Where on Earth are you!? Show us the sights from your part of the world

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I often wonder what other peoples’ parts of the world look like. I know what it’s like when I step out of the door, and what’s in the 10-15 miles around me, but I wonder what the rest of you have around you?

I’m in deepest Cornwall in the UK. Here’s what its like just down the road from me

This is the closest thing we have to a motorway where I live, the A30. The closest place where the road splits into three lanes each way is 90 miles away.

And visible from my door is a big hill known as Carn Brea. On top there’s a large war memorial, and a small castle (a folly really) which is a restaurant these days. This panorama shot from a couple of days ago is facing north on top of the hill, monument on the left, castle on the right. The sea ahead is the Atlantic, and somewhere in the middle of the picture, my house is lurking.

Anyone else want to give us a glimpse into their corner of the world?


I’m in Williamsburg, Virginia. Outside the front of my house is just more houses in American suburban style. Boring to my mind. Out back is a little bit of woods that I much prefer and that is home to a great many birds of all types and the occasional deer that wanders into our yard.

If people have heard of Williamsburg, it is probably for one of two things: the college or the historic area. The college is The College of William and Mary, the second oldest university in America (1693, I know, young for Europeans) and a very good public or state university today. It’s the reason I ended up here as I got my PhD there.

The historic area is Colonial Williamsburg, the tourist draw that is some original colonial era buildings and some reconstructions where you can walk through for free or pay admission fees to go in buildings to learn about Virginia colonial history and the American Revolution from people in costume. Then those people in costume go to the grocery store in costume after work and the like so it keeps life interesting.

Of course, usually the college students leave for the summer just as tourist season is kicking into high gear, but this year the students left early and there are no tourists. My town is very empty compared to normal and I don’t know what all long term effects this will have.


It’s funny, I have heard of Williamsburg, but only in the context of ‘Colonial Williamsburg’. It must be from TV or a film, but I couldn’t tell you which. It’s beautiful.


I live in Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg… which is the other state in southern Germany (aka not Bavaria). Karlsruhe’s Trip Advisor page used to say “Nothing to see here”. The 300.000 people who live here are a bit proud of Karlsruhe being considered a boring place. But we have our secrets.

The best thing is the location and how easy it is to get away: In our immediate surroundings, there are 3 major wine areas (Baden, Alsace, Pfalz); we live at the very northern end of the Black Forest; it takes us 30 minutes to get to France (Strassbourg is 1 hour); 2 hours to get to Switzerland; 3-4 hours to get to Austria. It’s 90 minutes by car and about as long by train to Frankfurt Airport.

Karlsruhe is mostly famous in Germany traffic news because 2 major Autobahnen (A5, A8) meet here and cause endless traffic jams.


The city was founded and planned by Markgraf Karl Wilhelm in 1715 after being sick of the small village that was his capital, he dreamed himself up a new one–literally the idea came to him in a dream which is the name of the city “Karl’s Rest”. Being a planned city we have an interesting street layout which is reminiscent of a fan of streets “fanning” out from the city-center which is our “castle”. The city center was largely destroyed in WW2 so not many original buildings remain. The castle is now a museum and was also rebuilt.

Karlsruhe is home to a big technical university that goes by KIT these days (when I studied there it was just Technische Universität Karlsruhe). The KIT is largely responsible for the high number of tech companies that were either founded here or at least have a site here. Because Stuttgart is close and several major car manufacturers are based in the state there are a lot of companies that are involved with the car industry.

The two highest courts of the German judiciary branch are situated in Karlsruhe. Below the constitutional court, or Verfassungsgericht. You can just take a walk around it althought there are always police with big guns patrolling (highly unusual for Germany).

In recent years (10+) we’ve been known for being a city-sized Mad Labyrinth (or whatever the game is called in English) because of ever-changing construction sites moving about. Because Stuttgart (our in-state rivals, aka state capital) are getting a giant new (already under-sized) train station, Karlsruhe had to get its own “mega project” and so at some point in the near future our trams will go underground in the inner city. Below you see the Evangelische Stadtkirche at Marktplatz and some of the construction still going on (now finished in that particular area):

More and more and more...

This next picture is taken in Schlosspark (castle park) behind the castle which is at the center of the fan. This is right next to the Verfassungsgericht and KIT and city center. It’s a favorite hangout for university students when they skip classes. On any sunny day this place is packed. The blue line is the 49th latitude.

For the past two years we have something called Stadtfest (city festival) which celebrates the 300th city birthday a few years back. These light installations (Schlosslichtspiele) projected onto the castle every night in summer are part of that:

Black Forest is close by for easy hiking day trips:

The Rhine is good for taking a sunny afternoon walk along the shore.:

In summer we have a pretty big music festival simply called Das Fest. Not my style of music (lots of German hip hop and “weird” music). It used to be free but as it became more and more popular they had to start issuing tickets which were about 10€ last time I checked. This is in the other big city park called Klotze (Günther Klotz Anlage) and this picture shows Mount Klotz as it is packed during the festival. I am standing in direction of the stage when taking the picture.

Old Timers (like me) prefer to go to Vorfest (pre-festival) these days which is a week-long laid-back event preciding the main festival. There is a bit of easy music on a small stage and you can enjoy the festival foods from the stalls that are already there and have drinks in actual glasses while the main stage is still being built next door.

Weinberg in Pfalz:

(this being Germany, there are also some excellent local breweries)

That’s it for the pictures…

  • Our soccer team sucks–last time they were Erste Bundesliga was in the 90s when I graduated. But the fans are famous for being loud, noisy and more hooligan than we like–always tons of police for every game
  • There are no famous tourist spots (possibly ZKM–museum for modern art and media).
  • Our food scene is weird, there are quite a few highly rated restaurants (with and without Michelin stars) in the area and lots of great spots on the low end (think breweries) but nothing really in between.

It’s a good place to live.

PS: typical foods: white asparagus, strawberries, pretzels. Largest subcultures: techies/nerds, goths & civil servants.


How do you insert an image? I’ve never known for things like blogs.

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With Discourse you can just copy and paste if that’s easiest, and you’re on a computer instead of mobile.

As in, open the file for the image, copy it, and then insert the cursor in a post and paste the image?

Exactly that on a laptop/computer. If you’re on a mobile, there’s a little image button on the bottom-right of the text entry box, which will let you browse your phone for images.

Also on a laptop/computer, in the text editor box there’s this button:
Which lets you upload a file.

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I’ll have to see if it works on a Mac. They seem to handle photos separately from other files for some mysterious reason. But there’s always copy and paste.

It may be a while. I’ve sent photos from my Android phone to C’s iPhone, but they aren’t showing up in the Photos on my Mac Mini yet.

Cambridge, UK. I’ve just discovered that pasting the URL of an image file into Discourse works.

The traditional image of the place.


You guys just punt everywhere I bet?


I’ve been to Cambridge many times, and not once did I see an inebriated tourist or student fall off a punt into the Cam :pensive:


What percentage of ‘facts’ given out as part of a Cambridge River tour are true?

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My parents went to UVA in Charlottesville for grad school and travel to Williamsburg at least twice a year. In particular the Early Music Festival is a favorite event.

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I’m mobile for most of the day today and won’t have time to write something up for a bit, but I will share something I saw posted on a local boardgaming Facebook group:


Those are about 1m cubes of concrete that catch larger bits of garbage that find their way into the enormous storm drain system; this is right before the storm drain system drains into a local creek.

They are not normally painted to look like dice.


(Ways of uploading things: paste an image URL, use the up-arrow “attachment” to find a local file, or drag-and-drop a local file into the post editor.)

I’m a few miles outside High Wycombe, which is about half-way between London and Oxford (but London is much huger so it feels like a distant suburb of London - and many people commute from here to London jobs). From London, it’s at about 11 o’clock, on the M40 motorway which leads to Oxford and Birmingham.

When we’d just moved in, the local freesheet (since shut down) proudly announced that the local shopping centre was “among the top 50 shopping destinations in England”.

The town centre is a depressing sort of place, mostly with the same shops as every other English town centre, but there are occasional interesting historic bits hidden behind the commercial tat. There isn’t a huge-company office here to be a dominant local employer as there is in many medium-sized towns now; I think that apart from retail there are probably lots of small businesses that one doesn’t see unless one looks for them.

Wycombe is the only place in the UK that weighs its mayor to see if they’re getting fat on the public purse. (They don’t announce the weight, but they do say whether it’s more or less than last year.)


The tour guides are freelancers, and say whatever they like. The last time I took a tour, most of what was said was correct, but I gave myself away as a local part-way through, so creativity may have been restrained.


I live in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, the “Tri-cities”, located in Southern Ontario about an hour outside of Toronto in the 1980s and about 2 hours outside of Toronto these days… more on that in a bit.

If you draw a straight line from Toronto (an interesting city) to Detroit (an interesting city), that line goes right through all the most boring places in Ontario, and one of those locations is Kitchener-Waterloo. One of the most interesting facts about Waterloo, for example, is that it used to be called “Berlin” but then something happened and people got racist-er and decided, boom, Waterloo.

Waterloo is notable due to two famous universities: The University of Waterloo (arguably one of the best technical/scientific/engineering universities in Canada) and Wilfrid Laurier University (where I am currently enrolled as a part-time English student, so their standards are super low). All joking aside, Laurier is a fine-arts school that is pretty well known for its music program (again, arguably the best in the country) but is tiny even by Canadian university standards. It is often referred to as “The high school down the street” (it’s on the same road as the University of Waterloo).

However, I live just south of Waterloo, in Kitchener. Remember that “boring line” I described earlier? That line is known as the 401, sometimes mentioned as the busiest highway in the world.

Throughout the majority of Toronto, the 401 consists of 8-to-10 lanes in each direction (and they’re all normally a parking lot). Out by Kitchener it’s down to a slim 4-lanes each direction, and the town I live in has the important job of making sure that Waterloo, with all its pristine, high-tech-industry glory, doesn’t expand too far south to the smelly, noisy highway. Despite the width of the highway, it’s horribly slow: it’s about 100km from Toronto and the 401 is a 100km/h highway (about 60 mph). It takes no less than 2 hours to make the trip, and there is stop-and-go traffic from 3am until about 1am the next day every day (you read that right).

Other than this protective cushioning of Waterloo, I’m not sure what other purpose Kitchener serves.

Cambridge hugs the south side of the highway, Kitchener the north side, and Waterloo hugs the north side of Kitchener. That’s us. Woo.

I lived in Toronto for about 5 years (I say “lived in”, but due to various circumstances I barely lived in Toronto during that time… mostly I commuted north to work, or west to work), and Toronto is an interesting city… although it should be stated it always makes me smile to remember Steve Martin (Canadian comedian) who was on an episode of 30 Rock trying to woo Lemon away from New York by saying “We can run away to Toronto together! It’s great! It’s just like New York, but without all the stuff!”).

Kitchener is a town of about 300k people (Waterloo is about 100k), and there is some interesting stress in the downtown core as Toronto becomes too freakin’ expensive for anybody to live in (a TINY 2 bedroom apartment now will rent for over $2,500CAD/month without including utilities… about $1800USD a month for a tiny apartment), people are wandering further and further afield in hopes of reasonable living conditions. Waterloo battled this by driving property values WAY up (an apartment in Waterloo is about as expensive as those in Toronto without any of the stuff Toronto has going for it), and Kitchener by trying to gentrify to the point those prices could be justified (which means a lot of social services suddenly not being welcome anywhere, because sure those people need help but NIMBY!).

Anyway. Local politics aside, the food is pretty okay (at least it was 4 months ago… we will see what restaurants survive) and there is a deeply ingrained coffee culture due to the high tech industry (RIM, of “Blackberry” fame, is based in Waterloo, and Google has one of its main campuses there as well, as well of dozens of other medium-to-large tech firms attached as closely to the university as possible).

The landscape is pretty boring, but we have a couple groundhogs in our backyard (Bert and Beatrice, they’re adorable), and bunnies are pretty common as well. There are some beautiful parks about an hour away, and lots of interesting places within 2 hours in a given direction (Niagara Falls to the south, or the Niagara wine region, as well most of the Great Lakes, some beautiful hiking paths, etc…).

As much as I am lukewarm (at best) about Kitchener, it’s a fine town, but we moved here because I couldn’t afford to maintain our lifestyle in Toronto and I always feel a bit (or a lot) guilty about that. Upside to this was that Kitchener is a cheap enough town that hopefully I can continue to live here as a writer, since I don’t expect I’ll ever be super-popular but I also expect moderate success if I keep at it, and Kitchener’s housing prices are moderate-success-is-sufficient.

A few upsides: Kitchener hosts a yearly Christmas market (the “Kindermarket”) that’s quite nice… nice enough that a few friends come from Toronto every year, we get huge amounts of food and mulled wine, and hang out together.

There are some neat festivals every year. Oktoberfest is very popular…

It’s not my scene, but it’s nice it’s there, ya know? I’ve been a few times to smaller venues (I don’t like beer, so I go for the food and company, but the main halls are ENORMOUS and shout-if-you-want-the-person-next-to-you-to-hear-you).

Other than that, there’s the game store I work at J&J Cards & Collectibles, which is one of the biggest game stores in Canada and the 2nd largest puzzle store in North America (there’s 1 place in the States that has a bigger stock available, and our prices are way lower). The owners are cool, the clientele is nice, and I get to help people without having to sell them stuff (and I’m allowed to talk them out of buying stuff, which is great!).


There ya go. My current home.


I live in a beautiful part of the Southern Costa Blanca in Spain: Villamartin Plaza. Been quite quiet here of late but normally at this time of the year our spring charity afternoons and summer evening concerts start up, so it looks more like this usually.


No way, I’ve been there :slight_smile: I went about 8 years ago, we hired a villa at the top of the hill when you drive through the golf course.

When I was there, the big street was still being built with an Indian restaurant, Irish pub etc. Is Wolfie’s still there?

Alicante is one of the few destinations we can fly to from Newquay, the last few times though we’ve gone east and stayed in Javea, I love it there.