I used to place Egypt quite high on the paradox list, as they have a lot of signs reading “Egypt – the land of peace” while a guard carrying an automatic weapon stands firmly posing in front of the very sign. However, there’s a new kid on the block. In Paraguay, I learned recently, there are people guarding the car tire shops in full Kevlar armor, holding a sawed-off shotgun with a finger on the trigger.
The fairytale castles of Sintra
"The Portuguese town of Sintra is famous for many beautiful castles. Palácio Nacional da Pena is arguably the most stunning of the lot. "
Greetings from Moldova
"But Chisinau is an unexpected gem in the wilderness. Even though Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, the capital has its fair share of impressive buildings and post-Soviet architecture."
Roaming in Valletta
"I passed the statue of Jean de Valette, the 49th Grand Master who laid the foundation stone to Valletta in 1566, to gaze at the golden interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, where he is buried in the crypt."
Getting lost in Yazd
"Navigating on random while surrounded by staring old men, pointing their crooked fingers at the Godzilla Viking in surprise. It feels like I’m walking around in Mos Eisley."
The sound of Salzburg
"It is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp, even though I suspect she didn’t go singing alone in the mountain ranges."
Conquering Machu Picchu
"A life-long dream came true this morning, as I stood upon the mountain looking down at Machu Picchu. I felt like some strange mix between Indiana Jones and a small boy, gazing down upon the final treasure of the Incas."