Visited in December 2016
I didn’t fall in love with Mandalay at first sight. In fact, after the beauty and mystique of Bagan, my very first impression of this 19th century city was one of disappointment. It’s flat, dirty and noisy, most of the buildings are nondescript and its highlights are hidden in plain sight. Yet the city grew on me very quickly and finally won me over. Now I think back on it as a major highlight of my visit to Myanmar and hope to come back one day.
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Last visited June 2016
Translated as “forty springs” for some hot springs in its vicinity Arba Minch is the gateway town to the Omo Valley region of Ethiopia and most visitors fly or drive here on their way to the tribes of the Omo. The town itself is nothing to write home about, it does have a couple of things going for it and is worth a day or two on the way to the Omo or on your return trip. Continue reading Arba Minch and Nechisar National Park
Last visited in October 2016.
When we landed at Tbilisi International Airport on my first visit in 2013, it was full of promotional posters reading “Tbilisi. The City that Loves You”. By the time we were getting on our return flight, I could honestly say that the feeling was mutual.
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Last visited in June 2016
Serving as home to the headquarters of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and a host of other international organizations, Addis Ababa is sometimes called Africa’s political capital and like many other world capitals, it’s far from the most interesting place in Ethiopia. But there is no avoiding the city on any tour of the country, as it serves as the location of Ethiopia’s only international airport. And Addis is not without its charms. The city does has some interesting sights, modern tourist infrastructure and a thriving art scene. Continue reading Addis Ababa
UNESCO World Heritage Site Inscription details
Visited in October 2015
A friend of mine who has worked in Rio for the last couple of years very aptly described the city as a gorgeous beach with a city attached. At the risk of offending the city’s many fans, I found the city’s natural setting the most beautiful thing about Rio de Janeiro. The combination of beach, mountains and Atlantic forest is truly spectacular. And while the city has its share of man-made wonders, they pale in comparison to the works of Mother Nature.
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Notes from visit in August 2013
Yerevan is the capital and gateway for arrivals to Armenia by train or plane and is convenient base for exploring the rest of the country. The city itself, while quite pleasant, safe and easy to get around, does not have much worth exploring. If your time in Armenia is limited, my advice would be to use Yerevan as a base, but spend most of your time outside the city, as it pales in comparison to this country’s true wonders. Continue reading Yerevan