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Tag Archives: travel

Underground Jerusalem

I have read and heard a lot about the about the excavations in Jerusalem, around the Holy Temple and under its walls. I have seen the pictures, licked my lips in anticipation but I only managed to visit the ruins of the city and one of the newly discovered tunnels (not the main one though) that runs under the Western Wall.

Then all of a sudden – a surprise!

Down the stairs, under the ground, from level to level, from floor to floor. How many of them have not been excavated yet?? Along the Roman cobbles, under the 700-year-old Turkish renovations, along the ancient walls of the Temple. Wow! I never even dreamed of it – but it really happened!

Underground Jerusalem

What is hoary antiquity for New York, is just last night for Jerusalem…

Tel Aviving the time.

My fall season globetrotting continues from country to country, city to city… What’s nice about it this year is that the weather just about everywhere is real good. My autumn coat hasn’t left the corner of my suitcase once yet.

Alas, the itinerary – as always – has been very intense – an intenserary! – and some of the ports of call have been decidedly un-resort-like, so dipping into some nice warm sea sadly hasn’t worked out. Until today! For here I am on the beach of Tel Aviv. Hurray! After the very tense official part of my visit to Israel I finally got to the shores of the Med for some serious chilling. Phew.

Beach time in Tel Aviv

But my beaching it in the Middle East is hardly worthy of a blog post in itself. However, while vegging out, I noticed in the corner of my eye a digital display on the side of the lifeguards’ tower. It took it in turns to show the time of day and the current temperature, much like similar digital displays the world over. But this one was a little different…

Read on: a brainteaser with digital clocks…

Floating history.

From a tourist’s perspective Washington, D.C. is far from the most interesting city in the world. I’d even go so far as to say it’s somewhat boring.

The Washington monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House, National Air and Space Museum, and various other museums… and that, to me, seems just about it for the average tourist. So, if you’re ever stateside but don’t have loads of days to fill, I think it’s safe to pass on this place and get stuck into others, like San Francisco and New York, and then perhaps Arizona (in particular the Grand Canyon), California (especially the redwoods), and the volcanic north-west in Washington state. And if it’s July-September – why not Alaska? I could go on, of course, but the places I’ve listed I think are among the best.

But I was in D.C. this time, and in need of some touristic tidbits to tide me over for a day. It wasn’t looking promising… But then…

To my astonishment, I discovered that in Washington, D.C. there are a few discreet places which are full to the brim with treasures relating to the not-so-long but oh-so rich history of the U S of A and its empire. I visited one of them, and was bowled over by what it had to offer. It was the USS Sequoia, the former presidential yacht.

Presidential Yacht Sequoia

Read On: proudly serving the presidents…

Having a ball in Nepal.

How many timezones does the world have?

On being asked that question many will come up with the perfectly logical answer of 24. After all, that’s the number of hours in a day. But they’d be wrong! Yep, in all there are quite a few more than 24… There are actually 39 time zones! In a handful of countries the local time differs from the respective ‘geographical time zone’ (of which there are 24) – by half an hour (like in India, Iran and a few others) or even by 45 minutes – like, for example, in Nepal. Here the time difference from London is +4 hours and 45 minutes! These offsets are the reason for there being 39, not 24 time zones.

Last week, I was here in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal!

Nepal, Katmandu

Read on: the country of the Buddha, the Himalayas and Everest…

You can’t go wrong with Hong Kong.

It had been what seems like eons since I’d checked into a hotel which I simply had to tell you about separately due to its specialness. I get to stay in some real nice hotels on my travels, it has to be said, but only once a blue moon do I come across one that’s just… exceptionally and extraordinarily exquisite :).

So I must show you a few pics of where we were last week. We were in Hong Kong, having our APAC Partner Conference – in the HK InterContinental on the shore of Kowloon. And, oh, by the hammer of Thor, what views it offered of the skyscrapers across the bay. I won’t come up with OTT adjectives, I’ll just let you have a look for yourselves…

One thing I will say is that these views never fail to impress no matter if it’s day or night, or clear and sunny, or during a typhoon! It’ll be here we’re staying at next time, that’s for sure…

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Hong Kong by night

Read on: More skyscrapers, close shot…

Isn’t it good, Norwegian fjord.

I’ve made up a list of what I feel are the Top-100 Must-See Places in the World. Number 45 in that list is ‘Norwegian fjords’ – and the entry under it says ‘Haven’t been’. But that was before last weekend. Now it needs amending to ‘Been there, done the akvavit’.

Norwegian Fjords

Read on: Turquoise water running down the cliffs…

The rainiest city in Europe. Allegedly.

According to various sites on the Internet, Bergen is the wettest, rainiest city of the European continent. Don’t believe a word of it! Me and some pals were in the city just recently and in all the three days there not a single drop of rain fell on any of us. In its absence was a preponderance of sun – so much so that our cheeks became redder than the king prawns on offer in the Bergen fish market (see pic further below).

And probably up to 200 kilometers away there was nothing but clear sunny skies too, save for a few fluffy clouds. Only on the horizon did there sometimes appear something reminiscent of light rain. The locals were also fairly amazed too – they’ve never known such rain-free summery days here ever!

Bergen, Norway

Read on: fish appetizer, fish main dish and a desert …

A capital that’s become truly capital.

The more I keep coming back to London, the more I like it…

I was first here in the Smoke in 1992. But back then and for the following several years I was never too impressed with the city, never feeling quite at ease here. Severe and imposing imperial architecture, the interminably awful traffic, far too many folks on the sidewalks, the dirty Thames… ugh – not nice.

But then I started to see the city change – bit by bit, year by year. They largely solved the problem of city center traffic congestion – helped by the introduction of a bike-sharing scheme (‘Boris Bikes’). They tidied up the embankments, cleaned up the Thames, and added a Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Walkie-talkie and Shard among other progressive architectural delights. Then there was the London Eye, then the Olympics… Two decades ago the place was completely different: somber, bleak and wearisome. Now it’s just the opposite: cheerful, accomodating and lively!

Of course, the addition of our finally up and running new office makes the place even more of a hit. Around 150 KLers will be based here furthering the struggle to maintain a secure and peaceful cyberspace. Have to say I envy them a bit – they’ve got everything: great city, great office, great work :).

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Read on:…

A walk across the bridge.

I love San Francisco.

It’s a very nice, pleasant city. Friendly, light, with tasty seafood served in the cafes along the waterfront. The smooth surface of the bay is ploughed by giant ships carrying Chinese consumer goods, its edges are all framed with bridges. Alcatraz, is set in the midst of the watery expanse, watching everything with an invisible eye.

Beautiful! The ideal place for a leisurely stroll.

But what’s the point of discussing its splendor here? There are other things to worry about. Just pics:

San Francisco

Next: combining business with pleasure…

Life on the Island.

Now I’d like to write about some other places on Hawaii which I liked and which stuck in my memory.

For some reason, I took a real liking to a place called Waikoloa on the west coast of the Big Island.

It’s a small town (really more of a village) with hotels, beaches and small houses, built amidst a huge field of lava which appeared some time around the mid-19th century. The western part of the island is dry and rocky, while the eastern part is wet, covered by jungle and swamp. On the dry west coast, the lava streams have remained bare and deserted for more than 150 years, never seeing any vegetation. But then, a man came and decided to build a garden city in this desert. No sooner said than invested and done, producing a stunning – and highly photogenic – miracle. See for yourself.

Waikoloa village Hawaii

Read on: a terrifying story of captain James Cook…