Apr 30, 2011

Pamukkale - the Cotton Castle

The Cotton Castle has nothing to do with any kingdom. It is a breathtaking natural wonder, which looks like frozen waterfalls but in reality is a white cliff covered with white minerals, left by the flowing down, hot water from an underground spring. This process has been running unstoppably for over 14000 years. Around the 2nd century BC, the ancient city of Hierapolis developed right above the cliff, making Pamukkale an ancient spa.

Ever since people discovered Pamukkale, they bathe in the natural pools, especially in the summertime. Nature didn't seem to be bothered by this fact and the terraces remained in almost untouched condition until the last century, when some modern hotels were built nearby and negatively affected the spring's natural processes.

As soon as Pamukkale was enrolled on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988, the hotels were closed but it was already too late. A couple of years was enough to destroy a huge part of the natural masterpiece.

I've seen the cotton castle two times. For the first time, I went to Pamukkale about 10 years ago with my parents. We were asked to take off our shoes, when entering the terraces. It was very painful for me to walk barefoot there. The day was very hot, the sky was extremely blue and the terraced pools were filled with water and people. There were soooo many of those pools within eyes reach. Also, I still have on my mind, what some local Turkish people told me, that it's not as beautiful as they remember it used to be.

The second time I went there was late April 2011, the temperature was bearable. I must say, that I was impressed by the new arrangements made around the entire area such as wooden paths. It surely protects those of the terraces that are left. However, the visitors are still allowed to step on them and bathe and do whatever they want in the selected areas. This time, I decided to keep my shoes on and not to participate in this act of destroyment, as I had my chance to take a few steps there before.

When I sat on one of the benches, I suddenly heard two older gentleman from Poland admiring the view few meters away from me. It sounded as if one of them was in Pamukkale in the 1960's and his impressions were just like mine from late 1990's, that there were hundreds of people bathing in the healing water.
I didn't notice when it got very late, I had to skip the ancient ruins and hurry not to miss my bus.

Apr 13, 2011

Tabemono (jap. food) one more time!

It's been ages since my last trip to Japan (and over a year since I started this post) but people still keep on asking me if i ate sushi there all the time. Well, of course NO!

Katsu Kare - quick lunch after arriving from Kawaguchiko to Tokyo.

Mister Donut - Japanese equivalent for more international chain cafe Dunkin Donuts. These 2 pics present quite wide variety of donuts such as: white donut with jam filling, small donuts in a set or green tea/matcha donut. The very important part of eating at Mister Donut was collecting points which were finally rewarded with an awesome green cup with the company's logo. Ok, the cup itself isn't that awesome. It's quite normal actually but the whole story behind it is ;)

7/11 - a combini - a little supermarket is always a good place to get some lunch snacks. I remember that while choosing the food below I also spotted a sandwich with strawberries!

Saizeriya - Italian (I might get killed for saying this!) style restaurants with nomihoudai which is Japanese for "all you can drink". In my case it was usually Fanta Melon and coffee.

Aiskurimu - Japanese for icecream :) on the 51st floor of Nagoya's JR Central Towers on Easter evening. Undescribably, futuristically romantic!

Izakaya - I think we broke most of the rules that make an Izakaya a real Izakaya but it was an awesome place and surrounding to have a good meal :) Ah and yes, somebody was smoking a cigarette inside. I think it's allowed there so get prepared!

Street stalls :)

Chinatown of Yokohama :) we were not hungry while being around :P

My Fanta limited editions collection.

Mar 4, 2011

Not-so-secret garden

I finally made myself develop a film from Fujifilm waterproof single use camera which had been waiting in my fridge for almost 4 years with an expiry date Nov 2007. These were the first underwater pics I ever took so I didn't expect great results. Just to experiment. I'm happy that even though the quality turned out to be very poor, the colors are brilliant anyway. Here they are, treasures of the Red Sea's Far Garden coral reef!

In April 2007, I tried snorkelling for the first time and it was literally speaking:
B-R-E-A-T-H-T-A-K-I-N-G! Without any hesitation I can also say that it was the most beautiful experience and thing that I've ever seen.

Sep 19, 2010

Souvenir from Paris

I got this picture from Paris one day in August. My friend, who knows how crazy I am about great photo spots, visited a friend, who lives in an apartment with such a stunning view.

Window view as a souvenir?
Just perfect!

Aug 29, 2010

MIM - shut up and listen!

The MIM, Musical Instruments Museum of Brussels is my personal no. 1 among the museums I've been to so far! I'll try to explain why is it so...
First of all, I might be asked: what if somebody doesn't feel like entering the museum?
Well, I have great news! The museum's building, located on the Mont des Arts, is worth admiring even just from the outside. This XIXth century former department store is a magnificent example of the art nouveau style. Its neoclassical surrounding makes it look even more outstanding. But that's not enough! What would you say about getting into the building, picking up a free access ticket to the restaurant and having a coffee on the 5th - roof floor? Just imagine that view over the city.

In case somebody actually decides to check out the MIM's exhibition, just after paying the 5 euro admission fee (students - 4 euro, on Wednesdays free!) is given a pair of huge headphones, which dependently on the instrument, that the particular person is looking at, play the right piece of music. For example, in the picture below, Daniel is standing in front of the window that presents a couple of traditional Mexican instruments, on the spot which enables him to hear the Mexican music. By the way, this part was our favourite.

In comparison with the Traditional Musical Instruments Museum in Szydłowiec (Poland), I really appreciate this great collection of musical instruments from all around the world and the way how interactively presented they are. I believe that it would be even better if the visitors were given a chance to play the instruments, as they do in its Japanese equivalent in Hamamatsu. Anyway, if they get really inspired, they might get their own instruments in the museum's shop full of various musical stuff.