Monday, November 19, 2018

Christmas In New York City

 Is there a more magical place to visit during the holiday season than New York City?  Caz Makepeace from the YTravel Blog joins us to discuss the variety of NYC Christmas wonders, many of which are free.
   Plus chef Wolfgang Puck discusses his first New York City restaurant Cut and his views on cuisine and travel. 

Want to see Santa at Macy's Santaland?   It's free buy you will need a reservation 5 days  in advance. 
Make your reservations here

My wife Madelyn and I with Santa 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Retire Overseas for $150,000. Includes Podcast 78 Featuring Money Wise Writer Esther Trattner

  Yes, you read that correct.  You can retire overseas with a total savings of $150,000.  Esther Trattner of joins us after researching the top 20 countries where you can retire affordably. 
   Her work includes the visas you will need and the health care accomdations for 20 affordable destinations.

Read Esther Trattner's article featuring 20 countries you can retire in for $150,000

Our Instagram Travel Hack

Find out more on charging carry on bag - OOO Traveling

Monday, September 17, 2018

Budapest Uncovered - Featuring Podcast Episode 76

   Upon my parents suggestion, my wife and I recently visited Budapest. We fell in love with the city, which may call the 'Paris of the East'.
   Our podcast features a discussion of the city and our favorite places.  Below are a list of links to some of the places we discussed.
   But we decided to go one step further and compile a list of Budapest's more unusual features. Didi you know there is a wave pool in the middle of the city? Or that you can enjoy a mojito at Ernest Hemingway's favorite bar? Or find random statues of American's in Budapest.  It's all part of Budapest Uncovered.

Below are a list of the top attractions that we discussed in the podcast.

-The Buda Castle              
-The Mattias Church
-Fisherman Bastion
-The Basilica
- Parliament
-The Terror Museum
-The Jewish District
-Holocaust Museum
-The Weeping Willow Sculpture
-Shoes on the Danube
-Vargas Museum
-The Gellert Baths
-The Szechenyi Baths
-Free Walking Tours of Budapest
-The Grand Hotel - mentioned by Hawkeye's Dad
-The Market

Budapest Uncovered

How Budapest got its name

Did you know Budapest was formed when two cities, Buda and Pest,  on either side of the Danube River, decided to form one city, Budapest

Visit one of the world's oldest subways

   Built in 1896 for Hungary's Millennial Celebration, the original subway line went from the center city to the fairgrounds. Two things will immediately catch your attention. The condition of the subway.  It's been restored to it's original state.
   Secondly,  the original line, (the Yellow Line 1) is merely below street level.

A wave pool in the middle of Budapest?  Yes

The outdoor pool at the 100 year old Gellert Resort is also a wave pool. 

Though I prefer the 100 year old indoor pool

Check out the fist of St Stephen

   The fist of Saint Stephen, former king and one of Hungary's most important historical figures, is preserved in the Basilica.  You have to put a 200 Ft Hungarian coin in the box to turn on the light to see the fist.  

The right hand of St Stephen

The Basilica is the tallest building in Budapest and offers one of the best views of the city.  Above are the steps to the dome.  Below the view from the top of the church

Ride the one of the most beautiful street car lines in Europe

I highly recommend a ride on the Budapest street car Line 2. Named one of the most beautiful trolley lines in the world, it travels along the banks of the Danube River and offers stunning views of the Buda castle and Parliament.  Sit on the side of the river for the best views. 

Discover random statues of Americans placed threat Budapest

Yes, that is a statue of actor Peter Falk, depicted in his best known role as Columbo.  Falk had relatives with Hungarian roots.   Keep an eye out for lesser known Americans George Washington and Ronald Reagan, both with statues in Budapest.

Drink at Hemingway's favorite bar 
(even though he never visited Budapest)

Ernest Hemingway was known to frequent Havana's La Bodeguita Del Medio for he enjoyed his mojitos. A second location exists in Budapest on the edge of the Jewish district inside the courtyard of an old communist cultural affairs building

Discover the remnants of the Soviet era  
(there aren't many left)

Most of the statues and monuments from the communist era have been removed form Budapest.  Above is one of the only remnants of the Soviet era, a memorial / gravesite of Soviet soldiers who died in Budapest  during World War II while pushing the Nazis out.
    Many of the statues from the communist era were bought and placed in a unusual tourist attraction called Momento Park on the outskirts of Budapest

The Red Star that replaced the cross above Parliament during the communist era.  The star now sits in a museum below the building

Check out the Terror Museum (a Must See)

Located in a former headquarters of the secret police, this building depicts the atrocities of the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian Nazis) and the communist secret police.  The basement was once used for torture and hangings.  The museum is one of the most visited attractions in Budapest. 

A piece of the Berlin Wall outside the Terror Museum
During the noon sun, the overhang casts a terrifying shadow on the museum 

Artwork outside the Terror Museum depicting an 'Iron Curtain'

Visit the world's most beautiful McDonald's

   Many consider the McDonald's at the train station at Nougat Square the most beautiful McD's in the world.  This video by a young child visiting Budapest captures the stunning interior. 


Monday, September 10, 2018

Episode 75 - We Chat with the First Ever Travel Blogger, Evelyn Hannon of and Plus Country Music Legend Charlie Daniels

We chat with the delightful Evelyn Hannon of, the World's First Travel Blogger. 
  Plus Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels (The Devil Went Down to Georgia) discusses his career, his music and his travels

Learn More about Evelyn's Blog

Read about Evelyn in TIME   PEOPLE the NEW YORK TIMES

Sample Some of Charlie Daniels Biggest Hits

Monday, July 30, 2018

Episode 70 -The Story of Machu Picchu with Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu

   In my opinion, Mark has written the book to read before your trip to Machu Picchu.  It includes the history of the Incas and the Spanish Conquistadors plus the story of Hiram Bingham, the Yale lecturer whose expedition in 1911 found the ruins of the Incan site.
   The book also follows Mark (a self professed 'Martini Explorer') as he retraces the steps of Bingham's Peruvian expeditions.

   Did you know that there is a 'back door' to Machu Picchu? Or that there are many more Incan ruins to discover in Peru?  Find out more in our interview with Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Secret of the Incas - 1954

Was this main character played by Charlton Heston based on Hiram Bingham?  And was this character the inspiration for Indiana Jones?

Hmmm, the main character seems to have a distinctive style.  Seems somewhat familiar


Our Past Interview With Mark Adams on his Alaska Book
Tip of the Iceberg

Travel With Hawkeye now featured of Sticher
Check out the latest edition


Monday, June 11, 2018

Episode 64 - Stephanie Rosenbloom, NYT Writer and Author of Alone Time and Phillipe and Ashlan Cousteau on World Oceans Day

  New York Times Travel Writer Stephanie Rosenbloom discusses her new book on Solo Travel,  Alone Time, Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude
  Plus Phillipe and Ashlan Cousteau, host of the Travel Channel's Caribbean Pirates Treasure join us for World Oceans Day and to discuss hunting for hidden treasures.

Read Stephanie Rosenbloom's New Book - Alone Time

Find Out About the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Check out Aslan and Phillipe Cousteau's Travel Channel Show

Monday, May 21, 2018

Episode 62 - Mark Adams - Author of Tip of the Iceberg and his Alaska Journey

Mark Adams's new book, The Tip of the Iceberg, My 3000 Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, The Last American Frontier, is a fascinating look at his journey to recreate the historical travels of John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club)  and George Bird Grinnell (founder of the Audobon Society) on the famed Harriman Expedition to Alaska.

“Takes a topic you thought you knew well and makes it new again…[Adams’] storytelling is guaranteed to make you want to get off your beach towel and book passage somewhere in the great wild north.”
Outside Magazine

Monday, May 7, 2018

Episode 60 - Re-Discovering a Lost message from God in the Ancient Missions of San Antonio

George Dawson is a docent at the San Antonio Missions National Park. He had heard a local legend concerning Mission Concepcion. It took ten years to verify, but it was true. Franciscan Monks from 270 years ago were sending us a message, but it only appears once a year.

 The mystery starts in the early 1700s, when Franciscan monks came to San Antonio and started 5 Missions along the river, Mission De Valero (better know today as the Alamo), Concepcion, San Jose, Espada and San Juan Capistrano. The Missions offered the indigenous people of South Texas protection from Indian attack and disease. It also offered a complex system of acequias that created irrigated farms that help to protect against drought and starvation. However the true ‘mission’ of these outpost were to convert the natives to catholicism and subjects of the Spanish crown.

Today, the four remaining missions are all active Catholic parishes with many of today’s members able to trace their ancestry back to the original parishioners.  Because of this, many believe that the Missions have always been intact and active.  This is a mistaken notion.

  The Mission period in South Texas actually ended in the early 1800s when they became secularized  during the 1824 Mexican Revolution. Shortly thereafter, the Governor of Texas ordered the Mission’s surrounding property to be sold. 

    Mission De Valero, better known as the Alamo, is a well documented example of what became of a former mission. Over the years it has been used as a fortress for revolutionaries, an army depot and a wholesale Grocery warehouse.  The others suffered similar fate and were left in a state of disrepair and decay. Slowly, different Catholic orders came to San Antonio and saw an opportunity to restore  these chapels. 
    Mission Espada was one of the first to return to active status with the arrival of French Priest Father Francis Bouchu in 1858.  He helped to rebuild and restore the decaying church. Later he helped to save Mission San Juan to the south.
    Benedictine monks from Pennsylvania arrived in San Antonio in 1859 and worked to restore San Jose in hopes of making it a mission. 
    The Brothers of St Mary who came to the city to establish St Mary’s Institute (and later St Mary’s College) were given farm land at Mission Concepcion to grow food for  their students, and for a time used the chapel as a barn.

Caption Reads "Mission San Jose - 134 Years Old" 
Possibly taken in 1854

    In the early 1900s, the local Catholic Diocese regained control of the four remaining missions, but  the church had little funds for preserving these decaying relics of the Spanish crown. Of all the missions, San Jose was in the worst state. The chapel and granary’s roofs had collapsed as had the tower. The ownership of San Jose’s surrounding grounds were also in dispute having passed through many hands over the years. The mission who have slowly become a modern day ruin if it were not for the preservation efforts of the San Antonio Conservation Society and the US Government’s Civil Works Administration in the 1920s and 1930s. 

    Of the 4 remaining missions, only the chapel of Mission Concepcion withstood the test of time. It is still in its original condition and stands as the oldest unrestored stone church in the U.S. The church’s  exterior was once painted with brightly colored geometric designs that attracted the indigenous people to the compound. Those have faded over the years, but many of the Mission’s original interior frescos are still intact. 

Today the 4 Mission are under the watchful eye of the National Park Service and are constantly observed and cared for.  But the many years of decay, neglect, multiple owners and restoration have take their toll. Particularly when you consider that one of the Missions most amazing secrets was almost lost forever if it were not for the tenacious efforts on a National Park docent named George Dawson. 

Dawson had heard a local legend from a retiring docent that light through various windows at Mission Concepcion illuminated certain parts of the church on various religious holidays.  It took ten years of research and observation for him to verify that the Franciscan monks who built the mission were sending us a message.  On August 15th, 2003, Mr. Dawson discovered that on the annual Feast of the Assumption, (held every year on that date to celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven) at 6:30pm, light from the two west facing windows would meet behind the alter to illuminate a painting of Mary. Simultaneously, a lens above the door created a beam of light that would center under the church’s dome.  The phenomenon is called Solar Illumination and was used to convey the presence of God to Native Americans, as the ‘Light” is a metaphor for Christ.

Through the years, Dawson discovered numerous illuminations, including three from the south window of Concepcion’s Dome that marked the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th and the winter solstice 2 weeks later. 

San Antonio's Mission Concepcion - The Oldest Unrestored Stone Church in the U.S.
Notice the Windows above the Door, placed there to create the light effects 

George Dawson standing before the effects of Solar Illumination on the Feast of the Assumption
Photo by Carol Baass Sowa | Today's Catholic

The Window above the main door that lets the light in once during the Feast of the Assumption 

    A few years later, a similar illumination was noticed at Mission Espada, when beams of light lit the statue of St Francis of Assisi, (the Franciscan’s founder) on October 4th, the Feast of St Francis. On March 9th, on the Feast of a female St Francis, the illumination effect returns to Espada.

Ruben Mendoza, an archaeologist who first documented Solar Illuminations in a California mission in the year 2000,  says the Franciscans built these chapels as “ecclesiastical computers,” and used sunlight to make calculations such as the date of Easter. It was also an effective tool in the conversion of Native Americans to Christianity.  Dawson says that the sun was extremely important to indigenous peoples, “It was part of their world view. It was part of their religion. It was part of their lifestyle.”

    The recent discovery of Solar Illuminations is yet another way for us to appreciate these relics of the Spanish Crown. Today as part of both the National Parks System and the local Catholic Diocese,  all 4 missions are involved in ongoing restorations. That, along with living farms, functioning acequias, active congregations and the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio Riverwalk, the Missions have created a lasting appreciation for the oldest part of San Antonio. 
    In 2015, the rest of the world discovered the sites, as they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO designation was the first in Texas and only the 22nd in the US. 

Read More About San Antonio
Hawkeye's Book - San Antonio Uncovered 


Monday, February 19, 2018

8 Little Know Facts About the Winter Olympics

1. The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France, 28 years after the first modern Summer Games.  Figure Skater Gillis Grafstro was the first Winter Olympian to defend his Gold Medal, as Figure Skating and Ice Hockey had been contested in the previous Summer Games

Gillis Grafstro

2. In 1924, Anders Haugen became the fist and only American to win a medal in ski jumping. However due to a scoring error, he was not recognized as the bronze medal winner until 50 years later.
   A 50 year reunion of the Norwegian trio that swept the 1924 medals was to be held in 1974. Before the reunion, a sports historian, Jacob Vaage, discovered a scoring error an alerted the Olympic committee who finally recognized Haugen as the champion. Haugen was presented with his bronze medal at age 86, 50 years after the competition

Anders Haugen

3. The 1960 Winter Games were surprisingly awarded to Squaw Valley, California, and small ski resort with one chair lift, 2 rope tows and one 50 room lodge.
   To save cost, the Squaw Valley Games chose not to build a Bobsled run, the only games that did not include a Bobsled Competition

4. Walt Disney was the head of the committee that organized the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 1964 Squaw Valley Games.

5. The 1976 Winter Olympic Games were awarded to Denver. But the citizens of Colorado voted against using any public funds for the games, and the city made the unprecedented move of withdrawing from the Olympics after already being chosen as host.
   The 1976 Games were then awarded to Innsbruck, Austria who had recently hosted the 1964 Games and already had the infrastructure in place.

6. The 2022 Winter Games will be held in Beijing, China, despite the fact that Beijing gets virtually no snow.  The alpine venues will be the first to rely totally on artificially made snow

This photo of the proposed sites for the Winter Olympics ski routes, taken in January

7.  To illustrate how good the Soviet Hockey Team that was upset in the 1980 Winter Games by a group of American college kids was,  it's interesting to remember that the previous year the Soviets played the NHL All Star Team in a three games series.  The 1979 Challenge Cup replaced that year's NHL All Star Game and the Soviets won 3 games to 2.

8.  The 1924 British Curling team didn't receive it's medals for 84 years.  It was thought that Curling was only a demonstration sport and not officially part of the original Winter Games. It wasn't until 2006 that the Olympics officials recognized that curling was indeed officially part of the first Winter Games

   Hear Olympic Super Fan Ron Isbell discuss his trip to PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Games

         Listen to Travel Writer Tim Neville discuss the ski culture in both South and North Korea

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We discover Kalaupapa, the last Leper Colony in the USA, plus other unusual Travel Destinations

Yunche Wilson of joins the podcast to discuss some unusal but worthwhile destinations. (Forest Bathing in Japan? Yes!)
   Plus Hawkeye shares the one of his favorite spots, that few would ever consider visiting. 

Find Out More About Kalaupapa - 
The Last Leper Colony in the United States

   Located on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai, Kalaupapa was established as a Leper Colony by the the Hawaiian King Kamehameha V in 1866.
   The colony was on a isolated piece of land only accessible by boat or by a rugged trail down the cliffs pictured above. If you were diagnosed with leprosy, you would be sent to this isolated rugged facility to live the rest of your life. 
   Leprosy, or Hansen's Disease as it is known now, has been curable for decades. In 1969, the people of Kalaupapa were free to leave, as leprosy is no longer a threat. However, the people of this remote peninsula  had made their home and a community on this isolated piece of paradise and few chose to leave.

   It was been over 40 years since any new patient have been brought to Kalaupapa, but there are still a few surviving residents of the colony.  Today,  visitors are welcomed, if they care to hike the rugged trail to their small isolated town. Less than 15 surviving residents of Kalaupapa remain.  The US Government is converting  the colony into a National Park, and will become one when the last resident of Kalaupapa passes. 

The quaint homes in the village of Kalaupapa

A paradise that few people wanted to leave

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Podcast Episode 44 - Travel Writer Tim Neville discusses his travels to ski resorts in both South and North Korea

Travel Writer Tim Neville has written for the New York Times, Outside Magazine and SKI Magazine to name a few.
   We discuss his recent travels to South Korea and his preview of the Winter Olympics. Plus we talk about skiing in North Korea, Kosovo and other unusal winter stops.

Tim Neville's Article of the Skiing Scene in 

Read About Tim's Exploits Skiing in North Korea - Courtesy of SKI Magazine

The Jackson Hole of Europe?  Read Tim Neville's article on Skiing in Kosovo

Read More Abut Tim's Travels:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Episode 43 - Skiing in Utah

Paul Marshall from Ski Utah discusses the amazing variety of ski resorts that Utah has to offer and why it's the Greatest Snow on Earth (really it is!)

Utah's Ski Resorts -

Ski City USA - Salt Lake City

Park City