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Updated: 2014-10-14T11:23:56.472-07:00

 



Disneyland Philippines In Clark, Pampanga

2012-05-01T06:50:03.965-07:00

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(image) Congressman Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin of Pampanga has sent a letter to Walt Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger, containing his proposition of a Disneyland park in the Philippines to be built in Clark, Pampanga.

The legislature said in his letter that Clark has a 4,400 hectare main zone and 27,600-hectare subzone that will be a perfect location for the new Walt Disney adventure park. He added that "the Clark Freeport Zone can be an attractive destination for Disneyland theme park because of the tax-free privileges given to locators."

The lawmaker also cited the world-class Clark International Airport that it will make it easier for tourists "to enjoy the amenities and entertainment Disneyland is famous for without the hassles of long travels"

Lazatin continued: "Together with our population of more than 90 million Filipinos, a Disneyland theme park in the Philippines could be a major income generating site for your company."

Clark, according to Pampanga representative, has "the best hotels in its roster where visitors can enjoy the hospitality Filipinos are known for" and that the Philippines is a "favorite tourist destination in Southeast Asia, with an average arrival of four million foreign visitors a year and for 2012, the government is eyeing to hit the 5-million mark."

Disneyland theme parks are among the most visited and the best-earning parks in the world. There are so far 3 Disneyland parks in Asia located in Hong Kong; Tokyo, Japan and Shanghai, China.



Shanghai Disneyland Update : New Artwork, Latest News, and more

2012-05-01T06:43:53.695-07:00

Here is a new Shanghaî Disneyland update and those who are desperately waiting for new SDL artwork are going to be happy today as i've found new SDL artwork for you! This artwork was shown in a special tribute to Bob Iger organized by the National Committee of U.S - China relations and the video was posted on Youtube last October. Although these images are six months old - it means that it happened after the D23 Expo where Disney didn't show a lot about the SDL project - my guess is that the artwork shown in the video presented to the committee is the good one - i mean that Shanghaî Disneyland will probably look like this.I did my best to enhance the screen captures, but the images are still not perfectly sharp due to the low definition in the original video. That said, on the first artwork above, a new bird-eye view of the park, we can see a bit more clearly and you'll notice instantly the Skull Rock on the right, in Adventureland. It seems - but not 100% sure - that a boat is falling from it, which in this case would confirm that the Pirates of Caribbean version envisioned for HKDL by Imagineers Tim Delaney and Tom Morris would be built at SDL. On the left, the huge futuristic building in Tomorrowland is supposed to be the one for the TRON motor-bike coaster attraction that we've talked about previously, and even if Fantasyland located behind SDL castle is not sharp enough to see clearly what-is-what you'll note on the right of the castle the expected maze.One of the most interesting thing is SDL entrance which will have a spectacular architecture and apparently the part between the entrance and SDL "central plaza" will be totally indoor. By the way, the big dome on the top of it reminds me the one on the top of Paris Grand Palais where you have also a very famous stained glass dome. it seems there is some reminiscences of art nouveau style, too, but again, it's hard to be sure because of the medium-res of the rendering.That said, when SDL guests will exit they will arrive on SDL "central plaza" as i've said (even if it might be called differently) and in front of the castle. On this next rendering we can see on the left and the right of the indoor building exit different kind of building architectures, perhaps paying tribute to different countries architectures from all over the world - it looks like. In the garden we find back the expected Dumbo ride, Carousels and small chinese pavilions, but you'll note also that the water parts should probably allow SDL to have a fountain show in the future if they wish - at least they have more water in front of the castle than we have at DLP!Strangely the artwork below related to the WDS Ratatouille attraction was also shown in the video. Would it mean that the Ratatouille ride will come at SDL - or may be only a "Gusteau" restaurant? We'll have to wait to know the answer!Today was also the day for fresh - and good - news from Shanghaî Disneyland as works on the SDL site are apparently "speeding ahead". A SDL press conference apparently just happened and you'll have more details below coming from CriEnglish.com as well as a video. Also, Bob Weis, SDL Main show producer revealed on his site that Bob Iger was in China very recently - apparently in the last days - to meet chinese officials. You can see Iger on a video HERE discussing with a chinese official whom i don't know the name, but apparently an important one if i can judge by the attitude of Iger towards the official , and the reception room was pure classic chinese nomenklatura decor! As i don't understand chinese i can't tell you what they were talking about (but if one of my reader do please let us know) or why Iger was there but obviously it seems that it was for something important.O-Kay, here are the latest news about SDL from the press conference:"Builders will soon start constructing the infrastructure of the much-anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort, after preparations on the ground formation work were completed, attendees [...]



Universal Studios Indoor Park in Moscow in 2018

2012-05-01T06:41:58.376-07:00

After a Universal Studios in Japan and one in Singapore - and probably one in South Korea - it seems that a new Universal Studios park will come in Moscow with works expected to start in 2014 and an opening date scheduled (for now) in 2018. And it's not apparently a rumor as Universal has confirmed the project. Like they did in Singapore it will be probably a licensed park, i.e that Universal won't rule the park directly but that's not the problem. And because it will be built in Moscow the whole park would be an "indoor" theme park, which, considering Moscow's winter temperatures might be a good idea.The whole project will be located in the south of Moscow and is in fact called Galactic Park. It will include much more than the Universal Studios as an aquatic park is also planned as well as an area for sports activities, shows, a musical theatre, a cinema, exhibition halls, restaurants and a shopping centre. In addition to that are also planned two hotels, a congress hall and a huge parking space. The project leaders said that the project will cost 2.8 billion US dollars with the theme park alone costing $500 million. It’s the first Universal Studios park which will be built indoor, in a closed space.According to minyanville.com: "Experts, however, say that the real cost of construction will actually be $11 billion, as the transport infrastructure around the proposed 22 hectare site in south Moscow requires a massive upgrade. Universal doesn’t have to worry though as the universal is reportedly not putting any of its money into the project.""The man behind the project, Gutsiriev, is a big fan of theme parks and in 2010, at the same time he launched discussions with Universal, Gutsiriev also entered talks with Disney to set up a Russian Disneyland, which ultimately did not materialize. It’s not surprising that Disney declined Gutsiriev’s offer as Moscow is a tricky market. Though it is the most populous city in Europe with 10 million people, it is also 1,500 miles away from Western Europe. Paris has a smaller population, but the Disneyland there can draw on the tens of millions more Europeans from nearby cities and countries.And among the 10 million people, it’s likely that a majority will be unable to afford the entrance fees. After all, Russia is ranked 70th in terms of GDP per capita, according to the CIA World Factbook. Accounting for the low median spending power of Russians, Galactic Park plans to charge an admission fee of about $34, which would be the lowest in the world. Universal’s parks in Orlando and Singapore charge $85 and $54 respectively.Universal’s entry into Moscow reflects the growing significance of Russia and other emerging markets to Hollywood’s balance sheet. In 2011, the burgeoning Russian box office grew by 20% from 2010 and topped $1 billion for the time ever."[...]



Shanghai Disneyland Update ! New Artwork, Latest News, and more

2012-04-27T07:18:36.264-07:00

Here is a new Shanghaî Disneyland update and those who are desperately waiting for new SDL artwork are going to be happy today as i've found new SDL artwork for you! This artwork was shown in a special tribute to Bob Iger organized by the National Committee of U.S - China relations and the video was posted on Youtube last October. Although these images are six months old - it means that it happened after the D23 Expo where Disney didn't show a lot about the SDL project - my guess is that the artwork shown in the video presented to the committee is the good one - i mean that Shanghaî Disneyland will probably look like this.I did my best to enhance the screen captures, but the images are still not perfectly sharp due to the low definition in the original video. That said, on the first artwork above, a new bird-eye view of the park, we can see a bit more clearly and you'll notice instantly the Skull Rock on the right, in Adventureland. It seems - but not 100% sure - that a boat is falling from it, which in this case would confirm that the Pirates of Caribbean version envisioned for HKDL by Imagineers Tim Delaney and Tom Morris would be built at SDL. On the left, the huge futuristic building in Tomorrowland is supposed to be the one for the TRON motor-bike coaster attraction that we've talked about previously, and even if Fantasyland located behind SDL castle is not sharp enough to see clearly what-is-what you'll note on the right of the castle the expected maze.One of the most interesting thing is SDL entrance which will have a spectacular architecture and apparently the part between the entrance and SDL "central plaza" will be totally indoor. By the way, the big dome on the top of it reminds me the one on the top of Paris Grand Palais where you have also a very famous stained glass dome. it seems there is some reminiscences of art nouveau style, too, but again, it's hard to be sure because of the medium-res of the rendering.That said, when SDL guests will exit they will arrive on SDL "central plaza" as i've said (even if it might be called differently) and in front of the castle. On this next rendering we can see on the left and the right of the indoor building exit different kind of building architectures, perhaps paying tribute to different countries architectures from all over the world - it looks like. In the garden we find back the expected Dumbo ride, Carousels and small chinese pavilions, but you'll note also that the water parts should probably allow SDL to have a fountain show in the future if they wish - at least they have more water in front of the castle than we have at DLP!Strangely the artwork below related to the WDS Ratatouille attraction was also shown in the video. Would it mean that the Ratatouille ride will come at SDL - or may be only a "Gusteau" restaurant? We'll have to wait to know the answer!Today was also the day for fresh - and good - news from Shanghaî Disneyland as works on the SDL site are apparently "speeding ahead". A SDL press conference apparently just happened and you'll have more details below coming from CriEnglish.com as well as a video. Also, Bob Weis, SDL Main show producer revealed on his site that Bob Iger was in China very recently - apparently in the last days - to meet chinese officials. You can see Iger on a video HERE discussing with a chinese official whom i don't know the name, but apparently an important one if i can judge by the attitude of Iger towards the official , and the reception room was pure classic chinese nomenklatura decor! As i don't understand chinese i can't tell you what they were talking about (but if one of my reader do please let us know) or why Iger was there but obviously it seems that it was for something important.O-Kay, here are the latest news about SDL from the press conference:"Builders will soon start constructing the infrastructure of the much-anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort, after preparations on[...]



Disneyland (California, USA)

2012-04-27T06:18:52.112-07:00

The idea for Disneyland began the manufacture of Walter E. Disney and his brother, Roy, when carrying children - their children, Diane and Sharon, walked the road to see the carnival or circus. They want to create a playground for the family of a permanent absence of negative elements (the carnival and circus at that time often move to move and has attractions that are not recommended to watch the children). They realized that the place for parents and children to enjoy activities together has never existed. At the same time, many people wrote to Walt Disney and requested that the studio allowed to visit their favorite DisneyDisney studio. Walt realized that the studio is being used for work can not offer much to visitors who come. and meet with leaders Walt's original idea was to build a place near the studio where the tourists who come to take a photo with the statue of his favorite Disney character, then the idea was developed into a small playground with a pool and a boat that can be ridden. Own garden was to be named Garden Mickey Mouse, then the idea evolved into a bigger until now known as Disneyland. At the suggestion of researchers, from Stanford Research Institute, which justifies the view of the potential development of Walt Disney Disneyland is great, Disney bought 730,000 m2 area full of orange groves and walnut trees in Anaheim, Calif., south of Los Angeles. Construction began July 18, 1954 and was built in conjunction with Route 101 road construction in anticipation of the increase traffic flow to come to Disneyland, then two other roads are also added to the toll road even before Disneyland was completed. On July 18, 1955, the second day Disneyland opened, visitors have lined up since 2 am. The first of three visitor Disneyland, David MacPherson, Christine Vess and Michael Schwartner awarded lifetime passes to Disneyland all around the world.[...]



Disneyland, U.S.A. 1957

2012-04-27T06:17:34.206-07:00

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While the rest of you battle it out with Monorail photos, I am going to do a little counter programming and show 2 bw publicity stills for the 1957 CinemaScope film, “Disneyland, U.S.A.” The first shot could almost be mistaken for a scene from “The Music Man,” however, it’s the Disneyland Band marching down Main Street. Amazing lack of crowds! Shot 2 is a nice one from Frontierland showing the Conestoga Wagon and Stagecoach. Be sure to check out the Major’s blog today (Gorillas Don’t Blog, listed to the right)—killer Monorail shot!

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La Mano del Desierto, Chile

2012-04-27T07:19:49.500-07:00

Hey everyone! I apologize for not having written a blog post in SO long, my junior year so far has been extremely crazy!Last week was our recruitment week for Kappa Kappa Gamma then on Sunday was Bid Day! My chapter welcomed 15 beautiful new members and I’m so excited to have them!Anywho, moving on to the main subject of this post…Several weeks ago, I went to see “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and it was surprisingly very good! I was extremely impressed with all of the special effects not to mention the whole movie in general was really intense. Anyway, I’m not here to talk movie reviews but I do have a reason for bringing this up.The place I want to adventure to today actually looks like it’s straight out of the original movie “Planet of the Apes.” I’m not kidding either, take a look!La Mano del Desierto, meaning “Hand of the Desert,” is a giant hand merging out of the ground in the Atacama Desert in Chile. This stone hand is about 36 feet tall and has a base made of iron and cement. The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world (bet you didn’t know that!). The sculpture was finished in 1992 by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrazabal, which was meant to symbolize the emphasis on human vulnerability and helplessness. Irarrazabal has built other sculptures around the world featuring giant body parts but this one will certainly last a long, long time because of the lack of precipitation and deterring weather. Although very simple, this huge sculpture draws a huge amount of attraction by tourists and is very popular in Chile. What do you think about La Mano del Desierto?[...]



Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

2012-04-27T07:19:54.343-07:00

I don’t have real cable television at home so I haven’t been able to watch my favorite channel all summer: Travel Channel (I guess it’s fitting, isn’t it? Haha). Anyway, I finally got a little snippet while at the hotel in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago and something really caught my eye. Although this place isn’t a whole city or town or region, it will most definitely spark your interest, whether it be intrigued or creeped out.The Sedlec Ossuary in Kutná Hora in Czech Republic is a small Roman Catholic chapel. The most interesting and unique part of this chapel is that it is decorated and furnished with the skeletons of around 40,000 to 70,000 people! How freaky is that!The exterior of the chapel looks pretty normal, like any other church that you’ll cross by. However, in front of the church, there is a mosaic of skull and crossbones that almost seems like a warning.In the 13th century, Henry, the abbot of Sedlec, was sent to Palestine (then called the Holy Land) by King Otakar II of Bohemia. When Henry returned, he brought back a small amount of soil from Golgotha and sprinkled it around the cemetery in front of the abbey. The word was spread about this act and therefore the cemetery became an extremely desirable site for burial all over Central Europe. After the Black Death in the 14th century and the Hussite Wars in the 15th, thousands were buried there and thus the cemetery had to be greatly enlarged in size. Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery, by which many skeletons had to be unearthed for the construction. Therefore, the upper level was used as a chapel while the lower level served as an ossuary (for those of you who don’t know what an ossuary is, check out the Wikipedia page here). Since then, the chapel and ossuary has been renovated and redesigned to its current look. In 1870, Frantisek Rint was employed by the Schwarzenburg family to create the current design that you can see today. There are four enormous bell-shaped mounds of bones that make up the four corners of the chapel and a huge chandelier of bones that contains at least one of every bone that makes up the human body. A large coat of arms of the Schwarzenburg family is also displayed as well as the signature of Rint, which was executed with bones on the wall near the entrance of the chapel. This morbidly fascinating place has been the influence to many films and music. I’m not sure I’ll have the courage to step in to this place, but if you’re up for the adventure I’m sure it will be thrilling![...]



Baltistan, Pakistan

2012-04-27T07:19:57.383-07:00

I’m finally on the verge of a new school year at Babson…4 days until I’m back to be exact! I was thinking really hard about today’s post and came across a memory of reading this book called Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin for my freshman orientation. I had dreaded reading it since I thought I was so done with summer reading when I left high school, but this book ended up being swell. (To check out this book, visit http://www.threecupsoftea.com/.) In this nonfiction novel, Greg Mortenson describes his adventures and philanthropy in the mountains of northern Pakistan. He is attempting to climb Mountain K2 in honor of his sister Christa and on his way down after failing, he runs into a village called Korphe where the story takes place. I specifically remember his descriptions of this part of Pakistan and how heavenly everything was and thus, I decided to do today’s post on Baltistan, Pakistan.Situated in the Karakoram Mountains just south of K2, the second highest mountain in the world (after Mount Everest), Baltistan is the main focus of Mortenson’s book. The area is often grouped together with Gilgit, a city in the area; hence the northern region can also be referred as Gilgit-Baltistan. Although very remote and little is known about this place by the rest of the world, Baltistan is no sight to be ignored. According to the novel and internet sources, this region is not heavily populated. Villages and small towns stay in tight communities often with no small government, education, or businesses. It won’t be hard to travel to though, Skardu and Gilgit, the largest city and the region’s capital, are easily accessible. I think pictures will do the magic in this post for you to get the full effect of Baltistan’s beauty, so here you go!Captivating, isn't it?? I'd love to visit someday when I get the chance because I know that not only will the trip be relaxing to the eye, it will be a life-changing experience to meet the villagers. What do you think of Baltistan?[...]



Houston, Texas, USA

2012-04-27T07:20:01.303-07:00

Hey y'all! I hope you enjoyed my last post about my trip to Las Vegas! For today, I wanted to try something different. My friend Brad recently took a trip to Houston and instead of me writing about a place I've never been, I thought I'd get some words from him about his own experience! Here is my guest blogger.Hello bloggers! Brad Heglin here, writing as Hyo's first guest blogger about a trip I recently took. This past weekend I flew to the United States' very own Houston, Texas. This was my first time really getting away from the east coast so I was very excited for the trip. I left Logan Airport in Boston at 11:05, switched planes in Baltimore (BWI) and finally my plane touched down at Hobby Airport in Houston at 3:40 on Thursday afternoon, and thus began my adventure. Though I was there for a conference held by HOBY, a youth leadership organization, and would be in sessions most of the time, I knew I would have a little time to explore and that is what I'm here to share with you! First things first: find the hotel. I took a shuttle with several others going to the conference that I had met up with in Baltimore. Meeting for the first time we all had plenty to talk about, but I made sure to take in the sights passing by me on the way. The city is very different from what we see here in Boston. It is spread out over the entire area that makes up Houston, so instead of being a bunch of stores, restaurants and skyscrapers clumped at the center, there are tufts of them throughout Houston with neighborhoods and small business areas in between. That aside, it was mostly as I expected, sand colored buildings and homes with terracotta styled rooftops. There were palm trees and the temperature was extremely hot but either way I was glad to be there.Finally arriving at the hotel we grabbed our bags and went inside; what I found was very impressive. The hotel had a beautiful lobby was decorated with comfortable cushion chairs, lovely rugs, and these awesome gardens and fountains spread throughout the room. After checking all this out I made my way to the elevators and luckily for me, the rooms also met my expectations and were just as nice as the lobby. Complete with two full beds, a flat screen tv, and a very large bathroom with toilet (which had a phone next to it!), big shower and a mirror which ran around the room, I was very impressed. The service we received from the staff was also above and beyond.The first night I ate at the hotel restaurant and bar, the "NOÉ", which despite the high prices was well worth it. I had quesadillas and a beer, which were delicious and the service was very good too. They also have a lounge area separate from the restaurant which guests are allowed to use for smaller more casual groups! There was also a bar in the basement of the hotel, which isn't as sketchy as it sounds, called "The Black Swan" . It was actually very cool; offering a large variety of drinks, had small private booths throughout and a dance floor in the back for people enjoy! Some such people were from one of the four weddings held there that weekend, in addition to vacationers and our group attending the conference, so the hotel holds a variety of events and has plenty of space for them. In addition to this we also ate at a restaurant called "El Tiempo" which was very good. The fajitas were to die for and I highly recommend checking this place out. From there we went on to a club called "The Roosevelt" and spent the night dancing and having a good time.Though these were the only sights I really got to check out the city of Houston seems fun with plenty to do. There is also a large mall known as the Houston Galleria with plenty of shopping, food, and entertainment to keep you going. Though I did get to go many people did and had an awesome time whether they [...]



Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

2012-04-27T07:20:06.178-07:00

Hey bloglovers and followers! This week has been absolutely crazy: I went on vacation to the great Sin City, Las Vegas, Nevada for my 21st birthday celebration! To make it up to you all for not posting for a while, I’ll tell you all the nitty gritty details of my trip.Las Vegas, meaning “The Meadows” in Spanish, is worldly famous for its tourism, shopping, gambling, and fine dining. It was a stopover for pioneers and travelers out west, then thanks to the continental railroad, expanded exponentially in the early 20th century. But enough about the history, let’s get right into my trip!My family and I arrived on Wednesday, my birthday after a long 6 hour flight from Manchester, New Hampshire. We had a layover at Chicago Airport, where I ran into some awesome statues of The Blues Brothers. The Las Vegas airport was extremely easy to get around, although it was easy to get distracted by all the slot machines and advertisements for shows! We took a tram to get to the baggage claim, and took a shuttle right to the Rent-A-Car Center. After getting our rent, we headed over to the Mirage Casino right on Las Vegas Boulevard (aka The Strip). The Mirage was amazing; everywhere I looked I found something unique and mesmerizing. For my birthday dinner, we went to Bouchon restaurant at the Venetian. The restaurant had a fancy atmosphere and there I ordered my first legal drink called “Nirvana,” which was a fruity cocktail with pineapple and lime juices. Afterwards, we headed over to Treasure Island for the Mystére, a Cirque du Soleil show. The show was absolutely insane! The tricks put on by the performers were jawdropping and the experience as a whole was extremely unique. The next day, my sister and I hit the mall and slot machines at Caesar’s Palace. Of course, everyone thinks of Caesar’s Palace when they think of The Strip because it is certainly beautiful, not to mention HUGE. I was awed (and exhausted) by how many shops were inside this building! That night, my sister and I headed over to the TAO club at the Venetian, which was incredible. Frequently visited by many celebrities, the club was three stories high and had a roof deck called “TAO Beach,” which featured an outdoor pool, bars, tables, booths and benches. The club also offered an open bar towards the beginning of the night, which was a definite plus. The next night, my family and I went to Bellagio, which had amazing sights to see, including an exhibit by Dale Chihuly. After spending a little time inside the Casino, we stepped outside to experience the water show, which was captivating and also refreshing (the desert was starting to get to me). Afterwards, my sister and I headed over to meet a friend of mine across the boulevard to Sugar Factory, a huge candy store/bar/restaurant inside Paris Casino. This famous place is home to the Couture Pops, which are decorated and bedazzled lollipops. After making a couple sweet purchases, we headed over to the bar where I ordered the Lollipop Passion cocktail. This giant cocktail was a little piece of heaven: it was poured over dry ice cubes at the bottom so that when the drink was poured in, the cocktail started bubbling and smoke poured out over the sides. It was garnished with two unicorn candy pops and a candy necklace… talk about a drink! For the remainder of the night, we hung out at Paris and enjoyed some gambling. On our last full day in Vegas, my family and I went all over The Strip to explore other casinos and cool attractions. We first checked out Luxor, which is in the shape of a giant black, glass pyramid. This Egyptian-themed casino was pretty impressive, yet at the same time, it probably was one of my least favorites. The place was much smaller inside than I had expected and was badly ventilated[...]



Hyderabad, India

2012-04-27T07:20:08.896-07:00

This summer, I’ve been interning at a company called Chitika (check out their website at Chitika.com) and it’s been an amazing experience. As my time here for the summer is coming to a close in a couple of weeks, I found the perfect place to write about today. The main office is in Westborough, Massachusetts, yet there is another branch that I’ve been extremely curious about: Hyderabad, India.Although Hyderabad might not be the capital of the country or the largest city, it has gotten many mentions by critics and visitors for its beauty. Nicknamed “The City of Pearls,” it was the only city in India to be named one of the must see-places in the world by New York Times and has been referred as “The Heart of the Indian Peninsula” by Time Magazine US. There’s a ton of things to do, see and eat in Hyderabad, so let’s check them out!The first site that locals mentioned (thanks Loomy!) was the Golkonda Fort. This ruined city just 11 kilometers (about 6.8 miles) west of Hyderabad was built in the 13th century, while some historians say that it is actually 2,000 years old. This fort is a huge isolated granite hill that rises 400 feet above the surrounding plain. The most interesting thing about this place is that there was a vault that stored some of the most famous diamonds in the world mostly produced by the Kollur mine in Golkonda, including the Hope Diamond. When I went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C., I got the chance to see this diamond in person and I couldn’t believe how huge it is! If you want to check out some more about the Hope Diamond, visit http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/hope.htm.Another amazing site you can visit in Hyderabad is the beautiful Birla Mandir. This is a Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara and is made completely of white marble. This temple is open to the public so anyone is welcome. Just look at how magnificent this place is!Another monument that can’t be ignored is the Charminar. This has become a global icon for Hyderabad and is considered one of the most recognized structures in India. This square structure has a signature style of Islamic architecture and is beautiful not only on the outside but the inside as well. It was the monument which became the center of the new civilization in Hyderabad in the 16th century and therefore carries a big significance to the city.Other places in Hyderabad that you can visit include the Hi-Tec City which highlights the city’s specialty in the Technology industry (Chitika is located in this township), the majestic Chowmahalla Palace, and the Mecca Masjid, one of the oldest mosques in India. To find out more about Hyderabad, check out this guy’s website: http://www.hyderabadplanet.com/index.html. What do you think of this unique place?[...]



Caracas, Venezuela

2012-04-27T07:20:12.882-07:00

Hey Readers, hope you’ve been having a great weekend! I’ve been thinking about my vacation coming up this Wednesday (get ready, I’ll be writing about it when I get there!) I’m so excited about it, I started thinking about other places I would love to go on vacation someday. On that note, I decided to write tonight about Caracas, Venezuela. Caracas is the largest city and capital of Venezuela. It is located in a valley close to the Caribbean Sea separated by a high mountain range called Cerro Ávila. The city itself has a population of around 2.2 million while the metropolitan area has one closer to 5.2 million. Let’s take a closer look at this city, shall we?Caracas is known around the world for the quality of its restaurants. The city offers a wide array of styles of cuisine and you can taste any type of food, drinks, or desert. The restaurant most highly rated by locals is called Catar, which has an aggressively eclectic style of food. Perhaps the most popular and most beautiful site to visit while in Caracas is the Iglesia de la Candelaria. This place, dating back to around 1760, is also declared as the holiest place in the whole country. This cathedral is located in Plaza Bolivar, which is the heart of Caracas. This square is located in the old town part of the city. Walking around the square, you’ll have a blast and get a rich, historical experience. So when you want to take a trip down to South America, definitely consider Caracas as one of your options! Check out more about Caracas at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/caracas. [...]



Faroe Islands

2012-04-27T07:20:17.387-07:00

Even though this place that I want to write about today is extremely small, it can’t be overlooked for its beauty and majestic scenery. Faroe Islands, located in between Iceland and Norway in the Norwegian Sea, are a self-governing territory belonging to Denmark. Although it’s very much north, the Gulf Stream gives the islands a comfortable climate. This place just absolutely mesmerized me: mountainous and tranquil, it looks like heaven on earth. Even though the islands look as if they are hard to get to, they are surprisingly easily accessible, thanks to their new technological revamping in the past several years. Check out these pictures:You can explore the islands and their natural beauty by walking through trails or renting a car to drive through these cozy, picturesque towns. If you’re into outdoorsy activities, you can also try out the islands’ amazing hiking and bike trails. The Faroe Islands also love to hold regional festivals year round in towns like Klaksvík, Hvalvík, or Vági. These festivals vary from music and cultural to even sail ships. There’s always something to be captivated by on these islands, whether it be the culture, the people, or just the views all around you. Go check out more about Faroe Islands at http://www.visitfaroeislands.com/. [...]



Petra, Jordan

2012-04-27T07:20:22.256-07:00

For today, I wanted to go somewhere that is not really well known but nonetheless extremely beautiful and unique. Petra, Jordan is a historical and archeological city famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Hidden behind almost an impenetrable wall of rugged mountains, this ancient city is a majestic gem worth writing a whole blog post on! There is, in fact, nothing in the whole world that resembles Petra. Its rock-carved structures are full of mysterious charm and the city has proved itself to be the most famous site in all of Jordan. In its glory days, Petra was the center for caravan trade between all passing travelers from all around, including Gaza, Damascus, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf. Evidence has been found that the city was first settled around 1500 B.C.! With a perennial stream, Petra has created a sort of an artificial oasis with control of water for the traveling traders. The Petra basin has over 800 monuments for the visitor to see, including buildings, baths, tombs, temples, gateways, streets, and others. Although this city declined rapidly during the Roman Rule and suffered a huge earthquake, the city has kept most of its beauty alive. Most of the architecture seen is made from the kaleidoscopic sandstone naturally provided by the area. Petra is also known as the “Rose-Red City” because of the reddish tint that is given off by the sandstone. The whole city was abandoned for centuries until in 1812, it was once again discovered by a Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhart. Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been declared one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. It’s no wonder that Petra has been so appreciated by its visitors and critics. Just looking at the pictures, I’m sure you’re already mesmerized. According to locals, the best time of the day to visit Petra is during dawn and sunrise because you can see and explore all the colors displayed by the monuments in the light sun. Check out more info on Petra, Jordan at http://www.atlastours.net/jordan/petra.html.[...]



Cancun, Mexico

2012-04-27T07:20:34.388-07:00

¡Buenas días, amigos! I think this may be the longest time you’ve had to wait for a new blog post, I’m so sorry! I’ve been extremely busy with summer work and everything else. Anyway, let’s get straight to it. Today we’ll be traveling to Cancún, Mexico. Cancun is located on the southern tip of Mexico, and is known as a city of international tourism. The city geographically shows the number 7 and in the light portrays a golden serpent, hence its name from the Mayan translation, meaning “enchanted snake.” Once a Mayan settlement, Cancun is still home to a vestige called El Rey. Although extremely small, it is located in the “Hotel Zone” and is rather easy to get to. If you’re looking to get a better experience of the Ancient Mayan ruins though, you can visit El Meco, a much more substantial historical site, located just outside the city. In downtown Cancun, you can visit Plaza de Toros to see bullfights! Yes, while bullfighting is more famously known in Spain, you can also enjoy them in Mexico. This entertainment has taken its place in Cancun’s culture as much as tequila has. Being in Cancun, you obviously cannot miss the beautiful beaches. Cancun has been and still is one of the top destinations for college spring breaks and there are surely many reasons why. These beaches offer many aquatic activities such as parasailing, diving, boating excursions, and Jet Ski jungle tours. This is perhaps the most interesting place I noticed when checking out Cancun: The National Marine Park. This is one of the largest underwater museums on the planet and the first underwater sculpture park with over 400 life-size sculptures ranging from nine to twenty feet deep in the Mexican Caribbean. English artist Jason deCaires Taylor is the mastermind behind the project, showing how the Mayan people have evolved throughout the years in the “Silent Evolution.” The best part of this is that the sculptures were naturally designed to become artificial reefs and were constructed to promote marine life. Amazing, isn’t it?Cancun is most definitely one city with tons of history, things to do, and not to mention amazing tropical weather! Plan your next trip to Cancun, I don’t think you’ll regret it one bit. [...]



Tierra del Fuego

2012-04-27T07:20:38.306-07:00

Hello Readers! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. This weekend was SOOO hot until last night when the temperature cooled down a little bit. On that note, I’d love to go somewhere where it’s definitely cooled down since it’s almost winter there. Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago located at the southernmost tip of South America and consists mostly of a main island that is divided by Chile and Argentina. While not a huge city or an urban area, this place is largely known for its protected national parks and reserves. While this place was given its name by the first European explorer to visit the place, Ferdinand Magellan, Tierra del Fuego can trace civilization back to 10,000BC. In the 19th century, four natives were brought back to meet the British royalty in London and became, to some extent, celebrities. These four then traveled back to Tierra del Fuego and brought along Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin, who took extensive notes while on their expedition. Just because it’s located in South America, don’t expect to have a tropical vacation…you may need to pack a parka. This region has a similar climate to the Alaskan peninsula and Faroe Islands. If you’re into nature and outdoor activities, this is your heaven. But, even if that’s not your case, you’ll still love the captivating scenery. You can visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park on the Argentinean side of the island and enjoy the Patagonic Forest and the Altos Andes. You can also go for a train ride called the “End of the World Train”, named for being the southernmost functioning locomotive line in the whole world. Sound scary? Then skip the train and head over to the Chilean side of the island. On this side, you can visit the Alberto de Agonisti National Park where you can be awed by tidewater glaciers and steep fjords. This fascinating and interesting place is extremely underrated and overlooked by travel agents. Book your trip today to this hidden gem and experience the wonders that nature offers. [...]



Moscow, Russia

2012-04-27T07:20:43.322-07:00

Hey Readers! Hopefully by now you’ve seen the last epic Harry Potter movie. Personally I thought it was amazing and I’m extremely upset that the whole series is now over L Anyway, I feel like I’ve been writing a ton of blog posts on England, so I’m moving on to another fascinating place that you’ll love reading about.Moscow, Russia is the largest city and capital of Russia and has a deep history that is shown in its culture, architecture and people. It is also the northernmost city in the whole world that has a population more than 10 million people (the city’s population is around 12 million). If you’ve read my post on the cities with the most billionaires, you’d already know that Moscow has 79 billionaires, making it the city with the most billionaires in the world. Besides all the billionaires (what do we care, right?), there are plenty of things to see, eat and enjoy in Moscow. Perhaps the most famous place to visit in the city is the St. Basil’s Cathedral. This Russian Orthodox Church located in Red Square in the center of the city was built in order of Ivan the Terrible. Traditionally built in medieval times, the structure of the building includes a white stone base and buildings made from red bricks. Look how beautiful this place is!!The Red Square also features the Kremlin, once a citadel that now serves as the residence of the president of Russia. The Red Square is the heart of the city, and there you’ll find the most interesting monuments, cathedrals and other buildings that portray the city’s long history. Another cathedral you can visit, which is just as beautiful in its own unique way, is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This one is located on the banks of the Moskva River, and at 344 feet, it is the tallest cathedral in the world. Another interesting fact about this building is that in 1882, it was the place of the debut of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Although in 1931 the building was ordered to be demolished by Stalin, it was rebuilt in 1992 in the same form. Moscow is well known for their unique architecture, and perhaps the buildings that show this type are the Seven Sisters. These are seven buildings around the city that show the Stalinist designs, which feature the intertwinement of baroque and gothic with the technology used in building American skyscrapers. This style is easily recognizable and most certainly a magnificent sight to see. Moscow is perhaps one of the top places on my list to visit someday because it’s so interesting and offers so much history. Check out their website at http://www.moscowcity.com/attractions/attractions.htm.[...]



London, United Kingdom

2012-04-27T07:20:58.351-07:00

Hello readers! In celebration of the premier of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Part 2 movie, I decided to do this blog post on London, United Kingdom. I’m so excited to go and see this movie!!London is the largest and capital city of England and the United Kingdom, and is a leading global city in many aspects, such as fashion, business, media, and tourism. It is also the largest financial center besides New York City. London has a ton of things to flaunt, so let’s check it out!One of the most famous landmarks in the city is the Tower Bridge, which serves as both a bascule and a suspension bridge over River Thames. This bridge has become a national icon for United Kingdom yet it is often mistaken for the London Bridge (like the children’s song), which is the next bridge upstream. The upper level of the bridge is open to the public to travel on and offers a magnificent view.Another attraction you can’t miss in London is the London Eye. This mega-sized Ferris wheel is also located on the Thames River, and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the city. The wheel carries 32 sealed and air-conditioned pods that represent each of the 32 boroughs in England. From up there, you will probably get the best view of the entire city. The Westminster Palace is the meeting place of the two Houses of Parliament. It is also close to the famous Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were recently wed. The Palace’s clock tower, better known as “Big Ben” is a huge national icon. While the old palace may have been built around the 11th century, this particular palace has been modeled in the 19th century. Speaking of palaces, we can’t ignore the Buckingham Palace. This is the primary residence of the British royal family. Built for Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to reside in the palace in 1837, it is now the home of Queen Elizabeth II and all of her family (including the newlyweds!). Well there you have it. Now go enjoy the movie if you haven’t seen it already![...]



Blarney, Ireland

2012-04-27T07:21:01.779-07:00

Hello Readers! Welcome back to my blog J I was talking with my friends the other day and found out about this awesome place I must share with everyone. Blarney, Ireland is a town in County Cork and is famously known for many reasons. Blarney is the main tourist attraction in County Cork and is mostly known for being the home of the Blarney Castle and Blarney Rock. I know, that sounds pretty obvious but keep reading!The Blarney Castle is a medieval castle that has existed since before AD 1200. Although the castle has had multiple fortifications, the site has not lost its original form. It was subsequently occupied at one time by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have supplied four thousand men from Munster to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (mmm Munster cheese!). This place is fantastically beautiful, surrounded by all different types of gardens and beautiful paths on which you can walk through while you tour the grounds. You can also visit the Blarney House, a Scottish baronial-style mansion that was built on the grounds in 1874. Of course, the Blarney Castle wouldn’t be such a magical experience to visit without the Blarney Stone, located at the top of the castle. The Blarney Stone has many stories of legendary history by different groups, such as that the rock was the pillow of Jacob as in the biblical story, or that it was used as the Stone of Destiny in Scotland because it had prophetic powers of royal succession. Whichever story it is truly identified with, the stone is known to bestow the gift of eloquence. Tourists may hang upside down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone for this gift. After supplying men for the battle of Bannockburn, it is said that Cormac McCarthy was given this stone by the Scots as a gift of gratitude. There are plenty of other things to do in County Cork if you don’t want to make a trip just to visit Blarney. Other castles and mansions include the Bantry House and Gardens, which offers an individual sound tour, and the Desmond Castle, which held American sailors as prisoners during the American Revolutionary War. You can also visit the Fota Wildlife Park, which is Ireland’s only wildlife park. So check out Blarney and County Cork, Ireland today and let me know what you think![...]



Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

2012-04-27T07:21:04.827-07:00

Edinburgh, United Kingdom is the capital of Scotland and is nicknamed the Athens of the North. It is known as Europe’s festival capital, holding all different types of festivals year round. There are so many things to do and explore in Edinburgh, from castles and museums to gardens and markets. There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. While looking through these pictures of Edinburgh, I realized it’s probably better for all readers to see and enjoy these pictures than reading about it. Let me guide you through these pictures:The Our Dynamic Earth is an exhibit and museum that is most definitely worth visiting. This place, with free admission, offers a unique 3D AND 4D experience that you will never forget. The museum teaches its visitors of the history of our planet, the present and even the future. The Edinburgh Castle was erected in the 7th century on an extinct volcano. This castle is an extremely historic place, not to mention absolutely beautiful! It is the connecting monument in between Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town. This is a scene you would find yourself encased in when you visit one of Edinburgh's many festivals!The Royal Mile is located right in the heart of Edinburgh and is the center for public gatherings and the main place for an amazing local shopping spree.As I'm sure most of you know already, Scottish Whiskey is famously known all around the world. Trying one of these authentic whiskeys is an opportunity you most definitely cannot miss when you're there!Edinburgh is a beautiful, unique gem that is proud of its rich, long history and of its magnificence. What do you think of Edinburgh?[...]



Washington D.C., USA

2012-04-27T07:21:08.458-07:00

Hey Readers! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!! I’m extremely excited to celebrate America’s birthday alllll day, and on that note, I decided to do a post on some place that fits the shoe the best for today: Washington D.C., United States. Washington D.C., otherwise referred to as Washington, “The District”, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States founded in 1790. As the capital, this district does not belong to any particular state in the country and is instead directly overseen by the federal government. The city was, naturally, named after the first president, George Washington. I don’t want to bore you with the history of the city so I’ll go straight into what you can do TODAY at “The District.” The first to see is probably all the big monuments around town, such as the White House (that’s a given), the U.S. Capitol, and the Washington Monument. These are the most famous monuments known to most citizens around the country and are often featured on dollar bills and television shows. If you’re going to Washington D.C., you can’t ignore the Smithsonian Institution, and mostly because it covers a large chunk of the city. These are all different types of museums, gardens and monuments that you just must visit! There are 19 museums, 9 research centers, and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world. Some of these include the Air and Space Museum (which features Amelia Earhart’s famous red airplane and also the Spirit of St. Louis), American History Museum, Natural History Museum (you may have seen this one in the second Night at the Museum movie), and the National Zoo. Oh, and the best part of this: all admissions to museums and galleries are FREE! To check out all the museums, galleries and zoo that make up the institution, visit http://www.si.edu/Museums. D.C. also has endless monuments you can visit, and the most touching monuments are the memorials. Some of these memorials consist of the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial (the huge statue of Lincoln sitting on the chair). There are many others that surround the National Mall (no it’s not a mall you can go shopping in). If you’re planning a trip to Washington D.C., don’t let it be a one or two day trip. I’ve been there twice and both were dissatisfying since I only got to stay for a day or two. If you want to get the full experience and visit all the monuments, museums, galleries, and memorials, you’ll definitely want to stay for a couple extra days. This is most certainly a very unique place full of sites to see and enjoy. The best time of the year to visit the District is most likely during the Cherry Blossom Festival, which usually runs from end of March to end of April. This is the perfect time to go since everywhere you look, you’ll be absolutely stunned by the beauty of the cherry blossom flowers. Hope you have an amazing day full of celebration today, readers!! [...]



Baku, Azerbaijan

2012-04-27T07:21:11.603-07:00

I was watching a show on television the other day and came across a unique place that is not frequently reminded to most that it even exists. Nevertheless, this place is still amazing and offers fascinating places to visit. Baku, Azerbaijan is the capital and largest city of the country and is home to over 2 million inhabitants. Azerbaijan is located amongst Iran, Georgia, Armenia and Russia and Baku is on the Caspian Sea. According to Lonely Planet, Baku was voted as one of the top ten spots in the world for urban nightlife! Talk about unexpected, huh? At first I hesitated on doing a blog post on this city but then I was astounded by how much I could write about! On that note, let’s explore Baku’s most popular and famous sites.First and foremost, you’ll want to go to the Maiden’s Tower. The main reason for this is that it is the highest point in Baku where you can get a good look of the whole city. Locally known as Giz Galasi, this tower was built in the 12th century and still functions perfectly. Not only is the tower a place to climb up to get an amazing view, it also houses a museum that displays the history of Baku and its culture. One of the most magnificent and beautiful places to visit in Baku is the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall. If you’re into the arts, this would be the perfect place for you! Just having celebrated its 100 year anniversary, this music hall has a lot of history behind it. Not only was it a gathering place to enjoy concerts and musical performances, the hall has also been used as a rally spot and a place of political gathering. A huge cultural pride of Baku is carpet weaving. Carpet weaving is an ancient art in Azerbaijan that the people of Baku hold dear and these beautiful carpets are known all over the world as the best. There are seven, yes…seven, school just for learning different carpet dyeing and weaving techniques and styles. The carpets of Baku are indescribably exquisite and are so famous that they have been mentioned in eulogies, biblical stories, classic literature, and folklore. Baku is a marvelous hidden gem that should be explored by all who love to travel! The city has a tremendous amount of rich history and tourism that will amaze its visitors. What do you think of Baku, Azerbaijan?[...]



Seychelles

2012-04-27T07:21:15.171-07:00

I’ve been in such a summery mood lately; I can’t help but keep exploring to these amazing tropical places! Seychelles is an island country off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean and forms an archipelago of 115 islands. These islands were first settled by the famous Vasco da Gama in 1502 and were often used by traders between Europe, Africa and Asia. Now let’s look at some amazing places you can visit while in Seychelles!Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles and contains the nation’s capital city, Victoria. On this island, you can find the Victoria Clocktower, also called Lorloz by locals. The Lorloz is an elegant replica of the clock that stood in London, England at the junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road. This one in Seychelles was erected in 1903 after the country became a British colony in 1812 and still serves as a major national monument. This is probably the most popular attraction in Seychelles since it does accommodate to 90 percent of the population of the whole country.Another national monument and perhaps a natural wonder is the sight you will see at the L’Union Estate on La Digue Island. This giant granite boulder (it sounds weird, but keep reading), formed by cooling magma deep within the earth’s crust around 750 million years ago, is a spectacular tourist attraction to visit. A sculpture formed by various forces of nature over millions of years, the shapes and large crystals embedded in the boulder will mesmerize you. On La Digue Island, you can also visit the Barbara Jensen Art Studio, who is a local artist that displays various styles of paintings. The most interesting and unique thing that you will notice when visiting is that Seychelles is home to some of the rarest forms of flora and fauna (plants and wildlife) in the world. The country prides itself of having the record for far sighted conservation policies. On these islands, you’ll find some of the most exotic and wondrous species, including the smallest frog, the largest tortoise, the jellyfish tree, and the only flightless bird of the Indian Ocean. You most definitely won’t have a boring moment visiting Seychelles Islands! It’s really no wonder that it’s a huge destination for honeymooners. If you want to find out more about the islands, visit their website at: http://www.seychelles.travel/en/home/index.php[...]



Panama City, Panama

2012-04-27T07:21:18.527-07:00

I just realized that I haven’t really adventured to some amazing places in Central America! To change that, I decided to write this post on Panama City, Panama. Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama and lies at the Pacific entrance of the famous Panama Canal (how many did I just say Panama in one sentence?). Founded in 1519 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias de Avila, Panama has come a long way to become a metropolis of 1.3 million residents.In Panama City, you can find Panama Viejo, meaning “Old Panama.” In this part of the city, you will get to see the first Spanish City built by the settlers in the 16th century! This is particularly unique because it was the starting point of the expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru. It was also a huge trading route in the history of the American continent. More interesting than Panama Viejo, though, is the Casco Viejo (also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe). After a pirate attack and an earthquake in the early 1600s, a walled city was built to protect the settlers against future pirate attacks. When the construction began for the Panama Canal in 1903, the Casco Viejo was all that stood of Panama City.Speaking of the Panama Canal, it is perhaps the most famously known part of the city. To get a full experience, you can take advantage of boat tours that will take you zipping through the canal. By taking these boat trips, you’ll see all the beautiful beaches and the tropical islands that stand at the mouth of the canal. The amazing news about this is that these 30 minute tours are available for only about $6! Another thing that Panama City is known for is its nightlife. There are plenty of night clubs, dance clubs and bars that cater to all different kinds of crowds. One club in particular is called the Habana Panama, which is unique for giving off an old Cuban vibe and is one of the hottest dance spots in town. Panama City, with its amazing tropical climate, is definitely a place worth taking a trip to. This city offers a unique experience that intertwines European, American, and Cuban influences while it has created its own culture. [...]



Ulan Bator, Mongolia

2012-04-27T07:21:21.850-07:00

I’ve decided to go somewhere a little different today than usual. Not that I’ve never written about cold places, but I think this is a particularly exotic and unique place. Ulan Bator (or UlaanBataar), Mongolia is the capital and largest city in the country. Meaning “Red Hero,” this city has a population of just over 1 million. Suhkbataar Square is the central square in Ulan Bator. The Government Palace and in the middle of the square stands the statue of Suhk Janjin, the leader of Mongolia’s revolution against Russia in 1921. There are other statues in the square as well, like the one of Genghis Khan, who was the founder, ruler and emperor of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. This square is still a central spot for major state ceremonies, cultural events, and exhibitions.Gobi Desert is perhaps the most famous attraction in Mongolia. Even though it’s not right in Ulaanbataar (that would probably make them hard to live there anyways), it is nearby and close enough to visit. At 1,000 miles wide and 500 miles its length, this is Asia’s largest desert in the world, making it the world’s fifth. The Gobi is a cold desert and…check this out: it’s pretty common to see frost and snow on its dunes! It is a place with one of the most extreme temperatures you’ll find anywhere. Within 24 hours, it can go from freezing up to 100oF. When you visit the desert, tours and expeditions will allow you to go camel or horseback riding through the beautiful views, dig for fossils and treasures, or just enjoy the wildlife.Other tourist attractions in Ulan Bator include the Terelj National Park where you can stay in tourist camping sites and enjoy the hot springs located there, the Gandan Monastery where you can relax and meditate for a while, and the Choijin Lam Temple Museum where you can check out some amazing artwork and artifacts that are dated back thousands of years. So check out Ulan Bator in Mongolia the next time you feel up for an adventure! J [...]



Tokyo, Japan

2012-04-27T07:21:25.370-07:00

Sorry I haven’t written a blog post in so long, I’ve been extremely busy this weekend! Check out these pictures from the Bruins parade on Saturday. My friends and I were down at Government Center and even though it was extremely hot, it was worth it to see Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas up this close. Anyway, back to subject…Tokyo, Japan is the capital of Japan and its largest city. With a total of 13 million people residing in the metropolitan area, this unique city is no place to ignore. Originally named Edo for “Estuary”, the name was changed to Tokyo, meaning “East Capital” when it became the imperial capital in 1868. Tokyo is a huge financial center with its stock exchange being the third largest in the world. Even after the disastrous earthquake back in March, Japan has officially announced that it is safe and welcoming tourists.Harajuku is a fashion capital of the world and has a very unique street fashion. It’s a neighborhood for young people where they hang around showing off their outfits and accessories. This is also the prime spot for shopping in Tokyo (did I mention I love shopping?). Harajuku is famously known for its Gothic Lolita, visual Kei, rockabilly, hip hop, and punk styles. Personally, I’m not really into this fashion style and if that’s also your case, you can also visit Omotesando for some international fashion styles. The cuisine in Tokyo is also famous and highly rated. Its closest competitor in cuisine is Paris, which Tokyo has twice as many stars awarded to restaurants. Nihonryori Ryugin is one of the most famous restaurants for its classic Japanese taste while Ninja Akasaka is the top rated restaurant in the city that offers a unique experience. Ninja Akasaka is a ninja-themed restaurant that is full of surprises not to mention you’ll be greeted and served by a ninja! Amazing.The best thing that the locals recommend for tourists to do while in Tokyo is to take a stroll in gardens around the city and experience a tea ceremony. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is mainly influenced by Zen Buddhism and is a huge cultural activity in the country. This ceremony involves a powdered green tea called Matcha and a light meal. The setting can be formal or informal and can involve thin or thick tea. The ceremony is meant for the person to feel the harmony of nature and self-cultivation. There’s much more to do in Tokyo besides these things but can’t all be covered because that would take 10 pages of writing. Tokyo is an exciting city that offers eccentric fashion, cuisine and culture. Visiting Tokyo would truly be an experience that you will never forget![...]



Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2012-04-27T07:21:29.686-07:00

I wanted to write a blog post last night but I want to hold that one off to write about this one instead. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup last night against the Vancouver Canucks, woohoo! On that note, I thought I would do a post about Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver is on the western coast of Canada and is the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Vancouver has developed in the past several decades to be the third largest film production center in North America after Los Angeles and New York. For this reason, Vancouver has recently been dubbed “Hollywood North.” Officially incorporated in 1886, the city has just celebrated its 125th anniversary. Although not as interesting as the city of Boston (hahaha), here are some places to check out while in Vancouver.The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium is an astronomy museum founded in 1968. The museum is named after H.R. MacMillan, a British Columbia industrialist and philanthropist. This is a site to see especially in the summer when the skies are clearer. The VanDusen Botanical Garden is a public garden in Vancouver and is a place you cannot miss while you’re there. There are multiple exhibits always happening around the year and as you can see: everything is breathtaking! With just a small admission fee, you can browse around the whole garden for as long as you’d like and get lost in the beauty of all the colors you’ll see around you.If you’re up for a little adventure while in Vancouver, you can choose to go whale watching with the Prince of Whales. This company offers not only whale watching by boat but also flightseeing tours! They will take you up in the air and make a round trip between Vancouver and Victoria. You can watch as massive killer whales, baleen whales and other sea mammals such as seals, sea lions and otters roam around their habitats. We’ve explored the city of Vancouver in British Columbia. Hope you enjoyed it! Now may not be such a good time to visit because it’s probably a tear-fest over there after the game last night…but it’s still a unique place to enjoy another time. :)[...]



Budapest, Hungary

2012-04-27T07:21:33.201-07:00

Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is the capital of Hungary and the country’s largest city. Budapest lies on both sides of the Danube River and was first built and settled by Celts around the 1st century. Let’s get right in to some amazing places you can check out!The Budapest City Park was established as an English-style national garden in the 19th century where people could relax and entertain within a green environment. Inside the park, the Vajdahunyad Castle stands with City Lake at its foot. Also in the park lies the Szechenyi Baths, a thermal spa built in 1881. Budapest is often called “the city of spas” by locals and this one is perhaps the most famous one of them all. The park also includes the Budapest Amusement Park, the Grand Circus, and the Budapest Zoo, which is one of the oldest in the world. At the end of the City Park, your eye will catch the Heroes’ Square; a tribute to Hungary’s National Identity. This spacious square was built in celebration of the city’s 1000th anniversary. Around the square, you will find statues of all the kings, princes and leaders of Hungary. After the Mongol Tribes invaded Hungary in the 13th century, the foundations for the Buda Castle were built for King Béla. Until the 20th century, it served as the palace for all Hungarian royals. It is now part of the Budapest World Heritage Site. The Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace built for decorative purposes in the 19th century. The structure is a combination of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque and is full of turrets, projections, parapets and climbing stairways. The view from the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the best views you will get of Budapest. Budapest is one of the treasured gems in Europe and certainly deserves to be called it. The beautiful structures of the city that make it so magnificent should not be missed the next time you are backpacking through Europe! What do you think of Budapest?[...]



Fiji

2012-04-27T07:21:36.832-07:00

On the way home from work a couple days ago, I drank one of the best bottled waters on the market and decided to write a post on the islands it comes from. Fiji, located Northeast of New Zealand (remember that post? If you don’t, you should go look), is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific islands. Once a British colony, the 333-island nation gained its independence in 1970. Let’s look at some attractions to check out in Fiji, shall we?The most popular spots of Fiji are Nadi and Denarau on Viti Levu Island. In Nadi, you can head down a narrow dirt road where you will find the “Sabeto Hot Springs,” which locals call it the Sabeto Mud Baths. When you arrive, you won’t be able to ignore the smell of surfur (which smells like rotten eggs if you remember learning that in science class) but you’ll run into an experience of a lifetime. With just a small entry fee, you can pick between three mud pools: cool, warm, and hot. Don’t forget to bring a camera because you will regret it if you don’t get a picture of yourself or your friends absolutely covered in mud and looking like you’re straight out a jungle action film. This unique adventure is not to be ignored. After you’ve cleaned off the mud, you can head over to the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club for some fun and recreation in the golf course or tennis court. If you’re out shopping in Fiji, you should most definitely look for the most unique treasure sought by tourists from all over the world: J. Hunter Pearls. These pearls are unique for their untraditional color and known for their purity. They were named after Justin Hunter, a native marine biologist who actively protects the marine environment in Fiji. You can find these on Main Street in Savusavu Town, which is on Vanua Levu Island.If you want to be the ultimate tourist while visiting Fiji, you can also check out the obvious things to do, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. Thanks to the amazing tropical climate, Fiji has some of the best soft coral reefs in the world. Traveling to Fiji is extremely easy: you can go there with a cruise line or get some great deals on vacation packages. Fiji is an absolutely beautiful place to relax and forget about life for a while. So next time you grab one of those Fiji water bottles, think of how awesome it would be to visit![...]



Dead Sea

2012-04-27T07:21:42.664-07:00

I’m not going to a city today but somewhere that is still extremely unique. I’ve seen on television that you can literally run across this body of water! The Dead Sea, technically a lake, is located in between Jordan and Israel. It is called the Salt Sea by locals and its surface is roughly 1,400 feet below sea level, which makes it the lowest elevation on Earth’s surface on dry land. Although it isn’t the saltiest body of water in the world, it is the deepest salt lake in the world at 1,237 feet deep. With 33.7% salinity, the Dead Sea earns its name because there are no animals or plants who can survive in the harsh environment. It has been a huge attraction for thousands of years, and according to the Bible, it was a place of refuge for King David and a health resort for King Herod. The density of the lake is extremely high, making difficult for people to swim but rather easy to float around (literally).Today, there are many resorts and spas found near the Dead Sea. The salt and mud from the lake have been extremely popular for millennia (yes, millennia!) because they are believed to have healing powers and health benefits. The salt and mud are rich with minerals and are some of the main attractions to the Dead Sea for visitors from all over the world. Some of these spas feature thermomineral hot springs…talk about some extreme pampering! Dead Sea salt and mud aren’t just a local craze. I know I’ve personally walked around malls and was stopped by kiosk workers to try out their Dead Sea bath salts, mud packs, and body butters. Around the lake, there are great hiking trails available and excursion packages that are led by locals. If you want to get the full Dead Sea experience, you can go on guided tours where you not only get a tour around the area but can also try out mud sculpting and drum circles. What do you think of the Dead Sea?[...]



Hong Kong, China

2012-04-27T07:21:47.094-07:00

My last post about cities with billionaires reminded me that I haven’t traveled in my blog to Hong Kong, China yet! Hong Kong is often referred to as “East Meets West” for when it used to be a British colony, it had been heavily influenced by European culture. The city is one of the world’s leading international financial centers and even has a different political system than the rest of the country. The people of Hong Kong are strict believers of Feng Shui and are well known for their unique cuisine that represents East and West. Let’s check out some cool places in Hong Kong, shall we?Victoria Peak is a mountain also known as Mount Austin and just referred to locals as The Peak. From the top of the mountain, you can see the spectacular view of the whole city skyline as well as the famous Victoria Harbor. You can get up and down from it via the Peak Tram, which climbs up around 1,200 feet of steep hills that will make you feel like the skyscrapers are leaning to the side! Up top, you’ll love visiting the Peak Tower, which is one of the most interesting venues in the whole city. The Peak Tower is considered one of the most stylish architectural icons in Hong Kong and features the city’s highest 360o viewing platform called the Sky Terrace. As I’ve mentioned before, Victoria Harbor is famously known in Hong Kong. It is one of the city’s most treasured assets and is admired by visitors from all over the world. The harbor also hosts “A Symphony of Lights” which features more than 40 skyscrapers in a stunning light show extravaganza. To enjoy this show, you can hop onboard a harbor cruise, the ferry, or a traditional Chinese “junk” (not really just a piece of junk but that’s what it’s called…I was confused when I read this at first hahaha). The last but certainly not least tourist attraction that will complete your trip to Hong Kong is the Giant Buddha called “Tian Tan Buddha.” This bronze statue of a whopping 112 feet was completed in 1993. It now sits on the Ngong Ping plateau where visitors can climb 268 stairs to see it up close (as if it wasn’t big enough already). The statue attracts millions of visitors from all over Asia and some tourists come specifically for the statue. There you have it: Hong Kong’s spectacular main attractions. It’s truly a place you’d want to visit for its unique culture, cuisine and of course, the people. [...]



Cities with Most Billionaires

2012-04-27T07:21:54.669-07:00

Memorial Day Weekend was a busy, BUSY weekend filled with exciting events! On Monday, I even got to go to a Red Sox game with my friends from home. On this blog post, I decided to take a little different approach and put a new twist by not only naming off one unique place, but something else. I was catching up on some current events on Yahoo news and came across this article: Cities with the Most Billionaires (This also reminded me of that Bruno Mars song).I’ll name off the top 5 cities in descending order:1. Moscow The capital of Russia wins the race with a whopping 79 billionaires!!!2. New York The Big Apple comes in second with 59 billionaires, including Ralph Lauren, Donald Trump, and Michael Bloomberg.3. London With 41 billionaires, the British capital finished off third this year.4. Hong Kong This Chinese city came so close to London with 40 billionaires, including Angela Leong and Li Ka-shing.5. Istanbul Remember my earlier post on Istanbul? This Turkish city finished fifth in the competition with 36 billionaires.This article made my jaw drop…79 billionaires in one city?? That’s just outrageous! It really inspired me that it is possible to strike it that rich. Hope you enjoyed this little twist! What did you think?[...]



Florida Keys, USA

2012-04-27T07:21:58.193-07:00

I’ve been extremely excited that these past several days have been sunny and warm outside! After over a week of constant rain and grossness (yuck!), I’m ecstatic to finally catch some rays. On that note, today I decided to go to the Florida Keys, a vacation I took two summers ago. Although the Keys are a couple of hours away from Miami, the archipelago of a whopping 4,500 islands is most definitely worth the trip. U.S. Route 1 goes all the way down to Key West from the east coast of Maine, and the part of the highway going across the keys is called the “Overseas Highway.” There are five main keys: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, and Key West. All five of these keys have something unique to bring to the table. Key Largo is the best key to go diving and snorkeling, while Islamorada is known for sport fishing. Marathon is the heart of the keys and offers the best vacation resorts. Big Pine Key is best for maximum relaxation and is awesome for boating and bird watching. Last but certainly not least, Key West is the most famously known key as the “Last Resort.”Key West is certainly a unique place that is known for its heavenly sightseeing. There you will find the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in the heart of Old Key West. Hemingway lived and wrote for over ten years in this house before his death. The house is currently home to about 60 polydactyl cats (meaning that they have extra toes) and these cats are taken care of by the museum employees. Just across town, you can also check out Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe where they make the original Key Lime Pie! I happened to buy this pie (it's my absolute favorite dessert) and it was the most amazing and delicious experience. My sister, mom and I at the Southernmost PointKey West is also the southernmost point of continental United States and is 90 miles away from Cuba. While it was common for Cubans to escape the country after its revolution to Key West, this practice has died down with inspections of illegal immigrants and naval patrol. You can also check out Duval Street which is full of history of old settlements and museums. The most captivating part of the Florida Keys is the tropical beaches. The clear turquoise waters will mesmerize you and bring you some amazing relaxation and enjoyment. Also while you are there, you should most certainly try snorkeling or scuba diving. While I was there, I went snorkeling in Marathon then had a nice Florida Keys barbecue dinner at a restaurant nearby called Porky’s Bayside. This was honestly one of the most interesting vacations I have ever been on and would love to go back someday! [...]



Sri Lanka

2012-04-27T07:22:01.086-07:00

Since my last post was about a colder region, I decided to go a little bit around the world to somewhere warmer. Sri Lanka is a country right off the southeastern coast of India that is well known for its export of raw spices and goods. For its beauty, the country has rightfully earned the name "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean." Sri Lanka has over 3,000 years of written history, making it one of the oldest documented civilizations in the world. Let's look at some amazing places to visit while in Sri Lanka!The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka. Attention elephant lovers, this is your dream come true! You get to interact with nearly 3,000 elephants bathing down at a river bank and with a small fee, you can feed them at lunchtime. Although this place has gotten mixed reviews from its visitors and has gotten criticized for holding elephants captive, the orphanage is certainly a place worth visiting while checking out Sri Lanka's attractions.Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka is unique because it is considered sacred by four different religions. This mountain is also called the "Butterfly Mountain" because there are so many butterflies residing on top of the mountain. There is a strange footprint at the top of the mountain that is interpreted in four different ways by the four different religions. According to Buddhists, it is the footprint of Buddha that he left behind as he walked away from Adam's Bridge. Hindus believe it to be the footprint of Lord Shiva. Christians believe it was the footprint of Saint Thomas. Lastly, Muslims believe the footprint was left by Adam himself. If you're up for the climb up the mountain, you can go see this footprint for yourself, which is protected by a Buddhist temple around it. If you’re looking for more relaxing instead, you can visit some of the beaches in Sri Lanka. There are beaches spread along more than 1,000km of the coast and are absolutely gorgeous. Some of the most famous beaches in the country are Negombo, Hikkaduwa, and Beruwala. From what we’ve explored in Sri Lanka, I think this place is unique enough for a visit some time, what do you think?[...]



Helsinki, Finland

2012-04-27T07:22:04.215-07:00

Helsinki, Finland is a huge attraction to millions of visitors every year for many reasons. It is the capital of Finland and is the world’s northernmost urban area. Established in 1550, Helsinki has developed a rich history that is still embraced by its locals. The city is a leader in architecture and design and is famously known for its numerous Art Nouveau buildings. The most unique part of the city is its climate. Because of its high latitude, Helsinki experiences less than six hours of sunlight around the winter solstice and close to nineteen hours around the summer solstice. The Helsinki Cathedral is perhaps the most popular attraction in Helsinki and its symbol. Built from 1830 and finished in 1852, the Cathedral was known as the St. Nicholas’ Church until Finland’s independence from Russia. Around 350,000 people visit the church annually, mostly tourists but also by regular attendees. The cathedral hosts weddings, religious events and organ recitals around the calendar and the admission for tours of the cathedral is free if you’re up for a visit!Helsinki has over 80 museums, including the most popular Finnish museums. A big portion of them are art and design museums, but there are also unique museums such as the Fire Museum, Arabia Museum and Gallery, Kindergarten Museum, and the Submarine Vesikko Museum. There are other places and events to attend in the city. Helsinki hosts the Helsinki Festival of arts and culture, which takes place every August. The city also hosted the fifteenth Summer Olympics in 1952 and the stadium is still maintained extremely well today. [...]



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2012-04-27T07:22:08.109-07:00

Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, is more commonly known as Rio. It is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is famous for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba and beaches. Some of these balneario beaches include Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana (does anyone remember these songs??). The city is home to about 6.1 million residents and was the capital of Brazil until 1960 when Brasília became the new capital. The first European exploration to the area was on January 1, 1502 to the Guanabara Bay by Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos, hence the name Rio de Janeiro (January River). Rio is an absolutely breathtaking place (or as it seems like it from pictures I’ve seen) and it is one of the few places I’m determined to visit someday! Let’s check out some awesome places you can gaga over when you get there.Cristo Redentor, Portuguese for Christ Redeemer, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Rio. It is a giant statue of Jesus Christ finished in 1931 that is considered the second largest Art Deco statue in the world. Overall, it stands at about 130 feet and is located on the top of Corcovado Mountain. This statue overlooks the city and has become an icon for Rio and all of Brazil. In 2007, it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Cristo Redentor was built to symbolize not only Christianity, but also of peace. It’s a huge monument for all to see and enjoy, you most certainly will not miss this one.Before the 40 days of Roman Catholic Lent, there is an annual celebration called Carnival in Rio de Janeiro that attracts visitors from all over the world. The event started in 1840 and now attracts almost 1 million people just in one day! There are parades in every corner of the city where samba dancers and musicians in lavish costumes get to show off their moves. This event takes place every March; it’s definitely something you can think about while planning a trip to South America!After you’ve seen all the big and popular attractions, you can “relax” at the famous and beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro. These beaches are so crowded you won’t just see a sea of water but also a sea of people. Don’t forget to pack your suitcase with some thong bikinis; there will be plenty of women showing off their bikini bods at the Brazilian beaches! I’d love to go to Brazil and visit Rio, what do you think of this unique place? [...]



Québec City, Canada

2012-04-27T07:22:12.688-07:00

Today we’re going to Québec City, Canada. Although I’ve been to Québec when I was younger, I unfortunately did not get a full experience out of the trip because I went in the middle of an awful, snowy winter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the things to do in this amazing city! Québec is the capital of the Québec Province in Canada and the second largest city after Montréal in the province. The flag of the province also includes the fleur de lis, also the symbol of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma! Québec city was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608 and is one of the oldest cities in North America. It is also the only remaining fortified city in North America north of Mexico, which means that there are walls that surround the entire city. Check out some of these sites to visit the next time you make a trip to Canada!Château Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel for its beauty and lavish architecture. This hotel is hard to miss because it dominates the skyline of Québec City. Once a real palace, the building was restructured as a hotel by architect Bruce Price and William Van Horne, the General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century. The name was inspired by the French governor, Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac. Located in the Old Québec district, you’ll love the historic and antique places to check out. There are horse-drawn carriages, street entertainers, singers, and artists. If you like to check out the local art scene, the Rue du Trésor offers an open-air art gallery for all the aspiring artists to flaunt their talents. If you are feeling up for a challenge and are planning a winter trip to Québec, then you should most definitely visit the Ice Hotel. This is an experience that you just cannot miss out on while you’re there! Otherwise the hotel will literally melt away in the spring. The Hôtel de Glace, first built in 2001, is constructed every year to last for four months. It is made of 15,000 tons of snow and 500,000 tons of ice! You can have a comfortable stay at the hotel while your luggage storage, meals and showers are offered at the Four Points Sheraton Québec. These packages might seem a little pricey, ranging from $400 to $600 per person, but they are so worth it. Some offer dogsledding rides with a shuttle service or a visit to the hotel’s sauna and hot tub, while every package comes with ice cider cocktails in ice flutes. Whether you’re looking for a winter adventure or a romantic getaway, the Hôtel de Glace offers a unique experience you will never forget. As well as these awesome places to visit, there are plenty of places in Québec if you want to grab a bite to eat. The Restaurant Le Patriarche, which is also located in Old Québec, is famous for its French and Canadian cuisine. It offers courses made from local farm products that are simply to die for. However, if you’re looking around on a budget, you should try out the most famous and highest rated restaurant in town called Casa Calzone. This Italia[...]



Gibraltar

2012-04-27T07:22:15.748-07:00

If you’re planning a trip to Europe this summer, you’ll want to make a stop by this beauteous wonder: Gibraltar. A territory of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar has a huge history and offers many sights worth visiting. There’s so much to do in Gibraltar, from castle ruins to shopping centers. Even with its extremely small size, it would take a whole week to see everything! Here are some of the awesome and unique places you can’t miss while in Gibraltar. St. Michael’s Cave is a series of caves made of limestone and are found on the Rock of Gibraltar. It was long ago known to be bottomless and was the subject of many Gibraltar’s legends. One of these legends told that the cave was one end of a subterranean nature that moved more than 15 miles long and that Barbary Apes, or Gibraltar Monkeys entered Gibraltar from Morocco from this passage long, long ago. Another legend tells that the Rock of Gibraltar was one of the Pillars of Hercules, was the cave was thought to be the Gateway to Hades, or Hell where the dead of the Underworld rested. St. Michael’s cave has been explored by many and now serves as a tourist attraction. Its largest chamber, called the Cathedral Cave, holds an auditorium that seats 100 people. It holds many concerts, light shows, and Miss Gibraltar beauty pageants. The cave attracts more than a million visitors per year so go check it out today because admission is only about ₤8.00. What a bargain for some amazing sightseeing!If you’re in for some exercise in Gibraltar and you love to hike, you can challenge yourself to hike the Mediterranean Steps. While they are simply stairs made of limestone, its extreme height and length up to the top are not for the faint-hearted. During your trek, you’ll be awed by the breathtaking views afar and the nature within. However, if you hate stairs (like I do) but you’d still like to get up to the top of the steps, cable car rides are available! Whether you want to climb the stairs or float right over them, you’ll love the view of the Mediterranean Steps. So check out Gibraltar, it’s really got something for the whole family! I think it’ll be so worth the trip to see all the amazing natural wonders and unique places. [...]



Lhasa, Tibet

2012-04-27T07:22:19.667-07:00

I’m going across the world from Germany for this post. Lhasa, Tibet is a hidden (literally in between the Himalaya Mountains) jewel that needs discussion on my blog. Just looking around the Web for these pictures was so much fun and I’m really excited to talk about it! Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. At an altitude of 11,450 feet, it is one of the highest cities of the world. The city embraces a very strong Buddhist culture and is known for its beautiful temples and palaces. Here are some fascinating places to check out in Lhasa. The Potala Palace was named after Mount Potala and served as the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. The palace was built in 1645 by the fifth Dalai Lama and was abandoned when the fourteenth fled from it after an invasion. It was constructed with a copper foundation to protect it from earthquakes. The palace is known to be one of the three main hills in Lhasa that make up the “Three Protectors of Tibet.” The Dalai Lama really lived in style by the looks of this palace! The combination of bright colors really makes a bold artistic and architectural statement; the Potala Palace is a huge tourist attraction today. The Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet and means “The House of Buddha.” It was founded in the 7th century by King Songsten Gampo. It is believed that the temple was built to store important Buddhist statues that his two brides brought to Lhasa as part of their dowries. Today there are about 800 religious metal sculptures inside the temple that are closed to the public and are almost impossible to see. Along with the Potala Palace, this temple is the most popular attraction in the Tibetan city. The Jokhang Temple is four stories high and its roofs are covered with bronze tiles. At the top, there is a statue of two golden deer looking up at the Dharma wheel in the center, which serves as a huge icon. The interior of the temple is a labyrinth of private chapels and visiting the temple is a magnificent religious experience for anyone. While some of the temple has been restored and rebuilt, most of its frame and original elements are from its initial construction in the 7th century. Lhasa is an extremely interesting place in that it still embraces old traditions and keeps them alive. Buddhism is a huge part of the citizens’ everyday lifestyles and affects their demographics and economy. Looking at some of these amazing pictures, I think it would be a life-changing experience to visit this city to find inner peace and self. What do you think?[...]



Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

2012-04-27T07:22:23.377-07:00

Today we’re traveling to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Located in Schwangau, Germany near Fussen, the castle was built for Ludwig II and in homage of the great musical composer, Richard Wagner. Although it was built as a refuge and retreat for the reclusive king, the castle became a hugely popular tourist attraction right after his death in 1886. Check out these amazing pictures of the castle!The palace is lavish and theatrical, both inside and out. Ludwig II had a high interest in the design of the castle and was much involved in the process of its construction. Unlike other castle in the era, this one was built asymmetrically. It took 23 years to finish it and it was far from complete when Ludwig had died. He had only resided in the castle for 172 days before his death. Richard Wagner had never got to set foot in the castle before his death. The interior of the castle would have included more than 200 rooms, yet only 15 rooms and halls were actually finished. The largest room in the castle is the Singers Hall (pictured above), which stands 27 by 10 meters. The room was designed for court festivities and entertainment. The castle may never have been finished but it has served as a model for other castles, the most widely known being Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in California. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a magnificent beauty that can’t be overlooked. Looking over a breathtaking view of the Alps, it is no wonder the Ludwig wanted it built so perfectly at this very location![...]



Bermuda

2012-04-27T07:22:27.101-07:00

Today I’m longing for a tropical getaway (spring classes are almost out!) so I’ve decided to go to Bermuda. Bermuda is a British territory located west of South Carolina and northeast of Miami, Florida. With its subtropical climate, the islands attract massive amounts of visitors, causing tourism to be a huge driver of their affluent economy, following finance as its largest sector of its economic success. Ever since its discovery by the Spanish in the 16th century, Bermuda was always frequently visited but never permanently settled because many believed it was haunted. In fact, for this reason, it was called the Isle of Devils! The islands are divided into nine parishes and two municipalities: Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital, and St. George’s. As mentioned before, the economy is booming in Bermuda. Its per capita income is approximately 20% higher than that of the United States and has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Many international businesses are based in Bermuda, primarily insurance, reinsurance, investment funds and special purpose vehicles businesses. Bermuda’s pink sand beaches with clear cerulean waters are extremely popular among the tourists. Scuba divers and snorkelers are also attracted to Bermudian waters for its breathtaking sites of old underwater shipwrecks and coral reefs. Bermuda’s most popular attraction is the Royal Naval Dockyard, which includes the Bermuda Maritime Museum. There are also many golf courses and beautiful resorts you can relax and vacation at.Although Bermuda may be small, it is an amazing place to visit. I know I want to![...]



Cairo, Egypt

2012-04-27T07:22:31.039-07:00

Traveling to an ancient city, I decided to take us to Cairo, Egypt today! Cairo, or Le Caire, literally means “The Vanquisher” or “The Conqueror.” The names given by the English and French languages are only corruptions of the Arabic name for the city, which is “Al-Qahira.” This city is the largest in Africa and the capital of Egypt, and ranked as one of the densest cities in the world with almost 7 million people in the metropolitan area and an addition 10 million surrounding it. Cairo and its surrounding areas, especially Memphis and Giza, were the focal points of the ancient Egyptian civilization. This area was strategically located for it was right around the Nile Delta. In the 4th century, the Romans established a fortress on the bank of the river and called it Babylon, which still stands as one of the oldest structures in the city. The Muslim influence first arrived in Cairo in 641. Saladin became the first Sultan of Egypt around 1170 and based his dynasty in Cairo. Right across the river from Cairo, there are over 100 ancient pyramids scattered along the western bank of the Nile. The biggest site to see is the Pyramid of Giza, formally known as the Great Pyramid of Khufu. This is the sole surviving Wonder of the Ancient World at 4,500 years old! The size of this pyramid is absolutely mind boggling: it covers 13 acres, stands at 483 feet high, and is made up of 2.3 million stone blocks. The pyramid was the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years, the longest period of time held for this record. You can also check out the Sphinx of Giza right near the pyramid. The Sphinx, a large stone statue, has a lion’s body, wings of a bird and the face of a man. It still stands as the largest monolith statue in the world and is known as the oldest monumental sculpture, built around 2558 B.C. Check out these awesome sites in Cairo: http://www.concierge.com/travelguide/cairo/seeanddo/14238[...]



Big Things, Australia

2012-04-27T07:22:36.026-07:00

Today I’m not covering just a city, but a whole country! These places are loosely related and are incredibly unique. Remember my first blog about the Big Chair in Gardner? In Australia, there are over 150 “Big Things” you can visit! This phenomenon all began in 1963 with the Big Scotsman, followed by the Big Banana in 1964. Since then, towns left and right in the country have been building big statues. Some interesting things found in Australia are an orange, a boxing crocodile, a PLAYABLE guitar, an olive and my personal favorite: the Big Penguin (I’m somewhat obsessed with penguins). Check out these awesome pictures!Every big thing has its own unique story to it. For example, the “Big Cigar” was built to represent Winston Churchill’s cigar and is located in Churchill, a town named after the British Prime Minister. These big things were first made as traps to attract tourists along major roads between major destinations in Australia. Sometimes the big things are used as an excuse for a road trip for Australians. What’s your favorite “Big Thing”?[...]



Easter Island

2012-04-27T07:22:43.201-07:00

To start off the Easter weekend right (weekends start on Thursdays at Babson Park), I think it’s fitting that I talk today about Easter Island. The real name to its original natives, Rapa Nui is a territory of Chile and is located in the southern Pacific and is the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. The name was given by the first recorded European visitor, Jack Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in 1722 while searching for David’s Island. Easter Island is most known around the world for its magical beauty and monumental structure.The first settlement was approximately between 400 and 700CE. Natives to Easter Island lived in clans and were governed by a high chief, who was known to be the eldest descendant of the legendary founder of the island, Hotu Matu’a. These people built stone statues called Moai, which were made to represent their defied ancestors. There are over a thousand Moai statues all over the island and the largest one recorded is 10 meters tall and weighs around 75 tons. Another interesting fact about Easter Island is that it is the very origin of sweet potatoes! While most believed that these tasty veggies were from South America, it was actually transported from Easter Island to different parts of the world. Natives of the island were very dependent on sweet potatoes and were considered the “fuel of the moai statues.” The Moai statues aren’t the only attraction to Easter Island. The island offers beautiful beaches and snorkeling and scuba diving sites are very popular among visitors. Because the island is so small, it’s quick and easy to get around. There are many lavish resorts and cute restaurants where you can try Polynesian seafood. There’s a lot you can find out on Easter Island on the PBS Nova’s documentary: Secrets of Easter Island. Check it outtt: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/easter/civilization/[...]



Seoul, South Korea

2012-04-27T07:22:47.973-07:00

For this blog post, I’m going to my true hometown, my birthplace. Although I left the place at the young age of nine, I still have so many memories and I had the privilege of visiting just last summer. Seoul, the capital city of South Korea is a megacity and the second largest metropolitan area in the world with over 24.5 million people. It is known as one of the ten global leading cities of the world as a financial commercial center. It’s also a world leader of industrial design and technology. A major settlement for over 2,000 years and a history leading back 5,000 years, Seoul is rich in history and absolutely fascinating for its embracement of ancient monuments with high skyscrapers. Seoul is divided into 25 “gu”, or districts, which are divided into “dong”s, or neighborhoods. That being said, there are many interesting places you can visit in Seoul. In the heart of the city lies Dongdaemun Gate and Market. Dongdaemun means “Great East Gate,” and was named so because it served as a main gate that surrounded the city during the Joseon dynasty. The area around the gate is now known as the Dongdaemun Market, which includes upscale market districts, as well as underground shopping districts which are more reserved for bargains. The area also includes an amateur baseball stadium.Seoul Tower, better known to residents as Namsan Tower, was built in 1980 as a symbol for the city. It stands at 777 feet tall and has four observation decks to which visitors can get to by cable cars. The fourth observation deck revolves at 48 minutes per revolution and includes two restaurants and gift shops. Most of the city can be seen from this tower because it is located in the center of Seoul. Yoido Full Gospel Church is located on Yoido Island in Seoul. This is a huge financial and governmental district, including the National Assembly Building, Korea Financial Investment Association, Korean Exchange, 63 Building, and the headquarters of LG and big broadcasting network companies, KBS and MBC. This church currently has over 1,000,000 members and is the largest Protestant Christian congregation in South Korea and the world. It was built in 1958 and founded by Pastor David Yonggi Cho. The church holds 7 Sunday services, with each service holding about 12,000 people and available for instant translation in 16 different languages. Seoul is most definitely dear to my heart for many reasons and is a fascinating place to visit with breathtaking views of the city that intertwines modern technology with ancient art and monuments. Check out other sites in Seoul at this website:http://english.seoul.go.kr/[...]



Algorrobo, Chile

2012-04-27T07:23:38.701-07:00

I’ll be writing this blog post by request from a good old friend of mine. Thanks Jon!Algorrobo is located on the central coast of Chile and is a popular summer location for the people of Santiago, the capital of Chile. Although the city itself is relatively rural and only has around 8,000 people, it’s got a jewel you just cannot miss.The San Alfonso Del Mar Resort in Algorrobo has an incredible pool called the Saltwater Lagoon. It is widely known as the largest and deepest swimming pool in the world. The pool is 1,000 meters (about 0.6 miles) long and gets up to 35 meters (115 feet) deep. The pool is maintained and set to have fresh saltwater coming in from the ocean right next to the pool and give off a beautiful turquoise color. The pool is also kept at 26oC (78.8oF) and achieves the atmosphere of a Caribbean beach on the Chilean coast. The pool is so large, taking up about 190 acres of land, it took the workers over 6 days just to fill the pool with water!The lagoon also has private white sand beaches that visitors can enjoy and relax in peace. On these beaches, the sand is heated and beaches are roofed to maximize comfort of those staying at the resort. So you’re probably asking from looking at the pictures: why is this necessary right on a beach? The water of the ocean on the coast which the pool is located is extremely cold and the waves are harsh and large, making it almost impossible to relax and swim in. Because the pool is so large and gets deeper than any other pool in the world, visitors can not only swim but sail in the pool. If you ever get a chance to visit Chile and want an adventure, be sure to visit Algorrobo to see the San Alfonso Del Mar Resort![...]



Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

2012-04-27T07:23:42.668-07:00

I haven’t been writing on my blog because I’ve been so incredibly busy this weekend! Thursday was my sorority’s philanthropy event, Nacho-Average-Sorority Nacho Bar, KE$HA Concert on Friday, and then on Saturday we had our formal, the Sapphire Ball. Both events were so much fun: check out these pictures! Nacho Bar Ke$haSapphire Ball 2011 Hyatt Regency in Cambridge Anyway, back on subject, because we had our formal at the Hyatt Regency by Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I’ve decided that I should write a little about it for today’s post JCambridge, Massachusetts was first settled by English colonists in 1630. It was part of Newe Towne, which was founded by Puritan colonists of the Massachusetts Bay Colony under Governor John Winthrop. The town’s name was changed to Cambridge in honor of Cambridge University in England. There’s so much to do in Cambridge; the incredible amount of history will mesmerize you. The most historical and unique places in the city include Harvard Square (primary site of Harvard University), Leonard P. Zakim Bridge (known around the world for its asymmetrical structure), and all the pieces of architectural art you can find on the MIT campus. Cambridge has so much to offer from cuisine and history to education and art. Every corner is always bustling with tourists and visitors from all over the world. Bordering the Charles River, you’ll be sure to always run into a beautiful view. Go visit this unique place today![...]



Casablanca, Morocco

2012-04-27T07:23:45.794-07:00

While the classic movie is known to most all around the world, Casablanca, Morocco is a hidden gem that not many have discovered. Named after the Spanish words meaning “White House,” the city is now nicknamed “Casa” by most locals. Casa was formerly known as Anfa, where a Muslim kingdom settled in the 7th century. The city was fought over by many large European nations for its trading port. The Grand Casablanca has a population of 3.6 million people and is the largest city in Morocco.Casablanca has become the economic and business capital of the country although Rabat is Morocco’s political capital city. Since its independence from France in 1956, the city has been developing its tourism industry. Perhaps the most interesting place in Casablanca is the Hassan II Mosque. This is the largest mosque in Morocco and the fifth largest in the world. It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau requested by King Hassan II in 1989 and was finished in 1993. The mosque was built on reclaimed land and almost half of it lies on the Atlantic Ocean. The building itself can hold 25,000 worshippers and the outdoor grounds of the mosque can hold 80,000 more, capable of holding 105,000 worshippers in all. The Hassan II Mosque, inside and out, captivates many visitors with its Moorish influence and lavish artwork. The building has extremely tall columns and arches that welcome the worshippers and visitors. All raw materials for the building was taken from around Morocco and 6,000 Moroccan artisans worked for five years to finish the mosque for King Hassan II’s 60th birthday. Inside the mosque, you’ll be surrounded by carved and painted wooden ceilings, sculpted plaster moldings and incredible mosaic walls and floors. Casablanca has been one of the most interesting places to visit thanks to the publicity it gained from the 1942 movie “Casablanca.” The city is beautiful in that it embraces multiple influences from both Europe and the Middle East. This unique place is most definitely worth visiting and I can’t wait to go someday! [...]



Taipei, Taiwan

2012-04-27T07:23:48.846-07:00

Taipei, Taiwan is one of the most fascinating places in the world. Founded in the early 18th century, it has become one of the main trading centers of Asia. The Taipei metropolitan area is home to almost 7 million people, who are all cramped into 105 square miles. This city embraces the intertwining of the traditional architecture with a fast-growing economy. It would be a truly an exciting place to visit!Taipei’s pride is Taipei101, which was claimed as the world’s tallest building until the opening of Burj Khalifa (remember Dubai?). The building has won multiple international awards for its innovations and was built specifically to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. It cost about 1.76 billion dollars to build!The building’s beautiful, but I’m finally getting to the most unique place in Taipei, at least to me. Get ready to trigger your appetite…or lose it: your choice.Modern Toilet in Taipei is a restaurant that beats all other places when it comes to being weird. The eatery was inspired by a manga, “Dr. Slump on the Toilet,” and has been a raging success since its opening. Everything in Modern Toilet is shaped like things you would find in a bathroom. The seats are shaped like toilets, tables like sinks, drink cups like urinals, even the food bowls are shaped like toilets. Their all-time best selling product since its opening is a pig pile of chocolate soft-serve in a container shaped like a squat toilet…you can only imagine what it looks like. While everything may look unappetizing, Modern Toilet is one of the most popular restaurants in the city for its food! With a huge menu and delicious foods, residents of Taipei are going crazy to sit on toilets to eat out of toilets.I never said Modern Toilet was an amazing place to visit on your honeymoon…but is it unique? Oh I think so.[...]



St. Lucia

2012-04-27T07:23:52.472-07:00

The weather in New England suddenly gotten so disappointing in the past two days: we got 3-4 inches of SNOW yesterday in Wellesley, MA! So to make myself feel better by thinking of tropical places, I decided to write about this place I’ve been dreaming of visiting for a really really long time. St. Lucia, an island country, is on the eastern part of the Caribbean Sea and is part of the Lower Antilles. It was first settled by the French in 1660 and became independent in 1979. St. Lucia is one of the most popular places for honeymoons as well as family trips. This leads me to share this amazing place with you!Jade Mountain in St. Lucia was designed by Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy with a purpose in mind: building in harmony with nature. This place is seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen (sadly, only in pictures)! It’s such an experience to stay at Jade Mountain with its infinity pools open platform rooms opening right into the mesmerizing view of the mountainous St. Lucia. Private bridges lead to each suite, so no worries about anyone intruding on your ultimate relaxation experience. You can reserve one of these sanctuaries for rates from 950 to 2700 dollars depending on the season. The hotel also hosts weddings for free but only celebrates one wedding each day so that the couple will be guaranteed special treatment on the most romantic day of their lives. Jade Mountain is also famous for its restaurants and Caribbean cuisine. The hotel is very accommodating towards different culinary options; there is a grill by the beach so you wouldn’t even have to walk more than a couple steps, and there is a wholly vegetarian restaurant. Most of their food is locally grown and organic so you know you’re getting the best!You can visit their website to check out more at www.jademountain.com. What do you think about this unique place in St. Lucia?[...]



Sandusky, Ohio, USA

2012-04-27T07:24:44.527-07:00

Get ready for a thrill…I’m coming back to the US to talk about this amazingly unique place you can’t find anywhere else in the world! Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio is truly a record-breaking beauty. On the shore of Lake Erie, this park has more rides than any other amusement park in the WORLD (with 75 rides) and is the only park with 4 roller coasters that are taller than 200 feet. Cedar Point opened in 1870 and is the third oldest amusement park in North America. Just check out these crazy coasters! The Corkscrew will take you through the middle of the park and take you upside down three times while the Top Thrill Dragster will take you at a whopping 120mph! The Wicked Twister will take you forward, backward then forward again in a twist! These rides are just three out of SEVENTEEN counted roller coasters that I saw on the site, but there are also other rides like Max Air which you can also grab some thrill from. Cedar Point also has a mile long beach, an outdoor water park and an indoor water park. Because the park is so huge, you probably can’t get through all of it in one day. Therefore, the park also manages several hotels, lodges and marinas around it. Don’t forget there’s also lots of fried foods to enjoy while at the park like Cheese-on-a-Stick and French Fries, but if you’re up for a healthier option, there are restaurants right aside the park such as Tomo Hibachi and Bay Harbor. Check out their website at http://www.cedarpoint.com/![...]



Machu Picchu, Peru

2012-04-27T07:23:55.721-07:00

For this blog, I thought I’d try somewhere a little different from the other places we’ve been visiting together so far. On a mountain range above Peru’s Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu is a jewel admired by visitors all over the world. Machu Picchu is widely known to represent the Inca Empire. It was built around 1450 at the peak of the empire and was quickly deserted 100 years after that. This was due to the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century and it’s believed that most of those who lived at the site died from smallpox. Many historians and scholars have theorized that the site was the home of the Incan Emperor Pachacuti and the traditional birthplace of the “Virgins of the Suns.” Peru has declared the area as a historical sanctuary since it is located in a mountain range and it is most likely that there were religious rituals happening at the site. Machu Picchu is separated into three sections: Agricultural, Urban and Religious. These are easily distinguishable from the structure of each section. The site itself is very secluded and therefore takes a while to actually get to the site through the Andes Mountains. However, it’s totally worth it for its serene view! There are hiking tours available through the Incan Trail starting from a nearby city, Cuzco (does anybody remember New Emperor’s Groove? Hahaha). If you’re not up for a hiking challenge through the Andes, don’t worry: there are beautiful hotel lodges where you can stay inside and enjoy the view from afar. They also offer meditation sessions and delicious cuisine you can enjoy during your stay.Peru embraces the beauty of Machu Picchu and is proud of its historical significance to the Ancient World. It is declared, by some, as one of the Ancient Wonders of the World and is most definitely a unique place to visit![...]



Saint Petersburg, Russia

2012-04-27T07:23:59.228-07:00

Saint Petersburg, Russia, formerly known as Petrograd then Leningrad during the 1900s, is the second largest city in Russia. It is located in western Russia and was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. The city is home to 4.6 million people and is the northernmost city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Saint Petersburg is such a unique beauty because it embraces European culture yet has its own characteristics that they can call their own. Check out what makes this city so amazing!Hermitage MuseumHermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world and displays than 3 million items. It is home to the largest collection of paintings in the world, thanks to the museum’s founder, Empress Catherine the Great, in 1764. Not only are there a lot of exhibits to see, you’ll be in awe by the intricate décor of the building itself. Peterhof PalaceDoesn't this remind you of Alice in Wonderland?Can you believe how beautiful this place is? The Peterhof Palace, once the residence of Peter the Great, was built on his orders around 1705. It is sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles” and while the grand palace itself is not a huge building, it certainly deserves attention for its uniqueness. The Peterhof is comprised of approximately thirty rooms and much of the structure, including its gardens, was modeled after Chateau de Marly, Louis XIV’s palace in France. Even at 300 years old, the place has been restored perfectly!This city is so beautiful I’m sure you’ll absolutely fall in love with it if you ever get a chance to visit. The Hermitage and Peterhof aren’t the only awesome places in Saint Petersburg. You can check out their website at http://www.saint-petersburg.com/attractions/index.asp. [...]



Singapore

2012-04-27T07:24:02.675-07:00

I think it’s time for us to go somewhere nice and relaxing! Singapore is a city-state island country in Southeast Asia. It is one of the leading financial centers and has the fifth busiest trading ports in the world. Singapore has a population of a little over 5 million, and consists of 63 islands grouped together. Its government recognizes four languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. However, English is the most widely spoken language and over 80% of its residents are literate in English as their first or second language. Dining and shopping are one of Singapore’s favorite pastimes, so you know you’ll have a good time!There’s a LOT to do on these islands. Singapore is one of the best places in the world to go to relax for its beaches, resorts and spas. Here are some of the most unique places you can visit and things you can do in Singapore!At Underwater World on Sentosa Island, you can swim with these amazing pink dolphins. Yes, PINK! With admission, you can watch a show put on by their trainers, and then have a Meet-the-Dolphins session where you can swim with them and get a chance to train them. You can also dive with sharks at Underwater World if you feel like going for a bigger challenge.You can also relax in Singapore at their world renowned spas. The coolest spa you can find is the Spa Botanica. This is Singapore’s first garden spa where you can get a unique experience: a mix of indoor pampering and outdoor treatments. They offer floatation pools, mud pools, flower rituals and a labyrinth to ease the mind. You can fully rejuvenate the body and the mind while enjoying beautiful views!After relaxing, you can go out in the city for some intense shopping experience. Mustafa Centre is a 24-hour shopping center. Now you don’t have to worry about rushing to get your shopping done before the stores close! Feel free to go out at 3 in the morning for some retail therapy. Singapore seems like such an interesting place filled with unique experiences of relaxation and outdoor fun! What do you think?[...]



Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2012-04-27T07:24:06.401-07:00

I am so excited for this blog because I’ve been dying to talk about this unique place! Today I’m going to show you the magical world of technological advances in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai, home to about 1.8 million residents, has been developing incredibly fast as the 8th most visited city in the world. Dubai has been creating record-breaking establishments all over the city, such as the Dubai Mall, the 7th biggest mall in the world. It is also known as the “City of Gold,” because it has more than 250 gold retail shops. Dubai is also home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at an incredible height of 2,717 feet (828 meters). Burj Khalifa was completed in 2009 and took five years to build. But perhaps the most unique place, this place I’ve been dyingggg to talk about is the Burj Al Arab Hotel.Burj Al Arab is a dream: it is characterized as the only 7-star hotel in the world. Yes, a 7-STAR HOTEL, can you believe it? This hotel stands on a manmade island connected to the mainland by a private bridge. It is shaped to mimic the sail of an Arabian vessel. It stands 1,053 feet (321 meters) tall and has 60 floors, of which most outer walls are glass windows cleaned every single day by workers. Costs start at $1,000 per night and the Royal Suite runs around $28,000 per night. Check out the amazing pictures inside the hotel!Dubai is definitely a unique place with its innovative projects and world record breaking buildings, manmade islands, and malls. Although it is currently suffering from economic decline, Dubai has a lot to offer on tourism. It’s a place you must visit when you get the chance! [...]



Wellington, New Zealand

2012-04-27T07:24:12.280-07:00

Lord of the Rings anyone? Today I decided to take a little journey to Wellington, New Zealand! Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is located on the southern tip of the North Island. This unique city is home to some of the most breathtaking views in the world and is the economic and cultural center of the country. Although it may have a population of less than 400,000, Wellington has so much tourism to offer.Wellington is mostly known for its explorations of nature and culture. If you’re into outdoors, there is so much to do! You can go biking, kayaking, canoeing, or hiking while enjoying views like this:For those who enjoy the arts, there is good news. Wellington has claimed itself as a cultural mecca. The most well known is the Museum of Te Papa Tongarewa, a national museum known for its interactive experience. Te Papa displays New Zealand’s geology, natural environment, and the story of the indigenous people. It is also home to top-rating international exhibitions with diverse art. New Zealand is certainly a site to visit for its natural beauty and its growing recognition worldwide for display of culture and art. Wellington embraces high interaction between tourists and its local residents. Check out Wellington's website:www.wellingtonnz.com[...]



Buenos Aires, Argentina

2012-04-27T07:24:16.093-07:00

Bienvenidos a Bueno Aires! For this blog post, I decided to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city in the country, as well as the second largest city in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the eastern coast of Argentina and on the Río de la Plata. This city is full of life and embraces different cultures; from European immigrant settlements to Asian settlements. The coolest site to check out while visiting this city has got to be La Boca and Calle Caminito. La Boca is one of Buenos Aires’s most colorful districts, literally: All the buildings are painted with bright colors! The district was first settled by Italian immigrants and is mostly made up of working class citizens. Calle de La Caminito, a large street in the district, was named after a popular tango song and is the center for local art sales and street tango performances. If dancing is not your thing, you can also visit Galerías Pacífico for some quality shopping time. Once an office building, it was built by renowned architects and sculptors, then was abandoned for over 100 years. In 1989, it was declared as a national historic monument then in 1991, the building reopened as a shopping arcade. The mall includes high-end stores such as Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, La Martina, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, as well as others. If you’re not up for big spending down in Argentina, you can always enjoy the view: check out the inside of the building!Buenos Aires is most definitely a city to visit when you get the chance. It is lively and exciting, not to mention busy busy busy with over 12 million people surrounding you everywhere! It is a huge metropolitan city with giant skyscrapers and beautiful European architectural masterpieces all meshed into one unique place. [...]



Dublin, Ireland

2012-04-27T07:24:20.316-07:00

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! Staying with the holiday theme, I decided to adventure to Dublin, Ireland. Dublin is located on the eastern coast of Ireland and serves as the country’s capital. Dublin is also located at the mouth of River Liffey, which runs through the city. The city is home to over 1 million people and embraces its history dating back to the era of the Vikings in the 12th century. Dublin has many landmarks to visit and enjoy while you’re visiting this unique city: let’s get right to them!Staying on topic with the holiday, the first landmark in Dublin to see is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This church was raised in 1191, but the present building seen in Dublin was built in between 1200 and 1270 then fully restored in between 1860 and 1900 by the Guinness family. The current building is still the largest church in Ireland. The cathedral serves as the National Cathedral and attracts 300,000 visitors a year!St. James’s Gate Brewery was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. He leased the establishment for 9000 years for £45 a year…talk about a deal! The Guinness Storehouse, a converted brewing factory, is Dublin’s most popular tourist attraction. The Storehouse is a Guinness museum which you can take a tour of the 7-floor exhibit and end it at the top floor, called the Gravity Bar, with a free pint of the Guinness Draft Beer.The Spire of Dublin, officially named The Monument of Light, was finished in 2003 in replacement of Nelson’s Pillar. The monument is 121.2 meters tall (398 feet) and shoots up straight to the sky as the tallest sculpture in the world! Dublin is famous for its hearty cuisine, beer and whisky, and breathtaking sites to see especially on St. Patrick’s Day! With unique places like these, who can stay away? [...]



Gardner, Massachusetts, USA

2012-04-27T07:24:27.688-07:00

For my first blog, I could think of no better place than which I am an expert at: my hometown Gardner, Massachusetts, USA. I have been living here since I was nine years old and although it has lost its touch in many ways, it still holds a dear place in my heart. Gardner, better known as G-Vegas or Gahdnah hey by locals, is located in central Massachusetts, about an hour drive west from Boston. The population of this city is currently around 21,000 people and should be considered a town, yet it never lost the city nametag for its exploding population in the early 1900s. Gardner has a rich history behind it that most locals are very proud of. Gardner, for a long time, was called The Chair City of the World for its history of chair production. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, Gardner was home to twenty chair factories that produced over 4 million chairs per year. That being said, the most unique monument still standing in Gardner is the “Big Chair.” The giant is a whopping 20 feet 7-inches tall and you definitely cannot miss it while driving up Elm Street. Gardner started and participated in a war of Who-Can-Build-A-Bigger-Chair and sadly was defeated in 1996 when Anniston, Alabama created a 30-footer office chair. Although it may no longer be the biggest chair in the world, it certainly is a sight to check out! Gardner is also home to Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner Municipal Golf Course, and the home of Lucy Stone, a women’s rights activist during the Temperance Movement. The city is most beautiful in the fall for its foliage rides and while checking out the Big Chair, you can take a drive downtown to the Gardner Ale House for a bite to eat for its delicious sandwiches, pasta dishes and of course, the beer.Restaurants You Can Visit While Visiting Gardner:Gardner Ale Househttp://www.gardnerale.com/Blue Moon Dinerhttp://www.bluemoondinergardnerma.com/Gabby's PlaceWilliamshttp://www.williamsrestaurantandtavern.com/[...]