Ancestral Journeys — Part One: Tracking Down my Müller ancestors in Rheinland-Pfalz

My great uncle used to tell me stories about my great-great grandfather, William Miller, who grew up in Speyer, Germany before immigrating to the United States. He had been an altar boy in the city’s Romanesque Cathedral and considered studying to become a priest. He was drafted into the military of the newly formed German Empire, but decided to leave the country after witnessing a Prussian officer … Continue reading Ancestral Journeys — Part One: Tracking Down my Müller ancestors in Rheinland-Pfalz

Sun, Sand and Ceará: Exploring Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza is a city of 2 million inhabitants located in Brazil’s Northeast region and capital of the state of Ceará. Fortaleza and the Ceará coastline are a popular tourist destination for Brazilians and, to some extent, Europeans. Few Americans visit Fortaleza, possibly due to the greater popularity of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Iguaçu Falls and the lack of direct flights. Another reason could be Fortaleza’s … Continue reading Sun, Sand and Ceará: Exploring Fortaleza, Brazil

Slow Boat Voyage on the Mekong River into Laos

One of the most unique and memorable ways to travel into Laos from Thailand is to take a slow boat on the muddy Mekong River from Chiang Khong/Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. Rather than trying to coordinate the border crossing and boat rides on my own, I decided to go with an organized tour (the Thailand to Laos Adventure by G Adventures) and let them figure out … Continue reading Slow Boat Voyage on the Mekong River into Laos

Serra Negra: A Weekend Escape from São Paulo

Paulistanos (natives of São Paulo) often find the need to escape the concrete megalopolis of 20 million people and enjoy a weekend in a more relaxed and rural setting. Serra Negra is one such popular destination in the interior of the state of São Paulo that offers both laid back charm and bucolic scenery.  Serra Negra is a city of approximately 25,000 residents, located in … Continue reading Serra Negra: A Weekend Escape from São Paulo

Beach and Buggy Adventure Near Fortaleza

Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceará offers some of the country’s most stunning beaches.  While visiting Fortaleza, I took a day trip to explore some of the coastline to the east of the city.  A local friend of mine helped me find a tour company, Enseada, that would take me to the beaches east of Fortaleza on a day trip. I also booked a trip to Jericoacoara … Continue reading Beach and Buggy Adventure Near Fortaleza

Liberdade: A Taste of Tokyo in São Paulo

Liberdade is a traditionally Japanese neighborhood located near the center of São Paulo. It makes for an interesting exploration of Brazil’s diverse population and history of immigration. History Brazil and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1895. A little over a decade later, the first boat of Japanese immigrants, the Kasato Maru, arrived in Brazil with 790 people, many of them farmers escaping hardships in the … Continue reading Liberdade: A Taste of Tokyo in São Paulo