Majestic Masada in Israel, overlooking the Dead Sea

Majestic Masada

I love reading travel blogs where the personality of the blogger shines out. So many blogs are clones of each other, offering the same SEO-driven keyword-loaded content, the same identical structures, the same advertising. I like to travel, and I like reading about adventures in exotic places, but I swear if I read one more post about Ten best things to see in Paris I will scream out Sacré Merde and heave a baguette through my laptop. Or something.

Abby at The Winged Fork runs a quirky blog, focused on travel, food, and love. Assisted by her sister Sarah and friends, she covers a range of places and activities. How often do you see a blog post on the difficulties of foreign travel with a pair of extra-large breasts? Or eating invertebrates for dinner?

East end eats in London. Cockney tucker and high class grub.

East End eats

Brittany of The Sweet Wanderlust got my attention when she began talking about a food tour. Then again, she always gets my attention; her whole delicious blog is about food and travel!

She describes a food tour of London’s East End, and I have some experience there. I once had dinner with BookCrossing friends at St Johns “Nose to Tail” restaurant. It was a fun night, with some very interesting food. “You want to live to a ripe old age,” my doctor wife advised, “don’t try that dish.”

In 2005, during my Monopoly tour of London, I used Tim Moore’s “Do Not Pass Go” as my guide, and after reading his hilarious encounter with Tubby Isaacs and jellied eels, I sought out the food van and ordered some for myself. Let it be known that in the thirteen years since that moment, I have never felt the urge to eat that particular delicacy again.

Sunset from a luxury houseboat in Kerala, India

Backwater bliss

Of all the places I’ve been in the world, the backwaters of Kerala in India impressed me most of all. There was an otherworldly feeling of tranquility and majesty as our tour boat glided through the lakes, along canals, past villages, fields, forests, and temples.

The locals lived simply but well, working in harmony with each other and their environment. The waterways served for transport, commerce, food source, and entertainment.

And inspiration. The calm waters reflecting the trees, the clouds, and the sun. The birds going about their business or rising like angels to seek higher things. I was charmed and delighted by the elegance of the land.

Soumya Nambiar of Travel, Books and Food (now there’s a happy combination) spent some time on one of these luxury houseboats, and in stumbling across her blog I am full of desire to immerse myself in the Kerala backwaters.

Twinned chimney pots on Gaudi house in Barcelona. Show me a good time.

Show me a good time

Here’s a bit of a giggle and a new approach to travel hacking. Using Tinder when you’re on the road to find the sweetest parts of a new city.

The only times I’ve been to Barcelona, I’ve had my wife with me, and um, I don’t have a Tinder account anyway, but what the hey. For those who are young, single, and looking for a good time, this may be the way to match up with a good guide and a foot massage king.

Just be careful not to put a foot wrong along the way, otherwise you might end up flat on your back re-examining your strategy.

Quirky street art abounds in the cities of Iran. Colourful, fun, whimsical: enjoy!

Enjoy Iran

Lonesome Wanderer has a special section in his blog called Enjoy Iran, and it is marvelous. What caught my eye was his post of photographs, each with a short caption, each a feast of beauty. Sometimes a literal feast, of deliciously arranged foods.

I browsed through, sighing with recollections of my times in Iran. It is truly a beautiful land, full of friendly people and history that stretches the mind.

England swings

England swings

Marchela at Global Eyes is 26 and smiles a lot, and she gives us London through her eyes. Here’s her take on the Carnaby Street precinct, the very definition of Swinging London, back in the days when the Apple Boutique didn’t sell electronics.

Colourful, casual, and full of character, this area presents, as Marchela smilingly points out, an alternative to the more staid shopping in nearby Oxford and Regent Streets.