3 Adventurous Excursions Sure to Transform How You See the World

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For those interested in a combination of great food, nature and adventure, take a look at three proposed adventures below in Europe and the Middle East.

1) Pedaling & Pickles (Germany)

Bike your way from Baroque Potsdam to resilient Dresden and keep yourself fueled with German fare along the way. Bike paths allow you to get intimately acquainted with the castles, windmills, and Karst mountains of the Swiss-Saxony region. You will follow the scenic shores of the Havel and Elbe rivers, with close view of boars and elk in a Wildpark Forest.

Dresden by Bike. Photo courtesy of VBT Adventures & DMG/Dittrich

Dresden by Bike. Photo courtesy of VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

You will also visit Sanssouci Park, which includes a baroque flower garden with lawns, flower beds, hedges, trees and 3,000 fruit trees including oranges, melons, peaches and bananas. You will learn about the process of creating fine porcelain in Meissen and get lost in the dense forests of Spreewald. Here, you can enjoy a meal with a German family at a pickle and sauerkraut factory.

2) Buzzards, Baklava & Bedouin Breakfasts

Join WANT Adventures for a culinary and wildlife adventure through Jordan, where you will experience the best of Bedouin hospitality and millennia of history.  You will actively explore Roman ruins, crusaders castles, the Dead Sea and the Read Sea with opportunities to get intimate with Jordan’s key attractions in a way that not many do.  For example, you will tour Petra at night by candlelight, an amazing experience only offered on special days.

Cooking Lessons in Jordan.  Photo courtesy of

Cooking Lessons in Jordan. Photo courtesy of WANT Adventures.

You will also don life vests to explore the deep Wadi Mujib gorge through hiking trails and swimming trails, past waterfalls.  This gorge enters the Dead Sea at 410 meters below sea level and provides a remarkable opportunity to see incredible wildlife, at the lowest nature reserve in the world.

You’ll get close to the rich vegetation in the wadi beds where you’ll find palm trees, wild fig and Tamarix trees.  The steep mountain slopes support highly adapted mammals such as the Rock Hyrax, Eurasian Badger and the Nubian Ibex (a large mountain goat).

The gorge is also an internationally important passageway for migratory birds including storks, buzzards, honey buzzards and levant sparrow hawks.  Your stomach will also enjoy the adventure with culinary events planned throughout the trip.  You will visit a local pastry shop to sample local specialities (like baklava), learn to cook traditional dishes from a professional Jordanian chef and feast on Bedouin breakfasts throughout.

3) Skiing, Semmeln & Speck

If you are a strong backcountry skier with an appetite for adventure and good food, consider the Ortler Circuit trip where you can ski from hut to hut along the Ortler range, which straddles the border between Italy and Austria.

Skiing the Ortler Circuit.  Photo courtesy of Borealis Mountain Guides.

The location allows you to take advantage of the best of both county’s culinary traditions: homemade pasta and delicious wines in Northern Italy and hearty Austrian breakfasts of semmeln (bread rolls), ham (sometimes a smoked bacon called speck or cut sausages called schinkenspeck), cakes, pastries and jam. When you’re skiing, you will also be exposed to new things.

Along your journey, you may catch sight of foxes, chamois (a goat-antelope species), and the chouca bird, identifiable with a vivid yellow beak and jet-black plumage. Barbed wire and other relics will remind you of the high alpine skirmishes fought here during World War I.

Skiing the Ortler Circuit. Photo courtesy of Borealis Mountain Guides.

Which food and fitness fusion adventure would you love to go on in 2015? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Contributed by Katie Foote.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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