2017 – 10 From 10

From South Africa to North Korea, Canada to Greece, I somehow found the time to travel 10 countries in 2017 (yes, Kosovo is a country), a rather convenient number for the purpose of an end-of-year review. So here are 10 from 10, ten pictures from ten countries presented in chronological order from the year in travel & photography that was 2017.

01 South Africa

February 21 || Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent. Western Cape, South Africa.

“It’s unspectacular, nothing more than a nondescript rocky headland accessed via an unpaved road & boardwalk. It takes time & effort to get here. It doesn’t have the towering sea cliffs nor the dramatic coastal setting and thus that end-of-the-world vibe that’s unmistakable at its much better-known relative, Cape Point. And it doesn’t attract anywhere near as many visitors as Cape Point… but none of the detracts from the awesomeness of being here, the southernmost tip of the African continent and the official meeting point of two of the world’s three largest oceans…”
02 Montenegro

April 20 || The Bay of Kotor’s Gulf of Kotor as seen from the road to Lovcen National Park, Montenegro.

“The spectacular topography of the 88 km² bay… means there isn’t a whole lot of room in which to squeeze those picturesque Medieval walled Old Towns. There’s even less room for roads. But roads there are and with a shoreline of some 110 kilometers that equates to over 100 kilometres of winding, one-lane, water-hugging driving delights while skirting the feet of steep mountains. It’s a geographical setting rivalled by very few places on earth, if any.”
03 Kosovo

April 22 || The National Library of Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo.

“Bears, a UNESCO-listed monastery, bizarre architecture, hospitable locals, life-size lettering & street scenes aplenty. From pre-dawn through to post-sunset, Pristina won my (tired) heart today, and I’ve yet to explore the old Muslim bazaar area (that’s tomorrow, Allah willing). Captured at just after 7 a.m., 3 hours after arriving in the city off the bus from Montenegro, this is the city’s National Library of Kosovo building. A confusing jumble of cubes, metal fishing net, glass and bouncy-looking skylight domes, it’s eye-catching, that’s for sure. Built in the early 80s and somehow surviving the 1998-1999 Kosovo War, it’s like many a girl I’ve known – looks good from far, but is far from good.”
04 Macedonia

April 24 || Sunset over Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

“It’s a whole decade – September 2007 – since I last sampled a Lake Ohrid sunset. The lake, the UNESCO-listed jewel in Macedonia’s crown, and its sunsets are the reason I made the trek back here. It didn’t disappoint.”
05 Greece

May 5 || Navagio Beach, a.k.a. Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, Greece.

“Driving 40 kilometres across the interior of the mountainous island got me here, to the overlook of Navagio Beach, a.k.a. Shipwreck Beach, the only reason I find myself on this particular Greek Ionian Island and reason enough to be here. A now iconic image of Greece, you’ll invariably find lesser quality versions of this image in most Greek tourism brochures. Here since October 1980 & sitting pretty in the middle of a secluded beach, one only accessible by boat (the precarious overlook high – very high – above the cove, & from where this picture was captured, is accessible to all), the setting is quite the draw and if I were the Greeks I’d be preserving what’s left of the rusting MV Panagiotis to ensure it continues to draw the hordes to the northern reaches of the island (the southern portion of the island, and in stark contrast to the sleepy north, is a thumping 18-30s party zone).”
06 South Korea

July 26 || Selfie shadows by the walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea.

“Conscious that any visit these days could be my last, I’ve made a point on this sweaty saunter down memory lane of revisiting & photographing places & landmarks that I’ve photographed many times over the years. I’ve also gotten acquainted & photographed landmarks that weren’t even around when last I was. Dynamic Seoul – a city slogan – indeed.”
07 China

August 12 || Squirming scorpions in Wangfujing, Beijing, China.

“It’s people getting in my way, always in my fuckin’ way, as is their want; it’s their country, after all, and I’m the impostor. It’s barriers and mass crowd control. It’s a very visible police presence and people in officialdom… seemingly standing around doing absolutely nothing while actually policing subjugation and overseeing mass societal conformity…It’s basically the same as it always was, the ever-present push to modernise aside, on this my 7th visit to the capital of the world’s superpower wannabe…”
08 North Korea

August 15 || At the Mansudae Hill Grand Monument, Pyongyang, North Korea.

“Three days. Three days of being monitored. Three days of being chaperoned, guided, led to see only what I was supposed to see, the very best of what the North Korean capital is prepared to divulge to sceptical foreign eyes. Three days of eating where I was told and when I was told. Three days of being surprised, being impressed, being awed… Three days of a surreal buzz the likes of which I’ve never experienced before.”
09 USA

September 30 || Farming in Amish Country outside Bird-in-Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day 4.

“I doubt one ever forgets their first sighting of the Amish and their simple, rural & Bible-centered existence. Our gawking… started when we passed an Amish buggy on the 8-mile road from Lancaster to Bird-in-Hand… There were plenty more Amish eye-openers to come over the proceeding hours, a period when we felt like we’d left the world as we know it and stepped back to a much earlier period in time.”
10 Canada

October 26 || In a wet Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada on Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day 30.

“Dating to 1901, this is, as the text states, the longest covered bridge in the world. Forget the Trans-Canada Highway. This alone is worth coming to this remote part of a remote Canadian state for. Maybe. Actually, probably best to just stop by if, you know, you happen to be in the area. We did.”

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