Travel Letters

Korla: The Dusty Pass and the Fragrant Pear

Korla

Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region

China

June 26, 2017

Dear Friends and Fellow Dreamers,

Stand with me now at the Iron Gate Tower … and imagine ….

Imagine that behind us lies the Tian Shan mountain range.  Our Silk Road caravan has traversed the mountains carrying goods from Pakistan and the West.  Beyond the gate we face steep cliffs and even more mountains.

Please close your eyes.

Nan Shan: Welcome to Xinjiang

Ürümqi (pop 3.5 million) - Uyghur name

Wūlǔmùqí – Chinese name

Xinjiang – Uyghur Autonomous Region

Peoples Republic of China

June 24, 2017

Hello and Welcome to Nan Shan – The Southern Mountains,

In the parking lot of this popular tourist area seventy-five kilometers (46 miles) south of the city, young Kazakh women offer to take us to their summer yurts for tea or lunch.  Horseback rides are available as well as hikes through the grassland meadows up the mountainsides.

(Between May and October Kazakh families move their yurts into this area to graze their herds. Kazakhs are an important minority group in this area of China.  The border of Kazakhstan is just beyond the mountains.) 

Skógáfoss

Skógáfoss

South Coast

Iceland

September 13, 2015

Dear Friends,

Iceland is blessed with a plethora of dramatic waterfalls.

Skógáfoss is 15m wide and 60m high, and is certainly on any Top Ten list (49 ft and197ft). 

On my second visit to Skógáfoss, the weather was sunny and even a bit warm for Iceland so I decided to make the climb of 450 steps to the Skógá River above the falls.

Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach

South Coast

Iceland

September 12, 2015

 

Hello,

I visited Black Sand Beach twice.  Once with my tour group on a blustery, foggy, nasty day.  And once again on my own on a clear, sunny, albeit windy day.

And since it was a pleasant day I first stopped at the Dyrhólaey Peninsula.

The Iceland Guide describes Black Sand Beach:

The world-famous Reynisfjara shore, on Iceland's South Coast, is widely regarded as the most impressive black-and beach in Iceland.

"Fire and Ice"

Haukadalur,

Southwest Iceland

September 11, 2015

 

“Fire and Ice”

“Fire” refers to hot geothermal streams and the Geysir (Geyser) that erupts frequently sending boiling water up to about 70 meters into the cool air. (230ft)

“Ice” refers to glacial remains and an ice-clogged river at Hjallanes. 

Iceland is a country of extremes –  boiling rivers to frozen rivers ….

Snaefells Peninsula

Snaefells Peninsula

Western Iceland

September 8, 2015

Hello,

I chose the road less travelled. 

Before driving the popular route that heads east along the southern highway and the south coast of Iceland, I decide to drive north from Reykjavik to the Snaefells Peninsula – a road less traveled.

Snaefells is a long, narrow peninsula that pokes out into the Atlantic.  I encounter misty rain, ubiquitous fog, incessant, even overpowering wind, and a raucous surf that seems determined to smash (and has already smashed) the jagged, black volcanic cliffs that disappear below the waves.  What can I expect out in the middle of the ocean? 

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