Throwback Thursday: 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 cheap seats. By 11am all the cheaper seats were sold … Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Experiencing Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo!!

Fushimi Shrine

Throwback Thursday: Thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

  Throwback Thursday, is a weekly reminiscent movement where you re-post past events or photos. They can be from years ago or from just a few days ago. Its a great way to look back fondly on some of your favorite memories……  I visited the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto a couple of years ago and it is still one of my favourite shrines up to date. Fushimi … Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Weekly photo challenge: Creepy in Cambodia

 This week, share an image of something creepy. Unsettling. Eerie. Disgusting. My most unsettling and creepy travel experience was visiting the Killing Fields of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. This mass murder site, where the Khmer Rouge executed about 17,000 people between 1975 and 1979 is definitely very unsettling. The place is filled with mass graves containing thousands of bodies , many of the dead former inmates … Continue reading Weekly photo challenge: Creepy in Cambodia

My struggle for my first cup of coffee in Moscow

My Russian adventure officially started September 2010! The unknown, the secretiveness of Moscow acted like a magnet for me. 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. Although I was already scared of the cold winters that I … Continue reading My struggle for my first cup of coffee in Moscow

The colourful Markets of Vietnam

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Split Second of Laughter

This Split-Second story captures a moment at a food market in Vietnam where the woman smile and laugh as they go about their daily shopping. For this week’s challenge,attempt to capture a candid moment of a person, place, or thing.  Tell a story by documenting a moment in time through a single image.  Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: A Split Second of Laughter

Kegon Waterfall, Japan

WPC: Japan’s Eerie and mist shrouded Kegon Waterfall hidden in Nikko’s mountains

While living in Tokyo I heard from many people that I couldn’t visit Nikko and not explore the mountain area around Nikko. The bus traveled up the winding road of Route 120 further into the mist covered mountains and I got peaks at waterfalls and rivers down below. It is not a ride I would recommend to anybody who gets car sick easily as the bus is constantly swerving … Continue reading WPC: Japan’s Eerie and mist shrouded Kegon Waterfall hidden in Nikko’s mountains

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 the sunset across the harbour and lost in thought. We … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea and Sunsets

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 graffiti that covered the walls of Santiago. I spent hours … Continue reading Graffiti / Street Art fill the streets of Santiago, Chile

Pattio Bellavista is filled with shops and restaurants

Along the Mapocho River and through the streets of Santiago, Chile

While living and working in Santiago I walked to and from work a lot. This gave me the opportunity to get to know Santiago and its tree lined streets. This is the route I walked daily from my hostel to work in the afternoons.   Plaza Camilo Mori is in the heart of the bohemian neighbourhood and just around the corner of my hostel. It … Continue reading Along the Mapocho River and through the streets of Santiago, Chile

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 Land of gods and they are the reason cities and … Continue reading Travel theme – Japan’s Summer festival Costumes

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 the day outside exploring the parks that are situated on … Continue reading Exploring the Botanical parks of San Cristobel Hill in Santiago

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. It is also widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful … Continue reading Himeji, the oldest castle in Japan

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 of these bridges onto Enoshima Island you enter onto the … Continue reading Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

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 Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine’s main buildings. These … Continue reading Walking through thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Kanmangafuchi Abyss, Jizo Statues

Finding the phantom ghost jizo protector statue in Nikko

Kanmangafuchi Abyss in Nikko was formed by an eruption of nearby Mount Nantai. This small gorge near central Nikko has a pleasant riverside walking trail which I followed to get to the protector statues of Jizo on the side of the hill. Kanmangafuchi is famous for its row of about 70 stone statues of Jizo, a Bodhisattva who cares for the deceased. Each of these Jizou … Continue reading Finding the phantom ghost jizo protector statue in Nikko

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 was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as … Continue reading Travel theme: Pale Ruins

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 here that the geisha tradition is the strongest in Japan … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Color of Japan’s Geisha

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 hustle and bustle of the city. I packed my bags … Continue reading Mist shrouded Nikko, shrines and hot springs.

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 when the shogun Minamoto Yoritomo established Bakufu Samurai government. Kamakura … Continue reading Shrines, good fortune and happiness in Kamakura!

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 weather permitted it. We were greeted by a huge Torii leading … Continue reading Hand Washing custom before entering Japans Meiji Jingo Shrine

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 it in movies, so before I went I read up … Continue reading Watching my first baseball match ever was in Japan!!

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 most surprising part of the weekend was finding out that … Continue reading Trying to touch a small Tame Springbok.

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 some sightseeing in Pretoria.  My brother volunteered to be the … Continue reading Sightseeing in Pretoria during a heat wave!!

Wine tasting with a fantastic view at Delaire Graff Estate

My brother and I visited some family down in Stellenbosch this December. We stayed at my aunts on their little vineyard and had a great time. We went wine tasting on the 31st of December with my cousin and his wife. They took us to Delaire Graff Estate. Delaire Graff Estate is one of South Africa’s finest vineyards in Stellenbosch. It is situated in Stellenbosch in the … Continue reading Wine tasting with a fantastic view at Delaire Graff Estate

White Tigers and mating tortoises at the Cango Wildlife Ranch

The Cango Wildlife Ranch is a wildlife ranch 3 km north of the town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa and about a. hour and half drive from Knysna. My brother and I drove from Knysna through the Outeniqua mountains to visit this ranch. We were quite surprised at the temperature difference as it was a lovely 26 degrees in Knysna and a boiling 37 degrees in Oudtshoorn. We read that … Continue reading White Tigers and mating tortoises at the Cango Wildlife Ranch

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 mountains and means “they who bear honey”. Rock paintings from … Continue reading Driving through the Outeniqua mountain pass in South-Africa

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 like the beach wanted to take the road back!! Further … Continue reading Travel theme: Roads

Fresh Oysters while watching the sun set over Knysna lagoon

Knysna is one of the Southern Cape coast’s best known holiday destinations, situated between lush forests and the shores of the peaceful lagoon – it offers many activities and attractions of a wide variety. The name Knysna is a Khoi word but it’s uncertain as to its exact meaning. It could mean ‘place of wood’, or it could mean ‘fern leaves’, but its most probable … Continue reading Fresh Oysters while watching the sun set over Knysna lagoon

Ferry trip and a hike through Knysna featherbed nature reserve

Knysna is definitely the most beautiful part of the scenic Garden Route in South-Africa. It is here that my brother and I spent 3 lovely days relaxing during our Christmas holiday. At the heart of Knysna is a lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone “Heads”. These two large headlands have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous … Continue reading Ferry trip and a hike through Knysna featherbed nature reserve

Exploring the Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias’ replica ship at Mossel Bay

On my first visit to Mossel Bay my brother and I went to the Bartolomeu Dias Museum. Mossel Bay (Afrikaans Mosselbaai) is a harbour town of about 130,000 people on the Southern Cape of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province.  It is actually best known as the place at which the first Europeans landed on South African soil,Bartolomeu Dias and his crew … Continue reading Exploring the Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias’ replica ship at Mossel Bay

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

The path forward on our hike of Huangshan or “Yellow Mountain“,  a mountain range in southern Eastern China. The mountains themselves were carved by glaciers 100 million years ago and the area is well known for its scenery and peculiarly shaped granite peaks. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography and was definitely one of my highlights while touring through China. This was also the hardest and most … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

A Traffic jam and a wildfire on our Road trip.

We had a 5 hour drive from Stellenbosch to Knysna through the Western Cape that Thursday morning. Just before we reached the town Albertina, about an hour and a half from Knysna we got stuck in a traffic jam. Hoping that the delay will not last too long we waited in line. After moving only about 1 km in an hour we eventually stopped moving. Everyone switched … Continue reading A Traffic jam and a wildfire on our Road trip.