This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Stone. I wanted to nerd out a bit on this post and go through stone and how we have come to use it. As usual, the images in this post link through to my larger photos on Flickr

One of the coolest little road trips we have done is up to a “stone factory”, the Haleakala volcano on Maui island in Hawaii, USA. This was a surprisingly long trip for such a short distance – some 40 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. We were covered in clouds until we got to the peak and the heavens opened up. Next time I go to Hawaii (and there will be a next time) I am riding up Haleakala and bombing it down. These stones are untouched, and some are very hot!

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The Twelve Apostles in Victoria, Australia is an epic sight and a cool destination to drive to. The sandstone structures are constantly being pounded by the cold Tasman Sea. Still untouched, as people don’t even attempt to scale these or climb them (not sure if they are even allowed).

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Ubirr in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia is a mythical and magical place. The stones are of large proportion, and not worked by human hands.

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But the original Australians, our indigenous Aboriginal people, over 20,000 years ago (and in some cases older) used these stone overhangs and outcrops to communicate through rock painting the stories of people and “food menus” that showed the best parts of the different animals to eat. The style of “x-ray” painting is unique to the first Australians.

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During the age of antiquity, the Greeks created beautiful and complex structures out of stone. Of all the ancient sights that I visited while working in Athens, Greece, the highlight would have to be Delphi which is the sight of the Oracle. These are the ruins of the temple in which the Oracle issued it’s “findings”.

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The Japanese feudal classes perfected the art of fortification, and the best surviving example would have to be Himeji Castle in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. When I say best, this place is awesome! Immaculately preserved and world heritage listed. Himeji was never taken in battle and you can see why from the massive stone foundations and winding staircase to the entrance that would have forced attackers to turn back on themselves several times while under projectile fire. Cool!

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The Old Town of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a beautifully preserved medieval walled town. I could have posted 20 shots for this week’s travel theme, but I chose this one which was down an obscure alley near the main wall. We only had a day to explore this town, wish we had more.

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During it’s heyday in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s (yeah I know I included the depression, but the city built its way out of this depressed period) the construction of New York City, in the USA, incorporated beautiful stone building details. Again I could have included many more shots, but I liked this one of a building near the downtown financial district. The stone relief of the eagle is sharp and distinctive.

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Cool theme, even though I am late to the trot. Check out my fellow bloggers and what they have posted.