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.
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.
Ordering coffee, we usually refer to it just as Americano, Espresso or Latte... However, good coffee shops that offer really high-quality coffee, would ask you to specify a type of coffee beans and the country of origin. And at this point many visitors usually feel at deadlock.
Facet of Botswana diamonds shine brightly. But aside from gemstones every woman in the world dreams about, there are many other treasures in this African nook. Today let us have a look at this country for ourselves...
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.
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.
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.
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.
First thing that comes to mind on hearing a phrase ‘Chocolate Hills’ are cacao bean plantations, candy villages or some kind of sweets festival. However, we’ll have to disappoint sweet teeth and make happy those who appreciate unusual views – chocolate is nowhere near here, instead there’s a unique work of nature.
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.
For 1 month spring has been reining our planet, now just watch warm coats to change for thin jackets, cold and mediocrity for the bright sun. And, of course, what sort of spring it could be without green trees and beautiful flowers? Well, in order to make your expectation of long-awaited colours and flavours less agonizing...
Half of the population of the Hashemite Kingdom dwells in Amman. Ramified suburbs, straight avenues, beautiful houses with huge satellite antennas, olive trees and even gold-gilded trees. These are its rich suburbs. In a cramped centre of Amman traditional craft stalls and shops, cookshops and numerous monuments of architecture are concentrated.
Have you ever noticed how parks attrack us when it gets warmer outside? And what happens when you suddenly get there? Time stands still, something starts pulsating inside you, and your body seems to plant out fresh sprouts. OUTLOOK encourages you to visit the most beautiful arboreta of Ukraine, which you will exit feeling double alive.
It turns out possible to walk in heaven living on Earth. It is enough to go to the south of a small country of Bolivia, to one of the most extraordinary deserts of the world – Uyuni. When looking at pictures of tourists who had been there you can’t help asking: “Are you sure it isn’t Photoshop-made?”
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Amazon River – the river that not only South America but our entire planet cannot be imagined without – seems to have been explored length and breadth. But somehow every year scientists find out something about it they’ve never thought of before. We tried to gather most interesting and least-known facts about it in our feature.
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.
Majestic and beautiful, contradictory and frightening ... The UNESCO World Heritage List includes into their ranks important works of culture, history, or objects of environmental importance. According to UNESCO rules, a heritage site must be a masterpiece and be of value to a specific era, contain information about unique traditions, reminisce about historical events, or include the habitat of rare species.
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!
To build a settlement on flatland - is this such a hard trick to pull off? A completely different story is when land is self-willed and rock-ribbed both directly and metaphorically speaking. People have been trying to master land and have own say in in-rock urban development for centuries. But only those who succeded in finding common ground with Earth managed to create true novels in stone.