Posts by Michael Clemmer
Search for images of Wat Arun and you will find hundreds taken from the same angle: looking up. For the few and the proud who have good thighs and no fear of heights, there is another angle: looking down . There are steps; narrow little steps, going almost straight up to the balcony of the nearly 250-foot-tall temple. Then there’s the descent; some employ, shall we say, ze derrière?
Dating back to the 1600s, Wat Arun, the “Temple of Dawn,” was restored to its present height by King Rama II, second monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri, in about 1815. His son, King Rama III, put on the finishing touches.
Fearlessly photographed by Kenneth Neo.
In this remarkable photograph taken by Brian Hammonds, the Alhambra evokes the meaning of its Arabic name: Al-Hamra , “the red one.” It was built by the 11th-century Moorish king Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar, of the Kingdom of Granada. In 1492, with his soldiers greatly outnumbered, Muhammad XII of Granada surrendered the Emirate of Granada to the Catholic King and Queen Ferdinand and Isabella, who ordered the expulsion of all non-Christians from Spain.
The Alhambra was built to reflect the beauty of Paradise itself, but subsequent Spanish kings had other plans. Most of the beautiful Moorish tile work’s arabesques and calligraphy were whitewashed or effaced. King Charles I added Renaissance architecture; Phillip V Italianized rooms and replaced the Moorish building with his own palace.
There is simply no question about it; Iya Traore is the best football juggler in the world. Born in the East African country of Guinea, the 28 year old now lives in Paris where he amazes tourists who gather at the steps of Sacré-Coeur cathedral.
Let’s cut to the chase, there’s a whole slew of videos of Iya on the web, each worth a thousand words. (We've got one for you below.)
Photograph taken by Sal Celis.
There once was a cat from Rabat, who lived for her next tasty rat. She loved the color blue and said, “ This corner will do; I will sit here and relax.”
Linda Hatfield of northern Westchester County, N.Y., photographed this fine feline in the historic medina of Morocco’s capital city. Hatfield’s love of photography began as a child with a Brownie Duraflex. Her photo showing goats grazing in a tree set an all-time record for Flickr photo of the day comments.
Once again, behemoth cruise ships are prowling the Venetian Lagoon. (It just isn’t the same as being serenaded by a stripe-shirted gondolier.) The ships slide slowly past Saint Mark’s Square on their way to Venice’s cruise ship terminal. It’s a perk for the excited passengers looking forward to experiencing the picturesque charm of Venice that some say their mother ships are ruining.
A regional court has overturned a law passed last November that banned giant cruise ships in response to the Costa Concordia ’s disastrous grounding the year before. While showing off for tourists on shore, captain Francesco Schettino ran his 114,000-ton ship aground, costing the lives of 32 of his passengers and causing an environmental nightmare. Venetian officials are understandably worried that something similar could happen again, so this coming June they will present the court with alternative routes for ships to use.
Should you want to be hearin’ real Irish Gaelic spoken, or to bicycle around the westernmost part of Europe this summer, then the Dingle Peninsula is calling. Designated by the Irish government as a Gaeltacht (a park for traditional culture and language), Dingle has a population of only 10,000. About 1,500 of those blessed souls live in Dingle Town itself.
The peninsula, a mere 10 miles wide and 40 miles long, is perfect for biking. It’s pure, rural Ireland. As you pedal along the highway that outlines the peninsula, you can pretend you’re the title character from “Ryan’s Daughter ” or Tom Cruise in “Far and Away,” both filmed nearby. People have lived on the Dingle Peninsula for thousands of years. Go for a week and find out why.
Photo by Linda Hatfield.
Things aren’t all good in Antigua Guatemala. The UNESCO World Heritage Site faces an uphill battle against rising crime, dispiriting poverty and (surprise) political dysfunction. In September 2012, the mayor and several members of his family and staff were charged with stealing $3 million from the treasury of the city of only 53,000 people. The U.S. State Department ranks the country of Guatemala as having a “critical” risk of violent crime. American tourists are particular targets because they are thought to carry more dinero than the average Guatemalan…and that’s probably true.
Despite all the bad press, Antigua — a crumbling jewel full of colonial Spanish architecture — still draws hundreds of thousands of American tourists every year, especially during Lent. Bottom line: stay in popular tourist areas and don’t go out alone at night.
JMartinC photographed these women and children in Antigua.
A modern pink plastic poncho is juxtaposed against an old green agave plant, stucco that may have been bright yellow a century ago, doors faded to the color of rich cinnamon for which Vietnam is famous, and a lintel that recalls years of French colonialism. A sliding metal-mesh door allows for ventilation (over privacy) on torpid summer days and nights when salty breezes blow in from the South China Sea, blanketing H ộ i An like hot, wet wool.
Well known to Portuguese sailors of the 16 th century as an important port, H ộ i An was already ancient when they arrived. Later the Japanese and Chinese regarded it as the best destination for trading in all Southeast Asia. Indeed, the Japanese believed the heart of all Asia lay beneath H ộ i An. Today, Hội An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination.
Photograph by PJR Photography .
“The pictures taken that day in front of the glacier and over it during a 7 hours trekking reflect the best adventure in my life. It was a dream fulfilled...” Those are the words of Sergio Torres , of Barcelona, Spain; referring to the day he photographed the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in southern Argentina.
Only 450 miles from the tip of the South American continent and Cape Horn, the glacier is one of the wildest and cleanest places ordinary vacationers can visit. Perito Moreno is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest reserve of fresh water on earth. You can take a two-hour bus ride from the city of El Calafate and go trekking on the glacier. While you’re crampon-ing around , grab a little bit of that blue ice for drinks on your trip back to the city and see if it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.
A passionate photographer like Swapan Jha simply has to have a window seat. On a recent flight from Boston to San Francisco, he was blessed with a clean window and clear day. The plane’s route took him and his fellow passengers over the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont, upstate New York and Niagara Falls. They flew over the icy Great Lakes, then angled southwest toward California.
Looking north, as the plane began its hour-long descent to San Francisco, Jha –camera in hand – saw the snow-capped House Range Mountains of west-central Utah. High above, in the inky-blue stratosphere, streaked two jets (probably military). To some, a window seat would be cheap at twice the price.