Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia, Dwarfed by Mount Ararat

Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia, against a backdrop of Turkey's Mount Ararat

Khor Virap. The name refers to the famous monastery in Armenia that is the number one pilgrimage site in the country. But the name has a deeper, hidden meaning. The church stands on a low hillock, built over a deep vault carved out of solid rock. Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned within this pit … Read more

Pilgrim Lights a Candle at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia

Pilgrim lights a candle in St. Astvatsatsin Chapel at Khor Virap Sanctuary in Armenia

In the dim light of Saint Astvatsatsin chapel at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia, I carefully picked my way over the uneven stone floor. I was concentrating so hard on where to put my feet that I didn’t look up until I reached the center of the candlelit cavern. Having visited pilgrimage sites all over … Read more

Lush Armenian Countryside with Mt. Ararat as a Backdrop

Lush greenery of the Armenian countryside, with Mt. Ararat on the horizon

There was no escaping the imposing presence of Mt. Ararat as I traveled around Armenia. The mountain was always visible, whether driving through the lush green countryside or walking around the capital city of Yerevan. My first sight of Mt Ararat came at dawn, as my train from Tbilisi, Georgia was nearing Yeravan. Bleary-eyed from … Read more

Vast Face of the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate Argentina

After seeing dozens of glaciers and icebergs in Antarctica, I began questioning my decision to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina. After all, it’s just another glacier. How different could it be? Eventually I decided to stick to my initial plan. At the very worst, I would have seen yet another glacier. … Read more

Magnificent Monte Fitz Roy in El Chalten, Argentina

Monte Fiz Roy provides a gorgeous backdrop for the community of El Chalten Argentina

I hardly knew which way to look. One magnificent vista after another unfurled as my transport shuttle sped toward Patagonia, the Argentinian region so famous for its spectacular mountains, vast glaciers, and pure turquoise lakes. As we neared El Chalten, the scenery became even more breathtaking. The pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy (often anglicized to … Read more