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Alert! Taipei is being attacked by giant monster spiders!

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:48

This and some other interesting night shots were taken during one of our walks to 象山 (Xiang shan; Elephant mountain). Check out the Xiang shan by night album for some nice photos of Taipei and 101.


Okinawa pictures

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:51

It's a long time ago and the memory of my last vacation has already faded, let alone the feeling of relaxation, but some three weeks after returning from Okinawa the photos are finally ready.

Okinawa is a relatively small island in the south of Japan and inhabited by a little more than 1.3 million people. Actually, the whole prefecture includes hundreds of little islands, the Ryukyu Islands, but we only visited the main one. We spent two days in Naha, the prefecture's capital, and southern area before heading up to the center and eastern part.

Some of the views are breathtaking and so is driving on the left side for the first time in your life. Apart from the occasional struggle with the GPS (strictly Japanese and only workable with the handbrake pulled - learn the hard way!) it went fine, though, and we enjoyed five relaxing days in the sun.

The pictures, complete with GPS coordinates, thanks to my trusted and always present "Easy Showily" GPS logger:

Okinawa (Days 1 and 2)
Okinawa (Days 3 to 5)


Climbing the turtle

posted by Martin Rubli at 03:46

All good things come to an end. This is especially and unfortunately true for vacations.

If you think that vacations are relaxing then you should try coming back from one of my vacations. Hundreds of photos and dozens of GPS traces are waiting to be combined and put online.

Luckily, I finally found a working program that does this job quite well: Geotag. It loads pictures from different directories and multiple GPS tracks and with a little bit of magic you'll have coordinates in your pictures in no time. The result of this can be seen here:

Turtle Island album

Turtle Island (龜山島, Gui shan dao) is a small, uninhabited island on the west coast of Taiwan. Unfortunately it's still under military control and visiting involves going with a rather large tour group or a lot of paperwork (If you have the choice, go with the paperwork! :-), but it's worthwile in spite of that. See for yourself.

Oh, and pictures from Okinawa are coming up soon. At least some of them; turns out my camera is allergic to water. ;-)


A university to die for

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:01

Many Taiwanese universities have small lakes on their campus, which is really nice cause you can go for a relaxing walk during your classes or in your spare time.

And then there's the National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu where a walk around the lake is more like an obstacle course around dead animals:

   

Theories as to the reason of this animal battle ground include "bored to death by professors" and "university graduate designed aeration system". ;-)

All jokes aside, apart from the lake the university is quite nice. Take a look by visiting my Taiwanese Universities album.


Love Switzerland?

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:03

It's fun, after living abroad for a while, to go back to your home country to see what has changed and what hasn't. Some things never seem to change:

  • Mother's cooking is still the best
  • Shops close over lunch time
  • The amount of snow
  • The challenge of getting food after 22h!

And some things are not quite what they used to be:

  • I can walk through my parents' home town largely incognito
  • I feel weird going to a Chinese restaurant (especially accompanied by a Taiwanese)
  • My ability to speak my mother tongue (it's embarrassing trying to order something in a bakery and not remembering its name ;-)

Together with Ivy I traveled through Switzerland in what can be described as a mixture between Swiss retiree style (i.e. sitting in the train a lo-o-ot) and Japanese city hopping. In three days we went from Chur to Lausanne in the Glacier Express, from there to Basel and Bern, and via Zürich back to Chur. Our vacation also included a Snow Show in Arosa and a one-day trip to St. Moritz, one of the most expensive (and, if it wasn't for the scenery, most boring) towns in Switzerland.

But Chinese food (not my idea, I swear) was not the only thing that reminded us of Taiwan. See for yourself:

Love Sculpture in front of Taipei 101 Love Sculpture in an art gallery window in St. Moritz

Apparently, the Love sculpture in front of Taipei's 101 is not the only one of its kind. Turns out that there are more instances of Robert Indiana's art piece than you'd think as a quick Internet search reveals. :-)

My gallery has more pictures from our trip. Enjoy!


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