“I got this photograph in an email and it is one of those pictures that you wonder where in god’s name is that…”
Previously, the only association I had with Mount Hua was the fictional Huashan Sect 华山派. I grew up watching Chinese martial arts films, often trying to re-enact some of the kicks and punches in front of the TV. I always thought it was a shame that my mum refused to let me enroll in taekwondo or karate.
A few months ago, I read an article about a teahouse in Mount Hua that can only be reached by climbing a steep flight of steps and a narrow plank walkway nailed into the side of the mountain. Your only lifesavers are your harness and the metal chain that you can hold onto while shuffling against the mountain face.
The photos and the videos of this perilous section of the hike are enough to deter me from considering a visit to the teahouse in Huashan. While there are no official statistics, fatalities (i.e. people plummeting to their deaths) happen from time to time.
I do not have a bucket list of things I want to do or experience. There are too many things that pique my interest, so there’s no point making a list. I rather just enjoy every moment as they come and not have to be bothered with checking things off a list.
When I was working for Banyan Tree, I would receive travel magazines from media agencies hoping to convince me to advertise in these publications. One of the perks of my former job: Free quality magazines like Condé Nast Traveler, Monocle and Travel+Leisure!
One day, in 2007, I read an article on the Picos de Europa in now defunct Gourmet magazine. In it was a picture that immediately captivated and mesmerised me. This was, and still is, a rare occurrence.
I cut out the article and put it into a folder of travel articles that I found interesting or inspiring.
While the file collected dust over time, this image of a tiny village nestled in the shadows of rocky mountains and dense, mysterious clouds remained vividly stuck in my mind.
Every now and then, I would see something that would remind me of it and I would remind myself to flip through my folder to recall where in the world is that mountain village. I kept procrastinating.
Last year, this memory was triggered by something I was reading. This time, I immediately said to AB that we should go to Asturias in summer. And we did.
The Picos de Europa was more than what I expected with its impressive, never-ending peaks.
Did I see what I saw in the Gourmet magazine article? Yes. It was like a dream come true. Breathtaking (and it was not because of the altitude).
I have not processed most of the photos that I took on this trip. But here’s a picture taken with my Blackberry of the village of Sotres while we were walking in the mountains:
There are many things that inspire my travels. For instance, photographs, films, books, personal accounts by people I know, and the list goes on…
What about you? What inspires you to travel or to visit a certain place?
It’s late and time for bed.
Before I end this post, I want to share a photo that I took in the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal in 1998. Enjoy and happy dreaming.