A glittering city.
Just some photos from a climb on an unrestored part of the Wall near Badaling, about 90 minutes from Beijing.
We stayed at Great Wall Fresh, a delightful homestay just near the wall.
Train travel in Japan is really wonderful. You can reach almost any place and the trains are fast and clean. We used bullet trains (shinkansen) and the regular local services to go from Toyama, near the coast, to a little city further south called Takayama. Hopefully these photos convey just some of how lush, green and lovely the scenery was, winding over rivers and past mountain villages with little gardens, all impossibly bright in the hot sun.
Takayama itself is quaint and friendly with plenty of streets and buildings just as they were centuries ago. We stayed in a traditional hotel called a minshuku, with sliding doors and mats on the floor.
On the way back, I got the view from the other side of the train. Lucky me.
I took the train to Condobolin for a few days. It was a calming experience. The train leaves from Central Station in Sydney and goes all the way to Broken Hill. I ate a finger bun and drank some instant coffee. I felt in touch with the Australia of my childhood.
When I got to Condobolin it was all regal buildings, wide streets, sun, silence and a big Australian sky.
Utes In The Paddock! It’s a big, evolving public art project.
It’s fun to be a tourist sometimes. And it would have been absurd to leave North America in a few weeks without having seen Niagara Falls.
Two hours from Toronto by coach, the falls straddle Canada and the USA and since the Canadian side is soaking in Americana (a Hershey’s store, Elvis impersonators, a Coca Cola milkshake shop and Planet Hollywood), I can only assume that the American side is covered in red and white maple leaves. (Unlikely.)
Yes, the town is tacky and I didn’t bother seeing any of the wax museums – my only wander into a casino was a disappointment. But the falls themselves really are vast and loud and stunning, and on a hot day like yesterday, the cool spray felt a bit like a blessing.