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A Walk Through Athens Greece

As a hardcore history nerd and amateur cultural anthropologist (yes, I’m only two classes away from having a bachelors in Anthropology), Athens was the perfect opportunity to finally live out my fantasy of exploring and studying ancient cultures and their ruins. It was an honor to have a personal experience with one of the most prolific civilizations that has ever graced this planet.  Think about it!  Without Athens modern democracy wouldn’t exist!  The idea of forums and a government by the people for the people was a concept that arose from the Athenians who, like the goddess Athena for whom

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Port of Hamburg: Photo Essay

Sorry Philadelphia, but I’m having a love affair with Hamburg, Germany.  I love its old traditions balanced with a spirit of new ideas, its humble, working class beginnings, and this port city’s seafaring feel.  Where Philadelphia’s shipping history was almost snubbed out because of America’s highway system (in recent years, there’s been a huge push to revitalize it), Hamburg’s is still thriving 826 years later.  Honestly, a life at sea is not complete with a stop at Hamburg Harbor. This past winter, I took a trip back to visit Hamburg and was welcomed by unseasonably beautiful weather.  As a result,

Heini Hiltunen Timo Kaukonen, left, sweats it out at the Sauna World Championships.
From ESPN "Sports from Hell"

That Time I Almost Died in a German Sauna

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who go to saunas for relaxation.  Then there are those who turn relaxation into a competition.  Yes, there are literally people who go to saunas to challenge one another on who can stay in a sauna the longest.  Back in 2010 I read a story about that Russian guy who died in a sauna competition in Finland.  The relaxation aspect of it I can get, but I think it’s a bit crazy that people take it to a whole new level and put their bodies through stress just

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Have You Seen the Dall Sheep?

Alaska is teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to 39 species of mammals, 169 types of birds, 14 fish, and 1 amphibian.  Amongst them are wild bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, eagles, and other creatures worth excitedly wiping out your camera and accidentally dropping it for.  But no animal in Alaska gets the older male tourist population more pumped than the Dall sheep. When compared to the other majestic creatures that you encounter in Alaska, the Dall sheep are simpletons.  You can usually observe them far off in the distance, hanging out on the peaks

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From the Darkness Comes Light

Hey there readers, On A Travel Broad, I tend to focus only on the positive and exciting side of my life and travels.  I share with you pictures from my time living in Germany and stories of my jaunts through Europe and North America in hopes of inspiring you to go out and experience the world for yourselves.  But I hardly ever discuss the difficult times I sometimes face.  Some of these challenging times are by my choice because I love traveling and sharing my travels with you gives me purpose.  In the 5 years since I’ve started this blog,

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How to Navigate Germany When Deutsche Bahn Train Drivers Go on Strike

If you want to tick off a group of Germans, tell them that the train is going to be fifteen minutes late. But if you tell them that none of the trains will be running due to a strike? Utter chaos! Hundreds of thousands of travelers depend on the Deutsche Bahn to transport them to airports, cities and neighboring countries in Europe. But as Deustche Bahn train drivers prepare to go on strike tomorrow through Monday, these travelers, many of whom will be converging on Berlin this weekend for the 25th anniversary of its fall, are scrambling for an alternative.

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Playing with Roma Children

Below Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Roma children work as street performers, playing accordions, drums and the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, for money.  They purposely target marketplaces and tourist areas, knowing that that’s where the cash flows the fastest.  There are several levels of aggressiveness when it comes to begging.  Some casually perform on the street corner — in fact, the older kids are very talented at playing folk music, turning street corners in to concerts.  Then there are others who go from cafe table to cafe table playing music while simultaneously begging for money. Some get creative by

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Answer to the Infamous Question, “What’s Your Favorite Place in the World”

“What’s your favorite place in the world?”  It’s often the first question that everyone asks when they learn that I’m a travel writer.  In my younger years, I often answered with a place I had recently gotten back from, mostly for the sake of conversation.  “Oh I was surprised how much I loved Denmark” or “I loved Barcelona for the food”. But the more I travel, the more I realize that there is no definitive answer to this question.  People sometimes expect me to pick a favorite place because of the sites (“isn’t Paris the best because of the Eiffel

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York: England’s Most Haunted Town is Actually Charming

York: England’s most haunted town.  Seems like a bold claim, but when you look at York’s gruesome history of the Black Death, murder, poverty, war, and genocide you can kind of see where these ghost stories come from.  As a result, many businesses in York are cashing in on things that go bump in the night.  Nightly ghost tours take upwards of 75 thrill-seekers at a time to go ghost hunting at famous sites, hotels offer premier rates to stay in their “haunted suite”, and pubs have banners and signs claiming York’s most haunted pub, not because of any quantifiable

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The Cats of Athens

People often talk about how many dogs are roaming around Athens, but let’s take a moment to enjoy the cats. With the picturesque views and the natural coyness of cats, I have enough photos to do a 15-month “Kittehs of Athens” Calendar if I wanted to.  Here’s a few of my favorite felines so far.

Top 5 Travel Advertisements of 2013

As an advertising nerd, I admire well thought out and perfectly executed advertising and marketing campaigns.  Ads with creative slogans, deep and thought provocative messages and the ability to inspire viewers to action truly make me smile.  Here’s a list of my favorite travel industry advertisements from this year.

The Most Inspiring

A lot of people gave United Airlines flack this year because of their 2013 campaign.  Those who complained about the ad campaign felt that using “Rhapsody in Blue” was cheesy as it is a song that is often recycled in many ads and other mediums.  I say nay!  “Rhapsody in Blue” is a piece that has class and is familiar, making it almost like a classic.  I also find that the comparison of an orchestra to the experience of flying with United is brilliant.  Trust that your trip will be well orchestrated, in tune and perfectly synced when you fly with United.

On a personal note, I like this advertisement because I play the violin and “Rhapsody in Blue” is one of my favorite compositions of all time… so yea, I’m a sucker for this year’s United campaign.

 

The Most Thought Provocative

British Airways came out with a 1 minute 30 second video using almost nothing but realistic images juxtaposed to dreamlike sequences.  Not until the last 20 seconds of the video do we get a very poetic message of “Today. Tomorrow.”  There are tons of conclusions that we can draw from this ad and lots of symbolism (like the image of lines in the palm of a hand being compared to an aerial view of canyons – almost as if to say “have the world in the palm of your hand”), but overall we can all agree that British Airways uses science and technological innovations in every detail of their business, giving us the impression of a very futurist today.

 

The Funniest

Let me bring you to my hometown for just a hot second.  This year, the Philadelphia Tourism Board came out with a series of commercials targeted towards… an alternative audience.  Needless to say, Philadelphia has a large and healthy gay community and I am proud that there is a large enough market to justify an entire advertising campaign.  Miss Richfield’s Selfie Tour of Philadelphia combines Philly culture with the infamous selfie.  It’ll make you laugh and want to come take selfies in Philly.

 
Most Creative

Lufthansa thought outside of the box with their “planking commercial”.  Kind of ripping off the Instagram fad of “planking” they advertise their new business class seats that allow passengers to lay down.  Though it introduces their new seating arrangements, Lufthansa also inspires us to travel with a montage of people planking in destinations around the world.

 

Social Media Tycoon

UGH!  Total ad-gasm!  This wasn’t even supposed to be a commercial!  It was merely a video used to give passengers pre-flight information about the plane’s safety features, but once this hit YouTube it became an instant viral sensation.  Now with over 8 million views, I award Virgin America’s Safety Dance with the title of Social Media Tycoon.  Not only is this video well choreographed, it is memorable, funny and informative.  Basically it is everything that a commercial or advertisement should be.

Virgin Airways used ‘humor’ — It was super effective!

 

I’d love to hear what you think!  What do you think these advertisements achieved?  Did they mean something to you?

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