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11 most popular Instagrams in December 2014

Our 11 most popular Instagram photos last month are all from South-East Asia for a change. Let’s delve right in: At the top of the list are two photos of Buddha – or rather, images of the Buddha, both from the ancient Thai capital Ayutthaya. 1. From Watyaichaimongkol Temple, this row of Buddhas is our best liked Instagram in […]

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Al Ain Oasis

Oasis – it’s such a wonderful word, isn’t it? Like haven, or sanctuary. The proper definition, the Oxford Dictionary tells me, is a fertile spot in a desert, where water is found. And that is just what Al Ain is. An oasis. A garden at the edge of the fabled Empty Quarter, inhabited for more […]

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The magic of Zanzibar’s Stone Town

Zanzibar is one of those really wonderful names, isn’t it? Like Samarkand. Or Esfahan. Or Babylon. Every syllable promises adventure. Earlier this year, I took the ferry from Dar es Salaam across to Zanzibar, meaning to a have look around and perhaps stay the night. One week later, I found myself still on the island. […]

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World at a Glance: The fountains of Bern

Bern is one of Europe’s more unassuming capital cities. Like Canberra is overshadowed by Sydney and Melbourne, all the attention here goes to big sisters Zurich and Geneva. In fact, if asked What is the capital of Switzerland? in a pub quiz, I’ll bet many would shout out one of the two. Despite numerous visits […]

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Colours of Rajasthan, Diwali and hill forts

Wandering around Jaipur during Diwali, my friend and I came across a colony where the celebrations were in full swing. We, though complete strangers, were invited in to join.

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World at a Glance: Great Zimbabwe

I had 4-5 hours to kill in Masvingo once, waiting for the last bus to Harare. Must have been 16 years ago. So I did what I often do when I’m short on time: I asked a taxi driver if there was anything interesting to see. A slightly dubious practice, I know, and certainly one […]

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Geghard Monastery: carved from the mountain

Remember I wrote about the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral with the spectacular view of Mount Ararat? And a bit later, the monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin? Armenia’s third world heritage site is Geghard Monastery with its scenic surrounding canyon, the Upper Azat Valley. As you may have noticed, all three of Armenia’s sites are churches, […]

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