If you once have the chance to visit the Eastern part of Poland with the region of Lublin, you should not miss to go also to Kazimierz Dolny being regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the country with some nice Renaissance buildings. There you also have the opportunity to attend a shipping tour on Vistula river, but the real highlight in my opinion is the fabulous Roots Gorge lying not far away from Kazimierz Dolny.
We speak about a hollow way which has been naturally created by the forces of erosion – just wind and rain forming a new path to wildness. The magical Roots Gorge has a lenght of approximately 1 km where you can now observe varied trees clinging to the edges of the spectacular gorge. The roots of the trees have been exposed over the years, now they may be admired as uncovered streets leading to the depth of soil in search of water and other dark secrets of the plants’ world eventually not known by us.
In late October of 1997 I had the pleasure to stay for a week in Mexico D.F and Merida / Yucatan. What I did not know this is the time when Mexicans prepare themselves for the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). Especially in Merida I was dazzled to see shops full of plastic skeletons of any kind, souvenirs, decoration and weird disguise all related to the topic of death. This reminded me all of European carnival however with a different purpose and a more strange direction.
Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration of death took place at the beginning of summer. And the origins of the modern Mexican holiday can be traced back to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival. Gradually, it was associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christianity, nowadays legal holidays to remember friends and family members who have died.
View from Chichen Itza Castle on the jungle of Yucatan
Today the view from the old temples and buildings at Chichen Itza just reveals a total wilderness and endless rainforest which more than thousand years ago meant the homeland for the Maya, a loose alliance of city-states in southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. You do not see anymore the cities, roads, reservoirs, channels or terraced fields being swallowed again by a thick jungle.
Around the year 900 the Maya quickly and more mysteriously left the country and vanished most probably due to a climate change, little food and too much fighting. Estimations say that the population dropped around 90 % during this time. At a few locations, such as Chichen Itza, the Maya still lived furtheron, though they would never gain their former grandness.
Each voyage to the South delivers further spontaneous aspects of another subtropical dream nearby.
Some visual examples here what may intrigue the mind when looking up here and there. It just depends on where to be and what to focus significantly in our varied ambience.
Archaic playable fanfare – reconstruction of 20th century
Blue sky and city mural at Berlin-Spandau
Here are some of my favourite photos and/or places – just a very small selection for today’s pleasant viewing:
Flowers are a great passion in my own self-raised jungle.
Late afternoon on the outstanding clear Weissensee at Carinthia, Austria
Curious wildcat (felis silvestris) at animal park of Assling, Austria
Autumn is approaching steadily now each day.
Urban still life on our green balcony
Black swans (cygnus atratus) from Australia at animal park of Assling, Austria
Old El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
View on the Atlantic Ocean near El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Hiking in the Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria
View on Rhaetian Alps, Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria
During early Sunday morning I strolled in and nearby the street Bahrenfelder Steindamm and found astonishingly a lot of creative images and graffitis in a quite small radius.
The last station of my journey, Oasis of Siwa, near the border to Lybia had been a bit stressful overall. When returning from Siwa to Marsa Matruh at the sea, I got ill with bronchitis and was out of order for a few days. In order to reach Aswan in the very South near the border to Sudan, I had to go by bus and train to Cairo via Alexandria. In Cairo I had to find somehow the right train station where I bought successfully a train ticket to Aswan. So even without internet, all this worked quite fine in 1985. I refrained from buying the cheapest class because this could have meant to travel together with living chickens and ducks, onions or garlic in the compartment what might have been a bit uncomfortable.
The trip with the train from Cairo to Aswan took nearly a complete day, it was really pleasant to travel through the green valley of the Nile with its long history. The train was partially very slow (ca. 25 km) due to bad rails, so it is very much advisable to be patient when travelling like this through all Egypt. The next photo shows Lake Nasr near Aswan, a water reservoir stretching to the South over a far distance in the former Nubia. From Aswan you can also visit Abu Simbel, the famous Pharaonic site, which had to be rescued and removed in the 60s of the last century when the water reservoir of Lake Nasr was constructed here.
When I was loafing through Aswan one evening, this drew the attention of a friendly and well educated Egyptian. He was interested to learn what a foreigner is doing all alone in his nice home-town. The Arabic culture implies certain ritualized forms of greeting and getting aquainted to be adhered to as a very relevant question of politeness. So diverse questioning by the guy from Aswan led to a slight cultural shock, because I admitted the truth of not being married, not having childrens and worst of all not following any kind of religion. May be he thought that I am some kind of alien now invading his life? So he was cautious but stayed relaxed when replying: “So you are a child of the wildness.” and in the same moment pointing to the South and the black heart of Africa. For me an interesting and fascinating idea and the Egyptian also remained friendly. I have often thought of this situation again lateron and still think that it is just very remarkable weird in a positive sense. The Nile means the old lifeline of all Egypt, but its green valley is just a tiny part of the big country covered mostly with endless desert land. So most people live really in this small stretch and the delta of the river, here people find fertile soil for successful agriculture since eons and hopefully forever. From Aswan I took again the train to reach the famous city of Luxor in the middle of Egypt being known also as fabulous ancient Theben.
The ancient metropole of Luxor is homeland of huge former temples, impressive monuments and archeological sites. How the old Egyptians managed to move all these heavy stones and columns is hardly imaginable today. But they did it, and their great and amazing works can still be admired today. And the analog photos shown here are now also somehow antique after a period of only 33 years.
These proofs of a high developped and sophisticated human culture thousands of years ago have always attracted other people for long time. When moving and loafing through these gigantic buildings of Luxor I felt quite small like a tiny ant, so even the antique world was able to create an own also technical cosmos beyound our individual frames. So plenty of phantastic opportunities do exist here in Egypt for travelling, seeing and thinking about past and present times.
Next and final Egyptian tour: Cairo (in a few days)
Report on Abu Simbel: https://transmutation.me/2018/06/13/oriental-spotlights/
Report on Mt. Sinai: https://transmutation.me/2018/08/05/sinais-ancient-traditions/
Report on Alexandria:
Pravčická Brána is the largest natural stone bridge in Europe and a natural Czech monument, truly one of the most striking natural sites in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and symbol of the whole region. It is located approximately 3 km North-West of Hrensko in the national park Czech Switzerland not far away from the border to Germany. Wandering paths are leading there both from Czech and German side where Saxonian Switzerland stretches.
So this gate and bridge is connecting both countries in a beautiful and stunning landscape and may be visited during opening times for an entry fee. In 1826 an inn was constructed by the gate, and in 1881 Prince Edmund of Clary-Aldringen built there the romantical hotel Sokolí hnízdo (English: Falcon’s Nest) with 50 beds which you can see in the photo hereunder.