Tuesday, September 29

The wonderful world we live in

I am back home again. Just a short week away, but it was great. I have managed to see some of the greatest marvels of the world. And I had not even planned any of them! Somehow the way this trip worked out is pretty close to the way I like to play games.

It started off figuring out how to get from Beverwijk (a small town 20 miles north west of Amsterdam) to Paris by train. It started off a bit wrong, but I still managed to roll into Paris Nord by 12:40. Paris is always nice. But I have been there several times already, so nothing new for me. Just the feel of being away from home made it nice. The next day we picked up the rental car from the airport and the journey truly started. The next four days we worked our way down to Barcelona. I only stayed in Barcelona for one night. That was just enough time to know I will have to return there some time later. But what made this journey really wonderful were three places I didn't know (much) about till I reached them. The first was a miracle of nature, the second a miracle of engineering, and the third a miracle of the mind. No pictures or words can properly capture their greatness, but I'll try anyway.

Gouffre de Padirac

This picture doesn't say much. Except that it is a cave. I went down inside with the mentality of "just another cave". The usual damp cold stuff with rocks everywhere. But what I got to see three lifts and a boat ride further went way beyond what I could have imagined. As always my mind converted my visuals into MMO landscapes. But this cave went even further that the most elaborate sceneries I have seen. What nature manage to create over thousands of years in utter darkness is just astounding. If there is one cave you really should see it is this one. We were not allowed to take any pictures. And even google seems to only been given a small peek. So I guess you will need to go and see/explore it for yourselves.

Plenty of pictures and descriptions about this marvel of modern day engineering. But a 240 meter high pillar doesn't really mean much until you are standing right next to it. Then you start wondering how they could have ever managed to build it. Eventhough I read the explanations it still doesn't make sense. 240 meter high up in the sky! After visiting the old city centres of several French cities, and the ugliness in the outskirts I had started to wonder why we can't build anything of beauty anymore. But this viaduct shows modern marvels are still being build. It did give me some hope for our future.

I was already a great admirer of the works of Dalí. His twisted surrealistic paintings really push the right buttons for me. So I was somewhat excited to see some of his paintings for real at his self designed museum. But I was not expected to be this blown away by it. He didn't create a musuem, but a look into his mind. Everything in the building radiated the surrealism. It was not just a nice painting and statue here and there. It felt like I really had stepped into his world. It was a weird sensation that has left a lasting impression on me. The human mind is a strange place to be.

If the world if filled with this kind of hidden treasures I know there are many waiting for me to be discovered. Out there in the real world, but also in the wonderous virtual worlds we visit. I can't wait to go on my next trip. Aion awaits.


  1. Cool!
    I think I've been in those caves as a kid. or ones very much like it. It gave me a big trip back down memory lane. Were there boat-rides at the cave?

    The second I haven't seen but heard of, and there's plenty of other impressive pieces of engineering like that in France. Some recent, some left by the Romans.

    The third is on my Todo, as well as visiting the one in Madrid.
    I'm glad you had such a wonderful memoriable trip Phè. And that you're safely back too :-)

  2. Yep, a short boat ride. I have been in quite a few caves around Europe, but I have never seen anything as impressive as the Grand Dome. It is probably the one.