Every month, we ask somebody to be a modern Pytheas
tell us something about the most amazing place they have ever
and explain why this is!
Globespot of the month: Bagan, Myanmar (the
The Pytheas of this month is a Pytheas-couple: Deborah De
Bleyser and Aksel De Meester. After a long stay in Asia, they settled
in the quiet burrough along the river De Schelde in Ghent. We
asked them to go through their whole archive of pictures,
maps and travelbooks to pick their Pytheas-spot. Bagan in Myanmar is
their choise. Here you can read why. Great thanks for sharing this with
Bleyser and Aksel De Meester
Mandalay: once the capital of the Burmese empire, now a rather small,
but bustling city, interesting for its old palaces, an original wooden
monastery, ‘the world’s biggest book’
(729 small buildings housing large stone slabs, inscribed with one long
story), authentic Bamar cuisine and colourful markets.
With Bagan as next goal, we could have left Mandalay by boat
– 14 hours on the river Ayeyarwady - but decided to take the
road and make the journey at our own pace.
It was the peak of the hot, dry season with no sign of the April
monsoon yet. Sometimes the scenery was barren, but at other times when
close to the water, we drove through the most luscious green fields. We
had some unexpected stops, as we got invited to a posh party with food
and music for two kids entering the monastery for their noviciate.
Bleyser and Aksel De Meester
We made side trips to touristy
places: the longest teak wooden bridge in the world, leading to a
palace which had disappeared ages ago, and Mount Popa, a paya situated
on a high, steep rock, but looking like the dwelling of a fairy tale
princess. Climbing numerous stairs we saw zedis, shrines and Buddhas
and enjoyed some splendid views.
In Mandalay we had still seen a handful of cars, although we had mostly
been surrounded by double cycle rickshaws and buses, overloaded with
colourful women, children in their uniforms, monks with their black
begging bowls. Once outside the city, however, we hardly saw another
motorized vehicle. We passed ox carts carrying the yields of the day,
horse carts serving as a taxi, people cycling along the way, and so
many people just walking with their baskets. Every single minute of
that journey was a discovery. And then, in the early evening we
Bagan: an area of about 40 km² dotted with literally thousands
of payas of the 11the to 13th century. The view was splendid, the
atmosphere unreal, the site seemed deserted. We tried to imagine how it
would have looked like in its flourishing period, when all these payas
were decorated, had wooden monasteries and palaces attached, and the
place was crowded with pious visitors. All to discover in the next two
days… This is our Pytheas spot.
our next Pytheas of the Month?
Tell us about the most amazing globe-spot you have ever
experienced! Or alternatively, ask a friend who you think has a
favourite globe-spot and would like to share it with the RouteYou
We selected the
picture of this month from the RouteYou group Limburgs
I titled it 'Rest before or after a great walk'. You want to have that
experience too? Try out one of their walks in the Netherlands.
Techy-spot of the month
Every month, we nominate a more technical item here
which is linked
to RouteYou activities, directly or indirectly. We have named this item
in honor of Alan
Did you find a route or a Pytheas spot from a country you
don't know much about? And you would like to know more about that
country? Check out Gapminder! GapMinder is a web-tool that displays the
evolution of a country using statistics and compares it with
other countries. Sounds boring? Well try it out and let the
graph get you! It's ideal to get very fast a rough idea about the
situation of a country vs other countries you know. This is also a
great teaching tool!
Soon, you will be able to add your own dataset!
Also Google 'noticed' this great application, and soon they
will offer it in the Google framework. So far, it's only in beta, but
already great to give it a try!