You say the Earth is round ?

Prove it ! - Yet another RTW travel blog

Tags - history

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13Jun 2014

Day trip to the center of the world

It takes about 3 hours to reach the ancient site of Delphi from Athens by bus. It's located in a wonderful settings in the middle of the mountains of central Greece. It was a very important religious center in Ancient Greece since it was considered the center of the world. It also had a strong political meaning since it was used to promote pan-hellenic ideas through Athens leadership among the greek cities.
The theater

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21Dec 2013

Before the "Parrandas"

After a short stop in Santa Clara, I took a taxi colectivo (1956 Chevrolet!) to Remedios, a small city located 40km North. Remedios is actually one of the oldest city in Cuba but most of the population fled the repeated attacks of the pirates in the 17th century. That's why it stayed a charming colonial village until now.
Church of San Juan Bautista de los Remedios

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19Dec 2013

A short stop in the city of Che

Compared to Trinidad, Santa Clara is far duller. There's no use to search for colonial houses and world heritage landmarks. Santa Clara is known for being a convenient transport hub in the middle of Cuba, for hosting the second most prestigious university in the country but also for one of the major battle of the revolution and for its huge memorial to Ernesto Ché Guevara.
Memorial to Che Guevara

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17Dec 2013

A city where time seems frozen

Trinidad is an open air museum. It's a beautifully preserved colonial town with cobbled stone streets and brightly painted buildings. It attracts busloads of tourists and the usual jineteros (touts) with reason.
Woman passing by at sunset

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14Dec 2013

The Southern Pearl

French settlers from New Orleans founded Cienfuegos at the beginning the the 19th century. That's obviously why it is such an elegant, beautiful and well organized city (let's be chauvinist for once ;-) ). Actually, the downtown area is full of building with neoclassic architecture, reminding Paris haussmanian buildings (with a tropical touch).
Casa de cultura

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21Sep 2013

Pilgrimage

Even lazy students know plenty of historical facts about this place. Everyone can recognize the shape of its entrance gate among hundreds of photos. Many have heard about the obnoxious welcoming message above the gate. Plenty of writers or filmmakers have dealt with this: "Se questo è un uomo" by Primo Levi, "Les Bienveillantes" by Johnathan Littell, Anne Franck's diary, "La mort est mon métier" by Robert Merle, "Shoah" by Claude Lanzmann, "Maus" by Art Spiegelman...

That's why visiting Auschwitz is more a pilgrimage than a discovery. However, it doesn't mean this is not a very powerful experience.
Auschwitz entrance gate

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16Sep 2013

Ryanair m'a tuer

Cracovie est une ville qui a beaucoup de charmes. Et pour cause, elle a toujours été une référence au niveau artistique, culturel, académique pour la Pologne. D'autre part, contrairement aux autres étapes de ce voyage (Dresde, Wroclaw), Cracovie n'a subi presque aucun dommage lors de la seconde guerre mondiale. Les Nazis considéraient cette ville comme étant historiquement allemande et donc l'ont épargnée.
Rynek

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13Sep 2013

Dresden

Dresden is not the most touristic place in the world. Most of those who come here to visit are retired Germans. It's mostly known for having been one of the most beautiful Renaissance/Baroque city in Europe before being reduced to ashes after an allied bombing at the end of WWII.
The signs of the bombing are still clearly visible: many buildings still look black and burnt. Others which were destroyed have been rebuilt like the main landmark of the city, the Frauenkirche.
Frauenkirche after the rain

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12May 2013

A short trip across Spain

From Tangier, Morocco, I crossed the strait of Gibraltar to Tarifa by ferry and made my way back home overland in 4 short days. With such a short time, I couldn't spend very long anywhere. Luckily, it wasn't the first time there...
The first stop was Granada which has many similarities with Moroccan imperial cities since it's been occupied for almost 7 centuries by Muslims.
Granada - Albayzin

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08May 2013

A gate to Europe

Tangier is probably the most European city of Morocco, not only for its location or its history (it has been an international city during most of the first half of 20th century). There's a feeling that here Maghreb and Europe blend together.
USTEIR_3420.JPG

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03May 2013

Gettting lost again and again

The Medina of Fez is what medieval cities should have looked like. It's a maze of tiny streets going in every possible directions. It's absolutely impossible not to get lost in it, even for locals! Is there any urbanist out there???
Medina

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11Sep 2012

Day trips

After a couple of days in the city, there are a couple of places which are easily reachable on day trips. The most popular is Kutna Hora. The main attraction there is the ossuary.
Sedlec ossuary

NICE !

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13Apr 2012

Between Europe and Asia

Everyone who has been to Istanbul agrees that it is an amazing place. I totally concur with this, except for one issue : the weather. My first two days there have been pretty miserable fighting rain, wind and cold. The only solution was to focus on indoor activities. Unfortunately, that same idea occurred to the thousands of tourists in Istanbul for Easter holidays... However, it was worth waiting even in the cold !
Aya Sofia from the upper gallery

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08Apr 2012

Natural wonders

Following some friends' advices, I went to Cappadocia after Pamukkale. Well... it's definitely worth it ! The landscapes are just amazing. There are Fairy chimneys all around the village of Goreme and their color is continuously changing.
Man partially made arch

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06Apr 2012

The Cotton fortress

When going to Turkey, most tourists have in mind the image of the bright blue travertines of Pamukkale. Well, the postcard is a little bit different from the reality... Most of the travertines (natural pools made of carbonite formations) are dry due to the man made modifications. However, a couple of them still almost look like the postcard.
Travertines in Pamukkale

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04Apr 2012

I hate Mass tourism

When traveling in the Greek islands, I got used to enjoy the views with only a bunch of happy few. This time is over ! Turkey is the land of huge organized tours all year long! This was especially obvious in Ephesus.
Ephesus: Library of Celsus

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30Mar 2012

A pleasant surprise

I didn't plan to stop in Naxos, the biggest island of the Cyclades, but the travel agency where I inquired in Santorini told me that there was a boat connecting Naxos with Mikonos and leaving the day after. However, once in Naxos, I discovered that the only boat sailing this route (off season once a week) was a cargo which didn't take any passenger.

Anyway, I'm glad I didn't just passed through Naxos. This island really deserves a visit: after Santorini, the rather unspoiled authenticity of Naxos was a relief.
Kastro at sunset

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26Mar 2012

Athens

With such a historical background, I expected to see a lot of ruins all around. However, Athens is like most major modern European cities : there are traffic jams, noise, pollution and tourist shops. However, the Acropolis makes up for any of the previous inconvenience.
Parthenon

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08Mar 2012

Celebrating in Tel Aviv

Israel 2009

After visiting Akko I took some buses to make my way to Tel Aviv. I didn't know it but the timing was absolutely perfect to arrive in Tel Aviv. It was the exact day for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the city. I just had the time to drop everything at Miki's place and off we went to the main square.
Fireworks for Tel Aviv anniversary

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26Feb 2012

Where everything begun

Israel 2009

Time for spiritual matters ! Hang on to your Star of David, your cross, your star & crescent, your Hamsa, your kippa, your rosary, your tablets of law, your Torah, your Bible, your Koran... call your prophet friends and lets dive in Jerusalem (Al-Quds), the Holy city of the 3 monotheist religions.

When you arrive in Jerusalem, you can immediately notice that it's totally different from any other city you've visited before, at least in the historical center. In some cities, historical center means that there's a couple of 200 year-old buildings. Here, we're talking about 3000 years of History in this city only ! And they haven't been quiet years... What half of Humanity calls culture or civilization comes from here (for better or for worse). Indeed, the sense of Spirituality is overwhelming when you walk around this tiny area, even if you're not religious at all.
Western Wall

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