During October 2011 I traveled to southern China for a short tour of Guanxi. Guanxi lies some ten hours by train from Hong Kong and features stunning sceneries that attract Chinese tourists and foreigners alike. Famous mainly for karst landscapes around Yangshuo and the beautiful countryside, the region is also particularly interesting for its historic villages and minorities.
Last summer I travelled to Bolivia, returning after almost six years to South America. During my trip to Perù in 2004, I had also visited La Paz and promised myself to return to explore the magnificent high-altitude plateau in the south-west of the country. What follows is a short tale of my trip… which turned out to be quite an adventure! Don’t miss the photo gallery at the end of the post.
I have now been in Penang for almost three weeks and I’m starting to really understand the island and its population. I must admit that at first I was not entirely attracted by the place: the heavy-traffic highways, impossibly tall condos and diffused modernity just appeared too aseptic and dull to me. But then I walked in the old Georgetown streets, ate at the joyous and psychedelic hawker stalls, visited the many temples scattered around the island and slowly discovered the incredible variety within the population where different ethnic groups, each with markedly opposite ways of living, interact harmoniously although never mixing together. Now Penang is slowly finding its way in me and I’m more and more connected with the surroundings and the people. It’s the feeling of ease and understanding you have with an old and trusted friend…
Around New Year’s Eve I was in the south of Algeria for a one-week trip to the Sahara. The desert has always fascinated me: the colors, the silence, the solitude all create an environment of sheer beauty. I have been to the Namib, the Taklimakan and some of the great American deserts but never to the Sahara which to me represents the greatest desert of all. I found out that the south of Algeria is probably the best place to start discovering the Sahara and in this post I’ll go through my trip.
After Lanzhou and a glimpse of Tibet in Xiahe, the trip continued through the Hexi Corridor: historically, the strategic passage to get into China from central Asia. In Jiayuguan I visited the renovated fort that once was one of the main outposts of the eastern part of the Great Wall. Then, with a detour to Dunhuang, I got a look at the Taklimakan Desert and visited the famous Mogao Caves with yet again numerous carved and painted buddhas.
After visiting Beijing and its surroundings, I started heading west and experienced the first of a long series of travels by train which characterized the whole trip. Traveling by train in China is horrible and at the same time fascinating. It all begins entering a wonderfully crowded station in which about one thousand men, women and children of all kinds and with all sort of luggage want to get on the train… your train!
This summer I traveled along the entire Chinese section of the Silk Road. My interest started some years ago after reading Michael Yamashita’s amazing “Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey” (published by White Star). In the book, the famous National Geographic’s photographer brings to life the legendary expedition of the 13th-century Venetian merchant to Cathay (China), first crossing central Asia and than back through the South-East and India.