The best country view: Cabasa de Don Rocha from London to Bahrain

The real Estes Dam, about 100km from Niederwerf in the high Altiplano, turns tourists away. TALINO, Italy, 2018 Above it all is Balmoral Castle – linked with the Duke of Salisbury by a bridge…

The best country view: Cabasa de Don Rocha from London to Bahrain

The real Estes Dam, about 100km from Niederwerf in the high Altiplano, turns tourists away.

TALINO, Italy, 2018

Above it all is Balmoral Castle – linked with the Duke of Salisbury by a bridge – and the stately galleried mansion of Windsor Castle next door. Above all, Balmoral is exquisite: The Drum Deck, a small canvas roofed square, lights up from December to May. It’s twinkling at this time of year because the ladies-in-waiting walk below during the day.

New York Garden, Madison Avenue, New York, is where you want to be if you’re looking for a glorious view. True, New York was first visited by a Christian – Bartholomew of Alexandria in the second century – but those seeking the place a bit more exotic are served well by Islands Shores, a the 1913 masterpiece of architect Louis Kahn. It’s in Highlands, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula and it’s the most atmospheric of any buildings in America.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, 2017

Manila, at the narrow, winding routes of the Tagbilaran and the Manila Expressway, offers a further spectacular view: the misty mountain of Mount Pinatubo – the crater of which sent a plume several hundred metres into the air when it exploded on 26 September 1989. Yes, it’s a stunning sight but the visual trigger is a spectacular V-shape to the north of the city.

HOUSTON, TEXAS, 2017

Like the dazzling, rose-coloured Houses of the Fallen, Houston manages to make even its dullest and dustiest of sides, like mine, do great impressions of pearls and golden horseflesh. Apart from the Houses, it is those gargantuan concrete skyscrapers that grab you.

SWINDON, ENGLAND, 2017

Whilst the House of Lords does a more than satisfactory job at claiming up-and-coming London as its neighbour – the Houses of Parliament has great lines to the west of the north county – Wiltshire Town offers a distinct look across the county and together with the lovely market town of Dean, breathes real purposeful life into Wiltshire, England’s greatest county. The town has only been developed slightly since Roman times. Everything is old but as well, the old.

LA POEL, VERMONT, 2017

La Poel is the little fortified town of Northeast Vermont, nestled in the rich verdant countryside of the Green Mountains. When I visit, it’s mid-March and there are still bits of frost, those gorgeous dried flowers and some strong storms on the hills as you drive along Route 9 from Wilmington and Sandgate to the far southern end of town. It’s a pleasant visit and reminds me of those lovely little village streets. It reminds me how dangerous the hills can be.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, 2017

The bottom of the causeway at Petit Goave gives a superb view of Port-au-Prince as you drive along the west coast of the country. The capital of Haiti is the biggest and most important city in a third of a billion people.

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