My apartment building!

My first cup of coffee in Moscow

My Russian adventure officially started September 2010! The unknown, the secretiveness of this city pulled me towards it. Since I can remember I have always been interested in finding out what actually goes on behind the “iron curtain”. I grabbed at the chance to work and live in Moscow and couldn’t wait to start my adventure. I…

The last rays of sunlight reflecting of the water and bringing with it a cool breeze

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea and Sunsets

There is something about sunsets and beaches that make me feel close to nature. It is as if you get a glimpse of the magnificence of nature through a sunset over the ocean.  Walking along at the stretch of beach at the harbour in Richards Bay on a lovely summer evening in December. Sitting down watching…

A lot of the graffiti is really beautiful!

Graffiti / Street Art fill the streets of Santiago, Chile

Chile has long been the center for radical propaganda painting. As early as 1940 leading Mexican and Chilean artists were painting murals in Chile. Now, Latin American street art is as innovative as any in the world and Chile plays a really big part in this.  I was amazed by the amount and quality of…

Their costumes were beautiful and very elegant

Travel theme – Japan’s Summer festival Costumes

This weeks travel theme is costumes and I immediately thought of the colourful costumes the dancers wore during the Japanese summer festivals. I lived in Higashi-Rinkan, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan for a while and was fortunate enough to be there for their summer festival. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday and draws millions of people each summer.  Japan is the…

Here you can see the Gran Torre Santiago, the tallest building in South-America

Exploring the Botanical parks of San Cristobel Hill in Santiago

I have been working and living in Santiago for nearly 3 weeks now and have found it quite a peaceful place to be. Unfortunately I have been working late into the evening during the week so haven’t actually gotten to explore the city that much. Last weekend we had a lovely sunny Saturday, perfect for spending…

Himeji Castle!!

Himeji, the oldest castle in Japan

While spending a weekend in Kyoto my friend Michael and I decided to visit Himeji Castle one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Himeji is just under an hours travel on the train from Kyoto and quite easy to reach.  Himeji castle is the biggest and oldest castle in Japan and dates back to 1333.…

The blessing circle in front of Hetsunomiya Shrine

Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

  I loved living in Japan and exploring all the wonderful places it has to offer. One of my favourite weekend destinations outside of Tokyo was the small island of Enoshima. Enoshima is very small, about 4 km in circumference, linked to the mainland shore of Fujisawa city by two 600-meter bridges. As I cross one…

Fushimi Shrine

Walking through thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. This shrine ended up being my favourite one in Kyoto.  It had a very peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, which cover the hiking trails of…

This building must have been magnificent once.

Travel theme: Pale Ruins

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa is PALE and what is paler than sun bleached ruins? I explored Ephesus while traveling through Turkey a couple of years ago, it was amazing!! The library of Celsus is definitely the most recognizable  ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Turkey. It was built in honor of the Roman Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus  in 177 AD. The library…

Working Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color of Japan’s Geisha

This weeks photos challenge is colour, and what is more colourful than the bright kimonos of the Geisha in Kyoto!?Geisha are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. I spotted a few of these beautiful women in Gion, Kyoto‘s most famous geisha district. It is…

The 5 level pagoda at entrance to Tōshō-gū.

Mist shrouded Nikko, shrines and hot springs.

Nikko is a small city situated about 135km North of Tokyo between picturesque mountains and waterfalls surrounded by lakes, wild monkeys, hot springs and hiking trails. It’s a 3-4 hour journey by train from Shinjuku station on the Tobu-Nikko line and cost me about ¥1320 one-way, ideal for a long weekend get away from the…

Maruyama Inari Shrine with its lane of red torii.

Shrines, good fortune and happiness in Kamakura!

Kamakura is a great destination for a day-trip from Tokyo.  It was less than one hour south of where I lived. The most attractive feature of Kamakura is that there are numerous temples and shrines which gives it an atmosphere of old Japan. Kamakura was Japan’s capital for more than 100 years beginning in 1192…

Getting to experience Japanese cultures first hand is such a great privilege

Hand Washing custom before entering Japans Meiji Jingo Shrine

Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Michael, one of my co-workers in Japan, and I went walking around the park and through the shrine one lovely sunny day. I lived in a very small place so spent most of my time outside if the…

The wrestlers walking into the arena dressed in their ceremonial suits.

Experiencing Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo!!

Just as geisha is synonymous with Japan so is sumo.  I was fortunate enough to be in Japan during one of their six Grand Sumo tournaments and wasn’t going to miss it.  My friends, Michael, Shaun and I headed of to The Sumo Hall at Ryogoku Kokugikan Station in Tokyo, early morning to be there in time for…

The lady was very happy to let me pose for a photo with the ball she caught!!

Watching my first baseball match ever was in Japan!!

Japanese people take their sports activities very seriously, and baseball is no exception, it’s a very big event for them. I got 2 season tickets to the Giants vs. Swallows game held at Tokyo dome as a present from one of my students. The closest I have ever been to a baseball game was watching…

"Bokkie" was so close...if only my arms were longer I might have been able to touch him!!

Trying to touch a small Tame Springbok.

My friend and her husband took me to Blaauwboschbank Private Nature Reserve, their family farm for the weekend. This small Nature reserve is in the Freestate, South-Africa and only 126 hectares big but a lovely place. The farm is what they call typical freestate “vlakte” with open grass fields where all the animals graze. The…

The statue of the Boer leader and president of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger in Church Square

Sightseeing in Pretoria during a heat wave!!

During January it gets quite hot in South-Africa and doing anything in the afternoon is quite taxing in that heat. We had a heat wave for a couple of days in Pretoria and the temperature got up to the high 30’s. The first morning of this heat wave was the day I planned on doing…

This was the last photo my brother agreed to stop for

Driving through the Outeniqua mountain pass in South-Africa

The Outeniqua Pass is a mountain pass in the Western Cape of South Africa. It connects Knysna and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn. It was constructed between 1943 and 1951 and is characterized by gentle southern sleeps and steep drops on the north side down into the valleys. ‘Outeniqua’ is said to be derived from a Khoisan tribe that once lived in these…

The beach reclaiming the road

Travel theme: Roads

This weeks Travel Theme is Roads. I went on a lovely road trip through the Western Cape in South-Africa and here are some shots that shows how drastically the scenery changed after driving just a couple of miles! Driving down the coast and next to the sand dunes of the Cape coast was amazing. Some places it looked…