This is one of the smaller sites at My Son, Vietnam. I liked the way the grass is trying to take back the structure.
The Champa Hindu temples called My Son are a day trip from Hoi An. We went on an organised tour but wished we’d just rented a motorcycle and found our own way there.
There was one strange moment when we were close to the temples where they made us all get off the bus to follow it across what appeared to be a perfectly sturdy modern bridge. On the way out, they didn’t make us get off at all. It was odd.
It didn’t take me long to wander away from the tour group. Most of the site was damaged by American bombing in the Vietnam war. You could see the craters from bomb blasts all around. I was pretty happy when I found this guy still intact.
This is the first Mayan ruin I ever encountered. It came after a heat stroke inducing trek up a slippery hill wearing flip-flops. When I got there, I wasn’t particularly impressed. Fortunately, the next day, Tikal exceeded all expectations.
I didn’t have much intention of sharing this photo, but as I’m really far behind on my daily posts and struggling with a laptop that likes to crash just as I finish processing a new photo I thought I’d quickly upload this one.
For viewing archaeological sites in something close to their natural state, it doesn’t get much better than Tikal. This temple has been excavated, but it’s sister, which was located behind me was still very much in the condition it was found in, buried and covered in trees. It looked just like a big hill.
We had the added bonus that we were on a sunset tour, meaning we started in the blazing afternoon heat that most tourists aren’t stupid enough to mess with. As a result, we had the whole place to ourselves. I thought it was worth it, though it officially marked the sweating through of every t-shirt I had brought to Guatemala on my second day there.
Back when Tikal was buzzing, the entire area was cleared of vegetation and paved with gleaming white stone. The temples and stele like those shown in the picture were painted in gaudy bright colours.
I found it interesting that the Mayans had flattened a large portion of the jungle for their city and farmland, considering that we have this idealized view that the ancient natives of the Americas lived in tune with nature.
So Smugmug, the site that hosts my images, has made their galleries much more customizable so I was able to make it match the main Traverse Earth site, just about. It’s an ongoing process as a few bits aren’t quite right, but take a look by clicking <Browse Photos> above. Let me know what you think of the new layout!
The Mayan Palace
This shot is of the remains of the palace at Tikal. It was a large building but the royal bedroom was nothing like we’d expect of a European palace. It was about 8 feet wide by 10 feet deep with a stone slab for sleeping on beneath a small window. There were small holes in the walls throughout the structure where, it is believed, candles or lanterns of some sort could be placed to light the interior.
Moving to the left from where I’m standing we walked around to enter a huge temple complex. Shortly after this, we heard the howler monkeys in the nearby trees. The whole experience made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The Guatemalan city of Antigua is surrounded by volcanoes and earthquake prone. The Spanish thought this was a fantastic spot to establish their first capital of Guatemala. Eventually, the ground shook and the city was all but abandoned. This photo is of the remains of the Colonial Spanish Cathedral.
After failing to reach the giant bird-cliff at Latrabjarg we were making our way back to the hostel. I stumbled upon this scene. Three identical looking horses hanging about a ruin in front of a shack. It was definitely time to make a stop. My travel buddy was a large animal vet who had been trying to catch some sleep on the drive back. She didn’t mind getting woken up for these guys though.
Icelandic horses are pretty incredible. They’re little stout things but incredibly photogenic with rugged coats and flowing manes. You could probably spend all of your time in Iceland photographing just the horses. There were a number of fields full of horses I could see myself spending hours at if I had more time. I’m hoping to spend all of June in Iceland next year. If I do get to do that I’ll definitely spend a lot of time hopping fences for closeups of Icelandic horses.