Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Top 5 countries

Posted by Hippobean at 11:00 PM
Top 5 countries in Hippo's heart:

1. Portugal -
Patria! So the Hippo is biased. But for a reason. Because it is indeed beautiful and with a silent history that not many knew. A most beautiful language and romantic people who prefer singing with a guitar than sujugating others. Strategically situated on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula, with an ocean and a sea coasts, historical sites and monuments, unique Manueline architecture, heart wrenching fados, delicious traditional cuisine, fine wine and port, brilliant history. The place the Hippo had enjoyed the most in her childhood.



Heróis to Mar, Nobre Povo!

As armas e os Barões assinalados
Que da Ocidental praia Lusitana
Por mares nunca de antes navegados
Passaram ainda além da Taprobana,
Em perigos e guerras esforçados
Mais do que prometia a força humana,
E entre gente remota edificaram
Novo Reino, que tanto sublimaram.

2. Norway -
My heart belongs to Norway. Wild, steep, high and deep fjords, the melancholic fishing villages along the Hurtigruten route, Geiringer, Henningsvær, Gudvangen, Nordkapp, crusing in the midnight sun, glorious coasts, the kontiki and people with good sense of humor. The Norweigian coast absolutely stole my heart.


3. New Zealand -
Loved loved New Zealand.
Great but not overwhelming metropolises with good ethnic cuisine. All the natural wonders our planet has to offer, rugged coasts, mountain ranges, glaciers, sounds, lakes and rivers, geo-thermal areas, forests, valleys, islands with volcanoes. Fantastic hikes. Interesting legends. Wonderful hospitality from people with great hearts and nature lovers. After 3 weeks in NZ, the Hippo fell in love with the land and the Kiwis.


4. Morocco -
The atlantic crashing onto the 15 century portuguese fortifications at the ancient Mogador. i heard the same ocean waves from my window at the Riad. narrow labyrinth cobblestoned streets with blue doors and windows of the harbour town.

Ancient roman towns. 4 imperial cities, each with its unique flavor in the islamic architecture. crenellated towers of the kasbahs along the valleys of the vast expansive Atlas with ochre cliffs. The orange dunes of the ever diminishing Sahara. a night under the stars with beber music. Great camaraderie.
Perhaps what's best Morocco has to offer, is its variety. from ocean to mountains to ancient great cities to parched desert, coupled with savory tagines. Thanks Joann for inspiring the Hippo to go.

5. Italia/Vaticano -
Hello Sicilia, I had wanted to meet you for so long. Yesterday we admired fantastic views of Etna, towering clearly before our eyes and we spent a good time admiring it. Today, she chose to hide herself and absolutely refused to let us scale it. While standing silently over the Valle dei Templi, with the immense blue Mediterranean, an old Italian couple came up and the lady said: 'che silenzio meraviglioso!' I turned to them and smiled 'buona sera'. It's wonderful to know I'm not the only one who appreciates silence and cherishes moments like these. Total quietness standing on thousands year old temple ground.

The Family sat around tile covered patio tables with candle light, serenaded by Italian music off the iPod speakers, 3 bottles of wine (I liked the Lacrima di Christi Rosso) and socialized. Our last night together. Lots of laughter. T's wacky crazy funny family. The Paradizo hotel on Purgatorio street with bathrooms deprived of all comforts. High above and deep below and The bones. St peter's cupola, the Scavi, Beloved Goddess Pallas Athena in the hall of statues and the map room in the vatican museum. Sulking Michelangelo in Raphael's School of Athens, Raphael's self portrait in the School of Athens and Dante in Raphael's La Disputa. Castel Sant'Angelo, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the steps of Piazza de Espagna, great shopping, Vesuvius, Firenze. Corneglia and Vernazza. San Gimignano and Lucca. Hikes among vineyards. Pesto pasta, olives, and prosecco. Miracula Æternitatis.

I think about him constantly. All this beauty, I wish I could share it with him. If he would have me, I'd show him the world!

Quod fuit est sicut quod erit
Et quod erit est sicut quod fuit
Quod fuit ad perpetranda
Miracula æternitatis
Quod superius est sicut quod inferius
Ad perpetranda miracula
Quod inferius est sicut quod superius
Ad perpetranda miracula



Romania, the Runner-Up
Quis et Deus. "These lands require a love for the obscure. If the intruder from the West is not willing to feel with his whole being, he cannot hope to understand. After a few weeks in Romania, a perverse side of your nature allowed you to fall in love with the country and people. You even thought that perhaps the Romanians possessed a peculiar wisdom about life and survival that the rest of the world lacked. And thus you would begin to understand..."
"Travelling in Romania was often like inhabiting the pages of a Dostoevsky novel." - Balkan Ghosts - Robert Kaplan

Romania is a hauntingly romantic country. A capital with a violent past, remote quiet and sad villages, picturesque towns, misty romantic mountains, blood thirsty legends, sentimental palaces, devoted churches and people who seemed to have a deep understanding of hurt and hope. It touches you heart.

The land of Nadia Comaneci, Simona Halep and Elie Wiesel. But also the land of a dark totalitarian and Vlad the Impaler. It is a land of haunting contrasts, beautiful and strong people who overcame adversity and much suffering. And admist all the adversities and suffering, there was a silent hidden beauty that very much touched the Hippo.

Israel, the Bonus
Ever trekked in the footsteps of Jesus on the cobble stones of Jerusalem, or bathed in the warm but often stormy waters of the Galilee? Ever let your body float on the poisonous waters of the Dead sea? The very first time the Hippo set foot in the Promised Land, all the bible stories came alive. and the romantic in me conjured up vivid scenes of the inhabitants of the Testaments walking here and talking there, performing their biblical deeds oh so very long ago. It is a land of great beauty and diverse topography. Long Mediterranean coasts with sandy beaches, highlands in the north all the way to Lebanon, fertile farmland inland to the east, The Great Rift Valley, the arid Negev desert with the lowest point on earth in the south all the way into the Red sea. Beautiful lakes and highlands and microclimate. I remember the sticky sweating in Tel Aviv and the crisp cool air in Jerusalem. the soft breezes in Eilat. The morning cold air at a hill top close to the northen border. Being there and gazing upon the biblical land was not only a blessing but an honor.

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