Archives For Wanderlust

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Kirkwall and other locations, Orkney Islands


After I played through Dragon Age 2, which was set in a fictional city called Kirkwall, I was so certain that i had heard the name before, and surely enough, Kirkwall does exist in real life! It may not look the same as the city in the video game, but it intrigued me still. I know my father has visited the city when he was a sailor and I think I have inherited some of his wanderlust. As you can see in the pictures below, there is quite the difference between the fictional harbor and the real one.

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Whereas the fictional has large statues that are chained together, the real one has a cozy feel to it and I really want to travel there to experience the Islands themselves and the city. Another landmark i would like to see there is the Ring of Brodgar. It is part of a henge and is a Neolithic (New Stone Age) stone circle. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. A henge does not necessarily have to look like Stonehenge, which most of us know of, but it can be a certain area containing stone circles like the one pictured below.

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I have always loved the British nature and landmarks, and I have always wondered why the henges were there and what they were used for. Technically, archaeologists wouldn’t count this landmark as a henge since it lacks some vital parts, like being encircled by a bank of earth and rocks.


Orkney, in general, contains of over 70 islands, and around 20 of th2007_flag_of_orkney-svgem are inhabited. Once upon a time, during the 800’s, it was annexed by my ancestors, the Norse people, but Scotland took it back around 600 years later. The Orkney flag is very similar to the Norwegian flag, which consists of red, white and blue, whereas the Orkney flag is red, yellow and blue. As you can see in the picture to the right here, the only real difference from the Norwegian flag is the yellow part.


So basically, one of my goals in life is to travel there to explore as many of the islands as i can! Do you have anywhere you would like to travel? 

 

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Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.

 Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia. It’s in the Tuul River valley, bordering the Bogd Khan Uul National Park. Originally a nomadic Buddhist center, it became a permanent site in the 18th century. Soviet control in the 20th century led to a religious purge. Soviet-era buildings, museums within surviving monasteries, and a vibrant conjunction of traditional and 21st-century lifestyles typify the modern city.

Ever since i saw a documentary about Mongolia’s Golden Eagle hunters when i was younger, i really wanted to visit the country. Genghis Khan was also my favorite person to learn about in history classes too, everything he did either baffled me or made me curious to find out why. As i got older my dream faded a bit but now it is sparking up again after i played a game called Cradle. It is set in a remote location in Mongolia and i just felt a sense of familiarity as i played it. It’s weird how these things work.

What i really want to do is to visit the countryside, try to sleep in a Ger and just enjoy nature. A Ger (or Yurt as it is also called) is a portable, round tent covered with felts and skins. There are Ger districts in Ulaanbaatar too but i want to go far out. In this day and age it might be weird to dream of a life without a lot of our modern commodities but i guess i’m weird like that!

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It would also be really cool to actually see a Golden Eagle hunter in action, going up to the Altai mountains. The birds are so majestic and it’s amazing how they can train them like they do. Trusting it to not attack a young girl or boy is a great feat. Just look at the size of that bird compared to her!

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Is there anywhere that you dream of going? 

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Loch Ness, Scotland.

I’m sure we all have heard of the legends of the sea monster before, and even if it might not exist, visiting the place would still be a great experience. I’ve visited Scotland before, but i went to Edinburgh and Aviemore, which is still a distance from the Loch. Well, technically, Aviemore is just an hours drive from the Loch but it was up in the mountains, and in the winter so the roads were closed often.

Scotland also has a very majestic nature, and the Loch is no exception. The large body of water is just as impressive as the mountains and fields surrounding it and I’m sure that it would be a great spot to practice photographing in. An acquaintance of mine visited the place with his photographing class and they ended up with some absolutely stunning photos.

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I know my father went there once, and spent the night in an old castle nearby, i’m awfully envious of that experience. Staying at an old castle is another thing on my bucket list, i just hope it won’t be a haunting experience. (Or maybe i do! Perhaps British spirits are more polite than others? All i can imagine is John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick in Harry Potter when i think about it. )

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Oh well, one day i will go there, hopefully! It would be a shame if i didn’t, when i have wanted to go for so many years.

Where would you like to go the most?  

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This isn’t so much just a place, but more of an experience i would like to have! Ever since i played a game called “Syberia”, I have been in love with trains, and also Siberia in general. And hearing about the trans-Siberian railway and just how amazing it could be, i really want to go a ride with it.

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The main line of the Trans-Siberian railway departs from Moscow, Russia and arrives in the end in Vladivostok, Russia. This route stops in Chelyabinsk too, which i wrote about in my previous post. Route number two, the Trans-Manchurian departs from Moscow, goes through china at one point, then ends back in Russia, in Vladivostok.

The last route, the Trans-Mongolian, departs from Moscow and goes all the way to Beijing, with stops being made in the Mongolian capital of Ulaan-baatar. There are two more routes but they are not as impressive.

Travelling with one of the trains would take at least 8 days and you would pass through at least 7 time zones. I read about a luxury rail service that offered a 16 day trip but it costs at least $150.000 so it’s not really that affordable for most of us.

I found a lovely documentary about it, if you’re interested in making the journey sometime, or just want to know more, you should check it out!

 

Chelyabinsk (Челя́бинск), Russia.

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Chelyabinsk is a city and the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, located in the northeast of the oblast, just to the east of the Ural Mountains, on the Miass River, on the border of Europe and Asia.

I have always been so fascinated with Russia ever since i was young. We used to hear ‘scare’ stories about how their president was so bad and that Russia was the worst place on earth but i never believed them. I think i was  blinded by my love, and i still am! I’m taking courses to learn the language, i love the architecture and last, but not least, the amazing nature.

I would not only like to visit the city of Chelyabinsk, but also every place in the region. There has been some cool phenomenons happening in the sky over the city of Miass, for example, and i just really enjoy exploring new places. I’m not too fond of hustling and bustling cities, so getting to see more of the smaller cities, and maybe some rural areas would be great too.

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Even if I’m not very religious, i’m really fond of their church designs. Some are a bit like St. Basil’s Cathedral, all bulbous and with beautiful colors, meanwhile other buildings try to look more modern. Any kind of intricate architecture really fascinates me, observing them kind of makes me wish i actually did something about my interior design degree.

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Do you have any places you would like to visit? 

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