American writer Jon Krakauer wrote: ‘To the deserts go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality’. OUTLOOK journalist Yelena Rasenko tried not to escape reality but find it in Jordan in one of the most amazing deserts of the world, in Wadi Rum.
I was lying on shipskin and felt with my back how sand was shifting under me. It was changing shape, moving from beneath shoulder blades to lower back area, taking the shape of my body and carrying me deeper and deeper into its bed of multicolored grains. While adjusting to me, sand was grumbling like an old man from time to time but was bearing my weight patiently. I was deeply inhaling cold, almost black night air. Not far away two camels were slurping water from a scanty spring, Bedouins were warming themselves by the fire. Fire sparkles were coming off of flames to fly into the sky and get mixed with star scatter. I was getting ready to fall asleep in one of the most mysterious places on Earth.Photo bedouin.camp
“Vast, echoing and God-like” – that’s how famous British officer and traveler T.E. Lawrenece of Arabia described Wadi Rum. Huge land almost unaffected by time and humans, fragile ocean of sand that constantly changes its features under influence of wind. Even air there is penetrated with mystery and a sudden roar of a camel from far away is perceived like a prehistoric cry of an animal lost in sands. Case-hardened people insist that a day spent in perfect silence of Wadi Rum changes your mind and outlook forever.
There are no signs of modern civilization – only eternity exists, the same that reigned there hundreds of thousands years ago. It is occasionally pierced with a roar of a jeep’s engine that drives along a verified tourist route, or disturbed with a stomp of a caravan or sometimes a group of rare mountaineers passes by to vanish in one of ravines.Photo whentobewhere.com
Very long time ago the desert used to be sea with Moon Valley as its bottom. But Earth kept changing and water left the place. Jordanians believe that part of moisture soaked deep into the ground and now Wadi Rum is a natural bank of huge clear drinking water reserves. First people began inhabiting these deserted lands about 800 thousand years ago. The land was called Iram back then, Nabataeans were its masters. Even now one can see remains of their dwelling here and there in the desert, though they look more like refined parts of rock formations. In due time sands became a shelter for T.E. Lawrence of Arabia. In times of World War I when Arab population rebelled against Ottomans, British officer created his military base among multicolored rocks. It was there were he hid his weapons, came up with his cunning advance plans and enjoyed mountains in evenings.
However barren land of Wadi Rum is misleading. It became home for eagles, vultures, sparrows, sand dune cats, scorpions and snakes. There is also “soapy grass” – amazing plant that grows in sands. When wet with water, it begins to foam and becomes very much suitable for washing clothes and oneself. Bedouins use it both in household and medicine in full swing.Photo bridgetravel.com
Welcoming sunset in a desert is like watching birth of the world. First mountains acquire some sort of internal shine, then their edges take soft, warm shade of pink. And there they are, sun rays dancing on sand and groundcloth, gently touching eyelashes and promising new delightful day. And it seems like there is no more haste, like everything in this world has become perfectly clear and a morning cup of fresh coffee with cardamom is able of bringing true happiness.
Kyrgyzstan is called Middle Asian Switzerland. Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, caves, cols and green meadows aren’t a speck inferior in terms of aesthetics to European ones yet travelers haven't duly appreciated this country so far. Across-the-board exploration of the land by the state’s guests has only just begun. And alongside hotels that are being swiftly erected, ordinary yurts are still offered for residence to feel local natural.
As a child I could spend hours gazing at the sky and spying majestic flocks of birds winging their way south. For a kid this movement was a real magic. Today my bookshelf hosts almost no books about magic, though I am still excited about feathered tribes travelling in hope to land on their winter grounds.
Ice and snow has long been used by artists to create different figures and objects, and only 1960, this age-old skill became a new trend of a land art! The largest number of winter artworks is created during special festivals about which we will tell our readers.
The cold season brings not only such important things as wrapping into a reindeer sweater, drinking hot chocolate and once again reviewing Christmas comedies. Thus, sport has not been canceled yet, so OUTLLOK compiled top five ski resort bucket list for you to cheer up and get out of your winter sleep.
When we hear about "water city", Venice immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? Tranquil gondolas, narrow waterways, gentle light of the evening sun and ancient architecture create that heady romantic cocktail which attracts tourists from all over the world to the Italian city.
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Going to the Comoros a tourist wants to see pure exotic and immediately gets into an oasis of wildlife. "Moonlight" tenderness implicit in Arabic interpretation of the name "Comore" ("moon"), was taken from the neighbouring Madagascar, initially claimed to be called "Comoros".
They have been on duty for many years. Beaten down, crippled, lost friends in battles, they are still staring into endless sand landscapes to see whether an enemy is approaching, and every day they lose their memories crumb by crumb. About thirty palaces and castles live out their remaining days scattered throughout the deserts of Jordan. Once majestic, terrifying and awaking mystical awe, even now these fortified palaces are able to captivate a traveller.
After the legendary Frenchman Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his colleagues invented and perfected self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, scuba diving firmly entered the list of the most popular, but unfortunately, unsafe hobbies. OUTLOOK warns and talks about the most extreme places to do scuba diving.
Icy island of Greenland was first discovered by the Norwegian Vikings. This fact is surprising since this nomadic tribe had enough courage to penetrate into the harsh Arctic climate. We will not delve into searching for reasons which led warlike people to edge of the earth, but supply the modern traveller with the list of core Arctic attractions with a unique Greenlandic touch.
With the onset of summer, many of us ever and again cast a glance at the calendar, waiting for annual leave. And since summer vacation to a greater extent is linked to the relaxation by the water, we usually associate it with beaches – desirable destinations that can be very different.
At the bare mention of the word lake, our imagination pictures soothing, nostalgia-laden images of quite pond cosily embraced by the grassy hills. OUTLOOK prepared a selection of the most spectacular lakes, which will change your understanding of this work of nature. Each of them has something to surprise, whether it is unusual water shade, or frightening ability to petrify living creatures.
How many kinds of tourism are there? Gastro, ecotourism, shopping — there are probably as many varieties of them as travelers themselves — everyone choose what they want. Today we talk about people visiting places that have become locations for shoting famous movies.
Lighthouse - this word evokes beautiful associations: sea adventures, storms, huge ships. And we do not want to dispel these thoughts, but rather to add fuel to the fire. There is a great amount of them in the world, they are striking by their beauty and inimitable. Today we are sharing with you the quintet of amazing lighthouses!
It has been known since olden times that wine-making process is a true art that is within the power only of the ones sincerely in love with their trade. Let alone beauty of masterpieces created by skillful hands – grape gardens, scattered in various nooks of the world, that impress with grandeur and adorn this planet, ornamenting it with bright juicy colors.
Very often nature tests people. From time to time we have to conquer and subjugate the elements. When men mastered construction of bridges, water obstacles have ceased to be a problem for humanity. However, what to do if a town is behind a pit, flatland or gorge? All-too-common "bridge" on pillars cannot be constructed everywhere.
Another world that is always sunny and green. The world, where it never snows; and it seems like there are no problems. And it is so distant – even mapwise. This is how I picture New Zealand. My long-distance acquaintance with the country began some five years ago. Back then a prominent ENT expert tried and failed to cure me from an allergy that was bugging me every spring.
The Times newspaper edition recognized Ålesund as the most beautiful town in Norway. It is not without reason: wayward sea, mesmerizing northern nature, famous fjords, fabulous multi-coloured houses in the Art Nouveau style and the legendary Trolls' Path, beckon those wishing to see the stunning wild landscapes.
I put my finger into the gap of column, froze for a moment and cried out with delight - it moves! There was a heavy stone pillar above my hand, once carved and piled up on a pedestal by some Roman architect or his Arab assistants. This amazing column and hundreds of others alike are a part of the ancient city of Jerash situated in the north of Jordan.