The Temple of Hercules at sunset.
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Amman: Middle East Meets West

Look at Jordan on a map and you might not think “tourist destination.” Bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Israel and Palestine to the west, Jordan is the calm eye in the center of the Middle East storm. And its capital city of Amman is full of surprises…

Read more on CascadianAbroad.com

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The statue of Horus at Edfu temple.
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Nile River Cruise and the Temples of Upper Egypt

After 26 hours of travel from Portland through Vancouver B.C. and London, I finally arrived in Cairo late on Christmas night, excited to see Viktoria after four months apart. My time on the ground was short-lived. We woke up the next day and headed back to the airport to embark on a Nile River Cruise of the temples of Upper Egypt.

Visit CascadianAbroad.com for the rest of the story!

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Petra: Secrets of the Lost City

Westerners have a long tradition of discovering things that were never lost in the first place. The ancient city of Petra, hidden away in Jordan’s southwestern desert, was “discovered” by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. However, the Rose City—named for the color of the sandstone in late afternoon—had long been an object of curiosity in the region.

Today, Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (check out our rundown of the Seven Wonders we’ve visited) and Jordan’s most popular tourist destination. But 2,000 years ago, it was the capital city for the nomadic Nabataean people. They lived in caves chiseled deep into the sandstone and carved intricate facades into the outer walls to indicate temples and tombs…. Read the rest at CascadianAbroad.com

New Cascadian Abroad
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We Haven’t Heard From You Lately…

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work preparing a new Cascadian Abroad. Not only will it provide more flexibility for us, but we’ll be able to display larger photos and more interactive posts. We’re excited about the new look and the opportunities that go along with it.

We’re back to a more regular posting schedule at CascadianAbroad.com and we hope you’ll continue to follow along. Keep reading to make sure we can stay connected to you!

How do I keep following Cascadian Abroad?

You can still find us at CascadianAbroad.com. In fact, if this is how you usually find us, you might have been surprised to see the new look!

Subscribe to Cascadian Abroad

Subscribe to Cascadian Abroad

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Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States.
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48 Hours in Philadelphia

It’s been nine months since we left Japan and although we did some exploring around Cascadia, I haven’t had much opportunity for travel since Viktoria left for Cairo. Fortunately, a recent work trip took me to Pennsylvania and I stretched it into a weekend in Philadelphia.

I dropped my co-worker for an early flight, which gave me an opportunity to get a jumpstart on sightseeing. I dropped the rental car off at my Airbnb in the historic Italian Market neighborhood, put on my walking shoes and set out on the town. The unseasonably warm November weekend would be full of walking as the transit workers decided to go on strike, but we’ve had experience navigating a transit strike before, so I was good to go!

48 hours and 60,000 steps later, I checked off everything on my Philadelphia bucket list.


The South 9th Street Curb Market, better known as the Italian Market, has been home to produce stands, cafes and shops run by not just Italians, but immigrants from around the globe, since the late 19th century. Today's market has an increasing Latin American influence.

The South 9th Street Curb Market, better known as the Italian Market, has been home to produce stands, cafes and shops run by not just Italians, but immigrants from around the globe, since the late 19th century. Today’s market has an increasing Latin American influence.


The beautiful Washington Park is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier memorial. Completed in 1957, a bronze statue of George Washington overlooks the remains of either a Colonial or British soldier.

The beautiful Washington Park is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier memorial. Completed in 1957, a bronze statue of George Washington overlooks the remains of either a Colonial or British soldier.


An icon of America, most stories around the Liberty Bell are more myth than fact. The truth is that the bell actually cracked during its first test strike and had to be recast twice. It was finally replaced in 1876.

An icon of America, most stories around the Liberty Bell are more myth than fact. The truth is that the bell actually cracked during its first test strike and had to be recast twice. It was finally replaced in 1876.


Independence Hall as seen from Independence Square where a crowd gathered for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Independence Hall as seen from Independence Square where a crowd gathered for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.


The Assembly Room in Independence Hall. The “Rising Sun” chair at the front of the room is where George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution.


A sign outside the front door of Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America.

A sign outside the front door of Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America.

A view of the Christ Church Burial Ground from a window in the U.S. Mint building. Benjamin Franklin is the cemetery's most famous occupant

A view of the Christ Church Burial Ground from a window in the U.S. Mint building. Benjamin Franklin is the cemetery’s most famous occupant


The gravesite of Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah in Philadelphia’s Christ Church Burial Ground. Visitors leave pennies in honor of Franklin’s motto of “a penny saved is a penny earned,” but the combination of weather and the penny tosses have caused damage to the gravestone including the large crack.


Outside the United States Mint. Photos aren’t allowed inside the largest of the Mint’s four coin-producing facilities. If your coin has a “P” or no letter, it was produced in this building!


A statue of a lion squashing a snake in Rittenhouse Square, one of the original five public park spaces planned by William Penn in the late 1600s.

A statue of a lion squashing a snake in Rittenhouse Square, one of the original five public park spaces planned by William Penn in the late 1600s.


Philadelphia’s City Hall was the world’s tallest habitable building from 1894 until 1908. Until the completion of One Liberty Place in 1987, builders in downtown Philadelphia had a “gentleman’s agreement” that no building would be taller than the hat of the William Penn statue atop the City Hall spire.


Located across the street from City Hall is the Board Game Art Park, home to an installation of oversized board game pieces called “Your Move.”


Since 1892, Reading Terminal Market has been the home to butchers, produce vendors and more. Today you can find Amish specialties and three shops run by descendants of original market vendors.

Since 1892, Reading Terminal Market has been the home to butchers, produce vendors and more. Today you can find Amish specialties and three shops run by descendants of original market vendors.


The battle of the cheesesteaks... in this corner, Pat's King of Steaks!

The battle of the cheesesteaks… in this corner, Pat’s King of Steaks!


... and in this corner, Geno's Steaks!

… and in this corner, Geno’s Steaks!


The rowhouse has been the domicile of choice in Philadelphia since the 1700s. Even today, nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians live in a rowhouse.

The rowhouse has been the domicile of choice in Philadelphia since the 1700s. Even today, nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians live in a rowhouse.


Looking down South Broad Street toward Philadelphia City Hall early on a sunny autumn morning.

Looking down South Broad Street toward Philadelphia City Hall early on a sunny autumn morning.


Dilworth Park outside of Philadelphia's City Hall has been transformed into a community skating rink for the holiday season.

Dilworth Park outside of Philadelphia’s City Hall has been transformed into a community skating rink for the holiday season.


The Thinker sits outside Philadelphia's Rodin Museum. Casts of the statue exist around the world today. We saw the original two-foot tall version in Musee Rodin in Paris during our travels around Europe.

The Thinker sits outside Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum. Casts of the statue exist around the world today. We saw the original two-foot tall version in Musee Rodin in Paris during our travels around Europe.


Since 1897, George Washington has kept watch over Eakins Oval in front of the famed steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Since 1897, George Washington has kept watch over Eakins Oval in front of the famed steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.


The Lion Fighter, cast for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, now stands outside the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The Lion Fighter, cast for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, now stands outside the Philadelphia Art Museum.


A statue of Rocky Balboa, cast for the movie Rocky III, stands in the shadow of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Several visitors ran up the steps, recreating the inspiring scene from the original Rocky movie.

A statue of Rocky Balboa, cast for the movie Rocky III, stands in the shadow of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Several visitors ran up the steps, recreating the inspiring scene from the original Rocky movie.


Boathouse Row lines the shores of Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River. The boathouses are home to 15 rowing clubs and is considered to be the home of rowing in the U.S.

Boathouse Row lines the shores of Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River. The boathouses are home to 15 rowing clubs and is considered to be the home of rowing in the U.S.


The neo-Gothic Eastern State Penitentiary operated from 1829 until 1971 and pioneered the modern approach of prisoner reform vs. punishment. The gargoyles are not permanent, but placed as decorations for the annual Halloween haunted house event, “Terror Behind the Walls.”


A sign on St. Stephen's Episcopal Church signifies that it was the site where Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment, although the Historical Commission oval above it actually pays homage to the nearly 200-year-old church.

A sign on St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church signifies that it was the site where Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment, although the Historical Commission oval above it actually pays homage to the nearly 200-year-old church.


A ship is moored in the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Philadelphia's Navy Yard.

A ship is moored in the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.

Kawagoe Matsuri
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Kawagoe Festival 2016

There are many things I miss about Japan, but festivals have to be near the top of that list. This weekend marks the 368th anniversary of the first Kawagoe Matsuri, the main festival event in our former hometown.

If you’re in the area, take some time and check it out. Kawagoe is less than an hour from Tokyo by local trains. In the meantime, enjoy our posts from the 2014 festival and the 2015 festival.

Looking over the main section of the Painted Hills from the viewpoint.
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Seven Wonders: Painted Hills

Painted Hills is the fourth in a series of posts on Cascadian Abroad focusing on the Seven Wonders of Oregon.

When most people picture Oregon, they see green fir trees, maybe snow-capped mountains or the Pacific Ocean. But 45 percent of the state is classified as desert and it is here where some of the most unique terrain in the state can be found.

More than 200 miles east of Portland, the Painted Hills may be the most unique of all. Millions of years ago, the desert was covered by an ancient river that left a geological fairy tale behind in the rock and soil. Vibrant black, gray, red and gold soil layer the hills, colored by the prehistoric vegetation sediment from a time when the area was a hot and humid rainforest.

Located in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the site is also important to archeologists. A bounty of fossils, the remains of early horses, camels and rhinoceroses, can still be found in the area.


Click any photo in the gallery to see a larger version and start a slideshow view


If You Go…

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
From Portland, take US-26 east Mitchell (approximately 225 miles).