Notre-Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg

The Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Photo by: ChristinaT , Creative Commons

A trip to Old Strasbourg, a part of the Alsace region in northeastern France, can be both fun and fascinating. It’s one of those cozy destinations whose old world appeal can cast a magical spell on visitors. It’s an ancient city dominated by the single soaring spire of a medieval cathedral. Notre-Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg, the city’s most prominent landmark, was constructed centuries ago. It was the highest structure in the western world right up to the 19th Century. It remains today a showcase of 13th-century Gothic architecture.

Strasbourg was discovered by the Romans in 12th Century BC, but later on, the Barbarian tribes gained a stronghold on it and changed its name from Argentoratum to Strateburgum. During the Middle Ages, structures like covered bridges were built as a line of defense for the town and as a way to facilitate trade.

Old Strasbourg also has attractions for the young & young-at-heart whenever the Christmas holidays approach. There’s the traditional Christkindelmärik, or outdoor Christmas markets at the bottom of the cathedral where vendors sell a variety of items ranging from hot spiced red wine to pretzels, crepes, and cakes, crafts and decors. Strasbourg actually melds the cultural influences of Germany and France.

Beyond the beautifully decorated houses, Strasbourg is a place for government, a university area, and a wonderful place to relax. You can stroll through the winding streets and pass through cobblestone roads, or enjoy a gourmet meal or traditional dishes, or visit a monastery, or some of the art galleries & museums. Also worth checking out is the palais des Rohan, a grand palace housing the apartments of the Cardinals and museums. Indeed, historic sites with marvelous architecture, great food & ambience, and festive Christmas markets are just a few of the reasons why old Strasbourg is one of the must-see destinations.

January 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm | No comment


Photo by:
, Creative Commons

Svaneti is a historic place in Georgia which is known to be rich with much architecture and lush landscapes. This place is also referred to as Svanetia or Suania. It is a great tourist destination for those who seek a peaceful and scenic retreat from their regular lives.

Magnificent botanical life is one of the most featured attractions of Upper Svaneti. The place is known for the growth of various plant species which are in some cases rather hard to find. These are often said to be quite legendary to each traveler who sets foot to the region. Apart from Botany, the breath-taking landscape of mountains and other sites have been a constant tourist attraction. During the summer seasons, you will be able to appreciate the view of lush green mountains covered with trees and grass. The detail is quite impeccable and is another reason for visitors to take the time to capture its brilliance in a photo or in a painting. During the winter season, these mountains are covered in snow. Each peak will be white and blue as you gaze at its majesty; truly something worth seeing.

At this point, there are a number of architectural monuments which are found in this place which are recognized by the UNESCO. The government of Svaneti is working hand in hand with the UNESCO World Heritage Center to be able to properly preserve and protect these magnificent structures for posterity. The pillars and other structures erected in villages and all around the region are among the greatest pride of Upper Svaneti. It holds much history and has been said that some of these were built way back in the ninth to twelfth centuries. These Svanetian towers have been able to add aesthetical advantage to the villages which is among the best things travelers and visitors fancy.

January 19, 2010 at 1:20 am | 2 comments

The Copan Mayan Ruins

The Copan Mayan Ruins
Photo by: Lauri Vain , Creative Commons

The country of Honduras in Central America served as the dwelling to the Mayan tribes dating back to as early as 1000 BC. When they arrived in the area, they reached the beautiful Copan River and built the city of Copan. Before it became an attractive tourist spot, it went through stages and historical events that shaped the area, which tourists see today.

In AD 426 Copan was led by a family of royal blood. King Mah K’ina K’uk’ Mo’, the first ever king of the said city, became one of the most praised leaders upon his discovery of the r kingdom. King Smoke Imix, on the other hand, was notable for the developments that happened in the civilization. The population increased and the different sectors of the kingdom including the military and economic sectors developed upon his rule. Copan might not be the city with the biggest number of Mayan people at that time, but it became one of the most significant cities in Mayan civilization because of its inhabitants’ discoveries and significant studies.

The Hieroglyphic Stairway is one place worth visiting in this large area. Inscriptions in the staircase have been said to depict the lives of the Mayan people during its early existence. Other than the staircase, other sites to visit would be the Copan Mayan Stela, the Copan Museum of Sculpture and the Copan Ruins Archaeology Park, which all enable the visitors to relive the moments when the Mayan Civilization was at its peak.

For those who are interested visiting the area, The Copan Guide Association does tours of the Copan Mayan Ruins, which can be arranged upon the arrival of visitors at the entrance area. Tours are available in multiple languages, including English, German and Spanish. The entrance fee is very affordable, so visitors are in for a real treat.

January 19, 2010 at 1:17 am | 5 comments

The Kaieteur Falls

The Kaieteur Falls
Photo by: madmack , Creative Commons

Besides seeing natural phenomena happening on land and on air, people can’t resist observing aquatic natural phenomena. A waterfall is an example, since the motion of the water going down to the stream is quite a spectacular view. Of course, the Earth is covered by ¾ water, so it is expected the bodies of water dominate the globe. Luckily, there is the Kaieteur Falls that stands out among the rest of the falls in the whole wide world.

The Kaieteur Falls is located in Guyana, a tropical country on the continent of South America. It is estimated to be as five times high as the Niagara Falls, which is considered the highest falls in the continent of North America. In comparison, it is also twice as high as Victoria Falls, which is located in Africa. A proof to its beauty would be the recognition of it as one of the most scenic waterfalls in the world.

The falls have different ways in displaying their beauty depending on the season. During the dry season, the falls are surrounded by a mist that looks like clouds. During the wet season, on the other hand, more mist is seen and the water pressure from up the falls is stronger. Rainbows occasionally appear in the area, making the whole view like a wonderland.

Since Kaieteur Falls is one of the most sought-after tourist spot not only in Guyana but in South America as well, the transportation means to go to the area are made easier for the tourists. The falls are situated in Kaieteur National Park. It can be found in the central part of Guyana’s tropical rainforest. Flights are available between the Ogle Airport and the falls’ airstrip. Another airport accessible would be the Cheddi Jagan International Airport located in Guyana’s capital city, Georgetown.

January 19, 2010 at 1:14 am | 3 comments

Samosir Island

Samosir Island
Photo by: marcveraart, Creative Commons

Samosir Island, or Pulau Samosir, is a large island in the middle of Lake Toba. It is situated north of Sumatra, Indonesia. The island is surprisingly just a little smaller than the country of Singapore and is located nearly exactly in the center of the lake. The lake is considered to be the fifth largest in the world. It is said that the island and water surrounding it was formed due to a volcanic eruption 75,000 years ago. Sadly, this massive eruption also caused the extinction of some species residing on the island. The town of Pangururan of Samosir Island is connected to Tele of main land Sumatra. Lavish forests, rocks, swamps and a small lake are few of the numerous great things to see in the island.

Samosir Island is the home of the Batak people, making it the center of their rich culture and tradition. Singing is a well-known custom of the Batak people. They love greeting their visitors with their own composed songs. There are also many fine Batak woodcarvers in Samosir Island. To reach the island, tourists must take the public bus, ferry, or car. Tourism is concentrated on the town of Tuk tuk. Tuk tuk is the best place to appreciate the exotic beauty of the island and the lake around it. Small canoes are used to cross the lake. One can go hiking on one of its towering mountains. People can enjoy the nearby hot springs. Samosir Island is also a perfect place to do paragliding. There is even an annual paragliding competition held during May on the island. One main attraction of the island is the tomb of their King Sidabatur in Tomok. Samosir Island is more than just its rich history. The Batak people, the scenery and all the exciting activities just makes Samosir Island a place worth looking and experiencing.

January 19, 2010 at 1:08 am | 1 comment

The Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building
Photo by: allesok , Creative Commons

Hungary is one of the countries in Europe that tourists often visit. This is true not only because of the physical beauty of the environment and the landmarks, but also because Hungary’s history is full of color that tourists are quite intrigued and interested to see. One of the landmarks that have this feature would be the Hungarian Parliament Building.

The Hungarian Parliament Building serves as the center for the National Assembly of Hungary, which is one of Europe’s longest-running legislative buildings. Moreover, it is a noteworthy tourist spot of Hungary and the city of Budapest.

The Hungarian Parliament Building can also be compared to the Palace of Westminster, since both was constructed in the Gothic Revival style. The landmark boasts a proportioned facade and a dome located in the middle. Although it was able to retain is external design, the building consists of freight elevators and semi-modern staircases for the convenience of the people working in it. The building is the second tallest in Budapest.

The building is best viewed from the outside during the nighttime. Lights from the inside are lit so that the building will look more like a tourist spot rather than an office. Moreover, it faces the Danube River, so people can view both spots at the same time.

Other features of the building include stained glass windows, the Holy Crown of Hungry which has been protected and maintained throughout the years, the hexa-decagonal central hall which is famous for its huge chambers, and the Lower House and Upper House which are still used today for important meetings and sessions.

Tourists should never miss going to this place if they ever go to Hungary. Such places full of history and color should never be left incognito by both the tourists and the people living around it.

January 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | No comment

The Manado Dive Resort

The Manado Dive Resort
Photo by:
Eustaquio Santimano
, Creative Commons

Manado Dive Resort is just a place to be to experience Indonesian exotic scuba diving. The wide variety of marine species separates Manado from the other diving sites. It is said that you can see about 70% of the marine species of the Indo-Western Pacific when you take a dive at Manado. Environmental efforts to preserve the beauty of the reef and all the living creatures there are being implemented in the area. Visitors should note that the months of July and August are the peak season, so it is advisable to book reservations in advance.

There is more to do in Manado than just diving and swimming in the clear blue water. The area is a volcanic island where green hills and lush vegetation define the island. Fresh fruits and vegetables are part of the cuisine of the Manado people. There are numerous seafood restaurants offering the best seafood cuisine and street stalls that offer other exotic kinds of food.

Their Minahasan culture could be felt through their dishes and their craftwork. Weaved and wood carved souvenirs are artistically made that you might want to buy and take home. If you are more into branded products, famous designer brands are surprisingly found around the area. Land tours are great options to spend the day in Manado. One famous place is the “Mountain of Love” or Bukit Kasih. This place is filled with different places of worship. Whether you are a Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, or Christian, you can stop here and take a moment of silence.

The wide-eyed tarsier is an attraction in the Tangkoko National Park. Whales and dolphins are mostly seen during the months of August and September. Manado was originally a trading port used by the Spaniards. Now it is a large tourist attraction for scuba divers and vacationers.

January 19, 2010 at 12:53 am | 1 comment

The Sepik River

The Sepik River
Photo by: jurvetson , Creative Commons

The region of Sepik is a very large reserve grassland which is surrounded by a long river that is 1, 126 km originating from the mountains of the region and eventually draining to the sea. The inhabitants that live along the riverbanks depend upon the Sepik River for their transport, food and water supplies. The community has cultural customs which was influenced by their association with the river and is depicted and symbolized in their rituals. These customs and traditions have been passed on from generation to generation and are still practiced even today.

One of the most popular and intriguing customs observed in Sepik river communities is the practice of initiating boys to manhood. The ritual is accompanied by flesh carving on the backs of males who will be initiated using sharp tools such as knives or blades. Artworks on the flesh depict crocodiles which thrive in the river. Crocodiles have been an integral part on the lives of the locals and have a profound effect on their art.

Sepik River culture reflects their vast history which is a melting pot of influences by missionaries, businessmen, and foreign cultures. Contrary to the belief that crocodiles are threat to humans, the locals have come to accept their existence and they have learned to live in harmonious respect with nature.

The Sepik River resembles a coiling shape and its length can be fairly traveled although the river doesn’t have a delta. Because of the river’s force, huge masses of mud are accumulated and this results to the brown coloring of the sea which is directly connected to the river.

If you travel to the Sepik River area, you will be embarking surely on an adventure. The arts and crafts are popular even to Western collectors. Many great museums have special collections dedicated to the Sepiks and immersing yourself with these arts will surely delight you. Looking for an exotic experience? Give yourself a fresh start with a unique experience in the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea.

January 19, 2010 at 12:32 am | 3 comments

The Blue Nile Falls

The Blue Nile Falls
Photo by: mK B. , Creative Commons

The Blue Nile Falls are one of the greatest falls in Africa. It is located in Ethiopian plateau, passing the Blue Nile River. This waterfall is also known as Tis Issat meaning smoking water, as the continuous dropping of water creates a smoke-like bounce of water droplets. The Blue Nile Falls has an enormous height of 37 to 45 meters or around 150 feet and its width is estimated at about half a mile. Watching the river water drop down the waterfalls is truly breathtaking.

Various trips can be arranged in order to reach the Blue Nile Falls as it is a main tourist spot in Ethiopia. There are many locals that make their income from the benefits of tourism; many are selling food and drinks like calabashes and sodas. Also many people are also selling charms, souvenirs and walking sticks. For accommodation, there are hotels available a few kilometers away from the falls. If planning to visit the falls, it is recommendable to wear comfortable clothes as the trail on the way to the falls is quite bumpy. The flora around the falls can also be appreciated; there are many plant species endemic only to that area. The Blue Nile Falls are also enriched with different types of wildlife that can only be found in Ethiopia.

Currently, a hydroelectric station was built in order to divert the flow of water to the falls for electrical purposes. This has caused a decrease in the flowing water of Blue Nile Falls, however, the full beauty of the falls can still be appreciated during Sundays and holidays because the hydroelectric station only operates during weekdays. For this reason, it is advisable to visit on Sundays. Prepare everything and enjoy nature’s great miracles: go see the Blue Nile Falls!

January 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm | 4 comments

San Francisco Church

The San Francisco Church
Photo by: Fred Hsu , Creative Commons

San Francisco church is the oldest church in Quito. It attracts many tourists because of its exquisite design and rich history. The church was built in 1535 when the Spanish colonizers arrived in Quito. It was constructed over an Inca temple, accounting for the reason why the church is higher than any other structures in the town. The stairs up to the church are very wide and many believe that this is for the people to carefully watch their steps, thus, bowing in respect unconsciously.

The San Francisco church is a kind of baroque church. Upon the entrance, images of the sun can be seen for the purpose of attracting native people into Christianity. The faces of angelic designs are of native Indian appearances, an evidence of mixing native and Catholic concepts. On the altar of the church, three structures can be found: The Baptism of Jesus, Almighty Jesus and The Virgin of Quito. Little designs can be seen in the outside appearance of the church; there are Doric columns on the lower section and Ionic columns on the upper section. At night, the church lights up the view with its bright lights.

From Monday to Saturday, the San Francisco church is open at 7:00 am up to 12:00 noon and reopens again at 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. On Sundays, it is only open from 7:00 am to 12:00 noon. There is no entrance fee collected as this church, it is open for all. It is located at Plaza San Francisco in the Old town. Usually, many people are praying inside the church. But it is also good for sightseeing, as the church has a very beautiful antique design. Visiting this church will absolutely complete your tour in Quito. The San Francisco church is a religious, historical and ancient structure worth paying a visit.

January 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm | No comment

Sedona Red Rock

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Sedona and the resident Red Rocks
Photo by: laszlo-photo, Creative Commons

Arizona is famous for the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. But there is more to the wonders of nature in Arizona. Sedona Red Rock Country are layers upon layers of red to orange-colored sandstone indigenous to the Sedona area.

The Sedona Red Rock Country boasts of different rock formations that make your visit fun and interesting. Among the different rock formations, the most popular is Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse. Other rock formations are coffeepot, bell, cathedral, chimney, rabbit ears and cow pies. A simple cruise along the Sedona is enough for anyone to gaze at the incredible wonder of this unique and beautiful piece of land.

This attraction continues to wow those who see it. It has been used as a setting for western novels and movies. Its colorful collection of canyons has been immortalized on numerous paintings and photographs. You can experience all these via scenic drives and trails. Camping and picnicking are also viable activities that will help you experience the splendour of these crimson rocks. If you are not an outdoor person but want to see the red rocks up close, there are cabin rentals that can accommodate your stay in Sedona. These cabins offer a good view of different rock formations.

Arizona is a city that thrives with natural resources. One of its wonder is the Sedona Red Rock Country where you can’t help but marvel at nature’s wonderful gift to mankind – the brightly colored natural formation for rocks. It is a natural wonder that has no rival any where in the world. A trip to Arizona is not complete without catching a glimpse of these red rock formations.

January 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm | No comment

Alcobaca Monastery

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Alcobaca Monastery
Photo by: Rui Ornelas, Creative Commons

In 1147 when King Alfonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, was battling in Santarém against the Moors, he took a vow before God. He promised that he would build a great monastery if God would give him and his troops the victory. After winning and becoming the leader of the country, he kept his pledge. He founded Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça or simply the Alcobaca Monastery. This is a medieval monastery found in Alcobaca, a town in central Portugal. This was the first-ever building in Portugal that adopted the Gothic style of architecture.

The King gave the monastery to Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbot who strongly promoted the Crusades during that period. However, the monastery was also primarily built as his strategy to consolidate his authority in the new kingdom. It was also meant to promote colonization of the territories he had just taken from the Moors.

Till date, Alcobaca Monastery is still the largest church in the country. People love visiting this place because of its enormous size and the magnificence of its architectural design.

On the outside, this monastery has a great mix of styles. The church in the middle is sandwiched by two baroque-style wings. Above are the portal and the rose window which are part of its original structure. It was in the 18th century when architect João Turriano added two flanking towers and statues by its main entrance.

Inside, this Cistercian Gotchic church stretches up to 327 feet. The interior decoration is minimal, which is in accordance with the strict Cistercian principle. The minimalist style allows maximum appreciation of the vertical lines soaring to the roofs.

The church is not the sole thing you can enjoy in Alcobaca Monastery. You can also find here the royal tombs (where the remains of King Pedro I and his mistress, Ines de Castro lie), the chapel of Saint Bernard, the Sacristy, the Room of the Kings, and the Royal Pantheon. Visiting the monastery is definitely worth your time, especially when you remember that this enormous building is a simple realization of a king’s vow.

January 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm | 1 comment

Khyber Pass

A Military Convoy going through the Khyber Pass
Photo by: Agnte, Creative Commons

The crossroads between Central and South Asia is yet to be discovered by visitors. Khyber Pass Road is known from its historical contribution to society, through exploited combats and never-ending distribution, is one of the most talked-about places in Central and South Asia.

Being the major passageway for two countries namely Pakistan and Afghanistan, Khyber Pass Road has been a great discovery for Islam people. It is a 33-mile passage with only three meters as its width and a cliff of almost 200 meters high. In the 18th century, it was just a small road that was constructed by the British people and was lately converted to a highway on the following century.

Visitors visit Khyber Pass Road since it is known to be a legendary mountain pass in the whole world. In ancient times, it was the strategic military location of soldiers and armed forces from different countries. During winter season, the mountains that surround the road are sometimes covered with snow which makes the journey more remarkable. Today, both ends of this course have its own villages and serves as a highway for both countries and trading system for refugees.

It sure was the means of war from the past, but not on our time. Now, it serves as a visitor spot which catches the attention of thousands of visitors every year even big celebrities. Never miss this opportunity to visit the historical mountain passage in the universe. Standing or just even driving along this road makes you feel like you have traveled and experienced the soundless battle it has been through. Do not ignore the wonderful and enthralling sensation this happening has to give and let your historical sanity live once more.

January 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm | 3 comments

The Tikal National Park

The Tikal National Park
Photo by:
, Creative Commons

The Tikal National Park is undeniably one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Guatemala. Besides being the largest excavated site on the continent of the Americas, it is also considered as Guatemala’s most popular preserve, both culturally and naturally. A proof to this would be its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Tikal National Park also has this certain strong point that makes it an instant tourist spot. Besides its quite large area (which is very unsuitable for a day’s travelling or traversing by foot,) the park looks like a jigsaw puzzle that people commonly see on games like Jumanji, Zuma and other jungle-themed movies.

Numerous monuments are built in this area that date back to as early as 900 A.D. These monuments have inscriptions on the walls depicting the lives of the people who have lived during the era when Maya civilizations had been so prevalent. The rituals and the traditions that were done before are still being done now by the people living in the area.

Burial sites, stelae (carved stones that look like mini monuments,) altars and temples are also other things that will get the tourists moving during their stay in the Tikal National Park. These are highly maintained so that anything that might be informative and helpful to the visitors will not fade or get erased. Fortunately, the details of these structures remain impeccable, so visitors will not be disappointed when taking photographs.

Tourists should never pass up on such opportunity to see this heritage site and appreciate and be amazed at how the people in the area were able to preserve its beauty.

Interested visitors can check out the site’s official address on the internet to find out more about the site, which is

January 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm | No comment

Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls
Photo by: Jim Amorin, Creative Commons

Dunn’s River Falls is a major tourist attraction in the Caribbean. This waterfall is located near Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It is always included in the list of the best waterfalls in the world. Dunn’s River Falls is one of the few waterfalls that directly enter a sea. Aside from Dunn’s river, there are three other must see rivers. They are the Cave River, Turtle River, and Roaring River. These four rivers are well-known for the rapid, clear, flowing water passing through a waterfall and ending directly into the vast Caribbean Sea.

The Spaniards gave the name “Las Choleras” to the area because of its springs and waterfalls. It is believed that the battle of “Las Choleras” in 1657 was fought to have the rights over the area. The British won over the Spaniards and they started developing the area.

The area is perfect mixture of modern and natural beauty. Dunn’s River Falls is surrounded by lush vegetation, perfect for just having fun and relaxing. There are already several resorts around the area offering different activities for the tourists. One famous tourist activity is climbing the falls with or without tour guides. There are hidden hot springs beneath the caves. The sun-filled Caribbean beach never fails to awe tourists.

Souvenirs are available at the craft shop where they sell locally made woodcarvings and other art worth taking home. The cafeteria serves palatable dishes and you can just sit at the park and do your own cooking. Special occasions like weddings are celebrated in the midst of this majestic place. At night, the live music will make you want to dance.

The Dunn’s River Falls and park is a sure hit to all the nature-loving, and adventure oriented individuals and families. So if you are into adventure or just simply into relaxation, then Dunn’s River Falls is the perfect place to go.

January 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm | 4 comments

The McMurdo Dry Valleys

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The McMurdo Valleys
Photo by: lin padgham , Creative Commons

The McMurdo Dry Valleys can be found in Antarctica and they are one of the top tourist destinations that are famous for that region. What is very interesting here is the formation of land that seems to be quite questionable since Antarctica is known for snow, snow and of course snow.

Pack your durable yet comfortable hiking boots since the Dry Valleys are best admired on foot. There are numerous tourist hot spots there where residents can give you an amazing tour around. What is remarkable with this place is the level of salt that is found in their lakes. Like the Dead Sea, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica are known for the salinity of their waters. Did you know that the waters can actually be of great help to your skin ailments? The only problem is that you are in a rather extremely cold place. Don’t let it stop you since even in our countries where the weather dips below zero, submerging in the icy water actually provides many positive benefits to your body.

Even though there are places in the Dry Valleys that are under strict protection, you can still have fun with the spectacular flora and beautiful fauna. Always remember that whenever you visit places like the Dry Valleys, always look after your trash. There are lots of tourists who tend to waste away such a serene and clean environment. Since Antarctica is the home and refuge of many penguins, they can choke on the plastic bags and soda caps left behind. The fantastic view of the snow and ice gives you many photographic opportunities while you stay there. Be proud that you have visited such a beautiful place and bring home the memories you had there.

January 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm | No comment


Photo by: Darij & Ana, Creative Commons

In the field of the world’s most famous places, the UNESCO is an institution renowned for giving recognition to the most authentic and important sites. The distinction of being a UNESCO World heritage Site is something that almost every country in the world wants their spots to have. Having a UNESCO World Heritage Site merit is a sure sign of approval that would sure attract visitors, history fans, archeological nuts, and photography enthusiasts. The UNESCO World Heritage Site honor has been given to a number of places in Mexico. This historically and culturally-rich country has been blessed with places that show off the glorious remains of the past. Palenque is one of them.

Palenque used to be a Mayan city state located in southern Mexico. This Mayan city was established in the 7th century. The decline of the Mayan civilization got the city into ruins, and it was absorbed into the lush jungles. In the 20th century there have been efforts to excavate and restore the area, thus attracting visitors but has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors. Palenque contains a number of the finest sculpture, architecture, sculpture, and bas-relief carvings produced during the Mayan period.

When in Palenque, don’t miss visiting:
• The Palace, a set of buildings on a wide terrace. There are fine elegant sculptures and bas-relief carvings currently housed in the Palace. A tower four stories tall, is a must-see attraction.
• The Temple of Inscriptions houses the monument of the famous Mayan ruler Pakal. Beside the temple is a pyramid. The other set of temples, the Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Sun, and Temple of the Foliated Cross are also worth visiting.
• The museum that houses some of the relics found in the site.
• The God of Death bas-relief carving found in Structure XII.

Palenque is one of the famous Mayan ruins in Mexico. It is one of many well-loved Mesoamerican ruins, perhaps because it is the final resting place of one of Mayan civilization’s most popular rulers.

January 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm | 1 comment

Karlovy Vary

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Karlovy Vary
Photo by: brighton, Creative Commons

Tourists who travel most of the time often complain of jetlag, sore feet and headaches but if you are headed to the Czech Republic, you are in good hands. There is a haven for the weary muscles called Karlovy Vary. This is indeed one of the places to visit should you plan to travel. Everything in this place is very relaxing and soothing to your senses – that is why when you fix that travel itinerary, do put this destination at the topmost part of your list.

Before you head to get SPA-mpered, visit the Hot Spring Colonnade where the temperature of the water is 73°C/163°F. Too scalding for you? The calming spring waters in the middle of winter are of course the most sought after place to loosen up frozen limbs. There is a 14 meter high fountain in the colonnade’s hallway that does not seem to stop “springing up” due to the current of the waters – this is a must-see.

Moving on to the Karlovy Vary, you will be to witness the different 19th until 20th Centruy structures called the Mill Colonnade – Mlýnská kolonáda, Park Colonnade –Sadová kolonáda, Market Colonnade –Tržní kolonáda and Chateau Colonnade – Zámecká kolonáda. If you were to ask the other tourists who have visited there, they will tell you that they found the Mills Colonnade as to be the most overwhelming piece of art they have ever laid their eyes on at the Colonnade. Just imagine how it would be like to walk 132 meters long, 13 meters wide and count all the 124 columns? It’s impossible for you to do that but that is how expansive the Mills are!

You will definitely enjoy your stay at this hot and SPA-ntastic Neo-Renaissance styled tourist destination which you will not forget as long as you live.

January 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm | No comment

Opéra Garnier

Opera Garnier
Photo by: gadgetdude, Creative Commons

Architectural landmarks that may be found in important locations all over the world play a strong role in a city’s social and economic fabric. Some spark controversies, especially when they harm the existing architectural qualities of the space or symbolize certain ideologies. Others lend an air of mystery and charm, and cast an enchanting spell on travelers. The Opéra Garnier, immortalized by the popular musical play The Phantom of the Opera, has that entrancing effect on people. It has inspired countless artists to showcase their artistic prowess onstage to the best of their abilities.

While Opéra Garnier is a marvelous example of Napoleon III style, it also melds other design elements, including baroque, Greek and classical. The place can accommodate 2,200 people.

Opéra Garnier’s foundation stone was laid in 1861. Architect Charles Garnier and his team faced an overwhelming set of challenges that included swampy ground to pivotal historical events like the Franco-Prussion War and the fall of the Second French Empire. As with other buildings that were used for other purposes depending on the needs of the times, the old opera house was used as storage for food during the Paris Commune. Notwithstanding these various factors, plans to complete the reconstructed opera house were not abandoned.

Opera Garnier was finished in 1874. Its inauguration a year later was highlighted by a lavish gala performance. The Opéra Garnier is a destination that is an event in itself. It offers a visual and sensory experience. From the painted ceiling done by Marc Chagall to the multicolored marbles, an elegant chandelier weighing over six tons, to areas designed in velvet & gold, to the polychrome façade and interweaving stairwells and alcoves, Opéra Garnier can be quite an experience for most people. A visit to France is not complete without seeing the architectural masterpiece and popular landmark.

Paris Famous Landmarks

January 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | No comment

Keukenhof Gardens

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Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands
Photo by: Comunicati , Creative Commons

Keukenhof Garden is also known as Garden of Europe. It is known to be the world’s largest flower garden for the past fifty years. Keukenhof is located in South Holland between the towns of Hillegom and Lisse. According to the official website of Keukenhof Park, seven million flower bulbs are being planted annually in the park.

The garden was established in 1949 by the mayor. It is open annually from the last week of March till the mid month of May. If you’re a tulip lover, the best time to view these tulips is around the mid month of April. Keukenhof opens from 8:00am to 7:30pm. Keukenhof is known to be one of the most photographed sites in the world so make sure to bring your film and bring extra batteries for your digital camera.

You can either drive yourself or take a train ride from Amsterdam. Netherlands Railways sells special Keukenhof tickets that will take you from Leiden Central Station to Keukenhof Garden which takes around 20 minutes via bus. You can also check the Amsterdam Tourist Office because they offer and sell both tickets and excursions to Keukenhof.

Keukenhof is over 70 acres and surrounded by many different kinds of flowers. At one end of the garden you can see a large windmill. They have numerous greenhouses as well. Tulips are not the only spring flowers that bloom in Keukenhof garden. You will see daffodils, narcissi’s and hyacinths growing everywhere. If you’re hungry and tired, they have several cafes and snack bars inside so you can sit and watch the other fantastic flowers around.

Keukenhof Garden even sells out different samplers of different tulips that you can purchase and try growing in your hometown or country.

January 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm | 1 comment

United Nations Headquarters

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UN Headquarters from the East River
Photo by: Muhammad, Creative Commons

The United Nations Headquarters is one of the most frequented tourist attractions in the city of New York. Located on the East Side of New York, this glass-fronted building dominates the skyline of New York opened in 1951 and continues up to today to be one of the most popular destinations of tourists and residents alike in the city.

United Nations Headquarters is open to the public from Mondays through Fridays with guided tours at designated hours only. A schedule of days when the United Nations Headquarters is closed is available in their official website. So if you plan to visit the UN Headquarters, check the website first and plan your visit accordingly. There will be days when the Headquarters is suddenly closed to the public on very short notice because of emergency sessions.

Tickets for the tours sell very fast so it is suggested that you purchase your tickets early in the morning from the United Nations office itself as tickets are not available online. A complimentary ticket is given for every twenty tickets purchased.

The guided tours that last around 45 minutes start with a brief summary of what the UN is about, its history, mission and vision, as well as something about the Headquarters itself. During the tour, you will be able to witness for yourself the Articles of the Declaration of Independence, visit the General Assembly Hall which is the largest meeting room in the United Nations Headquarters. The guided tour will also take you to an exhibit of the different artifacts of disarmament.

Visiting the United Nations Headquarters is an enriching experience that a tourist should not miss doing when in New York.

January 18, 2010 at 12:07 am | 3 comments

The Gullfoss Waterfall

The Gullfoss Waterfall
Photo by: Neil Dcruze, Creative Commons

The Gullfoss Waterfall, which is also known as the Golden waterfall, is the most renowned waterfall in southwest Iceland. This breathtaking beauty is also one of the celebrated natural wonders of the world. It is situated on the Canyon of Hvita River or the White river. The Hvita River has three large steps ending at the spectacular Gullfoss falls. Gullfoss Waterfalls are two separate falls, one above the other. The top one or the upper step is 11 meters high; the other is 21 meters high. Its water can flow at an approximate 80 cubic meters per second during winter to about 140 cubic meters per second during summer. The greatest flood to strike the falls was recorded to have an astounding 2000 cubic meters per second outflow of water.

Rainbows often crown the majestic sight of the Hvita River diving in the Gullfoss falls. The area is blessed with lush vegetation beginning from lichens on rocks to small blueberry shrubs, and ending in wooly willows as its finale. There are numerous guided tourist trips offered by the locals. The falls was originally planned to supply electric power by turning it into a hydroelectric plant. The Gullfoss falls was found out to have the capability to produce massive amount of electricity. It is believed that because of the devoted pilgrimage of a farmer’s daughter to preserve the natural beauty of the falls, the plan was surprisingly stopped. Instead of a power plant, a nature reserve was built. A monument of this brave woman was erected in the area in 1978. The sight of the overwhelming falls, the sound of the gushing water, the scent of the variety of wild plants around the area, and the stories told of its mysterious past makes it worthwhile to visit this place and be awed by its beauty.

January 17, 2010 at 10:22 pm | 1 comment

Mustang Kingdom

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Mustang Kingdom, Nepal
Photo by:
Librex , Creative Commons

Mustang or Mun Tan means fertile plain. It is the former Kingdom of Lo, the place measures roughly 80 kilometers ling (north-south) and 45 kilometers at its widest. It is at an elevation of roughly over 2500m. Mustang is also called as Tibet. Mustang Kingdom survived the Chinese invasion back in 1951 and hence it was able to foster its original Tibetan Culture.

Currently, Mustang is politically part of Nepal. Mustang people do animal husbandry and trade as their source of income. The region is very accessible from Himalayas. Because of its strategic location, it has gone through many wars and sometimes even serves as a battle field. Various culture and religion practices and beliefs thrived in Mustang. The place is largely dry and arid due to its geographical location.

The people in Mustang Kingdom either belong to the Thakalis or Tibetan origin. Most people lived near the river. The site is roughly 2-3,000m above sea level but for tough conditions they are force to vacate and transfer to a lower region of Nepal. The kingdom opened its gate to the world in 1970s.

Even though foreigners have been currently allowed to enter the kingdom since 1991, tourism to the upper Mustang is still regulated. Foreigners need to secure a specific or special permit to enter the kingdom. It roughly costs five hundred U.S dollars for a person to stay in Mustang for ten days.

Mustang Kingdom was once a very independent kingdom. Language and culture are closely similar to the Tibet’s. Back in fifteenth century to seventeenth century, due to its strategic location, Mustang had an advantage to control trade between Himalayas and India. By the end of eighteenth century, the kingdom was controlled by Nepal already.

Back in 2007, a shepherd in Mustang discovered a collection of 55 cave paintings depicting the life of Buddha.

January 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm | 2 comments

Cable Cars of San Francisco

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Market Street Cable Car

Photo by: Wendy Piersall (@eMom), Creative Commons

When you think of San Francisco, the Cable Cars are what first come to mind. These cable cars have been popularized and immortalized by the movie industry. I bet you can not name a film set in San Francisco that is without a cable car scene.

For locals, the San Francisco Cable Cars are a means of transportation; but to visitors, it is an attraction. Ride all three routes of the cable cars and get a tour of all popular areas in the city. From 6:00 am to 1:00 am, you can take a trip on any of its routes and take a glimpse of the world-famous Aquatic Park, Union Square, Nob Hill, Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Almost anyone who has been to the cinema is familiar to these red cars that have been rounding the city since 1873. The golden bell in front of the car is a piece of art that has witnessed the unfolding of history. The San Francisco Cable Cars are so popular that it has become the city’s icon. In fact if you show anyone a picture of any cable car, the first thing that he would think of is San Francisco.

After the adventurous ride around the city in the cable car, end your day with a visit to the San Francisco Cable Cars Museum. You will be fascinated by the interesting facts about these world-famous cable cars. Learn its history and the dynamics of how the cable cars work.

San Francisco is a tourist attraction in itself.

The city thrives in its history. What better way to experience all these than by taking a tour around the city through its cable cars. The San Francisco Cable Cars are universally famous not because of how they transport people around the city, but how they have transported people through history.

January 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm | 1 comment

Grand Place

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Grand Place, Belgium
Photo by: Manza, Creative Commons

If Brussels is the capital of Belgium, then Grand Place has got to be the capital of Brussels. Situated at the center of the most significant city in all of Belgium, the Grand Place is an imposing town square with an area of 68 by 110 m. It is associated with the country’s seat of power because it is outlined by two equally imposing structures: the Brussels City Hall and the King’s House, presently called the Breadhouse.

The architecture of Grand Place is like nothing you’ve ever seen. The row of shops are seemingly knitted together to form an overall look of a picturesque middle-age town square. To the south of Grand Place, you will find the Brussels City Hall. This symbol of municipal power was erected in the early 1400’s. Right across it is the King’s House, although no king has ever resided in it. In the early 1500s, the Duke of Brabant built it to represent ducal power in the city. Merchant shops and guilds fill the spaces between these two significant landmarks. Despite having been erected at different periods and under different architectural influences, the buildings surrounding Grand Place seemingly mesh together to form a landscape that is worthy of a portrait. Moreover, if your timing is right, you can experience the Flower Carpet that covers the Grand Place in August of every other year. During this time, the Grand Place is adorned with an intricate and colorful pattern of begonias, a native flower in Brussels.

As significant as Grand Place, it is but a mere iceberg’s tip of the culture and history that Brussels has to offer. But, many people begin their adventure through Brussels at Grand Place, more preferably through bike tours or walking tours. Starting from the grandeur of this impressive town square, you can then discover the fun and interesting things that Brussels has in store for you.

January 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm | 2 comments