Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Days 540 to 544: A Long Weekend With Two Wonders In Germany

As I stood in Glasgow airport, searching the screens with a sense of increasing desperation for the absent 18.05 flight to Munich, I realised: this had not begun well.

One of the advantages of my new job is that it gives me what is essentially a long weekend each week. I work three 12-hour night shifts, Monday to Wednesday, 7pm to 7am. Come seven o'clock on Thursday morning, I am free for a further 108 hours. Last week, I decided to use most of these hours in Germany, visiting my two Wonders there. They are:


and


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Part 3 Begins

Part 1 of the travels took place in Australia and across Asia, from September 2011 to April 2012. I visited 22 Wonders. It was pretty good.

Part 2 of the travels took place in Europe, South America, and North America, sporadically from June 2012 to August 2013, and then fully from December 2013 to October 2014. I visited 44 Wonders. It was also pretty good.

Part 3 of the travels begins... later today. I fly to Munich, and tomorrow and the day after will visit Neuschwanstein Castle. The following couple of days will be spent in Cologne, visiting its cathedral. In total, part 3 should involve me visiting 40 Wonders. Not in one go, but in various bite size chunks. How long will it take me? If you offered me an end date of June 2018, I'd bite your hand off. With Syria and Libya having bigger fish to fry than catering to me and my mission, it could be some years yet before I get a chance to complete my full list of 106.

In one hour, my taxi will take me to the airport. In three hours, I'll be on the flight to Munich. In about eight hours, I'll be having a pint with Piltup, my companion for the next two Wonders. Part 3 of the Wonder travels will have begun.

I'd better start packing then.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Country Review: Guatemala

Dates there: 19th to 22nd September 2014: 4 days

Guatemala's Wonders: Tikal

On the Longlist: El Mirador, Yaxha

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Longlist: The Temple of Heaven

What's the Longlist? It's the list for all the other great man-made spectacles in the world that haven't quite made my shortlist. I don't feel the need to research them or visit them, but as long as this blog is about the world's best man-made structures, they deserve some kind of mention. Today, the Temple of Heaven.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

New Additions To The List: Part 7: The Final Amendments I Sincerely Hope

When will these ever end? Since first drawing my very first shortlist to select my Seven Wonders of the World, I've been coming across new places that also seem like reasonable candidates. Every time I update my list, I think "Yes, that's it now." Well, this time I really think that this will be it. These few tweaks to my list, they will be the final ones, and my shortlist will be completed. Yes, this will be it. No more.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

1. Umayyad Mosque aka The Great Mosque of Damascus, Damascus, Syria. ACCEPTED.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Old Pictures: Akshardham


Meet Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He's the current guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the impossible-to-say religious offshoot of Hinduism based upon the 18th and 19th Century teachings of a spiritual leader called Swaminarayan. Don't worry about these confusing names though, all we need to worry about for now is that this guru and this religion are behind one of my Wonders, Akshardham. It was only finished in 2005, after five years of work. Here's a little reminder.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Country Review: Mexico

Dates there: 2nd to 19th, 22nd to 29th September 2014: 26 days

Mexico's WondersTeotihuacan, Palenque, Chichen Itza

Also visitedMonte AlbanPuebla Cathedral, Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, Templo Mayor

On the Longlist: Uxmal, Great Pyramid of Cholula, Calakmul, Mayapan, Yaxchilan, Becan, 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Longlist: Winay Wayna

What's the Longlist? It's the list for all the other great man-made spectacles in the world that haven't quite made my shortlist. I don't feel the need to research them or visit them, but as long as this blog is about the world's best man-made structures, they deserve some kind of mention. Today, Winay Wayna.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Old Pictures: Ayutthaya


Today, the ruins of Ayutthaya are just that: ruins. Set within the modern city of Ayutthaya, the historic UNESCO-rated park of old Ayutthaya is a couple of miles north of Thailand's capital, Bangkok. But Bangkok will forever be the new boy, Ayutthaya was the classic capital of Thailand (or Siam as it was then). It was a majestic city of gold spires and palaces, surrounded by three converging rivers. It all went downhill in 1767, when the Burmese trashed it, but the good news is that the Europeans had been visiting for three centuries before this happened.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Country Review: USA

Dates there: 24th to 28th February, 22nd to 27th July, 6th August to 1st September, all 2014: 37 days

USA's Wonders: Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Mount Rushmore, The Gateway Arch, Walt Disney World, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam

Also visited: The Bean/Cloud Gate, the Chrysler Building, the Bay Bridge, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood sign, Willis Tower/Sears Tower, Hancock Center, Crazy Horse Memorial, Cahokia Mounds, One World Trade Center

On the Longlist: The White House, the Pentagon, United States Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Mesa Verde

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Longlist: Cahokia

What's the Longlist? It's the list for all the other great man-made spectacles in the world that haven't quite made my shortlist. I don't feel the need to research them or visit them, but as long as this blog is about the world's best man-made structures, they deserve some kind of mention. Today, Cahokia.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Country Review: Greece

Dates there: 4th to 13th April 2014: 10 days

Greece's Wonders: The Parthenon, Meteora

Also visited: Temple of Olympian Zeus

On the Longlist: Mount Athos, Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, Acropolis of Rhodes.

Original Wonders (no longer with us): The Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Longlist: Monte Alban

What's the Longlist? It's the list for all the other great man-made spectacles in the world that haven't quite made my shortlist. I don't feel the need to research them or visit them, but as long as this blog is about the world's best man-made structures, they deserve some kind of mention. Today, Monte Alban.

What do you get if you cross Teotihuacan with Machu Picchu?
 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Old Pictures: The Banaue Rice Terraces

When Burness and I were in Banaue, and went on a three-day trek around the mountainous countryside filled with rice terraces, our guide told us about some old black-and-white photos he had seen. These days the rice terraces are in a permanent state of danger, at risk from neglect as locals prefer to find their fortune in the cities rather than spend their lives farming. The customs and traditions that made the rice terraces possible for up to 2000 years are under threat. Oddly, tourism and the money it brings in is a side-effect of the modern world that actually helps the terraces.

Anyway, although the rice terraces of Banaue and the surrounding area look pretty good today, our guide told us they had once been even better. He told us of these old photos. But he didn't have a copy to show us. I wonder if it might have been these: