The land of raging winds. Vast, open fields that go on for miles. Clear streams and lakes with colours unknown. Endless glaciers and peaks that suddenly appear out of nowhere as the clouds part.
Where the weather always has a mind of its own and you may see four seasons in a day. Where the summer brings days that almost never end. A place that remains frozen for a good part of the year, where only a handful of hardy souls can thrive.
And a cliche it may be, but I think I left a piece of me behind.
In parts of East Africa, the savanna extends as far as the eye can see. Boundaries seem to have no meaning as the Serengeti plains of Tanzania cross the border and become the Masai Mara in Kenya. Little surprise then, that ‘Serengeti’ literally means ‘the endless plains’ in Swahili. It wouldn’t be hard to get lost here, with no markers and the uniform landscape extending in all directions.
A hunting lodge by origin, that ended up being the seat of the French Government and royalty and now figures on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Palace of Versailles has seen its share of glory and continues to bask in it, to this day.
If like me, you’re hungering after some non-palace, non-museum time in Paris (all that sightseeing can get heavy on the head), the Palace is an easy hop from the city and has extensive and perfectly manicured lawns, that one can happily spend a sunny summer, or even winter day in.
On a still autumn Sunday, the many fountains were given rest for the day and undisturbed, the Bassin d’Apollo‘s edge seemed to divide a symmetrical world into near-perfect halves.
If you happen to visit Bali around the festival of Galungan (like we did by a happy coincidence in 2013), you’ll notice these ornamental poles of bamboo peering over you, decorated with leaves and fruits and with an offering basket suspended from their top, adorning the gateways of buildings and lining the roads.
With a little inquisitiveness, we learned from our driver and the hotel staff that these poles are called ‘penjor‘ and are symbolic of festivals and celebrations in Bali. And at the time of Galungan, a festival that signifies the victory of good over evil (much like Diwali in India, we thought), 20-feet high penjors bloom in abundance outside almost every home, office, shop on the island, for people to thank the Gods.
Captured during the famous sunset at the Uluwatu temple in south-west Bali:
More symbols of significance with the Daily Post’s challenge this week: “Symbol.”