Monthly Archives: November 2023

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 ->

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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.

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China-2023: Enshi Grand Canyon.

Often, it’s not the filtering and editing of photos and deciding which ones go where that’s the tricky bit. Much harder, IMHO, is calming and formatting personal impressions, and dimming the brightness and contrast of emotions that are still all over the place as after-effects of one’s latest typically unorthodox spot of travel to a far-away beautiful land – this time China. But, what can I say? Hard or no – I’ve finally pulled it off: all my memories and impressions and photos and videos duly sorted, de-chaffed and compartmentalized – all ready to be slotted into the various chapters of my latest travelogue series…

Which brings me to why I’ve been so quiet of late on these here blog pages of mine – I was in deepest China for quite some time in October. And I was so busy with my tourisms of the unexpected (added to the above-mentioned over-abundance of photos and videos) that I never got round to starting this here series. Well that procrastination stops here, now…

First up, Enshi Grand Canyonhere.



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Moscow at night – the view from the river.

November just keeps on giving! The clement weather treated us with the possibility of visiting an outdoor (+ indoor) museum the other weekend; and the weekend just gone – yet more November outdoor fun: an evening cruise upon the Moskva river (Moskva = Moscow in Russian, just in case:). Sure, we could have stayed inside the restaurant on the boat should it have been rainy/snowy, but where’s the fun in that? (And there are plenty of much better restaurants ashore.) But that’s just the thing: the weather wasn’t bad at all – so we were able to stay up on the deck for the whole duration and take in the nocturnal sights and sounds of the capital from an undeniably unusual and refreshingly impressive perspective!

For example, over there – that white lit-up building in the pic is the White House (the seat of the government) ->

But I’m no tour guide. Sure, I know the big famous places, but that’s about it. I’ll mention a few, but mostly here today it’s just photos for you. But if anyone would like to add some commentary to what we see in the pics – please feel free to down in the comments…

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2 x +1: steam-train ride + fireboxed fried eggs!

November in Moscow is normally a chilly affair – and mostly a rainy or snowy one too. So when, last weekend, someone suggested we take the kids to an open-air museum in the city (actually not far from the office), of course the first thing we did was check the weather forecast. Sure enough – rain was promised; however, nearing noon, there was still no sign of any, so we risked it: out we popped and over to the Podmoskovnaya Steam-Locomotive Depot Museum – here.

Here’s the view from the nearby elevated path we took to get there. And who’d have thought it was November?! ->

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