Tunnel below a castle in Luxembourg. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
Castles are the best — but hard to shoot. The light in tunnels and dungeons is usually terrible. This passageway was a happy exception and I love how the shadows intersected.
This is part of a huge network of passageways beneath fortifications beneath a castle guarding the river in the capital. A great position. There was no cover, no way to get up the cliff, and there were cruder tunnels carved into the rock with firing positions. An interesting place. I’ve seen a lot of castles and this one was both ancient and well-preserved. Continue reading
I counted around 15 students inside, on top or hanging from the back of this autorickshaw. It’s the Indian version of a cab, with three wheels and a lot more excitement than boring Yellow Cabs back home. With the right driver, an autorickshaw ride can be like a Formula One race through side streets and packed traffic. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
If you travel to India, autorickshaws are everywhere, working as cabs and hauling cargo. They have three tiny wheels, itty bitty engines and are more like motorcycles than cars, but they’re cheap and useful, especially in big cities.
These students commuting home after school broke what has to be a record for how many people can fit inside an autorickshaw. Well played, students. Continue reading
Dubai train station and skyline. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
This looks like something George Lucas had his CGI wizards do for STAR WARS EPISODE 12: THE REVENGE OF JAR JAR BINKS, for the scene where Jar Jar lands his shuttle for serious diplomatic negotiations with Trade Federations robots or whatever. Continue reading
Houseboat floating along the backwaters of Kerala, India. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
So I’ve been on houseboats in Kerala twice now, and it’s something I’d happily do again. Beautiful.
There’s a network of canals, with rice fields below the canals and villages alongside, all connected to giant lakes. An amazing place. You sleep in the houseboats, eat there, and visit villages. Also: we ate huge local tiger shrimp with massive claws. They looked like extras from STARSHIP TROOPERS. Continue reading
I will now be somewhat Serious, which is quite rare, and may never happen again on this silly blog.
India may be the closest thing you can get to visiting another planet.
It’s a joke that every corner market sells bananas and cell phones. But there’s truth to that joke. More than 500 million people own cell phones and there’s a growing middle class to go along with a highly educated elite, which is just as creative as any other in the Western world.
Yet most of the population still lives in the countryside and is employed in agriculture. Just think of what will happen when they make the same shift we did in America, the mass migration to the factories to embrace horsepower instead of actual horses.
A hallway at the Red Fort, next to the Taj Mahal. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
India is the world’s biggest democracy which only recently made the switch from state-run industry to a full market economy.
So I’m driving on the Autobahn from Frankfurt, Germany to Goze, Belgium on zero sleep for about 36 hours, which is not the wisest thing in the world when you’re going 160 kilometers per hour, seeing how closing your eyes and napping for half a second will be fatal.
But I do not nap, and the Citroen of Itty Bittiness does not slam into the guardrail and burst into flames.
Frankfurt is a big city full of skyscrapers, the Manhattan of Germany, and this is because after World War II, cities razed by bombs had citizens vote: (a) bulldoze the rubble and start over or (b) rebuild on the ancient, narrow cobblestone streets and painstakingly restore all that was destroyed.
The people of Frankfurt picked “start over.” And you can tell, with just a glance, how any random city in Germany voted after the war.
Goze, Belgium was not bombed to rubble during the war. It’s a tiny little town full of brick homes and brick business and stone churches.
If you’re not familiar with Belgium, let me give you a primer:
- The Netherlands (Holland) is to the north, Germany to the east, France to the south and Luxemburg also hidden nearby, so people in the north speak Dutch / Flemish and those in the south speak French, though nobody really speaks German
- Belgium is home to European parliament, NATO headquarters and 72 other important things, maybe because Belgium is friendly and has the best chocolate and beer IN THE WORLD
- They are NOT French fries, but Belgium fries, invented right here, and the one thing that will make Belgium peoples unfriendly is to repeatedly ask for “French fries,” which I do not do
Just like three years ago, we stayed with my wife’s host family from when she lived here as an exchange student. I lived in Holland and Germany as a kid, so this whole area feels like home. Continue reading
How fast can a rental car go on the Autobahn?
Now, I lived in Germany and Holland as a whippersnapper, and they never let me drive on the Autobahn back then. Whenever I pulled into the passing lane on my Big Wheel or bicycle, the nice men in police uniforms would pull me over and explain, in careful German, that “kinders nicht driven on das Autobahn” and such.
True story: a car once hit me as I drove around on a Big Wheel and it broke my leg. Totaled the car, though. I am kidding! The car exploded into flames.
So: as a grown-up, I just spent two weeks driving The Citroen of Itty Bittiness all over the Autobahn, and it forever changed me. Can I drive 55 now? No. I am ruined.