China – The Little Potala

No, not in Tibet. The Little Potala or Putuo Zongcheng Temple is situated in Chengde, a few hours north of Beijing. It’s part of the Chengde Mountain Resort which I visited in the summer of 2007.

The temple is one of the biggest in China and if you want to see other parts of the mountains too, plan a few days. It was still an active place of worship when I visited but of course things might be much more touristy now.

Be prepared, too, for some steep staircases, especially if you want to see the lovely roof tiles and ornaments on top of the halls.

Although some parts were in disrepair back then, I loved the atmosphere and relative quiet. If you’ve been to China, you know this is something to appreciate.

Chinese Memories – Putuoshan

Putuoshan is an island near Ningbo and one of the holy mountains in Chinese Buddhism. I visited the place more than a dozen years ago and I’m pretty sure many things have changed since then. Back in the day I enjoyed a ride on the ferry and the fact that the island was very green, especially compared to Shanghai where I used to work.

On Putuoshan, I explored several of the temples. The views from the highest hill were quite lovely.

I must have picked a really lucky day too, because I don’t remember the place being swamped with tourists. Rather enjoyable. There were also no cars on the island.

Of course, no post without the local wildlife. Either there wasn’t much or, more likely, I hadn’t paid much attention. But anyway.

China – Wintry Days around Beijing

Beijing in winter is usually bone dry and flipping cold. It apparently rarely snows so when I was there more than a decade ago and everything was white even the smog didn’t matter that much.

I’ve been to the Forbidden City a few times, but this was quite likely the most peaceful ever.

For those who are interested, a four-star-rated toilet comes with heated seats. Or at least does so in my memory.

When visiting Beijing, the Great Wall is a must-see. On this occasion, I went to Si Ma Tai which is a bit further out and less touristy.

Of course, one should always follow the instructions given. I don’t recall a mini-train though.

Couples on their wedding shoot are great entertainment. Doing this in freezing temperatures – I just hope the marriage is still worth it.

Faces of Mongolia

In 2006, I travelled to Mongolia for about one week to see the Naadam festival (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naadam). I only got a glimpse of what I thought was a fascinating and truly wild country.

In the Gobi desert, I experienced rain and met some kids.

In the capital, Ulaanbataar, everybody was out in their Sunday best.

The members of the armed forces were only a little suspicious of a photographer.

Some were just pretending to be in Star Wars.

And some had bigger bums than others.

Scotland – The West Highland Way

Don’t get too excited, I’m not going on a hike anytime soon. However, about ten years ago I walked the https://www.westhighlandway.org/. Well, to be honest not all 154km. Husband and I skipped about 30km or so, but we spent some time afterwards on the Isle of Skye and made up for that.

I vividly remember the first two days or so, which took us all along Loch Lomond. In sunshine!WHWLochLo

Then we had a few days of typical Scottish weather – cold blustery wind, rain, the odd ray of sunlight. But by the time we had reached Glencoe it was all sunny again.

WHW GlennCo

The last stretch down to Fort William was evil. We could see Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, and we could see the path going on and on and on. The sense of achievement was great though once we arrived. I’m glad we did this long-distance hike – lovely memories.

WHW