UNESCO

the giant’s causeway: a natural unesco

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Before we actually travelled, we would pseudo-travel: after work, as we channel surfed, we would always end up  watching travel shows. And it was on one of those shows when we first saw and heard about the Giant’s Causeway. So when we were in Europe back in 2006, we added Northern Ireland to our list of countries to visit – and we didn’t regret it one bit.

There are 6 km of this unusual geological formation; polygon-shaped rocks piled on top of one another into columns. Formed following volcanic activity many million years ago, there are similar formations as well on the coast of Scotland – just across the body of water.

As the myths and legends go, Finn McCool, the giant had something to do with this hence the name. 😉

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Admission gives you access to the visitor’s centre and pedestrian access to the Causeway. There are regular shuttles down to the Causeway but there is a small additional charge. There was the option to see the rocks from “bird’s eye” view by walking along the cliff track up above. Beware on windy days!!

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The Giant’s Causeway is about an hour’s drive out of Belfast. And not far from it is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The day we went it was so crazy windy, that we were not allowed to cross the bridge.

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Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast were UNESCO Heritage listed in 1986.

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

 

 

 

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grand canyon: is it really grand?

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Before seeing the Grand Canyon, we really had no expectation and without sounding sarcastic… “How grand can it really be?”

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In our original post about this trip, we described that the Grand Canyon is magnificently enormous. And honestly after seeing it with our own eyes, we can confirm that it really is GRAND.

According to UNESCO*, the national park contains more than 2,600 documented prehistoric ruins, untouched until about 1860s. There are 5 life and vegetation zones within the canyon, with over 1,000 species of identified plants.

The Grand Canyon is a gorge, carved out by the Colorado River, millions of years ago. It is approximately 1.5km deep and 450 km long. And honestly, looking out at it, the canyon seems to go on forever! Great times to witness the  canyon are during sunrise and sunset when the colours of the canyon change before your eyes.

Words can simply not describe what we could see. Photographs doesn’t do it justice. Witnessing the natural beauty in front of us reminded us what a wonderful world that we live in!

There are times when places are “talked up” and don’t really live to their name or reputation. But here at the Grand Canyon, we certainly were not disappointed! Go see it for yourself, if you haven’t already!

Unfortunately, we didn’t go on a helicopter ride over the canyon, as what we have heard is only gushing reviews about seeing it that way.

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Grand Canyon National Park was listed as a

UNESCO Heritage site in 1979.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited,

visit our unofficial bucket list

* Ref: The World’s Heritage – the best-selling guide to the most extraordinary places (UNESCO Publishing 2011)

acropolis: our first unesco heritage site

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Reaching the Acropolis involved walking up an unsealed ramp with rather steep inclines. We had just come off a 30-odd hour flight from Sydney and we were exhausted but the adrenaline kicked in as we caught glimpses of the Acropolis. The intention was not to visit it straight away but seeing it there, high in the sky, we were compelled to visit. Thus became the first UNESCO Heritage Site we have ever visited together. And it just took our breath away. Getting to the top did not disappoint except maybe the throngs of other travelers there. What we saw was so surreal – walking amongst so much history – so much Greek history that we had learnt about in high school.

The Acropolis of Athens is situated on a flat-topped rock approximately 156 metres above Athens and covers about 3 hectares. It was around the 5th century BCE that the most important buildings were built such as the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.

The Parthenon is probably the most well-known piece of architecture within the Acropolis. It was the main temple dedicated to the goddess, Athena. Over the thousands year of its existence, it has acted as a Roman Catholic church, a Greek Orthodox Christian church and an Islamic mosque. In the 19th century, the Parthenon lost some of its marble sections, which is now housed in the British Museum.

We look back on our photos from 2006 and with our really small memory card, we couldn’t take many photos but of the ones we took, these are worth sharing 🙂 We are SO inspired to visit Greece again and see even more of this country’s beauty and history!

Acropolis, Athens was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.

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

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himeji castle: one of japan’s oldest castles

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Reading just the other day about Cherry Blossom season  made us think of our time in Japan. Flicking through our photos we came across photos of Himeji Castle.

Himeji Castle survived World War II bombings and earthquakes and is an example of Japanese castle architecture dating back to the 17th century. However, the history of the castle spans back to the 1300s, where it started as a fort and then a castle before becoming the castle that we see today. It is one of 12 oldest castles still standing out of about 25 000 (yes, 25 thousand) castles ever built in Japanese history. It is 6 levels high with very steep stairwells and with each floor, the stairwell get narrower and steeper.

We had to take our shoes off so were climbing the stairs light-footedly like ninjas. The depth of each step, the higher we got, was so narrow, we were only able to place half our foot on. Basically we were tippy-toeing to the top, making us feel even more ninja-like 🙂  And the view when we got to the top was worth the sore calf muscles! It really was quite a fortress!

The castle sits atop a hill and looks so wondrous and white and is referred to sometimes as the White Heron Castle. The day we were there, the sky was so blue – it was simply picture perfect. 

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Himeji Castle was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1993.

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