The Empire State Building

US, New York City. View from the Empire State Building observation deck. Stitched panorama. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

US, New York City. View from the Empire State Building observation deck towards Central Park. Stitched panorama. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Not that there is any lack of vantage points in New York, but one of the best must undoubtedly be from the top of the Empire State Building. The queues here can be very long in the high season, so a good tip should be to come here when the number of tourists is at its lowest. If you come in the tourist season, try to be here early in the morning or in the afternoon. Out of season you can also risk encountering queues, but usually the wait is much shorter.

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Kennedy Space Center revisited

US, Florida. US, Florida. John F. Kennedy Space Center. F-1 engines on a Saturn V at the Apollo/Saturn V Center in 2013. Stitched panorama. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

John F. Kennedy Space Center. F-1 engines on a Saturn V at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, 2013. Stitched panorama using 6 images. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The first time I visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida was back in 1987. Since then the world has changed a lot, at least when it comes to politics and technology. The cold war space race is a thing of the past, and you should think we have moved further out in space as well. But to many people’s frustration we are still stuck in low earth orbit.

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Petra, the rose red city

Petra is Jordan's most visited tourist attraction. al-Siq is the main entrance to the ancient city. Al Khazneh, The Treasury, seen from the end of the gorge. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. Al Khazneh, The Treasury, seen from the end of the gorge. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Petra became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Also known as the “rose red city, half as old as time”, it is not difficult to understand why it has become Jordan’s largest tourist attraction. Some say this is partly because of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” from 1986, but no doubt this site would could have become famous anyway sooner or later. It was also chosen as one of the controversial “New Seven Wonders of the World” in 2007.

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Redwood forests – the natural cathedrals

United States, California. Muir Woods National Monument is an an old-growth coastal redwood forest north of San Francisco. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

United States, California. Muir Woods National Monument, a cathedral of trees. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

It’s hard to visit a redwood forest without beeing in awe of the size and age of these prehistoric but fortunately still living giants, some can be as high as 115m and as old as 3.500 years. Their lineage can be followed back to the time of dinosaurs, when the redwood species of that time were the dominant trees in the forests of North America.

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Death Valley National Park

United States, California, Death Valley. From Dante's View 5,500 feet (1,700 m) above sea level. Great view of central part of Death Valley. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

United States, California, Death Valley. From Dantes View 5,500 feet (1,700 m) above sea level. Great view of central part of Death Valley. (Photo Bjorn Grotting

Don’t let the name scare you, Death Valley is far from a dead valley. Located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California the valley makes up most of the Death Valley National Park, one of the largest national parks in the United States. It is home to a large variety of plant and animal species, and for geologists it’s an open book presenting a number of geological eras.

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Bali:: Gianyar, the richest district on Bali

Bali, Gianyar. Some of the many large statues in this area. Close to the center of Gianyar city. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar. Some of the many large statues in this area. Close to the center of Gianyar city. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Traditionally Gianyar has been the richest district on Bali, today about half the population here works in the tourist industry. Gianyar city is the administrative center of the district, while Ubud is the cultural capital and has the largest population. Gianyar city is located about 23 km from Denpasar, and is a junction for north and east bound traffic. Around Bedulu, between the Petanu and Pakrisan rivers, is a 10 km long belt of land known as “the land between the rivers”.

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Joshua Tree National Park

United States, California, Joshua Tree National Park. Skull Rock. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

United States, California, Joshua Tree National Park. Skull Rock. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The fascinating Joshua Tree National Park in California represents three different ecosystems; the Mojave Desert to the north, the Colorado Desert which occupies the eastern and southern parts and finally The Little San Bernardino Mountains. As the name suggests the park can offer large habitats with the characteristic Joshua tree, mostly found in the western parts of the park. Similarly fascinating is the geologic formations found here, almost like somebody has been sculpting them.

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