May 5, 2010

Watch the clip of a Muay Thai Kickboxing Smoker Fight

On a resent retreat to Phuket to study Muay Thai Kickboxing, we recently caught a few smoker fights (amateur fights intended to prepare fighters for the real thing).

Watch a single round here and experience the adrenaline rush. Along with the crowd, you will also hear the traditional Thai fighting music, intended to keep the pace and count time.

Watch a few moments below and explore the new itinerary addeded to HowdyFrom.com: Thai Kickboxing in Phuket

April 28, 2010

Google Maps Mania Mention

Google Maps Mania keeps a great archive of useful mashups that take advantage of, naturally, Google Maps. Today we are very happy to be featured there. Thank you so much Google Maps Mania!



April 18, 2010

If you like street musicians then France is the place for you

France is known for many high quality things that a traveler would enjoy. One of them is street musicians. They tend to be very good and often very organized. In the Paris metro, for example, I have witnessed a group of 12 Russian folk musicians in an amazing performance.

It is not just confined to Paris though and even provincial cities will have their virtuosos.

Please enjoy this clip of a very talented classical musician duo in France:

January 2, 2010

Welcome to 2010! …and to thoughts on sustainable travel

It’s a New Year and we wanted to thank our visitors as we look forward to welcoming and helping travelers plan and share trips in the upcoming year.

As we celebrate our 3 months of being online, we want to discuss the impact of travel on the environment. It is a very important theme to us at HowdyFrom, the travel industry overall, and many travelers.  It’s a complex subject, but it is one that should not be ignored or glossed over.  Tourism (including air travel) accounts for about 5% of the global carbon emissions pie, and even as governments seem unable to come to any kind of a consensus (as seen from the Copenhagen talks), positive change is still possible for the industry.

For a bit of self-reflection: we are an online start-up dedicated to helping people travel smarter.  On one hand, we can be seen as encouraging travel, and that is inherently an activity that has a carbon footprint.  Additionally, we are a website, and hosting of a website takes an ‘X’ amount of electricity and therefore comes with an additional carbon footprint.
On the other hand, tourism simply is a very important part of our civilization, and has been that way for thousands of years. ‘Tourism’ as well as ‘guides to tourism’ existed even in the ancient times (Pausanias in the second century AD wrote a travel reflection and guide that survives today).  More importantly though, travel as an industry can have a unique and enormous positive impact on the environment.  Of course, unrestricted hotel and resort development is very damaging to the environment.  However, as we have recently witnessed, preservation is a very important piece in the climate change puzzle.  Forests and undeveloped areas function as giant carbon storage areas, hence the attempts to create deals in which wealthy countries pay poorer countries to leave their forested areas alone.   Until such a deal happens (and even after that), smartly managed tourism can be hugely important.  Sustainable tourism can play take on a role of helping the preservation of forests, wetlands, grasslands, etc… because it does offer a real alternative to logging/unrestricted development.

In addition to creating a library of travel itineraries, we will be working to create more itineraries that focus on sustainable travel options.  Please stay tuned. Or please share yours in the meantime on HowdyFrom.com

To close, Mashable.com, one of the leading Social Media ‘rags’ (that word in a positive sense) has a nice write-up of how blogs/websites themselves can be more sustainable.  As an initial step we are participating in the 350 Brighter Planet Awareness Challenge for Bloggers.

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Thank you all and stay tuned!

December 21, 2009

Christmas Markets in Europe

Right now Christmas markets are all over the place in Europe.  Germany, low countries, Switzerland, and Eastern France have very long traditions of putting on great Christmas markets that showcase local crafts, cuisine, and specialties.  It's a really nice palce to visit and the warm, spiced wine (Glühwein) is sure to keep a visitor warm no matter how cold it gets.

Both the NY TimesLondon Times, and Off to Europe blog have had excellent coverage this year of the various markets.  There is still time to go!

One of the market stands















October 12, 2009

Favorite Places: the Romantic Road, Germany

We recently returned from a visit to one of the most relaxing parts of Germany – the Romantic Road. And it is just that, romantic! The area is quintessential German, including both the scenery and culture of towns and cities such as Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

A highlight of this trip is passing by the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, the famous retreat of King Ludwig.

We highly recommend a stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The sleepy town situated high on a plateau offers picturesque views, fantastic mideaval history and a selection of the best Franconia wine you can find in all of Germany.

You can fit the Romantic road into any trip of Germany or Europe. No need to hit all the spots, but you will enjoy the parts you do visit. View more of this itinerary >

If you have been through the Romantic road, or other parts of Germany, let us know. We would love to hear from you how it fit into your travels. Add your itinerary here.

Neuschwanstein Castle


October 10, 2009

Favorite Places: Kaysersberg, Alsace, France


There are many picturesque towns in the Alsace region, it’s hard to go wrong.  There is something special about Kaysersberg though: it retains a special aura of authenticity and handles the traffic of tourists better than other local towns. 


The wine country town is simply beautiful and the hike up to the castle (Château de Kaysersberg) will offer even better views of the town.


The overall location of the town makes it a great stop within a larger trip.  While in France, it is minutes (Google map) from Germany and Switzerland so just decide where to go next.  It could be other towns in Alsace or move on to Basel, Colmar, Strasbourg, or perhaps even Stuttgart.


If you have been to Alsace, we would love to hear from you how it fit into your travels.  Add your itinerary here.


Views of Kaysersberg and the hike to Château de Kaysersberg