20 Most Recent Community Reviews
Canal du Midi Ilya Burlak
One could argue that you can do Canal du Midi justice only by renting a boat to navigate a portion of it. On the other hand, the canal itself is uniformly the same narrow strip of water at any point of its stretch, only the surrounding scenery may vary. Finding myself in Toulouse and having only a couple of hours to spare in August of 2017, I figured I'd stop at a few random points along the canal and call it a reasonable visit.
The first stop was in the center of Toulouse, between Boulevard des Minimes and Boulevard Matabiau. The canal there looks like any stream in an urban setting, nothing too exceptional.
Komodo National Park Svein Heltberg
In October 2017 we had a two week round trip in Java and Bali and it peaked with a two day mini cruise in the Komodo National Park – really the only way to see the park.
A flight took us from Denpasar, Bali, to Labuan Bajo, Flores, and a taxi took us down to the harbour. Our “small” vessel was a 50 or 60 foot wooden boat with two double cabins (for the four of us) and a crew of four. There were one day cruises available with a speedboat to Komodo, but the two day “slow cruise” is recommended.
Qhapaq Ñan Nan
A site like Qhapaq Nan is fairly difficult to grasp. Is it the roads the Inkas built to connect all parts of their empire? Or does it refer to the sites the roads connect? Or a combination of the two? It doesn't really help that the nomination file comes in at 500 MB, the site names are somewhat cryptic IDs and that the GPS coordinates repeatedly do not match the nomination file boundaries. For a detailed discussion using Pachacamac as example, check Solivagants comments in the forum.
Corcovado National Park and Isla del Cano Biological Reserve (T) Esteban Cervantes Jimenez
Site visited on my December-January vacations, for a whole week, a trip that I had been wishing to do since my childhood’s readings about the Costa Rican National Park System, that helped me highlight the importance of the Osa peninsula conservation complex.
After visiting both protected areas, I think they fully live up to Corcovado’s name as “the most biologically diverse point on Earth”. During my visits to 2 different ranger stations (closer San Pedrillo and farther away and more pristine Sirena), I saw many more different species than I had ever seen in any national park in my country, and in different life stages, daytimes, and habitats than I had seen them before.
Sucre is one of the prettiest cities in Latin America I have encountered in my travels so far. Immediately when I exited the shared cab from Potosi and stepped out at Parque Simon Bolivar, I was smitten by the white colonial and post colonial buildings that make up the city center. Personally, I would put it near the top along sites as illustrious as San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. To me it's second only to Mexico City.
Pulacayo, Industrial Heritage Site (T) Nan
For my 2017 trip to South America I ventured a bit off the beaten path, at least in terms of WHS travel. A colleague more or less implored me to include the Salar de Uyuni in my itinerary. At first I was a bit hesitant as Uyuni is not on the list, so doing the detour and spending three full days here, seemed excessive. Eventually, I gave in and made my travel arrangements accordingly. And I have to concur, Salar de Uyuni is a great place to visit and it was the highlight of my trip.
Chaîne des Puys et faille de Limagne (T) Els Slots
After two Referrals in 2014 and 2016 respectively, France will try once again to get the Tectono-volcanic ensemble of the Chaîne des Puys and Limagne Fault enlisted – probably already next year. It’s a natural site that covers a string of 80 dormant volcanoes and a parallel geological structure to the west that shows inverted relief.
Ceský ráj (Czech Paradise) Rock Cities (T) Tsunami
Central Europe seems to offer nice autumn color viewings, and I thought I'd take an advantage of that and go to visit Cesky Raj (Czech Paradise) in Czechia in early November.
Cesky Raj is actually a very large area with varied natural beauties, but the nomination has to do with the several Rock Cities within the area.
My quick research before the trip revealed that out of the 10 proposed Rock Cities for inclusion, 2 are the main ones: Hruba Skala and Prachovské Skály, and the former is mainly for rock climbers and the latter is for tourists.
Luther Memorials Tsunami
By total accident I paid my second visit to Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 2017, the day of the 500th anniversary of Reformation.
The navigation through the packed streets were very difficult, but I at least visited the 4 properties again so far included in the Wittenberg portion of this WHS. The extension has been proposed for this site.
The photo is the Castle Church, to a door of which Luther nailed his 95 theses.
On this day the people seemed most interested in seeing President Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel, lining up behind the police fences for hours and hours.
This anniversary had more like a party atmosphere than a solemn one. I guess after all this was the 500th birthday party for the Protestant Church.
Torun Ian Cade
Whilst it is a pleasant and charming city, I was actually a little disappointed in Torun. I think this could be because I, unfairly, had high expectations for it but on the whole its cobbled centre felt a little more tired and scruffy than many others in the country.
The central square is pretty and the network of cobbled streets is rather nice as its layout giving clues to the development of the old and new towns. Tucked in here and there are the various sites associated with the town's most famous son Copernicus.
Machu Picchu Nan
It was nighttime in Cusco, the day before I would travel to Aguas Calientes via Ollantaytambo, when it dawned on me: A childhood dream was about to come true. I am not sure when I first saw a picture of the site but ever since I wanted to visit.
The next day I travelled to Ollantaytambo from where I took the afternoon train to Aguas Calientes. Slowly the mountains grew higher around us while the signs of human settlement receded. We were following the river down and what in Ollantaytambo had mostly been barren mountains became covered by trees with the ridge growing ever narrower. It was here where I understood why Machu Picchu is a mixed natural and cultural site.
Cusco is a unique blend of a colonial city with the traditions of the Inkas. The colonial buildings often are set on top of Inka foundations and the city has a unique mountain feel to it. Personally, I enjoyed the San Blas Barrio the most which is tucked on a hillside to the North East of the historic city center.
Cusco is also a pretty touristy place as it serves as hub for the area. You will find plenty of Western tourist amenities. For instance, Cusco was the only place along my trip I managed to take a Yoga class.
AEG Factory Berlin (T) Ian Cade
Quickly checking the bus route out to Tegel Airport I realised I would be heading toward this building which I have been wanting to visit for years.
Designed by Peter Behrens of the Deutscher Werkbund it shows the early moves towards modern industrial design. Behrens is renowned for being the mentor of three of the greatest architects of the twentieth century having trained Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, each of which has at least one WHS to their name.
For me there was a "Wow" moment at seeing the gabled end with the honeycomb AEG logo on it (also designed by Behrens), but I wouldn't be surprised to hear others could walk past without giving it a second look. Still for me this was enough to justify my brief diversion.
Istanbul Ian Cade
Certainly this is one of Europe's most impressive cities, with an astonishing history displayed in one of the greatest built environments on the World Heritage List. Throw in a welcoming atmosphere, some excellent food and bustling nightlife it really was a rewarding four day stay for us.
However things changed a fair bit after we left. Within hours of us flying home a bomb went off just outside the Grand Bazaar, a week later an explosion hit the International airport. Within a month there had been an attempted coup and subsequent clampdown on civil liberties. I wonder how much this would affect the visiting experience.
Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba Michael Novins
In October 2017, I made a day trip by minibus from Córdoba to Alta Gracia, the location of one of the estancias. The minibus stopped in Alta Gracia's center, from where it was a short walk to Plaza Manuel Solares and the estancia. From the estancia, it was a 15-minute walk, the first part along the estancia's reservoir, to the Museo Casa de Ernesto Che Guevara, where the world's most famous revolutionary lived in the 1930s. I also visited the Jesuit Block in Córdoba, which is now home to the city's natural history, paleontological and botanical museums, as well as a church and library.
Nasca Lines Nan
The Nasca Lines never featured high on my bucketlist. Yes, as a kid I had seen some of the pseudo documentaries asking (just asking, right?) if the locals hadn’t built these as landing strips for aliens. How else would such a remote, backwards tribe be able to accomplish such complex figures only visible from the sky? Being a WHS Traveler you learn to appreciate human ingenuity and the alien part wasn't really a factor for me. So I was wondering whether going to Nasca was worth the significant investment of time and money.
Canal du Midi Jill Kromkamp
We have made two Canal trips in France the latest during Aug/September this year. Although we love the experience, we were horrified to discover that boat effluent is being dumped in the waterway. This was not our understanding as we were told that the toilet mascerator separated solids from liquid and this was disposed of at port dumps. Unfortunately, this is not regulated and often we heard that people were told to just dump their toilet into the Canal.This is an UNESCO World Heritage site and as such, one would assume care of the Canal would be of prime importance. Obviously, we realise now the reason for the putrid water.
Valparaiso Michael Novins
In October 2017, I made a day trip by bus (which run every few minutes) from Santiago to Valparaíso, the dilapidated port city. The city’s golden age was from the mid-nineteenth century until 1914, when the Panama Canal opened — after the canal opened, ships from the eastern United States and Europe could transit the isthmus instead of voyaging around Cape Horn, so fewer ships called on Valparaíso. Nowadays, the former “Jewel of the Pacific” is best known for the graffiti that wallpapers nearly every exposed surface of the ramshackle buildings that line its cobbled streets and alleys.
Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte (T) Wojciech Fedoruk
This beautiful palace is located on the way from Fontainebleau to Paris. I was quite surprised as in the rainy Sunday afternoon the palace attracted more tourists than Fontainebleau and its large parking was almost totally occupied.
Entrance fee is 17 EUR normal, 13.5 reduced, so it is quite expensive, but the palace is a private property and its maintenance is, I assume, consuming lots of resources. The total area of the palace and the huge gardens is 500 hectares, out of which the formal French garden, which requires a lot of care, is 33 hectares.
Sewell Mining Town Michael Novins
In October 2017, I made a long day trip from Santiago to Sewell Mining Town. Weekend trips organized by VTS (http://www.vts.cl) depart at 8:30 am from the international coffee chain just outside Baquedano metro station, one of the major transfer stations, and return to the same location around 7:30 pm, nearly 11 hours later.
If you take the trip on a Sunday, as I did, bear in mind that the tour does not stop for lunch (included) until after the visit, around 4:30pm, and that most local stores in Santiago don't open on Sundays until after the departure time, so you won't be able to purchase breakfast or snacks until the first stop, more than an hour after departure, outside a supermarket in Rancagua, where other visitors join the tour.
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