkelling and scuba diving. CANCÚN’S UNDERWATER SCULPTURE MUSEUM And speaking of scuba diving, as soon as I arrived, I planned a scuba trip and combined it with a visit to a museum. It’s really two birds, one stone type situation. Thanks to the hands of British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor [https://www.underwatersculpture.com/] and five talented Mexican sculptors, the famous Cancún Underwater Museum [https://musamexico.org/] displays a series of breathtaking sculptures in the ocean located between Cancún and Isla Mujeres. The underwater museum consists of over 500 life-size sculptures, making it one of the largest, and most incredible, underwater artificial art attractions in the world. While registering at the dive centre, I got a chance to chat with some of the other divers who are about to enjoy this incredible experience with me. Some of them hadn’t done much research beforehand and didn’t really know exactly what they were about to experience. The Cancún Underwater Museum [https://musamexico.org/] holds an interesting blend of sculptures ranging from people standing in a circle looking at the sky and a group of men with their heads buried in the sand to two sculptures of actual VW Beetle cars. Perhaps the most impressive is a group of nearly 450 human-size statues standing together in a big group. It was so weird and almost eerie swimming around that. Many of the sculptures have beautiful coral growing on them, and it was actually the objective of the project to save the nearby coral reefs by providing an alternative destination for divers. To place the sculptures on the ocean floor, they had a special lift made so none would be damaged during the move. A forty-ton crane was placed on a commercial ferry in order to lower the sculptures. Some are so heavy that they had to be lifted into the water using lift bags. The sculptures are created with pH-neutral marine concrete and are created above ground and cleaned before being taken underwater so they do not have any chemicals on them that may harm the water, marine life, or reef. It is truly remarkable and a must-see if you’re a diver. If not, you can still see a lot from snorkelling or going on a glass-bottom boat tour. But scuba diving is the best way to experience the museum. As I was gliding through the water, I found myself deeply transfixed by the well-thought-out themes. The real-life-like sculptures made it the most surreal diving experience I’ve ever had. ISLA MUJERES Isla Mujeres [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isla_Mujeres] (The Island of Women) is a wonderful place to visit when you’re in Cancún. This sleepy but vibrant little island has become quite popular in the past few years, and it makes for a great day trip. It’s only a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancún – over the Underwater Museum. A few days after my dive, I took the ferry to the island with a good friend of mine who flew in from Denmark to join me for a few days. And right off the ferry, we ran into one of the locals, José, who was trying to sell us a trip of two. And naturally at a ”special price for you, my friends”… After breakfast, we went back to José and bought one of his packages that took us snorkelling for a few hours that only cost $20 each (advertised for $35). You can do the same: get off the ferry and then just speak to José. If you can’t find him in the crowd of people, just visit TripAdvisor [https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g150810-Activities-c61-t194-Isla_Mujeres_Yucatan_Peninsula.html] to find a bunch of activities to do on the island. Isla Mujeres is a beautiful, peaceful paradise and is more laid-back and tranquil than Cancún. The island is only 8 km (5 miles) long and half a mile wide at its widest point. The colourful downtown area, known as ‘Centro’ is four by six blocks – perfect for exploring by foot. It’s small but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do. You can fill your day with water sports, shopping, exploring, and making new friends in the special atmosphere that is Isla Mujeres [https://www.isla-mujeres.net/discover-isla-mujeres.html]. CAR RENTAL FRUSTRATIONS After returning to Cancún, we planned a trip to visit another must-see site in the area. But before we could get going, I needed to rent a car. This is usually a straightforward process, but not here. I booked and paid for the car hire online and when I got to the rental agency there was some kind of mixup. Apparently, I had to pay more than what I had already paid online… They wanted about the same one more time for insurance that I didn’t need or want. I was at the agency for almost an hour and a half, but finally, I succeeded and the next day we headed west to Chichen Itza with the wonderful sounds of Mexican radio commercials blasting on the radio. On the way, we were flagged over by a local entrepreneur who sold us a great package that included free parking, a buffet lunch, and tickets to the temples which allowed us to skip the queues. VISITING MAYAN RUINS CHICHEN ITZA Chichen Itza [https://www.chichenitza.com/] is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico and welcomes over 2.5 million visitors each year. You can reach it by car, bus, or on different tours. It’s just 200km (120 miles) west of Cancún. Chichen Itza translates to “At the brim of the well where the Wise Men of the Water Live” in Mayan and was regarded as one of the most important city-states in pre-Hispanic America. It’s a well-known archaeological site and even more so after being selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New7Wonders_of_the_World] in 2007. Chichen Itza is divided into two parts, Old Chichen and Chichen Itza, where you can find a total of 26 Mayan Ruins to see on the Mayan Site. I met a Mayan descendant named Santos who can speak Mayan. He even taught me how to say ‘how much’ in Mayan, which came in handy. Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period that dates back to years 600–900AD. It was one of the largest Maya cities and it may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world. And that’s probably why you see so many different architectural styles at the site. The Big Pyramid or El Castillo [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Castillo,_Chichen_Itza] is the most astonishing Mayan Ruin or building inside the Archaeological Site. This temple dominates the centre. Walking around the pyramid, I noticed the amazing way sound travels up and down the pyramid. If you clap in a specific direction, the sound travels back to you in an interesting way. Of course, I recorded it so remember to listen to the podcast – if you haven’t already. General Admission to this UNESCO World Heritage site [https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/483/] is $27 for adults and $4 for children. But it might be worth spending a bit more on a guided tour [https://www.chichenitza.com/]. Or you can do like I did: before you get to the site, stop your car and listen to what the salespeople have to say. It might just be a good deal. IS CANCÚN TOO AMERICANIZED? I’ve heard people say that Cancún isn’t really Mexico and that it’s too overrun by American tourists. And actually, also a lot of Europeans. Yes, Cancún is infamous for being “Americanized” but if you ask the locals, it’s really just another face of Mexico. Mexico is a proud and very diverse country, so don’t let people tell you that it is “not the real Mexico”, because it is. It’s just as real as any other part of the country. I spent some time in Monterrey without that many tourists, and then I came here and saw a totally different side of the country. And I’m so glad I got to experience both. But there’s so much more I want to see here, so I plan to return soon. Next, I’m heading to Naples. No, not Italy. I’m going to Naples, Florida and then I plan to visit Key West, Miami, and then Orlando. And maybe a few other places too. That’s coming up in the final episode of this season... My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya.
BIENVENIDO DE NUEVO A MEXICO When Ilast spoke [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/201-mexico-monterrey/]to you, I was mid-hike with Luis through to the Lastanzuela waterfalls. As we continue traversing the slippery landscape on our hike, I ask Luis about his favourite part about living in Monterrey. "The best part is that you can be in the city and you can also go hiking. Monterrey means 'mountain kingdom'. You have a lot to do here." That's certainly been my experience so far. I became curious as Luis had actually asked me what had made me decide to come to Monterrey."Monterrey has a lot of business tourism, we don't have a lot of international tourism,"he offered in response to his previous query. I TRUSTED A FELLOW NOMAD As a traveller and nomad, I am lucky enough to meet people who are always making recommendations of where to travel to and what there is to discover in these different cities around the world. I also have many people invite me to come to visit when I'm in the area. Then I put a star on my map as a reminder of a new destination to travel to. So while I was in Texas, I noticed that I'd starred Monterrey, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember who had made the recommendation. I was delighted someone had – because it's not a well-known travel destination and it had turned out to be really wonderful. It's an exciting city with a very cool historic downtown area, and just right outside of the city, there are many beautiful nature hikes and walks visitors can take. The reason I decided to save Monterrey as a destination came back to me when I got a message on Facebook. As it happens, I met a guy called Esteban in Bosnia. His journey is a fascinating one, and you'll get to learn more about him a little later on. BACK TO THE HIKE Despite feeling super out of breath, we find ourselves at the first waterfall, and it is simply beautiful. Even though we've gone on a foggy day, Luis says that during the summer months, you'll find people swimming everywhere here, and you can get your own free 'hydro massage." While I generally enjoy a hike, this one was a little tough for me, and sadly I did slip on the rock, hurt my ass (and my pride). But, don't get me wrong, it was worth it to see the absolute beauty of the waterfalls. Definitely make time to go there, especially in the summer months. MEXICAN FOOD WINS OUT OVER A LIFE ON THE ROAD In the latest episode, Luis had mentioned his passion for travelling but told me that if he ever left, he would just miss Mexican food way too much. Since I spent the day trekking with Luis, he has given up the guiding gig and didn't go travelling after all. His love for the craft of Mexican food eventually outweighed Luis' desire to travel, and he opened his own restaurant with his girlfriend and brother. I, unfortunately, have not had a chance to go back and visit yet, but it is calledPaellas Sotomayor [https://www.paellassotomayor.com/]. And it looks fantastic. If you manage to go to Monterrey and you stop in there, say hi from me. FOOTBALL WITH THE LOCALS Now back to my Monterrey adventures and my visit to a local Monterrey football match. Interestingly, as another dive into Airbnb's unique offerings, I bought football tickets to a local game in Monterrey. Reuben was my personal guide, and he shared why he offered this particular experience. "I go with people (to the game) and I have a lot of passion for the team. It's interesting to join with other people from around the world." Reuben lived very close to the stadium and told me the stadium was just three years old. In fact, the local team had waited years for their own stadium. Now, this 50 000 seater stadium,Estadio BBVA [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estadio_BBVA]is used for local and international games, as well as events and concerts. It is actually the 4th largest stadium in Mexico. As we enter the stadium, the atmosphere is electric, and the crowds of supporters are finding their seats. The stadium itself is round and very modern look. Quite the spectacle. I didn't know anything about the local teams, but there Reuben fills me in. "There is a big team that has its own university so it has a lot of followers because a lot of people study in that college. It's like half of the city." We were supporting the Royals, and the other big team was called the Tigres, which (at the time) had won 6 local championships. Mexican football supporters sing throughout the match, making the vibe incredible and the Spanish curse word, “puta” [https://www.dictionary.com/e/translations/puta/] – shouted and sung about the ref, and the opposite side's players. It’s an offensive word here, but even more so in other Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. So, it’s been a big controversy when Mexican teams have played teams from other countries. Rueben assures me this is all part of the fun. Click on the link [https://www.dictionary.com/e/translations/puta/] to learn just how bad a word it is. It was an amazing experience going to such a big football match, and I saw myself literally sitting at the edge of my seat most of the time. Especially going with a local who was so passionate about the game and his team, made it unforgettable. And “our” team, The Royals, won, so it was a great night out. MONTERREY AS A BUSINESS HUB While I was still on the hike with Luis, I asked him about how Monterrey was founded. It has always been a business hub, but then, in 1890, a brewery calledCuauhtemoc Brewery [https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/beer-made-monterrey-famous_19880503.html]came into being. Along with its homegrown Beer Carta Blanca, the brewery is one of the reasons it became a business hub in the first place - making many beers for the United States of America. You may recall the advertising campaign forDos Equis [https://dosequis.com/]beer calledThe Most Interesting Man in the World [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJD69qX16zY&feature=youtu.be], which first appeared in the United States in 2006 and became a popular internet meme, with the final campaign being flighted in 2018. The advert itself (you'll be able to see if you click the link above) features a bearded older gentleman, and the voiceovers to the ads were both humorous – and at times completely outrageous. Well, what you might not know is that the Cuauhtemoc Brewery is where Dos Equis is brewed and that the brewery itself is a subsidiary of the Dutch-based beer company, Heineken. Another massive company with a factory isThe Lego Group, [https://www.lego.com/en-us]a Danish company, which happens to be one of my biggest commercial clients. Have I mentioned that before? In fact, we just published a podcast about travelling that came out as something to listen to when you build the LEGO set with the most pieces ever in their history. It's a beautiful LEGO Art World Map where we had four amazing world travellers as guests. You should listen to it when you're done listening to this episode. Find it onLEGO.com/art [http://lego.com/art]. But I'm getting sidetracked, back to Monterrey and why I found myself in this exciting city in the first place. INTRODUCING ESTEBAN As I mentioned before, one of the reasons I was in Monterrey was because of another traveller – a young guy called Esteban Murillo, who I met at a hostel in Bosnia Herzegovina. He is now back in Monterrey after travelling Europe for a year. "During university, I saved money to start my own business but one day while having drinks with a friend we decided to travel to try and improve our English. Initially, we wanted to go to Ireland but it was difficult to find volunteer work so we eventually found a place in Scotland." From there, Esteban went on to London and then became a roofer in Wales, and then to Greece and onto Croatia for three months. "While in Croatia I worked in a party hostel as a receptionist and did some cleaning - it was great." He also worked at a hostel in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina [https://www.radiovagabond.dk/218-rejse-vi-maa-aldrig-glemme-mostar-bosnien-hercegovina/], where we met. "After my trip, I came to realise that you don't have to have a lot of money to live a nice life on the road,"he tells me. Esteban is back in Monterrey, but the travel bug still has him in its grips because the next trip on the horizon for him is a 6-month motorcycle ride from Monterrey to Alaska. While he's saving money for this trip, Esteban also reconfirmed my staunchest belief about travel. With a big smile on his face, he says: "It's actually very simple and doesn’t have to be expensive to travel. All you need a bit of luggage, sometimes only a backpack – and just go." Running into old friends in new places is one of my most favourite things about travelling. NEXT STOP CANCUN After ten days in Monterrey, I'm going to the more touristy beach town, Cancun, Mexico, and Luis confirmed it's a beautiful place. According to Esteban it’s "a playground for Europeans and Gringos". My visit to Monterrey was a great experience, and it was made even richer by my new local friends – and running into Esteban once more in his own city. I'm so looking forward to sharing my experiences in Cancun with you. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving.
After my last adventure in San Antonio atTejas Rodeo [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/200-texas-rodeo/], I began to make my way to the US/Mexican border on my way toMonterrey [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monterrey], the capital city of the Northeastern Mexican state calledNuevo León [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuevo_Le%C3%B3n]. I hop into an Uber where I manage to communicate a little in broken Spanish to my driver, who couldn't speak any English. Thankfully my host spoke English, but I was looking forward to practising my Spanish with the locals. FREE WALKING TOUR MONTERREY In order to immerse myself into the city's culture as quickly as possible, I decided to attend a free walking tour. Before I get into the sights and sounds of this new city, I need to mention before leaving San Antonio, I visited theAlamo [https://www.thealamo.org/]and theRiver Walk [https://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/], which is a 15-mile long winding waterway that offers visitors loads of options in the way of food and shopping. Sadly, I didn't have too much recorded for those two visits as I didn't really get a chance to run into a local who could share much of the history. So, imagine my surprise when I met Brent before the walking tour here. And he's a guide himself – from San Antonio. SAN ANTONIO RIVER WALK I told Brent about the last few spots I visited in San Antonio, and I was gifted with some really great insights, especially about the River Walk."The river is the whole reason the city began in that region because it was called Yaniguana, meaning 'refreshing waters'…." When Brent isn't proudly showing people around his wonderful city, he has a full-time job in finance. He began guiding because it offered him a creative outlet and a way to meet people from all over the world, so we got on just perfectly.Brent went on to tell me that… "San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the US, in terms of population. We're around 1.4 million people in the urban area. Urban downtown, we are ranked 31st in the US. What really sets it apart is the history you have there, in terms of what took place on the land but also the history that you see every day walking on the streets. We've become the top tourist section in Texas because of the things people can see and do there. Austin is making a great stretch towards that" We went on to speak about the music and the unique weirdness that made up Austin, another great Texan City, and Brent told me more about the differences between San Antonio and Austin. Specifically that San Antonio number 1 industry is ranching and cattle drives. Brent is a great guy, and if you ever find yourself in San Antonio, contactAmigo Free Walking Tours [https://www.amigowalkingtours.com/]to have Brent take you on a guided tour of the city he loves so much. SIGHT-SEEING IN MONTERREY I enjoy taking free walking tours as one of my first activities in a new city because you get great tips on where to go, from restaurants to bars, museums, and other interesting spots to visit. Our guide on this tour is Clarissa, who like Brent, also has a very different day job. "I'm a geophysicist so I work from Monday to Friday, and on weekends I offer this kind of tour because I want to improve my English and because I want to know people around the world and know something about the cities where they live". During our two-hour walking tour, we visited 13 important places in downtown Monterrey Clarissa explains that the old town, where I was right then, happened to be the area that is the most representative of this charming city's culture and history. TheMuseo de Historia Mexicana [https://www.3museos.com/sobre-3-museos/museo-de-historia-mexicana/]is a magnificent building by the Canal Santa Lucía and one of the most important places to see in Monterrey. When you purchase a ticket for the museum, you get an additional ticket for a second museum next door. And that's an even more impressive building. I was excited to see the museum, so I visited it a few days later, but before I tell you all about my visit to the museum, let's get back to my chat with Clarissa. She grew up in this vibrant city, and as she explains, with it being such a big city, you need to adapt to a very different pace. Everyone is always in 'hurry up' mode, and if you want to live here, you'll need to get used to this chaotic rhythm. "We're the third most popular city to visit in Mexico", explains Clarissa – but that's more visitors for business. She also confirmed my suspicions that English wasn't as common in this city as one might think. "Education in this part of Mexico is not too good. A lot of people don't speak English very well." Clarissa was an excellent guide, and if you're looking to take a great tour through downtown Monterrey you can find her here on Facebook –Free Walking Tours Monterrey [https://www.facebook.com/fwtmonterrey/]and meet her at the meeting point every Sunday. Remember to tell her I say hi! MUSEO DE HISTORIA MEXICANA A few days later, I took Clarissa up on her suggestion, and I made my way to the Museo de Historia Mexicana. While it's a historical museum, it's very modern and interactive, and while everything is generally in Spanish, three small screens were translated to English. Unfortunately, only one of the three was working that day. As I mentioned, everything was interactive, and I found myself on an old train and where the windows should be, were screens with landscape displays that took me right back in time as we were told the story of the city's beginnings from 1915 to 1940. It's an experience you should simply not miss. MUSEO DEL NORESTE The second museum that you get the free ticket with your ticket for Museo de Historia Mexicana is in the building next to it. This one is the museum about the northeast of Mexico called Museo del Noreste, and is well worth the visit too. So, when you come through, make sure you bank on enough time to see both, and if your Spanish isn't up to scratch (like mine – haha), you may want to get an English speaking guide. CANAL BOAT RIDE After I visited the two museums, I went on a boat ride that took me down the beautiful Canal de Santa Lucía, which took me to the amazing museum – calledMuseo del Acero Horno 3 [https://www.horno3.org/]. It was quite beautiful and dedicated to the city's history with steel manufacturing. I do enjoy visiting museums in different countries because it helps give me a true reflection of the history and culture. IT'S TIME TO HIKE My week in Monterrey had seen some very rainy and overcast days, but I met up with my guide Luis this Thursday despite a few rain clouds in the sky. He was going to take me on a hike to see the beauty of the natural landscape around Monterrey and visit a waterfall. I found Luis off ofAirbnb Experiences [https://www.airbnb.co.za/s/experiences], and he was a little late (Mexican time, as he humorously explained). Still, he was excited to take me on the hike, with a warning that the poor weather would make it a muddy experience but that it was one of his favourite hikes. It's hard to imagine that you are treated to the most beautiful foliage, a river, and some exceptional waterfalls just outside of the city. The mountains around Monterrey are beautiful, but this was not the hike we were doing on the day. That day we made our way to Lastanzuela waterfall, and in fact, this was the first time I had used the Airbnb Experiences product, and I was pretty pleased with my experience. Luis explained that he had started doing these experiences to help pay for his paragliding lessons. At the time, he was studying Entrepreneurship in the city, and he told me of his dreams to become a digital nomad: "I've always wanted to have my own business and then travel the world." MONTERREY WEATHER CHANGES A LOT As we continue along our hike, which was muddy and very slippery, Luis told me that the weather in Monterrey could be quite extreme because the weather changes a great deal. I was there at the beginning of winter, and I was pleased to hear that I was missing the coldest of months. The biggest issue drivers may find in this area is the very dangerous ice on the roads. MEXICANS ARE NORTH AMERICANS TOO I asked Luis how he felt about the Trump campaign to'build the wall', and he said it was very upsetting for some people because"we are like brothers." Luis also spoke about how the previous Mexican president had quite a lot to say about Trump's campaign and that within the Mexican community, they find his English quite amusing. I took some time to find you a clip:Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto speaking English [https://youtu.be/aSJUAx0enu0]. It is quite funny. MORE TO COME FROM MONTERREY That's all for this episode, but in the next episode, I continue to chat to Luis as we go on our hike, and I booked another Airbnb experience – watching a big football match with a local. So make sure you tune in next week to hear more about the fun I had in Monterrey. There's also a bit of mystery around the next episode, all to do with a message I received from someone I met in Bosnia Herzegovina. I know you're curious so let's make a date for next week where I reveal all. Until then, my name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving.
YEE-HAW FROM TEJAS – RODEO TEXAS STYLE As I was preparing to leave my housesit in Lockhart [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/199-drummer-storyteller-and-texan-paul-weyland/], I had one more thing I just had to do before leaving the great state of Texas! So I drove myself to San Antonio to a spot a little north of the city to see a Tejas Rodeo. A sporting event that happened every Saturday night making up a very important part of San Antonio culture. I was lucky enough to be invited backstage to see the whole event up close and personal by the co-founder of Tejas Rodeo [https://tejasrodeo.com/], Yancey James who was more than happy to teach me all about this exciting sport. Yes, a sport! There’s even a World Championship [https://wcrarodeo.com/] each year. Yancey explained: “They’ll take the top 15 cowboys in the world and they will compete for 10 straight days to crown a champion. There is a world champion in each division.” He went on to tell me that I would even see some of those 15 cowboys at the event that evening. Before I continue with the story, I also wanted to commemorate this my 200th episode. So if you’re near a bottle of champagne or a snifter of whiskey, join me in celebrating this big anniversary for The Radio Vagabond podcast! Yee-Haw! It’s Rodeo time. NOW BACK TO YANCEY JAMES AND TEJAS RODEO Standing backstage I was able to see the arena with the grandstands behind it. Next to me was a booth with 10-15 small cattle. They were for the roping event which would happen later. Another had some sheep which were for the children to ride and then behind me was a round arena with some cowgirls warming up their horses for the running of the barrel event later that evening. Scattered around backstage and the grounds, in general, was a hustle and bustle of cars, excited people, horse cars and there was an air of excitement that was tangible. Everyone was wearing their cowboy hats and those big belt buckles you always see cowboys wear in the movies. Of course, there were also the bulls in another booth, scraping the ground looking pretty mean and scary. Before everything really kicked off I had the opportunity to chat with Yancey who explained that they had held their first rodeo in 2006 and that over the years it had just evolved into this great event venue that was loved by everyone who loved rodeo. The venue is just far enough out of San Antonio to make visitors feel like they’re out in the country. Yancey went on to explain that gates open at 5.30, and with vendors and the gift shop, among other attractions the crowd is kept quite busy until the official start of the event at 7.30 pm. And boy does it start off with a bang! The arena is flooded with riders circling the venue with flags, bathed in colourful lights and cheered on by the crowd. In the background, you can hear a trumpet announcing the start of something very exciting to come. PLEASE STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM If you’ve ever been to the States, no big event in the USA ever begins in earnest without the singing of the national anthem. It’s the atmosphere is electric and the singer just nailed the Star-Spangled Banner. And so the evening began to unfold. One of the first events is called the Running of the Barrels – or “Barrel Racing [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_racing]”. It’s an event for women usually, and it’s where the horse and rider attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around a set of barrels in the fastest possible time. Then, of course, there is the iconic “Bull Riding [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_riding]” event where a rider gets on a bucking bull in an effort to stay mounted while the animal tries to buck the rider off. This particular event has been called "the most dangerous eight seconds [https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/arts/television/the-most-dangerous-eight-seconds-in-sports-on-fearless.html] in sports." In order to receive a score, the rider must stay on top of the bull for a minimum of eight seconds using a one-handed grip on a rope that is tied behind the bull’s front legs. And while you may think the second hand that you so often see held aloft a rider’s head is for flare. It most certainly isn’t! If you touch the bull or yourself, or you don’t manage to stay on the bull for eight seconds you will get a no-score ride. You also get scores for how ‘mean’ the bull is and how much it bucks. It can get pretty crazy and if you ain’t seen how nasty these bulls can be you best take a look at this video [https://youtu.be/8Vp9N8LhMGs]. BULLS ARRIVING Yancey has been involved in rodeos his entire life and he had some really interesting stories and I needed him to explain some of the terms he was throwing out so he begins: “These are cowboys and cowgirls correct, and this is how they make a living. They try and hit four or five rodeos a week. This is their office and they’re not like the NFL guys who get a salary. They have to win, they need to pay their electric bill or their mortgage. They’re coming to compete and they’re coming for first place.” He went on to explain “for instance in the bull-riding, they’ll draw a bull. They don’t get to pick one, they’ll draw one.” So it’s a bit like a lottery and each rider is hoping it doesn’t get the angriest bull. Yancey politely called these big bruisers awfully juicy and explained that a seasoned rider would likely prefer one of the ‘stronger’ bulls. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, you not only get points for how long you stay on the bull but also how much the bull bucks. Add to that Yancey explains there are points for how high the bull kicked and anything else that makes a bull difficult to ride for a cowboy. While you may think the cowboys are the only stars of the show, Yancey explains that the bulls are bred to buck and there is even one bull called Perfect Storm who takes a victory lap around the arena like he’s showing off when he bucks a rider. Yancey explains how all the animals in the rodeo, including the horses, are trained for and are passionate about their sport. The women who do barrel racing have a very close relationship with their horses. “It’s a partnership between the cowgirl and the horse. They come together and learn what the other needs to be successful.” There is a real community with rodeo athletes and as Yancey explains that while you may be competing against other riders, what it really is all about “is, it’s you against your animal. Your job is to get him rode and left everything else fall the way it falls.” THIS ONE’S FOR THE KIDS Yancey’s daughter who was 10 at the time would compete in the barrel race event. But there are also events for younger kids. They all get padded up and placed on the back of a sheep - it’s called Mutton Busting. They hang onto the sheep’s wool and the best rider takes away the trophy. I was lucky enough to get an interview with that evening’s winner, 7-year-old Evan. I asked him if he was scared and he responded wisely “kind of, whenever I was about to do it. I was going ok but I falled off quickly.” (kids are so cute) ROPING A CALF Another exciting event at Tejas Rodeo is “Calf Roping [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calf_roping]”, the goal is for a rider on a horse to rope a calf using a lasso [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3S-H_eajvI]. Once the rider has the rope around the calf’s neck they need to jump off the horse, run to the calf and restrain it by tying three legs together in as short a time as possible. “Roping is one of the oldest sports in Rodeo and they do this on a working ranch, usually to give them medicine,” says Yancey. “We try to take a lot of care of our animals and since our opening, we haven’t had an injury to our animals.” FOR THE HUNGRY There is an incredible steakhouse on-site that serves epic steaks and barbecue. They also host a dance after every Saturday night rodeo and as my host, Yancey explained “It’s cheaper than going to the movies”. At just $20 for an adult and $10 for kids. All in all, it’s a great night out. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS After an epic night and some great conversation with Yancey James, I can say without a doubt these events take real sportsmanship. I can’t wait to see if it makes it into the Olympic Program at some point… I’d like to extend a big thank you to Yancey James and the team at Tejas Rodeo Company for inviting me backstage and giving me an adventurous Saturday night. If you’re in the San Antonio area I highly recommend you pay them a visit. This is my last episode in Texas. Tune in next time to hear all about my adventures in Mexico! ABOUT YANCEY JAMES Yancey James has been involved with rodeos his entire life and for a good part of it, he was a bull rider himself. He admits there are a lot of injuries that a bull-rider sustains, saying that “If you’re riding bulls you’re going to have some injuries! I’ve had three knee surgeries, two wrist surgeries and I broke my nose four times.” He eventually decided he was done with moving around and settled in San Antonio. After a career competing professionally in rodeos around the United States, Mexico and Canada, he became co-owner and vice president of Tejas Rodeo Company [https://www.tejasrodeo.com/] in Bulverde just north of San Antonio with his partner, Trey Martin. They’ve been putting on a rodeo every Saturday night from March through November since 2006. NEXT STOP MEXICO That’s it from Texas and from my tour of the USA – for this time. Now I’m heading to a few places in Mexico. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Welcome to the second half of my drive in Texas with my old buddy, Paul Weyland. We’re in the hill country north of Austin, and Paul will tell me a lot of interesting stories about this area, Austin, and Texas in general. And as you will find out, Paul is a talker and a great storyteller, so this episode is going to run a bit longer than the normal episodes because I simply didn’t know what to take out. So, please enjoy.
Cock-a-doodle-doo from Lockhart, Texas After my wonderful time in Houston [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/197-houston-tx-history-funeral-museum-bbq-and-one-huge-church/] being shown around by my good friend Doug Harris, I headed to my next destination in the state of Texas. My GPS led me to the middle of nowhere in rural farmland Texas where I will be staying alone for the next few days. Well, not entirely alone: this area has loads of coral snakes and if they bite you, you can die. Oh, and my new neighbours are apparently deaf so they wouldn’t even be able to hear my death screams if I ever crossed a hungry snake looking to taste my delicate Danish skin. Quite a welcome, right? SSSSSNAKES IN LOCKHART Mary and Charley own this charming country house in rural Lockhart, a small city south of Austin. They’re going away for a few days and need someone to take care of their cats, house, and plants. So, they asked me to be their trusted house-sitter. While showing me around and giving me strict instructions on what to do and where everything is, they also tell me a bit about the dangers out here in the countryside of Texas. They have some animals roaming around that I’m not used to from when I lived in the countryside of Denmark. Like coral snakes when you step out the door, Mary tells me. “When you walk out the door, be sure to always look out as we have had to kill coral snakes on two separate occasions right here on our porch. They are very, very poisonous. They have tiny mouths, so they have to get you real’ good for it to be dangerous, but still, be careful. And they’re very pretty: black, red, and yellow.” Pretty is one way to describe them. This guy on YouTube [https://youtu.be/eTRmjkFwKBE] describes them as “...the most venomous snake in the United States and they have a very potent neurotoxin, more potent than any of the rattlesnakes around Texas, and you can die by the paralysis of your diaphragm: basically, you suffocate to death”. Delightful. Well, no big deal for Mary and Charley apparently, as they “just kill them” sweet Mary says very casually. Charley adds that I can just leave them alone or kill them too if I want to… “that’s what the shovel is for.” During all this, I was thinking to myself: “I’ve never killed a coral snake before, and I don’t really want to start my coral snake-killing spree now. And I wonder how long I will have to live if I get bitten living out here all by myself?”. But they are pretty, very small, and they must bite me in a soft spot of skin like my hand or my bare feet. Thank God there aren’t any bigger, more dangerous snakes around here. Oh, there are? “There are also rattlesnakes around here and cayotes,” says Charley. Oh, great. Rattlesnakes. Even though Mary tries to calm me down by saying that they haven’t encountered one in ages. To which Charley was quick to remind her that he killed one only two months prior… This is truly an interesting place with interesting animals around. So, we step inside, and they show me around the house where the only animals are cute cats...and a few spiders. I introduced myself to their cats that I was going to be taking care of before my hosts guide me through what I need to know about keeping everything going. Charley then takes me for a walk outside and tells me which plants out there I need to water and how much. I was listening and paying attention…but mostly looking down on the ground to make sure I wasn’t stepping on a coral snake or any other dangerous creature. Charley tells me more about the dangers: “Coral snakes are very poisonous. And rattlesnakes are too but not as much, and they tend to warn you before striking. They have a strike distance that is the length of their body. Be sure to listen out for their tail rattle. We also have raccoons. They can be very mean, especially if you corner them. They look cute but I wouldn’t want to corner a mom with her babies. They sometimes come to visit us on our front porch”. SOUTH OF WEIRD Remember the unofficial slogan for Austin: “Keep Austin Weird”? Well, Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin, so locals like Charley say they live “about 30 miles south of weird”. In fact, Charley even has a t-shirt that has this slogan on it, but with the ‘weird’ spelled incorrectly. Weird. LOCKHART IS THE BBQ CAPITAL Before I met up with Mary and Charley at their country home, they took me to an amazing BBQ restaurant. Yes, Lockhart is known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas [https://lockhartmagazine.com/2020/11/28/lockharts-big-three-part-1/]. And it’s official, something the Texas Legislature proclaimed them as in 1999. Whenever I told anyone in Texas that I was going to Lockhart their faces lit up and they started talking about barbecue. Lockhart is home to four famous barbecue joints [https://austin.eater.com/2016/6/16/11954976/lockhart-texas-barbecue-where-to-eat]: Kreuz Market, Black’s Barbecue, Chisholm Trail BBQ, and the place we went to, Smitty’s Market. Locals suggest you arrive armed with your appetite, good friends, and plenty of napkins. Mary tells me that it is frowned upon to eat your BBQ here with a knife and fork, and no sauce. You should eat it instead with your hands and with bread. As soon as we walked inside, I felt like I was walking into history. Actually, one of the competitors, Kreuz Market, was located at this spot before they moved to its current location. And it was the sister of the owner of Kreuz that opened Smitty’s Market after they had a family disagreement. But it is quite remarkable that this city has so many incredible barbecue joints for such a small place. MARY ON LOCKHART “It’s small, with a population of only 14,000. It’s a very Hispanic town, with families being here for generations. We have a few fancy courthouses that have been used in many movies and series because they all look mid-century”. FACTS ABOUT LOCKHART * The city of Lockhart [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockhart,_Texas] is named after Byrd Lockhart, an assistant surveyor (someone who takes measurements and maps an area). Reportedly he was the first Anglo to set foot in Caldwell County in the 1800s. * Lockhart was the victory site for the Texans over the Comanche at the Battle of Plum Creek in 1840. In fact, Lockhart was originally called Plum Creek, but the name was later changed to Lockhart. * The Caldwell County Courthouse is absolutely stunning, and you may recognise it from being featured in various TV shows and films (Waiting for Guffman, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Faculty, Transformers, and the HBO series The Leftovers. * And one final thing: it’s got nothing to do with Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter (I checked). HOME ALONE IN LOCKHART Mary and Charley left for their vacation, and I had the house and the cats to myself for the next 10 days. I’ve housesat before but in case you haven’t heard listened to those previous episodes or are wondering what housesitting is, let me quickly explain. It’s where people like Mary and Charley let someone stay in their home for a few days/weeks/months while they go on holiday or something and get ‘housesitters’ like me to look after their pets, water their plants, provide general upkeep, etc. In this case, we found each other on TrustedHousesitters.com [http://trustedhousesitters.com/]. There’s a mutual agreement that I get to stay in the house while they are away in exchange for doing a few things. In this case, it’s taking care of their cats and making sure that their plants are alive when they come back. No money changes hands. They get someone to look after their house, pets, and plants, and I get a place to stay for free. They even gave me the keys to their car and their truck. And a car is handy because we’re in the countryside down a dirt road, 5 miles southeast of Lockhart. BUNCH OF COCKS The next morning, like eeeeaaaarrrllyyyy in the morning, I was woken up by the delightful, sweet melodies of LOUD COCKS cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. The neighbours of Mary and Charley breed cocks for cockfighting, despite it being illegal in this state. So, they breed them, train them like miniature gladiators, then truck them to a nearby state where people place bets on which cock will win. Charming. And the cocks don’t only cock in the morning: it’s an ALL DAY affair which the neighbours don’t mind because, well, they’re deaf. PAUL WEYLAND I fed the cats and then headed two hours north to visit another good friend, Paul Weyland, a Texan whom I also know from the radio industry. In fact, Doug, Paul, and I met in Mumbai a few years back when we all were speakers at a conference. And like Doug, Paul is also an amazing public speaker and an interesting man. So, I just had to pay him a visit now that I was here in Texas. Paul’s house is quite unique: so special, in fact, that it has been featured in Dwell [https://www.dwell.com/article/this-texas-lake-house-isnt-afraid-to-let-the-light-in-7d89a16e], a popular website for unique house designs. Pictures of Paul’s LBJ Lakehouse in Sunrise Beach Village, TX are by Austin-based photographer Chase Daniel [https://www.instagram.com/thevuvobandit/]. Visit him on Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/thevuvobandit/] and on ChaseDaniel.co [https://www.chasedaniel.co/]. After a quick tour of the beautiful house on the edge of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, he takes me for a drive around this beautifully idyllic area. But he hasn’t always lived here: when I met him, he lived in Austin. “I lived in walking distance to the big park where Austin City Limits music festival is held. We had a house that was maybe 4min by car to downtown and we got tired of the traffic and the city. So, we sold it and moved to the lakehouse which was handed down to me by my grandfather. We only used it as a holiday home but soon we realised that it would be a perfect place to live, with its lovely and quaint community that is still close to Austin but far from the maddening crowd. We started to renovate the house but realised that we had to completely demolish and rebuild due to structural implications, but we wanted to include elements of the old house”. Paul drives me to Sandy Mountain to experience the incredible view of the lake and the neighbourhood. Paul shows me his house from up here. It takes roughly a day’s drive to visit each place along the lake, but 6 hours if you go from one end to the other without stopping. It is a man-made reservoir with a dam at either end that generates electricity. This area used to be Comanche land, Paul tells me. Paul informs me about the history of the Comanches in the area, how they preferred to raid the European settlers than farm for themselves. He tells me that when he lived in Europe for 3 years, some people would talk to him about Europe experiencing “American problems” - referring to the migrant surges. But Paul uses this as an opportunity to inform his ‘friend’ that the USA was founded by the bravest and most religious Europeans... Paul tells me that as a natural-born American, his heritage is Scottish, German, Alsace-Lorraine (between France and Germany) and some other mixes, including Native American. In response, I joked that as a Dane, I am 100% Viking... Well, since my drive with Paul I actually had a Heritage DNA test taken and found out that I am only 98% Scandinavian…the remaining 2% is either Greek or Southern Italian. I must say that I was a bit surprised how that had ended up in my bloodline. But then, it might just be due to the Vikings raping and pillaging their way through the Mediterranean Sea back in the day who then brought something back to Denmark from there that just got watered down throughout history. If only I knew… I’ll continue my drive and chat with Paul Weyland in the next episode. But before I go, there are two things I’d like to mention: If you like what you hear, please give this podcast a five-star review in your podcast app… just because it makes me feel good. And then tell a friend about this podcast. One way you can do it is by going to Facebook.com/TheRadioVagabond [http://facebook.com/TheRadioVagabond] and just tag a friend in the post for this episode. Hey, with all the work I do, to give you these episodes totally free, that’s the least you can do for me, right…? My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Hello again from Houston, Texas. Welcome to the second half of my day with Doug Harris — a proud Houstonian and old friend who is taking me around his beloved city. If you missed the release of Part I [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/196-houston-creative-animal-making-noise/] last week then be sure to give it a listen to get up to speed with my time in Houston with Doug Harris. Let’s jump back into it. LAKEWOOD CHURCH Doug and I continue our adventures through the city in Doug’s car, and he takes me to a popular site in the city: Lakewood Church. The building was previously called the Summit (subsequently changed to Compact Center before becoming Lakewood Church), a 17,000-seater venue that used to be the home ground for the Houston Rockets NBA team. It is also where Doug saw ZZ Top and Aerosmith perform live a few years prior, but now it is a very large place for worship. Lakewood Church [https://www.lakewoodchurch.com/] and Joel Osteen are on all the social media platforms: there’s an app, a podcast, and a very slick website where they also live stream that includes a webshop with books from Joel and his wife Victoria, and his mother Dodie. HOLY FATHER AND HIS SON The church was founded by Joel’s father, Paster John Osteen, and Joel worked in the background as a TV producer up until his father passed away. When that happened, he stepped up and assumed the role of Senior Pastor at Lakewood Church. I went to their website and saw a video from a sermon a few weeks ago. It does not look or sound like a regular church. As Doug said, it’s an arena with 17,000 seats that starts with a band on stage with lights and a cheering audience. The production itself is very professional. It’s like watching X-Factor or a big award show with several camera angles. Then Joel and his wife take the stage. With 17,000 people in the church arena and I don’t know how many listening on Sirius XM satellite radio in North America, and a global audience watching the live stream, it’s certainly not your average church experience. It is very different from what I grew up with in Denmark, where there would be just a handful of people in my local church on a regular Sunday. TRADITIONAL TEXAS BBQ Doug then took me to one of his favourite places for lunch, Charlies BBQ [https://www.charliesbbq.com/], where I got to taste some real Texan barbecue. He’s a regular there and he introduces me to some of the staff, making me feel welcome and special. We sat down at the grill and the guy behind it who happens to be the owner, Fote Demires, recommended I try the brisket and sausage as they are the most popular choices (apart from the ribs of course). He tells me that brisket is a staple in Texas, and if you head further east, they enjoy pulled pork. After consuming a big plate of various tasty BBQ flavours, I carry on my chat with Fote. “We’ve been in the BBQ business since before my time — some 60 years. As part of the second generation, I have been involved in operations for 30 years, taking over from my parents. My parents came from Greece and decided to open a BBQ shop because, well, it’s Texas. We’ve infused a bit of our Greece culture into the menu over the years, we offer gyros and make our own tzatziki.” After a delicious lunch, Doug and I get back in the car and continue our Houston road trip adventure. REMEMBER THE ALAMO Doug tells me that Houston was named after Sam Houston, the first president of Texas and general of the Texas army. Texas used to be an independent republic that was once under the dominance of Mexico. After declaring independence from Mexico, the Mexican government sent a large army led by Antonio López de Santa Anna [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_L%C3%B3pez_de_Santa_Anna] to attack Texas in bitter retaliation. Despite Santa Anna being an accomplished military tactician, he underestimated the strength of the Texan army led by Colonel William Barret Travis [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_B._Travis], who called for volunteers to assist his men in warding off the Mexican army’s attacks. Famous American frontiersman and folk hero Davy Crockett [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett] joined the cause where he and his volunteers took the famous stand at the Battle of the Alamo [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Alamo] — a 13-day siege where they battled against thousands of Mexican soldiers in 1836 in San Antonio, Texas, “The critical purpose of the Battle of the Alamo was that it gave Sam Houston time to train his Texan troops by the Gulf of Mexico to launch a surprise attack on Antonio López de Santa Anna’s men. One afternoon while the Mexican army was taking a siesta, Houston’s men surprise-attacked and took the Mexican soldiers as prisoners. Apparently, de Santa Anna removed his general’s uniform as to not be identified by the Texas army, but his cover was blown when one of his men called him ‘generalissimo’”. The story with Davy Crockett and the Alamo is something I’ll dive more into when I visit San Antonio in a couple of weeks. It’s fascinating so stay tuned. YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS As folklore has it, Antonio López de Santa Anna had a mixed-heritage concubine who was with him during this time. Due to her mixed-heritage, she had what locals called ‘yellow skin’ and she is the inspiration for the famous folk song The Yellow Rose of Texas [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yellow_Rose_of_Texas_(song)]. DOUG THE MUSIC MAN And speaking of music, Doug is the kind of guy who always goes around with music in his head, and he is always humming and singing. I never noticed it before my visit, but as we’re leaving his office he was humming in the elevator and singing while walking out to his car. And he doesn’t seem to mind that there are people around him. He’s not shy at all and kept singing when we met other people in the freight elevator (great acoustics in there by the way) while maybe adding a “howya doin’?” between the verse and the chorus. He really spreads joy and smiles around him all the time. Doug takes me to yet another impressive place, named after the city’s founder, the Sam Houston Race Park [https://www.shrp.com/]. It’s a famous horse racing track that also has a large paddock that plays host to music concerts throughout the year. It’s a prominent tourist attraction in Houston. Many big country music stars have performed here. Doug strikes me more of a classic rock fan than a country music fan. To this he responded: “Well, I’m a rocker — I was raised in the 60s and 70s on The Beatles, The Yardbirds, and Jimi Hendrix. Plus I made my bones in rock radio. I had a garage band back in those days and our bass player was a little-known actor called Dennis Quaid [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Quaid]. But even though I’m a rocker, it would be silly not to enjoy some great songs from other genres and performers. And country music has some classic performers, like Willie Nelson and Bob Wills. So, I like all music because I’m a student of human nature. But I’m not a huge hip-hop fan. If I can sing along to it on the radio, then I enjoy it.” HOMEWOOD SUITS BY HILTON Doug found a hotel for me and was able to strike a deal with them for a better rate. It’s a Homewood Suites by Hilton, and it’s very artistic with a big mural on the wall behind the pool and a lot of art in the lobby. I meet Bruce from the hotel and wants him to tell me more about the place. It’s in a part of the city that is more a corporate area with a lot of big companies and to me, it’s not the obvious location for a hotel. “There was a need for a Hilton in this part of town, and in the short period of time that we have been open, we have seen the true value of our presence in this area. We are definitely more of a corporate-focused hotel. Our owners have tried to install more of a boutique flavour through the artwork they have installed. All of the art that you see on the walls is done by Mr. D [https://abc13.com/hobbies/meet-the-artist-behind-some-of-houstons-most-recognizable-murals/5289127/] of Houston, known as ‘Houston’s largest muralist’, who also did the hotel’s exterior murals.” Bruce was kind enough to show me around the 125-room hotel, including the outdoor kitchen, firepit, and another Mr. D mural hand-painted specifically for selfies. He showed me to my suite which was beautiful and very large. MORE ADVENTURES WITH DOUG I got to hang out with Doug some more the next day. We went to an art gallery opening, and I followed his recommendation to visit the National Museum of Funeral History [https://www.nmfh.org/] where I got to learn about caskets and coffins, hearses through history, plus the funerals of Presidents, Popes, and celebrities. They also had a gift shop selling caps, mugs, t-shirts, and magnets saying something like: “Any day above ground is a good one”. A really weird and kinda morbid place. But interesting… NEXT STOP: LOCKHART I’m so glad I got to spend some time with my old friend Doug and can’t wait to see him again soon somewhere in the world. Maybe we’ll share a room again, purely in the “interest of camaraderie and economics”. That’s it from Houston. Now I’m heading back to Austin and returning the cool convertible sports car to Gary, and then heading a bit south of the city to the little town called Lockhart, where I’m housesitting. Well, it’s actually not in Lockhart but in a nice little house in the countryside – with dangerous snakes in the grass, and next to a noisy rooster farm with deaf owners. My name is Palle Bo, and I got to keep moving. See you.
Welcome back to Houston, Texas. After leaving my new friendsJeanie and Big Ed [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/195-texas-houston-space-center/]in their trailer park in Houston, I jumped back into my sexy hired sports car to see an old friend of mine, Doug Harris. We made plans to meet at his office. I got to know Doug as a Broadcast Marketing Consultant for his companyCreative Animal [https://www.creativeanimal.com/]. For the past 20 years, he has also been runningNoisemaker Communications [http://www.noisemaker.com/]. Here, he and his team work with businesses that want to make some noise and grab some attention. Doug is known for his crazy, creative, noise-making ideas. For instance, when one of the Star Wars films was about to premiere, he came up with the idea to offer $1,000 to the first listener that would legally change their name to Obi-Wan Kenobe. That got them some attention for his client's radio station, and the idea was later copied by stations all over. And I remember him telling me about his all-time favourite publicity stunt that never saw the light of day as the client got cold feet. He represented an electric razor company and pitched the idea of taking out a full-page ad in the newspaper offering Fidel Castro $1 million to shave his beard with their electric razor. The client was worried – what if the leader of communist Cuba actually took a capitalist bribe to shave his famous beard? It's ideas like these that pop up in the mind of this man that you're about to meet. So, strap in… MEETING AN OLD FRIEND IN HOUSTON, TEXAS "Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West – which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch." These are words by famous American journalist and authorHunter S. Thompson [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_S._Thompson]. After receiving a warm and friendly welcome from my old friend, we jumped into his car and immediately began reminiscing. Doug and I met at a NAB radio event in London years ago and ended up sharing a hotel room "purely in the interest of camaraderie and economics". Our paths again crossed in Mumbai a few years later when the Indian government had just launched independent radio. We've certainly been to some interesting places together. And here we are together again in Doug's hometown of Houston. Doug tells me a few interesting facts about Houston, such as it is home to one of the finest medical centres in the world, Texas Medical Center, which receives many patients from all over the world. Houston is also home to a fabulous theatre district, second only to New York City (when you calculate the number of seats). Additionally, Doug tells me that it is also home to the "greatest Mexican food and BBQ on the planet". Doug is super well-travelled and a man of the world. But he's also a true Houstonian. He loves his city and knows a lot about it. So, he's the perfect tour guide for me as we're driving on our way to an original Texas BBQ lunch at Doug's favourite restaurant,Charlie's BBQ [http://charliesbbq.com/]. "This city is amazingly diverse. We have a huge Hispanic community and a growing Asian community, consisting of distinctly Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese communities who have found their home here because Houston is a really welcoming place. It is a warm mix of culture and people, and there is a lot of opportunity here. There's something about Houston – we do things bigger and better here." Doug tells me he wants to take me to visit Houston's famousNational Museum of Funeral History [https://www.nmfh.org/]and tells me some fascinating things about what to expect. He also plans to take me to theArt Car Museum [https://artcarmuseum.com/]because he wants me to tell the world the people in Houston don't "ride horses to work and there isn't primary sagebrush/tumbleweed floating across the streets." FACTS ABOUT HOUSTON, TEXAS 1. No one is actually from here. If you ask most Houstonians, most of them are from another city, state, or country altogether. 2. Houston has an underground pedestrian tunnel system. The tunnel is 20 feet below the ground and runs for seven miles, linking 95 city blocks. 3. There are no zoning laws. You will see a sex shop next to a mansion that's right down the block from a school that sits alongside what seems to be a Buddhist temple. 4. They don't really wear boots and hats because they're not really cowboys. The only exception is during rodeo season – when they put on the finest bolo ties, hats, boots, and buckles, they can find and totally pretend to be cowboys. 5. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo [https://www.rodeohouston.com/]is one of the biggest rodeos in the world. This month-long rodeo attracts over 2.5 million attendees each year. 6. And finally: don't bother doing your hair in August. Humidity wins —it always wins. A substantial portion of Houston's population is 'new arrivals'. In this tradition, Doug's family is originally from Greece. His father came over to Texas at the turn of the 20th century to work in his uncle's meatpacking plant. "That's how things work here, this country was born from immigrants. My father managed to serve in the United States Army, after which he got into medical school, married a local gal, built up his medical practice, had two sons, and lived the American dream as it was in the 20th century. We'll see how that American dream turns out in the 21sr century". When I got to know Doug, he was always one of the speakers at radio conferences I attended, talking about being more creative. He spoke about how to spark creativity and nurture a creative environment in a boring workplace. And just one of the tricks he suggested was: bubbles. I remember the European radio conference where we shared a room (in the spirit of camaraderie and economics). He was speaking to a room of 4-500 people, and everyone was blowing bubbles. They were all over this big conference room, and people were laughing and feeling creative. I don't know; there's just something about blowing bubbles that brings out the creative kid in us. He always notices when someone is pulling off a marketing stunt that is a bit out of the ordinary. While we're driving around Houston, he points out a billboard with a great idea. Doug excitedly tells me about a marketing campaign that a local furniture store is rolling out that basically offers people their money back on recently purchased mattresses if the local baseball team, the Houston Astros, win the World Series. Our drive through the city sees us talking about a range of interesting topics relating to Houston. Although the Houston skyline isn't as typically picturesque as a European city, "I still love it here", Doug insists. BARBERSHOP BAR Doug decided he needed a haircut, so we made a quick stop for his appointment. I took a seat at the bar to get a cup of coffee – yes, there is a bar inside the barbershop, and it's unlike any barbershop I've ever seen before. The Gents Place [https://thegentsplace.com/service_location/houston-river-oaks-tx/]is a beautiful barbershop that you should absolutely visit if you need a haircut, a scalp massage, a shoeshine — or just want to get away and hang out with friendly people for a bit. On their website, they write 'A Great Haircut is Just the Beginning'.Check out this video [https://youtu.be/u-0evtRLaLA]to see how cool this place really is. Alissa from The Gents Place: "We sell an experience, not a haircut. People can hang out in either of our two lobbies, our Members Lounge, or our bar, and have a couple of drinks. We do haircuts, hand and foot repairs, eyebrow, nose and ear waxing, massages, everything really. Members come in and hang out before and after work. We've created a cool place to hang out," Check out this excerpt from their website: Enjoy a place where distinguished gentlemen gather for conversation and drinks while receiving luxury grooming services such as steamed towel treatments, neck and shoulder massages, and facial hair maintenance. With our men's grooming clubs, we strive to bring back the gentleman in all of us. Life is not an errand, nor should we treat it as such. When it prompts us to attend a task with regularity, we might as well attend to it while surrounded by like-minded gentlemen, complimentary top-shelf drinks, and curated advice. Such is the path to looking our best, feeling our best, and becoming our best. BUFFALO BAYOU After Doug's new trim, we headed to downtown Houston to visitBuffalo Bayou [https://buffalobayou.org/]. This lovely recreational park used to be a large ditch where the famous Allan Brothers founded a city named after the hero of the Texas Republic, Sam Houston, in the mid-19th century. The park has many running tracks and hiking trails, including the river where people can kayak and enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the city. Doug is the kind of person who gets into conversations with the strangers he meets. He's got this aura around him that says,"Hey, I'm a nice guy, talk to me",and it's not put on or fake — it's just who he is. Like, when we saw a dog in the street, Doug effortlessly made conversation with the dog and its owner as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Doug then offers a Master Class on how to establish rapport and get into a conversation with random strangers in the streets of Houston. * Step 1: Greet the dog warmly with compliments. * Step 2: Greet the owners by introducing me, saying that he's showing me around Houston. * Step 3: Compliment handsome dog again. I'm pretty sure that Doug doesn't give this kind of thing a second thought, but I feel that this simple interaction sums up what kind of great and outgoing person he is. We get back into Doug's car and continue our way through the city as Doug tells me interesting things about almost everything we pass by — including The Heartbreak Hotel and an outdoor park that is air-conditioned. He loves telling people about Houston and showing them around because he wants people to come to visit. As you probably can sense, Doug is a man of many words, so I've got more from my drive with him around Houston in the next episode. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
Welcome back to Texas. In this episode, I'm taking you to the 4th biggest city in the USA — Houston. Here, I'm visiting one of the most iconic places in the city that really put Houston on the map when NASA started going to space. I also get to stay with two Texans in a trailer park. But first, I needed a car to get me there. And I thought I might as well go there in style. TURO CAR HIRE I'm in Cedar Park in the northern part of Austin to pick up my rental car. It's in a beautiful residential neighbourhood with nicely trimmed lawns. My Uber drops me off at one of the houses where I meet Gary, the car owner. I bet you're wondering why I'm getting a car at a private home and not at Hertz or Avis or one of the other big rental car companies. So, let me explain — pay close attention because this is a cool travel tip: I'm usingTuro [https://turo.com/]. Turo is like Airbnb for rental cars. It's an online platform where people can rent out their car to strangers. It's a great alternative to traditional car-renting companies. The owners, like Gary, list their cars with Turo and renters like me can search the site and rent them for daily prices set by the owners. It's my first time using Turo. I was looking at normal car rental companies, but then I tried looking on Turo's website, and this little cute sports car came up at a fraction of the prices I had just been quoted. It seemed almost too good to be true. It's a black two-seater sports car where the roof folds back at the push of a button. This was just something I had to try, so I booked, and here I am, in front of the car chatting to Gary. "I just bought the car because I wanted to have a fun little car that I can rent out," says Gary. "I'vealways wanted to own a small, convertible sports car to take advantage of the great Austin weather. Turo made sense because it allows me to rent it out when I am not using it to make a few extra dollars. I bought it specifically to rent out on Turo, so I don't mind it being used by other people." Just like me, this was Gary's first time using the Turo service. After a brief chat, I was handed the keys and took control of the little black beauty. And boy, was it a great ride. ROCKSTAR OF THE ROAD During my first few days in Austin, I attended another travel bloggers conference and one night, over a few beers at one of the social events, I met Ed and Jeanie – a charming couple from Houston. We got along rather well, and at the end of the night, Ed offered for me to stay at their place for a few days when I got to Houston. I wasn't sure if it was the beers talking, but I took him up on his offer and said that I would love to. So here I was, heading from Austin to Houston in a little open-top two-seater sports car. It's a 2.5 hours' drive, and I had a blast hitting the open highways, feeling the wind brush through my hair; I felt like a rock star even though it was a bit scary being all the way down that close to the road with the huge 20-ton Texan trucks driving alongside me, hardly being able to see me all the way down there. I felt I was driving a go-kart and could drive under them without any problems… but I decided against it. TRAILER PARK LIVING As I'm sure you can imagine, the car made a few heads turn as I was slowly making my way through the trailer park to Jeanie and Ed's trailer — my home for the next couple of days. Ed is a tall Texan, so everyone calls him Big Ed. As I arrive, I'm greeted by Big Ed and his friend Randy who were on the front porch having a few cold ones. Keeping them company was a cute little white dog called Yogi Bear. "Woah, look at you man. Fuckin' pimpin'. That's great man, I can't believe you found us," says Big Ed as I head over to greet him. Jeanie's and Big Ed's trailer is big. It is 16x80 feet (5x24 meters), and if you didn't know it, you would think it's a normal little 120m² house. Especially when you step inside, it's got a corridor and several rooms including two bathrooms. So, it's not the kind of caravan that you would hook up to your car and go on a summer vacation. Well, maybe here in Texas with a big-ass truck in front of it, you could. But this one hasn't been moved since it got here a few years ago. Big Ed is retired, and since he doesn't have to get up early, he likes to stay up late watching sports or Fox News on their big flatscreen TV — easily until 3-4a m each night. Jeanie usually goes to bed earlier because she still works (or was at the time of the recording, but she just retired in 2021). So, for Ed not to wake her up in the middle of the night, they have separate bedrooms. But while I'm there, Ed is letting me have his bedroom and will sneak into her big waterbed, which he doesn't seem to mind. As the sun slowly started to set, it started to rain. So, I sat down with Big Ed on his front porch for a chat to find out more about my hospitable host. PORCH CHATS WITH BIG ED The rain, unfortunately, prevented Big Ed from making his "not-so world famous" BBQ spare ribs for us. But he assured me that I would be treated to them the next evening. Big Ed tells me about how he and Jeanie came to live in this trailer park. "We have a lovely little cottage, if you will, that my wife has put almost $30,000 into making a home. We've put granite countertops in the kitchen and put in new bathtubs among other things. It's a lovely little place for myself and my wife to live with our little puppy dog, Yogi Bear. I built an outside porch area in the back that I turned into a bar where we can have live music and entertain." You can't really call it a trailer as it has no wheels. Big Ed tells me that they remove the wheels upon delivery of the cottage to ensure people don't pick up and leave in the middle of the night to evade outstanding payments. TRAVELLING TRAILER PARKERS Big Ed and his "beautiful Jeanie" travel around the world a lot because Jeanie used to work for United Airlines, which entitles them to free airfares whenever they please. They can simply walk up to the ticket counter and choose any destination, and they don't pay any fees, not even for their luggage. They have certainly made the most of it. When people ask Bid Ed where they have travelled to, he finds it easier to list continents rather than countries as the list would be too long. For every New Year's Eve, they like to visit capital cities. Thus far, they have visited most of the major capital cities around the world, from Paris to Phnom Penh. Next up is Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Big Ed and Jeanie are certainly uncharacteristic: I mean, you don't meet many world-travelling jet setters who live in a trailer park in Texas. And this is just one of many incredible un-stereotypical things about this wholesome couple from Houston. "Only about 42% of Americans have passports, and of them not many get out and travel. So, not only do we find ourselves in a unique position but many of our friends and widespread acquaintances look to us for interesting stories that we have been lucky enough to experience here, there, and everywhere around the world." Big Ed is certainly a well-travelled, intelligent, and interesting man. I really enjoyed our chat on the porch, but I had to go to bed because I had an exciting day planned across town. I'm going to the place where they were communicating with the first man on the moon. PODCAST RECOMMENDATION I have another great podcast recommendation. This is a podcast that is for someone like me: someone whose kids have grown up and left the house and you've become an empty nester — or, as Tessa and Amir call it, an "Open Nester." Listen to The Open Nester podcast here [https://theopennesters.com/]. SPACE CENTER HOUSTON After about a 1.5-hour drive from Big Ed and Jeanie's place, I arrived at theSpace Center Houston [https://spacecenter.org/]. I was immediately met with an amazing view of a huge jumbo jet with a space shuttle connected to the roof of it. I was very excited to find out more about American space history. Houston, I have arrived... Since opening in 1992, Space Center Houston has welcomed more than 22 million visitors from all over the world — and today, they can add one more dashing Dane to the list. They host nearly 1.25 million visitors each year in its 250,000-square-foot educational complex. That's more than 23,000 square meters. Known around the world as the home of NASA Mission Control, International Space Station Mission Control, and astronaut training center, guests are taken behind the scenes to see NASA's Johnson Space Center. Johnson Space Center (JSC) and NASA have a tremendous story to tell. Before they opened to the public, they had artefacts and models displayed in the hallways of the employee auditorium. Hal Stall, director of Public Affairs at JSC, likened it to "displaying the Hope Diamond in a shoe box." So, in 1992 they decided to make it public. After an introduction film, I went on their NASA Tram Tour where we went around the area and one of the things that impressed me the most was the realSaturn V [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V]rocket. It is displayed vertically in a big warehouse. The Saturn V rocket is 111 meters (363 feet) tall, about the height of a 36-story-tall building, and 18 meters (60 feet) taller than the Statue of Liberty. And has the weight of about 400 elephants. It was the most powerful rocket that had ever flown successfully and was used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s. Just walking around it from the pointy tip of the rocket on one end to the five big booster rockets on the other end makes you realise the sheer scale of it. We then walked on an elevated path through the building where NASA astronauts train for current missions. This is also where NASA's scientists and engineers are developing the next generation of space exploration vehicles. And then we entered possibly the most iconic place: Mission Control. And it's the real deal. This is the exact place where NASA's team led the Gemini and Apollo missions, including when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon. It's also possible to enter the replica of the Independence shuttle, mounted on top of a giant plane, that is the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. Inside the jumbo jet, there's a very interesting exhibition. But there is so much more: Lunar Modules, space suits, interactive exhibitions, and Space Center Houston also has the world's largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples on display. There is so much to see, and it's easy to spend a full day here. You can see more and book tickets onSpaceCenter.org [https://spacecenter.org/]. BACK IN THE TRAILER PARK When I returned to Big Ed and Jeanie's trailer, Big Ed was working his barbeque magic, making his "not-so famous" spareribs he promised me the night before. They were so delicious that they should, in fact, be world-famous. After we ate dinner, Big Ed and I resumed our positions on the porch and continued our conversation. I asked him to tell me a bit more about Houston. Having lived here since 1954 after moving when he was just five years old (still "Little Ed"), he's been here so long and can't really say anything bad about it. "Houston has just become the 4th largest city in the US (behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) having just surpassed Philadelphia. It's not really a vacation destination per se, it is just a really great city that makes a lot of money. The Space Center Houston created an incredible amount of cash flow for Houston. In the 60's, all the astronauts were our heroes around here and we followed each major NASA mission." Remember the episode from Maine where I got into trouble talking about politics? Herewith Ed, the conversations are interesting and with a lot of respect for each other's points of view. Ed knew that I probably isn't a big Trump fan, and I knew that he probably is. And still, we could talk about what was going on in the world with the respect that we probably won't agree on everything. Obviously, Texas is right here on the border to Mexico, and Ed and Jeanie have been south of it many times. Big Ed tells me about his travels through their southern neighbours and also around the Caribbean. They really love Belize and have returned there 12 times, exploring the coast and the surrounding islands. One of Big Ed and Jeanie's bucket list items is to visit Easter Island. They are planning to fly to Chile and hop on a 5-hour prop-plane flight to Easter Island, then take another prop-plane flight to Tahiti. The most important thing for this amazing couple is that they don't only place value in the destinations they visit, but also the incredible people they will meet and the interesting things they will learn. I really enjoyed my stay with Big Ed and all of our great conversations. NEXT EPISODE I'm staying a bit longer here in Houston, and in the next episode, I visit one of the locals and an old friend of mine. His name is Doug Harris, and he is an amazing person that I've known for many years. We've even seen many parts of the world together. That's next week on The Radio Vagabond. So, for now, it's goodbye to Jeanie and Big Ed and off to another part of this huge city. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you. CR-APPLE CR-APP Here in the spring of 2021, when I'm editing this episode, Apple announced that they just made the biggest changes to their podcasting app since podcasting began. So, I decided to update to the latest iOS when it was possible for me this week. It's the one called IOS 14.6. I was most of all expecting a better podcast listening experience. If you're considering doing the same, please don't. Or, please wait until they have fixed all the bugs. First, a lot of my apps don't work in this new iOS… yet. That will probably come soon. But the worst part is the new Apple Podcasting app. I don't know how to say it more clearly other than it has become the worst crappy app. Hardly anything works. It is so bad that I actually started using other apps – right now, I'm using Spotify. And who knows if I get so used to Spotify, then I will stay there. Apple Podcast is still the top dog in podcasting, but Spotify is number two and gaining many followers. And with this move, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple gets usurped soon. Don't get me wrong; I'm still an Apple fan. I have an iPhone, a MacBook, and an iPad, and I normally love everything they do. But this is so bad. So, if anyone at Apple is listening (and they're probably not able to if they upgraded to the new iOS)… get your sh**… ehh… act together. My short message is: don't upgrade just yet. Wait until Tim Apple and the team have fixed all the bugs… Okay, my rant is over. I just had to get it off my chest.
HOWDY FROM AUSTIN, TEXAS I mentioned in the previous episode from Quebec, Canada [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/193-quebec-canada-therapeutic-horses-in-the-garden-of-eden/] that I was going to Finger Lakes in Upstate New York after my short visit to Canada. I went there to attend a TBEX conference [https://tbexcon.com/] for travel content creators, which was really fun. I was only there for a few days and didn’t get a chance to explore the beautiful area around the lakes, so I didn’t record enough for an episode. Soon after the conference, I jumped on a flight headed to Texas where another conference was waiting for me. And the flight wasn’t without challenges that left me stranded in New Jersey… My flight out of Ithaca was delayed, which is not news. But I decided to get to the airport super early that day to catch up on some work while I waited, which was supposed to be only a few hours. But my flight was delayed once. Then twice. Then again. Then my connecting flight left without me. So, I had to spend the night and pay for my hotel without United Airlines helping me out with the inconvenience. Anyway, par for the course for a vagabond like myself, I guess. I finally made it to Texas so let’s get rocking in Austin! KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD Austin's unofficial slogan is "Keep Austin Weird". It became a thing in 2000 when a local librarian, Red Wassenich, used the phrase on a local radio show. He later began printing bumper stickers and launched the website KeepAustinWeird.com [http://keepaustinweird.com/]. In the spirit of weirdness, let’s get to know the city a little better with some facts about where I am. WEIRD FACTS ABOUT AUSTIN, TEXAS * At some point, Austin was entirely underwater. But that was a little while back — some 66 million years ago. It was also home to 10 underwater volcanoes, which is why Austin's cliffs are made of white, crumbly rock known as "Austin Chalk." * Austin is ranked one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. with its 12 off-leash parks, dog-friendly restaurants, and hotels. * An average of 20 million people visits Austin every year. This is more than the annual visitors to Rome (4.2 million), Hawaii (8.3 million), and even London (17.4 million). * Austin is the capital of Texas, and the Texas State Capitol building [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_State_Capitol] is the second largest state capitol building in the United States, after the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Which just goes to show that everything is bigger in Texas. * U.S. News & World Report [https://www.usnews.com/info/blogs/press-room/articles/2017-02-07/us-news-unveils-the-2017-best-places-to-live] named Austin the best place to live [http://www.travelingwiththejones.com/2017/09/27/23-fun-facts-about-austin-texas/] in the U.S. in 2017. * Austin has its very own Bigfoot named Hairy Man [http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/austin/facts-about-austin/] who allegedly lives on Hairy Man Road. * Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America. Around 1.5 million bats emerge from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge just before sunset every day from March to October. And I got to experience that! * And, most importantly, Austin has the only legal nude beach in Texas. I didn’t get to experience that... AUSTIN MUSIC But what the city is most famous for is its vast and rich music culture [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Austin,_Texas]. Austin’s official motto is the "Live Music Capital of the World" because of its 200+ live music venues and over 2,000 bands and performing artists calling it home. The city hosts the annual South by Southwest [https://www.sxsw.com/] conference and festival for parallel film, interactive media, and music that takes place every year in mid-March. The music part of it — South by Southwest Music [https://www.sxsw.com/festivals/music/] — is the largest music festival of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts performing. What’s called "Austin music" in its modern form emerged in 1972 when a new form of country music exploded on the scene — a scene that turned its back on Nashville. That same year, Willie Nelson did the same, when he left Nashville and moved here. In the following years, Austin gained a reputation as a place where struggling musicians could launch their careers in front of receptive audiences at informal live venues. HOUSE OF SONGS Austin is also home to The House of Songs [https://www.thehouseofsongs.org/], a homely retreat that invites songwriters from around the world to the United States to craft their music. Here, musicians can share in the universal language of music through collaborations and live performances, and the house is designed to bridge cultures, build friendships, and cultivate peace. It was all inspired by a collaboration between Troy Campbell [http://www.lonestarmusic.com/TroyCampbell] and Danish singer-songwriter Poul Krebs [https://poulkrebs.dk/], who happens to be a household name in my home country. 100 points to you if you have heard of him before… if you’re not Danish. Coincidentally, a friend of mine has been playing music with Poul Krebs for years, and when he heard that I was going to be in Austin, he introduced me to Troy Campbell. HOUSE OF SONGS I met Troy outside the House of Songs house and we immediately hit it off. He was excited to tell me about how he and my friend Poul came up with the concept of House of Songs. Troy and Poul got the idea for House of Songs at a writer's retreat on the Danish island, Samsø. And in 2009, they started a one-year project to bring Danish artists here to Austin. “At a South by Southwest festival, I was approached by a few people who were looking to invest in the arts and culture scene and knew that Austin was the perfect place for it. They heard that I had an idea for a creative music retreat where musicians can create a community of shared inspiration. I had spent time in Denmark and Scandinavia collaborating with local musicians and a few came over here. The investors loved the idea, and the rest is history.” Troy told me the impact the Danish musicians had on the local music scene in Austin. They were so intrigued and inspired by the Scandinavian sound and soon they had an army of Scandinavian musicians coming to the retreat. NOW IT’S NOT ONLY AUSTIN But now it’s not only Danish artists that come here. And actually, The House of Songs is not only here in Austin. Campbell developed a plan to spread the concept to other parts of the world. “We are going on 9 years now and have spread to 14 countries and 3 locations. We are just about to open our latest location in Haarlem, New York. We are working in partnership with Art Space, a massive arts organisation who have helped us secure an apartment to curate the artist we want, to do international co-writing residencies,” House of Songs has evolved into a non-profit organisation and has grown far beyond what the pair had originally planned. Troy is always keen to voice his appreciation for Denmark, the Danish music scene, and of course Poul for the positive influences. “I want Poul to hear every song that is sung in every house, because for me as his friend, I know that it delights him. He’s not about the money-chase, success to him are his friendships and his family. This helps inspire me that the level of the house is kept high”. The Austin-based House of Songs is situated just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin in a calm neighbourhood near a river. Troy and Poul wanted each of the houses to feel authentic to the city they are situated in, thus this house ‘feels Texas’ according to Troy. Troy took me on a guided tour of the location, giving me great insights and anecdotes about every part of the place. Every room has at least one instrument in it as a way to allow musicians to be able to "reach out and grab an instrument at any time". DANISH INFLUENCE When new musicians arrive at the House, Troy makes sure there is always food to welcome them — something he experienced when he first visited Denmark to attend the music retreat on Samsø Island. “When I arrived, I was a little out of sorts trying to figure out how I was going to involve myself, as I felt all the musicians were more talented than me. I was a bit nervous. Everyone was out by the time I arrived, but I was greeted by a little food parcel and a lovely welcome note written by Poul. I thought it was a really nice touch and it immediately made me feel comfortable. Poul gave me some cheese, dark bread, fruit, and his note, saying ‘welcome brother’. And this is exactly what I give to all newcomers here at House of Songs”. WHEN TROY MET A DANISH SUPERSTAR Troy told me a funny story about the first time he met Poul Krebs — one of the most recognized singer-songwriters in my home country. I mean, everybody knows him, and we can all sing along to his songs. He sings in Danish so not many people outside of Denmark know him and his music, and when Troy visited Denmark for the first time, he had no idea he was famous. Then Poul put on sunglasses and people started recognising him. “I didn’t know who he was!” Troy laughs. “I thought he was just a really cool guy, and I loved his music. But back in 1999 you didn’t really Google people – and if I did everything would be in Danish. After we hung out and started co-writing in Texas, he invited me to Samsø Island.” When Troy arrived, he still had no clue who Poul was. On the island, everyone was relaxed, and nobody had any ego, so Troy didn't suspect anything. For the first gig in Denmark, they played together they both hopped on a boat to the venue. And when they got off the boat, Poul put on his sunglasses and then EVERYBODY started to recognise him. People swarmed him. “What? Are you famous?” Troy asked Poul. “I do really, really, really okay”, Poul jokes. That was when Troy found out that Poul was a big deal. And what Troy expected would be a small show with a few hundred people (at best) turned out to be a great show to 4,000 loud, cheering, and adoring fans. Hilarious! If you want to know more about the House of Songs go to their website [https://www.thehouseofsongs.org/] and be sure to watch the 25-minute PBS documentary [https://www.pbs.org/video/arts-context-house-songs/] (which won an Emmy!) about the concept. In the next episode, I hire a small open-top sports car and drive to Houston. Lots of exciting and interesting stuff to come next week, don’t miss out! My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you!
BONJOUR A QUEBEC CANADA I’m heading north in Vermont after my road trip to all six states in New England. As I was getting close to the border of Canada, I pulled over and stopped at a rest stop at the side of the road to check some things and send a few messages before my American SIM card would lose connection. I travel with two phones. One with my Danish number and one with a local number, so I’m able to get online. As I was sitting there deeply focused with my eyes on my phones, I got a shock when there was a knock on the window. I turned my head and there was a police officer with his hand resting on his gun in the belt. The tightly built Hispanic looking officer asked for my driver’s license and my passport – and with these, he walked back to his police car behind me. Unlike the time I was pulled over for speeding in North Carolina, this was a pleasant meeting with the US police force. And he even directed me to where I could get some wine cheaper than on the Canadian side of the border. So, I did exactly that before heading across the border. WELCOME TO GARDEN OF EDEN I’ve been invited to visit a unique place in the Bromont Mountains – where I meet Patricia. She’s been a clinical nurse for 25 years and a college teacher for almost 10 years, she has a bachelor’s degree in health science and received training in therapeutic riding. So, I think it’s safe to say that care is her passion. But she’s also had a passion for horses from a young age and in the middle of her career, she decided to combine her two passions… bought a ranch close to Bromont and named it Jardins d’Eden [https://www.jardins-deden.com/] – the Gardens of Eden. The place is located on a century-old estate with access to a huge area and a magnificent landscape with a view of the Bromont mountain, lake, and river. A short walk into the forest she’s got a very old small building that she calls “The Sugar Shack”. It’s without electricity and running water. And no Wi-Fi either or even a signal on your cellphone. So, if you decide to stay here, you are totally off the grid. HORSES AS THERAPISTS Horses are wonderful therapists, Patricia tells me. She offers therapeutic horse-riding sessions adapted to your needs according to a personalized care plan. The Ranch is a peaceful place where calm and healing are priorities. They also offer unforgettable hikes, and apart from the refuge in the forest (the primitive Sugar Shack), she also has a luxurious loft apartment above the stable. And there’s a lot to do in a place like this… Two Airbnbs, therapeutic riding sessions, massage, hikes, plus 10 horses, 5 ponies, one goat, and two dogs that needs to be fed and cared for – it’s a lot of work. But Patricia tells me that this doesn’t feel like work. If you’re in the area, and you want a pause in your life and spend a few days in Patricia’s sugar shack or in her loft above the stables, surrounded by 10 horses, 5 ponies, one goat, and two dogs … you can find the link to her Airbnbs on her website [https://www.jardins-deden.com/]. Due to Covid, it’s not possible to visit right now, but probably again very soon. A special thanks to Patricia Senécal who took the time to show me around her Garden of Eden [https://www.jardins-deden.com/] and educate me about the wonderful life with horses. I’m heading back to the USA, after a few days in Bromont, Montreal and Toronto, to visit some friends here. But I’m not going to record anything from this since I already did quite a bit from this area when I was here the last time. So, if you’re interested go back and find those episodes. When you hear from me again, I’m at the beautiful Finger Lakes in upstate New York. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.
While I'm working on an episode from my revisit to Canada, I'll give you an episode from the last time I was in this country in the north.
Join me as I visit beautiful Vermont for another instalment of my New England road trip adventure. In this episode, I meet yet another guy named Ben, hike the gorgeous Mount Washington, and sink my teeth into all the ice cream at the Ben & Jerry's factory. Lick your lips for what's to come. 192 VERMONT: Ice Cream in Green Mountains Hello from Vermont, USA After wrapping up myadventures in Maine [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/191-blueberries-blues-and-beers-in-maine-usa/] and saying farewell to my Couchsurfing friend, Blueberry Ben, I jumped back in my hired car and proceeded to head west. It was a drive of 243 miles that took me back through New Hampshire and just across the state line, where I eventually arrived at the last of the six states in New England — Vermont. Leaving Blueberry Ben back in his forest in Maine, I was on the lookout for another Ben: this time, the Ben from Ben & Jerry's. Spoiler:I didn't. But I met someone who has met the real Ben & Jerry. He is from Vermont, and funny enough, his name is also Ben. How weird is that? We'll call him Vermont Ben. VERMONT BEN While editing this episode from Panamá, I met Vermont Ben during a pool tournament hosted by the hostel I am staying at. How randomly serendipitous to meet a guy called Ben from Vermont that just happens to be the episode I was editing at the time. It's like the universal laws of attraction are working overtime, bringing me together with people from the podcast episodes I edit on the road! Next time, I think I'll edit an episode about tall Swedish models who have a preference for bald Danish travel podcasters…#hereshoping "I'm 19 years old and I have been living in Vermont my entire life. It is a really beautiful place, with amazing people. There are a million things to do: it's a very outdoorsy place, it is extremely clean and environmentally safe and friendly. I ski, mountain bike, and do all activities you can do on a lake as I live on the lake. Most people from Vermont appreciate the outdoors and are very active, and the Vermont lifestyle is very attractive. It's a really amazing place to live and raise a family, indicated by the number of people who move there each year". As a self-titled 'proud Vermonter', I decided to test Vermont Ben on his knowledge about his home state. He passed with flying colours. Here are a few facts about Vermont that Vermont Ben already knew... FACTS ABOUT VERMONT * Vermont's name comes from the French phrase "vert mont," meaning "green mountain." Nickname: The Green Mountain State. * Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the US, producing over half a million gallons a year (almost 2 million litres). * With a population of just 7,787 in 2012, Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the US. * There aren't many people in Vermont: only about 645,000. The only state with a smaller population in Wyoming. * Some people joke that Vermont has more dairy cows than people. Not true! It has one cow for every 3.8 people, which is still the nation's highest cow ratio to people. * Montpelier is the only US state capital without a McDonald's. And no billboards on the side of the roads. Very non-American if you ask me! HIKING MOUNT WASHINGTON The lovely Airbnb I stayed at in Vermont is situated within walking distance to the border of New Hampshire, so each time I went to the grocery store down the road, I essentially crossed the state line. The day after I arrived, I decided to delve deeper back into New Hampshire to go for a hike onMount Washington [https://www.mountwashington.org/]. It is the highest peak in the North-eastern United States at more than 6000 ft (almost 2000m), and it's the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River. After my blood pressure health scare, I was told to increase my cardio to get my blood pumping regularly — doctor's orders. That morning, I already went for a run, so by the time I started on the trail, I was a little tired...and sweaty. There is a train that travels to the top of the mountain calledMount Washington Cog Railway [https://www.thecog.com/], and it takes you on a dramatic ascent to the summit. The Cog is the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world and the only one currently operating in North America. With an average gradient of 25% (some sections are nearly 38%), it's also the second steepest in the world. It primarily provided by a fleet of seven powerful biodiesel locomotives, and then the railway also continues to operate a pair of century-old, coal-fired steam engines. I saw four trains pulling the Cog: three diesel trains in the front and one steam train pushing the rear. It's located in the heart of the majestic White Mountains region, and even the drive up there along Base Station Road is beautiful – every twist and turn of the road is a new Instagram moment. One of the places you must remember to stop for some pictures is theUpper Falls [https://mtwashingtonvalley.org/MembershipPDF/WATERFALL%20PAGE.pdf]. It's an impressive rocky cascade and popular swimming hole just a few meters from the road. Also, keep your eyes open for wildlife – it's not uncommon to see moose and bear along the Base road. BURLINGTON, VERMONT After my enjoyable and scenic hike, I headed back to my Airbnb and took the evening to finish up some radio edits. The next day, I headed to my second stop in Vermont – Burlington. As I said to Vermont Ben earlier, Burlington is the most populated city in Vermont, with a population of around 42,000. It actually ranks as the least-populated city to also be the most populous city in its state. If you're confused, don't worry, I was too. But let me explain what this means... If you have a list of the biggest cities in each state of the US, then Burlington is the one with the smallest population. I don't know if that made much more sense. Anyway, it's 72km south of the Canadian border and only 151km from Montreal. BEN & JERRY'S ICE CREAM FACTORY A half an hour drive from Burlington leads you to Waterbury, the town hosting the first-ever factory of world-famous ice cream hippies,Ben & Jerry's [https://www.benjerry.com/]. Originally built in 1985, it continues to manufacture approximately 350,000 pints of ice cream per day. Yummy. I took a tour of the factory and felt like a kid in an ice cream shop… The company's branding is really engaging and has a ton of humour. There's even something that will make you smile during the short walk from the parking lot to the factory doors called theFlavor Graveyard [https://youtu.be/qFY6tdbS9Mg]. It honours Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavours that are no longer produced. #RIP It's filled with tombstones honouring the fallen flavours with epitaphs of weird and wonderful poems on them. Like these: RIP Sugarplum It swirled in our heads It danced in our dreams It proved not to be though The best of ice creams 1989-1990 And this: RIP Tennessee Mud The bottle is empty The cup and the glass The mud with Jack Daniels Was not meant to last 1988-1989 How amazing? There are tons of them! Then my 30-minute tour of the factory kicked off, and soon I was sampling some amazing new ice cream flavours. The company also donates its ice cream waste to local Vermont farmers who feed it to their pigs (except Mint Oreo flavour – apparently, the pigs don't like that one). I didn't meet Ben & Jerry, but my new friend, Vermont Ben, has actually played golf with either Ben or Jerry... he wasn't sure which of the ice cream gurus he met, though."I met one of them out on the golf course and they are really cool dudes. I have talked to them before: I have attended a few of their talks as they are very social and politically active. They are, like, very Vermont: super chilled hippy guys that are easy to talk to. Down to earth guys,"Vermont Ben says. AMERICA'S SWEET TOOTH After my tour was finished and my belly full of flavoured lactose, I headed outside only to be met with pouring rain. There is something about Americans I find peculiar and interesting: despite it bucketing down, there was a long queue of people waiting in the rain getting soaked for ice cream. They didn't seem to mind! On my travels across the United States, I have found that Americans don't mind standing for ages waiting in lines to get something sweet. For example, I saw hundreds of people waiting for hours to buy trets from a local pastry shop in Boston, and nowhere in Vermont people are braving the rain for some Ben & Jerry's, even though it is so widely available in Vermont. Another thing that puzzled me was the sheer number of people at the Ben & Jerry's factory. I mean, this place must see some serious foot traffic day in day out, which is strange to me because most of the people seemed to be locals. Why don't they just build a few more factories to accommodate the influx of ice cream fanatics? It seems to me that Americans don't mind standing in lines for ages just for something sweet. I just don't get it... I had to find out, so I went out in the rain to talk to a few line-lurkers to hear from the horse's mouth why this endless queue-waiting game seems to be an adored American pastime. "Uh, it's famous,"says one person."It's a free shower,"says another about the rain."We were already committed so we couldn't turn back,"says a woman who was absolutely soaked when I interviewed her. Well, that's some true American grit if I ever saw it. That's it from New England. Next, I head north across the border to Canada, and I'm so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya.
Welcome back to Maine and my stay at Ben's Blueberry farm! In this episode, I put a chilli finger in my eye and my foot in my mouth. So, this is not my proudest episode. You can stop reading now. But if you're brave enough to continue, just don't say I didn't warn you... In theprevious episode, [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/190-maine-blueberries-and-pickled-sea-snails/] I arrived at Ben Perrin's blueberry farm in the middle of nowhere in Maine, USA. I got to hang out with him and his crew and saw how they sort their first-class organic blueberries and get them ready for shipping to stores. I also went to a place called The Pickled Wrinkle to eat pickled sea snails (gross) and walked around in the beautifulAcadia National Park [https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm]. If you missed Part I of my time in Maine, be sure to listen to the episode before you continue. BEN AND HIS BLUEBERRIES For my last night in Maine, Ben invited me to go to a small local concert. He knew the singer and wanted to go see her ... and grab a few beers. So, I offered to be the designated driver. We piled into Ben's truck and headed out at dusk. As I was driving along the small, winding forest roads, I pulled out the microphone and asked Ben to tell me about how he ended up becoming a blueberry farmer. Ben tells me he has spent the past 15 years working on farms all around the United States, seeking out blueberry farms in particular as they are his favourite to work on. "When the machines started taking over our jobs, I startedBurke Hill Farm [https://www.burkehillfarm.com/]as a way of protecting our jobs," says Ben. He was a roaming worker back then, and when he eventually arrived in Maine, he saved up enough to buy the land and build the farm. Ben's farm sees a lot of people coming to help out during the harvest season each year. "Every kind of person walks through our doors. Every different kind, and then some," he says. He's had people over the age of 80, and a few as young as 14 come to work on the farm over the years. This kind of work and lifestyle appeals to a wide variety of people, which makes each season different. Jason and Ben are the only people who work at the farm all year round. But during various times of the pre and postseason, he fires a small team to help carry the load. But Ben isn't one to shy away from hard harvest work. After around 15 years of working on farms for 20 hours a day non-stop for months, it eventually took its toll on Ben, and he found himself in hospital suffering from chronic fatigue. At that time, Ben wasn't eating for 15 days straight and getting around 30 minutes of sleep each night. After recovering, Ben realised he needed help, so he hired Jason, who helps out a lot. PODCAST RECOMMENDATION I want to give you a podcast recommendation. It's a short daily podcast called Everything Everywhere [https://everything-everywhere.com/]by a guy called Gary Arndt. It's a nice daily dose of random knowledge. Be sure to give him a listen. FOOT IN MOUTH On the first night staying with Ben, he made us some home-cooked spicy chicken. It really was delicious but very spicy. At the height of my gastronomic euphoria, I accidentally rubbed my eye with my spicy finger, and wow... it was violently unpleasant. Note to self: never extend hands above the mouth when consuming heavily spiced chicken limbs. After that, we had a beer and started talking about a bunch of things: and politics came up. I should have known that the US is very politically divided, unlike Denmark. Back home, we often talk about these things openly. But I wasn't in Denmark. I was in Maine, USA. On a blueberry farm. With spicy eyeballs. Then, I put my foot in my mouth like an idiot. For some reason, I assumed that being farmers in Maine, Ben and his friends would naturally be Trump supporters. Boy, was I wrong. After talking about the topic of immigration and comparing the situation in Denmark to that of the United States, things got awkward. After I started my standpoint, someone tried to stop the conversation by calmly letting me know that what I was saying sounded similar to what Trump's viewpoints were at the time. I was surprised that I was not in the right-leaning company here on a farm in Maine, but in fact, a very left-leaning crew occupies these barn walls. I was super embarrassed that suddenly, among these people, I sounded like a Trump supporter. Wow, along with my foot firmly wedged in my mouth, I thought about poking my spicy fingers in my eyes for good measure! We changed the subject quickly... BEN'S PHILOSOPHY Back in Ben's truck on the way to the gig, Ben tells me why he likes living in Maine so much. "Maine has the lowest APSM ratio (Assholes Per Square Mile) of the country, and that is in large part due to the fact that not many people live here to begin with, which significantly reduces the APSM". Ben plans to immigrate to Ecuador or Colombia sometime in the future. He isn't entirely happy with the way the country is being run. He doesn't seem to think the country is going to be very inhabitable in the future. These countries have a powerful military presence, according to Ben. He thinks the countries in the region are very safe, and there is a renewed sense of hope which he is attracted to. As we continue our drive to the bar, Ben tells me more about his views about South American countries and his plans to eventually settle there. He thinks he will start in Medellín, Colombia, first. BEN, BEERS, AND A BLUES BAR We eventually made it to the music venue after a long ride made to feel short thanks to the interesting chat with Ben. I parked Ben's truck, and we went inside - it seemed like Ben knew everyone there. The place was more like a garage than a music venue, but it was so cool to be hanging with the locals for an hour or so before Ben's friend – that he called "one hot chick" went up with the band and started playing. Nothing like some live smooth blues rock 'n roll in the middle of nowhere in Maine. Later that night, as I was trying to drive back home in the dark, Ben fell asleep in the passenger seat and without anyone to direct me, I got hopelessly lost. But all these experiences — from hanging around with blueberry rakers, eating chilli chicken and sea snails, meeting the locals, and learning a few things about myself — were all parts of another unique Couchsurfing experience. It was a lot compressed into a few days. Would I have gotten that had I used a chain hotel and just had my own private room? I doubt it. Next, I'm off to Vermont, the last of the six states in New England, before continuing north across the border. I'll be on the lookout for another Ben … and maybe his buddy Jerry, too. Or at least their ice-cream factory where it all began. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya…
On my way from Cambridge close to Boston to Maine, I spent two nights in New Hampshire – and finally got the medication to keep my blood pressure low. So, it was a “new me” with low blood pressure that was heading north towards a state with a lot of forest. In fact, 89.5% of Maine is covered in forest. That puts them as number one on the list in the US, and actually, number two on that list is where I am right now… New Hampshire with 84%. Both of the two states have a population of around 1.3 million – but Maine is around four times as big as New Hampshire. I was taking a drive from Durham, New Hampshire to Ben’s Blueberry farm – Burke Hill Farm in Cherryfield, Maine. It’s a drive of 240 miles – 386 kilometers so I made a stop on the way, at the iconic Portland Light Head [https://portlandheadlight.com/]…
WELCOME BACK TO THE BOSTON AREA We’re going to an area with two of the best universities in the USA – maybe the world and therefore a lot of smart people. As you will learn, it’s not Boston but a city in its own right. It is also a story of how the discovery of a previously unknown painting by Raphael, the Italian Renaissance master, went from media sensation to a career-destroying scandal. Join me as I’ll take you to Cambridge Massachusetts. In a nice quiet green residential area, I meet Belinda Rathbone and her old dog, Ink. It was one of you guys that introduced me to Belinda. When I was in the area, I made a post on The Radio Vagabond‘s Facebook page [http://facebook.com/theradiovagabond] basically just saying: “I’m in New England – does any of you know of some interesting people, I should meet?” A listener, Kaare in Denmark wrote: “Yes, you should meet Belinda Rathbone in Boston. Her son is my half-brother, but I haven’t met her myself. Anyway, she wrote a book about her father, who used to be the director of a prestigious art museum in Boston. The book is about a scandal where he got a Rafael painting smuggled out of Italy to his museum. Something they fired him for”. Now that piqued my interest, so he introduced me – and here I am in her wonderful living room with a cup of coffee and her dog, Ink by my side. FROM THE MID-WEST TO CAMBRIDGE Belinda has lived in Cambridge almost all her life, but she was born in Saint Louis, where her father was the director of Saint Louis Art Museum [https://www.slam.org/]. Do you remember my episode from Saint Louis? It’s #62 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/062-st-louis/] in case you want to listen to it after listening to this one. Here I tried to visit the Saint Louis Art Museum [http://www.slam.org/] in Forest Park. Twice. The first time it had closed a few minutes earlier and the second time, I came on a day when it wasn’t open at all. I didn’t mention this to Belinda. I guess I was a bit embarrassed to say I never made it there. Just because I didn’t check the opening hours before driving half an hour from where I lived. And did it twice. She moved here to Cambridge with her family because her father got offered a very prestigious job. Cambridge is a city with all the smart people. They came from the Mid-West, and that could be a problem. Some people here sometimes feel better and can be quite dismissive about people from the Mid-West. As Belinda puts it: The Mid-West is a fly-over area for the coastal people. BELINDA RATHBONE THE AUTHOR Belinda is a full-time author and havepublished several books [https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ABelinda+Rathbone&s=relevancerank&text=Belinda+Rathbone&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1] . One of them is about a scandal her father Perry T. Rathbone was the charismatic director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston [https://www.mfa.org/] . It was back in December 1969, when he and the museum made headlines around the world when he announced the acquisition of an unknown and uncatalogued painting by the famous Italian Renaissance master, Raphael. It was a coup for the museum, but it turned into a nightmare and he faced the most challenging crossroads of his thirty-year career. Perry T. Rathbone managed to get the painting and he was the man of the hour – if not the man of the decade for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston [https://www.mfa.org/] when the painting was unveiled and put on the wall behind a red velvet rope with the world press reporting about it. The painting itself is a tiny portrait of an adolescent girl with a moon-pale face and almond eyes, exquisitely dressed in Renaissance finery. It’s small, only eight by ten inches – in centimetres it’s around 20 x 25. So, smaller than a piece of A4 paper. FROM MEDIA SENSATION TO CAREER-DESTROYING SCANDAL All was good – Until it wasn’t. In the episode, you can hear Belinda tell the story. How do you even find an unknown Rafael painting – and then how do you get it from Italy to Boston. But the biggest problem was that experts on both sides of the Atlantic lined up to debate the artwork’s very authenticity. The scandal led him to resign as director of the museum. Belinda Rathbone’s book is a compelling, behind-the-scenes story that reveals how the art world, media, and museums work. It’s a story about what actually happened and about a daughter’s search for the truth. And if you like stories of the business of art, you should check out Belinda’s book: ”The Boston Raphael [https://www.amazon.com/Boston-Raphael-Mysterious-Embattled-Daughters/dp/1567925227] ” with the subtitle ”A Mysterious Painting, an Embattled Museum in an Era of Change & a Daughter's Search for the Truth”. NEXT STOP MAINE Next week we are going more rural than I’ve been in a very long time. We’re going to spend a few days with Ben at his Blueberry farm in Maine. And I’m so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See ya. SPONSOR – HOTELS25 I have some exciting news. You know how I for a few years have told you about what a great tool my sponsor Hotels25.com [http://hotels25.com/] is… now it’s just gotten even better. This week they are launching a brand-new improved website. It looks cool, but that’s one thing. But also, the results now include searches from Booking.com. One of the biggest out there. In one simple search, you get results from … and let me take a deep breath and name just a few of them: Agoda, Kayak, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Hilton, OpenTable, GetaRoom and now also booking.com. Before I had Hotels25, I normally looked at Hotels.com and sometimes checked if Booking.com or Expedia had a better price. Now when I search it’s sometimes one of the others… that I would never use that has a better price. We’re talking the EXACT same room at the exact same hotel, hostel or guesthouse… And that has saved me so much money. You won’t find a better price anywhere – and that’s why they say best price guaranteed. If you do, they will refund the difference. So, bookmark it. Remember it. Hotels25.com. SPONSOR – IMPORTANT CLICK This episode is also partly supported by a web design start-up run by nomads. It’s called ImportantClick.com [http://importantclick.com/] and they are behind the cool brand-new design of Hotels25.com [http://hotels25.com/] that I mentioned before. They have agreed that I can give a special offer for my listeners. If you are looking for a new website design for your company or blog. All you have to do is to go ImportantClick.com/TRV [http://importantclick.com/TRV] (as in “The Radio Vagabond”) to get a special deal for web design starting at just 799 dollars / 680 Euro.
Hello again from Connecticut, USA! Welcome to Part II of my exciting visit to Connecticut, USA. If you missed Part I, then be sure to listen to The Radio Vagabond episode (#187) [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/187-couchsurfing-in-connecticut/] or read the blog post to get caught up with all the magic that this charming city has to offer. Quick recap: I arrived in Connecticut, USA from Providence and attended a CouchCrash organised by the Couchsurfing community here. They call it ConnectiCOUCH [https://www.couchsurfing.com/events/connecticouch-2020] and it’s a weekend full of exciting experiences and parties for locals and travellers alike to meet up and make lasting friendships. After a wonderful walking tour of Hartford with local Margaret, we got back into her car and headed towards Manchester. And here is where we start this episode... ORIGIN OF THE YANKEES Directionally challenged Margaret tells me that because Connecticut is situated between New York and Boston, the state is divided into Boston and New York sports fans: for football, they are either Patriots or Giants fans, and for baseball, it’s between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The sports rivalry is insane here. “My son is a Yankees supporter, and I am a Red Sox fan, and he would taunt me by wearing his Yankees hat around the house as a joke. It’s all friendly rivalry and it’s the same in most households in the region - families split in terms of their support for different sports teams” says Margaret. Margaret tells me how the Yankees became the Yankees. “When the Dutch first arrived in Connecticut from New York, they set up a fort in the area - now known as Hartford. Around the same time, an English pastor from Massachusetts by the name of Thomas Hooker settled in Hartford with his followers, unbeknownst to the Dutch. When the Dutch returned to Hartford after being away for a few years, they were met with Hooker and his people on their land. Of course, little skirmishes ensued for the rights to the land, but ultimately, they let Hooker stay and they left. But they were unhappy about this and called the settlers ‘Jankers’ which in Dutch means ‘thief’. In the Dutch language, the letter J is pronounced as a Y, hence the name Yankees.” I wonder how many Yankees fans today know the original meaning of the name... CONNECTICOUCH WEEKEND OUTINGS The first day was our Hartford Day. There were four different things to choose from, and I chose to tour the Mark Twain House & Museum [https://marktwainhouse.org/] in the morning and the Hartford Walking Tour with Margaret in the afternoon (which you can listen to in Part I). Other options were a visit to the Old New-Gate Prison [https://www.ctvisit.com/listings/old-new-gate-prison-copper-mine], a former prison and copper mine site, and adventures in nature: a hike, a visit to Wadsworth Falls State Park and then that River Tubing [https://www.farmingtonrivertubing.com/] thing I talked to Jason about in the latest episode, where you flowed down the Farmington River just west of Hartford. Before Margaret joined us, when I was exploring Mark Twain’s House, she did a tour of Coltsville National Park [https://www.nps.gov/colt/index.htm] where Samuel Colt started his Hartford factory on the banks of the Connecticut River in 1847. Yes, that Samuel Colt, as in Colt Firearms [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Armory]. “Samuel Colt was an entrepreneur who wanted to get into the gun manufacturing industry. After a first failed attempt in Patterson, New Jersey, he returned to his birthplace of Connecticut to give it a try. At first, he wasn’t received well by the locals: he couldn’t secure land or finance, among other things. Somehow, he scavenged money and built up his Colt gun manufacturing empire which took off during the American Civil War. However, he passed away in his 40s and left the company to his wife which was a huge scandal back in those days. His wife, Elizabeth, was young (in her 30s) and was very short, but she ran that company like a badass boss. She took care of workers and ran the business even better than her late husband and propelled it into the household name we know today. She was a remarkable woman, and one of my personal heroines.” Margaret tells me that Samuel Colt wasn’t a pushover, either. Rollin White [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollin_White], a friend of Samuel’s and an engineer in his factory, approached him with a suggestion about Samuel’s gun design. Being the hardened man he was, Samuel dismissed White’s suggestions. White then took his ideas and patent and approached Winchester gun manufacturers and gave them the designs - which they took. They began manufacturing Colt’s guns and gave White $0.25 for each gun sold, which turned White into a wealthy man. Even when Colt tried to update his original designs, the Winchester gun company took Colt to court. After the great history lesson, Margaret and I headed to the ConnectiCOUCH kickoff party hosted at Tomato Joe’s & Shea’s American Bar & Grill [http://www.sheassportsbar.com/] in Margaret’s hometown, Manchester, Connecticut [https://www.townofmanchester.org/]. Margaret tells about Manchester: how the city has a unique blend of traditional and historic village type of set up, and a more modern side of the city with shopping malls and high-rise buildings. She tells me that there is a lovely community in the area, and it is a great place to raise a family. ENGLISH INFLUENCE IN NEW ENGLAND The next day was Colchester Day. Yes, another place named after a place in good old England. But I guess that is okay since we are in New England after all. In the first episode of this season, I already talked about Boston being named after the small city of Boston, England. Here in New England, you will also find a Bristol, Leeds, Oxford, Cambridge, Southampton, Dover, Ipswich, Essex, Middlesex, Kensington, Lancaster, Bath, Surrey, Nottingham, Kent, Coventry, Westminster, and Sheffield. I guess the British settlers were super homesick and unimaginative in the ‘naming of places’ department... This is just 5% of the English location names that have been reused in New England. Don’t believe me? Google it [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locations_in_the_United_States_with_an_English_name] my friend. And if you think that Manchester, Connecticut is the only Manchester in New England, think again. As far as I can see they have at least one Manchester in each of the six states of New England. And there are 35 Manchesters [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_(disambiguation)] in total in the USA. On that note, I might add: there is not a single Woman’s-Chester… but that might come soon after the Mr Potato Head [https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56200811]controversy. If you’re reading this in the future, you won’t understand what I’m talking about but that was a thing that was a big part of the news here in March 2021. But there are Manchesters all over. And as far as I know, not a single football team is called Manchester United (#missedopportunity). Please correct me if I’m wrong on theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. And I might be wrong. Because I am wrong all the time. For example, I was wrong about something I mentioned in Part I...well, actually two things! RIGHTING MY WRONGS Okay, so the two things I said in the latest episode that are wrong: 1. I said that Couchsurfing was totally free. It was when I joined, and it still is for most of the world but not if you live in the US. With COVID and people not travelling they understandably need money to maintain the site. The base rate for becoming a member of the Couchsurfing community is now $14.29 per year - which is super affordable considering the lifelong experiences it offers. But as mentioned, only if you’re American (as of March 2021). If you are a verified member, you get a free year. Even if you’re American. On their website they write: “Due to the impact of Covid-19, we need your immediate help to keep Couchsurfing alive.All of us who are members of Couchsurfing believe in something greater than money, possessions, and status. It took over 14 years for the Couchsurfing community to come together. Without your immediate help, this community will be lost forever.” To be honest, $14.29/year or $2.39 /month isn’t a lot. And knowing the community, I’m pretty sure that most of the members agree. We can’t imagine a world without Couchsurfing. I wrote to ConnectiCOUCH organiser, Jason, who features in Part I, to hear his thoughts on the matter. This is what he says: “It costs money to run websites and the thousands of dollars I’ve saved on Couchsurfing more than makes up for the $15 a year I can spend to support it.” The other thing I said that wasn’t right: 2. The telbee web app that allows you to send voice messages to me only works in Chrome. I said that it only works in Google Chrome. And apparently, that is not right. It should work in any browser. But Bernie Klein, the chief operating officer of telbee is a listener of The Radio Vagabond and a reader of the blog – because he sent me a voice message after the latest episode telling me that the app indeed works on all browsers. “Hi Palle, I hope you are doing well and receiving interesting messages. I heard that you might be experiencing difficulty using the app on other browsers. But the app indeed works on all major browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.” I’m not sure why I thought that but he’s absolutely right. It works in all the browsers I could get my hands on. Both on my Mac and on my phone. So, I’m glad I got that set straight. Now there’s no excuse for you not to send me a message. Just go totheradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact] and click on the banner where it says talk to me. Once you have recorded it, you get a chance to listen to it and rerecord it. Right now, I would specifically like to know if you have ever used Couchsurfing.com [http://couchsurfing.com/]. If you have, tell me your best Couchsurfing story from anywhere in the world. And if you never have, please tell me if it’s something you would consider doing and if not… why not. Please record a message, but if you’re a bit shy and prefer to write, you can also do that. Everything is ontheradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. VOICE MESSAGE FROM A LISTENER And now, a message from a listener from Columbus, Ohio. “Hi, Palle, This is Dan from Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been enjoying your podcast for a while now. I think my favourite is your 12-hour Africa podcast - and yes, I listened to every minute of it! If you are ever in Columbus, Ohio then look me up. There are a ton of interesting things to do here. I am also a travel podcaster much like yourself, although I am not a digital nomad. My show is called Zipping Around the World [https://www.zippingaroundtheworld.com/] and I focus on travel logistics and travelling on your own without the help of a tour company. Oh, and by the way: I love Danish pickled herring. Cheers Palle, and happy travels!” Hi Dan, Great to hear from you. I’m impressed that you actually listened to my record-breaking long episode from my entire trip through Africa. It’s right what Dan said, it is more than 12 hours long and completely without any advertising breaks. And that you love Danish pickled herring: wow, I’m even more impressed! Not many non-Danish people like what we call “marineret sild”. Did you have a schnapps with it? A Danish akvavit? You should. I also wrote a bit with Dan after his voice note, and he elaborated that he has some friends from Odense, Denmark, which his wife and him got to spend some time with several years ago. And as for your podcast, Zipping Around the World: I started listening to it after I got your message. And you have a great voice, some interesting stories and a ton of travel tips. In one of my favourite episodes, Dan talks about going on the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau for the day. Something I did myself, so I can relate to what Dan and his buddy Bill were talking about. BACK IN CONNECTICUT I was spending the weekend at Jason and Lee’s wonderful house in Colchester, and that was where the group met the next morning. This Saturday was to be Colchester Day, and again there were several different options to choose between in the program. Between 11 and 3pm there were six different choices: Devil's Hopyard Hike, Nautilus Nuclear Sub Tour, Fox Farm Brewery Tour and Tasting, Airline Trail Bike Ride, Nike Missile Site and the one I chose: Godspeed Opera House [http://www.goodspeed.org/]. After that, we went to Deep River Ferry and then a visit to Gillette Castle [https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Parks/Gillette-Castle-State-Park], which looks like a medieval fortress, but a step inside the stone castle reveals the built-in couches, table trackway, and wood carvings that all point to the creative genius that was William Gillette. Super interesting building. After that we were all back at Jason & Lee's House for the “ConnectiCOUCH Crash Cookout and Pool Party” - they have a thing for titles. It was a fantastic day. COUCHSURFING IN THE USA This hasn’t been my first time Couchsurfing experience in the USA. Before I tell you about the last bit of what we did at ConnectiCOUCH, let me remind you of another experience I had with Couchsurfing. This was where I met Steve from Nashville [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/069-nashville/]. Listen to the full episode after this (it’s number 69 [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/069-nashville/]). PEZ CANDY On Sunday, the last day of the CouchCrash weekend was “New Haven Day” with options to take a walking tour of New Haven, a trip to Walnut Beach, a nice Chauncey Peak hike, rock climbing and what I did… a visit to the PEZ Factory [https://us.pez.com/pages/hours-and-location]. You know the iconic plastic PEZ dispensers where you tilt the head back and get a small peppermint candy pushed out. I grew up with them, so it was funny to be here at the factory that was actually like a PEZ museum. They have grown into being collector’s items all over the world. The factory is in Connecticut, but PEZ Candy was actually invented in Vienna, Austria by Eduard Haas III as an alternative to smoking. The name PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint, “PfeffErminZ” taking the P from the first letter, E from the middle and Z from the last letter to form the word PEZ. In 1952, PEZ came to the United States and in 1973, PEZ built the first candy manufacturing facility in Orange, CT. I visited the PEZ Visitor Center [https://youtu.be/bTF7dnDfR6Q] that they opened in 2011. It’s over 4,000 square feet (370 m2) dedicated to all things PEZ. We got to see the largest, most comprehensive collection of PEZ memorabilia on public display anywhere in the world: including the iconic PEZ motorcycle, the world's largest PEZ dispenser, and a viewing room looking into the production area. There’s also a PEZ trivia game, retail area, interactive historical timeline and much more. I was mostly amazed how many different PEZ dispensers there were, and it was interesting to learn about an iconic brand like that. ONTO THE NEXT DESTINATION We ended the day and CouchCrash weekend with pizza and games in the park. I really had a wonderful time in Connecticut with all the interesting people I met along the way: especially Jason and Lee, and Margaret. It is great to know that I have good friends in this wonderful area of the US: that is the most rewarding aspect of travelling. I am now on my way to meet Belinda close to Howard University in Boston. And I am so looking forward to that :) My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya! I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on email@example.com or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking on the banner [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. The coolest thing about this option is that you can listen back to your message before sending it. Give it a try now! Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPREAD THE WORD I’d like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I’m dead serious… Pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It’s the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I’ll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com [Hotels25.com], who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world. If you’re listening to this episode sometime in the future – after mid-March 2021 (I know a lot of you guys do) it’s already there. So, head over to hotels25.com and make a quick search. I guarantee that you won’t find a better price anywhere. And in fact, if you do, Hotels25 will refund the difference. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company, Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or if you need voiceovers in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out.
Greetings from Connecticut, USA! Welcome to the third instalment of Season 6 of The Radio Vagabond travel podcast series. In this episode, (#187 of my entire nomad journey!) you’ll join me for an exciting Couchsurfing adventure through Connecticut, New England. But first, let’s start where I ended off in the previous episode in the smallest state in the USA, Rhode Island. I’m about to check-in to my Airbnb in Providence...let’s do this! ARRIVING IN PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND As I knocked on the door of my Airbnb, I was immediately greeted by my wonderful host family with a small, very energetic (LOUD) dog. It took a day for the puppy to warm up to this dashing Danish vagabond, but we established an understanding. I spent my first day in Providence working in my room directing a voice-over recording from Denmark, which meant I had to set my alarm for the early hours of the morning (#nomadlife). After I finished work, I decided to take a drive through the city while continuing to listen to Crime Town, a true-crime podcast set in Providence. NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND The next day, I decided to trust the internet suggestions of ‘things to do in Rhode Island’ and headed South to the famous Cliff Walk [http://www.cliffwalk.com/] to take in the scenery. The cliff walk is exactly that: a slow, wandering stroll on the cliff edge overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean. It is so peaceful here, I really love the smell of the ocean. After I had enough of soul-searching on the cliff edge, I returned to my Airbnb in Providence and gathered my things: it was time to hit the road again. NEXT STOP: CONNECTICUT The next day, I arrived in Connecticut - the 3rd of the 6 states I will visit on my road trip. I decided on trying out a different method of accommodation this time around...I joined the Connecticut Couchsurfing community! CONNECTICOUCH: A COUCHSURFING COMMUNITY Let me tell you a bit about the Couchsurfing concept before I meet my new friends here. Couchsurfing.com [https://www.couchsurfing.com/dashboard] is a free platform where travelers and hosts can find each other and organize a place to spend the night. It’s called Couchsurfing, but you typically don’t sleep on a couch. I’ve done it all over the world and every time I’ve had my own room. You basically just sign up and get free access to all available hosts. Couchsurfing was launched in 2004 and today they have more than 15 million users. You can search for hosts in over 200,000 cities all over the world and you have the opportunity to message these hosts and kindly ask for them to open up their home for you – for no cost. No money changes hands, but you shouldn’t see it as a free hotel. It’s expected that you talk to your hosts and get to know them. I mean, that’s why they are opening their doors in the first place. It’s nice to save money when you’re travelling, but that shouldn’t be the main reason! It’s also normal to give them a small gift. It can be a bottle of wine, or you take them out for dinner or bring something iconic from your hometown. But it can also be you singing a song or telling a story... MEETING JASON A man walks into a bar and meets Jason and his partner, Lee… I know it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but that’s what’s happened. The bar was expectedly noisy and not ideal for podcast recording, so we went out back and found a quieter location for a chat over some ice-cold beers. Jason is one of the main organisers of ConnectiCOUCH [https://www.couchsurfing.com/events/connecticouch-2020], an annual Couchsurfing meetup hosted in Connecticut which takes place over a weekend to raise money for a good cause. “This is our second event after a successful launch event last year. We’re trying to bring people from all over the world together to show how really great Connecticut is” says Jason. Not only is this my first CouchCrash, but it’s also my first time in Connecticut. And I’m not the only one – not that many tourists come here even though it’s so close to both New York and Boston. “Even though Connecticut is a tiny state, there is a lot of really interesting and neat stuff happening here. There is a lot of history and outdoor beauty. But Connecticut is a place of a lot of ‘firsts’: the first American hamburger was made here, and the first telephone booth in the country was made here too.” When Jason is not hosting vagabonds from all over the world, he works as a manager of the retail department of a big casino in the state. COUCHCRASH The Couchsurfing community also organises CouchCrashes: multi-day events that members put together to celebrate their local Couchsurfing community. This is an awesome way for locals and travellers alike to connect, learn about the area, and see the city in a whole new way. It’s also a great way to make new friends and enjoy an unforgettable and unique travel experience. I’ve heard about them during my travels but never had the opportunity to join – until now. “It’s a great way to bring all the devoted couch surfing hosts and members around the country to come to Connecticut and enjoy what we have to offer. We did our first CouchCrash in 2016 and we had a lot of people attend which propelled us to make it an annual event. We wanted to make sure that there is an activity or event that caters to every taste: outdoors adventures, historical excursions, bar crawls, river tubing, history museum tours, etc.” CONNECTICOUCH AND COVID-19 This episode was recorded pre-Covid. Jason told me that they were planning to do another ConnectiCOUCH [https://www.couchsurfing.com/events/connecticouch-2020] in 2020 that unfortunately got cancelled. The next one is scheduled for August 2021, but only time will tell if that is too soon. You can find all upcoming events all over the world on the Global Couchsurfing Event Calendar [https://blog.couchsurfing.com/calendar/]. COUCHCRASH TO MAKE FRIENDS CouchCrash is about getting to know the area but most of all it’s about meeting up with friends and making new ones. “It’s a great way to meet so many different people, especially when people have come from afar to experience the couch surfing vibe in Connecticut. The tagline for Couchsurfing is ‘Meet friends you haven’t met yet’ which encapsulates exactly what this movement is all about. I have made some long-lasting friendships thanks to Couchsurfing, it’s amazing to be able to build such unique friendships.” I still maintain friendships with people I have met Couchsurfing to this day. It really is a way to forge strong bonds with people from all over the world. You never know where you’re going to end up and having a network of friends around the world who you can meet up with and stay with for a few days is really magical. Yes, it truly is an enriching experience. Before I became a nomad, and actually had a home, I was also hosting people. I had a German guy and a Colombian woman staying with me. The German was on a bicycle trip from southern Germany to the northern tip of Norway, and back. An interesting guy with a lot of stories. And the Colombian woman was teaching maths at a university in Copenhagen and wanted to see more of Denmark. So, I showed her around and at night she taught me how to salsa. I’ve also been Couchsurfing with my kids. On a road trip from Denmark to France, we stayed with some wonderful people in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Gent in Belgium, and Normandie, France. Totally unique local experiences that we wouldn’t have gotten, had we stayed in hotels. MARK TWAIN HOUSE & MUSEUM The next morning, I met up with ConnectiCOUCH event organisers at a square in Hartford to get ready for our day’s excursion. With 125,000 people living here, Hartford is the second biggest city in Connecticut after the slightly bigger Bridgeport. Actor Katharine Hepburn was born here, and for 17 years another famous person lived here: his name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, but we all know him better as Mark Twain [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain]. The house that Mark Twain lived in with his family is now a museum: the Mark Twain House & Museum [https://marktwainhouse.org/]. And that’s the ConnectiCOUCH event I chose to do, even though that river tubing sounded interesting… Sam Clemens aka Mark Twain was born in 1835 and died in 1910. In 1874, when he was in his late 30’s, he had this house built and wrote some of his most famous books here: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He’s known as "the father of American literature" and the "greatest humourist the United States has produced." I took a tour of the house and museum and learned a lot of interesting facts about the author and his work. According to the tour guide, the house cost around $40,000 to build which is the equivalent of around $990,000 in today’s pricing. Coupled with the interior design and furnishings, it is collectively worth an estimated $3 million dollars. His wife’s inheritance footed the construction bill as Mark Twain was not yet the literary demigod, he went on to become. The house measures 11‚500 square feet (more than 1000 square meters) ‚ and has 25 rooms distributed through three floors. It’s quite big for an unknown writer but you can do that if you have a wife with money. The house itself is a work of art, whether your interest is Mark Twain or architecture. We learned a great deal about the history of Mark Twain‘s house, Twain himself and his family, and the staff that helped manage and care for the home. If you want to visit (after the pandemic – they are closed right now in March 2021), I highly recommend you make a reservation [https://marktwainhouse.org/] for tour tickets as far in advance as possible: it’s a very popular attraction here, and you might not be able to get in if you don’t. MEETING MARGARETE WEBSTER After the tour, one of the local event organisers, Margarete, took us on a tour around Hartford in a big ass Chevy truck: which has a backstory. “I was renovating my house and needed a truck to help with logistics, so I bought a Chevy Silverado. When my kids grew up and left the house, I decided to take my truck on an 8-year road trip around the USA armed with a tent, a kayak, and my laptop. When I returned, I sold my trusted truck and house and bought an RV.” After buying and disliking a Jeep, Margarete bought a new Chevy Silverado to continue her cross-country adventures. When people ask me how long I’m going to keep traveling, and when I’m going to settle down again, I always say: “Until one of my kids starts having kids themselves and I become a grandfather.” Both of my daughters are only in their mid-20’s and busy studying in university. Amanda is studying arts and design at the prestigious Danish Design School in Kolding, Denmark, and Clara is studying Anthropology at Aarhus University, and actually just wrote her Bachelor dissertation about digital nomads. They both say that if that’s what I say, I’m going to be traveling for a long time because they are nowhere near starting a family. Margarete’s story is quite similar. She also used to be a nomad… “When I became a grandma, I met somebody and fell in love. I always told myself that if I had the chance at love I would settle down and take it. But even though I am still very much in love, I miss it terribly and still find myself scheming ways to get back to my life on the road.” The reason we’re in Margarete’s car is that she’s going to give us a tour of Hartford. And that’s something she’s done before, as she works as a tour guide. FACTS ABOUT HARTFORD * The first English settlers arrived in 1635 and their settlement was originally called Newtown but was renamed Hartford in 1637. So, almost 400 years old, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States. * Being such an old city, they have a few firsts here: Hartford is home to the nation's oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the oldest continuously published newspaper, The Hartford Courant. * Hartford is nicknamed the “Insurance Capital of the World”, because the headquarters of many insurance companies are here, and insurance is the region's major industry. * The city was the setting for the Amy Brenneman series Judging Amy, which aired from 1999–2005. However, it wasn’t recorded here. Margarete lives in Manchester just outside of Hartford where we are right now – but she grew up here in Hartford. “I know Connecticut doesn’t get a lot of press from the international and local communities, but I really like it here. If you like American history, there is a lot of interesting information here about how our democracy was formed.” As Margarete was telling me her story, we took a wrong turn and got a little lost...or we took the scenic route. GET MARGARETE’S BOOK By the way, you should check out Margarete’s blog and consider getting the book she wrote after her life on the road. It’s called Lessons from the Road, USA [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946005061/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_fabc_NEH5PNAP45V4RSXNSKBA] by Margarete Webster. Let me read a few words about the book from the back of it: “Lessons from the Road, USA shares the travel adventures of a funny, single, 50-something-year-old woman, traveling across the U.S. in a pickup truck.” And then it goes on to say: ”Webster is navigationally challenged…” After getting lost with her just now, all I can say is: “No kidding”. You can order Margarete’s book on Amazon here [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946005061/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_fabc_NEH5PNAP45V4RSXNSKBA] . Her blog is called Lessons from the Road, US [https://www.lftrus.com/] and it is packed with some really great travel tips. “So, Connecticut is purported to be the richest state in the country but that is not entirely reflective of reality. This is because Connecticut is the insurance capital of the country and the companies are the invisible bankers which make a ton of money which skews the figures.” That’s all we have time for in this episode. Tune in next time to hear Margarete tell a funny story about the Yankees became the Yankees... I’m Palle Bo – ending on a cliff-hanger. And I gotta keep moving. See you. VOICE NOTE FROM A LISTENER Phil from sunny Yorkshire clicked on the banner on theradiovagabond.com where it says, “Talk to me” and sent me a lovely voice message. ”Hi Pablo. It's Phil Chatterton. I'm here in sunny Yorkshire. Just wanted to say thank you for the podcast. You got me so far through the lockdown here in the UK. It’s great to travel with you every week as I do my cleaning around the house,feed the dog, bake some bread, and go to different countries with you. It’s been a really long hard lockdown, and we’re not through it yet. But what’s really kept me going is listening to you. Listening to the places you’ve been and the people you’re talking to. It really gives hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you ever so much and keep travelling. Take care now.” Thank you, Phil…! Wonderful that you would take the time to say hi. I’m not going to spend much time talking about the fact that my name is Palle, not Pablo. I know it’s a difficult name for anyone who isn’t Scandinavian but as long as you listen, Phil, you can call me Pablo anytime. Trust me, I’ve been called worse... If you also want to do what Phil did. Click on the “Talk to me” banner on the website – or in the link in your podcast app. And then record your voice – and re-record if you don’t like what you said. Once you’re done, you click send and I get a little soundbite I can use here on the show. Only thing is that the telbee web-app only works in Google Chrome. But both on a computer and on your smartphone. If you prefer to write, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com] or go to Contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact] on theradiovagabond.com and fill out the form. Thanks… I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking on the banner [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. The coolest thing about this option is that you can listen back to your message before sending it. Give it a try now! Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPREAD THE WORD I’d like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I’m dead serious… Pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It’s the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I’ll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world. The Radio Vagabond is supported in part by Hotels25. And something exciting is happening soon - they’re building a new improved website with more inspiration and even better results. It’s so exciting what’s going to happen and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. If you’re listening to this episode sometime in the future – after mid-March 2021 (I know a lot of you guys do) it’s already there. So, head over to hotels25.com and make a quick search. I guarantee that you won’t find a better price anywhere. And in fact, if you do, Hotels25 will refund the difference. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company, Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or if you need voiceovers in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out.
Cheers from Boston, Massachusetts Welcome to the 2nd installment of the 6th season of The Radio Vagabond travel podcast. I’m continuing my stay in Boston, Massachusetts with my friend and travel-writer [https://www.atravelinglife.com/] (and awesome host) Brianne. If you missed Part I then you can listen and/or read it here [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/185-boston/] to catch up! CHEERS! A few famous things from Boston include the Red Sox baseball team, the wicked Bostonian accent (think the film ‘The Depaaaded [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N59b9JyVxYM]’), and the birthplace of the 35th president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. But perhaps most importantly, Boston is known as the setting for one of the most beloved American TV shows of all time: Cheers [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheers]. So, when you find yourself in Boston you simply have to visit the bar where ”everybody knows your name”... SEE PICTURES ONTheRadioVagabond.com/186-boston/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/186-boston/] Inside, the bar actually doesn’t really resemble the one in the TV show, and I couldn’t make out the areas where Sam and Woody would usually be, or even Norm’s corner. But despite this, the place is packed daily with fans from all over the world eating overpriced burgers and drinking overpriced beer. It has 2 shops where you can buy any and all Cheers merchandise: t-shirts, mugs, hats, fridge magnets – you name it! It’s a tourist trap, and because I’m a vagabonding tourist I had to buy a Cheers t-shirt… THE FREEDOM TRAIL After my visit to Cheers, I walked around downtown Boston for a few hours to get a feel for the city. I walked along The Freedom Trail [https://www.thefreedomtrail.org/], a 2.5-mile-long (4 km) path that passes 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. The trail is marked by a line of red bricks set in the pavement and connects the city’s historical sights through downtown Boston between Boston Common across the Charleston Bridge through to Bunker Hill. It’s a fun and unique way to experience all of Boston’s history while on the move. SEE PICTURES ONTheRadioVagabond.com/186-boston/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/186-boston/] One of the places I passed was the Old State House [https://www.revolutionaryspaces.org/osh/]. Built in 1713, it was a seat of British power and the site of the Boston Massacre [https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-massacre]. Today it serves as a museum and stands as a small house in between the skyscrapers. BUY MY BANANAS – GOD DAMMIT..!! After following the red brick road, I tapped my ruby red slippers together and ended up at a fruit and vegetable market that was about to close up. Here I witnessed a uniquely Bostonian situation. A vendor was aggressively teaching his young associate how to scream and yell at people to get more customers. Screaming: ”DOLLAR BOARD! DOLLAR BOARD!” while handing over boxes of fruit one dollar apiece. While doing that, he would turn around and yell to his employees “See, it’s not that hard!” Yeah, that’s what I want when grocery shopping - a crazy guy yelling in my ear, terrifying me into an unwanted banana purchase. BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS Cheers, The Freedom Trail, and iconic accents are just some of the things Boston is famous for. Unfortunately, the city is also renowned for the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, where 2 homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the race, killing 3 people and injuring hundreds of others, including 17 people who lost limbs. SEE PICTURES ONTheRadioVagabond.com/186-boston/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/186-boston/] Brianne had her father visiting during this period and he really wanted to get as close to the finishing line of the world-famous marathon as he possibly could. He tried to talk her into it but Brianne wasn’t keen on the idea at all as all Bostonians know that the area is chaotically crowded with runners and tourists. So, Brianne suggested they stay home and watch the race on the TV. And thank goodness they did... “It was a really rough day,” Brianne recalls. “I live across from a subway stop which they shut down as there were rumours going around that the subways had been compromised and weren’t safe. The bombing occurred over a mile away from my apartment and there was so much commotion happening that day which added to the terrifying and frantic atmosphere.” The hunt for the bombers took 3 days. “It was the longest and hardest 3 days of my life. We stayed home and waited for it to be safe to go back outside. We didn’t know what was happening. There were high-security measures throughout the city and you were searched when you entered any buildings or subways”. “After they apprehended the final suspect, we all breathed a sigh. We all came together as a community during this time of tragedy, which is about the only good thing you can take away from something like that.” Check out the film Patriots Day [https://youtu.be/KJXqh2rDehg] about the incident which I found interesting. Brianne isn’t ready to see it yet because it’s still too soon. ROADTRIP: VAGABOND STYLE The next morning was my last day in Boston, so I organised a rental car for my month-long road trip across North-eastern USA. I said a sad goodbye to my Bostonian friend and her elderly dog, Lucy, and started my trip. I headed south from Boston to the tip of Cape Cod [https://www.capecodchamber.org/], a delightful hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts state and a famous seaside getaway for the rich and famous. Being a frugal vagabond, I couldn’t afford to stay there so I decided to drive back to Providence in Rhode Island, [https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/] the smallest state in the USA. While driving, I listened to the Gimlet podcast called Crime Town [https://www.crimetownshow.com/episode-1] which tells interesting accounts of the various mob-related crimes that occurred in Providence in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Basically, I was researching how to not feature in any future episodes... So, as I entered the city of Providence with the crime podcast playing in the background, my road trip officially began. I'll be doing a short stop in Canada but before crossing the border, my trip will take me through all the six states of New England. I’m going to spend nights in Providence Rhode Island, Colchester Connecticut, Wakefield Massachusetts, Durham New Hampshire, Cherryfield Maine, Lunenburg Vermont, and Burlington Vermont. There are so many adventures ahead and meetings with a lot of really great and interesting people. Season 6 of The Radio Vagabond travel podcast is going to be one to remember - stay tuned! Until the next time, my name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See ya! EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/186-boston/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/186-boston/] LETTER FROM A LISTENER Dear Palle, First just a little presentation: my name is Nete, I am 36 years old and a regular listener of your podcast. Especially right now, when I am on maternity leave from my job as a high school teacher in Aalborg, Denmark. I have now (again) run out of podcast episodes about your life as a digital nomad. I’ve been listening to them and following your journey since the beginning. In June 2016, I became a mother for the first time, and your podcasts became one of the things I filled the time with during breastfeeding, diaper changes, walks with the pram, and so on… Right now, I am on maternity leave with my third child and have caught up with your episodes from the times when I haven’t had so much time to listen. When I listen, I often think that my “career” as a mother has coincided with your nomad career. I listen, among other things, because I like to travel myself to countries that are not destinations for the large tourist groups and in that context, I especially like to get to know something about the culture, which is most easily done by getting in touch with locals – something you do a lot. I definitely hope to be able to make more use of different forms of living when I travel in the future, and here you provide good inspiration. Right now, I'm looking forward to you reaching Russia at some point, as I have traveled on the Trans-Mongolian Railway with my husband – and would like to hear you meet different people with different views of the world's largest country. It's going to be fun to hear if your impression matches ours. Best regards Nete Wow, thank you for your interesting mail, Nete! It’s mind-boggling to hear that you have had 3 kids while I have been travelling. Are you planning to keep having children while I am traveling? In that case, you will end up with a small football team by the time I am putting my passport away in the drawer! Yes, I definitely want to see more of Russia. I have only visited Moscow but that is not nearly enough for such a big country. A bucket list item for me is to take a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Mongolia. Say hi to your husband for me, and of course all of your kids! I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on email@example.com or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking on the banner [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. The coolest thing about this option is that you can listen back to your message before sending it. Give it a try now! Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPREAD THE WORD I’d like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I’m dead serious… Pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It’s the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I’ll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company, Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or if you need voiceovers in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out.
Welcome to Season 6 of The Radio Vagabond! This season I'm back in North America and will be releasing travel podcasts from my visits to New England, Canada, Upstate New York, Texas, Mexico, and Florida. But before we start, let's pick up where I left off last season in Czechia. CHECKING OUT OF CZECHIA After staying a few days in an old wooden house reconstructed into a charming little hotel in the middle of the forest close to a lovely lake, it was time to check-out and head to the airport to leave the Czech Republic. I chatted quickly to hotel owner Malena about a camel I saw walking past my window (yes, a camel). She tells me that I am not going crazy, the camel is indeed real, and it belongs to local farmers. Phew, I thought I was going around the ben. BOSTON BOUND Not long after camel-spotting, I was on a plane over the Atlantic on my way to Boston, Massachusetts, for a bit of vagabonding. In the Boston International Airport immigration line, I was about to use my newESTA visa [https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/]as my previous one expired a month ago, which got me sweating like a gipsy with a mortgage. Thankfully, all my paperwork was in order, and the friendly immigration officer allowed me to enter the country. After collecting my backpack from the desolate carousel, I was on my way to meet up with my local friend, who offered to host me for a few days. BOSTON BRIANNE I met Brianne Miers at a travel bloggers' conference in the Philippines 2 years ago. We kept in touch, and she offered to put me up when I got to Boston, so here I am. She has a really great apartment which she shares with her adorable elderly dog, Lucy. The next morning we took Lucy for a walk atCastle Island [https://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/castle-island.html], a 400-year-old British fort on a little peninsula near South Boston, or Southy as the locals call it. It was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with Brianne. Brianne was born in New Jersey, lived in Denver for a bit, attended Graduate School in Washington DC before moving to Boston about a decade ago. Although Boston is far smaller than New York City, Brianne enjoys its history, nightlife and cultural scene. We chat more about Boston being perhaps the most 'European' city which is maybe why I like it so much. BRIANNE'S BLOG Brianne is a freelance writer, photographer, and travel blogger, who has been to 45+ countries since her first trip overseas to China at the age of 11. Her blog, A Traveling Life [https://www.atravelinglife.com/], focuses on balancing a professional career with a life of travel, and it's her goal to take at least one trip each month. "I started my blog a few years ago with the intention of showing that it is possible to maintain a professional career while travelling significantly. Although it is for everyone, it is particularly aimed at Americans, who don't commonly receive many vacation days each year, and choose to travel close, like Mexico or the Caribbean. I just wanted to show that with a little planning and creativity, it's possible to see a lot more of the world," she says. Brianne could be a full-time nomad like me if she wanted to, but she tells me that she likes to have a home-base to return to after a long 3-4 month haul on the road. And she has to take care of Lucy, of course, who is no spring chicken. "I have a car and a house just for my dog", she jokes. But living in Boston has its perks with regards to work. "I have built up a really strong network here which has really helped my career. So for now, living in one place makes sense." FACTS ABOUT BOSTON Boston is named after a town in England. Many of the city's first settlers came from Boston, England, and simply kept the name. And it's a city that was first with many things in the USA: * When you think of old Subways in the US, you might think of New York. But in fact, America's first subway was built here in Boston in 1897. * They also have the oldest public park in the USA. It's called Boston Common and was established in 1634. * The first Dunkin' Donuts was located in Quincy, Massachusetts, about 11 miles from Boston. * The very first chocolate factory in the USA was in Boston. The year was 1765 when Walter Baker opened his chocolate factory here. * The first American lighthouse was built in Boston – the Little Brewster Lighthouse in 1716. * The first Thanksgiving in the country was celebrated in Boston. * And Boston is home to the first college in North America. I'm talking about Harvard that was founded in 1636. After a relaxing stroll with Lucy in her favourite place, Brianne continued telling me more about Southy. "Typically in this neighbourhood, including towns along the East coast of Massachusetts, the housing architecture is rather unique. There are many 'triple deckers': narrow wooden homes with three storeys with a front porch built to house factory workers. Over the years, they have been renovated and remodelled, but many of the outer structures are kept intact. ” We continued our drive and passed a Starbucks, which had a few protesters outside. Brianne tells me that chain stores are generally not well-received by many of the city's historically proud Irish families. They prefer to keep their city supporting local businesses. We then drive to the Sea Port on the bay of Boston Harbour, an area booming with new infrastructure and high-rise buildings. We talk about the contrasting reception that this commercial zone is receiving from locals: some see it as work opportunities. Others see it as changing the city's facade: a typical dialogue occurring worldwide, it seems! FAMOUS BOSTONIANS A few famous people come from Boston: actor Ben Affleck, Late Night talk show host Conan O'Brien, and standup comedian Bill Burr. But perhaps the most famous Bostonian ever was the 35th president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. JFK LIBRARY AND MUSEUM The amazingJohn F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum [https://www.jfklibrary.org/]was opened in 1979. It is dedicated to the memory of the 35th president of the USA. It's a large and impressive 164,000 square feet building (more than 15,000 m2) beautifully located on a ten-acre park overlooking the sea. The library stands as a tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy. After buying a $14 ticket, I took a tour and learned a lot about President Kennedy's life, leadership, and legacy. It was fascinating, and I highly recommend anyone doing it when you find yourself in Boston. BACK WITH BRIANNE After an entertaining and informative tour through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Brianne picked me up, and we drove through the city to show me a few landmarks. We passed Blue Hills Pavilion, which hosts great outdoor music concerts in the Summer, Yankee Lobster, which serves the best and freshest seafood right off the boat. And of course, Harpoon Brewery, a famous regional brewery. NEXT TIME ON THE RADIO VAGABOND One of the things that brought Boston international acclaim in recent times was, of course, the tragic Boston Marathon Bombings. In the next episode, we're back in the car with Brianne to hear about her experiences that day and the following week. And then, I'll take you to a place where everybody knows your name… My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya! EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/185-boston [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/185-boston] SPREAD THE WORD I'd like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I'm dead serious… Please pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It's the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I'll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you, and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message byclicking on the banner [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. The coolest thing about this option is that you can listen back to your message before sending it. Give it a try now! Either way, I would love to hear from you. It's so nice to know who's on the other end of this. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company,Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or need voice-overs in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out.
SELAMAT DATANG DI BALI Before the next season of The Radio Vagabond, I’m going to give you an episode from a unique luxurious place. This episode was recorded in January 2020. I’ve kept it on the shelf because of the Covid-Pandemic, but now with the vaccine on the way, I feel it’s time to give you some inspiration for a super special vacation in Bali. I MET JOHN IN LONDON A few months earlier, in November 2019 I was at the World Travel Market [https://www.wtm.com/] (WTM) in London. This is a huge travel fair where the world’s destinations, hotels, airlines, and anyone else working in the travel industry show what they are doing and make deals. I was there walking around with a press badge with my name on it, and when I came to the Indonesia stand a guy behind a table started speaking Danish to me. I have a very Danish name, and he guessed that I was a fellow countryman. John Nielsen is his name, and he is the manager of Fivelements Retreat [https://fivelementsbali.com/] in Bali. I told him that I would be in Bali a few months later, and he told me to get in touch and we could organize a visit. He showed me a brochure and a few videos [https://youtu.be/TOn8_ElDP3w] of the place on his smartphone and it looked very idyllic and beautiful and I just had to accept his offer. So, fast forward a few months and I see him again. At the resort in Bali. ECO-CONSCIOUS WELLNESS RETREAT Nestled on the banks of the Ayung River in the center of Bali, Fivelements Retreat Bali is a multi-award-winning eco-conscious wellness retreat. It’s deeply rooted in the ancient traditions of Bali, and that’s a part of why it’s a peaceful sanctuary to embrace authentic Balinese Healing, Plant-based Cuisine and Sacred Arts. They opened in 2010 as the company’s flagship wellness destination bridging the wisdom of traditional healing cultures with innovative wellness concepts. Getting to the place, I was driving through a small authentic village with narrow streets and tiny (not so fancy) houses. So that made the contrast to what I was faced with inside the retreat even greater. I know I say this a lot in the podcast, but this time it’s even more important that you take a look at the blog post for this episode. I will try to explain what I see as best I can, but on theradiovagabond.com [http://theradiovagabond.com/183-fivelements-bali] you can see both pictures and videos. It is truly amazing what I’m about to experience for the next few days. At the reception, I meet the manager John Nielsen again. He takes me for a walk around the resort. JUNGLE-LIKE FEELING Fivelements Retreat is in a very green area with small, curved pathways leading through the area with a lot of grass-roofed huts and houses. I hear the soothing sound of the river running through the area, the birds in the jungle-like forest, and occasionally the sound of a bell and a crackling fire – where people are meditating, mindfulness, or having a traditional fire ceremony. SACRED SPACE Right next to the fireplace, is what they call The Sacred Space. It was actually their plan to build the reception right here but then they discovered – almost by coincidence that there was something weird going on at this place. The rocks get warm even on a cloudy day, metal has seen to be spinning on a rock and some people will feel a sensation when meditating here. PLANT-BASED RESTAURANT We move on down a small pathway. On our left hand is their award-winning Sakti Dining Room [https://fivelementsbali.com/dinings/] – based on a farm-to-table philosophy. Here they serve a plant-based menu that’s prepared with love, passion, and attention to detail. The menu is designed to give optimal plant-based nutrition and high energy and at the same time inspiring a gastronomical journey aimed to nurture body, mind, and soul. The food was phenomenal. I’m not a vegetarian, but I must say I did not miss the meat. Not only does it taste good – it also looks fantastic. A thing to experience is the Signature Chef’s Specialty Tasting Menus. See pictures of some of the things I had here on theradiovagabond.com [http://theradiovagabond.com/183-fivelements-bali]. IN THE GARDEN WITH TWO CHEFS This cooking process starts with sourcing the finest local ingredients at the height of the growing season. They support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally friendly products. But they also have a small garden themselves, and as I was walking through the area with John, I got to meet the talented Balinese chef, Sr. Sous Chef, Made Tantra. As I’m standing there chatting with the passionate chef for this episode, John interrupts us, to introduce me to another chef: His good friend Brad French who is a renowned chef and cuisine lecturer from Le Cordon Bleu [https://www.cordonbleu.edu/home/en] in Australia. Brad is not here to cook, only to relax, have a few massage treatments, get some inspiration from the local food here – and visit his old friend John, and see what he’s up to here in Bali since he worked with him in Australia. THE HISTORY OF FIVELEMENTS They started out with nine Eco-Luxury Sleeping Suites. Independent villas along Bali’s sacred Ayung River. These suites feature lofty, grass-roofed ceilings, breezy interiors, and recycled timber flooring. Each suite features both an indoor and an outdoor bathroom with an open-air rain shower. And a private riverside bathtub, hand-carved from a single stone. Just at the time of my visit they were finishing 11 more Sleeping Suites, so they now have 20 in total. In fact, I was the first to sleep in my suite. Also, still they were working on the biggest of them all – their “Signature Suite [https://fivelementsbali.com/rooms/signature-pool-suite-and-meditation-pavilion/] ”. But even before that, they had guests complaining – or just mentioning the construction noise. But that wasn’t what it was. It was actually the sounds of the Gecko and the other animals of the jungle. MY FIRST YOGA CLASS They offer a number of treatments at Fivelements one of them being complementary yoga every morning, and I decided to do that. Even though this was my first yoga class, I really enjoyed it. After the class I had a chat with the yoga instructor. In the episode, you can hear her tell the story of how she was able to put out a fire – because of her being in such good shape. The yoga place almost looks like a spaceship. It’s a round tipi-like room with a hole in the top of the grass roof (or rather “alang-alang” the bi-product from rice production). And with the 26 meters, it’s very high. INSTAGRAMABLE As I’m walking around with John, I’m carrying a microphone, trying to record what he’s saying … and at the same time wanting to take pictures everywhere. It is very “Instagramable”. We also took a walk in the original part of the retreat. As mentioned, they started with nine eco-luxury Sleeping Suites set along the river. These suites also feature lofty, alang-alang-roofed ceilings. WELLNESS TREATMENTS On our way to the big pool, we pass a smaller pool where they do a very unique ‘Water Healing Treatment’, also known as Watsu. The water healing therapist glides you gracefully through the water and applies artful stretches and luxurious massage assisted by the water. I didn’t try it, but it sounds amazing. It should be profoundly relaxing and nurturing, as this therapy recalls the safety, timelessness, and peacefulness of the womb. I ended my stay sitting in an outdoor bathtub filled with fruits and vegetables overlooking the river after a wonderful massage. It couldn’t have been more idyllic. OPEN NOW They are open now, so if you are in Bali – or you are able to get to the island when the borders are open after the Pandemic, you should treat yourself and your significant other to a stay there. The rates are probably a bit lower right now (because of COVID), but I just made a quick search and found that a stay at Fivelements Bali Retreat will set you back around 110 USD/91 EUR for a room for two people per night – including breakfast. That’s surprisingly low for all that luxury. And that’s if you book directly on FivelementsBali.com [http://fivelementsbali.com/]. If you go through The Radio Vagabond’s normal sponsor, Hotels25.com [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Fivelements_Bali_Retreat.htm], you can actually save around 15%. NEXT STOP NEW ENGLAND In a few days, we start the next season, and we’re heading back to North America. I’ll take you on a road trip through the six states of New England, then a bit in Canada, upstate New York, Texas, Mexico, and Florida. But we start in Boston this coming Wednesday. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See you. EPISODE-LINK: theradiovagabond.com/183-fivelements-bali [http://theradiovagabond.com/183-fivelements-bali] DISCLAIMER I was invited to stay there for a few days because of this podcast – and in the hope that I might inspire you guys to visit them. But as previously when I do those trips and visits like this, I’m not obligated to say anything I don’t mean. Everything I say is my own genuine opinion. I’m basically just describing my visit.
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in June 2017 and is from the Bahamas. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/055-bahamas/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/055-bahamas/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in October 2017 and is from New York. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/101-new-york/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/101-new-york/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in January 2018 and is from Ethiopia. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/135-ethiopia/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/135-ethiopia/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in August 2017 and is from Nicaragua. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/082-nicaragua/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/082-nicaragua/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in January 2017 and is from Vietnam. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/034-vietnam/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/034-vietnam/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
While I’m working on the next season, I’m sharing a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in November 2016 and is from Singapore. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/023-singapore/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/023-singapore/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast [https://apple.co/30xyDnp].Spotify [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3].Google Podcast [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]. YouTube [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]. Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message [https://telb.ee/uaz8k] or fill out the form [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/contact/].
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in December 2017 and is from Morocco. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3] Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv] YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond] Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in May 2017 and is from Toronto, Canada. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3] Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv] YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond] Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in September 2017 and is from High Point, North Carolina. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/088-north-carolina/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3] Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv] YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond] Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in April 2017 and is from Budapest, Hungary. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/005-hungary/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/005-hungary/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3] Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv] YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond] Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in April 2017 and is from Memphis, Tennessee, USA. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/063-memphis/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/063-memphis/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3]Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv]YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond]Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
Hey guys! To keep your wanderlust ignited during the season break, I want to share a few flashback episodes of some of my favorite places around the world. If you missed them the first time, then here is your chance to get filled in! Just tune in and vicariously travel from the comfort of your home, car, office, bar, or wherever you are. This episode was recorded in April 2017 and is from Japan. EPISODE LINK: https://www.theradiovagabond.com/043-japan/ [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/043-japan/] SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/30xyDnp [https://apple.co/30xyDnp] Spotify: https://spoti.fi/30xymB3 [https://spoti.fi/30xymB3] Google Podcast: https://bit.ly/2XBslBv [https://bit.ly/2XBslBv] YouTube: https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond [https://youtube.com/theradiovagabond] Or in any place you listen to audio. Send me a voice message: https://telb.ee/uaz8k [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]
VÍTEJTE V ČESKÉ REPUBLICE The main reason, I went to the Czech Republic at this time was because of TBEX – a conference for travel bloggers and other travel content creators like me. In their conferences around the world, they have interesting keynote speakers and useful workshop. In fact, I did one about starting a travel podcast. It took place in Ostrava [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrava], a small city in the eastern part of the country – and not in the capital Prague, as one might think. I’m actually glad it was here, because I’ve been to Prague many times before, and even though it’s a wonderful, beautiful and historic city it was great to see another part of the country. And after the conference, I got to see even more. I was invited on a press trip in The Liberec Region [http://www.visitliberec.eu/en] in the northern part of the country. They called the trip “Finding Your Peace in a Bohemian Paradise” – so that’s also the reason for the title of this episode. A quick disclaimer. Even though this is a press trip, where I was invited obviously in the hope that I’d say something nice about the region, I won’t say anything I don’t mean. Everything I say is my own genuine opinion. FACTS ABOUT THE CZECH REPUBLIC * The Czech Republic is also called by its short-form name, Czechia. It’s a landlocked country in Central Europe and is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the east. * The country ranks as the seventh most peaceful country in the world according to the 2019 Global Peace Index [https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/GPI-2019-web003.pdf] . * The country has the most castles in Europe – more than * Beer is a big deal in the Czech Republic. Czech people are the world’s heaviest consumers of beer. The first pale lager, Pilsner Urquell [https://www.pilsnerurquell.com/], was brewed in the Czech city Plzeň in 1842. * Soft contact lenses were invented by a Czech chemist in 1959. * The world-famous Škoda Auto is based in the Czech Republic. Their cars are sold in over 100 countries. WELCOME TO THE LIBEREC REGION Despite being the second smallest region in the Czech Republic, Liberec region is well known for local glass and jewellery, and romantic scenery provided by rock towns and a mountain range. The Liberec Region lies in the north of the Czech Republic boarding Poland and Germany. On the first day, we head just outside the region’s capital, Liberec, to the top of Ještěd Hill [http://www.hoteljested.cz/]. It’s got a stunning view and a very unique round building containing both a hotel [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Hotel_Jested.htm], a restaurant, and unique TV transmitter on the roof. This is considered the dominating feature of Liberec and the whole region. Our main guide on the tour is Eva Hornová, and throughout the episode, she will help me pronounce the different names of the places we visit. SUNRISE AT JEŠTED HILL After our visit, Eva asked us if we would like to come back the next morning to see the sunrise. And since she said it would be spectacular most us said yes… even though it meant that we needed to leave the hotel at 4.30 am. GLASS ART IN LIBEREC After breakfast, we went to see something this region of the Czech Republic is famous for, Glass art. The place is called Pačinek Glass [http://www.pacinekglass.com/index-en.html] and named after Master glassmaker, Jiri Pacinek. He is a talented glass artist-craftsman is truly a master – and captivating many glass art collectors and admirers around the world. Besides his own creations, he’s cooperating with several world artists and designers. A lot of their unique art objects have been created and many of them became a part of famous world museum collections. The garden is very unique. None of these glass flowers and plants can be found and seen anywhere else than right here. You can come and see it anytime through a day, and you should, since the garden looks differently in daybreak, in midday sunshine, or at a sunset… And there are new glass plants appearing every year. The Glass Garden is open yearlong. You don’t need to book, and the entrance is free. Find the links in the show notes. I’M BLOWING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC And then the glassmaker hands me the tube with a piece of melted glass on the end and I start blowing gently and turning it slowly, so gravity won’t make it drop to the floor. The rest of the group is standing in a circle around me – looking very impressed. I bet they are thinking: “Hey, that radio guy is really a professional glass artist… he kept that a secret for a long time” … but then the bubble burst. Literally. CVIKOW BREWERY As I mentioned before the Czechs are famous for its beer. And this small microbrewery is called Cvikov Brewery [http://www.pivovarcvikov.cz/]. The beginnings of brewing beer in Cvikov dates back to 1560 when a privilege was granted to brew wheat beer and produce malt. They continued making beer here for more than 400 years, but in 1968 they shut down. First, after nearly half a century of nothing, an entrepreneur bought the devastated complex in 2013 and brought the tradition back. KUNST OG EN HAJ The next day after a wonderful breakfast we started The Regional Art Gallery Liberec [https://www.ogl.cz/en/]. Not only is it an interesting gallery but it’s also in a beautiful building. On the way to The Botanical Garden [https://www.botaniliberec.cz/about-us-s9EN], we had lunch in Restaurant ZOO1320 [http://www.zoo1320.cz/]. A very nice, beautiful restaurant and I highly recommend you go there if you’re in that area. BEING PRETTY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC And then we head to Palace Plus [http://www.palaceplus.cz/], the largest jewellery shop in Central Europe. It’s 700m2(7500 square feet) and they sell more than 4500 styles of jewellery. After an introduction to the place by the president, we had the chance to design our own necklace, bracelet, or beaded earrings. So, here we were, threading beads in The Czech Republic. Now that’s a first. BOBSLEDDING IN THE HEAT At the time I was in the Liberec Region it was very hot. So, I had not expected what came next. Bobsledding. It was cool to feel appreciated. The place we-re at a place is called Bobová Dráha [https://bobovadrahajizerky.cz/]and it was so much fun feeling like a kid for a bit. And now it’s time to say goodbye to Liberec in The Czech Republic, and also the last episode in this season from Europe. I must say that it was great to see parts of The Czech Republic that I haven’t been to before. I hope it inspired you to head north after your visit to Prague. Thank you to Visit Liberec [http://www.visitliberec.eu/en] for inviting me on this wonderful press trip. And to Eva Hornová [email@example.com]for being such a nice person – and for teaching how to speak Czech. Well sort of. Now I’m heading back across the Atlantic Ocean for yet another road trip in the US. I’m going to visit all six states in New England and a whole lot more. We start in Boston and I’m so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya.
At the time I went from Warsaw to Belarus, they issued a 5-day visa on arrival. So, I decided to spend 4 days in the country, since my flight out would have been a few hours too late. This five-day visa on arrival was changed one day after my visit to 30 days. It must have been because I made such a good impression on the government that they changed it. Belarus It has borders with Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia – and is a fairly unexplored corner of Eastern Europe. The population of Belarus is about 9.5 million people, which puts them on the 93rd place in the world. So somewhere in the middle when it comes to population. But the land mass is quite big so it’s not that densely populated. Minsk, the capital of Belarus, is about 2 million, so Minsk is the 11th most populous city in Europe. After an hour bus ride from the Airport to the city, I met my Airbnb host, Svetlana. She let me in to a wonderful apartment with a huge bathtub. TOURING MINSK WITH A COUNTRYMAN I have a Danish friend of a friend who lives here permanently. I’ve been in contact with him for a while. And it was actually my plan to go to Belarus in the very start of my journey in 2016… but only because he wasn’t in the country at the time, I decided to go there later. As we both are Danish, we obviously speak Danish, so you probably won’t be able to understand much. If you – on the other hand do speak the language head over to the Danish version of this podcast. While we’re walking, we pass the building where the president is working. It’s not the White House of Belarus. He doesn’t live here. LIVING IN A DICTATORSHIP Belarus is a dictatorship, and a few days before my visit, I shared a YouTube clip with President Lukashenko where he said these words… and I kid you not… “I think it’s better to be a dictator – than being gay”. Yes, he actually said that. Lukashenko has run Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, and Belarus is often referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe. It’s a country where gay rights are almost non-existent, a country where there’s no free press. But according to Carsten, it’s not as bad as people think. Yes, there’s no freedom of speech, and the elections might not be totally fair. But it’s not North Korea, he says. There’s still a nice quality of life here, and it’s not something he feels in his daily life. When I posted the video on Facebook and was appalled by the statement about it being better to be a dictator than being gay, someone commented: ” Oh .. how judgmental and prejudiced you are Palle Bo. When you are so biased and negative, I don’t understand at all that you choose to travel to Belarus.” This was something I also heard when I went to North Korea. But I don’t see it that way. Going to a country doesn’t mean that I support the leadership and the way things are run. I’ve also been to the USA during the Trump presidency – even though I’m not a big fan of him. I know, you can’t compare USA to a dictatorship. Not at all, but when I go to a country, it’s to learn things and hopefully make some local friends along the way. I try to educate myself before, during and after my visit to a country, and I do feel that I also try to keep an open mind. I speak up about the things that I feel is wrong and also talk about the things that are good about my visit. I also did that in my North Korea episode, where I spoke highly of the people. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this… Is it wrong for me to travel to a country like this? Make a comment on Facebook.com/theradiovagabond [http://facebook.com/theradiovagabond], drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com] or record a voice message by clicking on the “talk to me-banner” on theradiovagabond.com [http://theradiovagabond.com/]. CARSTEN’S VIEWS ON LIVING HERE They do have elections here, but according to Carsten the result is more or less decided before. And they do have a parliament but all the people in it are in Lukashenko’s pocket. When I ask him if he’s afraid to speak out loud about this he says. “No, as long as I’m not protesting with a megaphone and a sign in the city, nothing will happen. Sometimes I’m a bit tired of the way western media are describing the country. Yes, it is a dictatorship, but many of the countries that we (quote-unquote) are “friendly with” … like Saudi Arabia, The Emirates and China… are also dictatorships.” Some things are good in Belarus. Compared to many of the other former Soviet countries, he’s cracking down on corruption – maybe except for himself. Other good things, Carsten mentions are that it’s quite clean here in the city and then it’s safe. There’s no need to be afraid of walking around even at night here. And in the 90’s he came down hard on the Belarusian Mafia. Carsten actually says: “So, there are good thing about having a dictator”, which makes me laugh – and we decide that this quote will be the title of this episode. FACTS ABOUT WHERE WE ARE: Here are some facts about Belarus that you might not know: * Around 40% of Belarus is covered by forest – and sometimes referred to as the ‘Lungs of Europe’. * Belarus is the last country in Europe that still has the death penalty. * It’s the Las Vegas of Eastern European. When gambling was banned in Russia, a lot of casinos were opened in Belarus, which is one the reasons so many Russians come here. * Belarus is one of the few countries that does not switch to daylight saving time. * The country has an extremely low unemployment rate, less than 1%. Beggars and homeless people are also very few here. * Minsk is a very green and clean city. Not only do they have many parks, but here is also the third largest botanical garden in the world. * Stretching over 15 kilometres across the capital, Independence Avenue is the country’s longest street. Throughout history, it has not only grown in length and width but has also had 14 name changes. one of the longest streets in Europe, a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. MINSK METRO, GORKY PARK, AND VICTORIA SQUARE We’re heading down underground to The Minsk Metro. It opened in 1984, and it’s not that big – presently it only consists of 3 lines and 33 stations. Unlike the Moscow metro, here the signs are also in letters that we can read, which makes riding it a bit easier. Not only is it a fast way to move around Minsk, it’s also cheap: A ticket you can use all days is only around 30 cents. Victory Square in the historic center of Minsk and it’s the key landmark of Minsk. It’s close to Gorky Park – yes, like Moscow they also have a Gorky Park here, which holds an amusement park. In the middle of the square there’s a monument that was built in 1954 in honour of the soldiers of the Soviet Army and partisans of Belarus, during the Second World War. Being between Europe and Russia they were really stuck in the middle when Hitler and Stalin were fighting. So, Minsk and a lot of the country has been more or less totally rebuilt after the war. THE COMMUNIST PARTY STARTED HERE Carsten then takes me to a tiny green house and tells me a story that I didn’t know. In this little house they founded the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party that was the forefather of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This was all the way back in 1898 – so before the revolution in 1917, for those of you than know your history. And it all started right here in Minsk. Not in Moscow. NO BOWLING = KENNEDY ASSASINATION And then another thing that I didn’t know. A few meters away in number 4 of the same street lived a guy called … Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin accused of shooting President John F. Kennedy. He defected to the USSR in the early ’60s, after he was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps and ended up living right here in Minsk. But he didn’t like it here. In his diary he wrote, “I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys, no places of recreation except the trade union dances. I have had enough.” Shortly after that, he wrote to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow requesting to get his American passport back, since he never formally renounced his U.S. citizenship. So, in other words: If there were bowling alleys and nightclubs here at the time… he might have stayed, and Kennedy might never have assassinated. That is if you don’t believe in the conspiracy theories that he didn’t do it. KHATYN MEMORIAL SITE We’re heading 50 km north to Khatyn to visit the Memorial site where a tragic even took place in the Second World War. Khatyn was a village of 26 houses. On March 22, 1943, almost the entire population of the village was massacred by a Nazi Battalion in retaliation for an attack on German troops by Soviet partisans. The people here had nothing to do with the attack and were completely innocent. 149 people, including 75 children under 16 years of age, were killed – burned, shot or suffocated in fire. The youngest baby was only 7 weeks old. The village was then looted and burned to the ground. This massacre was not an unusual incident in Belarus during World War II. At least 5,295 Belarusian settlements were burned and destroyed by the Nazis, and often all their inhabitants were killed – some amounting up to 1,500 victims. Many of the villages were burned down many times. Altogether, over 2,000,000 people were killed in Belarus during the three years of Nazi occupation, almost a quarter of the region's population. MEET VALERIE FROM MINSK Back in Minsk we meet one of Carstens friends. Valerie, who is born and raised here in Minsk. She tells me that she really likes living here, and a few of the things she mentions is that it’s a city that never sleeps – you can always find a cozy bar and a buzzling nightclub any night of the week. Apparently a lot different than when Lee Harvey was here. That was all from Belarus, that turned out to be a great experience. Like Albania this wasn’t a country I had high expectations from. But if I look back on all the countries in the eastern part of Europe, I’ve visited in this season, Albania and Belarus are my favourites. Maybe because I didn’t expect much. My next stop will be the last in this season… I’m going to the Czech Republic and I’m so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. See ya. LETTER FROM A LISTENER I’ve got a letter from a listener… from Dublin, Ireland. Hi Palle I discovered your podcast when a friend recommended it to me, and since then I’ve been totally hooked on it. I started by binching your current episodes from Europe, and after that I went back in the archives and listened to your episodes from Asia. I love following your journey, and it inspires me to travel more myself – when the Pandemic lets us. Normally I listen while I cook, and I’m always looking forward to hearing what happens next. Keep up the good work, Ian from Dublin. I would love to hear from you and now there’s a simple way for you to send me a voice message. It’s a cool little web-based app called Tellbee and all you have to do is click on the banner called TALK TO ME [https://app.telbee.io/channel/vaz4tz7dzagsvsajc4lbjw] on TheRadioVagabond.com [http://theradiovagabond.com/] and talk. Tell me where you are and what you’re doing when you listen to this. It’s super simple and one of the cool things is that you can listen to it and redo it if you’re not happy with it – before you click send. I get a small soundbite I can play on the show and it’s always wonderful to hear from you guys. You can off course also just fill out the form under contact on the website [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/CONTACT]. SPONSOR This episode is supported in part by Hotels25.com [http://hotels25.com/] where you always can find the best prices on hotels, guesthouses and hostels.
WITAM Z WARSZAWY I think I said the latest episode that it was 2 weeks in Kraków and one week in Warsaw. It was not totally accurate: 22 days in Kraków and 4 days in Warsaw. But that’s how much I enjoyed my time there. Still, I also wanted to get a taste of the capital of Poland, and this is where we’re going in this episode. I’m going to meet an Englishman that has lived here for many years. I’m interested in hearing how and why he chose to live here and hear about the city and the country with western European eyes. I’m also going to the hospital because I discovered that my blood pressure was through the roof. But we start in Kraków where I’m heading to the airport – named after Pope John Paul II, chatting to the Uber driver. FLYING TO WARSAW And then it was off to Warsaw. It’s actually not that far – only around 300 kilometres, and I would be able to do that in a bus overland. But LOT Polish Airlines had a cheap domestic flight at only 100 €, so I decided to do that and save a bit of time. I landed at 1 pm and headed straight into the centre of the city – and didn’t know where I was going. But I managed to get my host on the phone, and he came rushing from work to let me into the apartment. 6 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT WARSAW * The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw was a gift of the Soviet dictator Stalin to the Polish nation. At 237 meters tall, it’s the tallest building in Poland, and at 165 meters, the clock tower is considered to be the tallest in Europe. * When it comes to air pollution, Poland is the China of Europe. According to the World Health, a staggering 33 out of the 50 most polluted cities in Europe are in Poland. The capital is one of those. * But Warsaw is also a green city. Its Lazienki Park is one of the largest parks in Europe, and pre-pandemic hosted free Sunday concerts from May to October. Probably again in 2021. * Traffic jam is a thing in Warsaw. It’s the most congested city in Europe: Poles spend an average of 106 hours per year stuck in traffic. * With around 1.8 million people Warsaw is the 7th Largest capital cities of the European Union. * The oldest evidence of cheese production was found in the vicinity of Warsaw, apparently being produced here around 7,500-8,000 years ago. BLOOD PRESSURE WAS SKY HIGH For a few weeks, I’ve had a funny feeling that my blood pressure was high. I’m not sure how, but I felt a ringing in my ears and just that something was not right. I went to a pharmacy to get it tested and sure enough, it was much higher than it should be. So, I decided to get a check-up at a hospital, and my private insurance company gave me an address. When you’re Danish you are covered health-wise in most of the world. But I’m not a resident there anymore, so I’ve taken out a private insurance that takes care of me anywhere. Also, here in Poland. First, they did a quick test and then I was presented with the prospect of spending a long time in a dreary Polish waiting room. But then the nurse found another option – just around the corner was another clinic. In fact, this is just the Emergency Room. Half an hour later, I was consulting a doctor, who said that it wasn’t that bad – in my age. So, she asked me to test myself three times a day for the next three weeks and go see another doctor then, and maybe get some medication. Stay subscribed to hear what happens in a later episode. MEETING AN ENGLISHMAN If you keep an open mind when you travel you meet people. In this case we met at the sports bar back in Kraków where I was helping the English singing “It’s coming home”. Well, as you heard in the latest episode, the FIFA World Cup Trophy didn’t come home to England for the first time since 1966. In fact, England also lost the bronze match – and then against the small country, Belgium and finished fourth. But still, they did much better than they’ve had in a long time. I met Mark who was in Kraków to hang out with some friends from England, that took a trip there to have a break, watch football together over pints. Mark and I connected and when I heard that he was from Warsaw, I basically invited myself to visit him. I punched his number in my phone and wrote the name “Matt”… but it turned out that his name is Mark. He’s an alien. He’s a legal alien. He’s an Englishman in Warsaw. It almost sounds like a Sting song. What’s he doing here? How did he land here and what does he think of the country, the language and its people? Listen to the episode to find out. FREE WALKING TOUR OLD TOWN. I also went in a Free Walkative Tour in the old town of Warsaw. But in fact, it’s not that old. During the occupation of Poland, The Nazi Germans had a plan for a long time to destroy the city [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destruction_of_Warsaw]. Warsaw had been selected for destruction and major reconstruction as part of the Nazis' planned “Germanization of Central Europe”, under the Nazi Generalplan Ost. By late 1944, with the war clearly lost and the Germans gave up their plans of colonizing the East. So, the destruction of Warsaw did not serve any military or colonial purpose; still it was carried out – solely as an act of reprisal. 80–90% of Warsaw's buildings were destroyed, including the vast majority of museums, art galleries, theaters, churches, parks, and historical buildings such as castles and palaces. They deliberately demolished, burned, or stole an immense part of Warsaw's cultural heritage. After the war, extensive work was put into rebuilding the city according to pre-war plans and historical documents. And Warsaw Old Town was rebuilt based on paintings from the 17th-18th centuries. It’s protected by UNESCO and is a perfect example of restoration of cultural heritage. NEXT STOP: BELARUS Tomorrow, I’m heading to Minsk in Belarus, and I’m so looking forward to that. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving.
Cześć again from Kraków, Poland! Welcome to the second instalment of my visit to one of my new favourite Eastern European cities. If you missed Part I of my time in Kraków [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/179-a-giant-among-tour-guides-in-krakow-poland/] then go back and listen to get up-to-date with what I am doing and why I am here. I pick up where I left off, speaking with my new friend and Walkative! tour guide, Thomasz – a giant among tour guides here in Kraków. Literally… he’s more than 2 meters tall. DENMARK AT FIFA WORLD CUP Before I let him go, we had to talk a bit about the FIFA World Cup that was taking place in Russia at the time of my visit. Poland had already been eliminated and now it was time for my own team to play an all or nothing match. Thomasz sympathised with me about how tough Croatia will be for Denmark to take the win. The nerves were kicking in! I found a great sports bar close to Kraków Square that was showing the match between Denmark and Croatia [https://youtu.be/5_iIW2DZ8nc]. The first minute of the match saw Denmark score a goal to take an early lead. But my elation was quickly abated 3 minutes later when Croatia equalised. The tight game remained drawn at 1-1 until the end of regular time, so the two teams had to go into extra time... My heart was racing as Croatia were rewarded with a penalty kick…but thankfully the Danish goalkeeper Schmeichel saved it. And when extra time was up, the game had to be decided by a tense penalty shootout. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for Denmark. We lost the penalty shootout which meant we were eliminated from the competition, but it was so close that it could have gone either way. The bar was full of English supporters, who were all helping me cheer for Denmark in between their now infamous chants of “It’s coming home”. So, I told them I would be back every time England would play to repay their support...which I did. KRAKOW’S JEWISH QUARTER To heal my footballing sorrows, I took another Walkative! Free Walking Tour [https://freewalkingtour.com/] to hang out with ‘Big Tom’ again, this time to visit the Jewish Quarter. At the beginning of the tour, Thomasz tells us something I’ve heard in many places in the eastern portion of Europe: Polish people like to be referred to as ‘Central European’ and not ‘Eastern European’. I’ve heard this in many countries, from the first stop on my journey in Estonia and all the way down to through the other Balkan countries. Maybe because it has a Soviet Block ring to it? Thomasz asked the group to come closer as he says in a quieter voice (so no Polish person would hear him) that he feels it’s a bit of bull crap. In his opinion, Poland is Eastern Europe. I felt that this is something he didn’t want to have on tape, so obviously, I had to speak to him about this as we were walking to the next spot. “As a historian and guide, I consider Poland to be part of Eastern Europe. But some ‘proud’ Poles like to say otherwise. I understand where this idea comes from, and it shows just how upset we are as a nation about how we feel nobody cares or knows about us. It is a common Polish pastime to be sad” he jokes. “We were treated as a satellite country of the Soviet Union for decades and I guess this is a way for Polish people to regain their independent identity. But, as an educated man, I believe that the border between Germany and Poland is the border between Central and Eastern Europe”. AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU The next day, I decided to take a tour of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps - a must-do item if you ever find yourself in Poland. I knew it was not going to be an easy or delightful tour, but sometimes the most important things in life are difficult. All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by Germans [http://auschwitz.org/en/history/kl-auschwitz-birkenau/the-topography-of-the-camp/] in 1940, a bit more than an hour’s drive from Kraków. The direct reason for the establishment of the camp was to accommodate the high number of mass arrests of Poles that were increasing beyond the capacity of the existing local prisons. It functioned in this role throughout its existence, even when it also became the largest of the extermination centres used to persecute Jewish people in the Nazi’s ‘final solution’ campaign of terror, beginning in 1942. DIVISION OF THE CAMP The first and oldest structure was the so-called "main camp," later also known as "Auschwitz I" which was established on the grounds and in the buildings of pre-war Polish barracks. The number of prisoners here was around 15,000 at one time, sometimes rising above 20,000. The second part was the Birkenau camp which held over 90,000 prisoners in 1944, also known as "Auschwitz II" situated about 3 kilometres away. This was the largest part of the Auschwitz complex, and this is where the greater part of the gas chambers and crematoriums for the mass extermination was built. The first prisoners here were Poles, but from 1942 the vast majority of those sent to Auschwitz were Jewish. Throughout the existence of the camp, the authorities there treated the Jewish people with the most ruthless, and often quite refined, cruelty. The German SS soldiers regarded a Jewish life as the least valuable of all. To the greatest possible extent, the Jewish people fell victim to starvation, cold, hard labour, constant harassment and abuse, and various kinds of extermination operations. AUSCHWITZ AS THE CENTER FOR THE EXTERMINATION OF THE JEWS Auschwitz served as the largest Nazi center for the destruction of the Jewish population of the European countries occupied by and allied to the Third Reich. The majority of the Jewish people who arrived in Auschwitz - at least 1.1 million people, including more than 200 thousand children and young people - were killed in the gas chambers immediately or soon after arrival. “The reason some of the gas chambers are no longer here is that as the Allied forces were approaching to win the war, the Nazis tried to destroy the evidence of their mass murder,” our tour guide tells us. “As the victims were never buried, this place is a site of symbolic commemoration, like a cemetery. There were no graves, only ashes.” VISIT AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU Admission to the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial is free of charge. However, you need to reserve your entry atvisit.auschwitz.org [http://visit.auschwitz.org/]. For a better understanding of the history of Auschwitz, I suggest a visit with a guide. And if you’re in a group of more than ten people (like we were), it’s recommended that you rent headphones that are wirelessly connected to the microphone of the guide. As I expected, this was a depressing visit. But I believe that humanity needs to actively keep our history alive in order for us to never forget, and to never allow ourselves to be faced with such plight ever again. That’s why I went. And that’s why I recommend everyone to go. EXTENDING MY VISIT IN KRAKÓW My original plan was to spend 3 weeks in Poland in total, split evenly between Kraków and Warsaw. But after my first week in Kraków, I liked it so much that I decided to extend it to 2 weeks in Kraków and 1 week in the capital. I wanted to stay in the Jewish district which is a bit closer to the Old Town, so I found another Airbnb. It looked good but then something happened… They were doing renovations in the building and the sound of banging hammers and not being able to open my windows were causing me frustrations. My host never told me about the renovations, which was annoying, but I am an adaptable digital nomad and decided to just get on with it. FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS And then it was time for me to honour my promise to help support the English football fans at the sports bar. One thing I didn’t take into account was that they were playing against my brother country, Sweden. There were hundreds of singing English supporters and only a few Swedes, so it was hard not to be carried away. English football has always been on the world stage particularly on the club level, with teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, and so many household names. But on a national team level, they haven’t been outstanding in FIFA World Cups and various European Cups. But this year it was different, they were doing great. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. A few days later, I was back at the sports bar with my English football fans and friends when England was eliminated. A few of the fans became a bit aggressive in their disappointment, so I decided to leave before they turned into hooligans. But there were only a few, most of them were just great fans. And that’s it from Kraków. The next day I headed to the Polish capital, Warsaw, where I will pick up in my next episode, so be on the lookout for that! My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya! SPREAD THE WORD I’d like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I’m dead serious… Pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It’s the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I’ll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking on the banner [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. The coolest thing about this option is that you can listen back to your message before sending it. Give it a try now! Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company, Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or if you need voice overs in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out.
WITAMY W KRAKOWIE Since recording my last episode from Slovenia [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/178-slovenia-the-only-country-with-love-in-its-name/] , I visited a few places in Europe on business which is why I decided not to post any episodes from that time. But just to keep you updated on my recent whereabouts: I’ve been recording interviews for the follow-up to the first season of The LEGO Technic podcast [https://www.lego.com/en-us/campaigns/technic/bugatti-chiron/podcast]. In the first season we chart the journey of the design and build of a 1-8 scale Lego model of the Bugatti Chiron in 9 episodes. And in the second season for The LEGO Group, I went to the large Lego factory in Kladno [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kladno], Czech Republic, where they produce all the big scale models for the LEGOLAND Parks and big stores around the world. In the second season of the podcast series, we follow the built of a 1-1 life-size LEGO model of the Bugatti Chiron. After Czech Republic, I travelled to Rotterdam, Netherlands, for a travel bloggers conference called Traverse [http://traverse-events.com/], before returning home to Denmark to visit my family, attend a travel podcast conference in Copenhagen, and meet with clients. I then travelled to Cannes, France, to attend the Cannes Lions [https://www.canneslions.com/] festival and meet more clients and network/”shmooze”. After that Wolfsburg [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfsburg], Germany, was next where I visited the Volkswagen headquarters as part of my work with the LEGO Technic Podcast. Here where we tested the Bugatti Chiron LEGO model on the test track. They shot a film while I was standing at the side of the road with my microphone, recording stuff for the podcast. Phew, loads of flights! Anyway, after my business was concluded, I made my way to Kraków and this is where this episode begins! EXPLORING KRAKÓW My arrival in Kraków happened to coincide with the day the Polish national football team played against Colombia in their Group H match of the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup [https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/videos/poland-0-3-colombia-russia-2018] in Russia. Unfortunately, the Polish team lost the game 3-0 which spelt the end of the World Cup hopes. On Sunday morning, I decided to take a much-needed break from a week-long podcast editing binge to take a Free Walking Tour of the old town. You know how much I love a tour like this; they are a really great way to get to know more about a new city and provide you with ways to meet locals and fellow travellers as well. After a quick online search, I decided to go with Walkative! Free Walking Tour [https://freewalkingtour.com/find-a-tour/?city=203&type=194]. Our tour guide’s name was Thomasz but he is known better by his many nicknames: Calen, Big Tom, The Giant. He’s really tall, which apart from his bald head and goatee, is his most defining feature: he is the one and only 2 metre (6ft7) tall guide in Kraków. He is born and raised in Kraków and graduated from Jagiellonian University with history as his major subject. His thesis was on Kraków, so he’s the perfect person to talk to us about the old town of Kraków. He is a remarkable tour guide who mixes warmth, humour, and interesting facts into his tours to create a magical experience. Here’s what I remember about Thomasz’ anecdotes about his home city: FACTS ABOUT WHERE WE ARE * Kraków’s entire old town, including Wawel castle, the market square, and the Jewish district, was one of the first sites to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List [https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/29/] when it was created in 1978. * In 2013, Lonely Planet voted Kraków Square [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Square,_Krak%C3%B3w] the best market square in the world. It’s called Rynek Główny in Polish and it’s also the largest medieval town square in Europe. It’s a square space surrounded by historic townhouses and churches. The centre of the square is dominated by Cloth Hall and it’s stunning two towers. * There’s a knife that hangs from a rope on the wall of Cloth Hall [https://www.krakow.pl/english/instcbi/36882,inst,12408,1241,instcbi.html]. There is a legend that tells the story of the two brothers who built the towers. When one of them realised that his tower could not be as tall as this bothers’ due to weak foundations, he killed his brother with that very knife out of envy. The knife hangs there as a reminder of humbleness. * According to Polish folklore, a dragon lived at the foot of Wawel Hill which required regular offerings of livestock, so it didn’t end up eating the local human inhabitants. The dragon was killed either by the sons of the city’s founder, King Krakus, or by a cobbler’s apprentice, depending on who is telling the tale. There is now a statue of the Dragon of Wawel Hill [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wawel_Dragon] close to Wawel Castle. It’s a bit of an attraction because it breathes fire every few minutes, thanks to a natural gas nozzle installed in the sculpture's mouth. THOMASZ THE GIANT TOUR GUIDE We finished the walking tour at Wawel Castle and Thomasz was kind enough to spend a little extra time with me for a chat. According to Walkative! Free Walking Tour’s website, Big Tom is a huge fan of British comedy and coffee and was a full-time guide to his children before becoming part of the Walkative! team in 2015. We start our conversation with Thomasz giving me a quick grammar and pronunciation lesson regarding the Slavik roots of his name, telling me about the Portuguese-like vowels in Polish being short and flat, and others being long and deep. He wonderfully ties this into ideas about the history of language and culture around Europe, which only served to show how vast his knowledge spans. When I asked him why people come to visit Kraków, he responded in a typical Thomasz manner. “There’s a difference between why people come here and why I think people should come here” he begins. “People come to Kraków because of the recent popularity of Eastern European cities, like Prague for example. In the early 2000’s, there was a significant push across Europe to attract travellers to Prague. Luckily, Kraków is very close to Prague which meant that over time, people started adding Kraków to their travel itinerary on the way to or from Prague. Once here, people realise just how incredible these almost untouched Eastern European cities are. I believe Slovenia will experience the next ‘burst’ in popularity for the same reasons”. “Tourism has changed the way Polish people think about their country, giving them a renewed passion for their culture by realise what it means to have a multicultural society” he says. Thomasz tells me that the city of Kraków (and it’s Old Town in particular) is unique and lucky in the sense that it is a very intact city compared to war-torn Warsaw, where over 80% of the city was flattened. Warsaw was rebuilt, and Kraków only ‘renovated’ and still has the country’s history preserved in its aged walls. TAKE A TOUR OF KRAKOW Walkative! Free Walking Tour [https://freewalkingtour.com/find-a-tour/?city=203&type=194] offers 4 different tours in Kraków: ‘Old Town Kraków’, ‘Jewish Kraków’, ‘Communist Kraków’, and ‘Macabre Kraków’. If you go on a tour with Thomasz, please make sure to say hi from me. This giant among guides is very passionate, excited, and fascinated about Kraków. He loves his city, and it shows. Thomasz explains: “Walkative! is a foundation which uses free walking tours to attract people to the city. We are trying out a new way of tourism hospitality which encourages tourists to pay what they feel a trinket or piece of local memorabilia is worth. We believe that providing great service should come before asking people for their money, and I think walking tours are an incredibly amazing form of service and hospitality. It’s a win-win situation: we provide great service, and tourists receive great service and pay what they feel it deserves”. People like Thomasz rely on tips to make a living, so please don’t take advantage of their good nature: leave a tip, it’s the right thing to do! And if you don’t remember that karma is a bitch. NEXT WEEK ON THE RADIO VAGABOND I’ll be back with more from Kraków and the surrounding areas. Next week's episode is going to be both cheerful, and depressing. I’ll take you with me on my visit to the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. And then I’ll go partying in the sports bar with hundreds of English fans. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See ya! SPREAD THE WORD I’d like to ask you for a favour. If you like this episode, please tell a friend. I’m dead serious… Pick up the phone or send a message to a friend telling him or her about this podcast. It’s the best way to spread the word about this podcast, and I’ll be so happy if you could help me this way. You are the best. RADIOGURU This episode was produced by me and my production company, Radioguru [https://radioguru.dk/en/]. If you need any help starting a podcast or if you need voice overs in any language for online videos and other things, please reach out. I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] or go to my website [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking here [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPONSOR A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com [Hotels25.com], who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world.
Join me in the last of my Balkan countries, Slovenia where I visit the capital Ljubljana. As I normally do I start with a Free Walking Tour [https://ljubljanafreetour.com/]. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT SLOVENIA 1. Slovenia is the only country in the world with LOVE in their name. And the capital, Ljubljana, translates to ‘The Loved One’. 2. Slovenians love bees. There are around 90,000 beekeepers in a population of just two million – that’s one in 20 people. 3. It is tiny. Slovenia covers less than 0.004% of the Earth’s surface and has a population of just a little over 2 million. The capital Ljubljana [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ljubljana] and the largest city is also small: Less than 300,000 people live here. 4. It’s one of the world’s most environmentally friendly nations, according to The Environmental Performance Index. This index is reflecting whether they are meeting internationally established environmental targets. Only four nations are better: Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. 5. A remarkable 53.6 per cent of Slovenia is protected land [https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/mapped-the-countries-with-the-most-protected-areas/] , a higher percentage than any nation on earth except Venezuela. With more than half of its total area covered in forest, Slovenia really is one of the greenest countries in the world – and Ljubljana, was awarded Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016. And more than 500 brown bears roam the Slovenian forests. 6. They are tall, old and like wine. Slovenia is one of the 10 tallest countries on the planet – a typical male measures 1.8 m (5.9 feet) and one of the 10 most elderly with its residents being 43.5 years old, on average. 7. There’s a one winery or vineyard for every 70-75 people and in Maribor they have the world’s oldest vine – it’s at 400 years old. Slovenians love wine themselves. They are the sixth biggest consumers of wine, per capita. 8. Slovenia has a tiny coastline – just 46 km (30 miles). 9. You can spend a night jail in Ljubljana – without doing crime. Hostel Celica is an actual prison where the cells have been renovated into rooms, but it still has the same appearance as a prison cell. 10. Slovenia has world’s largest ski jump. Planica is an epic place for ski-lovers, especially if you like heights. The Ski Jump here is legendary and many world records have been set here. MEET WINE MAN SASO PAPP Now it’s time to meet my good Slovenian friend, Saso Papp. He’s has an online company called vinoo.co [applewebdata://50A6AC01-7E5E-480B-A4CB-5A4D0F9DA40F/vinoo.co] that sells wine. Not only to the Slovenians but to the rest of Europe. And it’s kinda funny that the rest of the Balkans drink Rakia but (as I mentioned above) Slovenians love wine. In our conversation Saso mentions that he wants to give you guys a discount. Just go to vinoo.co [applewebdata://50A6AC01-7E5E-480B-A4CB-5A4D0F9DA40F/vinoo.co] and use the promo code "RADIOVAGABOND15" to get 15% off and free shipping all over Europe if you buy 6 bottles or more from the same wine maker. This code is valid for one year – until November 18th, 2021, and only once per user… so make sure you get enough. IN THE MEDIA The next day I have two interviews lined up. One on the radio and later in the day I met up with the journalist Janez Usenik from the national TV station 24UR [https://www.24ur.com/popin/zanimivosti/brezdomec-po-lastni-izbiri-ko-je-ves-svet-tvoj-dom.html?q=palle&fbclid=IwAR33j8rjWns0Bh6Vjhj0qOjdOzUhI3qQ-zO2TCTu_Bhycc9EPM1s5rsiNgk] . We do the interview on the street and you can see it here: https://www.24ur.com/video/62077414 [https://www.24ur.com/video/62077414] It was funny to see myself on national TV that same night, and when I stepped on the plane the next morning, the guy in the seat next looked at me a few times and then said: “Aren’t you the homeless guy I saw on TV last night?” How weird is that to be recognized by a random stranger. METELKOVA ART CENTRE If you’re into street art you should definitely visit Metelkova Art Centre – also known as Metelkova mesto, is an alternative culture centre in Ljubljana. It’s developed from a squat in a former army barracks and is one of the best-known attractions of Ljubljana. It’s home to a large number of clubs hosting concerts, club nights, and one-off club events featuring underground artists and DJs from around the world. The centre also hosts art performances, exhibitions, and a festival from time to time. The history of Metelkova mesto as a cultural centre goes back to 1993, when the northern part of the barracks complex was squatted by a group of about 200 volunteers. The initiative came from an independent association of mainly underground artists and intellectuals known as Metelkova Network to stop the abandoned army complex from being pulled down. Being a thriving place for a free creative spirit, the complex is undergoing constant change. I’m here on a quiet afternoon but still it was a very interesting place to visit. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the street art that you can find on theradiovagabond.com – but not the people. There was a sign saying “No photos of people. This is not a zoo.” So, remember to respect that when you go. Slovenia was another great experience. My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving.
DOBRO DOŠLI U HRVATSKU Let me recap my Balkan road trip so far… I started in Albania [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/europe/albania/], then I went to Kosovo [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/europe/kosovo/], Montenegro [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/europe/montenegro/], Bosnia and Herzegovina [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/category/destinations/europe/bosnia-herzegovina/] and now, I’ve arrived in Croatia. If you haven’t heard the other episodes from this region, I suggest you go back and do that too. Croatia is a country in Southern Europe with a fascinating history, cultures, and a lot of incredible outdoor attractions and historic monuments. The capital is Zagreb and the official language is Croatian – that is not that different to some of the other languages in Ex-Yugoslavia. Unlike Kosovo and Montenegro, they don’t have the Euro… their currency is “Kuna”, even though they are a member of the European Union. That happened in 2013 and that makes Croatia the newest member of the EU – and some of the other countries in Ex-Yugoslavia would love to join them. Both North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia has applied but still not accepted. The same goes for… Albania and Turkey. With a population of around 4 million and an area of 56,000 square kilometres is it a small country… Slightly bigger than Denmark and a bit smaller than Ireland. Their neighbouring countries are Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. And across the Adriatic Sea is Italy. FREE WALKING TOUR IN SPLIT One of the things I do often when I get to a new place is to go on a so-called “Free Walking Tour”. I find them all over the world, and it’s a great way to get introduced to a new place. It’s called “free” but technically you’re expected to pay a tip. People always do but it is really your choice. Here in Split, there’s so much history, so I went on one with a guide who really knows her little city and the history behind it. And she showed us where she lives herself – in a building that is 400 years old. GAME OF THRONES SET WITHOUT DRAGONS We also went to one of the places where scenes with the dragons from Game of Thrones were filmed. The dragons were gone, but there was a bit of turmoil. A local man crossed a barrier and was washing his face in a wishing well. When one of the guards told him not to do it, he felt the guard was humiliating him in front of us and they almost got into a fight. The tour guide told me that the strong reaction might be because of PTSD from the war. A QUICK VISIT TO THE ISLAND OF HVAR The island ofHvar [https://www.hvarinfo.com/]is a one-hour boat ride from Split and is called the queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands. Thanks to the mild climate, the warm winters and pleasant summers Hvar receives many guests every year. According to HvarInfo.com [https://www.hvarinfo.com/], we’re attracted by the dense Mediterranean nature, the rich tradition and architecture, and the nightlife. The boat arrived at Stari Grad [https://www.hvarinfo.com/stari-grad/]. It’s the oldest town in Croatia dating back to 384 B.C when the Greeks settled here on the island and named it Pharos. Now it’s called Stari Grad ("old town") and is in a landscape where the deep blue bay touches the green of the field with vineyards and olive groves. I spent a few hours walking around in the hilly streets of Stari Grad, taking it all in. Browsing through the many small shops on the pier and having a nice lunch. A bit overpriced though since this is a very touristy place. This is an island that it might be worth spending a bit more time on since it has much more to offer than just Stari Grad. 7 FUN FACTS ABOUT CROATIA 1. You might think it’s a new country – after the breakup of Yugoslavia… but they have been that before: In the year 879, Croatia was internationally recognized as an independent state. 46 years later they became a kingdom and maintained its sovereignty for two centuries. 2. Croatia has more than 1,200 islands off the coast of the mainland, but only 48 are inhabited. 3. The city of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, had one of the first medieval sewer systems in Europe. 4. And speaking of Dubrovnik … it was the main film location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones [https://www.cuddlynest.com/blog/dubrovnik-game-of-thrones-guide-2019/]. Split (where I am right now) was also used as one of the film locations. 5. Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia – the northern region of Lika. 6. Croatia is one of the greenest countries in the world. The country is home to 11 Nature Parks, 8 national parks, and 2 nature reserves. 7. According to Alfred Hitchcock, the city of Zadar has … as he called it: “the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West in Florida.” BEAUTIFUL SUNSET IN ZADAR And Zadar is my second stop in Croatia… I have to see if good old Alfred was right. Another things Zadar has going for it is that it’s a region rich in history and natural beauty, and still relatively undiscovered. Here you can wander quiet streets of marble, enjoy cheaper prices than in the southern part of the country and in Split and Dubrovnik. Ryanair and EasyJet fly direct to the city. The best spot to watch that sunset that Hitchcock named the most beautiful sunset in the world – with a drink in hand isCafé Brazil [https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ShowUserReviews-g295374-d10247524-r531997357-Cafe_Brazil-Zadar_Zadar_County_Dalmatia.html] , close to the Monument to the Sun [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Sun]. CREATIVE ARTWORK ON THE WATERFRONT It’s a 22-meter diameter circle with three hundred, multi-layered glass plates placed on the same level as the stone-paved waterfront… solar modules underneath. There are lighting elements installed in it that turn on at night and produce a beautiful light show. It’s like a giant, solar-powered public dancefloor. What makes this attraction even cooler is that there are plans to now refurbish it and make it interactive so you will be able to dance across the sun and see the lights respond to your movements. There’s another creative attraction next to this monument… the Sea Organ [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_organ]. This is an art installation, formed by cleverly cutting steps into a section of the concrete waterfront promenade. These have underwater pipes in them that plays musical notes when they are filled with water – and create a harmonica effect that sounds as if each wave is gently sighing. It’s the plan to have the lights on the Sun Monument correspond to the sounds created by the Sea Organ. All while you watch the beautiful sunset. THE BEST BEACH IS A SECRET … SO DON’T TELL ANYONE Just a short ferry ride from Zadar isSaharun [https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/croatia/articles/Saharun-beach-Dugi-Otok-Croatia-Secret-Seaside/] , one of the country’s best beaches. Its white sand – which actually is unusual for Croatia – and turquoise shallows waters makes it comparable to the Caribbean. And it’s actually quite undiscovered. Outside of July and August, there are really not many people there. Let’s keep it a secret so don’t tell everyone. Inside Zadar’s ancient walls there are a handful of great fish restaurants side by side, with more reasonable prices compared with those further down the coast. DRINKING WITH THE LOCALS IN ZADAR And also, a lot of great bars – so in order to emerge into the local culture, I wandered into one of them. I took a seat at the bar and all of a sudden, I found myself chatting away with a few of the locals. I think some of them had been there a while. I asked them if I could record a bit – and took out my microphone. Or as one of them called it: “apperature”… After a failed attempt to get an intelligent conversation on tape, I put it away and got myself another drink – to say cheers (živjeli) with them instead. “If you want a serious conversation you have to come earlier in the day”, one of them said with a slurry voice. As I was going back to my guesthouse, I ordered an Uber. The driver’s name is Marco and just by coincidence, I’d been driving with him earlier in the day. He’s super nice and didn’t mind talking (and was sober) so, I thought I’d get his perspective on his country. You can hear that conversation in the episode. And that was It from Croatia. I gotta keep moving. Next stop: Slovenia.
See pictures here [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/176-we-should-never-forget-mostar-bosnia-herzegovina/] . DOBRO DOŠLI U MOSTAR Again, I go by bus to my next Balkan destination. This time north from Kotor in Montenegro to Mostar [https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mostar] in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina] . It was one of the other guests at the hostel in Kosovo – an English guy called Edward, that recommended Mostar and Rooms Deny to me. There’s a river that runs through Mostar from the north to the south and cuts the city in two halves. Deny, the owner of ‘Rooms Deny [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Rooms_Deny.htm]’, the hostel I’d booked, came to pick me up at the bus station, and even though both the bus station and the hostel are on the eastern side, we’re taking a bit of a detour into the western side because cars are not allowed in the old town. That gives Deny time to do his ‘tour guide introduction’ to Mostar. DENY IS THE PERFECT TOUR GUIDE My host Deny Kadric is a very open young man and has an impressive knowledge about his country and especially Mostar. As we see the iconic Stari Most Bridge [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stari_Most] (the Old Bridge) for the first time, Deny asks me what I know about Mostar other than the bridge. But no, I didn’t even know about the bridge, and since that’s the most iconic thing about Mostar, I didn’t know much. Or anything – other than what Edward told me. That it’s a quaint little city with a lot of history. We’ll get back to this bridge and why it’s so important later on in this episode. SMALL COUNTRY WITH TWO NAMES Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to 3.8 million people – and it’s important that you say both names. Basically, it’s too regions with Bosnia in the north and Herzegovina in the south. In fact, I’m not even in Bosnia. Mostar is in Herzegovina and has a population of 113,000 and is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most divided city. Nowhere is this more evident than in Mostar, where Bosnian Croatians live on the western side of the Neretva River, and Bosniaks on the eastern side. Even to this day, more than 25 years after the war, this is still the case. They rarely go to the other side and interact with the people on the other side. Both sides have their own national theatre, post office, and other separate public services. Deny tells me that he does have friends on both sides, but he’s more the exception to the rule. THE SCARS OF THE WAR IN MOSTAR Deny recommended that I took 45 minutes to see a documentary called Unfinished Business [https://youtu.be/rkS8YlASVzk] in Mostar before I walked out to explore. It’s a BBC documentary presented by Jeremy Bowen, filmed in 1993 in and around Mostar at the height of the Bosniak-Croat conflict during the Bosnian War. And I did, and already one minute in we see some guys come running with a wheelbarrow to get an old man that had just been shot. They wanted to rush him to the hospital. He’d just stepped out of his house to get some water when it happened. At the hospital, a doctor gives him CPR in an attempt to revive him. But there was nothing he could do – he was dead on arrival and his old wife breaks down. These first few minutes of the documentary sets the tone for the rest of it. It’s heartbreaking but I suggest you see it. We should all see it and learn from it. It’s surreal to walk around in the streets of Mostar after seeing them as a war zone. You can still see the scars of the war. Many of the buildings are still in ruins and you see bullet-holes on the walls everywhere. STARI MOST BRIDGE WAS DESTROYED The Siege of Mostar was fought during the Bosnian War first in 1992 and then again later in 93-94. As a result of the first siege around 90,000 residents of Mostar fled … and many religious buildings, cultural institutions, and bridges were damaged or destroyed. Between June 93 and April 94, the besieged Bosniak-concentrated East Mostar, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, a cut off of humanitarian aid, damage or destruction of ten mosques, and then the blowing up of the historic Stari Most bridge on November 9, 1993. Croatian general Slobodan Praljak was deemed the main responsible for the destruction of the bridge and sentenced to twenty years. He was the one who declared that "those stones" (meaning the bridge) had no value. Stari Most Bridge, also known as The Old Bridge and Mostar Bridge, connects the two parts of the city. It was a 16th-century Ottoman bridge and stood for 427 years, until that day in ‘93. After the war, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it; the rebuilt bridge – that looks like the old one opened on 23 July 2004. It’s now an iconic tourist attraction. It stands 20 meters over the river and often you can see people jumping of it into the water. MUSEUM OF WAR AND GENOCIDE VICTIMS I decide to spend a few hours at the ‘Museum of War and Genocide Victims 1992-1995’ [https://www.tripadvisor.dk/Attraction_Review-g295388-d14035936-Reviews-Museum_of_War_and_Genocide_Victims_1992_1995-Mostar_Herzegovina_Neretva_Canton_F.html] . It’s a small but interesting and very moving museum about the events leading up to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The way the history of the war is explained is very moving and extremely touching. What the people of Bosnia and especially Mostar have been through is unimaginable. The personal stories of those who lived through these times are as always, the most moving. It’s an important part of the history of Bosnia Herzegovina and Mostar and anyone visiting it must go to the Museum out of respect for the victims and locals who suffered through this. There are some very graphic shocking photos on display. Also, three TVs each showing different stories about the war and the concentration camps. There is quite a bit to read as each display and picture has a story behind it. On the lower floor this is where the more graphic photos are displayed so if your easily upset – or if you’re bringing your kids, I would skip this part. All in all, it’s horrific to see what happened, but I feel it’s an important visit to get a clearer view of what happened and why it should never happen again. There’s a part of the museum talking about war crimes – with so many pictures of people doing something against the Hague and Geneva Conventions. And that’s what bothers me the most. How could this happen – with the second World War in recent memory. Didn’t we learn anything? As it says on the wall in the museum: “The terror of forgetting is greater than the terror of having too much to remember” That’s why I feel it’s important to visit places like this, even though it’s not an upbeat uplifting experience. 6 FUN FACTS ABOUT BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA 1. Bosnia Herzegovina is nicknamed the “Heart-Shaped Land” due to the country’s slight heart shape. 2. When you look at a map, you would think that Bosnia Herzegovina is landlocked but if you look very closely you will notice that they have the smallest little panhandle which touches the Adriatic Sea for only about 25 kilometres or 15 miles. 3. One of Europe’s last jungles can be found here. Situated on the border of Montenegro, Perućica is one of two remaining jungles forests in Europe. Some of the trees here are 300 years old, and the undisturbed forest vintage dates back 20,000 years. 4. Bosnia has three official languages: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. They are pretty similar and they all understand each other. Kinda like Danish Norwegian and Swedish… or American, Irish and Australian… I think. 5. The name “Bosnia” comes from an Indo-European word Bosana, which means water. Herzegovina stems from the Serbo-Croatian term borrowed from German, Hercegovina, a land ruled by a Herzog – the German term for a duke. 6. They like coffee here… Bosnia Herzegovina has the tenth highest coffee consumption per capita in the world. HERZEGOVINA TOUR SOUTH OF MOSTAR With a group of other guests from the hostel, I go on a day-trip in beautiful Herzegovina [https://www.roomsdeny.com/hercegovina-exp/] with Deny as the tour guide. He takes us about 30 kilometers (19 mi) south of Mostar. After a local breakfast, we go on a hike in some astonishing landscapes to the waterfalls in Kravica [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kravica_(waterfall)] and then to Počitelj [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Po%C4%8Ditelj,_%C4%8Capljina] – the historic village and an open-air museum with a fortress in the mountains. In the middle ages, it was the administrative center and center of governance of the county, and its westernmost point, which gave it major strategic importance. It is supposed that the fortified walled town was built in 1383 and well worth a visit. BRUCE LEE STATUE IN MOSTAR For some reason here in Mostar there’s a statue of kong-fu expert Bruce Lee [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Bruce_Lee_(Mostar)]. The statue was the first public monument to Bruce Lee anywhere in the world and was unveiled in November 2005. Why you may ask: The idea came from a youth group called Mostar Urban Movement, and they saw the statue as “a symbol of "loyalty, skill, friendship and justice." In a city that had been torn in war by ethnic divisions, they see the dynamic movie star as a part of their idea of universal justice – that the good guys can win. They feel that Bruce Lee represented one thing that could bridge the divides between Mostar residents: "One thing we all have in common is Bruce Lee" they said. Shortly afterwards the sculpture was vandalized, removed for repairs and brought back at the end of May 2013. Both Bosnians and Croats had complained that the statue was a provocation because they thought it was pointed towards their area in a fighting stance, so its creators rotated the statue to face a neutral direction. HIT THE ROAD JACK Back in Mostar we go walk across the Old Bridge to the west side, for dinner and drinks at the iconic Black Dog Pub, and we all sing along to Hit the Road Jack. And then it’s time for me to hit the road myself, and my next stop is Croatia. My name is Palle Bo and I gotta keep moving. I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU First, I want to mention that I would love to hear from you and now there’s a new and simple way for you to send me a voice message. It’s a cool little web-based app called Tellbee and all you have to do is here:TALK TO ME [https://app.telbee.io/channel/vaz4tz7dzagsvsajc4lbjw]and talk. Tell me where you are and what you’re doing when you listen to this. It’s super simple and one of the cool things is that you can listen to it and redo it if you’re not happy with it – before you click send. I get a small soundbite I can play on the show and it’s always wonderful to hear from you guys. You can off course also just fill out the form under contact on the website [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/CONTACT]. SPONSOR This episode is supported in part by Hotels25.com [http://hotels25.com/] where you always can find the best prices on hotels, guesthouses and hostels – like Rooms Deny [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Rooms_Deny.htm], that I stayed at here in Mostar.
Zdravo! In the last episode of the Radio Vagabond, I was in Prizren Kosovo [https://www.theradiovagabond.com/174-journey-kosovo-is-a-beautiful-little-country-with-a-lot-of-history/] . From there I took a 300km bus ride west to my next destination, Montenegro [https://www.montenegro.travel/en/info/what-see]! It was a country I had never seen before and the trip took me back through Albania which borders this small but beautiful land. Before I get into the details of this leg of my trip, I must say that travelling by bus through the Balkans is a great way to get from place to place in this region. The bus is nice, it’s easy and best of all it’s relatively cheap. FALLING IN LOVE WITH MONTENEGRO During my visit to Montenegro, I had planned two stops. The first was Ulcinj, a little town on the southern coast of the country and Kotor which was famous for its very old-world atmosphere. In Ulcinj I’d booked an Airbnb titled ‘New Cozy Apartment with Perfect Sea View’ [https://www.airbnb.dk/rooms/13791038?source_impression_id=p3_1601471236_OOVr6yzhPAg%2FLT5k] and it did not disappoint. It did have an incredible view and was just perfect for my needs. I’ve included a few pictures on TheRadioVagabond.com [http://theradiovagabond.com/]. I rented the apartment from Marko, a 24-year old student at the University of Tourism and Hospitality. He even went the extra mile and had his father pick me up at the bus station. I think he’s going to do quite well in the hospitality industry. MORE ABOUT ULCINJ Ulcinj [http://ulcinj.travel/en/home-2/] has an urban population of just over 10,000 people with the vast majority of them being Albanian. It is the centre of the Albanian community in Montenegro. Incredibly it is one of the oldest settlements along the Adriatic coast. Founded in 5th century BC, it had been part of the Roman Empire at one point. During the Middle Ages, it was under Southern Slavic rule for a few centuries and it has also been part of the Republic of Venice as well as the Ottoman Empire. As you can imagine this place is just steeped in history. Today it is a popular destination for tourists because of its 13km long beach (called Long Beach [https://www.visit-montenegro.com/destinations/ulcinj/attractions/long-beach/]), Lake Šas [https://www.lonelyplanet.com/montenegro/lake-sas], Ada Bojana Island [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Bojana] and for its two-millennia-old Ulcinj Castle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulcinj_Castle], which was exactly the place I was heading as soon as I settled in. MONTENEGRO NICE TO KNOWS Before I continue on with my story about my adventures in Montenegro, I’d like to share a few more details about this lovely country. It’s situated on the Adriatic coast in South-eastern Europe. As I’ve mentioned it is a small country, home to only 622,000 people and it is only about 14,000 square kilometres in size. That’s about the size of Connecticut in the US and is even smaller than my own tiny home country of Denmark. The landscape is diverse with rugged mountains, a narrow strip of beaches, azure water and picturesque coastal plains. Montenegro has a Mediterranean climate, winters are relatively mild and wet while summers are long, warm and dry. In the mountains of Montenegro, you’ll find alpine conditions throughout the year. ULCINJ CASTLE AND OLD TOWN Seeing Ulcinj Castle or “Kalaja” is a sight to behold. It’s also known as Ulcinj Old Town and the ancient castle and its surrounding neighbourhood is what makes this place very special. Interestingly, the castle and old town were built on a small peninsula to the right of the Rana Gulf, which is part of the Adriatic Sea. The rest of the city which is more modern was built outside the castle and its fortress. Ulcinj’s Old Town is actually one of the oldest urban architectural complexes on the Adriatic Sea. It’s been said that some people feel that the castle resembles a stranded ship with its arresting narrow and curved streets which were very typical in medieval times. I found myself marvelling at what a fascinating place this was to walk around as the sunset on the coastline. Two and three-story stone houses are packed closely together and are decorated with elements of the both the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It is in fact, considered one of the most unique representations of medieval architecture in Montenegro. As the sun goes down on an interesting day, I find myself sitting at a lovely restaurant sipping a glass of wine and watching the sun disappear into the Adriatic Sea. This is the good life... A FEW OF THE LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT MONTENEGRO * Despite being known as a stunning summer destination because of its sun-drenched beaches, Montenegro’s nickname is derived from its epic mountains. The name comes from the Italian ‘monte’ means mountain and ‘negro’ means black. So, Montenegro is the land of the Black Mountain [https://theculturetrip.com/europe/montenegro/articles/11-incredible-things-you-never-knew-about-montenegro/] . * Speaking of beaches [https://www.aworldtotravel.com/montenegro-beaches/], Montenegro has 117 of them along 293 kilometres of coastline and they come in all manner of terrain. You’ll find everything from rocky ones to sandy ones, tiny hidden ones and glorious pink pebble ones [https://luxeadventuretraveler.com/pink-sand-beaches-sveti-stefan/]. * Montenegrins are known to be very relaxed and don’t take life too seriously. In fact, they’ve developed their own set of commandments to live by. Among them are: “Love thy bed as you love thyself”; “If you see someone resting, help him”; and “If you have the urge to work, sit down, wait and you’ll see it will pass.” This is a culture I can truly get behind :-) * Now I’m fairly certain that for those 007 fans out there when I mentioned Montenegro, you probably conjured the scenes out of Casino Royale where Bond and Vesper Lynd were sipping champagne on a train, gambling in Hotel Splendid’s casino and recuperating in a stunning seaside hospital in Montenegro. These scenes put Montenegro on the map with thousands of people booking their next vacation there as soon as the film hit the cinemas. Well, I have some bad news...it wasn’t actually filmed in Montenegro. Not even a second of it. Montenegro’s rail doesn’t serve champagne, the casino was filmed in the Czech Republic and the hospital scenes in Italy. BUT that doesn’t mean that this country isn’t still one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. * On the topic of movies and films, one thing I’m not sure you would know is that in 1988 The Dark Side of the Sun [https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118930/] , Brad Pitt’s debut as a leading man was filmed in Kotor in Montenegro. He was paid a grand total of $1,523 for seven weeks of work. * Even though he was paid very little, the experience must have been a memorable one because in 2010 when he was still married to Angelina Jolie, Pitt brought her to Montenegro to show off the absolute beauty that this country has to offer. ON MY WAY TO KOTOR The next stop on my journey was where Brad Pitt filmed his first leading role, Kotor. So, after two splendid days in Ulcinj, I hopped on another bus and found myself mesmerized by the stunning coastline. I absolutely couldn’t wait to get settled so I could go out and start exploring Kotor. But, upon arrival, I had a really strange surprise at the hostel I had booked. I had missed something on the fine print on the booking site. Who even reads that stuff? Anyway, I found myself standing in the reception of the hostel where I had booked accommodation and was told that I was not allowed to stay there because I was too old!!! Their policy stated that only patrons between the ages of 18 and 40 would be allowed to stay. The worst part was they didn’t even look at my passport to see how old I was. Devastated, realising I could no longer pass for 40, I made my way down the narrow streets to another hostel that was apparently for ‘old people’. I was only marginally comforted by the fact that Brad Pitt would’ve also been turned away as he is a year older than me. I was pleased when I walked into the new hostel, explaining my circumstances to hear the receptionist say, “We don’t care about your age!” and he and I chuckled at my passing comment that I couldn’t hide that I was over 40. I was actually not the only gentleman over 40 that felt offended by this ageist policy, a 70-year-old man I had a chat with said he’d been arguing with the same hostel for ages. He had even challenged the guy at the front desk to a foot race to the top of a hill with the terms that if he won, he would be allowed to stay there. Unfortunately for both of us, they didn’t take the bait. WHAT A QUAINT LITTLE TOWN Once I checked into my new hostel in the old town of Kotor [https://www.visit-montenegro.com/destinations/kotor/attractions/old-town-kotor/] , I was ready to go exploring. The town was wonderful, narrow cobblestone streets with no cars and very old houses. I decided to stop off at a restaurant that sat opposite an incredible cathedral which was built in 1166. Behind it, I could see a huge mountain that perfectly framed this little town. It was almost as if I had been transported to the middle ages myself. I hadn’t eaten yet and it was already 4:30 in the afternoon and I was starving. Happily, I was treated to a very late lunch and an ice-cold beer. Heaven! The following morning, I went exploring to find a neat little breakfast spot. And, yes, I did get breakfast instead of starting the day with a beer, even though my breakfast hunt the day before happened in the afternoon, I wouldn’t recommend drinking on an empty stomach ;-) Unfortunately, it wasn’t the perfect sunny morning I had hoped for but there were still a lot of people in town because a huge cruise ship had just arrived in town. I’ve actually never seen a ship this big before and I was particularly surprised that such a big ship could make it there. As you can see from the map it is a very unique coastline where ships have to pass through very narrow straits to get to the Kotor harbour. As I made my way through the old town of Kotor I was struck by how very Game of Throne-ish it felt. I found myself on a free walking tour where I was treated to the rich history of this town. AN INTERVIEW WITH PHILIP After the tour and a bit of food, I went back to the hostel to speak to the hostel owner Philip. We had another chuckle about my ageist experience the day before and my dismay at not being able to pass for 40 anymore. We spoke a little about the cruise industry and Philip told me that the largest cruise ship to ever dock in their harbour was an incredible 330 metres long. (insane!) I also marvelled at how much I felt like I was on the set of Game of Thrones and Philip had this to say: “It’s very interesting, about the history of the city, nobody actually knows how old it is, but we all think it’s about 15 or 16 centuries-old...which means it was built in approximately the 5th century” He added that the old cathedral I visited the day before was actually older than the ill-fated Notre dame Cathedral in Paris. Philip has the most incredible knowledge around the history of this old land but a relatively new country which only won its independence in 2006. We continued to talk about all the wonderful sights in Montenegro and Philip recommended that you spend at least a week in Montenegro to see the full country. I do urge you to visit Philip and his hostel, Montenegro Hostel B&B [http://www.hotels25.com/Hotel/Montenegro_Hostel_BB_Kotor.htm], which you can book on Hotels25.com. When you go please remember to say hello from me! In the next episode, I’ll be taking you to Bosnia Herzegovina so remember to come back next week to hear all about my new destination. Until next time - my name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! I really would like to hear from you. Where are you and what are you doing as you listen to this episode? You can either send me an email on email@example.com or go to my website http://theradiovagabond.com/contact [http://theradiovagabond.com/contact]. Or send me a voice message by clicking here [https://telb.ee/uaz8k]. Either way, I would love to hear from you. It’s so nice to know who’s on the other end of this. SPONSORS A special thank you to my sponsors, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world.
Join me in Kosovo for my latest episode. I really loved this tiny country, and I enjoyed learning about its history. Listen here.
My latest podcast is LIVE! For the 3rd and final episode of my trip to #Albania, I become famous, I visit the city of 1000 windows and talk about balls...Listen to my latest podcast, here!
Albania Part II: In this episode, we go to Krujë, a historic city in the mountains. In the way, we meet George W. Bush and then Adam is trying to make me famous in Albania.
Albania Part I: Join me in Albania’s capital city of Tirana where I meet up local tour director Adam who takes me around the city. Tirana is a really great city - just don’t pee in the river...or else!
Next week we're going to Albania, and it took me by surprise. See you Wednesday.
Anchors up! For the final instalment of my 3-part Nomad Cruise adventure, myself and a gang of nomads hire cars and explore the island of Crete, I have a poignant coffee in Nafplion, and I speak to more interesting nomads about their transient lifestyle. Oh, and I also get a bit sentimental at the end.
Ahoy sailors! Join me aboard for Part II of my incredible cruise through the Mediterranean with a bunch of amazing digital nomads. In this episode, we walk the streets of Malta, enter a talent show, and sample some delicious wine at a boutique winery on a tiny Greek island.
Welcome to Season 5 of The Radio Vagabond. Join me as I embark on an epic 9-day cruise through the Mediterranean from Malaga, Spain to Athens, Greece with a large group of digital nomads. Are you ready to hop aboard Nomad Cruise 6 with me? Let’s go!
The Radio Vagabond is back with new episodes next Wednesday. In season 5 you can join me in Europe. We're going to Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Belarus and The Czech Republic. But we start on a cruise from Spain to Greece.
This episode might be the longest single episode in podcasting history. More than 12 hours of pure content without interruptions from my journey through Africa.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Conakry in Guinea.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Toronto, Canada.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to St. Louis, USA.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to the Bahamas.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Montreal, Canada.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Senegal.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Sri Lanka.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to New Orleans, USA.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Nicaragua.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Japan.
This special bonus episode will so much meta on so many levels. Here is an interview with me… so an old radio dude being interviewed by another old radio dude… from a radio station that broadcasts this podcast and now this interview is here too. It will not be more meta than this.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to The Gambia.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Sri Lanka.
While I’m working on episodes for the next season, I’ll give you some flashback episodes that you might have missed. This one is from my visit to Quebec City, Canada.
This is the season finale from Africa. Join me as I go on a hippo and croc cruise and then to eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Mozambique, Kruger National Park, Pretoria and Soweto in Johannesburg.
This is the episode where I drive one of the most dangerous mountain passes in the world in a tiny car – and nearly go to Lesotho. And then I'm up close with elephants and nearly run over a lion's tail.
In this episode of The Radio Vagabond, I do something terrifying. I was very nervous and out of breath, but I did it. Join me as I'm swinging in Durban.
Welcome to Part 3 of my epic road trip across beautiful South Africa. In this episode on my visit to Tsitsikamma National Park, Port Elizabeth and Durban, where I visit the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium and have a nice chat with one of the locals – who turns out to be a talented rapper.
Welcome to the second half of my meetings with Tarek Kholoussy. When we met in Brazil, Nomads Giving Back had just been started a few days earlier, and it was hard for him to see where it was going. So, I asked him again when we met in Bali here in 2020.