It took thirty hours to traverse the Taklaman, the world’s largest desert, by bus. I got off in the middle of nowhere, in a town called Turpan. The region captivated me for two reasons:
1. The extremes of the landscape. I stood amidst a vastness of dry, empty, yellow-to-red-hued plains and barren mountains. The lowest point is the Turpan basin at 505 feet below sea level, which receives practically no rain. Yet there are also extensive, fertile farmlands and even a grape valley. Continue reading
For the walker the remoteness is ripe for exploration and with a lack of roads the old trails and paths have been cleaned to access every viewpoint across the sea to the Greek islands of Symi and Rhodes. The Trail routes through a diversity of terrain with many changes of scenery and magical views round every corner. There are many traditional villages eking a living from the rugged landscape along with coastal villages catering for the demands of tourism. (From: the Carian Trail)
What’s there NOT to like about this? So, let’s go!
Simplicity and slowness are core components of virtually all the best adventures. Walking is king of both of these. ~Alastair Humphreys
“What do you mean, nobody sells food? We need a meal! We’re hungry,” I gasp.
“Sorry, sorry, only in summer. But I think they have tosties (toasted sandwich),” the man hastens to say, pointing at the open-air teahouse, where a waiter is serving Coen Turkish tea as we speak.
What hiker can survive on toasted sandwiches? Not me. Continue reading
Day 3 of waiting out the storm, which hopefully will be our last before we can finally start our 800-km-long hike along the beautiful coast of Southwestern Turkey, called the Carian Trail.
(Here is how we spent day 1 and day 2 in Marmaris).
And so, with not much else to do, I figured it would be a good moment to make a list of what we will be carrying on the trail.
The Weather Obsession Continues
When we wake up, it’s dry. Windy, but dry! That may sound like good news, however, it is terribly frustrating when spending the night in a hotel instead of on the trail based on a weather forecast that predicts continuous rain showers.
Why aren’t we on the 800-km-long Carian Trail?! Continue reading
Hiking and the Obsession with Weather; When hiking the Carian Trail doesn’t start the way we’d like to.
There is no denying: any outdoor event or activity can be made or broken by the weather. Ambivalent as I am about technological gadgets, I’m not sure that weather apps are a good development. Do they prevent you from setting out and getting soaked (or into a potentially life threatening situation), or do they keep you put unnecessarily? Continue reading
“Don’t wear leather items like shoes or a belt.”
“Wear clean and ironed clothes. Adinath will see this and you will receive more energy for walking.”
“Chant ‘Adinath-Adinath’ at every step, which will give more energy too.”
“Don’t bring food – take just a bottle of water if you really have to. The only food you are allowed to carry to the top is rice and coconut, to offer in the temples.”
“Oh, and don’t forget to greet the other pilgrims with Jai Jinendrah!” Continue reading
According to its inhabitants, Andacollo is the most religious town of Chile. It features a basilica plus a second church, both of which are National Monuments. La Virgen de Andacollo is highly regarded and each first Sunday of the month she is paraded around the plaza in a procession. The first Sunday of October she is honored with a religious festival called La Fiesta Chico, but the spectacle of the year is in December: La Fiesta Grande, which lasts from the 23rd to the 27th.
I was looking out over the Mediterranean dotted with a couple of sailing boats. Low rolling hills line the horizon. The image was framed by Corinthian columns covered in flowering vines. I felt as if I was on vacation in Greece, Italy, or Spain. Did that make sense, with my being 9,350 feet above sea level, in Quito, Ecuador’s capital? Not really. Continue reading
I read some facts and figures about the Itaipu Dam that simply boggled my mind:
- The construction of the Itaipu Dam, for which 50 million tons of rock were moved, took 16 years [1975-1991].
- The dam is 643 feet high and almost 5 miles long.
- The plant has 20 generators, which altogether have a capacity of 14,000 megawatts.
- The construction of the dam cost 25 billion US dollars.
- The dam supplies 90% of Paraguay’s energy and 25% of Brazil’s electric power.
Truth be told, I couldn’t wrap my head around such numbers. Continue reading
Can you imagine walking among thousands of rats without freaking out? I couldn’t, but I did, anyway, in the Karni Mata Temple. Continue reading
In 1873 Colonel Simião Jurumenha bought a sugarcane farm and built the cachaça factory of Douradinho in Redenção, some 80 kilometers south of Fortaleza in northeast Brazil. Ten years later slavery was abolished here, 5 years before the rest of Brazil. 130 years later, I visit the still functioning factory-cum-museum and am impressed by how well the images of those first ten years have been kept alive. Continue reading
Running through a town? What kind of way of exploring a place is that, you may ask. Did I get to see anything at all? Yes, I did. In fact, running was exactly what made my visit to the colonial town of Goiás Velha memorable. Continue reading
We should have come with a guide, we realized in hindsight. Nobody spoke English. We had been convinced our taxi driver had understood we wanted to visit a silk factory. However, when we walked through the doorway we realized we had ended up at a carpet factory. Continue reading
From our apartment I looked out over the beach, the mouth of the lagoon and the ocean. During the morning hours it was quiet. A fisherman might be returning with his catch or somebody was going for a stroll along the shore. Somewhere after 11 am tranquility transformed into hustle and bustle, as if a silent alarm had gone off. Continue reading