Some more, older, photos from Andalusia, this time from the Alpujarras.
Some photos of our recent trip to to Andalusia, Spain. Here we visit Montefrío, a town hidden in the mountains boasting a fascinating round, domed church and an old Moorish fort.
With the death of Kim Jong Il being in the news recently, I was reminded of a really interesting documentary that I saw a while ago. Being quite uneducated about North Korea at the time and hearing people such as Christopher Hitchens describing it as being like a “1984 state”, I was interested to find out more about it so I started looking for information about it on the Internet.
I stumbled upon the “Vice Guide to North Korea”, an incredible look into North Korean society that was, quite simply, beyond anything that I could have imagined.
With towering jungle covered mountains and picturesque beaches, Ihla Grande was our stop number two. It takes several hours to reach the island by bus and then by ferry (or catamaran for the impatient). On the island there are many species of birds and monkeys, but not a single car or motorbike.
We arrived in Mangaratiba, tired and hungry, on the docks to catch the ferry to Abraão (one of the settlements on the island), only to find that the ferry was running a Sunday service and that we’d missed the last one.
I’m currently enjoying my honeymoon with my wife Laura. We’d been planning/thinking about an exotic trip to South America for some years and our honeymoon seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally put into motion those ideas that lay dormant on the drawing board.
In the following posts I hope to capture some of the adventure. The first stop on our journey was Rio de Janeiro. Neither Laura or I speak Portuguese, but we were hoping that it would be similar enough to Spanish for it not to be a problem. How wrong can you be?
This is a photo I took in Bejing a few years ago and have been meaning to upload it for ages. The picture is of a couple of guys repairing a telephone line (or some sort of overhead cable). The work was undertaken in the face of oncoming traffic.
Guatemala is home to a large number of volcanos. It boasts the highest in all of Central America, Tajamulco, which reaches approximately 4200 metres above sea level. It is also home to the highly active Santiaguito (2500 metres) and the steep sided Santa Maria (3770 metres) volcanos. A few years ago I hiked up Santa Maria with some fellow students at the Spanish school where I was studying.
Santa Maria is the dominating figure on the horizon, ever present as a ludicrous triangle blotting out part of the sky. While walking the streets of Xela (short for Quetzaltenango), it is almost impossible to find a place where the mountain cannot be seen, so dominating is it to the city dwellers. Indeed, in 1902 an eruption killed several thousand of Guatemalans living in the city.
It feels good to get off the airplane and walk straight out the airport. It gives me immense pleasure to walk past all those people waiting by the baggage collection point, and a guilty bout of schadenfreude when I see people struggling with large unwieldy suitcases. About 2 years ago I was invited to go to a wedding in Hong Kong. I took the opportunity to plan a trip around the wedding. The plan was to spend some time in Hong Kong and then move on into mainland China and see how the two regions differ. To add some spice to the trip I challenged myself to take a very small rucksack (one which I was using to carry documents and perhaps the occasional lunch to work with) and to see just how little I would actually need for three and a half weeks in China.
Well, I’ve been posting photos from my latest holiday to Rome, but I haven’t really said all that much about the experience. Here goes nothing….
It isn’t the first time that I have been in this city. My parents took my brother and me to Italy and Sicily when I was younger and I found the experience nothing short of fantastic. Coming back here years later I find that I don’t remember all that much of the actual city. I have clear memories of the Trevi fountain and the Colosseum and the Pantheon, but of street life, save for a few culinary experiences, very little.
This I was able to rectify by visiting many cafes and restaurants and enjoying exploring the streets with my girlfriend. The pasta was very good, the lasagna was always excellent and the pizzas divine. “Of course”, you might say, “this food comes from Italy”, but I had heard that many people had been disappointed because the food had not met with their (very) high expectations. For me, the food had surpassed expectations and I even had a few surprises. The Italians, it seems, also know how to do a good beer. I tried a type of beer that I never even knew existed: birra rossa.
One other thing worth mentioning is that I did not see a single Starbucks in Rome. Coffee seems to be taken very seriously in Italy and the American coffee culture does not seem work in this country. Does anybody have any theories?
Whenever I visit a place, no matter where, I always imagine what it would be like to live there. Before coming to Rome, I had done some small research into life in Rome so that I could better understand the lifestyle. I had read and thoroughly enjoyed the following article entitled “When in Rome, plan to go home”. Although I was not in the city long enough to verify any of the claims, I feel that I am too acclimatised to Germany, where everything more or less just works to move to a country which is described as “unbridled anarchy”.