Controversial morning alms ritual in Luang Prabang

It is 4:30 am in the dark streets of Luang Prabang, and I feel the chill air on my cheeks. I am still wondering if all this was a good idea, as we are walking the empty alleys of the former capital of Laos before sunrise. Somehow, I still want to form my own opinion about the morning alms ritual that is so famous in Luang Prabang and try to answer the question that has been bugging me for a while: how can an ancient religious tradition of meditative nature become a controversial tourist attraction? Keep reading

Crossing the bay of the Mont Saint Michel

It has been a long trip, walking for hundreds of kilometres. Setting off about a month ago, we have just arrived at the foot of the last obstacle. It is so close and yet, it seems impossible to reach. The high tide covers up the whole shore and I fear greatly for this life-threatening crossing on foot to the sacred island Keep reading

Pic of the day: Cathedral of Leon, Nicaragua

A UNESCO world heritage site, the cathedral of the Assumption in Leon is an impressive building and remains the largest cathedral in Central America. Center of life of the city, it is located on a lively square, while food stalls are aligned along its back wall.

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Roof of the cathedral de la Asuncion, Leon, Nicaragua

Claire

Pic of the day: Leon, Nicaragua

Second largest city of Nicaragua, Leon features many colonial buildings and churches, like San Juan Bautista that is featured on this picture of the day. Beyond the history, Leon is a  Keep reading

The stunning Sainte Chapelle, Paris

Notre Dame de Paris is the most famous church building of the capital. And it is stunning, indeed!

La Sainte Chapelle, or the Holy Chapel, is only a few hundred meters away and is a gothic jewel not to be missed. Keep reading

Photo gallery: Notre Dame de Paris

I may have passed by it thousands of times in Paris, my home town. Still: every time I walk by, I have to stop to admire its stunning architecture, detailed sculptures, scary gargoyles, and beautiful glow in the evening sun. In more than 850 years, it has seen Keep reading

Photo of the day: festivals of Japan

It starts to get dark when hundreds of people gather at the Yasaka-jinja, the guardian shrine of the famous Gion neighbourhood in Kyoto. Keep reading

Pic of the day: ema from Kawai shrine, Kyoto

An ema is a small wooden board that can be bought at a shrine: write your wishes on the back side and hang it so that the kami enshrined at that specific place of worship will read it and make it come true. Keep reading

Japanese religions: Temple or Shrine?

Even if you have read our shrine for dummies article which give a basic understanding of these places of worship with their do’s and dont’s, you can still be a bit puzzled Keep reading

The Buddhist sacred flower: lotus

Lotuses literally rise from the filthy mud to become beautiful flowers. For Buddhists, this is a sacred symbol reminding them to reach for the highest Keep reading