Month: April 2020

Google Arts & Culture

red art relaxation girl
Photo by Una Laurencic on

I came across this site yesterday and spent an enjoyable time on it.

What is Google Arts & Culture?

This is what the ‘About’ section of the website states:

“Google Arts & Culture is a non-profit initiative. We work with cultural institutions and artists around the world. Together, our mission is to preserve and bring the world’s art and culture online so it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere.”

The initiative’s pitch to museums and cultural institutions is “We can help digitize, manage, and publish your collection online, for free. With our easy-to-use tools, your stories can be told beautifully to a global audience.”

In classic Google style, they present the results of these to the end user in a simple, elegant and beautiful manner. It definitely helps that they are presently leading with an article on the “Sphinx of Delft” – the Dutch master, Vermeer.

Scroll further down and you can explore architecture, food, music as well as indulge in virtual travel. There are also articles exploring concepts in science.

I have only just started scratching the surface of this and look forward to spending more time exploring it further!



My West Asia Bucket List – Part II

Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on

I realised after posting my West Asia Bucket List that I had not covered a few countries that straddle Asia and Europe.

Georgia – This is another country that I am very keen to visit. It is becoming an increasingly popular destination. Places such as the capital Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Akhaltsikhe have a wealth of historical monuments worth exploring.

Azerbaijan – Another country in the region that is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Baku has an interesting mix of old and modern architecture. Other places that I would like to visit include Nakhchivan and Sheki. While reading about the place, I also came across this fascinating place – the Parigala “Fairy Castle”. It is almost inaccessible and it is claimed that it was last accessed by a human in the 1970s!

Armenia – A small country in the region, this country was supposedly the first to make Christianity the State religion. It has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Haghpat Monastery, Sanahin Monastery, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral (considered as the oldest cathedral in the world) and Geghard Monastery.


Monday Reads – 27/04

sky space dark galaxy
Photo by Pixabay on

Articles from the fields of science, business and well-being this week:

She discovered coronaviruses decades ago—but got little recognition – A fascinating story on June Almeida, the woman who discovered Coronavirus more than half a century ago. Remarkably, the 34-year old scientist had never completed her formal education. Sadly, she was largely forgotten afterwards, but the present situation is shining a light again on her work.

Hubble Space Telescope at 30: Our window into the universe – Arguably the world’s most famous telescope completed three decades of service last week. Along the way, it has made more than a million observations and contributed to some of the most important results in astronomy over the past two decades. No wonder it is considered as ‘one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built’.

Why We Focus on Trivial Things: The Bikeshed Effect – This phenomenon must be familiar to almost anyone who has engaged in a discussion with a group of individuals. We tend to spend excessive time on trivial matters, often glossing over more important ones. This is also referred to as “Parkinson’s Law of Triviality”. This article explores why this happens and offers some suggestions on how to reduce it. Worth reading!

The New Normal – I guess, as the author says, that it is time for us to accept that this pandemic, and social isolation, are here for a while. This article offers some mindfulness practices that could help us deal with some of the emotions that we are likely to feel, or are already feeling, in this situation.


My West Asia Bucket List

Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

The cradle of civilisation – this is a region I would love to visit…

Iran: This Middle Eastern country would rank amongst the very top of countries I would love to visit. Esfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis and Mashhad are the key places that I would like to explore in this country.

Oman: Amongst all the countries in the Gulf region, this is the one that I might like to most visit. There are a few areas of historical importance in this country such as Bahla Fort, in addition to the capital city of Muscat that I would be interested in seeing.

Jordan: The ruins of Petra are world-famous. In addition, a visit to the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Jerash and Amman would be on the agenda here.

Lebanon: I have always been keen to visit “The Paris of the East”, Beirut. In addition, Lebanon has a wealth of historical places that I would love to see, such as Tripoli, Baalbeck, Byblos and Tyre.

Turkey: Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul would easily be in my list of Top 10 cities to visit (maybe even Top 5). Other places I would love to visit include Konya and places with ruins of Roman heritage, such as Ephesus, on the Mediterranean Coast.

My South Asia Bucket List

Photo by Shainee Fernando on Unsplash

Coming to my backyard. I have already written a series of posts on my India bucket list. Here are some of the places that I would like to visit in my neighbouring countries:

Sri Lanka: So close, yet not visited. It’s just over an hour away by flight, and I hope to visit places such as Kandy, Anuradhapura and Galle one day.

Nepal: Considering that a large stretch of the Himalayas run through India, the mountains are not so much of a draw for me to visit Nepal. Rather, it is to explore the historical places such as Patan and Bhaktapur. In addition, I would love to visit the Janaki Mandir at Janakpur and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

Bhutan: Another place with a strong mystical appeal, it would be nice to spend a few days anywhere in this country. An off-beat destination might be the Phobjikha valley for a chance to spot Black-Necked Cranes.

Myanmar: This large country to India’s east should make for an interesting journey. Bagan, Mandalay, Yangon and Inle Lake are some of the popular destinations here and would be the places that I would like to visit.

Afghanistan: I know, it’s not a popular destination for tourists. But India has a long historical connection to this country. It would be nice to able to visit places such as Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jam Minaret.