Travel Photo Challenge – Disclosing locations

Let me start this post by thanking all my readers who took the time to watch the pictures I posted within the context of the travel photo challenge and wrote their guess in the comments section. Second of all, as I wrote on day 1, it was pretty difficult to only select 10 photos out of the thousands I took during my travels, thus the photo challenge could continue for a month or two 🙂

Today I am disclosing all the locations and I hope that my pictures will be able to give you some good travel ideas, should you have never visited the places I captured, but remember: don’t watch everything through the lenses of your camera. Take your picture (don’t look for the perfect one) and then put your camera away and enjoy the view.

Day 1 – Makgadikgadi Pans – Botswana

This magnificent sunset was captured at the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana which are the second most extensive salt pans in the world, after Bolivia. For quite a long portion of the year they are covered by the water fallen during the rain season, therefore they look like and immense lake, while from July through November they are dry. In this picture, what looks like an arid soil is actually salt.

Makgadikgadi Pans – Botswana – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 2 – The Valley of Mars – Desert of Atacama – Chile

One of the most amazing places I have ever visited in my life is the high desert of Atacama, in Northern Chile, at the borders with Bolivia and Argentina. It is considered the most arid desert in the world. You don’t expect to see sand dunes at 3000 meters of altitude on the Andes. The Valley of Mars is just a section of the desert which also includes salt pans, lakes, rainbow looking mounts, extinguished volcanoes and more, which altogether make a visit here a fantastic experience.

Valley of Mars – Atacama Desert. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 3 – NgoroNgoro Crater – Tanzania

NgoroNgoro is actually one of the wornders of the world. It is amazing to see so much wildlife trapped into this crater which also offers one of the most incredible scenic views. The photo was taken from the viewpoint along the Crater-rim-road. A visit here is an incredible experience although a bit too crowded (too many cars) and quite expensive.

NgoroNgoro Crater – Tanzania. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 4 – Anse des Chateaux – Guadelupe Island

I took this picture many years ago with one of the very first digital cameras, therefore it’s quality is pretty bad. It displays an anse in Guadelupe – the butterfly-shaped island of the Caribbean – where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean sea and creates immense waves which are to wild to be surfed. Thus what you can do here is to watch the storming sea.

Anse des Chateaux – Guadelupe. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 5 – The Holy Shroud Chapel – Torino – Italy

The Holy Shroud Chapel of Torino is considered the most iconic architecture of the Baroque era. Completed in 1694, this amazing nest-looking dome, designed by Guarino Guarini, is the home of the most popular relic of Christendom: the Holy Shroud. Although it is a church, it does not belong to the Vatican, but to the Italian State being part of the Royal Palace of Torino. (I’ll write soon about the Holy Shroud).

Holy Shroud Chapel – Torino. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 6 – Bakong Temple – Cambodia

Most of the visitors to the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia do not cross the line out of the Angkor Wat temple and it’s thereabouts, although there are several more, some of which are far from the city and you need to rent a car or to hire a driver to get there. Bakong is one of the least visited temples of the Siem Reap area, south of the city, and one of the most amazing at sunset.

Bakong Temple – Cambodia. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 7 – Nauchokia – Jodhpur – India

Some of you guessed this picture right: it is Jodhpur, in Rajastan, India. It is actually a very specific section of the city where tourists are usually not recommended to go, called Nauchokia or, more commonly, the blue city. Our guide didn’t want to take us there, thus we decided to go on our own. It was one of the most interesting walks I had in India, surrounded blue houses everywhere and felt safe enough to recommend it to anyone, althoguh quite smelly due to the open air drainage system.

Nauchokia – Jodhpur – India. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 8 – El Cono de Arita – Salar de Arizaro – Argentina

When I visited Argentina I decided to skip the most crowded destinations and I choose to explore the North-West area of it: provinces of Salta and Jujuy. El Cono de Arita is an amazing formation shaped as a perfect cone in the middle of an immense salt pan. It takes an 8 hours drive through the high desert of the Andes to get there but the view is simply breathtaking (literally, being above 3500 meters of altitude).

Cono de Arita – Argentina. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 9 – Douro Valley – Portugal

En route from Gimaraes to Quinta Nova (the wine cellar where I spent the night) I have been lucky enought to get several views over the Douro River Valley, a big section of which is enlisted by UNESCO as world heritage. These amazing vineyards are very steep and do produce one of the most popular world wines: Porto. Thist is where I discovered that Port wine is something very different from what we find on the shelves of our stores.

Douro Valley – Portugal. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Day 10 – Jerusalem

I choose this picture among the thousands I took in Jerusalem because it portrays an area of the old town where visitors usually do not meander. The Muslim Quarter is the biggest within the Old Town but visitors do usually only explore the section of it which is occupied by the Souq. By walking deep inside the Muslim quarter you don’t find shops anymore, but the real houses of the locals and meet some nice people.

Jerusalem – Muslim quarter. Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Do you now recognize any of these places? If some where new to you or never watched them from another point of view I am happy this photo challenge helped you discovering some new features and provided you some simple resources to plan your next trip. Let me know what you think of my selection for this photo challenge in the comments section here below.

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