Author: Stephen Bugno

Jordan

Blog of a Modern Nomad Welcome to Jordan The Jordanians, like most Arabs, are known for their hospitality. On the street people call out, “You are welcome to Jordan.” You’ll hear the same from those in the tourist industry, although it’s much less sincere. From them it’s more like, “You are welcome to spend your money in Jordan.” These Jordanians will do almost anything to make a dinar. Most upsetting is the official prices at tourist sites that can elevate the cost to four times what a Jordanian citizen pays. And nearly every store and restaurant will inflate the prices as soon as they see you are not a local. We did, however, experience some genuine Jordanian hospitality while we were in Amman. We have been using an internet site called Couch Surfing Project, which connects travelers with hosts all around the world. If a person is unable to host, they may be able to meet for drink, which is a great way to meet locals (or even expatriates). A guy named Simon not only offered us his place in Amman, but took us out to dinner as well. To add to this, he was already hosting an Austrian couple. He and his friend wouldn’t let us pay for a thing. Aqaba, Jordan Moving south from Amman we visited the must-see sights of Jordan. The Dead Sea is a mandatory stop if...

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Bordeaux, France

By Stephen Bugno Blog of a Modern Nomad The next day I rode the slow, winding topo train to the French border town, Hendaye, where I caught a short ride out to the on-ramp of the divided highway. After about 25 minutes standing with my thumb up, I was picked up by a guy heading nearly all the way to Bordeaux. Quite well-traveled and speaking excellent English, Sebastian and I chatted nearly the whole three hours as we ripped through the great Landes forest, the largest maritime pine forest in Europe (10,000 km2). “This is the lung of Europe,” he pointed out. He lived in a small beach town and dropped me off at a rural crossroads. Waiting in the warm afternoon sun, my next ride really caught me off-guard. A young woman with her elderly mom and her baby in the back seat pulled over on their way home from spending the afternoon on the beach. At first I didn’t even look back, figuring they couldn’t possibly be stopping for me. But they got out, glanced at me and started repacking to make room in the back seat for me. I threw my backpack in the trunk, brushed some sand off the back seat and we pulled off. They dropped me on the outskirts of Bordeaux and as the rain began, I took shelter under a bus stop...

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My First Nights in Nablus

They told me the gunfire only rings out at night. But this morning, after sunrise, I woke up to loud clashes across town in the Al Ein refugee camp and the upheaval continued until 11am. Then we checked the internet for the story: Ma’an News reported that one Israeli soldier and an 18-year-old Palestinian youth were killed.

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Evora and Tomar, Portugal

On the morning of the 21st, I left the Atlantic for the interior of Alentejo. Leaving Sines and changing buses in Setubal, I arrived in Evora at about 2pm, and had a bit of a problem finding affordable accommodation. My main reason for visiting Evora was to see the Chapel of Bones, a church entirely covered on the inside with the bones of monks. It was worth the trip since this is not something I had seen before. Evora is one of the touristic highlights of Portugal due mostly to its Roman history. Although I wasn’t as impressed as I should have been perhaps having been spoiled in Spain where these historically, culturally rich cities are a dime a dozen. After watching the disappointing outcome of the Turkey-Czech Republic match, I wandered into the enormous week-long St John’s festival. Around the old city I noticed how empty the streets were when minutes later I stumbled upon games, rides, food, music, exhibitions and a whole lot of people. So I grabbed a fartura and beer and cruised through all the activity. Past midnight, children and grandparents were still out having a good time. The next morning I caught the train to Tomar, which had an inconvenient stop-over in Lisbon. I arrived in Tomar on the summer solstice and just after sunset my couch surfing host drove to an observatory on...

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Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Hundreds of kilometers through the flattest, most desolate landscape I’ve seen, we rode south from Mersa Matrouh, the last city on the Mediterranean coast. This was the final stage of a nine-hour bus ride from Alexandria to the Siwa Oasis. The remote oasis is a depression that stretches 82 x 28 km and contains 310,000 palm trees and 80,000 olive trees. Besides tourism, dates and olive production are the economic mainstays. Siwa Oasis is different from Egypt’s other oases in the fact that it was never under Pharaonic control and Siwans speak their own language, Siwi, a Berber dialect...

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The GoMad Nomad Travel Mag is an online magazine for independent travelers publishing original travel articles on popular and off-the-beaten-track destinations, volunteering and working opportunities abroad, and practical travel advice on long-term, adventure, alternative, and budget travel.


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