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Te Wahipounamu

Squiffy UK - 01-Jun-19

Te Wahipounamu

The incessant rain dripped from my sunhat. My jeans were clinging clammily to my legs. My surroundings lay lost in the cloud banks that enveloped the little boat, creating an aura of mystery and suspense. Alone on the upper deck I braced myself on the rail as we cut across the mouth of Doubtful Sound, roiling and bucking with the waves.

Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Site is comprised of four contiguous national parks running up the southern west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. From south to north these are Fiordland National Park, Mt Aspiring National Park, Westland National Park and Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park. Our trip to New Zealand had been scheduled to take in the first three of these

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Saltaire

Squiffy UK - 25-May-19

Saltaire

The sustain of the organ juddered to a halt as the hymn ended. The bare handful of worshippers in the Saltaire United Reformed Church lowered themselves back into their pews as the minister began to speak. Not wishing to intrude on the service I retreated back into the porch and looked once more at the bust of Sir Titus Salt displayed there. His alabaster eyes stared out, farsightedly, towards the doors to the town he created. But it was the heraldic animals bracketing the bust’s pillar that really caught the eye. “Is that…?” my wife began. “Is that… a llama?”

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Kew Gardens

Squiffy UK - 17-Apr-19

Kew Gardens

The last week of March and Spring had arrived in England as suddenly and as unexpectedly as it does every single year.  People emerged, pale-skinned, from their houses, blinking in the sunlight like new-born rabbits, turning their faces to the warmth of the sun and casting off layers of clothing as they went. Strolling through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew it was momentarily easy to forget that I was in south-west London. Off Syon Vista the south-east Asian magnolias were in full bloom, their milk-white waxy petals stained pink and purple. The Japanese cherry trees scattered a frosting of blossom beneath their boughs. Emerald green parakeets flitted from tree to tree

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Edinburgh

Squiffy UK - 30-Sep-18

The first discarded leaves of autumn crunched underfoot where they lay scattered amongst the graves of Greyfriars Kirkyard. They served as a thematic link to the tombstones – proper 18th century grave-markers carved with macabre skeletal figures and empty-eyed skulls. Why dress things up? The seasons turn and we age. Change is inevitable. Death is inevitable. The new replaces the old. And nowhere is that truer than in Edinburgh, where the filth and jumble of what we know as the ‘Old Town’ was abandoned for the sterility and order of the New Town across the Nor Loch. These two aspects of Edinburgh were jointly and justifiably inscribed as a single World Heritage Site

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Forth Bridge

Squiffy UK - 30-Sep-18

Forth Bridge

The spume sprayed high up over the bow of the Maid of the Forth as she cut through the giddy swells of an incoming tide. Ahead, the choppy grey water and the blue cloud-flecked sky were delineated by a false horizon: the spans of the great Forth Bridge. There was a high Victorian arrogance to the way it marched across the firth, undaunted by the waters swirling around its piers. Yet as our boat slid into its shadow there was also beauty revealed in its criss-crossing web of steel girders, the matt red-brown of Morocco leather. I expected the clatter and flare of a surging steam train overhead, sparks flying, Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps leaping for his life

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Recently Visited WHS

Update 04.08.18
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  • Rating Stats
    Damascus 4.5
    Palmyra 4.5
    Serengeti 4.5
    Aleppo 4
    Bosra 3
    1. Ancient Greek Theatres (T)
    2. Azraq (T)
    3. Brooklyn Bridge (T)
    4. Buenos Aires – La Plata: Two capitals of the Culture of Modernity, Eclecticism and Immigration (T)
    5. Casablanca, Ville du XXème siécle, carrefour d'influences (T)
    6. Central Park (T)
    7. Chott El Jerid (T)
    8. Dahab (T)
    9. Dahshour archaeological area (T)
    10. Ellis Island (T)
    11. Extension of the World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Prague" with the important Monuments in its Vicinity (T)
    12. Fortress of Spinalonga (T)
    13. Gorge of Samaria National Park (T)
    14. Great Spas of Europe (UK) (T)
    15. Historical Lisbon, Global City (T)
    16. Knights Fortifications around the Harbours of Malta (T)
    17. La Moneda Palace (T)
    18. Lake Titicaca (T)
    19. Late Medieval Bastioned Fortifications in Greece (T)
    20. Les passages de Bruxelles / Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (T)
    21. Les Plages du Débarquement, Normandie, 1944 (T)
    22. Les villes antiques de la Narbonnaise et leur territoire: Nimes, Arles, Glanum, aqueducs, via Domitia (T)
    23. Massif du Mont Blanc (T)
    24. Minoan Palatial Centres (Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, Kydonia) (T)
    25. Moulay Idriss Zerhoun (T)
    26. Mount Vernon (T)
    27. Padova Urbs Picta. Giotto, the Scrovegni Chapel and the 14th century painting cycles (T)
    28. Petrified Forest of Lesvos (T)
    29. Pharaonic temples in Upper Egypt from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods (T)
    30. Pombaline Lisbon (T)
    31. Sarajevo - unique symbol of universal multiculture - continual open city (T)
    32. The Dunejec River Gorge in the Pieniny Mountains (T)
    33. The Historic City of Dublin (T)
    34. The Karlstejn Castle (T)
    35. Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks, Region of Magallanes (T)
    36. Trakai Historical National Park (T)
    37. Via Appia "Regina Viarum" (T)

    Reviewed TWHS