Taxco de Alarcón, Guerrero is right up there for an amazingly intricate, complex, and beautiful town built right into the lush green mountainsides. The original Taxco was originally called “Tlachco” which means “The place of the ball game” in the indigenous Nahuatl language. “De Alarcón” was appended in honor of a famous writer from this same town. The original town of Taxco (now called “Taxco El Viejo – Old Taxco”) was actually located 10km south of of the new Taxco, but was eventually relocated by the Spanish conquistadores for the purpose of mining the mountains which were rich in silver.Details
Each Gallery has 50-200 images for wonderful photos from each location 🙂
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Firstly, Veracruz was where the Spanish empire landed after taking the Caribbean islands, thus beginning their conquest deep into Mexico (which for a while was named New Spain).
But the history didn’t end there, because most slaves would be imported into Veracruz, all attempts at rebellion of the Mexican peoples would be repressed by the Spanish Navy through Veracruz, the French empire would try to conquer Mexico through Veracruz (twice), and even the Americans had their control of Veracruz back in the day.
Nonetheless, In this adventure, I bought a bus ticket from Mexico City to the Capital of the state of Veracruz – Xalapa.Details
After an arduous and historic trip from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Ankara, and Antalya Turkey, I finally arrived in the mythical island of Cyprus!
I flew from Antalya, Turkey to Nicosia, Cyprus. During this time, you learn that at one point, Cyprus was completely Greek, but the northern part was taken over by Turkey with the pretext of protecting the local Turkish population from repression.
Ultimately, this was a pretext for Turkey to invade Cyprus, but the reason was most likely the oil in the area.
Luckily, most days in Cyprus were warm at the least, and cool in the shadows, and cold at night.
This would be a great place to unwind and disconnect, although this could be impossible if you are still connected to the internet.
Limassol wasn’t super busy at the time and a bit decrepit due to their recent bankruptcy, which gave it a more relaxed atmosphere and vibe.
Ultimately, Cyprus was a blast, with its wide nature, and very rural feel to it, while in not too dense in the cities themselves.Details
Being the number one tourism destination in Turkey, Antalya has great sunny weather, warm blue oceans, and a super relaxed vibe.
I most enjoyed the mix of ancient Greek history that gradually evolved into the Ottoman Empire over the millennia.
While at night time Antalya was a brisk 10*C in November, in the day time, you can casually stroll around in shorts and catch some sunshine and Vitamin D.
There is even a fantastic salsa dancing scene here.Details
Before and during my adventure into Turkey, I decided to brush up on as much Turkish history as possible via. YouTube.
This was a fantastic idea, because I wasn’t educated into the extremely rich and expansive history of the region that is now called Turkey, but also Anatolia.
Many empires have come and gone through here, including the Hittites, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Seljuks, Byzantines, Ottomans, and ultimately the modern Turkish people.Details
After living in Minsk for 1.5 months, I decided to checkout somewhere new, and Baku was at the top of that list (along with Dushanbe, Tajikistan).
I was absolutely surprised at how quickly the city was being upgraded, and how similar it felt to Dubai.
This was a wonderful city. Had I stayed here longer, I would be able to settle right in, and continue working.
There is a slight language barrier when trying to get to know people, but otherwise, this is a fantastic city.Details
3 years ago, I went to Paris with a Bus full of 50 Young Party-centric tourists, on a mad-dash through Europe, to see 14 cities, in only 30 days!! This meant Paris was relegated to 1 day of Eiffel Tower, view the city through the windows of the bus, and get out.
Needless to say, this wasn’t a great experience to actually see or experience any of Europe, or Paris for that matter.
So this time around, after living in Kyiv, Ukraine for 2.5 months, It was time to pay a little visit to Paris, and see, feel and experience everything at my own pace.Details
If you haven’t already seen the series titled “Chernobyl” on HBO, then go ahead and watch it.
It will clear up a bit of the mystery of this place, and perhaps inspire you to come as well.
After the series released, tourism jumped from just 15,000 visitors per year to over 70,000 per year.
A few additional articles and research pointed out that the extent of the damage and chaos done by the Chernobyl reactor, bankrupted the Soviet Union, both Morally and Financially.
Ultimately, the Chernobyl Disaster was one of a few reasons that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.Details
Back in 2016, I was doing a massive cross-euro tour (about 20 countries), and Ukraine was on my list of places to visit. I stayed in Kyiv at that time for a mere 2 weeks.
Fast forward to May of 2019, while I was still living in Mexico City, my buddy mentioned he was planning to move to Kyiv for 3 months of work and pleasure.
So for the Summer of 2019, I decided to tag along for the sake of networking with like-minded individuals focused on business and self-development while enjoying what Kyiv, Ukraine has to offer!Details
After living in Monterrey, Mexico for 4 months, I came back to Toronto for just 3 weeks to do a quick recharge, and take care of some business stuff.
I personally love Mexico city for a few reasons, some of them include:
1. It’s still the Wild West down there – things are still a bit chaotic generally
2. It’s a massive city with things to do and see absolutely everywhere!
3. You can sample every single type of Mexican food (there are more than just Taco’s, although I love me some tuna and salmon tacos)
4. The history of this city is amazing!
5. It’s close to Toronto, so it’s really easy to get to, to avoid the North American winters 🙂
I plan to hit up Mexico City again in the future 🙂Details
After a brief lay-over in Mexico City, I arrived in the Colima Airport, and took a 30 minute taxi to my hotel in the center of Colima.
I open up my luggage to find that everything has been overturned like a pair of hyenas had gone through my things.
Plastic bags were ripped apart, clothes were crumpled everywhere, and everything was simply misplaced.
I searched carefully for what was taken, and it turned out that my small beige satchel where I was keeping my important documents and cash had been opened.Details
After exploring Merida, Chichen Itza, Izamal, and 2 cenotes, it was time to reach the end of the Mexican Peninsula.
The last 2 locations I wanted to visit were Playa Del Carmen, which I heard some interesting things about, and Cancun, which is famous for party-tourism.
After being unimpressed with Cancun and missing my exit flight, my adventures would take me to origins of one of the worlds most favourite excuses to get drunk: tequila in the town of Tequila, Mexico.
And finally, a quick stop over into one of Mexico’s most popular festivals, that attracts over 7 million Mexicans and cowboys and cowgirls every year; the San Marcos Festival.
All in all, it was a great conclusion to the traveling done in Mexico.
I visited 40 Mexican cities/towns in total over the course of 4 months.
Mexico is amazing, and I am DEFINITELY coming back!Details
The White City of Merida, The Yellow City of Izamal, Ancient Pyramids of Chichen Itza, and Crystal-Blue Underground Lakes
While the Yucatan has an abundance of Mayan ruins, and enough cenotes to visit for an entire life time, at this point, I wanted to start concluding my adventures in Mexico, and getting back to work.
During this brief escapade, you will witness the ‘White City’ and its palatial buildings that once houses super racist Europeans, large crystal-blue fresh water caverns that were carved out by nature over millions of years, the world famous Chichen Itza pyramids and its dozens of surrounding temples and imperial palaces, and finally two colonial towns; one that is almost completely coloured in yellow, and another that witnessed two revolts by its Mayan inhabitants.Details
Most Mexicans say the state is ‘So beautiful, you NEED to visit’ or sometimes as a question ‘Have you been to Chiapas?’… so visiting here was a must!
This adventure consisted of several, absolutely amazing, must-see locations deep into Mexico, with names such as ‘Tuxtla Gutiérrez, San Cristobal, Chamula, Zinacantán, Chiapa De Corzo, and the most breath-taking: El Sumidero’ Canyon.
You will see real Mayan people, American Crocodiles, Giant Natural vistas, massive farms high in the mountains, along with a very old Spanish Colonial city, and outdoor indigenous market places.Details
The 1600’s saw the construction of most of the religious, residential, and palatial structures along with the aquaduct in Valladolid.
By 1809, the city was home to about 20,000 residents, including ‘Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon’, whom was heavily involved in ideas of national indepence, a democracy, and abolishing slavery as seen in France and the USA.
By 1810, Morelos came with an army to Morelia to try to remove ‘royalist’ forces (those aligned with keeping Mexico as a Spanish colony), but failed.
By 1821, Morelia was free from royalists with the victory of the Mexican Independence, and by 1828, it was renamed to ‘Morelia’ in honor of Jose Maria Morelos.Details
Shortly after the fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521 (Pre-Mexico City), the emperor of the Aztecs, ‘Moctezuma II’ told Cortez the Spanish Conquistador that there was gold in Oaxaca.
Several Spanish captains were sent to the Oaxaca valleys, but instead of resistance, the local tribes and civilizations decided to ally with the Spanish – including the Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Mazatecas and Cuicatecas.
The Spanish conquest completely decimated the indigenous populations through disease, and brutal forced labour. Oaxaca had about 1.5 million people in 1520, which fell to about 150,000 by 1620.
The upper classes of the indigenous empires accepted the Spanish rule, including their religions, in exchange for maintaining their hierarchical positions and status.
But ultimately, the Spanish conquerors simply lumped all indigenous into one category (Indian), with no status at all.
While the rest of Mexico was assimilated much more forcefully, Spanish rule was minimal in Oaxaca due to its largely dispersed cities, thus the peoples of Oaxaca maintained much of their ancient culture and traditions.Details
All 3 of these spots; Puebla, Nevada De Toluca, and Teotihuacan, were visited on separate occasions.
The reason I grouped them, was because they are located within an 2-3 hours outside of Mexico City, by car, in completely different directions.
Teotihuacan is a simple 45 minute to one hour drive outside of Mexico City.
Puebla is about 2 hours outside of Mexico City if you take the toll highway. But I went through the volcanoes, out of curiosity, thus it took more than 3-4 hours.
Nevada De Toluca, which is another massive Volcano outside the city of Toluca, took about 3 hoursDetails
The Aztecs or Mexica (‘Meh-shee-kak’) originally founded the city of ‘Tenochtitlan’ in about 1325, and by 1430, it became the center of the Aztec Empire. At its peak, about 200,000 people inhabiting the ancient city of Tenochtitlan.
Once the Spanish Conquest of the city was over, Hernan Cortez ordered that the entire city of Tenochtitlan be destroyed, and a new city be built on top.
All of the materials from the previous temples and ceremonial centers were used to build new buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Eventually, Tenochtitlan was renamed to Ciudad De Mexico (Meh-hee-Coh) (Mexico City) because it was easier to pronounce for the arriving Spanish.
From 1521 to 1821, Mexico City was the social, economic, and religious capital of Mexico, while the elites and Spanish crown continued sucking every bit of wealth and resource, and viciously exploiting the people.Details
This could be the ‘fresh car smell’ effect that ultimately wears off, but Guanajuato simply has this charm that really makes it a cool city to venture around, and potentially stay in, for atleast 3-4 weeks.
What I really enjoyed about the city was driving into for the first time, and being enveloped in the complex tunnel system that runs beneath the streets, and through the mountain sides that surround the city.
Once you walk through the city, everything felt very well centralized and compact into the center, with streets winding about like snakes, up and down the hills, through narrow streets, stairs, and alleyways that can only fit a bike or a person or two.
Guanajuato felt like what a city in Italy feels like, surrounded by mountains on all sides, and contradictory to where you would put a city, it somehow exists, and prospers.Details
After venturing in mexico’s second largest city: Guadalajara, I returned back to my accommodations in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico to continue working.
After a few more weeks of working, and enjoying the beach & resort lifestyle, it was time to continue venturing into the unknown of Mexico.
So I took only my backpack, and bought a $60 USD flight into the parts where most foreigners don’t go.Details
Originally, settled in 1532, the site of Guadalajara was relocated 5 times due to several major issues such as a lack of water, a dry and inhospitable land, hostile indigenous tribes who kept attacking for years, and a leader who just didn’t like the location.
Finally, by 1542, after almost a decade of unsuccessful attempts, Guadalajara was officially settled in its new and current location at the ‘Teatro (Theatre) Degollado’.
Yet, by 1543, a contingency of indigenous tribes waged war against the city, due to the savage treatment of the indigenous people as slaves under the spaniard ‘Nuño de Guzmán’. The war ended only after ‘Nuño de Guzmán’ agreed to release the indigenous slaves.Details
While the Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic locations in the world to take a selfie in, I have to admit that the Agra Fort was a much more enjoyable and breathtaking artifact of history.
It’s kind of how the ‘Mona Lisa’ painting is a tiny over-rated painting (metaphorical Taj Mahal) in the Louvre Museum in France, yet when you look behind yourself in the same room, you see a REALLY stunning painting of an epic scale (metaphorical Agra Fort).
Oh, and the squirrels in the Agra Fort will literally climb you up and down looking for food.Details
This is a major tourist destination in North Vancouver, that has a 140 meter long (460 feet) suspension bridge that is 76 meters (230 feet) above the Capilano river.
The bridge was originally built in 1899 using hemp and wood, but was upgraded to a wire cable in 1903.
By 1935, various local tribes were invited to place their totems in the park for an added theme.
In 2004, the second major section, the ‘Tree Tops Adventure’, was added, consisting of footbridges attached to the gigantic ‘fir’ trees.
This is a nice place to visit, and walk around for 2-3 hours, and just enjoy the mixture of nature and man-made suspension bridges and pathways.Details
The entire area of Vallarta (and a bit further beyond), features some really incredible, picturesque beaches, great for adventure, building sand castles, and just retiring as many pensioners and ex-pats have done.
You can fulfill all your hopes and dreams of: sitting on the sand and burning your skin away, fattening up on endless buffets and cocktails at resorts, adventure into some coastal jungles and villages, and to touch horses and seeing a fat kid riding a donkey on his way to work (photo included).
In this post, I will cover 4 beaches:
– Nuevo Vallarta
– and the ultimate: Boca De Tomatlan
In 1963, a major American motion picture was being filmed in ‘Puerto Vallarta’, which involved famous actors and actresses of the time – the film is called ‘La Noche De La Iguana’ (The night of the Iguana).
The main actor (Richard Burton) and actress (Elizabeth Taylor), while still married to other people, had a sexual relationship.
This caused wide-spread media fervor in the United States, resulting in an EXPLOSION of curious tourists, and media personnel, who were excited to know about this beautiful, lust-inducing place in the world.
Thus, from 1965 and onward, the government of Jalisco approved massive construction efforts to upgrade the port town into a massive resort city, including an airport, electricity, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
By 2000, the population was about 71,000, but by 2010, it had exploded to 255,000. A huge chunk of those being foreigners from Canada and the United states.
About 2.5 million tourists visit Puerto Vallarta (and its surrounding regions) every year, thus making it the 3rd most popular destination in Mexico.Details
Due to constant tribal in-fighting and the advancements of ship technology, the ancient silk road became an impractical and unsafe method of transporting goods.
So, from 1720, Samarkand became a ruinous wasteland dotted by ancient architecture, with no one living there.
By 1865, the Russian empire had captured Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and ran a railroad next to the city by 1888, at which point economic and cultural activities resumed.
From 1924-1934, the soviets had recaptured most territories of the old Russian empire, and made Samarkand the capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
The beauty of Samarkand falls unto its gigantic 14-20th century Madrassahs, mosques and tombs that were built during the empire of Amir Timur and his children.Details
The history of Bukhara goes back about 2500 years, with the initial settlements of the Aryan people.
It was a major city within the Persian empire from 600 BCE, but eventually a Turkic population overthrew the locals.
By the 9th, and 10th century, the Samanid empire (an Iranian Islamic empire) conquered the city and Bukhara became the intellectual capital of the Islamic world.Details
Khiva’s true rise to fame was through its intensive slave trade, at peak having over 30,000 Persian and Kurdish slaves, and 3000 Russian slaves kidnapped from the southern areas of Russia.
By the 1850’s the Russian government was well aware of it’s people being kidnapped in cities such as Orenburg. But at the time, the Tsar was busy consolidating his power in St. Petersburg and the rest of Russia.
By the early 1870’s, Russia used the pretext of ‘Russian slaves in Khiva’ to stage a strategic military advance and invasion (Although the real goal was to capture British controlled Afghanistan, and ultimately, India).Details
Whichever way you look, Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.
Since 1991, one man has basically controlled Uzbekistan, under a mostly dictatorship-style government, while initiating a post-soviet reformation from absolute chaos and anarchy.
As of 2017, a new president is now in office, and is seeking to liberalize the entire country by apologizing for past mistakes, giving large economic incentives for international investments, establishing communication presidents from other countries, and allowing the Islamic religion more room to flourish.
Within the next several years, Uzbekistan will most definitely be a prime tourism and investment destination for many foreigners.
Oh, and Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan 🙂Details
The flight from Almaty was less than $100 USD and took only 1 hour.
But upon trying to land the plane in Kyrgyzstan… we didn’t land, so the pilot made a big circle around the airport, and tried to land again… but couldn’t… for a total of 3 failed landing attempts.
After the 3rd failed attempt, tensions in the body were rising… would the plane have enough fuel to land in another airport? Were we going to crash and burn in the Kyrgyz mountains?Details
After my 3-4 day stop in Astana, Kazakhstan, I decided to take a $95 USD flight down to Almaty, Kazakhstan (the former capital of Kazakhstan).
You can either take a train for about 15 hours, or a 2 hour flight… Obviously the flight was the better option.
Long story short, I ended up staying in Almaty for almost a month, and had an epic adventure into the mountains of Shymbulak.Details
Just like yourself, I had no idea what Plyos was, or why someone would go there. It is almost in the middle of nowhere in Russia, and has a very small population of about 2300 (according to wikipedia).
What you get to see in Plyos, is a beautifully scenic town by the river… old-Russian style.
About 120 years ago, a Russian painter from Moscow, Isaac Levitan, came across the hills of this town, and decided to start painting it all.
Upon displaying and selling his paintings back in Moscow, Isaac Levitan became incredibly famous, and the town of Plyos became a ‘Dacha’ or Cottage resort town.Details
If you’ve had a chance to visit Dubai, then Astana feels incredibly similar.
OR, If you felt that Kazakhstan was a backwater country as portrayed in Borat, then prepare to be blown away.Details
In 1864, local merchants failed to convince the town to build the trans-siberian railway through it.
Thus the town remained a religious backwater village, and was bypassed completely by the industrialization of the 20th century.
The beauty of the town is in its reminder of an older time in Russian history, with its magnificent churches, and many wooden houses.Details
I was in Manaus Brazil (North eastern Brazil), when it was time to decide on the next destination.
Unfortunately, I was stuck with expensive flights during peak Brazilian Carnival season.
A flight to almost anywhere in Brazil, was going to cost about $500+ USD.
The least expensive flight?Details
While exploring Moscow, I stumbled upon these amazing posters from mid-century USSR / Communist Russia.
These came from a time, when the media was completely controlled by the government. Thus they could shape, direct, and force the minds of millions of people in any direction they wanted.
Thus, one day the USSR is friends with Nazi Germany, and the next, they are bloody, savage, and ruthless enemies.Details
“Minsk, The Most Difficult City To Visit In Europe” is actually the title of a Minsk vlog review I posted back in October of 2016.
I stayed in Minsk for a total of 3 weeks in 2016 (1 week, then 2 additional weeks), and decided that it was an awesome city to visit… if you could get in.
For many years, the Visa process for many people was a headache, which prevented extensive amounts of income from tourism.
As an interesting side note, Minsk was COMPLETELY destroyed by the German army in World War 2.
Thus, everything you see in these photos, was built after the war.
A lot of Minsk was re-built by prisoners of war as well.Details
While wandering around Yekaterinburg, Russia – Home of Russia’s First President, there was a fun exhibit on the streets, featuring Communist propaganda against the Nazi’s in World War 2.
Since I loved playing WW2 video games as a kid, and watching a good WW2 about the epic Eastern Front (Russians vs. Germans), I was quite excited to share these Translated World War 2 USSR/Communist Propaganda Posters.Details
Yekaterinburg has several very important stories that you need to know about, that ultimately culminate in the Russia you know, see, and hear about today.Details
During the 2nd World War, Germany invaded European Russia.
To avoid losing the entire Russian manufacturing industry, Stalin packaged every factory in Euro-Russia.
Stalin then shipped the factories to this city to be rebuilt, in order to produce an endless supply of tanks, planes, and weapons.
Welcome to New SiberiaDetails
Delhi, India is actually 2 different cities; Old Delhi, and New Delhi.
New Delhi is the gentrified areas full of malls, new apartment blocks, highways, and pretty much the same thing you see in every corner of the world right now.
Old Delhi is where the wild west is, and you can tell…Details
Almost immediately upon arriving into Fort Kochi, India, you feel how ancient everything is.
Add in the architecture from multiple religions that co-existed at one point here, and you have a mess of a very deep and vivid history.
You literally have a mix of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Communism, and British and Portuguese Colonialism, all in one.
Also, there is a fun element of animals wandering around freely here, goats, cats, chickens, dogs… but no cows this time?Details
It’s rain season, so everything is wet… but everything is also beautifully lush and green.
Oh, and there was an abundance of mosquitos…
But luckily I brought 2 canisters of mosquito repellent. So for the rest of the few days of being in the freshest air in the world… we smelled like industrial chemicals – But atleast no mosquito bites, right?Details
Arriving in Mysore, you immediately feel that it is WAY less chaotic than Bengaluru. Still just as dirty with garbage thrown around on every corner, street, green field, crevice and what not, but otherwise, less chaotic.Details
All of those fairy tales and hype you hear about India are just that… hype.
The mystical, spiritual place that is supposed to be India, is the most contrasted place to all other nations I have ever been in. A full 180 degrees in the opposite direction of sanity and order. But at the same time, there is beauty in the Chaos as the saying goes.Details
Walking around the old-town, you can feel that some of the buildings haven’t been repaired since their soviet-era days, with the decades-old decay of their exteriors. While others have been refurbished for the rapidly growing tourism industry in Vilnius.Details
Lisbon, Portugal was my first destination of a long 1-year tour of the world. The city immediately displays its Roman-esque red rooftops, and low-rise buildings in the central core.
You definitely feel like you are in old-europe, and yet, deep down, I wondered how much of Brazil looked like old Portugal.Details
Taking the train from Lisbon, Portugal into Porto, Portugal, is one of the most scenic experiences you can get!
The view of the bridge, crossing the 2 cliffs, is a sight to be seen, most definitely.Details
I looked on google maps to see the routes in Salvador, and it basically looks like an ant colony… squiggly lines going everywhere, with no clear direction. Clear evidence of an amazingly deep historical growth and evolution.
Nonetheless, Salvador was colonized almost 500 years ago through a series of shipwrecks, and eventually became an epic hub of slavery and despair for native Americans and Africans from all over the world.Details
Vancouver is considered one of the top 10 best cities to live in, year after year. I had 4 days of sun while here, so it was a great time to explore.
The city itself is very safe, and organized, yet there are several drug addicts roaming around the streets.
There is a very modern feel due to the current rapid development of the city.Details
The Shannon Falls hiking trail, located 1 hour north of Vancouver, British Columbia, is amazing!
It’s a straight climb to the top, so get your quadriceps ready. There are 3 peaks, with a bonus one for fun. The paths are not always linear, and you can get lost here from peak 2-3.
The view is amazing, and you will definitely thank yourself for coming here and climbing to the top.
One of my favorite hikes of all time (so far).Details
The prices on Airbnb are super inflated. The hosts are typically trying to make a 200-500% Return on Investment. For every $100 they spend, they want $100-500 in profit. This is fine, if you want a place to stay for 1-3 days, but you can see why paying $1800 for a 1 bedroom apartment, in a 3rd world country can be REALLY OBVIOUSLY overpriced.Details