Living above the Cliffs

Castellfollit de la Roca is a municipality in the comarca of Garrotxa, in the Province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. The urban area is bordered by the confluence of the Fluvià and Toronell rivers, between which the town’s basalt cliff rises.

The basalt cliff
The basalt crag where the town is situated is over 50 meters (160 feet) high and almost a kilometer long. It was formed by the overlaying of two lava flows.

Hopefully there is no earthquake faultline in the immediate area.

The Loneliest Monk in Tibet Lives Alone in This Isolated Temple

Located on top of a small mound, on a sliver of land stretching into the serene Yamdrok Lake is Rituo Temple, the home of just one solitary monk who spends his days chanting sutras and meditating.

Rituo, which means “the stone on the mountain” in Tibetan, is often referred to as Tibet’s loneliest temple. It has a history that goes back more than 700 years, but it’s considered one of the country’s hidden gems, as few tourists venture out to visit it. That’s because it’s located in the middle of nowhere, on a thin patch of land stretching into Yamdrok, one of the three holy lakes of Tibet. But the few people who did visit it, tell stories about the peace and quiet that most of us only dream of, and about the surreal experience of taking in the amazing natural scenery from atop the solitary rock mound.

The name of the temple, “the stone on the mountain”, was inspired by a centuries-old rock enshrined here, a relic that is said to have the power to cure all diseases.

Standing at the top of Rituo Temple, you can reportedly see Tibetan antelopes running freely and bar-headed geese swimming in the water, and as night falls, the sky full of stars is reflected on the lake, like a fairyland.

But perhaps the most amazing thing about Rituo Temple is the fact that it has just one inhabitant. His name is Ahwang Pincuo and he spends most of his days bringing water from down at the lake all the way to the temple, chanting sutras and meditating.

Ahwang is only the latest in a long line of solitary monks who have watched over Rituo Temple over the centuries, and when he dies, his place will be taken by someone else. You may be wondering what keeps a man from going crazy in a remote place like this, and in this case, it’s the power of his faith.

There is no denying the natural beauty of this Tibetan wonder, but because of its remoteness, it doesn’t get as many visitors as other, most accessible attractions.

Giant Sand Dunes meet the Sea

The Southern Namib desert is home to some of the tallest and most spectacular dunes of the world, ranging in color from pink to vivid orange. These dunes continue right to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The cold waters of the sea brushing against the dunes of the Namib desert is one of the most surreal sights.

While the sea coast extends for hundreds of miles, one of the best places to see these dunes is at Swakopmund. Known as Swakop in Namibia, it is the country’s biggest coastal town and a mecca for Namibians on holiday. The city’s German origins are quite pronounced in beautiful old German Colonial buildings throughout the city, making an even starker contrast for this town sitting at the edge of the Namib Desert.


Share this:

National Geographic Travel Photos

The Storr is part of the Trotternish geologic formation in the northeast corner of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The largest of the monoliths is called The Old Man of Storr. To the south are the Cuillins of southern Skye.

Like a castle in ruins, the Old Man of Storr rock formation guards the landscape on Isle of Skye in Scotland. Fifty meters high, the Old Man is a weathered piece of the larger rocky ridge known as the Storr. The area has such an otherworldly look that Ridley Scott filmed scenes from his 2012 movie Prometheus there.

nat geo1

This cow isn’t floating in the sky—it’s standing alone in shallow waters in the coastal town of Laurieton in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. Laurieton, with a population of less than 2,000 people, is actually the largest town in the Camden Haven district.

EMERPC Crowds gather under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington DC.

Visitors take in the solid-granite tribute to civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, D.C. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, King addressed the 250,000 people who gathered on the National Mall in D.C., close to where this monument stands today.

Playing winter hockey in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Where there’s a puck, there’s a way. A group of Canadian hockey players proves that little will stop them from playing their nation’s favorite (although not national) sport, clearing snow off a pond in 1.6-million-acre Banff National Park. They couldn’t have picked a much more scenic spot to play: This game is taking place in the shadow of Mount Rundle, Banff’s iconic 9,600-foot peak.

Tibetan horsemen display their skills at a government-organized horse festival in Yushu, China, July 26, 2015. These days, horse festivals on the Tibetan plateau are not just about equestrian prowess, but political affairs with a propaganda goal ? to signal that traditional Tibetan culture is thriving, contrary to what the Dalai Lama and other critics say. (Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

In Yushu, an autonomous prefecture in China’s Qinghai Province, riders participate in the Yushu Horse Festival. The summer event is held annually beginning July 25 and features colorful displays of traditional Tibetan costumes and culture, as well as horse races and athletic competitions.

A tourist boat with restaurant aboard, especially designed for winter rivers, cruises the frozen Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Temperatures dipped to -18 C (-0,4 F) in Moscow and -20 C (-4 F) in surrounding regions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A boat navigates the icy river Moskva (or Moscow River) in Moscow, Russia, offering sightseers protection from the cold and a unique view of the city—including, perhaps, a glimpse of the famous Gorky Park, which stretches some 300 acres along the river. Even in winter, Moscow, Russia’s political, cultural, and commercial center and home to a population of about 12 million, is worth a visit.

A cave explorer looks down into a large cave passage from the second doline in Hang Son Doong. The second doline is a large hole in the ceiling of the cave giving plant life the sunlight they need to grow.

Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong stands as proof that the world still has wonders yet to be uncovered. First explored in 2009, the colossal cave is big enough to house an entire city block of 40-story buildings and has an underground river and jungle. Part of the reason the cave’s ecosystem is able to function is this doline, or sinkhole, that allows sunlight to enter.

Abandoned Places and Things

Railroad Tracks In Forest

Railroad Tracks In Forest

Beautiful Tree Growing Inside An Abandoned Silo

Found This Beautiful Tree Growing Inside An Abandoned Silo While I Was Exploring

Spooky Abandoned House

I Lit Up This Spooky Abandoned House With My Drone And A Lume Cube Attached To It

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Abandoned Castle In Ireland

Abandoned Castle In Ireland Country

Abandoned French Chapel

Abandoned French Chapel

Abandoned Stairway In The Woods: Madame Sherri Forest, Chesterfield, NH

Abandoned Stairway In The Woods: Madame Sherri Forest, Chesterfield, Nh

Japanese WWII Warplane Lies Wrecked In Shallow Water Off Guam

Japanese WWII Warplane Lies Wrecked In Shallow Water Off Guam

Abandoned Gothic Church In Portugal

Abandoned Gothic Church In Portugal

Hotel In Europe

This Hotel In Europe

Abandoned Party Mansion Deep In The Maryland Forest

Abandoned Party Mansion Deep In The Maryland Forest

Light Rays Making Their Way Into An Abandoned Theater

Light Rays Making Their Way Into An Abandoned Theater

16 Mile Hike To An Abandoned Train Track Bridge In California

16 Mile Hike To An Abandoned Train Track Bridge In California

Ms World Discoverer Was A German Expedition Cruise Ship. It Hit A Uncharted Reef In The Sandfly Passage, Solomon Islands 29. April 2000

Ms World Discoverer Was A German Expedition Cruise Ship. It Hit A Uncharted Reef In The Sandfly Passage, Solomon Islands 29. April 2000

Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is known for its high tidal range. The quest for world tidal dominance has led to a rivalry between the Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy and the Leaf Basin in Ungava Bay, over which body of water lays claim to the highest tides in the world, with supporters in each region claiming the record.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service finally declared it a statistical tie, with measurements of a 16.8 metre (55.1 feet) tidal range in Leaf Basin for Ungava Bay and 17 meters (55.8 feet) at Burntcoat Head for the Bay of Fundy.  The highest water level ever recorded in the Bay of Fundy system occurred at the head of the Minas Basin on the night of October 4–5, 1869 during a tropical cyclone named the “Saxby Gale”. The water level of 21.6 metres (70.9 feet) resulted from the combination of high winds, abnormally low atmospheric pressure, and a spring tide.

Tidal streams south of Hillsborough, New Brunswick.

Point Wolfe.