Click here for the background on my World Heritage Sites roundup.
Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont
Last visited: June 9, 2016
My favourite place in Italy besides Rome is not Venice, Florence or Tuscany but the relatively obscure wine producing region of Barolo in Piedmont. The scenery is beautiful and the wine complex, but most importantly here you can meet some of the most hospitable people who work in the wine trade.
Last visited: April 3, 2012
The cliffside road along the coast, SS163, is infamous for being extremely narrow and full of hairpin bends. From my passenger seat on a bus the road didn’t look that much more difficult than the familiar Tai Hang Road and Magazine Gap Road I drive in a weekly basis in Hong Kong, though I was content to concentrate on the scenery rather than the oncoming traffic.
Positano is a relaxing place to chill for a day.
Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Last visited: June 7, 2011
One of the best things about traveling in compacted region like the Rhine Valley is the short driving distance between each village. There are numerous picturesque towns and castles along the river. Judging from what I observed this area is most popular among retirees — the sights and pace are a little too slow for anyone else.
Last visited: June 6, 2016
Train from La Spezia to Vernazza, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre, was packed. From that point on the crowd was inescapable. Sure the villages were photogenic and I enjoyed the short hikes, but to say this area is a relief from the tourist scene (*cough* Rick Steves *cough*) is disingenuous. Cinque Terre is as touristy as any place in Italy, including the oft-compared Amalfi Coast.
Hekeng Tulou Cluster, Fujian Tulou
Last visited: March 2, 2013
I like Hekeng the most out of all the tulou villages. Hekeng doesn’t have a single tulou that can match the fame of Yuchang Lou. Actually the entire village didn’t appear much like a tourist destination, with children chasing each other along the narrow corridors and children freely searching for food in the communal area. Invitation to sit down for tea, which we initially were unsure of and turned down, was the local’s customary display of hospitality towards visitor.
Jægersborg Dyrehave, Par Force hunting landscape
Last visited: February 11, 2017
‘Par force’ stands for ‘by force (of dogs)’, the noblest form of hunting where a specific animal was run down and exhausted by mounted hunters and dogs before the kill was made. This technique was developed in France and adopted widely across Europe by the royalty and nobility to display their power.
I visited Jægersborg Dyrehave, the most popular component of this hunting landscape and a popular getaway for locals, about a 20 minute train ride from Copenhagen. There were people jogging, cycling, sledding and cross-country skiing, and I might well be the only traveler trying to bump into one of the 2,100 deer in the 11 km2 park.
After an entire morning I finally came across a dozen blazing across the field. The park might be an ordinary forest park, but the experience of braving an icy terrain looking for wild deer is memorable.
Last visited: June 1, 2016
Val d’Orcia might well be the most charming landscape in Tuscany, but weather was wholly uncooperative during our two days in the area. We enjoyed a brief period of morning sunshine while driving from Montefollonico to Abbey of Sant’Antimo, but our poor luck continued when the abbey’s famous Gregorian Chant was cancelled without notice. Overall I find the scenery of Crete Senesi to be even more photogenic and I don’t quite see how Val d’Orcia distinguishes from the rest of Tuscan countryside.
West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou
Last visited: April 2, 2010
The most famous lake in China. Granted without all the history it is just a very ordinary lake, but I appreciate that Hangzhou is the most traveler-friendly place in China.
Georgium Garden, Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz
Last visited: June 10, 2011
I always try to spend a reasonable amount of time at each of these sites. Because I needed to get to Berlin before sunset, I only managed to spend 15 minutes in Georgium Garden after visiting the Bauhaus in Dessau. My impression is that of an ordinary city park.
Shichahai, The Grand Canal
Last visited: May 19, 2013
The Grand Canal is the longest artificial waterway in the world, spanning 1,776 km from Beijing to Hangzhou. I have seen various points of the canal in Beijing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. None of which is particularly interesting. Shichahai, a lake in central Beijing which links to the Grand Canal, is a popular nightlife spot and close to numerous attractions like the Drum Tower and the Lama Temple.