Libreria Acqua Alta

Totally not in our agenda, but I am glad we stumbled into this when we were exploring the alleys towards the east side of Venice.

Dubbed (or rather claimed) to be “the most beautiful bookshop in the world,” I find it most intriguing or interesting than beautiful. It is in fact a big mess inside with an unused gondola in the middle which holds hundreds of books. There is another room with a bathtub full of books. The mess is not necessarily bad, because it did add a lot of character to place — but I can’t imagine anyone really shopping for books here.

Maybe a postcard?

 

Entrance to the bookshop. Off-focus, opps.
Entrance to the bookshop. Off-focus, opps.

 

Books embedded into the walls
Books embedded into the walls

 

It has access to the canal at the back, offering very nice light. Unfortunately I couldn't recover the highlights as much as I desire.
It has access to the canal at the back, offering very nice light. Unfortunately I couldn’t recover the blown highlights as much as I desire.

 

More books
More books

 

The resident cat is not too happy ;-)
The resident cat is not too happy 😉

 

Should add this to your list, if you’re going to Venice…  🙂

 
How to get there:

 

 

Ephesus

Ephesus was really ancient. Excavations found stuff dated back to the Neolithic Age (6000 B.C.).

It was located on the Aegean coast of present-day Turkey. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In 268 AD, the Temple was destroyed in a raid by the Goths. The site is now flooded with water, and only 1 lonely column left of the temple’s pillars. We found a stork bird nest on top of that pillar (that’s the most interesting thing, at least for me…).

 

Stork bird nest on top of the 1 and only standing pillar of the Temple of Artemis
Stork bird nest on top of the 1 and only standing pillar of the Temple of Artemis

 

I was more awed by the main site of Ephesus where the Library of Celsius, Odeon and the open-air theatre are located. This site had access to the harbour but was slowly silted up by the river which explains why I saw no view of the sea at the end of harbour street. I did a quick check later on Google Maps, and found that the coast is now at least 5 KM away from this ancient site.

 

The open-air theatre with the harbour street on the right corner. How does one watch anything from here?!
The open-air theatre with the harbour street on the right corner. How does one watch anything from here?!
Open-air theatre, craved out from a mountain!
Open-air theatre, craved out from a mountain!
Scores of tourists making their way down to the Library of Celsius
Scores of tourists making their way down to the Library of Celsius
Found a LEGO piece... :-D
Found a LEGO piece… 😀
Shopkeepers selling wares to tourists near the House of the Virgin Mary.
Shopkeepers selling wares to tourists near the House of the Virgin Mary.
Apparently its not so uncommon to find Stork bird nests on tall poles!
Apparently its not so uncommon to find Stork bird nests on tall poles here!
Coast of Kusadasi
Coast of Kusadasi

Old Town of Dubrovnik (King’s Landing)

Just came back from a wonderful cruise!

One of the ports of call was Dubrovnik, located in the south of Croatia. Some 15 mins away from the port is the Old Town where the location is used for King’s Landing scenes in HBO-series Game of Thrones! I should have known when I saw so many GoT-themed tours being offered upon arrival at the Pile Gate. Alas, I brushed them aside thinking it must have been just a “theme” since the place looked and felt medieval.

So instead of photos of GoT points of interest, my focus was steered towards the mountainous landscape of its surrounding and the beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.

Highlands of Dubrovnik
Highlands of Dubrovnik
Highlands of Dubrovnik (with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the background?)
Highlands of Dubrovnik (with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the background?)
Highlands of Dubrovnik (with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the background?
Highlands of Dubrovnik (with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the background?
Coastal town at Dubrovnik
Coastal town at Dubrovnik
Tower of a cathedral in the old town
Tower of a cathedral in the old town
Seagull feeling at home
Seagull feeling at home
Clear seas, wished I could join him for a swim. Maybe next time.
Clear seas, wished I could join him for a swim. Maybe next time.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan, a sweet-potato-shaped island is once known as Ilha Formosa – Beautiful Island. This is what a group of Portuguese sailors, said to have been the first Westerners to lay eyes on the island, uttered upon seeing Taiwan for the first time.

Taiwan has been chosen as one of the top 10 best countries to visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet. I have been reading a little about Taiwan after the trip and found that there are so simply too much to cover in just 8 days. These photos were taken during a road trip / guided tour around Taiwan in October 2011. The sky during the period was extremely cloudy, and gloomy at times. I brought the Olympus E-PL1 with kit lens for its travel-friendly size; no tripod.

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Beautiful Taipei in the morning. That’s the Taipei 101 tower at the background.
Taken with Nikon P&S (S6000) from a moving bus.

Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park  is one of the seven national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park. The park spans Taichung City, Nantou County, and Hualien County.

The park was originally established as the Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park by the Governor-General of Taiwan on December 12, 1937 when Taiwan was part of the Empire of Japan. After the Empire of Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Republic of China assumed control of Taiwan. The ROC government subsequently abolished the park on August 15, 1945. It was not until November 28, 1986 that the park was reestablished.

The name, Taroko, means “magnificent and beautiful”. Long ago a Truku tribesman saw the beauty of the azure Pacific when he walked out of the gorge. On seeing the magnificent scene, he cried “Taroko!”. [source: Wikipedia]

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“Bridge of 100 Lions” at the Taroko National Park in Hualien.
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Flowers, Taroko National Park
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This is the view from the mountainside coffee house of “Eternal Spring Shrine” which is situated over the waterfall. Taroko National Park.
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Clam farm in Hualien

The Aborigines

Aboriginal groups are seeking to preserve their folkways and languages as well as to return to, or remain on, their traditional lands. Eco-tourism, sewing and selling tribal carvings, jewelry and music has become a viable area of economic opportunity. However, tourism-based commercial development, such as the creation of Taiwan Aboriginal Culture Park, is not a panacea. Although these create new jobs, aborigines are seldom given management positions. [source: Wikipedia]

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Performance at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Pingtung.
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Performance at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Pingtung.

Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, with a population around 2.9 million. Also known as the “Harbour Capital” of Taiwan, Kaohsiung has always had a strong link with the ocean and maritime transportation.

The city sits on the southwestern coast of Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait. The downtown areas are centered around Kaohsiung Harbor with the island of Qijin on the other side of the harbor acting as a natural breakwater. [source: Wikipedia]

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Kaohsiung at night (taken handheld). Stitched panorama from the 62nd floor of The Splendour hotel.
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Local delicacy found in Liuhe Night Market, Kaohsiung
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On the way to Tsingtao Brewery (a thirst-quenching stop before Kaohsiung)

Sun Moon Lake

Situated in Yuchi, Nantou, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, hence the name. [source: Wikipedia]

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The Sun Moon Lake which is located 748 m (2,454 ft) above sea level. This is a stitched panorama.
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We were playing with bubbles at the compounds of Wen Wu Temple (文武廟) located next to the Sun Moon Lake.
Supplies Delivery at FengChia Nightmarket (Xitun District, Taichung City)
Supplies Delivery at FengChia Nightmarket (Xitun District, Taichung City)
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Found this cozy place selling beef noodles near our hotel in Hsinchu. Had this for supper.

Yehliu

Yehliu is a cape in the town of Wanli, New Taipei, Taiwan. The cape, known by geologists as the Yehliu Promontory, forms part of the Daliao Miocene Formation. It stretches approximately 1,700 metres into the ocean and was formed as geological forces pushed Datun Mountain out of the sea.

A distinctive feature of the cape is the hoodoo stones that dot its surface. These shapes can be viewed at the Yehliu Geopark operated by the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area administration. A number of rock formations have been given imaginative names based on their shapes. The best known is the “Queen’s Head”, an iconic image in Taiwan and an unofficial emblem for the town of Wanli. Other formations include the “Fairy Shoe,” the “Beehive,” the “Ginger Rocks” and the “Sea Candles.” [source: Wikipedia]

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Yehliu Geopark
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Close-up of amazing rock formations at the Yehliu Geopark
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Ship wreck off Yeliu

Taipei

Taipei is the capital of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River; it is about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Keelung, a port city on the Pacific Ocean. It lies in the Taipei Basin, an ancient lakebed bounded by the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city’s western border. The city proper is home to an estimated 2,618,772 people. Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung together form the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area with a population of 6,900,273. [source: Wikipedia]

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The Martyr’s Shrine, built in 1969.
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Plane in Cloudy Taipei
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A Street Junction in Taipei
Taipei Streets in Grainy B&W
Taipei Streets in Grainy B&W (E-PL1 built-in “Art” filter)

Vancouver, BC

Had the opportunity in 2013 to visit Vancouver in the British Columbia, Canada. It offers among the best quality of life for urbanites, according to the 2013 Liveability report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. From my 3-day stay there, it feels so. In fact it was much better than the feeling I experienced when I was in Melbourne (touted 1st in the same list). My perception was nevertheless not significant because of the many factors considered e.g. public healthcare or the threat of military conflict which are intangible for a visitor/tourist like me.

I love the water bodies, the yachts, and the picturesque mountains in the background. Simply stunning. My short visit was way too short and certainly wish to return for a longer stay.

All photos taken using Olympus E-PL1 with 14-42mm kit lens.

Vancouver Sailing Club, Granville Island
Vancouver Sailing Club, Granville Island

Subsequent photos were stitched for a wider view.

Under the Granville Bridge
Under the Granville Bridge
Overseeing the Harbour Green Park & the Coal Harbour, from the Convention Center
Overseeing the Harbour Green Park & the Coal Harbour, from the Convention Center
Reminds me of Disney's TaleSpin
Reminds me of Disney’s TaleSpin