UNESCO

YAY for ephesus

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We don’t normally capitalise our headings but for this one, we had to! To be inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List is no easy feat.

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Following a vote on July 5, Ephesus was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and so this called for us to cheer!!

A visit to Turkey is usually bound to include a visit to Ephesus. And for us, UNESCO collectors, it was no different except the fact that back in 2013, Ephesus was NOT on the list yet. This came as a great surprise to us back then as to how it could not already be.

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Every year, it brings in about 2 million visitors and seriously on the day we were there, we were sure half of that number was there. There were apparently three cruise liners in for the day at Kusadasi, which explained the crowd numbers. Maybe it’s always like that but for us, it felt like we were at a theme park.

The sun was up and there was little shade so apart from the crowd and the heat, we had nothing to “truly” complaint about.

We were wow-ed from the start when we could see the ruins of the pillars and amphitheatres.

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Then to walk the old stoneĀ streets, see the mosaic art, admire the different sculptures and structures all the while weaving past the wandering local cats.

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The most famous structure and probably the epitome of Ephesus is the Library of Celsus. We could see it from the distance and we couldn’t wait to stand below and gawk at it!

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And gawk at it we did…

Congratulations to Turkey for getting Ephesus recognised as a UNESCO Heritage Site šŸ™‚

Ephesus was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2015.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list

Leave us a commentĀ here

buddhist cave art in the yungang grottoes

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With Le back into full-time work, time has just been slipping away. It has been over six months since we returned from our last overseas trip and we just are getting edgy to plan our next one.

At the moment, we have a few short local getaways planned but we are hoping for an overseas trip at some point for 2-3 weeks at the end of the year. Weā€™ll see how it pans out.

In the meantime, letā€™s go down memory lane for a little bit. We thought we would look back on a UNESCO site that we visited back in 2012ā€¦.

It was April 2012, and we were in China. We were rather unaware that it was still going to be COLDā€¦. So very very cold!

The day we went to Yungang Grottoes it was absolutely freezing and windy. We can recall so clearly how we had the hoods of our windbreakers pulled tightly over our ā€œbeaniedā€ heads, our scarves wrapped around our necks and up around our facesā€¦ just enough to reveal our eyes.

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The cold air was slicing through us despite our multiple layersā€¦

But walking around the grottoes in that cold air was worth it! It was worth every teeth chatter, it was worth every shiver, it was worth the sting on our cheeks from the wind.

Before arriving at the caves, we walk down a path with tall majestic carved columns, then over a bridge with the frozen lake below.

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We had no idea what we were in for…

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There are more than 250 caves and more than 50 000 carved statues of all shapes and sizes. Impossible to see them all in the time we had there.

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The sizes of the statues vary from tiny to massive ā€“ some are inside the caves while others are outside.

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The level of detail on the carvings was mindboggling. And to think this artwork dates back to the 5th and 6th Century, it had us in complete awe.

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The visit to these grottoes was definitely an experience to remember for many reasons. By the end of that day, our cheeks were frozen solid!

 

Yungang Grottoes was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2001.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit ourĀ unofficial bucket list

 

the top 5 that did not disappoint

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So we’ve written a post about the top 5 places that underwhelmed us, then we wrote about the top 5 unexpected places and now is our top 5 that was everything plus more than we expected. We should also qualify that we have had lots of “overwhelming” moments on our travel but we narrowed it down to our top 5 for this post – which wasn’t easy.

5. Galapagos Islands

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The place where Charles Darwin came up with his evolution theory.

The place where there is abundance and diversity.

The place where animals and humans can swim together and walk together.

The place we would recommend to everyone in a heartbeat!

4. Uluru

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In the centre of our home country lies the monolith that is ever so famous. It wasn’t only seeing Uluru itself that made this the most jaw-dropping memory we have in Australia, but it was the entire experience itself; seeing Uluru during the day, seeing Uluru changing colours, watching the sunset, being under the stars in the red centre, understanding more about the Indigenous Australian culture and beliefs.

We published a photo essay recently on Uluru if you want to see more photos.

3. Yellowstone National ParkĀ 

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Being the first National Park in the world and with 9000 square kilometres to explore, one cannot really not pass up the opportunity to visit here. We visited in October and we had snow – lots of it. And it only made the scenery so romantically magical.

We were able to catch glimpses of different wildlife, we visited Ol’ Faithful Geyser and we were mesmerisedĀ by the sweepingĀ landscapes and colours.

This is one of the first places we ever visited that as soon as we left, we said, “We’re coming back here again!”

2. Lake Titicaca

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Floating reed islands? The minute we heard about these many years ago, we knew we had to visit it one day. And when we finally did, we fell in love. It didn’t matter that we were 3000+ metres above sea level and that every few steps we felt out of breath. Because as we stepped on the reeds and realised that we were actually walking on a floating island, the moment was ingrained in our memories forever. Looking around us, we saw the local residents waving to us in their colourful sweaters – welcoming us to their home. On this planet, there are plenty of unique places to see and this is one of them.

1. The Hanging Monastery

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In the side of the cliff, 50 metres above the ground, there stands the monastery/temple that conjures up images of ancient China immediately.

This is the first place that we have visited in the world that brought tears to our eyes. We were so overwhelmed with emotion, peering upwards at itĀ that we did pinch ourselves to see that we were really awake. Then walking through it was another thing altogether – held by what look like only wooden logs – we prayed that it was still architecturally sound. We held our breath when we saw it and we held our breath when we walked through it.

There you have it – our TOP 5 places that met and exceeded our expectations. Any surprises?

There were a few others that were close contenders such as Machu Picchu, Neuschwanstein Castle, Carcassonne, New York City…… plus many more!

Where have you been that you had high expectations of and it delivered?Ā 

Leave us a comment.

a photo essay of uluru

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Once commonly known as Ayers Rock it is now better known by its indigenous name of Uluru.

Uluru is sacred to indigenous Australians.

This magnificent monolith that is located in the Australia Red Centre is 340 metres high and has a circumference of about 9.4 km.Ā  Made from hard red sandstone, it doesn’t stay red all the time – Uluru changes colour during sunrise and sunset and is a sight certainly worth witnessing. It is at its brightest red in the middle of the day.

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We were fortunate to walk around part of the base of Uluru and looking up, is really something. An experience we will never forget.Ā It still gives us goosebumps thinking about our time here as it really was so extraordinary and magical.

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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National ParkĀ was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit ourĀ unofficial bucket list

Hope you enjoy our photo essay of Uluru šŸ™‚

Have you visited Uluru? Or is it on your bucket list?

We welcome your comments here.