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Rome: so eternal a city; so little time we had there!

The other week (still on our whirlwind tour of Europe) next up for us was the Eternal City. And “whirlwind” sure did apply to our visit to this particular capital too, for we were here – inside its outer ring-road – a mere 20 hours…

But enough about logistics and timing. Let me get back to the eternity bit…

Rome. Historically, it’s probably the most significant capital in the world. But of course it is – for Rome is… simply Rome! Other capitals appear, are built up, and then either evaporate or take on some other form or status. No other city (city-state) has ever accomplished so much in stimulating societal progress toward a brighter future of civilization.

Ancient Greece – sure: it did its part too. Aristotle-tutored Alexander the Great accomplished oh-so much (and I often wonder how great it would be to have him live, rule, conquer, build, control, and further society today). But still, when Rome started to forcefully democratize everyone – it was felt by the ancient Greeks too. But I digress; all I wanted to do was show you some Rome pics!…

Read on…

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A damp walk in – Berlin (Checkpoint Charlie, Trabants, and wurst-bears); then on – to Bonn!

After our washout in the French capital (we didn’t really notice the weather in Brussels), we were hoping for better weather in the German one, but it wasn’t to be – the wet, windy and dreary weather seemed to be following us around on our quick business tour of Europe. Grrr. But what was more infuriating was that, as soon as we left each city (I checked online!) – out came the sun! Grrrrrr.

And so the trend continued here ->

Not that Berlin is a capital fully replete with tourist attractions in the first place, but all its museums were closed anyway since we were there on a Monday. That left only one thing for us to do in the short time we were here – go on a leisurely walkabout around some of the usual-suspects famous spots in the city. And first up just had to be something connected with the Cold War, surely. Berlin Wall? Nein (too obvious). Checkpoint Charlie? Ja! ->

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A brisk walk in Brussels after dark.

Another stop on our recent whirlwind tour of European capitals was made in Brussels. Alas – it’s not the best time of year for a visit in terms of weather, and the Belgian isn’t the most tourist-oriented of capitals. Not that we had much time for tourism anyway – as per, it was mostly work, work work. Accordingly, we only got a bit of evening strolling in…

Now that is a nice central square ->

Not far from it, Brussels’ most famous symbol – the Manneken Pis! ->

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China-2023: Wulingyuan – Zone 1 (the Avatar movie-set).

Day three of my China-2023 trip, and it was time we dived into one of the most fantastical natural installations on the planet – the Wulingyuan national park. Now, I don’t want to come across as a broken record – much less the boy that cried wolf wow, but this place – it’s simply magically, wonderfully, impossibly off-the-scale magnificently gorgeous and grandiose! I could add more adjectives of praise, but I think you get the idea already; I mean – just take a look! ->

It’s a biggie too: the most impressive cliffs cover an area of around 10×10 kilometers:

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Paris in November – wonderful, save for the rain.

Paris is… sublime – even in November, even if you’re here on business and its sublimity is encountered and enjoyed only as an afterthought. But if the sun’s out – the experience is… sublimated into… rapturous elation!

Like when it’s like this:

However, November in Paris can be just the opposite. It can be overcast and wet and murky. Instead of Paris’s famous landscapes, you get this ->

Read on…

China-2023. Me + companion: over to Pingshan Canyon!

You’ve already read so much and seen so many pics from our China-2023 trip – but that was just the first day! Yes – action packed that first day sure was, taking in Enshi Grand Canyon in the morning, and the nearby cliffs and crazy paths in the afternoon. Which brings us, logically, to day two – and another… grand canyon! Well, why not? (You can never have too many grand canyons on a trip to China)…

Introducing – Pingshan Grand Canyon (as is common for lesser-known (to foreigners) Chinese tourist attractions, there’s no Wikipedia page for it). Its depth is around a hundred meters, and just a dozen or so in width = a super-thin crevice. The clean river water that runs through it is emerald green, apparently colored so by the dissolved minerals in it. Which minerals? Not sure – it seems only the Chinese internet knows ). What I am sure of is that tourists are taken on narrow boats like this one down the river ->

It’s situated around half-way between yesterday’s Enshi Grand Canyon and tomorrow’s Wulingyuan Scenic Area – here. Indeed, you can check out the canyon, plus take the boat ride along it, and by evening make it to the next attraction, which is what we did.

Read on…