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Inspiring Destinations

  • Inspiring Destinations

    • This fabulous watery mirror mingles perfectly with the mountain range that frames its beauty.

    Tsomoriri Lake: a utopian and sheltered body of water / 

    If Paradise could be materialized by a lake, Tsomoriri would be a perfect candidate for the title. Located in the Himalayan Region, this wonderful aqueous mirror is located between India and the Tibet. The imposing mountains that surround it embellish the oneiric landscape with the ups and downs of its geological dance.

    This Eden-like land is fed by the springs and the snow that melts in the Changthang Mountain. It is crossed by the migratory routes of more than forty aquatic species and it hosts an exotic fauna, with endemic species like the Blue Himalayan Goat, the Argali, the Tibetan Wolf, the Lynx, and the Snow Leopard. The Changpa nomadic tribe herds its cattle in the grasslands that surround the lake, as they have been doing for centuries.

    Tsomoriri Lake is, immersed in the atmosphere of integral pristinity, an ideal destination to enlighten our inspiration and to remember, in the midst of a contemplative trance, the architectural perfection of nature. 

    Tagged: lakes, Tsomoriri lake, Fantasy Lands, destinations Credits: Image (Incredible India)
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • The mountains of Petra were transformed into intricate palaces in an effort to retain the rhythm of the natural landscape.

    The monumental palaces carved out of stone in the city of Petra / 

    The West did not know of Petra until 1812, when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, rediscovered the glorious city. It was founded in the seventh century B.C by the Edomites and its name comes from the Greek word for stone. The city would later become part of the Nabateosla commercial route connecting Egypt, Syria, Arabia and the Mediterranean. During the eighth century Petra was abandoned by its inhabitants due to changes in the commercial route and due to the area’s recurring earthquakes.

    Petra is located in what is currently part of Jordan, in the valley of Wadi Araba, which expands between the Dead Sea and the Aqaba Gulf. The city’s ecosystem is permeated by sandstone, a detrital stone formed by sand that transforms structures into long lasting elements.

    The place is essentially majestic. Its palaces and stone carved constructions appear to respect the natural environment. These are incredibly tall and stunningly carved buildings, whose interior is the hollow body of the stone mountains.

    As subtle three dimensional drawings, adapted to the stone’s façade, these palaces represent an urban adjustment that imitates and inhabits the geological rhythm of the land; it is probably one of the few cities that have been adapted to blend in with their surroundings to such an exquisite degree. Additionally, Petra denotes impressive technological advances for its period, as is evidenced by its complex water-bearing system that provided its inhabitants with the vital liquid.

    Since the city is located in the middle of the Arabian and African tectonic plates, this archaeological treasure is likely to undergo frequent earthquakes, however its stone buildings have fortunately retained their sophisticated discretion and magnificence, bearing witness to a mysterious and ephemeral culture —albeit, unforgettable, when embodied by this city.

    Tagged: trips and travelers, destinations, Petra
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • There is a forest in England whose vegetation is as rich as the densest jungles, it’s dreamy aesthetic combines wooden snakes and rustic paths built by the Romans.

    Puzzlewood: the mossy forest crossed by artisanal Roman pathways / 

    In English history, the Puzzlewood Forest, located in the Dean Forest, has remained immersed in legends describing abundant treasures hidden among its many caves. Here, there are ruins and remnants of the Roman occupation, such as stone pathways, built here in order to ease the extraction of iron from its numerous and enigmatic caves.

    Puzzlewood is a peculiar place, a cold forest full of stone, moss and hundreds of trees whose thin branches invade its hillsides —as if these were snakes that envelop the place with their organic art. The place is mapped with stony pathways, which permeate the place with a folkloric and artisanal mysticism, as if this was a natural part of the environment.

    In 1848 over three thousand roman iron coins were found here and since then, many legends of hidden treasures have emerged —this metal permeates the place’s atmosphere. We can also find bridges that remind us of the stories of classical literature, as well as structures made from willow sticks which are part of a contemporary art project, the Willow Bank, that remits to Celtic patterns.

    The place can be explored in two and a half hours, but part of the magic of this forest is the contemplation of the vast amount of life that has gathered in its corners, with a touch of mystery and all the possibilities that radiate from the fog and moss. We could easily spend days on end here, discovering the micro-worlds that comprise this forest, immersed in a sensory adventure that borders on a hallucinating inspiration. 

    Tagged: trips and travelers, forests, Puzzlewood
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • For those who love aquatic paradises, we offer you a guide of some of the most beautiful and unlikely waterfalls in the world.

    A guided tour of the most beautiful waterfalls from around the world / 

    Waterfalls are much more than simply one of the most sublime forms of natural art; they are also an open invitation to feel, through the movement of water, the electric current that life bestows us. This guide explores some of the most imposing falls from around the world, which represent an incredibly sensorial and contemplative destination.

    Angel Falls, Venezuela

    The highest cataract on the planet, the water falls nine thousand metres from the edge of the Auyantepui Mountain in Venezuela. It is so tall, that as a matter of fact, most of the water evaporates before reaching the ground. Standing close to it, allows you to be wrapped by its refreshing fog and mist.

    Blood Falls, Antarctica

    These mysterious and visceral falls are the result of salty water mixed with iron oxide. Their mysticism however lies in its inhabitants: although water testing has shown that there is close to no oxygen in the water, more than 17 different types of microbes have been identified there, which survive due to their metabolic ability of using sulphate as a respiratory catalyst.

    Ban Gioc Falls, China and Vietnam

    This aquiferous spectacle is the fourth largest waterfall on a national border, following Iguacu, Niagara and Victoria Falls. The impressive mountainous forest that hosts them only adds more magnificence to their ethereal beauty, especially to Tongling Gorge, which was only discovered recently, and is home to a wide variety of endemic species; creatures that cannot be found elsewhere on the planet.

    Dettifoss, Iceland

    This waterfall is generally recognised as being the largest and most powerful one in Europe. It has yet to be exploited as an energy source and still holds its virginal aspect following the visual cleanliness only Iceland can offer. This is a true paradise, which presents us with a showering wall that invites us to admire and penetrate it.

    Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

    Dividing the border between these two countries, Iguacu falls is one of the most imposing and surreal panoramas on Earth. According to legend, the place was formed when a beautiful woman refused to marry a god and instead married her mortal lover. While the lovers fled in a canoe, the rejected god, in a wrathful fit tore the river in two, condemning them to an eternal fall. Hundreds of lovers have found romans in these falls since then.

    Gulfoss, Iceland

     Like its sibling Dettifoss, this is one of the most breath-taking places on Earth. Gulfoss is located in the Hvítá River Canyon and one of its most incredible aspects takes place as you make your way towards the falls, since the crevice is hidden from eyesight, so that this powerful river simply disappears into the earth.

    Niagara Falls, Canada

    Perhaps some of the most beautiful and famous waterfalls on the planet, Niagara Falls are an important source of hydroelectric power; additionally they have inspired some adventurous souls to parachute over them and to cross them on a tightrope. These undoubtedly represent the maximum expression of natural power and fall into our collective imagery as the archetype of nature’s power.

    Plitvice Falls, Croatia

    Unifying the most charming lake series on Earth, the Plitvice Falls are what we once envisioned paradise to be like. Their water seems to emerge from every single brink of the mountains, gathering to pristine lakes as they make their way down. This place’s ecosystem is never ending, rich with green algae, mosses and bacteria. 

    Tagged: destinations, waterfalls, nature
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • Among the many delights this Renaissance garden has to offer, we find this grotto, dedicated to Ceres and Apollo.

    Grotto Buontalenti: a gem in the Boboli oasis / 

    The exquisite pieces commissioned by the Medici family include some of the most renowned pieces of Renaissance art. This prominent Florentine family was one of the main patrons to masters like Sandro Botticelli, Rafael, and Michelangelo, establishing one of the richest and most visited legacies in the world. Among their ample artistic and architectonic creations we can find Boboli Gardens, a place whose beauty has attracted and moved tourists since it was built in the sixteenth century, and here, hiding among innumerable beauties, is Grotto Buontalenti.

    When we reach Buontalenti, we are greeted by two sculptures representing Ceres and Apollo, framed by hand-carved stalagmites. The Medici emblem hangs between two female figures that symbolise Peace and Justice. The first layer of this man-made cave uses these powerful motifs to invite us to dream with a heavenly place, reminding us of the Garden of Eden.

    What sets this grotto apart from many others of its kind is its exceptional interior, a small and hidden paradise in Florence. Divided in three rooms, the grotto invites us to explore the richness of its interior: the first room immediately takes us to what resembles the ruins of an aquatic world, rich in details.  Carved by dextrous hand of Pietro Mati, the walls are covered with stalactites, stalagmites and sea creatures covered in foam, which form dreamlike anthropomorphic creatures.

    The other two rooms are just as charming as the first, frescoes and niches present us with Minerva and Juno, covering the walls and ceilings of the cave. In the third room a beautiful green marble fountain stands out, in a space that was once filled with water and fish. The ceiling has a fresco depicting the sky, with birds losing themselves in this imaginary celestial vault.

    Before being restored, this construction evoked the most magical depths of our imagery, a cave full of fountains where water flowed freely and fish swam in the most beautiful hand-carved oasis. While water no longer flows through Buontalenti, this sublime grotto invites us to dream about an underwater world, protected by gods and inspired by the purest of muses.

    Tagged: destinations, Italy, caves, Grotto Buontalenti, gardens
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • Designed with the purpose of making you believe you have visited the Edo Period in all its landscape manifestations, Kokoen will leave you breathless.

    Kokoen garden, illusionism in its vegetal expression / 

    Built in 1992 to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Himeji municipality establishment, the gardens are set up in an area where several samurai houses were located; a fact confirmed by seven archaeological digs. The most marvellous part of these gardens is that, although they merely occupy 3.5 acres, they were designed following the Edo Period style, ranging from 1603 to 1868, when the Shoguns ruled Japan.

    This was the inspiration behind the designs of Makoto Nakamura from Tokyo University, who devised the gardens were to be several instead of only one. Every time you walk down a path the panorama changes and make it seem like you stepped into an entirely different garden. As such, the gardens have different themes: the Lords’ Garden is articulated by bridges and veiled by a waterfall and a river full of fish; a traditional tea room where we can enjoy a beautiful ceremony; a pine garden; a bamboo garden and a flower garden.

    The year round these gardens undergo a continual transformation, each one in their own way, offering a colourful mosaic of history and species. The Sakura season is of course the one that is prone to leave you speechless. 

    Tagged: trips and travelers, destinations, Japan, gardens, Kokoen garden
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • In Turkey, in a place that was once known as the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis, these pools of limestone are found in a rising cliff.

    Pamukkale: paradisiac natural pools embedded in a mountain / 

    Recurrently, our planet’s vast natural wonders could refer back to a metaphor of perfection and perennial changes. The same can be said of the human being, of our ever changing perfection. Following the same train of thought, one of the human activities that favour the possibility of dimensioning perfection and its variables the most, is travelling. The act of travelling itself implies multiple metaphors surrounding existence, and it gives a new meaning to life, or at least it is able to take us closer to that enlightened state.

    Pamukkale is the type of place we daydream about, a metaphoric space, and its colours make it endearing, while its anatomy make it challenging. Like an enormous melting cake, it is made of white layers of limestone that appear to have been frozen while they fell over time. Small turquoise pools are formed at the base of each waterfall, settled as Jacuzzis that seem explicitly designed to contemplate the precipice. This paradisiac place is located in Turkey, and the top of the cliff, the Greek city of Hierapolis was established in 180 BC. Today its ruins share the landscape with thermal water springs.

    In Turkish, Pamukkale means “cotton castles”, which alludes to the colours and shapes of this peculiarly beautiful location. Its fossilised cataracts are made of layers of limestone and travertine, which make their way down in the form of petrified waterfalls. The Greeks attributed their waters with therapeutic properties, they considered them to be a gift from the god Asclepius and his daughter Hygeia —the goddess of health, hygiene and healing. Currently these famous thermal springs continue to be held in high regard for their healing properties.

    In 1988 Pamukkale was declared a World Heritage site. It can be described as a fluvial cliff —however its singularities make it hard to define its precise geological condition. As a dream made of chromatic subtleties, and with a remarkable historical richness, the mysticism of the location is yet another ingredient which permeates the experience: open and sensitive minds to the vastness of nature and life itself, will undoubtedly rejoice in the turquoise of Pamukkale. 

    Tagged: destinations, Pamukkale, Turkey, trips and travelers
  • Destinos Inspiradores

    • Inside these caves a striking phenomenon that emulates a starry sky takes place, while standing hundreds of feet underground.

    The galaxy caves of New Zealand / 

    Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a new type of awe. When it comes to this particular phenomenon, unlike that which occurs in Plato’s cave, we become astounded by entering its depths. The cave is found in the Waitomo region of New Zealand, in a labyrinth made of winding tunnels that has been taking shape for over 30 million years, and as impressive as this might seem, the most astonishing part lies deep within.

    The ceilings of these tunnels are a galaxy of blue stars emitted by the so-called “glow worms” (Arachnocampa luminosa), which after breaking free of their eggs use a complex and exquisite strategy to feed themselves. They create silk nets on the roof of the cave and then let dozens of sticky strings fall around their nest. Then, they lay waiting on the roof, glowing, which draws their pray into a radiant death entangled in silk webs. When their prey has been caught, the worms draw the strings and eat them. Afterwards the larvae become mosquitos and are at risk of being eaten by their larvae. The phenomenon is a complete cycle in itself, cruel and awe inspiring at once.

    The larvae are sensible to any sound and they will stop glowing if they become scared, so visitors must be completely silent while inside the caves. The tourist ride offers the possibility of exploring the tunnel while floating on inflatable rings.

    Tagged: destinations, incredible destinations, trips and travelers, New Zealand Credits: Images (I: CC BY-SA 3.0 Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, II: Don Pugh/CC BY-ND 2.0, III: c@rljones/CC BY-NC 3.0 LA 4 Mnolf/CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Inspiring Destinations

    • The only one of its kind in the world, this forest of statuesque trees offers a sense of geological peace that cannot be found elsewhere.

    The marvellous petrified forest of Sarmiento / 

    Located thirty kilometres from the city of Sarmiento, in southern Argentina, and with a surface that covers twenty-four acres of a land which resembles something barren and alien, this natural monument is a forest that dates back to Cenozoic era, which means it is roughly sixty-five million years old.Its fortuitous formation is due to the elevation of the Andes range at beginning of the Tertiary age (also known as “the Age of Mammals”), and prevented the humidity of the Pacific getting through. At the same time, a series of eruptions occurred, and the ash deposits were spread over the area leading to the slow process of these trees transformation into stone.Petrified trees, witnesses of the prehistoric era, make up an indescribable beauty of the harshness of the stone, the colours of the different geological strata and the heavy silence that covers the area. The vegetable species that became statues belong to the conifer family, which gives the idea that this region was an abundant forest billions of years ago.The petrified forest of Sarmiento a quasi-lunar landscape and the coloured hills that surround it allow visitors to witness a geology museum; natural history preserved in stone.Currently this forest is a desolate landscape because of the arid steppe that covers it, and it has also become a provincial park, open to the public and protected by institutions concerned with its study and conservation. 

    Tagged: forests, destinations, petrified forest of Sarmiento, trips and travelers