Golden Gate & Golden State.

Hi everyone!

I’d always dreamed of one day walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – and recently, I’m glad to report, that that dream came true! Traversing the Bay took about an hour (with plenty of stops to soak up the views and take some photos) – from south to north (where I met my fellow frequent travel partner T.T., who was also in a rental car).

Golden Gate, San Francisco

More: Coming next – Muir Woods & Point Reyes..

New Zealand-2013. Days 6-8. Floods, euro-tracks, Hobbitywood, and mad-hatter in-flight shuffles…

Day 6. Tales of the unexpected.

No expedition can be insured against unexpected surprises – be they unpleasant or otherwise.

And the South Island of New Zealand had quite a few in store for us. The first of these was announced to us while waiting to board the ferry at the car rental place. It turned out that getting to where we were headed and were to spend the night was totally out of the question. There’d been some torrential rain (more torrential than the norm, that is) causing villages to be washed away and a bridge brought down, while the road we needed to take was closed and was to remain so for several days. As a result we didn’t make it to the Franz Josef Glacier, which is where we were highly recommended to get to.

New Zealand

More: treks, floods and falls…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

New Zealand-2013. Days 3-5. Geysers, volcanoes, a frying pan lake, and pancake rocks.

Day 3. Geothermality.

At last! The time has come to move onto the most interesting bit (at least, for me!) of NZ – of which there happens to be plenty.

Our route was planned thus: from underwhelm-ness, via mid-whelmness, and on to overwhelm-ness, along hundreds of miles of road surrounded on both sides by luxurious landscapes and a continuation of the inevitable – scads of sheep.

Our third day in NZ served up the following for our touristic pleasure: geysers, hot springs, cauldrons, pot holes, fumaroles, and other assorted volcanisms and geothermality – all unconditionally mandatory for visiting and studying more closely.

New Zealand, Geyser Pohutu

More: Geysers, volcanoes, a frying pan lake, and pancake rocks…

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New Zealand: The Kamchatka Challenger. Introduction.

Towards the back end of last year, a group of like-minded souls – yours truly included – suddenly decided to drop everything – well, most things – and carefully study the country that calls itself New Zealand. But why? And who are these like-minded souls? These questions, and others, will be answered right here, right now…

New Zealand

More: 2 x 30+ hour sets of flights, 6000+ km traveled on NZ roads, and 17 days in NZ …

Very fresh electricity.

People can be divided into two groups: those that use electricity (and let’s face it, that’s the vast majority of us), and those that produce electricity (a very small, select group). And that’s why I’d like to congratulate everyone on Energy Day – 22 December. I’m here on the banks of the Yenisei in the village of Cheryomushki at the Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant.

Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam

Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam

More: This is a truly beautiful, fascinating place…

Morocco: +1.

Salam folks!

My list of the countries in the world I’ve been to has just had a +1 – Morocco. My total now comes to 72, including Antarctica. Kind of sluggish plusses of late being added to this list, but I guess that’s mathematically unavoidable the longer the list gets, and of course the list takes no account of the multiple repeat trips I make to a handful of countries…

So here I am in Morocco – in the city of Marrakesh (sometimes referred to as Marrakech, but never Marakesh/Marakech!). We had our annual European Partners’ Conference here. We normally have this somewhere on the European shores of the Mediterranean, but this year we fancied having it over the other side of that pond – on African shores. The conference was great – dynamic, fun, useful, interesting and entertaining. And an F1 replica racing car was present for the occasion.

But that’s all you’re getting re the business bit of the trip. Now for the cultural bit…

More: Morocco – a very interesting place …

Formula USA.

Hi all!

Still on the road Stateside… with an extra-enjoyable installment coming up. This time we’re flying south from New York and heading for the capital of Texas. Houston? No. Dallas? No. Austin? Yes! Why? To see Formula 1 crack America, of course!

Our US tour so far has gone something like this: LA – ArizonaChicago – Louisville – Miami – Boston – NYC. And now we’re back in the sunny south and revving up for F1. Formula 1 has tried repeatedly in the past to make its “formula” work in the USA as well as it does in much of the rest of the world, but never quite made it – like “soccer” has never really taken off here fully. But F1 of course reeaally wants to crack Terra Incognita – as successfully as… well, let’s see… Scotch whisky, French wine, and Stolichnaya! I think choosing Texas as the venue was a tad  ambitious – since of course you Don’t Mess with Texas – but hey, if they pull it off here, America will be in the bag!

More: Few nuances of the Austin track …

Hat Off to Harvard.

Three weeks on the road and counting… no, that can’t be right – since I’ve lost count! Of everything. The number of flights, hotels, cities, taxis, friendly maids, and of course the zillions – or thereabouts – of interviews, roundtables, presentations, lectures, partner meetings and negotiations. I’m a bit fuzzy on the what and where of the last 21 days. If I try hard and really get the old memory working – a few bits of spatiotemporal data do start to appear, but it’s still all a bit blurry. The best way of giving the cognizance a jolt is by looking over my photo archives – my own special personal pics on my laptop (sorry, I’ll be keeping those to myself!) and public ones – on Flickr and Instagram.

Yesterday we found ourselves at the place where a Tea Party led to no less than the American Revolution – Boston. I’ll skip the business part of the day and get straight into the more interesting bit – checking out some of the local must-sees, actually, one in particular.

The suburbs of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (curious official state title considering this place’s association with fighting the country with the original, biggest and baddest commonwealth! Maybe not, we are in New England, after all :), are home to the oldest, most respected, most prestigious, (and I’m sure there are many more mosts this place can claim) university in the USA (the world?). Of course I’m talking about Harvard, in the town of Cambridge (not to be confused with town of the same name in the UK – also home to a multi-most uni).

To say this place impresses will hardly come as a surprise. Of course it impresses. It has an aura about it – the unmistakable aura of academe, something I both respect and have fond memories of (back in my home country). A magical bookish atmosphere against a backdrop of imposing classical 18th-19th century architecture. Lush!

Incidentally, it was here where the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind was filmed.

Well that’s enough words. Let the pictures say a thousand things more than words ever could…

Not red rock; red brick

More: Hat Off to Harvard…