Bangkok – The City of Three Worlds

When you arrive in Bangkok, you seem to have reached the three worlds of Buddhist cosmology. The world of materialism is the first you see, followed by a simple world, freed from the basic desires of the former and ending with the immaterial world, closer to Nirvana. These three realms or planes of existence are called Trailokya and represent a post mortem universe. But the universe of Bangkok is full…

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Colombo – A city of Chaos and Tranquility

Anyone who visits Sri Lanka will not go too far in the urban areas but will rush to reach the island's soul. Wildlife, with its endemic flora and fauna, attracts visitors in particular. With a few exceptions – Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom and Galle, with its ancient Dutch Fort – the cities are often avoided or hurriedly visited by tourists. Colombo, the country’s capital and the…

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Sri Lanka – An Unspoiled Island Jungle

The old saying, strong essences are kept in small bottles, perfectly describes the small island country, Sri Lanka. Although many tourists visit the country just to enjoy a sunny escape during winter, Sri Lanka is more than a tropical island with pristine beaches. It is one of the best places for admiring the wildlife of Asia, with over 20 natural reserves and protected areas. Its flora and fauna is very…

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The Fantastic Small World of Cotswold Villages

Stretching across five counties in south-central England, the villages and market towns in the wolds (forest on a high land) offer a fairytale picture of English countryside life. From the southern city of Bath to Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon in the north, the Cotswold area is a blend of natural beauty and centuries of history revealed by medieval castles, old stone houses and churches. Known for the wool trade since the…

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Iceland – A Weekend Escape in the Land of Ice and Fire

Iceland's wild scenery, photographed by Rafn Sign, is hard to imagine if you have never set foot in the land of ice and fire, as many visitors have called it. Walking among craters, waterfalls and geysers, swimming in hot blue lagoons at zero degrees or less and watching the whales swirling around your boat is a miracle that you can really achieve in three days. It may seem unrealistic that…

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The Tragic Story of a Submerged Village in Transylvania

Bezidu Nou is a small village in Transylvania, in the north-central part of Romania. Not far from Târgu Mureş, the seat of the county, surrounded by forested hills, this place hides unexpected stories. From the religious restrictions of the medieval age to the freedom of spiritual beliefs in modern times, and ending with the tragic rupture generated by Nazism and Communism, Bezidu Nou represents the submerged history of Transylvania. Sabbatarians –…

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The Abandoned Villas of Athens

When I visited Athens in the summer of 2014, one year before the onset of civil unrest and fears of near bankruptcy, the contrast between the beauty of the ancient city and the desolation of its historic buildings struck me. It seemed like the whole town had become a character in a Greek tragedy. Financial crisis and its consequences The 2007-2008 global financial crisis has left Greece more economically weakened…

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Kyoto – The Golden City of Japan

Kyoto, meaning Capital, was founded by Korean immigrants before becoming the capital of Japan in 794. In the 8th century, due to the growing influence and ambition of the Nara Buddhist leaders, which threatened the stability of the regime, Emperor Kammu decided to move the capital from Nara to Nagaoka, and then from Nagaoka to Kyoto. The city remained Japan's main administrative centre for over 1,000 years until 1868, when…

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