Thailand for sure is the most accessible country to travel to in South East Asia. It is very safe, has a pretty good infrastructure with many low cost airlines and you can discover it on a budget easily, without sharing your bed with cockroaches. Also it can be visited best during the winter time on the Northern hemisphere when generally there is a dry season in most of Thailand and the conditions for travelling and enjoying the beaches are very favourable.
At the same time Thailand is also a country with a long history and a lot of culture, being an independent Buddhist kingdom which has never been colonised by the Europeans (sharing this honour with Japan by the way, not the only similarity between these countries). When obeying some strict rules like respecting the king, who can be seen everywhere on pictures, you can pretty much roam freely in Thailand and the people are pretty open minded. Being transgender for example is not a big issue over here, the sight of so called ladyboys is pretty common. Thais are very friendly to tourists and of course some will see an opportunity to sell you something, but you are not a walking dollar bill like in other parts of Asia and Africa. Unfortunately still the level of fluency in English is not very high among Thais, especially the older ones, but it changes and some kind of communication is always in reach, may it be with a little bit of imagination or the help of google translate .
The sun is special during the winter time at the polar circle. First and foremost because it is scarce. Depending on the latitude our home star even disappears for a couple of months and the world remains dark. Slowly the sun raises again every day a little bit more, shy in the beginning it dares going higher with the weeks passing by. In this time of the year the few hours of daylight are encompassed with a very particular light and it provides little warmth in a bitterly cold and hostile (though beautiful) environment.
SPQR short for latin “Senatus Populusque Romanus”: A leading principle of the politics of ancient Rome, meaning the rule of the senate and the people, became something like a slogan for the empire. The four letters remain present in the modern metropole and can be seen for example on manholes. A vivid reminder of the vast history of this city spanning many thousands of years and its role in the development of modern stateship and democracy.
The city of Thessaloniki was founded over 2300 years ago by Cassander of Macedon. It has a long and changing history with conquering empires and different peoples living here. Today Thessaloniki is a thriving metropolis in the north of Greece with a modern face, but traces of history can be found everywhere. An example being the white tower (picture 3) from the 15th century.
Norway is a country of immense wealth. Of course this is true concerning national income, but also and more importantly in regards to national resources. The most important one is simply .. water. The norse people lived for eons from the water, they were fisherman and used water to sail to foreign countries (sure also rob and make war here and there) and come back to the fjords safely. Today water energy is the main source of power in Norway and there is capacity for many more renewable power plants. The reason for this wealth in water lies in the geography of the country. During the last ice age the country was covered by ice with kilometres in thickness. 10.000 years ago the ice melted down in the ancient valleys beneath. The water began to fill these valleys and stream into the sea, such creating the fjords. Due to the tides being especially strong in these fjords there is immense energy in these bodies of water up until today.