Monthly Archives: June 2015

Two Years of Travel in Pictures: Julie’s favourite photos of our trip (Uzbekistan to Brussels)

The final instalment of my favourite photos of our trip! Part 1 covered Latvia to Thailand, and part 2 from Kuala Lumpur to China.

Inside Chorsu BazaarI added a fisheye lens to my camera kit in Uzbekistan. Inside the dome of Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent was the perfect place to give it a trial run

Rows upon rows of fresh produce, like this one of potatoesPotato sellers perched on a bench in Tashkent’s Chorsu Bazaar

Uzbeki lady touristsI got chatting to this group of ladies after I took this sneaky photo and found out that they were visiting Tashkent from the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon

Looking through the entrance of Barak Khan MedressaLooking out through the entrance of Barak Khan Medressa to Khast Imom Square, Tashkent

Dome detailOne of my abiding memories of Uzbekistan is the colour blue, from the turquoise of the mosques to the clear blue skies

Laghman noodle soupLaghman noodle soup with a round non bread and a side of the ubiquitous tomato and cucumber salad was a favourite lunch during our time in Uzbekistan

Registan at nightThe Registan in Samarkand was jaw-droppingly beautiful by day and by night

Sunrise in SamarkandA bright orange sunrise seen over the rooftops of Samarkand

Jo photographing mausoleum at Shah-i-ZindaThe second time that Jo joined us on the trip was in Uzbekistan. Here she’s photographing one of the mausoleums at Shah-i-Zinda in Samarkand

Stick insect on tiles at Shah-i-ZindaA bright green stick insect on the vibrant tiles of a mausoleum at Shah-i-Zinda

Samarkand cemeteryUzbek gravestones feature portraits of the deceased. We enjoyed wandering through the cemetery in Samarkand and practicing our Cyrillic transliteration skills

Char Minar, BukharaChar Minar in Bukhara was the gatehouse of a long-gone 19th century medressa

Knitting stallholder in Tosh-hovli PalaceThe souvenir stalls in Khiva offered lots of thick woollen socks, often made by the stallholder like this lady inside the Tosh-hovli Palace

Uzbek dancerWhen we ascended the watchtower of the Kuhna Ark in Khiva to watch the sun set over the city we were surprised to find a music video being shot and spent as much time taking photos of the dancer as of the historic buildings

Moynaq boat cemeteryThe ship cemetery at Moynoq which used to sit on the edge of the Aral Sea really brought home the environmental tragedy caused by the Soviet Union’s irrigation projects in the area to increase cotton production. Moynoq was a thriving fishing town at the edge of the lake in 1960 but is now 150km away from the still retreating water

Silk vendor at Margilon BazaarVendor of traditional Uzbek silks at Margilon Bazaar in the Fergana Valley

Jeans stall at Margilon BazaarThe Uzbek people were some of the friendliest we came across and we spent a lot of time saying hello and answering questions at the enormous Margilon Bazaar

Pigeons in flightPigeons frightened by a cat outside Yeni Cami in Istanbul

Blue Mosque interiorMagnificent interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Jewellery in Grand BazaarNecklaces for sale in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

Tiled interior of Rustem Pasha MosqueA man begins his afternoon prayer in the Rustem Pasha Mosque

Lokum shopWe couldn’t resist the Turkish Delight shops in Istanbul

Andrew in Istanbul Museum of Modern ArtAndrew getting a different view of “Bring Yourself to Me” by Handan Boruteçene in Istanbul Modern

Basilica CisternThe huge Basilica Cistern in Istanbul lay forgotten for almost a hundred years after the Ottoman Conquest

Topkapi Sarayi on a rainy dayThis photograph really captures the day that we visited the Topkapi Sarayi, the former palace of the Ottoman sultans in Istanbul – rainy and grey

In a Turkish playparkWhen Steph, Tom and Olly visited us in Istanbul we got to see the local playgrounds and behave like big kids!

Passengers feeding gulls from the ferry to the Princes' IslandsPassengers on the ferry to the Princes’ Islands feeding gulls

Haghia SophiaThe iconic Haghia Sophia stands in the centre of Istanbul and dominates its skyline. Its dome rises 56m above the floor and looks much smaller than it actually is from below

VallettaMalta’s traditional architecture is very distinctive and nowhere more so than in the capital city Valletta with its golden limestone, narrow streets and wooden covered balconies

Looking back towards the start of the walk at Dingli Cliffs. Not bad for a day in NovemberLooking back towards the start of the walk at Dingli Cliffs. Not bad for a day in November

Prickly pearThe prickly pear grows throughout the Maltese countryside and the fruit is both eaten and used to make a liqueur

The defence command and situation room in the Lascaris War RoomsThe Lascaris War Rooms were a fascinating insight into WWII history

Beer and crisps on the beachA can of beer and a packet of crisps on Għadira beach after a long day’s walk around the northern coastline

Church detail at Addolorata CemeteryRoofline of the church at the Addolorata Cemetery in Paola, Malta

Mdina street lampsStreet lamps in the twisting streets of Mdina, the fortress city in the centre of Malta

Vittoriosa churchStormy clouds behind St Lawrence’s Church, Vittoriosa

Salt pans on GozoThe fantastic Segway tour that we took on Gozo went past the natural salt pans on the north-west coast

Traditional fishing basketTraditional fishing baskets are still used by Maltese fishermen who let them down and mark the spot, collecting them several hours later

Crater on Mt EtnaIt was eerie to see steam rising from vents in the snowy Monte Barbagallo crater of Mt Etna

Drying salt codBaccala, or salt cod, is a typical regional ingredient in Sicily. In Catania’s fish market we saw it drying in the sun

Interior, Santuario della Madonna delle LacrimeLooking up inside the conical Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa. We nicknamed it the ‘Cone of Shame’

Temple of VulcanoTemple of Vulcano at Agrigento where we spent an unexpectedly cold and slightly snowy New Year’s Eve

Banyan treeFantastic banyan trees in Giardino Garibaldi, Palermo

SpritzSpritz o’clock became a late afternoon institution during our stay in Sicily where the refreshing cocktail is served with complimentary bar snacks

View from La Rocca, CefaluViews up the coast from the former fortress atop La Rocca over Cefalù, Sicily

Monreale CathedralThe mosaics inside Monreale Cathedral tell stories from the bible to assist in medieval times when the vast majority of the population were illiterate

Trees in Palermo's botanical gardenSculptural Silk floss trees from South America in the Botanical Garden in Palermo

Stanze al GenioThe rather unlikely sounding tile collection of Stanze al Genio in Palermo ended up being one of our favourite sights in Sicily. We dreamt about starting our own collection in an attempt to make our own home so beautiful

Fontanelle Cemetery skullsLocals leave offerings for skulls in the Fontanelle Cemetery in Naples

216On one of the rare sunny days of our fortnight in Naples we spent exploring the house and grounds of the nearby Reggia di Caserta

Andrew in curved corridor of the dome of St Peter's BasilicaWe climbed to the cupola atop the dome of St Peter’s Basilica for views across Rome but hadn’t expected the staircase to be inside the sloping walls of the dome itself

Dome gallery, St Peter's Basilica, Vatican CityEntering the base of the dome at St Peter’s Basilica was an unexpected treat for the vertiginous view to the floor of the church

ColosseumLooking down into the Colosseum from the third tier trying to reimagine ancient Roman times

Dome of St Peter's Basilica through the keyholeThe view through the keyhole of the Villa del Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta was surprising in its perfection even when we knew what to expect

Piramide, RomeA pyramid in Rome? Yes really! It was built in around 12BC as the tomb of Gaius Cestius

Rome metro trainThere’s a lot of graffiti in Italy. Most of it is fairly unsightly tags but occasionally it is well enough done that it improves whatever it is sprayed onto, like this line B metro train in Rome

Synagogue, RomeThe main synagogue in Rome stands imposingly above the River Tiber

Baptistry carving detail, PisaThe leaning Tower of Pisa is part of a complex known as the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). The Baptistry has incredible acoustics which are demonstrated every half hour by the guard who stands in the centre of the room and sings a few notes which resonate for so long that he can create chords with his own voice!

Camposanto MonumentaleThe Camposanto Monumentale cemetery in Pisa is slowly being restored after being damaged by bombing in WWII

Swiss AlpsWe loved catching up with our friends Heidi and Olivier in Switzerland and once again admiring the spectacular scenery of their home country

Stained glass window of bridge in LuzernSunlight streaming through the stained glass window of a tiny chapel on Spreuerbrücke in Luzern

CERN monument‘Wandering the immeasurable’ by Gayle Hermick stands outside the visitor centre at CERN and is inscribed with major discoveries in physics in the language that they were made

Sunset, Aix-en-ProvenceThe sun goes down behind the tree lined Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence

Interior, Carcassonne cathedralInside the diminutive Basilique Saint-Nazaire in the medieval La Cité, Carcassonne

La Cite, CarcassonneCarcassonne’s medieval walled fortress town, La Cité

Church of the JacobinsReflections inside Toulouse’s Church of the Jacobins

Salon des VinsThe bread, cheese and wine in France was just as good as we’d expected

Cathedral spires, Luxembourg CityLuxembourg’s Notre-Dame Cathedral has three spires, each different from the others

Smokers outside Centraal StationSmokers outside the ornate Centraal Station in Amsterdam

Rooftop winch on a canal houseAmsterdam’s canal houses were built with a pulley projecting from the gable to more easily move goods to the upper floors and they are still in use today

National Monument, Dam SquareNational Monument and Royal Palace in Dam Square, Amsterdam

'Tolerance' by Alaniz‘Tolerance’ by Alaniz is one of the artworks featured in Amsterdam’s Street Art Museum

RijksmuseumLooking down the pond in Museumplein towards the Rijksmuseum

TulipsWe got up early to catch the dew on the tulips at Keukenhof Garden before meeting up with Dan, Clare, Scott and Emma

Windmills at Zaanse SchansAll of the windmills at Zaanse Schans village are working, milling items as diverse as logs, spices and dyes for paint!

Fairground ridesA funfair was squeezed into Dam Square for the King’s Day celebrations

Tulip fieldWe enjoyed cycling through the colourful bulb fields of the Netherlands

European Parliament, BrusselsThe European Parliament in Brussels

Atomium detailThe Atomium was built for the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958 but its architecture still looks futuristic

Two Years of Travel in Pictures: Julie’s favourite photos of our trip (Kuala Lumpur to China)

I really enjoyed reviewing my photos and picking out the best ones. Part 1 covered the first 11 months of the trip up to Thailand. Here’s part two of three…

Petronas TowersLooking up one of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

93Yellow-billed Stork at Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Flower vendor, DhakaA flower vendor relaxes on his stall in Hindu Street, Dhaka

Sadarghat boat terminalBoats jostle for position beside the Rocket Steamer at Sadarghat Boat Terminal in Dhaka

Street food vendor, SadrghatStreet food vendors sell snacks at Sadarghat Boat Terminal

Mr Colin's tea standMr Colin’s tea stand in Khulna. He was so chuffed to have foreigners drinking his tea and taking his photo that when we went back later in the week he wanted us to show the photo to his friend!

20140322-170030.jpgShait Gumbad (Sixty Dome) Mosque at Bagerhat actually has 81 domes, but 60 pillars. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates from the 15th century

Bangladeshi busBangladeshi buses are a colourful but scary way to travel through the country, crammed with people and luggage and driven by seemingly suicidal drivers

Forest floor, SundarbansRoots sticking up from the floor of the forest in the Sundarbans National Park

ButterflyWe didn’t see any tigers, but there was plenty of other wildlife on view in the Sundarbans National Park in Bangladesh

Street restaurant kitchenBangladeshi food is cheap, satisfying and delicious, many of the country’s restaurants have the ‘kitchen’ outside in the street

Govinda Temple, PuthiaBeautifully proportioned Govinda Temple at Puthia

Chicken seller, RajshahiChicken seller in the New Market, Rajshahi

WatchersAs foreigners we were curiosities wherever we went in Bangladesh, here we are being watched through a hole in a wall at Sona Masjid

Sunrise at PaharpurMisty sunrise behind the stupa ruins at Paharpur

Fruit seller, RajshahiA greengrocer hangs grapes from his stall in the market at Dinajpur

Tea plantationA peaceful tea plantation near Srimongol

Water buffalosLife in the waterways near Srimongol

Fishmonger, SrimongolA fishmonger proudly displays his wares in Srimongol

111Adverts line the street on election day in Sonargaon outside Dhaka

Gardens by the BayThe Gardens by the Bay at Singapore Marina are dominated by the huge SuperTree structures which are lit at night

Singapore Art MuseumA family plays with the sound produced by pots of soil: “Sound of the Earth” by Chen Sai Hua Kuan at the Singapore Art Museum

Takayama float festivalThe Daikokutai team ready themselves to move their float at the Takayama Spring Float Festival

Parade ornamentPhoenix topping a box to be carried in procession during the Takayama Spring Float Festival

20140424-174759.jpgCherry blossom in Kanazawa Castle Park

Noh masksA display of masks at the Kanazawa Noh Museum

Theatre interiorInside the traditional Kureha-Za theatre at Museum Meiji-Mura

Rest house along the Old Post RoadRest house along the Nakasendo, or old post road, between Magome and Tsumago

Matsumoto CastleMatsumoto Castle is the oldest wooden castle in Japan

20140515-111529.jpgJapanese Macaque eating pussy willows at Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps. The monkeys are also known to bathe in natural hot springs

Shrine reflectionShrine reflected in the moat of a burial mound in Nara

Temple roofThe traditionally constructed roof of Kongobuji temple, Koyasan

Jizos with apronsJizos with aprons in the Okunoin Cemetery, Koyasan

Yabusame archer taking out the final target at full speedA Yabusame archer takes out the final target at full speed

Sun through maple leavesJapan was much greener than we’d expected with plenty of beautiful countryside and well tended gardens

Mountaintop monument, MiyajimaMonument on top of Mt Misen, Miyajima

Wisteria canopy at Kawachi Fuji GardenWisteria blossoms gently waving in the breeze at Kawachi Fuji Garden

From the ferry to YakushimaFeeling blue. Kyushu island coastline from the ferry to Yakushima

On the trail to Jomon SugiAndrew with our hostel friends and fellow hikers, Brian and Claudia, on the trail to Jomon Sugi, the largest cedar tree ever found in Japan which is estimated to be over 2000 years old

Resting hikersHikers rest on the riverbed below the trail to Jomon Sugi

Lee Ufan, Naoshima‘Relatum-Point, Line, Plane’ by Lee Ufan stands at the entrance to his museum on Naoshima

Sushi conveyor beltConveyor belt sushi in Kobe, lots of fun

Kyoto rice paddy reflectionsClouds reflected in rice paddies on the outskirts of Kyoto

Temple gardenGarden at Shoren-in temple, Kyoto

20140619-205819-75499618.jpgBright red gates line the path up the mountain at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Recreating the zen gardenWe spent a fascinated hour watching the gardeners at Ginkakuji Temple recreating the zen garden

Sacred treeA rope encircles a Yorishiro or sacred object, in this case a tree, at Kurama-dera

Lake SaikoLake Saiko is one of the Five Lakes around Mt Fuji

Observation deck at Mori Art MuseumTokyo Tower from the observation deck of the Mori Art Museum

20140707-144505-53105880.jpgFishmongers sawing up frozen tuna at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Tsukiji Market‘Unicorn’ fish for sale at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

20140711-212637-77197767.jpgLooking 350m down from Tokyo Skytree

Stepping stonesSunlight shining across rounded stepping stones in Koshikawa Korakuen Garden in Tokyo

Shinto weddingTraditional Shinto wedding procession at the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo

Bowl of ramenJapanese food is famed for being light and healthy, but a bowl of ramen noodles with extra braised pork is satisfyingly rich and hearty

20140721-224958-82198318.jpgA man rests under the trees near Beomeosa temple in Busan

Seokbulsa temple carvingsCliffside carvings of the Buddha at Seokbulsa Temple, Busan

Lotus flowerLotus flower, Gyeongju

Bulguksa TempleColourful carvings in the eaves of Bulguksa Temple near Gyeongju

Traditional Korean breakfastA Korean breakfast of abalone rice porridge, fish and kimchi at our guesthouse in Hahoe Folk Village

Looking out over the DMZ towards North KoreaVisiting the de-militarised zone (DMZ) which divides Korea was an eerie experience after learning some of the history of the conflict

Sunset over SeoulSunset over Seoul from the edge of Namsan Park

Mung bean pancake stallMung bean pancake stall in Gwangjang Market, Seoul

Andrew and the Bund BullAndrew and the Bund Bull in the old banking district of Shanghai

The Mountain-in-View TowerThe Mountain-in-View Tower, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou

Bonsai treeBonsai tree, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou

SketchbookSketchbook with a drawing of the Hall of Distant Fragrance, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou

Duck headsDuck heads and chillis on a street food stall in Hangzhou – no we didn’t try them…

Nanjing Massacre MemorialMirrored wall in the garden of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial

Stairway to Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum, Nanjing, ChinaView up the stairway to Dr Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum near Nanjing. Considered the founding father of modern China, he’s a very popular guy

Yellow Crane Tower roof tile detailYellow Crane Tower roof tile detail, Wuhan

Hankou railway station waiting roomHankou railway station waiting room. The newer stations on China’s high speed rail network look more like airports to us

Queueing for glass plank pathQueueing for the glass plank path on Tianmen mountain, Zhangjiajie

Cable car, Zhangjiajie National ParkThe cable car line to Huangshizhai runs between the rock pillars, Zhangjiajie National Park

Oil lampsOil lamps burning at Aidao Nunnery, Chengdu