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Where are the Most Beautiful Places in the World?

Where are the most beautiful places in the world?. Allthewhile there’re hundreds of those “most beautiful places in the world”-lists on the net, I thought  I’d make one of my own, just because it kind of compensates when looking where all those other people have been ;-) . While beauty is most certainly in the eye of the beholder, I would argue that there are 3 places you don’t see in those top lists that truly stand out for me. Here’s my very first top 3 of “ the most beautiful places in the world” -list, which I hope to expand as fast as possible :-)

1. The Forests of Thailand
There are many beautiful forests around the world, but none like the forests of Thailand. Actually, this one is a frequent candidate in all those lists, but I guess everyone wants to like it’s own experiences better. Well, in mine the lush green foliage cast a green hue on the surrounding landscape, while the density of the forest provides a sound barrier that is both eerie and calming at the same time. Electric blue rivers and streams bound from boulder to boulder providing the perfect amount of white noise. To experience this one I took a private tour with locals that know the forests best. Trust me, you don’t want be wandering alone there!

Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park And Botanical Garden

2. The Kingstone Mountain Range

The locals call it Piatra Craiului. Located in the heart of the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, the Kingstone is a sight to behold. From the south the mountain looks like a regal crown and is home to one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world. Visitors ascend the mountain from the northwest most point and walk along the ridge to the shepherds cabin on the southeast ridge. The hike is roughly 20 kilometers. 10 kilometers of the hike take place along the ridge of the mountain range with sheer cliffs dropping away on either side, which provides a head spinning view of the surrounding countryside. The mountain is very remote and provides an outstanding place to relax and retreat.

3. The Mighty Mississippi
Nature is truly powerful. The Mississippi River is a great example of that. It provides life to whole ecosystems and supports life outside its bounds by providing water for crops all along its borders. For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by mighty rivers and their’s splendid but nevertheless devastating powers. Millions of gallons of water are move daily and whole landscapes are changed in instants when it floods its banks. IMHO, few natural views are more awe inspiring than sitting down and watching the mighty Mississippi River flow.

To be fair, beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder, but there are some things that are undeniable. If you ever get the chance, visit these places of beauty and see for yourself. You won’t regret it.

Alabama’s Best Kept Secret

When most people think about Alabama, they think about hunting, fishing, barbecue, and fried chicken. What most people don’t realize is that deep in the heart of the American southland, there is a gorgeous forest of boulders and streams known as Horse Pens 40.

As you can see Horse Pens is located in Steele, AL. It has been a refuge for settlers, nomads, outlaws, soldiers, and campers. Before America was even founded Indians used it as a shelter from the elements and a place to raise their families. Naturally formed caves and tunnels provided shelter and storage. Streams and springs brought water directly to their front door. Later, early settlers would shelter here and use the natural caverns as pens for their horses and livestock, hence Horse Pens. 40 refers to the amount of acres that were originally claimed when the first settlers decided to stay.

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Horse Pens is also known as one of the top 5 bouldering destinations in the world. For those of you who don’t know, bouldering is a form of rock climbing for sport. It incorporates a very technical style of climbing that allows climbers to be challenged by quick short climbs that don’t require ropes. Because these climbs don’t use ropes, they are typically much more challenging than traditional climbs. Handholds are smaller, angles are steeper, and there are very few places to actually hold on. Climbers use portable pads called crash pads to break their fall if they happen to slip.

If you are every looking for a great camping experience in a place that is off the beaten path, make the choice to spend some time at Horse Pens 40. It is well worth the trip. More information can be found at here.

It’s easy to miss nature’s beauty – but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens [TED]

Yes it is indeed sometimes easy to forget about nature and take all we have for granted. the beauty that surrounds us everyday and has surrounded us for as long as we have lived is sometimes covered by things like work, money, technology, stress and so on.

Luckily for us, there’s Louie Schwartzberg who managed to capture some of nature most astonishing and wonderful moments in some great time lapse footage. His TED talk back in 2011 did not only showcase his amazing ability to shoot nature films but even more so allowed us to listen to some of the most inspiring people we managed to find on the internet.

We could write a book about this man’s philosophy and way of looking at life, but we’d rather let you experience it yourself. Schwartzberg first talks about the meaning of photography and nature for him and perhaps for all of us. He then proceeds to show you some of the most amazing nature film footage you have ever seen! Sit back, relax and enjoy this masterpiece

 

The days surrounding Nyepi – everything but silent!

So we’ve talked a bit about the ancient Hindu ritual of Nyepi. The inhabitants of the island of Bali (Jakarta, Indonesia) honor Earth by giving her a day of rest from all of human activities. People are not allowed to work, travel, entertain or pleasure each other, light fires or use any form of electricity. The day is reserved for self-reflection, peace and pure silence.

However, there are many other rituals surrounding the sacred day of Nyepi which are all but silent. In order to prepare themselves for the big day and enjoy themselves after it’s over, the people of Bali celebrate several other rituals just before and after Nyepi. Here’s a few snapshots from some of the rituals, photographed by the amazing Agung Parameswara for The Atlantic:

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Bali men hitting each other with burnt coconuts in the ‘Mesabatan Api’ ritual, one day before Nyepi. The ritual is said to purify the human soul and bring it back to balance with the universe itself

A Balinese woman praying for her soul to be purified a few days before Nyepi in the so called Melasti Ceremony

A Balinese woman praying for her soul to be purified a few days before Nyepi in the so called Melasti Ceremony

A man watching the sunset on Kuta Beach all by himself, just the night before Nyepi begins.

A man watching the sunset on Kuta Beach all by himself, just the night before Nyepi begins.

Ogoh-ogoh (or giant effigies) - representing evil spirits during a parade to celebrate a successful Nyepi ritual

Ogoh-ogoh (or giant effigies) – representing evil spirits during a parade to celebrate a successful Nyepi ritual

 

 

 

The magical forest – a must see documentary!

We’ve got something a bit different for you today. Instead of talking about CO2 emissions, greenhouse gasses and climate change we want to show you something quite different.

It’s sometimes quite difficult to imagine that there are still magical places left in this world that are barely untouched by humans. An exception would be the ocean floor (of which we have yet to discover almost 90%), however on land almost every single place has been marked by human presence. Together with an amazing team wildlife experts, film crews and survival experts, Chris Packham takes us to an amazing journey through ‘the magical forest’.

This is a BBC documentary called Secrets of Our Living Planet that shows us just how beautiful and complex the world we live in actually is. Did you ever saw any connection between a crab and a tiger? Do you know why gecko’s need giraffes to survive? The magical forest will take you through the first episode of this amazing series and will definitely make you want to watch the other episodes.