Friday, January 01, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

Memorable moments in travel

Posted by Hippobean at 11:20 PM 1 comments

1000 Nights in Wahiba Sands (Oman) - bare feet in the warm orange red sand watching the sun set behind the desert dunes, the pitch black night in front of my tent in absolute silence, cruising on the sea of Oman, what heaven!

Norge - Norway's deepest (deep means long) fjord Sognefjord. The morning was stormy and while waiting in Gudvagan, to board the ferry to Flam, I looked at the cloudy sky all around, the mist and the fog and the wetness of it all. It was hauntingly beautiful. Every time someone mentions Norway, Sognefjord comes to my mind.
Melancholic views of islands with villages and misty hills aboard the Hurtigruten. Wild, steep, high and deep Geiranger.

Night in Imlil (Morocco) - oh what serenity these mountains conjured up in the dark under sparkling stars. Much like the evenings in Mtn Kazbeki, the nights in the Norweigian fjords, nights in Patagonia. Just me and the mountains. Each inspired a sense of tranquility, and each unique in its own preciousness.

Riad Mimouna in Essaouira - Room with the ocean view, the Atlantic waves crashing upon my embarkment of the riad. In years to come, when I think of Essaouira, I'll reminisce this Riad room, the ocean view and the sound of waves, and how ecstatic Small Leo was.

Khiva, nostalgic Silk Road City - when I parted the window curtains in the early morning twilight, I've observed a girl adjusting her headscarf, alone in the square in front of the tallest minaret. This moment welcomed the hippo to the ancient Silk Road city. I'll never forget this moment.

Evening at Gheralta - snugged under a woolen blanket lying on a lounge chair gazing at the evening stars with a group of crazy americans. The heart stealing view of the Gheralta range.

Lalibela - Seeing the cross shape top of Bet Gryorgis on the ground in the faint rain. The evening at the Roha hotel garden.

Unforgettably comfy hotel room at the Simien Lodge.

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
South Island, New Zealand -
Around 11, I stepped out on the open deck to commune with the quiet black sky. 2 other boats were anchored a bit distanced from each other. Those were the only lights in the cove. Unforgetable moment. In the morning, engines off at a small cove, a quiet moment to listen to the sound of the Sound. Nature moment at its best. Memorable.

Tranquil and quiet early morning and late afternoon strolls along the Whakatane river that runs into the Bay of Plenty, with views of the Moutohora, the whale island. Serene views, soul cleansing.

Having a drink by the confluence of Khan and Mekong in Luang Prabang. Walks by the river. Fantastic beef laap with tripe at the Tamarind.

Pitch dark at Pakbang.

Evenings at Phnom Penh by the Tonle Sap river. Looking at the city and river below after sunset from the FCC's open
air top floor.

Evenings at the hotel room balcony observing the commotions below. Sipping coconut juice straight from the fruit during sunset at Angkor Wat. Crisp morning at Pre Rup.

Mystical night at Hạ Long Bay, quiet, flat quiet water, nearby boats illuminated, the sound of distant music. Peaks all around in silhouette.

Evenings at the Margo Utomo Eco Plantation listening to the sound of tropical rain

Sunrise hitting the Tengger massif caldera, the smoking bromo, the smoking massive and tall Semeru.

Evening admiring the Old Bridge at Mostar with Little Snowie.

Cool boat ride on Kotor Bay, stunning views of the mountains

Evening at the palace hotel in the absolute quiet of the Nezvizh Palace compound.

Evening in the absolute darkness in the Berezinky Park. Night in Zakopane.

Nevsky Prospetk in the rain. Fantastic pasta at the subterranean restaurant next to the canal near the winter palace.

Crossing the Baltic sea for the second time. Estonia's harbor. The smell and waves of the Baltic sea. Stroll on the pedestrian street in Parnu and bought an orange wool coat.

Sicilia - Overnight ferry from Naples to Palermo. Just as the ferry sailed, pitch darkness on the stern, with Vesuvius looming on the left and the Naples coast on the right, I was thinking of him. The morning when we arrived at Palermo, Mtn Pelegrino our first view of Sicily. Pouring rain falling straight down onto the streets of Taormina. Rainy day at the Segesta temple.
Sorrento - Having coffee with A and T at the hotel La Tonnarella overlooking the Sorrento harbor and Vesuvius.Family reunion on the Amalfi coast. The 5 stooges (H, T, A, B n L) in Ercolano, with a magestic view of Vesuvius.
Roma - The best pasta I've ever had at this restaurant by the Pantheon, eating on the illuminated street outside the restaurant. The pasta was thick fettucine with a savory creamy Alfredo, that came in a small ceramic pot. Ai, questo amore!

Maui - the great sugarcane carpets moving with the wind. Floating on the warm waters at the Maluaka beach with L. Sunset drive to Lahaina, the west Maui Mtns on my right and the ocean on my left. Ai, Maui no ka oi!

Big Island - the first view on the island as soon as I walked out of the Kona airport, the dark volcanic landscape and Mauna Loa dominating in front. The drive on Kaahumanu HI19 to Waikoloa , black lava rocks on both sides and the lite rain. The Hale Mahana house with T, T and L. The night drive with the top down, back to Don's from the lava flow, with T, D and L. Fish BBQ at Don's in Volcano. A n T's wedding.

Israel - Evening strolls on the Gordon beach in Tel Aviv and sitting on the hotel balcony admiring the evening view of the Tel Aviv coast and Old Jaffa with St Michael's illuminated. Nostalgia at the Kidron Valley a second time, looking up the Old City walls of Jerusalem. the drive going up hill to Jerusalem with the tape playing 'Yirushalayim'. In the Kibbutz kfar Giladi near the Lebanese border, looking across the hills. Standing in unbearable heat in Qumran. Inside the Masada fortress, looking over the plains all around in the Negev.

Jordan - Standingng atop Mount Nebo gazing across the River Jordan at the Promised Land. The Treasury building appearing from El Ciq at night and the evening walk on the El Ciq in candlelight. The drive to Amman on the King's highway, through the wadis. First sight of the long awaited Jerash.

Boat ride on Lake Issyk Kul, Kyrgystan - The sun was setting on the west while simultaneoulsy the moon was rising on the east. The water tranquil. The air cold. All around was serene to bid the end of the day, the last day of the trip in Central Asia. The hippo was at peace and satisfied. And yes, very very happy to be in Central Asia.

Bactrian Camels in Kazakhstan - Dromedary camels the hippo's seen plenty, in egypt, in Jordan, in zoos, but never 2-humped. It was a tremendous luck that we came upon a whole caravan in the middle of the desert on our way to the Kyrgystan border. So many of them with the Tien Shen mountains as backdrop, as if posing for pictures. Felt very blessed to set eyes upon such a rare sight.

The Georgian Greater Caucasus - evenings after supper with Mtn Kazbeki towering in misty light over the town of Kazbegi, nestled in the Caucasus.

Biblical Mtn Ararat - Israel offers lots of biblical sites and seeing Mtn Ararat completes hippo's biblical journey. The day was clear and only a thin wispy cloud floated in front of the ice covered mountain. The mountain brought the biblical stories alive.

Switzerland - Junfrau - hiking from Mannlichen to Klein Scheidegg and trekking below the Eiger face. I was in heaven. Riding the Glacier Express from Samedan to Zermatt, and let the Swiss alps present themselves to me.

Romania - Many moments! The bus ride to Sinaia going through misty Carpathians. The following morning, crisp and cool, visiting the Peles castle up on the hill from the town, at the foot of the Bucegi mtns. In Pelisore, I've discovered Queen Marie. Ai, Sinaia stays with me always. In Transylvania, flanked by distant Carpathians, evening with rain in Brasov, like an old couple enjoying their evening stroll in their beloved town. I left my heart in Brasov. Carpathian rain washing over me in Bran.

Turkey - Troy at the eastern gate, at the walls, I could almost feel the sea breeze and imagined Hector battling with Achilles. The white ruins at Pergamom. On a boat in the sea of Marmara moving towards the Bosphorus.

Hellas - being on top of the cliffs in Meteora. Running down the narrow serpentine white cobblestoned streets of Santorini. A heart felt moment at the Mycenean ruins

NYC - fall downpour on 86th and Madison. Second view of the Lamassu. Central park with Goose.

England - Crossing the drawbridge to Sherbone Castle in Dorset, in freezing cold December. Strange that from all the ruins I've seen, I like the ones in Tintagel the best. And from all the cathedrals, Truro is my favorite. First view of the Lamassu.

Patagonia - the view of the Torres del Paine right in front of me, after an agonizing hike up to see them. Worth every heavy and labored step. The daily walks from the dinning hall back to my room in the new wing of the Hosteria de las Torres. A dream came true.

Wales - Pouring rain walking on the walls of Conway castle.

Sverige - I remember the drive on the highway overlooking Gamla Stan on the right below. The way the sun hits the buildings and the contour of the island - vivid colors reflected off the buildings, deep blue water and brilliant green on cathedral and monument domes. Close to the water edge, on the left, stood the redbricked Stadshuset, the City Hall, with the tower of 3 golden crowns. Magnificent view!

Danmark - Rainy day and cold, in front of the MamorKirke, the Marble Cathedral, next to the Amalienborg Palace. The Baltic waves crashing on the promenade. Incredible crossing of Oresund bridge from Malmo in Sweden to Copenhagen in Denmark.

Albania - the evening by myself sitting in front of the hotel in Berat. The night was warm and quiet. Distant lights from the buildings and the small bridge. Evening promenade walk in Saranda.

Macedonia - sitting at my hotel room balcony the last morning in Ohrid. The lake was hazy and the town below barely awaken.

Bulgaria - the way the Balkan Mtns looked majestically in the morning while driving to Kazanlak. The lonely river cutting across Koprivshtitsa. Rainy day visiting Revival Houses in Plovdiv.

Hrvatska - pizza lunch at a local joint in Opatija, overlooking the adriatic. Discovered hippo bank.

Magyarorszåg - in the Eger castle, seeing the group from afar. The muddy waters of the Danube between Buda and Pest.

Argentina - standing in front of the ice cream shop, in freezing rain, licking my cone of calafate ice cream until my lips turned blue, with D and S in Calafate. One clear night in Estancia Helsinfords, with S and Janko, star gazing at the southern constellations and finding the Southern Cross.

Egypt - downstream on the Nile with the Luxor temple on the right. In Philae seeing my first Egyptian temple. The Pyramids and the Sphinx at night during the Sound and Light show at Giza.

Malta - the sight of the Grand Harbor in Valletta took my breath away.

Easter Island - first view of the moais standing on the platform at Ahu Tongariki

Peru - the view of Machu Picchu from the Intipunku. Running around in Ollantaytambo.

Bolivia - the bus winding its way down to La Paz, a city surrounded by hills. Driving the boat at Lake Titicaca.

Czech Republic - the afternoon of rain, crossing the Charles bridge into the old town and strolling around on the narrow cobblestoned streets and peering into shops filled with Bohemian crystals. Staying in and experiencing a local Czech house and family.

Iceland - a dip in the thermal therapeutic waters in the Blue Lagoon. Oh so warm! Frozen solid next to the semi frozen Gullfoss. Vik in snow.

Finland - walking across the Lumberjack bridge in Rovaniemi.

Canada - the stormy night in our cabin in Banff. The bull moose with enormous antlers crossing the highway right in front of our car on our way back to Jasper.

Grand St Bernard Pass - The nights were dark and quiet. You stood there in pitch darkness on the highest pass between switzerland and italy, some nights under brilliant sparkling stars so low you could reach out and take one; other nights, so dark you couldnt see a thing but you could feel the mountains all around you and hear the haunting murmurs of ancient ghosts.

Lisbon - the statue of Prince Henry, the Navigator, looking at the Atlantic Ocean.

Porto - sitting on the banks of the river Douro.

Best in Europe - sitting at sidewalk cafes doing people watching, drinking Fanta

Best in the USA - road trips with periodic stops at gas stations to fill up, stretch legs and get snacks.


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