CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Leaving hometown never to return again: To the USA to France and the extremes of free living in the Carpathians and The Pyrenees

 

 

 

 

Leaving your hometown never to return again -

 

That's what happened in these ghost towns and lost cities.

They were once thriving and home to many inhabitants but are now left deserted and forgotten.

From sprawling cities that were home to thousands of people to a coal mine that is now occupied by just one inhabitant, these unique places are revealed as some of the most beautiful empty towns from around the world.

The desolate medieval village of Craco, in southern Italy, has been used as the setting for many films, including Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, while Bodie, in California, has been preserved in exactly the same way it was when residents left there in the 1960s.

The only way to get to China's Lion City is by scuba diving 130ft underwater and if you wish to visit the Pyramiden village in Norway you'll have to travel on a snowmobile from a town 31 miles away.

Mandu in India was abandoned by its people and last inhabited over 400 years ago while there are still some people living in the Unesco World Heritage Site of Chinguetti in Mauritania in Africa.

Craco, Italy

The ghost town of Craco, Italy is situated in the south of the country and has been left completely uninhabited

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The ghost town of Craco, Italy is situated in the south of the country and has been left completely uninhabited

The medieval village of Craco, often described as the most beautiful abandoned city, was built so that its inhabitants could watch over the surrounding land

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The medieval village of Craco, often described as the most beautiful abandoned city, was built so that its inhabitants could watch over the surrounding land

The beautiful and unique landscape means Craco has been the setting for many films, including The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace

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The beautiful and unique landscape means Craco has been the setting for many films, including The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace

 

The last of Craco¿s residents left the city between 1892 and 1922 for America due to poor agricultural conditions, landslides, earthquakes and floods

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The last of Craco’s residents left the city between 1892 and 1922 for America due to poor agricultural conditions, landslides, earthquakes and floods

Mandu, India

Occupied between 1401 and 1561, the former capital city of Mandu is found in the south of India in Madhya Pradesh

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Occupied between 1401 and 1561, the former capital city of Mandu is found in the south of India in Madhya Pradesh

Within the city, visitors to the can see the ancient royal palace along with a wide selection of other amazing ruins including temples, tombs, mosques and monuments

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Within the city, visitors to the can see the ancient royal palace along with a wide selection of other amazing ruins including temples, tombs, mosques and monuments

 An elaborate mihrab sits in the Jama Masjid, a huge mosque that is part of the fortress complex of the abandoned city of Mandu

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An elaborate mihrab sits in the Jama Masjid, a huge mosque that is part of the fortress complex of the abandoned city of Mandu

Bodie, California

Wild west: Bodie, an abandoned gold-mining town in the US state of California, is now known as Bodie National State Park

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Wild west: Bodie, an abandoned gold-mining town in the US state of California, is now known as Bodie National State Park

Bodie general store: What still remains of the town has been so well preserved visitors can still find interior decoration of the time and items still on shelves

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Bodie general store: What still remains of the town has been so well preserved visitors can still find interior decoration of the time and items still on shelves

When the gold ran out all the mines were closed and  everyone left to seek other work as there were no other industries to support the inhabitants

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When the gold ran out all the mines were closed and everyone left to seek other work as there were no other industries to support the inhabitants

Chinguetti, Mauritania, Africa

Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ancient town of Chinguetti was originally built to serve the important caravan trade routes that began crossing the Sahara

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Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ancient town of Chinguetti was originally built to serve the important caravan trade routes that began crossing the Sahara

Although Chinguetti is not a completely abandoned city there are beautiful examples of Sharan architecture and many ancient scientific and Qur¿anic texts to be found

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Although Chinguetti is not a completely abandoned city there are beautiful examples of Sharan architecture and many ancient scientific and Qur’anic texts to be found

Due to the temperamental weather and ever encroaching desert several buildings to the west of the city had to be abandoned, creating the feel of a ghost town

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Due to the temperamental weather and ever encroaching desert several buildings to the west of the city had to be abandoned, creating the feel of a ghost town

Lion City, China

Lion City in China is located beneath Qiangdao Lake in Zhejiang province. Built over 1,300 years ago in the Dong Han period (25-200CE), it was abandoned in 1959

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Lion City in China is located beneath Qiangdao Lake in Zhejiang province. Built over 1,300 years ago in the Dong Han period (25-200CE), it was abandoned in 1959

Beneath the surface of the lake in the eerie blue of the water, ornate lion statues continue to ¿guard¿ submerged Lion City in China

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Beneath the surface of the lake in the eerie blue of the water, ornate lion statues continue to ‘guard’ submerged Lion City in China

The Chinese government chose to flood Lion City in order to use the area for the Xin¿an River Dam project

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The Chinese government chose to flood Lion City in order to use the area for the Xin’an River Dam project

The city was once a political and economic hub for eastern China but after authorities built the man-made Qiandao Lake in 1959, it is now nowhere to be seen

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The city was once a political and economic hub for eastern China but after authorities built the man-made Qiandao Lake in 1959, it is now nowhere to be seen

Pyramiden, Norway

Built in 1910, Pyramiden, named after a nearby pyramid-shaped mountain, was a small mining town with a population of 1,000

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Built in 1910, Pyramiden, named after a nearby pyramid-shaped mountain, was a small mining town with a population of 1,000

In 1917, after being bought by Russia, the village began to rapidly expand and the coal mining industry flourished, however by 1998 the island was deserted

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In 1917, after being bought by Russia, the village began to rapidly expand and the coal mining industry flourished, however by 1998 the island was deserted

Once home to over 1,000 inhabitants,  the settlement was abandoned - apart from one Russian tour guide - when the last of the coal was mined in 1998 

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Once home to over 1,000 inhabitants, the settlement was abandoned - apart from one Russian tour guide - when the last of the coal was mined in 1998

Visitors can walk through a ghost town intact with high-rise buildings, the town¿s indoor swimming pool, library and theatre

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Visitors can walk through a ghost town intact with high-rise buildings, the town’s indoor swimming pool, library and theatre

These eerie pictures show the demise of an abandoned Grade II listed home, once lovingly cared for by a local historian.

Situated in the leafy, affluent suburb of Moseley, Birmingham it was once a stunning example of a quintessentially English detached house.

It has now been repossessed after its current owners were declared bankrupt, after they left it to decay for at least eight years.

 

The front of the Grade II listed home, in Moseley, Birmingham, which has been left abandoned for eight years after its owners went bankrupt

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The front of the Grade II listed home, in Moseley, Birmingham, which has been left abandoned for eight years after its owners went bankrupt

The view from the back of the abandoned property shows the lawn growing out of control and trees and vines climbing up the side of the house

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The view from the back of the abandoned property shows the lawn growing out of control and trees and vines climbing up the side of the house

The gardens in the Birmingham property remain overgrown and don't appear to have been maintained at all during the eight years the home has been deserted

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The gardens in the Birmingham property remain overgrown and don't appear to have been maintained at all during the eight years the home has been deserted

The loft inside the home was left almost completely bare. A local history group is growing 'increasingly concerned' about the state of the abandoned property

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The loft inside the home was left almost completely bare. A local history group is growing 'increasingly concerned' about the state of the abandoned property

The fireplace inside the historic stately English home, which was first built in 1916 and once lovingly cared for by a local historian

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The fireplace inside the historic stately English home, which was first built in 1916 and once lovingly cared for by a local historian

Couches and mould-covered walls have been left to rot. The building has now been repossessed and remains unsecured after its owners left it about eight years ago

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Couches and mould-covered walls have been left to rot. The building has now been repossessed and remains unsecured after its owners left it about eight years ago

The house tells the story of the changes in English society that have been felt particularly in the West Midlands.

The exterior of the house still looks much the same as when it was completed for Albert Gosling, a butcher, in 1916. It maintains features such as the cupola on top of the garage, which allowed exhaust fumes to escape. Inside, many of the original wooden panels and stained glass windows remain. The kitchen has a distinct 1970s kitsch feel, whilst the living room has a picture of Mecca hanging.

Fiona Adams, 67, Secretary of the Moseley History Society said: 'It was the home of Fred and Olive Price - the Moseley Local History Group had many meetings there.

'We’ve been increasingly concerned about the state of this charming Arts and Crafts house that Fred lovingly maintained.'

 

Despite the fact the property has been ignored for a number of years, parts of the interior and living room appear to remain in relatively good condition

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Despite the fact the property has been ignored for a number of years, parts of the interior and living room appear to remain in relatively good condition

 

Other sections of the house, however, look downtrodden and damaged A large spider has made the house its home after it was abandoned by its owners

However, other parts of the home are in need of major repairs. Here the floor of the living room can be seen with holes while a spider has made a room its nest

A court order stuck on the property's window states the home has been repossessed, however the property still remains unsecured

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A court order stuck on the property's window states the home has been repossessed, however the property still remains unsecured

The home is abandoned but little appears to have been done to clean up, with used teacups and cutlery left lying throughout the kitchen

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The home is abandoned but little appears to have been done to clean up, with used teacups and cutlery left lying throughout the kitchen

 

Neighbours blame the decay for burglaries on their own properties, saying it has enabled thieves to gain access through the abandoned house's garden Furniture and decayed building materials lie scattered across the house's sitting room. The decay has prompted concern from locals worried about a loss of history

Both the kitchen and one of the sitting rooms need major repairs, with building materials and mould visibly staining the walls

A large Sony television, along with newspapers and photos of Diana remain intact. Much of the house's exterior also remains as it was when it was completed in 1916

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A large Sony television, along with newspapers and photos of Diana remain intact. Much of the house's exterior also remains as it was when it was completed in 1916

Still in the house were used teacups, a large Sony television, photographs of Lady Diana, newspapers, made beds and family photographs showing Fred Price.

Javid Sattar, who was the last owner of the house, is believed to be the President of the World Council of Muslim Youth.

A business card stating Mr Sattar's job title and contact details was found in the home. There was also a photograph of Mecca, the Muslim holy site in Saudi Arabia, and a copy of a book issued during the Pakistan National Defence College's 2002 visit to the United Kingdom.

A letter from a law firm has been put up in the house notifying Mr Sattar that it is now in their possession. However, the building hasn’t been secured.

The house has slipped a long way from it’s former glory giving concern to neighbours who blame the decay for burglaries on their own properties, saying that it has enabled thieves to gain access through the abandoned house’s garden.

These photographs show the former owner of the house, Fred Price (right with glasses), hosting a social gathering inside the Grade II listed family home

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These photographs show the former owner of the house, Fred Price (right with glasses), hosting a social gathering inside the Grade II listed family home

A copy of the Daily Mail from June 1, 2006, is left lying in the house - giving an indication of just how long the property has been left to decay

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A copy of the Daily Mail from June 1, 2006, is left lying in the house - giving an indication of just how long the property has been left to decay

A large Sony television, with a thick gathering of dust on it, has been left in the living room. It was once the home of Fred and Olive Price, two local history enthusiasts

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A large Sony television, with a thick gathering of dust on it, has been left in the living room. It was once the home of Fred and Olive Price, two local history enthusiasts

The home's dining area remains a mess, with clothes, rubbish, bowls and cutlery left scattered across the floor and dining table

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The home's dining area remains a mess, with clothes, rubbish, bowls and cutlery left scattered across the floor and dining table

These pictures show Fred Price, who once owned and cared for the historic property, prior to its latest owner abandoning it eight years ago

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These pictures show Fred Price, who once owned and cared for the historic property, prior to its latest owner abandoning it eight years ago

A photo of Mecca was left hanging on the living room wall inside the property. A business card found at the address states the former owner was the president of the World Council of Muslim Youth

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A photo of Mecca was left hanging on the living room wall inside the property. A business card found at the address states the former owner was the president of the World Council of Muslim Youth

 

A pictured of Lady Diana was found inside the home A book detailing a visit to the Pakistani National Defence College was found left behind when the property was abandoned

A picture of Lady Diana remains the living room, while on the right is a book commemorating a Pakistan National Defence College visit to the United Kingdom. The former owner, Javid Sattar, is a property magnate who also owns numerous other properties in and around Moseley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photoPaco Park ( Manila). Visita Iglesia during vacation in the Philippines. Paco Park's Chapel of San Pancratius is where the remains of Spanish colonial Governor General Ramon Solano was interred. The park was originally designed by Nicolas Ruiz as a cementery of the Spanish colonial elite. It was built in the later years of the 1700s making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, cementery in the Philippines. The GOMBURZA martys- Fr. Mariano Gomez, Fr. Jacinto Zamora, and Fr. Jose Burgos- were buried here after their execution in 1872. Twenty-four years later in 1896, the executed Dr. Jose Rizal was also secretly buried in the cemnetery. His remains were later exhumed in 1912 and moved to what his now his grand monument at the Luneta. Interment in the cementery was probihited in 1912 and most of the remains of those who were buried were moved out. The cementery became a national park in 1966.

Paco Park, Manila. A cross now marks the burial site of the GOMBURZA martys inside the park.

Paco Park (Manila) Dr. Jose Rizal was secretly buried in the park after his execution. His remains were later exhumed and interred beneath the Rizal Monument at the Luneta.
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San Juan, Metro Manila. Unique to the San Juan church is the massive buttress walls covering its facade. Butress walls are usually the side walls in the case of most Philippine colonial churches.

San Juan, Metro Manila. The Dominicans built the first parochial buildings in 1602 that were razed during the 1639 Chinese revolt. These were rebuilt in 1641, burned down during the British invasion of 1763, and rebuilt again in 1774. The city of San Juan is unofficially the "Town of Philippine Presidents" having had 5 Filipino presidents as residents namely Diosdado Macapagal and his unpopular daughter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, and Elpidio Quirino.

Leave home for France as it is crowned most popular country in the world with record-breaking number of tourists (and UK lags in eighth place, beaten by Spain, Italy and even Germany)

The fact that I didn’t speak French wouldn’t have bothered me as much had I not heard that French people are rude to you if you don’t.  Actually, every person I knew who had been to France told me that they were rude no matter what you did.  There’s a saying I’ve heard repeated ad naseum.  Something like, “Wonderful country France…pity about the French.”

paris

Granted, I didn’t spend a long time in Paris–eight days–but I didn’t find French people rude at all.  They weren’t friendly in the same way North Americans are, which people from other cultures sometimes find superficial.  But in my experience, they weren’t rude.  I think that a bright smile and a friendly attitude can serve you well no matter where you go.  I’d like to think that my positive spirit was reflected back to me.

So in that same positive spirit, today I’ve decided to reflect on a few of the reasons I love France–and the French.  I’m happy in my village and when I get right down to it, I wouldn’t really want to live anywhere else.  But there are some things that I appreciate about France so much that I wish they were bigger part of North American culture…

France now is the most visited country in the world with 84.7m tourists in 2013

  • The UK attracted a record 32.8m visitors last year spending £21 billion
  • French, German and American tourists account for one third of UK visitors

France has been named the most visited country in the world, welcoming a record-breaking 84.7 million tourists last year.

The European hotspot was streets ahead of the second most visited country in the world - the US - beating it by almost 15million visitors.

While France, the US and Spain made the top three list of the most visited countries, the UK took eighth place, welcoming 31.2million visitors in 2013, a new record.

Eh Voila!  La Tour Eiffel: France welcomed 84.7 million tourists across its borders in 2013

Eh Voila!  La Tour Eiffel: France welcomed 84.7 million tourists across its borders in 2013

A stony look: Paris observed from the top of Notre Dame with La Tour Eiffel in the distance

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A stony look: Paris observed from the top of Notre Dame with La Tour Eiffel in the distance

THE 10 MOST  VISITED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

France - 84.7million

US - 69.8million

Spain - 60.7million

China - 55.7million

Italy - 47.7million

Turkey - 37.8million

Germany - 31.5million

UK - 31.2million

Russia - 28.4million

Thailand - 26.5million

But the UK is still losing out to European rivals, with Germany and Italy joining France and Spain ahead of Britain in the top 10 most visited countries in the world.

Some of the surprising entries into the top 10 incllude Turkey, which took sixth place, with 37.8million visitors and Russia, which made it into ninth place with 28.4million tourists.

Thailand rounded off the top 10 most visited countries in 2013.

The latest statistics come after a study was published by France's government competitiveness agency, confirming how many visitors the country received in 2013.

The statistics were referred to the World Tourism Organisation to be compared with statistics from each country. 

A record 32.8 million overseas visitors came to the UK, with French, German and American tourists accounting for one in three tourists.

The USA, France and Germany were also the biggest spenders in the UK, with their markets attributing to one quarter of the visitor spend pot - 'do visit again'. 

The French surpassed their 2012 figure of 83 million foreign visitors and easily outstripped The United States with 69.8 million and Spain with 60.7 million foreign visitors. 

The record 32.8 million overseas visitors who came to the UK in 2013 spent a record £21 billion.

The UK attracted 34.8m tourists in 2013, a record-breaking number, but not enough to beat European rivals

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The UK attracted 34.8m tourists in 2013, a record-breaking number, but not enough to beat European rivals

London calling: The capital accounts for 54 per cent of all UK inbound tourism

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London calling: The capital accounts for 54 per cent of all UK inbound tourism

In 2012 the UK ranked eighth in the UNWTO international tourist arrivals league behind France, USA, China, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Germany. 

London accounts for 54 per cent of all inbound visitor spend, the rest of England 34 per cent, Scotland 8 per cent and Wales 2 per cent.

 

At the extremes other people will leave their hometown environment for simple living where there's no running water, no central heating - and certainly no supermarket for as far as the eye can see.

These are the families who have chosen to turn their backs on the breakneck speed of modern life to become at one with nature, free from the rat race.

Leaving city life for mountain ranges including the Carpathians and The Pyrenees, they pride themselves on living 'off the grid' without access to any of the mod-cons that the 21st Century may have to offer.

French photographer Antoine Bruy has spent years travelling across Europe capturing men, women and children who have joined the so-called 'back-to-land' movement on their very own organic farms.

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At one with nature: French photographer Antoine Bruy travelled around Europe living with families who have turned their backs on modern civilization for a humble existence deep in the wilderness. This ramshackle house in Ramounat in The Pyrenees belongs to a German man called Peter who has lived there for the last 30 years. He moved to the area with his wife and children, but they left decades ago, it was reported by Feature Shoot

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At one with nature: French photographer Antoine Bruy travelled around Europe living with families who have turned their backs on modern civilization for a humble existence deep in the wilderness. This ramshackle house in Ramounat in The Pyrenees belongs to a German man called Peter who has lived there for the last 30 years. He moved to the area with his wife and children, but they left decades ago, it was reported by Feature Shoot

Rustic: Arriving by donkey 20 years ago, English woman Kate settled on some land near the village of Bayacas in Sierra Nevada, Spain. These are some composting toilets which she has built with her own fair hands

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Rustic: Arriving by donkey 20 years ago, English woman Kate settled on some land near the village of Bayacas in Sierra Nevada, Spain. These are some composting toilets which she has built with her own fair hands

'Abandoning a lifestyle based on performance, efficiency and consumption': In order build trust and gain a deeper understanding of his subjects, Mr Bruy signed up to a movement which links volunteers with organic farmers. He then stayed with some for months at a time, helping out with jobs in return

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'Abandoning a lifestyle based on performance, efficiency and consumption': In order build trust and gain a deeper understanding of his subjects, Mr Bruy signed up to a movement which links volunteers with organic farmers. He then stayed with some for months at a time, helping out with jobs in return

Pyramid dwelling: Many of the people Mr Bruy met have no access to running water, central heating or any other mod cons

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Pyramid dwelling: Many of the people Mr Bruy met have no access to running water, central heating or any other mod cons

Wide open spaces: Mr Bruy took this image in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in Spain, where he encountered Amiro, a German who has been living in an area of the park where the nearest village is a three-hour walk away

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Wide open spaces: Mr Bruy took this image in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in Spain, where he encountered Amiro, a German who has been living in an area of the park where the nearest village is a three-hour walk away

He said: 'Since 2010, I travelled throughout Europe to meet men and women who made the radical choice to live away from cities, willing to abandon their lifestyle based on performance, efficiency and consumption.

'The people and places depicted in my pictures display various fates which I think, should not only be seen at a political level, but more importantly as daily and immediate experiences.

 

Humble existence: The French photographer has documented families who have chosen to turn their backs on the breakneck speed of modern life to become at one with nature. With no access to running water, these two girls take a bath in washing up tubs in the Carpathian mountains in Romania

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Humble existence: The French photographer has documented families who have chosen to turn their backs on the breakneck speed of modern life to become at one with nature. With no access to running water, these two girls take a bath in washing up tubs in the Carpathian mountains in Romania

Living off the land: Mr Bruy captured this picture of Olivier nursing a sheep while spending a month with the French shepherd. Here, Olivier treats one of his flock after it was bitten by a dog in Ardeche in France in 2010

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Living off the land: Mr Bruy captured this picture of Olivier nursing a sheep while spending a month with the French shepherd. Here, Olivier treats one of his flock after it was bitten by a dog in Ardeche in France in 2010

Shunned academia: Among the people Mr Bruy met was this former mathematics student called Vincent who has been living in the Pyrenees for the last seven years

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Shunned academia: Among the people Mr Bruy met was this former mathematics student called Vincent who has been living in the Pyrenees for the last seven years

He said: 'I give them a hand for different kind of tasks, like growing vegetables, fixing a roof, building a straw bale house or taking care of animals if they have some.

'This time allows me, somehow, to connect to the land, understand the way it works, and know the people I’m living with.

'This documentary project is an attempt to make a kind of contemporary tale and to give back a little bit of magic to our modern civilization.'

Steam cleaning: Julian works on his bathtub in Sierra del Hacho in Spain. Mr Bruy has posted a collection of his images entitled Scrublands to the FotoFund website where he has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to continue his project in America

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Steam cleaning: Julian works on his bathtub in Sierra del Hacho in Spain. Mr Bruy has posted a collection of his images entitled Scrublands to the FotoFund website where he has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to continue his project in America

Among the people he met was a German called Peter who has been living in Ramounat in The Pyrenees for the last 30 years.

He moved there with his wife and children, but they left decades ago, it was reported by Feature Shoot.

Others included Sabine, a teacher in philosophy and literature who now raises cows with her husband Christian.

He has posted a collection of his images entitled Scrublands to the FotoFund website where he has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to continue his project in America.

'I plan to come in the USA to make photographs of people who retreat in remote places in the Appalachian mountains,' Mr Bruy said.

'America can indeed be considered as the birthplace of these "back-to-the-land" movements.'

Life out of the fast lane: A boy who has grown up in the so-called 'back-to-land' movement poses with his dog in Urs in The Pyrenees

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Life out of the fast lane: A boy who has grown up in the so-called 'back-to-land' movement poses with his dog in Urs in The Pyrenees

A lesson in simplicity: Mr Bruy also stayed with Sabine, a philosophy and literature teacher who now raises cows with her husband Christian

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A lesson in simplicity: Mr Bruy also stayed with Sabine, a philosophy and literature teacher who now raises cows with her husband Christian

 

 

 

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