Paris – Notre Dame

It is so tragic when historical monuments are destroyed, being from pure accidents or from cruel acts of history-challenged religious fanatics. Art and structures are a way to understand the past and, based on that, create a better and more informed future. Up through the ages all religions have something to answer to when it comes to demolition of history, but in these enlightened days, we really should know better.

I am so happy that I for instance visited the Museum of Cairo before looters destroyed mummies and smashed artifacts in 2011. I am also very happy that I, even if this was an accident during repairs, was able to visit the beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame.

Even if I am a full bred atheist, I do respect all religions and I am always interested in learning more about their ways. A part of understanding the different religions is to look back to the past in the form of written material, art and holy places, and I much enjoy visiting cathedrals, churches, mosques, temples and shrines in the quest of knowledge and perhaps inner peace.

New York – High Line Park

For several decades since its opening in 1934, the elevated rail line High Line was used to transport food into Manhattan (source: thehighland.org). In the 80-ies, however, parts og the track were demolished and led to the line being discontinued. As years passed, the tracks were covered in wild flowers and started to rust and people called for its removal. One og the former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s last acts in office was in fact to sign a demolition order.

Luckily the order was never executed and in 2009, under mayor Bloomberg, the old rail line had been converted into a beautiful elevated park above New York’s buzzling life.

Well worth a visit and (best of all) free of charge. Check out thehighline.org for info about access points to the park.

New York – Statue of Liberty

2012 was the year I first visited New York, one of the most iconic destinations for a Norwegian movie-buff. One day we signed up for a canal cruise around Manhattan and on one of our stops we god a great photo op of the Statue of Liberty.

Once a welcoming symbol of freedom and democracy for the millions of immigrants who came to America seeking a new and better life. These days, not so much..

Stonehenge – a neolithic enigma

I have always been fascinated by history and one year I went to England, more Specifically to the outskirts of Salisbury, to visit one of the world’s most famous creations, Stonehenge.

I set up camp in Salisbury and after a heavy English breakfast at one of the local pubs, I hiked the 13 km to Stonehenge. The first phase of the structure started over 5000 years ago, and continued for centuries to come. It is still a mystery how our anscestors were able to place the massive stones in its characteristic pattern and multiple theories have been made to describe their purpose. Even today we don’t know for sure, but a major theory is that Stonehenge represents an antique observatorium.

Even though the commercialism surrounding the stone structure was a bit of a nuisance, I managed to mentally travel back in time, trying to fathom the origin of this mythical place.

Stratford-Upon-Avon: In the footsteps of Shakespeare

One summer I was bored, I impulsively jumped on a plane to London and took a train to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit the birthplace of Shakespeare. Don’t ask me why I ended up there of all places, but my fascination of his comedies in general and Much Ado About nothing in special, might have something to do with it.

I spent almost a week in the small, cozy English village, soaking up the atmosphere, admiring the thatched houses and visiting historical buildings, like Shakespeares birthhouse and his new house as well as the house of Anne Hathaway’s parents, where Shakespeare courted his wife-to-be. A week in totall stressless harmony, engulfed in historic poetry. I even ended up having a two hour excistential conversation with a catholic priest at the local church. Quite interesting, especially me being an atheist an all, but that is a story for another time.

Tokyo – Tsukiji Fish Market

The day after Tokyo Maraton, in rainy weather and with sore muscles and tons of blisters, we decided to visit the Tsukiji Fishmarket we had heard so much about. The inner marked, where they in early morning hold auctions (e.g for tuna, which is worth its weight in gold obviously) is now closed for tourists, but visiting the outer market was more than enogh.

The outer market consists of a few parallell, narrow streets with street shops and small restaurant. Our umbrellas made it a bit difficult to navigate due to space issues, but we were able to taste some of the amazing street food they were selling, while standing up and holding an umbrella and a beer at the same time.

We also tried one of the many small restaurants that seemingly was just a hole in the wall, but revealed a long, narrow restaurant once inside. Let me just say, best sushi ever!

Asakusa – Where old times keep on living

Asakusa is a district in Tokyo where you really get the feeling that time has stood still for some centuries. The neighbourhood is full of narrow streets with local shops, rickshaws and, of course, both the old Sensoji tempel and the new Tokyo Skytree.

Asakusa can easily be reach through the Metrosyste (Asakusa Station) and you can easily spend several hours just wandering around in the streets, taking in the scenery.