El Salvador. The Ring of Fire.

 

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Erupting volcano (http://inapcache.boston.com)

As part of the famous Ring of Fire, the tiny country of El Salvador has more than 20 active volcanoes dotted around the landscape. The largest is San Salvador which stands tall over the capital city by the same name. It last erupted in 1917 after an enormous earthquake in the region.

In December 2013, the Chaparrastique volcano erupted in the coffee growing region to the East of the country. Thousands were evacuated but thankfully there were no injuries or loss of property. Chaparrastique is the third largest active volcano in El Salvador.

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Ring of Fire (earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

Have you been? Have you seen or climbed these amazing volcanoes? We’d love to hear about it!

 

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Egypt. Our Memories

Cairo market

Cairo market

We visited Egypt in 2008 and have wonderful memories of ancient mysteries, crowds and noise, street food, swimming, drinking sweet tea, exploring the Nile and riding camels to the top of Mt Sinai….

Here are some photos from our trip. Please feel free to share your experiences too!

We went with Intrepid Travel and would highly recommend them (Jordan and Egypt trip) www.intrepidtravel.com/au

Pyramids

Pyramids

Pyramids

Pyramids

Bread delivery Cairo

Bread delivery Cairo

Tea time

Tea time

Walking up Mt Sinai

Walking up Mt Sinai

Top of Mt Sinai

Top of Mt Sinai

Sawa camp

Sawa camp

Sawa camp

Our beach hut at Sawa camp

St Catherine's

St Catherine’s

Ecuador. Diversity at the Yasuni National Park.

Diversity Yasuni National Park (http://www.gannett-cdn.com)

Yasuni National Park in Ecuador’s North is arguably the most biologically diverse place on Earth. The park hosts an immense variety of tree species, birds, bats, insects, frogs, and fish and is also home to large populations of high food chain carnivores.

“Inhabiting the Yasuní are various different indigenous groups including the Waorani, Shuar and Amazonian Kichwa. Some of these peoples – such as the Tagaeri and Taromenane – still voluntarily maintain no contact with the rest of the world. These warrior-like hunter-gatherers have been living in harmony with nature for centuries. “(http://newint.org/yasuni/about/)

Yasuni National Park (http://st1le.org)

Yasuni National Park (http://www.thetimes.co.uk)

Yasuni National Park (http://amazonwatch.org)

Yasuni National Park (http://cdn.lightgalleries.net)

Have you ventured into the Yasuni National Park? Share your experiences here with us here….

 

East Timor. Uma Lulik.

Although language, culture and traditions across each community in East Timor varies, there are several elements of life  that connects them all;  the common understanding of the language Tetun, the worship of ancestors and the importance of Uma Lulik or the Sacred House. These houses are symbolic of self-determination, self-assurance and confidence.  They also represent the strength, loyalty and beliefs of a nation enriched by its ancestry. They vary in size, shape and design but are equally impressive. Enjoy…

 

Have you been to East Timor? Did you see these Sacred Houses? I’d love to hear about your adventure!

 

 

 

Dominican Republic. Blue skies, blue seas and blue amber.

Dominican Republic blue amber is ancient, rare and beautiful. It also behaves in a very strange way…

Under artificial light, it appears yellow or golden as expected but under sunlight it has an intense blue glow. When held under ultraviolet light it glows a bright milky-blue.

Blue amber is very rare with only 100 – 150 kg mined each year. Specimens of blue amber have also been found in Indonesia and Mexico.

Unlike the common golden amber, blue amber does not appear to contain fossilised material.

The finished product. (http://blueamberjewelry.com)

And let’s indulge in other blue beauties of the Dominican Republic….

Dominican Republic (http://vagabond3.com)

 

Dominican Republic artwork (http://www.santodomingovacationdelite.com)

Yes please. Dominican Republic (http://wedalerthoneymoons.com)

Have you been to the Dominican Republic? Have you seen the blue amber? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

 

Dominica. Pirates of the Caribbean

What a perfect place for a pirate adventure! The hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed all over the Caribbean with some of the more memorable scenes inspired by or filmed on the beautiful, pristine island of Dominica. Discover Dominica here in this short video, then see if you can recognise any of the film locations in the images below!

Underwater filming with Captain Jack! (http://www.danintranet.org/media/adimg/6125.jpg)

 

For more information on the film locations visit
http://www.natureisland.com/pirates2.html

Here is a great video showing some of the filming on Dominica

 

Djibouti. The Gentle Giant of Djibouti.

Between October and February each year large plankton blooms close to the coast of Djibouti draw these beautiful gentle giants close enough for tourist trips and driving adventures.  Although enormous (often growing to an incredible 12 m!) whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride!

Size comparison…(http://fc03.deviantart.net)

 

 

 

 

Denmark. A Christmas gift from Hans

Hans Christian Andersen (http://static.panoramio.com)

In December 2008 we visited Denmark on holiday with my brother and his wife who were living in Belgium at the time. It was a wonderful and much needed holiday and was made all the better  because we were in  Copenhagen before Christmas –  exploring the city and the Tivoli Gardens with family, celebrating Christmas with a glogg or two and shopping for very un-Australian Christmas gifts!

Tivoli Gardens at Christmas (http://www.lonelyplanet.com)

Tivoli Gardens at Christmas (http://tastefoodblog.files.wordpress.com)

When we got back to Sydney my husband revealed to me that on the way home from the gardens one night (after a few gloggs!) he had asked a statue of Hans Christian Andersen for a little baby (something we had been waiting very patiently for!) Unbeknownst to him, I had bought a beautiful copy of Anderson’s fairy tales for him for Christmas so he could read them to the baby when/if it came along.

Our little girl was born the next year, as sweet as any fairy tale character of Anderson’s imagination. Needless to say, we love Denmark, Copenhagen and Hans Christian Andersen!

1 week old

Our girl – 3 days old.

(He’s since brought us a gorgeous little boy too!)

 

Cambodia. Rice fields.

Cambodian rice fields (http://www.backyardtravel.com)

Having reached the end of the C section – from Cambodia to Czech republic, I went back to review all the amazing things I have discovered…only to discover that I missed Cambodia altogether! So here it is – last instead of first but no less loved!

Cambodia has two rice crops each year, a monsoon-season and a dry-season crop. The majority of the rice is produced in the monsoon crop over a 6 month period.  The dry-season crop is smaller, and takes 3 months from planting to harvest.

In addition to these two regular crops,  floating rice is grown in April and May in the areas around the Tonle Sap, which floods and expands its banks in September or early October. Before the waters rise, the seed is spread on the ground without any preparation of the soil, and the floating rice is harvested nine months later. It has a low yield, probably less than half of the typical crop, but it can be grown inexpensively on land for which there is no other use.

Cambodian rice treat – Kralan (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk)

Czech Republic. The Alchemist’s Gold.

The Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) is on the Eastern side of Prague Castle, near the outer wall. The small, colourful houses were originally constructed in the 16th Century for the castle guards of King Rudolph II. In those times the street was known as Archery Lane. It was later renamed ‘Golden Lane’ for the goldsmiths who moved into the houses in the 17th century.

Legend has it that alchemists attempted to turn metal into gold here, but in fact the alchemists lived elsewhere in the castle. It was the goldsmiths who gave the street its captivating name.

Artist impression of Golden Lane (http://www.jeffreydalestarr.com)

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