Page 2 of scenicroute Travel Blog Posts

South America » Guyana February 23rd 2017

It's time to celebrate Mashramani! First of all, soundtrack to this post can be found here. Open another tab and have a listen! Mashramani - 'the celebration after hard work' - quite literally the 'work hard - play hard' festival. It is Guyana's Republic day, and much like other countries in central and South America, it is celebrated with parades, floats, dancing, costume and calypso competitions which end with the crowning of a king or queen for a year. And so I've been listening to Guyanese music, which has been really cool. My favourite is the like above - which just sings about the beauty of Guyana... and makes me really want to visit. Guyana you have been added to the list - there isn't a top of the list, but if there were, you'd ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Saint Lucia February 22nd 2017

St Lucia is celebrating it's independence. It became an independent state on this day in 1979, and have been celebrating annually every since. Short History. St Lucia was originally found by the French in the 1550s - then the Dutch visited - and then the English stumbled across it - the French then claimed it - the English attempted to settle and were wiped out by the indigenous Caribs - the French established a settlement that last 9 years - the English claimed it and died - the French resumed control and then there were slaves and sugar until the French revolution when the slaves refused to work and the French governor declared all slaves free - until the British came and re-established slavery until they outlawed slavery a little later - and a little while ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris February 21st 2017

International Mother Language Day (towards sustainable futures through multilingual education) .... is a bit of a mouthful, but I like the idea of UNESCOs day. The idea for Mother language day is for all people to access education in their mother tongue and other languages, that local languages transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, and are important in sustainable futures... though I'm not sure what 'sustainable futures' are. I do know from studying other languages that there are words that are untranslatable, and concepts that don't exist in English. On the other hand, English has considerably more words than other languages and has incredible detail in almost insignificant differences. The difference between freedom and liberty, for example. In many languages there is only one word, yet lacks words for concepts such as Spanish 'ganas' or Russian ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » York February 20th 2017

This week, York is celebrating it's viking heritage with the largest Viking Festival in Europe. The original Viking festival celebrated the coming of spring. Tolkein-Dwarvian men will compete for best beard, learn how to fire arrows, fight with long swords and conserve archaeological finds. To celebrate my viking heritage, I learnt to wield a long sword (youtube + wooden spoon = close enough) and knit weave metal, all whilst drinking ale (much like cognac in January, this ale is not my cup of tea). Please enjoy the picture of the bus. Coming up this week - Mother Langugae Day, St Lucian Independence, Mash, Mahashivaratri, N'cwala and Wear Red Day. Any festivals coming up that I should be celebrating? Message me here, or tweet me @fighiggins.... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan February 19th 2017

Sunday was Turmenistan's Flag Day. The Turkmen flag is a pretty cool flag (see photo). I like the red bit down the side - somewhat more detailed than the majority of flags. The Turkmen flag was created in 1991 after the fall of communism (prior to this the flag had looked more or less like every other Soviet flag - albeit with a blue line across it). The Turkmen have definitely gone in the world with regards to their flag. The white cresent represents Islam, the five regions have a star each and the red patterns represent the carpet industry and each of the patterns represents one of the major tribes (Tekke, Yomud, Saryq, Choudur and Ersary). In Ashgabat, the captial city of Turkmenistan, there stands the 5th (possibly 6th) tallest flag pole in the world. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice February 18th 2017

Saturday was my flat warming, I had a couple of friends over to celebrate the Venetian festival. Legend has it that the first carnival was in 1162, when people began to gather at San Marco Square to dance in celebration of the Venetian Republic (Serenissima Repubblica - the Serene Republic). In the 1600s it became the baroque carnival and appears to be more or less the same today (with extra bits added in). There weren't many celebrations in the early 20th century, but since 1979 the Italian government started an annual event of Venetian history and culture. Some 3 million people visit the city for the carnival and there is a prize for la maschera piu bella (the most beautiful mask). Masks have a strange position in Venetian culture and history. People would wear them between ... read more
Venetian Carnival

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow February 17th 2017

I was finding it very difficult to find a celebration that falls today. There are a couple - Random Act of Kindness Day and Kosovan Independence Day to name a few. I wasn't sure how to celebrate either of those. I like to think that I am kind every day, and will do kind things because that's what I do, I'm not sure how I could 'randomise' that. But, at lunch time today as I was about to google Kosovan culture and independence, a colleague of mine placed this pineapple on my desk. I haven't worked at this place long, in fact I've been doing this Resolution longer, but today marked the end of my formal training and to celebrate this and welcome me into my new team I was given this pineapple, a tradition at ... read more

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang February 16th 2017

The Day of the Shining Star is a public holiday in North Korea that celebrates the anniversary of the birth of King Jong-il. Depending on whether you believe the Soviets or North Korean propaganda (I'm inclined to believe the former in this instance) King Jong-il was born in Siberia in 1941 as Yuri Irsenovich Kim, though the official North Korean biography state he was born on 16th February 1942 at Mount Paektu; an important location in Korean mythology - the origin of the Korean people. Legends go that there was a bright star in the sky the night Kim Jong-il was born, hence the name of the day, the season changed from winter to spring and there was a double rainbow. The day is celebrated with mass demonstrations of gymnastics, dancing, musical performances, military processions, flowers, ... read more
North korean National Anthem Sheet Music

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna February 15th 2017

Sorry for the week or so of not blogging, rest assured I have been celebrating in the mean time and now that I've got internet, I shall get back to daily blogging from today (and also be typing up notes from the missing days). But for now, today. Starting with the death of Buddha. Parinirvana is celebrated by Buddhists who remember the death of Buddha and think about their own mortality. I attempted meditation - I am not good at it. For starters, the guided meditations I tried annoyed me almost instantly - the soft voices speaking very, very slowly. So I learnt to breathe from a Buddhist monk's youtube video (proof the internet has everything). I read the rest of 'Introduction to Buddhism' that I began on Friday. Describing the life and death of Buddha. ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Azad Kashmir February 5th 2017

I'm going to start by saying that I take no side in the Kashmir Conflict. I don't know enough about the conflict and as always, a day is not enough time. Solidarity Day is observed by Kashmiri nationalists in Pakistan, and sees civil unrest in Indian Kashmir. The observance focuses on the unity of Kasmir, and is marked by the public processions, special prayers in mosques for the 'liberation'* of Kashmir and protests against India. Some years a human chain is formed along the major roads leading from Pakistan to Kashmir and Jammu. Kashmiri cultural events and festivities are also held. I focused on Kashmiri culture, an almagation of Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies across five regions; Jammu and Kashmir of India, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltisan of Pakistan and Aksai Chin of China. Kashmiri culture ... read more

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