Sunday, August 31, 2014

Liverpool, England



Liverpool
Ian Moran/Getty
Liverpool – The Most Splendid Setting of English City

Liverpool, a city in Merseyside, England lies on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. The Mersey Estuary which divides Liverpool from the Wirral Peninsula and the boundaries of Liverpoolare adjacent to Bootle, Crosby and Maghull towards south, Sefton to the north and Kirkby, Huyton, Prescot and Halewood in Knowsley towards the east.

It was a borough from 1207 and a city from 1880. Towards 2011, the population was 466,415. Liverpool is described as the most splendid setting of any English city, at 176 miles towards northwest of London and situated on the Liverpool Bay of the Irish Sea, it is built across a ridge of sandstone hills which rise to a height of about 230 feet above sea level at Everton Hill.

It represents the southern boundary of the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, Being a historical part of Lancashire, Liverpool’s urbanisation and its expansion enhanced its status as a major port which included the participation in the Atlantic slave trade. Moreover, Liverpool was also the port of registry of the ocean line, the RMS Titanic together with several other Cunard and White Star ocean lines like the RMS LUSITANIA, Olympic and Queen Mary.

 Liverpool’s status as a port city has been responsible to its diverse population which historically came from a wide range of people, religious as well as culture, especially those from Ireland.

Home to Ancient Black African/Chinese Community

Liverpool, England
Image credit:travelviauk.com
Besides this, the city is also a home to the ancient Black African community as well as the oldest Chinese community in Europe. The natives of Liverpool are called Liverpudlians while colloquially as Scousers.

The word Scouse seems to be a synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect. Liverpool’s wealth as a port city helped in the construction of two major cathedrals which dates from the 20th century namely the Anglican Cathedral, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott which played host to the annual Liverpool Shakespeare Festival and has one of the longest naves, the largest organs, the heaviest as well as the highest peals of bells in the world.

The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral on the other hand, which is on Mount Pleasant, near Liverpool Science Park was first planned to be much larger, according to the original design of Sir Edwin Lutyens, though only the crypt got completed and the cathedral was finally built in a simple design by Sir Frederick Gibberd.

Though it is built on a smaller scale than Lutyens’ original design, it is capable of incorporating the largest panel of stained glass in the world. Hope Street, the road that runs between the two cathedrals is a pleasing coincidence to believers and the cathedral is colloquially referred as Paddy’s Wigwam because of its shape.

The World Capital City of Pop

The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007 and held the European Capital of Culture title with Stavanger Norway in 2008. It has also been listed as `the World Capital City of Pop’ by Guinness World Records, by the popularity of The Beatles as well as the other groups from Mersey beat period and much later who have made their contribution to its status as a great tourist destination. Tourism is the main economy of Liverpool.

 Many areas of Liverpool city centre were listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. Liverpool is also the home of two of its Premier League football clubs namely Liverpool and Everton where matches between the two are known as Merseyside derby and the world famous Grand National also takes place annually, on the outskirts of the city at Aintree Racecourse.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty
Almaty – Largest City & Capital of Kazakhstan 

Almaty the former capital of Kazakhstan is still its largest city having a population of 1,421,868 by August 2010 with 9% of the country’s population located in one city.Almaty means `city of apple tress’, and due to its relatively mild weather, it has a wide range of apple trees. Moreover, the Almaty area is considered to be the genetic home of a variety of apples which is often visited by scientists as well as researchers from all over the world, to get to know more above the complex system of genetic as well as to discover the origin of the domestic apple. Almaty is also a financial as well as a cultural centre of Central Asia and takes pride in its moderately sized tourist as well as expatriate communities. It is also one among the top 50 most expensive cities worldwide for expats according to Mercer Human Research, to live in.

Stock Exchange – Largest in Central Asia 

This destination is an awesome gateway to distinctive and an undiscovered country where the Kazakh people are very pleasantly hospitable, kind and welcoming. Almaty still continues to be the centre of commerce for Kazakhstan with the stock exchange together with the largest banks that are located there, including Kazkommerts bank, the largest bank in Kazakhstan as well as one of the largest players in Central Asia. Its Stock exchange is one of the largest in Central Asia which is responsible for a major proportion of the economy of the country. New developments to increase the financial facilities are in the pipeline and presently Almaty Financial District and Esentai Park is under construction.
Centre for Asian Winter Games – January 2011

Almaty is a city with amazing beauty and is situated in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau towards the extreme south-east of Kazakhstan making the backdrop of mountains with the taller buildings a dramatic and an impressive sight. It was also the centre for the Asian Winter games in January 2011. On a clear weather, one will see the beautiful rugged snow-capped mountains at the city’s doorstep towards the south and since the city slopes from south to north, navigating the streets tends to get a lot easier. If one is travelling uphill, then they are heading towards the south. One will find a small mountain range which borders the city towards the east.

Kazakhstan’s Main Transport Hub

Almaty is also Kazakhstan’s main transport hub where most of the travellers pass through instead of lingering. Should one decide to stay on for some days, they can enjoy the various green parks with colourfully illuminated fountain, the excellent museums, theatres, markets and shops. Some of Central Asia’s best selections of restaurants, clubs and bars are available for eating, drinking as well as dancing. Besides this, it is also the starting point for great hikes, treks, drives as well as skiing in the Zailiysky Alatay and Kyrgyzstan and is a short distance for the central Tian Shan in Kazakhstan’s further south-eastern point. The most appropriate time to visit Almaty is during mid-April to late May and mid-August to mid-October where the climate is not too hot or too cold and is very pleasant.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Tube -London


The Tube -London
The London Tube or the Underground is a rapid public transport system serving a large part of Greater London as well as parts of the home counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex where it serves around 270 stations and 402 kilometres of track out of which 55% is above ground. Its history dates back to 1863 when the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway opened between Paddington and Farringdon serving six intermediate stations.

The Underground network, which has been nicknamed The Tube’, by generations of Londoners, has now increased to 270 stations and 11 lines stretch deep into the Capital’s suburbs and further on. The network incorporates one of the world’s first underground railways, which is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines as well as the first line in 1890, to operate electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway which is now part of the Northern line and in 2012/13 has carried around 1.23 billion passengers all across the various stations.

Tunnel Constructed Using the Cut & Cover Concept

The system’s first tunnel was constructed below the surface using the cut and cover concept. Later on circular tunnels were dug through the London Clay which was much deeper and the former lines were marketed as the Underground in early 20th century on maps as well as signs at central London stations. Private companies which owned and operated the railways were merged in 1933 and formed the London Passenger Transport Board.

 London Underground Limited – LUL, the prevailing operator is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London TfL, which is the statutory corporation that is responsible for several elements of transport network in Greater London. The idea of constructing an underground railway was proposed in 1830 to link the City of London with some of the railway termini in the urban centre with the Metropolitan Railway permitting to build a line in 1854.

Underground Railway Opened in January 1863

The underground railways was opened in January 1863 using gas lit wooden carriage hauled by steam locomotives which was a success serving 38,000 passengers on the first opening day which was done by borrowing trains from other railways to provide service to the passengers. The Metropolitan district Railway which is also known as the District Railway opened in December 1868 from south Kensington to Westminster as a part of a plan for an underground inner circle which connected London’s main line termini.

The Circle line with the Metropolitan and District railways was completed in 1884 with the cut and cover concept.Both the railways expanded with the District building five branches towards the west which reached Ealing, Hounslow, Uxbridge, Richmond and Wimbledon while the Metropolitan extended towards Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire which is over 50 miles from Maker Street and the centre of London.

The Tube or Underground in the city of London is one of its kinds and London would not exist without the tube and the visitors would not want to leave the British capital without the `Mind the Gap’ image, which is the first underground railway system in the world.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lviv – UNESCO World Heritage Site


Lviv – Cathedral of Saint George
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine which was once a major population centre of the Halych-Volyn Principality, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and later on the capital of Lwow Voivodeship at the time of the Second Polish Republic. Lviv is the biggest city of the region as well as the historic city centre on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Formerly being the capital of the historical region of Galicia, Lviv is now considered as one of the main cultural centres of present time Ukraine. The historical centre of Lviv, along with its ancient buildings, together with cobblestone streets has survived the Soviet and Nazi occupation during World War II which remained unscathed.

The city has various industries together with institutions of higher education like the Lviv University and Lviv Polytechnic and is also a home to several world class cultural institutions which include philharmonic orchestra and the famous Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. In September 2006, Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary with a son et lumiere in the city centre.

Central European Flair in Architecture

Lviv is situated on the edge of the Roztochia Upland around 70 km from the Polish border and 160 km from the eastern Carpathian Mountains with an average altitude of 296 metres above sea level. The city has a multicultural history which was founded by Kind Daniel of Galicia in 1256 which fell under the Polish control towards the 14th century where Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Germans and others lived together for centuries.

Lviv which is located in the Ukrainian region of Ukraine as a Soviet province has most of its signs only in Ukraine with only a few in Russian. Due to its Polish and Austro-Hungarian history, this city has Central European flair in its architecture which makes it one of the most amazing cities in Eastern Europe.

 The people here are very proud of their history as linguistically, culturally as well as ethnically, Ukrainian city has a population of over half a million from World War II before which the majority were Polish, leaving its impact of Polish history.

Lviv – Traditional Celebration of Holidays with Themed Festivals

Vysokyi Zamok – High Castle is its highest point above sea level where the castle has an amazing view of the historic city centre together with its distinctive green domed churches accompanied with intricate architecture. The old walled city was at the foothills of the Vysokyi Zamok on the banks of the river Poltva. In the 13th century the river was utilised to transport the goods.

The city of Lviv is an interesting tourist destination which is very captivating, rich in historic architecture with an indulgent coffee house culture. It is a city with impressive temples with ancient squares, cosy narrow streets, museums and galleries which house artistic masterpieces of various historical events. The traditional celebration of the holidays came from Lviv with the new format of several themed festivals.

The city has a majority of new art as well as modern culture trends in the country together with the ideas of several interesting entertainment. Lviv is full of activity all year round and tourist visiting this city during spring, summer; autumn or winter will have a memorable stay at this amazing historical destination.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sarajevo – Largest City of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo
Sarajevois the capital as well as the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an estimated population of 369,534 and the Sarajevo metropolitan area which includes Sarajevo, East Sarajevo together with the surrounding municipalities is inhabited by 608,354 people.

Besides, it is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity as well as the capital of the Republic of Srpska entity and the centre of the Sarajevo Canton. It lies within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, located along the Miljacka River in the centre of the South-eastern Europe and the Balkans.

It is one of the most interesting historically and varied cities in Europe and a place where the Eastern and the Western Roman Empire separate, a place where the people of the Roman Catholic west, Eastern Orthodox east and the Ottoman south, met, lived and got separated.

 It was an example to historical turbulence as well as the clash of civilization together with signs of hope for tolerance and peace through multi-cultural incorporation and is a city which is vibrant and busy and is historically famous for its traditional religious diversity of Islam, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Catholicism which coexisted for centuries.

Jerusalem of Europe/Jerusalem of the Balkans

Sarajevo, due to its long and rich history of religious as well as cultural variance, was at times called the `Jerusalem of Europe’, or `Jerusalem of the Balkans’. Till recently in the 20th century, it was the only major European city to have a Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, a synagogue and a mosque in the same neighbourhood.

Being a regional centre in education, it is also a home to the Balkans’ first institution of tertiary education in the form of Islamic polytechnic which is known as Saraybosna Osmanli Medrese and present times University of Sarajevo.

Sarajevo is also the leading social, cultural and a political centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina with its region wide influence in education, entertainment, politics, media, fashion, science as well as arts, which had made an immense contributions to its position as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most important and biggest economic centre.

Cosmopolitan European Capital with a Unique Twist

Sarajevo has now been restored from most of the war damage caused by the Yugoslav Wars of the 1992 -1995. It is a cosmopolitan European capital having a unique twist which is worth exploring. The people in this region are very friendly whether they are Croats, Bosnians, or Serb and this city ranks as one of the safest in South Eastern Europe.

The centre of Sarajevo is served by spinal tram network, making a counter clockwise loop round the central district together with a number of trolley bus and bus lines which spread out to the suburbs. Tickets need to be purchased in advance from the kiosks which have been labelled as `tisak’, on the street or from the driver.

Tickets need to be validated on boarding which are valid only for a one way trip and changing tram or bus would need a new ticket.Lonely Planet, the travel guide series, had listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010-2011 and it has also been nominated as the only city outside the European Union, for the European Capital of Culture in 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ancient City of Damascus

Damascus

Damascus – Second Largest City of Syria

Damascus, the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo is commonly known in Syria as ash-Sham and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine, besides being one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world. It is also a major cultural as well as religious centre of the Levant where the city has a population of around 1,711,000.

Damascus is situated towards the south-western area of Syria and is the centre of a huge metropolitan area of 2.6 million inhabitants. It is embedded, geographically, on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range at around 80 kilometres inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau of 680 metres above sea level. The Barada River flows through Damascus. The climate here is semi-arid due to the rain shadow effect.

 Damascus has a rich history which is still alive in the historic quarter where narrow lanes wander from warrens of the ancient buildings that pass through lively markets, revealing historic sites which are all surrounded by remnants of venerable walls together with legendary gates. The old city of Damascus continues to preserve its graphical as well as historical aspects, where the high wall protects the old city of Damascus and is crystal clear till date.

Citadel Built – Seljuk Rule/Rebuilt – Saladdin Rule 

The citadel which was built during the Seljuk rule was rebuilt during Saladdin rule and occupies an area of land which is estimated by 220x190 square meters. It has thirteen towers. The Nureddin tower in the south west area of the wall was built in 1168 AD and Al-saleh Ayoub tower in 1248 AD. Besides this, there are many gates to the city, some of which dates back to the Roman era. Bab Sharqi and Bab Tourna are the oldest and the most famous gates of the old city of Damascus.

 Other attractions of the old city of Damascus are the museum, souk, Al-Hamidieh and many other souks, Khans, palaces and old schools together with Bimarestans The city has changed hands several times over the centuries like the Assyrians, Greeks, Persian, Nabataeans, Romans, the Umayyad caliphate, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Ottomans, French and many more with each group leaving their traces behind which became a part of the city’s rich tapestry though it vanished after sometime and the city is thriving presently at the heart of an independent Syria.

Umayyad Mosque – Earliest Mosque

The Umayyad Mosque is Islam’s one of the earliest mosque which ranks in holiness below those of Mecca and Medina and the mosque site was a home to temple of Syria’s ancient Armaean people when the Roman temple honoured Jupiter and a Christian church during the Constantine era. The Arab conquest of Damascus eventually was responsible in the construction of the mosque which dates back to the early 8th century where a shrine is reported to house the head of John the Baptist which lies within the walls of the mosque.

Towards the north gate of the mosques is the tomb of Salah al-Din ibn Ayyub, the legendary warrior sultan who had defeated the Crusaders in various battles and had driven them from Jerusalem. Modern example of the history can be found in Souq al-Hamidiyya wherein an ancient street had been converted into an active covered market towards the late 19th century of the Ottoman era. The bazaar is considered to be the only one of the old city’s many suqs where sellers come along with spices, rugs, and sweets together with various attractive wares which have been followed over the centuries.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seattle – Coastal Seaport


Seattle


Seattle, a coastal seaport city is located on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington, around 100 miles south of the Canada-United States, bordered by the snow-capped Olympic and volcanic Cascade Mountains. The city had an estimate of around 652,405 people as per the 2013 census and is the largest city in the Pacific North-western region of North America. With around 3.6 million inhabitants in Seattle metropolitan area, it is the 14th largest metropolitan area in the United States. It is also the fastest growing major gateway for trade with Asia, the eighth largest port in the United States and the 9th largest in North America with regards to container handling. It offers a wealth of outdoor adventure from kayaking to the climbing of rocks and is a home to innovative companies which includes Amazon.com together with Microsoft and is also supportive to world class cultural institutions like the Seattle symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, and award winning theatre troupes. The area of Seattle was earlier inhabited by the Native Americans for around 4,000 years before the first permanent European.

Commercial & Shipbuilding Centre – Klondike Gold Rush, 1897

Arthur A, Denny along with his group of travellers known as Denny Party had arrived on November 13, 1851 at Alki Point where the settlement moved to its current site and was named Seattle in 1853 after Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Seattle’s first major industry was logging, but the city had turned into a commercial and ship-building centre by late 19th century, as a gateway to Alaska at the time of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. Towards 1910, Seattle became one of the largest 25 cities but the Great Depression hampered the city’s economy drastically. During and after the World War II, the city developed gradually, due to the local Boeing Company which was established as a centre for aircraft manufacturing and developed as a technology centre towards 1980s. New software biotechnology together with Internet companied was the outcome of economic revival which led to the city’s population by 50,000 between 1990 and 2000. Thereafter, Seattle became the hub for green industry as well as a model for sustainable development.

History of Boom and Bust Cycles

Seattle Opera
The Emerald City has diverse attractions with distinctive neighbourhoods on seven hills, from Old West saloons together with high tech hotels to trendy boutiques as well as a 100 year old public farmer’s market. Seattle offers a magnificent setting with its modern skyline of glass skyscrapers accompanied with friendly charm mingled with lots of fun filled restaurants, coffeehouses and active clubs. It has an amazing musical history and from 1918 to 1951, there were almost two dozen jazz nightclubs along Jackson Street from the present Chinatown/International district to the Central district where the jazz scene developed the early career of Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and the rest. It is also the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix the rock musician as well as the alternative rock style grunge. Moreover, Seattle has a history of boom and bust cycles with areas of extensive mineral and natural resources and has risen many times economically and then gone into deep decline but has been rebuilt on solid infrastructure.

Tuscany


Siena
The splendid region of Tuscany is without a doubt one of the most enchanting and idyllic destinations to be found in the whole of the Italian peninsula. Thousands of visitors flock to Tuscany each year in order to enjoy and admire the region’s magnificent architecture, towering cypresses, breathtaking panoramas and delightful authentic cuisine. With this in mind, here is a quick guide to some of Tuscany’s most beautiful towns and cities just waiting to be explored.

1. Lucca

The quaint city of Lucca attracts more and more visitors each year as a result of the locality’s exquisite ancient architecture dating back to both Renaissance and medieval times. Lucca’s phenomenal Church of San Michele in Foro, Piazza Anfiteatro and the Duomo di San Martino are not to be missed. This is also the location in which the renowned Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born making Lucca a must-see for anyone passionate about opera.

2. Siena

The awe-inspiring medieval city of Siena is one of Tuscany’s most popular destinations due to the spectacular architecture, mesmerising artwork, colourful past and of course, the twice-annual Palio horse race. A trip to Siena would not be complete without a visit to the city’s Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pubblico, where intricate and ornate architecture and artwork can be enjoyed. If you are currently planning your trip to this charming city, you will be able to find a number of great accommodation options in Siena through this page.

3. Volterra

Often overlooked by tourists visiting Tuscany, Volterra is a hidden gem more recently made famous by the popular Twilight films. This town is in fact one of the best places to see ancient Etruscan ruins in the whole of Italy. Volterra is also home to winding medieval passageways, fabulous hill-top vistas and the ruins of the town’s former amphitheatre and bathhouse. Visitors can also enjoy the town’s splendid museum dedicated to life as an Etruscan.

4. San Gimignano

San Gimignano is one of the most visually striking towns in the Tuscan region due to its fourteen spectacular medieval towers, all contained within the locality’s original walls. Visitors have the chance to stroll through San Gimignano’s vehicle-free streets, sampling the town’s local culinary delicacies before climbing to the top of the Torre Grossa and admiring the picturesque views of the settlement below.

Tuscany boasts a remarkable number of delightful localities nestled amongst the region’s many sun-drenched rolling hills. As there is so much to see and do in this stunning region, I recommend that you do a little research online before departure in order to be able to plan your visit and really make the most of your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking travel destinations.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Museum – Well Known Museum of Contemporary/Modern Art

The Solomon R, Guggenheim Museum is also known as Guggenheim Museum Bilbao which is a well-known museum of contemporary and modern art, designed by Frank Gehry, a Canadian-American architect located in Bilbao, Basque Country, in Spain.

The museum was established in 1939 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting under the guidance of its artist and first director, Hilla von Rebay and was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, on October 18, 1997. It adopted its present name in 1952, after the death of its founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim. It was built alongside the Nervion River that runs through the city of Bilbao to the Cantabrian Sea and is one of the many museums which belong to the Solomon R, Guggenheim Foundation.

 Moreover it features some of the permanent as well as visiting exhibits of the works done by international as well as Spanish artists and is a home of renowned and ever flowing collection of Impressionist, early Modern and Post-Impressionist besides contemporary art, with special exhibitions carried out throughout the year.

Represents Architectural Landmark of Bold Configuration

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao represents an awesome example of the most mind blowing construction of the 20th century architecture. With 24,000 m2 out of which 11,000 is dedicated to exhibition space, it has more space for exhibition than the three Guggenheim collections in New York and Venice combined.

The exhibition space of 11,000 has been distributed over nineteen galleries, 10 of which follow a classic orthogonal plan which can be identified from the external by their stone finish while the remaining nine galleries are shaped irregular and can be noticed from the outside by their swirling organic forms together with titanium covering and the biggest gallery measures 30 meters wide and 130 meters long.In 2005, it housed Richard Serra’s monumental installation, The Matter of Time, dubbed as `courageous and sublime’, by Robert Hughes.

The museum represent architectural landmark of bold configuration together with innovating design providing an appealing backdrop for the exhibition of art. Gehry’s design has created an amazing sculpture like structure integrated within Bilbao’s urban pattern as well as its surrounding area. The museum is integrated seamlessly in the urban context giving way to interconnecting shapes of stone, titanium and glass on a 32,000 square meter site along the Nervion River in the heart of the old industrial city. Though modest from street level, it is very impressive when seen from the river.

Constructed on Time & Budget

Over eight decades, the collection of the museum has grown organically and is founded on many important private collections starting with the original collection of Solomon R. Guggenheim and the collections is shared by its sister museum in Spain, Bilbao and others. Around 1.2 million people visited the museum in 2013 and it also hosted the most popular exhibition in the city of New York.

 The building, it is said, has been constructed on time and budget and in an interview, Gehry explains that first, he made sure that what he called `the organisation of the artist’ prevailed at the time of construction in order to prevent interferences of political as well as business interest, with the design. Then he ensured that he had detailed and realistic cost estimate before going ahead with his project and finally he used computer visualization which he created by his own Digital Project software, collaborating closely with individual building trades in order to keep a tab on costs at the time of construction.

Seoul, The Largest Metropolis of South Korea

Seoul
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the largest metropolis of South Korea and includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis as well as the Gyeonggi province. It is one of the second largest metropolitan areas in the world with more than 25.6 million inhabitants and home to over half of South Koreans together with 632,000 international residents. Besides being the largest city, it is also one of East Asia’s financial as well as cultural epicentres having an awesome blend of ancient traditions and cutting edge digital technology.

Seoul is also a home to endless street food vendors with good educational system, serene Buddhist temples, accompanied with extraordinary architecture followed by endless monotonous rows of grey apartment building, with vast nightlife districts. Seoul in fact is a city of stark contrasts and is a political and cultural bub of the country and to some extent, after Greater Tokyo, is the second largest urban agglomeration on the planet.

Located on the Han River, the history of Seoul dates back to more than 2,000 years ago when it was formed in 18 BC by Baekie, one of the three kingdoms of Korea. Under the Joseon Dynasty, it continued as the capital of Korea. The Seoul Capital Area has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

Modern Iconic Landmarks

One will find Seoul surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan and the world’s most visited national park. Some of the modern landmarks are the iconic Dogdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, which is the world’s second largest indoor theme park and the world’s longest bridge fountain, the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain. Seoul, the birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, had been voted as the world’s most preferred travel destination by the Chinese, Japanese and the Thai tourist for three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011 and had more than 12 million international visitors in the year 2013. This made it one of the most visited cities and the world’s 7th biggest earner of tourism in East Asia.

Subway System – 2nd Most Transportation System in the World

Tourists can visit most places in Seoul through the subway system, which is the second most used transportation system in the world.Seoul is an appropriate location for those interested in food where a hanjeongsik, a multicourse banquet is a feast for the eye as well as the stomach, together with the cleverly prepared neo-Korean dishes. Besides these, provision of the piping hot, crispy hotteok, which are pancakes served with sweet and savoury fillings at street corner or fresh, delicious and fiery crab soup in Norvangjin Fish Market is available for those interested in indulging in tasty awesome dishes.

One should not miss the universe of teas that are served in charming tea houses which is the soul of Seoul. The people of Seoul follow two major religion namely Christianity and Buddhism while other religion include Korean, Shamanism and Confucianism and is a home to the world’s largest Christian believers wherein the YoidoFull Gospel Church comprises of 830,00 people. It has been observed that the population of Seoul has been dropping since early 1990s, which is due to the high cost of living together with an aging population.

Happy journeys get much happier

When you are going on a vacation, sometimes it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. It is only when your mind experiences the withdrawal from the stressful city life and opens itself to a cleaner, greener environment that you begin to relax and enjoy your holiday. Otherwise you are more likely to keep feeling restless and not being able to completely let go.

A bus ride through mountain areas is an experience to cherish during long trips. The cool breeze rushing to your face brings back memories of happier times. You can almost smell the freshness in the air as you pass through dense green cover.

The stunning view relaxes your tense nerves and reminds you of the finer things in life. If you are lucky you may even spot a few wild animals on the way which is great when you are travelling with kids. While the entertainment is plenty, so is the comfort. Long distance buses these days come fully equipped with recliner seats and arm rests. If a good night’s rest is really important to you, there is always the choice of sleeper buses.

They offer a high level of comfort; you might even forget you ever left home. Almost all buses come with television sets to keep you entertained during your journey. During the summer, air conditioned buses are a popular choice with passengers to escape the heat. In spite of the many benefits, some people may still argue that bus travel is becoming extremely expensive but that is a problem that can be easily overcome.

 Avoid going to the local agents that sometimes hike the prices, try booking your seats online as you can get amazing offers here.

Redbus.in is becoming an extremely popular choice for most passengers and for good reason. Here you can not only book your bus tickets but also book a hotel for when you reach your destination. It just seems more sensible to get two things done at once. Here you can search for your trusted bus and choose the best seats quiet easily. They offer you seat booking at a very reasonable price and offer you additional discounts when you redeem your redbus coupon codes.

There are many online travel offers which are easily redeemable while doing your booking online.

Presently, these coupon codes available offer very interesting deals. You can currently get your hands on coupon codes offering you zero booking fees when you book online. Traveling by bus would be so much more affordable when you redeem the coupon code giving you 10% cash back on bus bookings.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Madagascar


Madagascar

Madagascar Gained Independence in 1960

Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa and opposite Mozambique. It is the world’s fourth largest island after New Guinea, Greenland and Borneo and is twice the size of Arizona and gives way to a central plateau due to its country’s low lying coastal area. The Malagasy are believed to be descendants of Africans and Indonesians who settled there over 2000 years ago. The people of Madagascar gave much importance to their dead and spend a lot of effort on ancestral tombs which were opened from time to time so that the remains could be carried out in procession before they were again re wrapped in fresh shrouds. Madagascar got independence in 1960 after a harsh French colonial rule which included the bloody suppression of an uprising in the year 1947. Poverty and competition for agricultural land put immense pressure on the islands’ disappearing forest which was home to most of the unique wildlife as well as a good means of tourist industry. The island had strong ties with France and economic as well as cultural links with the French speaking West Africa. The seizure of power in 2009 by Andry Rajoelina left the island isolated by international community and they were deprived of foreign help.

Isolated from Neighbouring Continents

The island was quite isolated from the neighbouring continents and due to its isolation one will find most of the mammals, birds and plants here, which do not exist anywhere else in the world. The island has five percent of all known animals and plant species here. The fauna and flora is matched by beautiful landscapes of great diversity and one can go from rainforest to desert in about 300 km. It is heavily exposed to tropical cyclones bringing in torrential rains with destructive floods, leaving thousands homeless like in the case of 2000 and 2004 incident.The people of Madagascar are considered to be patriotic and when they gained independence from France, the Malagasy changed a lot within the culture and languages and returned back to their original customs and traditions. Presently, Malagasy language is the language spoken by around 98% of the people and since 1972; Malagasy language is used as the teaching language in some of the schools though some of them are quite fluent in French which is widely spoken except in certain rural areas while German and English is spoken by a minority of people like the guides and municipal workers.

Malagasy – an Austronesian Language 

An interesting thing about Madagascar is that the people of that island speak one language which is Malagasy, an Austronesian language. Besides being the name of the language, Malagasy is also referred to people of the island and since the island is massive, there are several different dialects. The Merina dialect for instance is the `official Malagasy’ of the island which is spoken around the highlands of Antananarivo and majority of the Malagasy speak Merina on the island. The second official language of Madagascar is French where large corporations and the government use French in their daily business though 75 -80 percent of Malagasy have maintained a limited proficiency in this language. Efforts have been done by foreigners to learn and speak Malagasy which is encouraged and appreciated by the people of Madagascar.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mongolia

Mongolia
Mongolia – Between Siberia and China

Mongolia lies in central Asia between Siberia on the north and China on the south and is slightly larger than Alaska. It is one of those places where one will find nomadic life still prevailing. The province of the Inner Mongolia is geographically and politically separate and is situation towards the northern area of China though it shares common borders with Mongolia.

 Mongolia State was earlier known as Outer Mongolia and contains the original homeland of the historic Mongols, whose power had reached its peak during the 13th century till Kublai Khan. They accepted the Manchu rule in the year 1689, though after the Chinese Revolution in 1911 with the fall of the Manchus in 1912, the Chinese officials were expelled by the northern Mongol princes and declared independence under the `Living Buddha’, or Khutukhtu.

Together with Japan and South Korea, Mongolia is one of the only legitimate democracies in the whole of Asia and elections have proven to be fair and free. With constant street protests, this region has been forced to policy changes related to most of the issues that come up.

An Upcoming Asian Country

Mongolia is an upcoming Asian country where its economy has been growing to 7.5 percent per year due to China’s needs of Mongolia’s raw materials and tourism along with cashmere and mining has become an important feature of the economy. Mongolia is an awesome travel destination which is unspoiled, especially for people, who love the adventurous life,wherein people can enjoy the outdoors and the adventure on the vast plains, riding horses as well as camping with the nomadic families. All these combination enables the visitorwith the opportunity to going back into time and enjoy a simple way of life. It is a perfect location for horse trekking, long distance cycling or hiking or leisure activities like yak carting, fly-fishing or even camping under a dark starry night.

Rich Natural Beauty

Mongolia being a country of rich natural beauty comprises of a wide range of various types of landscape on its vast region, right from the Gobi desert in the south to the clear waters of Lake Xowsgol to its north and from the grasslands of the east to the Altai mountain range in the west, with plenty of exciting moments to be experienced by the traveller.

The main religion of Mongolia is Buddhism with 90 percent of the population being Buddhists while the rest are Muslims, Shamanist with a few Christians. Earlier the Mongolians’ religion was shamanism which rose during the clan structure which was just magic and simple. Every clan in ancient period had a belief about their origin that they were descendants from a plant or an animal which was called tutelary genius.

Several museums in Ulaanbaatar is available for those interested in religion and culture such as the Natural history museum, hunting museum, geological museum, historical museum, which was earlier the revolutionary museum but now hosts an extensive exhibition together with a beautiful collection of Mongolian garments.

 Besides these, one will come across fine arts museum, Choijil Monastery which is located towards the centre of Ulaanbaatar, the former being a home to the priceless sculptures which were crafted by the famous monk, Politian sculptor and philologist Zanabazar and many more interesting sites to explore.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chichen Itza – `Mouth of the Well of Itza’

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza meaning, `at the mouth of the well of Itza’, is considered to be the second most visited archaeological site of Mexico. The Kukulkan Pyramid known as El Castillo in Chichen-Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World which was elected in 7-07-2007 and is 24 m high, taking into consideration the upper platform.

This amazing step pyramid portrays the accuracy and the importance of Maya astronomy and the heavy influence of the Toltec who had invaded this site around 1000 and was the cause of a merger of the two cultural traditions. There are 365 steps for each day of the year and each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps while the top platform is the 365th. Besides the Kukulkan Pyramid there are also several other archaeological sites to be explored all of which have traces of the Mayan culture in several ways.

Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbia city which was built by the people of Maya of the Post Classic. This archaeological site is placed in the municipality of Tinum in the Mexican state of Yucatan. The temples, steeped pyramids, columned arcades together with other stone structures of Chichen Itza were considered sacred to the Maya as well as a sophisticated urban centre from 750 to 1200 AD.

Advanced Astronomical Skills

The astronomical skills of the people of Maya was quite advanced and they were capable of predicting solar eclipses with sophisticated and impressive observatory structures which till date are available at the site.

The only permanent source of water for this city was a series of sinkhole wells. According to Spanish records, it was reported that young females were the victim of sacrifices to the Maya rain god presumed to be living in its depths and who were thrown live into the largest of them. Archaeologists have discovered their bones together with their jewellery and other precious objects worn by them at their final hour.

Chichen Itza’s ball court seems to be the largest in America which measures 554 feet long and 231 feet wide. At the time of the ritual games, players would try their utmost to hit a 12 pound rubber ball through stone, scoring hoops, set high on the walls of the court where the competition was intense and losers were put to death.

Ceremonial & Religious/Sophisticated Urban Centre/Hub of Regional Trade

The site was more than a ceremonial and a religious one and besides being a sophisticated urban centre was also a hub of regional trade. After centuries of being prosperous and adopting other cultures like the Toltec, this city came to a mysterious end and in the 1400s, the people totally abandoned this site and retreated into the jungle.

No records were traceable as to why they abandoned the city, though they did leave behind beautiful works of architecture and art. Some of the scientists were of the belief that it could be due to drought, exhausted soils, or royal quest for conquest and treasure which could have been some of the reasons for the downfall of this site. Recently, this site was given another honour and in a worldwide vote, Chichen Itza was named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is an amazing site to explore and learn the culture of an ancient era.

Daytona Beach Hotels with Lazy River


Oceanside Inn
The Daytona Beach Resort is centrally located in Florida, a four star and a deluxe property in the vicinity of Daytona Beach Surfing School, Ocean Walk Village, Boardwalk Amusement Area and Willi’s Motorcycle World Museum. It was renovated and decorated in the latest style in 2008 with massive private beach, two outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, a sauna and a lagoon water park. The residence is close to several historic, cultural, sports and shopping locations and is easy to access from Daytona Beach Airport which is around 9.8 km away, as well as all major city highways.

Daytona Beach hotels with lazy river flowing nearby have 322 spacious non-smoking guestrooms offering amazing ocean view. The guestroom comprises of luxurious furniture, with comfortable premium bedding, air conditioning, climate control satellite television, in room safes, together with direct dial phones and mini bars. Moreover the guest also has the privilege of fully furnished kitchens, private bathrooms with excellent designer toiletries accompanied with wireless high speed internet access.Their King room has a bed which is king size, with hypo-allergenic bedding, followed by blackout drapes, turn-down services with provision of the daily newspaper.



Daytona Beach Resort has double bed with pillow-top mattresses, accompanied with a spacious tiled bath together with flat screen TV, the facility of a coffee maker and also the benefit of wake-up calls.In the Studio ocean view room, the guest has the opportunity of a king size bed, with pillow-top mattresses accompanied with blackout drapes, pay movies, flat screen TV, a coffee maker and the daily newspaper.

The One-bedroom ocean front suite is accompanied with a king size bed, pillow top mattresses, pay movies, a kitchen which is complete with a fridge, a microwave, a coffee maker together with a separate living room while the One bedroom ocean view suite also has a king size bed, hypo-allergenic bedding and pay movies. It is also accompanied by a living room and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge and a coffee maker. Children below the age of 18 are permitted to stay free of cost and use the existing bedding while cribs are only made available on request.



The Daytona Beach OceansideInn in the business area of Daytona Beach, has all contemporary rooms which are equipped with wireless internet connection, in-room safes and provides an awesome view of the city. In the large dining area, provision is made for a continental breakfast which is free while a buffet breakfast at affordable prices is served. Guests also have the opportunity of relaxing in the lounge bar where refreshing drinks are served. 



The Comfort Suites Daytona Beach situated in the market area of Daytona Beach, provides non-smoking rooms, comprises of 75 rooms which are equipped with a microwave, a refrigerator and a voicemail with complimentary continental breakfast served daily though seafood menus are available in the club restaurant. Guest can available the cocktail bar services where complimentary drinks are served. It also provides a free American breakfast for their guest.



Besides these facilities, the hotel also provides free parking, concierge desk, an elevator, a 24 hour front desk service, daily magazine and newspaper, a spa and wellness centre, luggage storage, massage service, commercial services, laundry, room facilities, air conditioning and much more . The overall stay at Daytona Beach hotel is a very pleasant and a relaxing one providing all the comforts and the opportunity for a relaxing stay in Spain.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Istria

Porec
Istria – Largest Peninsulas in Adriatic Sea

Istria is one of the largest peninsulas in the Adriatic Sea and is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner and shared by three countries namely Croatia, Slovenia and Italy.

At times it is called the `new Tuscany and is a heart shaped 3600 square km peninsula with a landscape of beautiful green hills with valleys and fertile plains. Istria is one of the most sought after destination for tourist to Croatia and its towns namely Umag and Porec are considered the best holiday resorts in Croatia, organised by the Croatian National Tourist Board and Croatian TV.

In the early 20th century, the region was a part of Italy and had a strong Italian influence and this region is an awesome location of Croatia, along the coast as well as inland accompanied with its pretty hilltop towns. Pazin is in the interior and an administrative capital of the region while Pula with its thriving shipyard is worth exploring and a home to the Arena which is a well preserved Roman amphitheatre.

Rovinj Town of Pastel Homes/Polished Stones/Blue Water

Tourism along the coast is focused on the fetching fishing village of Rovinj, which is a gem of a town and the most beautiful coastal town in Istria and in all of Croatia as well as the ancient Roman town of Porec.

The northern area of the peninsula belongs to Slovenia and the Cicarija mountains which is an extension of the Dinaric Range, in the north eastern corner divides Istria from the continental mainland.Rovinj is a town of pastel homes with polished stones and blue water and is very Italian from the fashionably dressed women accompanied by tidy men in leather loafers combined with colourful sweaters.

Its narrow alleyways and courtyards have several restaurants with various places to have a drink and watch the sun as it disappears. It is the most ideal venue to spend time and enjoy the visit at this remarkable destination.

6th Century Basilica in Porec

Istria lacks many large islands when compared to other southern coastal regions and the Brijuni group of islands which is near Pula are the exception and a good option for a day trip, The peninsula is easy to access from the rest of Europe, bordered by Slovenia along with a maritime border with Italy.

It is well connected by air to the United Kingdom to the main airport, the Pula airport in that region. Inland Istria is filled with the scent of the nearby sea and is a world away from the coast’s lively beaches. On exiting off the highway one will come across tiny village after village each of which have their own charm combined with unique architectural legacy.

One can also take a trip through the medieval towns of Groznjan and Motovun in the interior of the hilly area and find villages which seemed to have been forgotten. The 6th century Byzantine mosaics at St. Euphrasius Basilica in Porec, is amazing and is one of the best preserved early Christian churches in Europe.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dresden


Dresden
Dresden - Capital City of Free State of Saxony, Germany

Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany and is located in a valley on the River Elbe towards the Czech border and is an industrial, governmental and a cultural centre and is known all over the world for Bruehl’s Terrace as well as for its historic landmarks in the Old Town – Altstadt.

The Dresden region is a part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area with inhabitants 2.4 million. Dresden is known for its long history as the capital and the royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony who for centuries were responsible for the furnished city of cultural and artistic splendour. The city was also known as the Jewel Box due to its baroque and rococo city centre.

This city centre was entirely destroyed during the controversial British and American bombing of Dresden in World War II which killed around 25,000 people, most of whom were civilians. The after effects of the war were very bad that it gutted the city like the other major German cities. Restoration work was carried out after the war, in order to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city which included the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche together with the suburbs.

Larger in Area than Munich

Dresden is an awesome city especially in summer and one can witness the serenity of this historic city, Though this city is larger than Munich in terms of area, the historic centre is compact and can be covered on foot. Dresden has a variety of attraction combining three aspects, which complement one another namely art treasure, charming landscape and architectural sights.

On the bank of the Elbe, one will find magnificent promenades, informative institutions and museums, industrial monuments, with interesting details. The Elbe valley is full of architectural and artistic brilliance which leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the visitors. Frauenkriche – The Church of Our Lady, Royal Palace, Zwinger, Elbe castle, Villa Quarter, Hellerau garden city or the award winning modern buildings, the Blue Wonder Bridge to the east of the city centre are some of the interesting places to explore in Dresden.

Grune Gewolbe/Tutckische Cammer 

The Green Vault – Grune Gewolbe, and Turkish Chamber – Turckische Cammer, were filled with treasures from all over the world and it is said that Augustus the Strong and his successors were impatient to wait for nature to finish the job and hence with their skill, artistry and determination, collected painting and porcelain making Dresden rank as a world class city of art and culture.

Dresden is said to be twinned with a total of thirteen other cities in Africa, Europe, North America and Asia with each of these partnership have their own share of history which is amazing. These relationships are characterized by a diversity of project like school and youth exchanges, societies and associations, cooperation of clubs, economic partnerships together with various links between the administrations and the local government with the intention of intensifying further the good relations to twin cities through joint contributions to European research projects and study.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Panama – Central America


Panama
Image credit: privateislandsonline.com
Panama - Isthmus forming Land Bridge for Central & North America

Panama officially the Republic of Panama is the southernmost country of Central America and entire North America. Located on the isthmus which forms the land bridge joining North and South America, it has Costa Rica to its west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to its north with the Pacific Ocean to the south and its capital is the Panama City. It controls the Panama Canal which is one of the most important shipping links in the world, connecting the North Atlantic Ocean through the Caribbean Sea with the North Pacific Ocean.

Panama is somewhat smaller than South Carolina and is marked with chains of mountains in the west with moderate hills in the interior together with a low range towards the east coast. It has extensive forests in the fertile Caribbean area. The revenue received from canal tolls contributesto a significant portion of Panama’s GDP and it is the second largest economy in Central America. Besides this it is also the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. Panama also ranked 5th among Latin American countries in 2013, with regards to the Human Development Index and 59th in the world. Moreover it ranks as the second most competitive economy in Latin America since 2010, as per the Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum.

Panama City – Modern/Sophisticated Metropolis

Panama has abundance of tropical plants and is a home to several animals and birds, some of which are very rare and not found anywhere else in the world. The comfort of travelling together with a variety of experiences has made Panama one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world wherein visitor can have the opportunity of enjoying two different oceans, get the experience of the mountains and rainforest, and get to know about native culture as well as the vibrant urban life.

The Panama City is a sophisticated, modern metropolis which resembles Miami, with established art, commerce and fashion together with dining Fodors. National Geographic and Frommers have lately started publishing guides for Panama, which is the second country in Central America after Costa Rica, having such large travel coverage.

Crossroads of the Americas

Panama is also known as the Crossroads of the Americas which is because of its position between the North and South America. There are several theories about the origin name of Panama. According to some, the country seemed to be named after a commonly found species of trees while others believed that the first settlers came to Panama in August when there were plenty of butterflies around and that the name meant many butterflies in their language.

 The best version known is about a fishing village and its nearby beach had the name Panama which meant `Abundance of fish’, the indigenous meaning of the country’s name shows Panama’s reputation as a paradise for both eco tourist as wells as water sports enthusiasts. Panama’s flora and fauna is very diverse with over 900 different bird species.

Combining all the three versions, Panamanians’ belief in general was that the word Panama meant `abundance of fish trees and butterflies and is the official definition which is given in social studies textbooks with the approval of the Ministry of Education in Panama though there are others who believe that the word Panama is derived from the Kuna word `bannaba’, meaning `distant’ or `far away’.

Isles of Scilly – Group of Small Islands



 Isles of Scilly – Group of Small Islands
Isles of Scilly also known as Scilly Isles form an archipelago off the south-western tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. It is a group of around 50 small islands with many more islets lying around. Though the Isles of Scilly are a part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall, with some of the services combined with Cornwall, the island has had a separate local authority since 1890 and with the passing of the Isles of Scilly Order in 1930, this authority has the status of a county council which is presently known as the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

The administrative centre is on St. Mary’s which is the largest island in the group. The Duchy of Cornwall is in possession of most of the freehold land on the islands and tourism is a major part of their economy besides farming and agriculture. Nestling around 35 miles off the coast of Cornwall, these islands are amazing and outstandingly beautiful, unspoilt and not crowded making it a different world from the everyday life. Natural England has declared the Isles of Scilly as National Character Area.

Island Comprising of Granite

The islands comprises of granite which are a continuation of the granite masses of the Cornish mainland reaching an elevation of around 165 feet on St. Mary’s with dangerous rocky coast having many reefs.

 The island’s climate being exceptionally mild, the mean monthly temperature varies from 45 to 65 degree Fahrenheit, with their flora and fauna much different from the English mainland, with many flourishing subtropical plants. One will find seals that live on the rocks and islets and a variety of seabirds, the roseate tern being the rarest British breeding terns while the Manx shearwater, its only British breeding site in the island.

Prehistoric remains in the form of barrows and rude pillars are there on the islands. The island was given to the abbot of Tavistock in Devon by Henry I, during his reign in 1100-35 and in the 16th century it was the crown property and leased in 1571 to Francis Godolphin who in 1593 built Star Castle above Hugh Town.

Island Controlled by Monarchy Supporters, 1642 - 51

It was during the English Civil Wars, 1642 – 51, that the island was controlled by monarchy supporters causing severe damage to Dutch ships by the navy. The Netherlands had declared war against the islands in 1651 after being rebuffed for demands on reparation for losses and thereafter control of the island was gained by Parliament’s supporters. The war ended subsequently and a formal peace treaty was not signed till April 17, 1986.

 Five islands only are inhabited namely St. Agnes, Bryher St, Mary, Tresco and St. Martin’s. Most of the locals reside on St. Mary, which has a harbour at Hugh Town as well as a museum of Scilly history and prehistory. Hugh Town, the capital is between two sandy beaches and one can find the Tourist Information Centre at the top of Porthcress beach. Bishop Rock Lighthouse towards the island’s western end is an excellent example of the 19th century civil engineering. A ferry service to Penzance is available on the mainland and flights connect the islands to the Land’s End.

The Best Lake Cabin Rentals


Cabin Rentals
Choosing a good cabin rental is something that every family should do if they want to get away from their routine. The best way for the family to make sure they are rested when they are away from home is to sit on the lake for a week or two and enjoy the quiet. The people in the family should be able to find the rest they have been craving when they are relaxing by the water.

Find The Best Cabin

People who want to Find Beavers Bend cabin rentals here should remember that every cabin is different. Some cabins are designed as lofts, but there are other cabins that have two full levels. The family should choose a cabin that is going to allow them the space they need to get away from each other during the trip.

The best cabin should also have the access to the water that the family prefers. There are many times when the family wants to bring their own boat. However, there are other instances when the family will want to rent a boat or use the boat that comes with the cabin. A little time on the water helps to give the family a feeling of isolation and relaxation that they cannot get in other places.

The Amenities

There are many amenities that the family can use to make sure they can maintain their routine in the cabin. The cabins come with washers and dryers. The kitchens are equipped so the family can make their own meals, and there is plenty of space in the dining area to host other people for a meal.

The Porch

The porch on the cabin is a place where the people in the family can read and rest. The porches are designed to feel as rustic as possible, and they come with amazing furniture that will keep everyone comfortable as they sit outside. The cabin life will be a wonderful thing for the family when they do not get that feeling at home.

Choosing the right cabin for a family vacation is something that every family must do to make sure they can recharge their batteries before going back home.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Knowth


Knowth – A Neolithic Passage Grave/Ancient Monument

Knowth is a Neolithic passage grave, and an ancient monument, a 5000 year old main mound, known as Knowth Site 1, which is contemporary with the mounds at Newgrange and Dowth. These mounds have been considered as Passage Tombs by several archaeologists and together they are known as Bru na Boinne which are located in the valley of the River Boyne in Ireland.

Knowth is one of the largest of all passage graves within this complex consisting of one large mound together with seventeen smaller satellite tombs. Knowth Site 1 which is about 12 metres is a large mound, is 40 feet high and 67 metres in diameter,has two passages which have been placed towards the east-west line, encircled by 127 kerbstones, out of which four are damaged and three are missing.

The passages which are independent of each other leads to a burial chamber and the eastern passage gives way to a cruciform chamber which is the same as the one found at Newgrange containing three recesses along with basin stones in which are placed the remains of the cremated person.

 The western passage on the other hands terminates in an undifferentiated chamber, a rectangular chamber which is separated with a sill stone from the passage. The mound is encircled with these 127 kerbstones most of which were decorated with megalithic art.

Motifs of Spiral/Lozenges/Concentrated Circles

This site has more than a third of the total number of megalithic art in the whole of Western Europe with over 200 decorated stones that were found at the time of excavation at Knowth. Most of the motifs that have been found at Knowth are spirals, lozenges and concentric circles.

The megalithic art found at Knowth have a huge variety of images like crescent shapes and some of the artwork have been carved at the back of stones which could have been reused or probably the builder intended them to be hidden.

The large mound has been considered to date between 2500 and 2000 BCE. It is one of the most amazing of the passage mounds in Ireland and an important part of the large megalithic observatory of the Boyne Valley besides the two great mounds of Newgrange and Dowth. In 1970s the mound had been completely restored by bulldozers and heavy machine and gave it a distinct look of today.

Alternate Layers of Turf/Soil & Shale/Pebbles

It was also found that the mound had been built up of alternate layers of turf, soil and shade, pebbles. Annual excavations carried out by George Eogan since 1962 indicate Knowth to be an amazing monument made up of sod, clay shale and stone with some of the stones weighing up to four tons and probably quarried in distances of 8 to 12 km.

Eogan found dark granite cobbles similar to those found at Newgrange, brought from Mountains of Mourne around 60 km to the north and white quartz stones from Wicklow Mountains which was a similar distance towards the south.

Access to Knowth for visitors is through guided tours only from the Bru na Boinne World Heritage Site Visitor Centre which is located in the vicinity of the village of Donore towards the south bank of the river Boyne, Visits are done during Easter to mid-October with no direct public access by road to Knowth is available

Monday, August 4, 2014

Yucatan – Home to Chicxulub Crater


Yucatan
Credit: Hengist Decius
The Yucatan Peninsula is in the south-eastern Mexico, separating the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico with the northern coastline towards the Yucatan Channel.

 The peninsula is situated towards the east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec with the north western geographic partition which separates the region of Central America from the rest of North America.

It comprises of the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche to the south and Quintana Roo, home of Cancun and Cozumel, the northern region of the nation of Belize and northern Guatemala, El Peten Department. Besides this, Yucatan is also a home to the Chicxulub Crater and according to geologist this crater dates back to around 65 million years from Earth’s collision with a meteorite and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

It is also one of the centres of the Pre Colombian Maya civilization where the Maya people continue to form a significant part of the state’s population.

Towards the late 1800s, a plant called henequen which is known for its strong fibres and turned into twine, became quite popular as the green gold of Yucatan and the sale of sisal rope which was named after the port Sisal from where the rope were shipped all across the globe, was the outcome of the wealth of Yucatan.

Yucatan thereafter became one of Mexico’s richest states due to Henequen and turned Merida into a city with many millionaires than any other city all over the world at the turn of the 20th century.

Friendly and Peaceful Region

Yucatan is a region of friendly and peaceful people and an awesome place to explore Maya culture with beautiful sandy beaches, ancient Maya archaeological sites, underground rivers and cenotes.

The people of this region speak Maya and Spanish, while English and German are commonly spoken at tourist sites.

Yucatan is a wonderful place for those interested in bird watching. Merida the capital and largest city in Yucatan State is the cultural as well as the financial capital with modern, cosmopolitan city along with museums, restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and shops.

Being a major centre of commerce, Merida Yucatan is also considered as the crossroad of the region and one of the best places to explore the Mayan heritage. Merida got its nickname, La Cludad Blance or the White City, due to the predominance of white limestone which have been used in building material.

Merida’s Tradition Carnival

Merida’s long tradition carnival usually takes place in a family environment for eight days with several cultural and entertainment functions taking place, like the coronation of the king and queen and the burning of the bad mood which is held in the main square of the city.

It starts with the reading of the conviction of the bad mood which is read out loud and setting of fire to the figure representing it, followed with display of colourful fireworks.

Amidst a hilarious battle of flowers, the festival goes on with endless theme parades, which features costumes, bachata, floats, together with folk dances, dancing to the beat of mambo, cumbia and salsa.

The carnival ends with the burial of Juan Carnaval or Carnival John, with a will that is read and the widows mourns his death which is one of the most crowded ceremonies of the festival.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Phoenix Island Protected Area, PIPA

Phoenix Island



Phoenix Island Protected Area, PIPA – World’s Largest Mid Ocean Wilderness

Phoenix Islands Protected Area – PIPA, is the world’s largest mid ocean wilderness,a protected area in the remote area of the Pacific which is between Hawaii and Fiji.

It is an island of tranquillity andscenery that is awesome with coral islands surrounding the blue lagoons together with white sparking sandy beaches which seems to be stretching as far as the eye can see. The atmosphere is one of peace and calm and is a great place to experience nature and serenity.

The beauty of Kiribati is an excellent escape from the hectic schedule of life with the absence of crowd, traffic congestion, no shopping malls, no pollution or sky scrapers and life here is full of leisure.

It covers an area of 408,250 sq.km and is one of the largest marine protected area in the world with the largest marine conservation of its kind by LDC, Least Developed Country and as per recent survey – National Geographic Magazine `Great Whites of the North, issue of February 2004, is `the earth’s last pocket of primal ocean, where underwater havens remains unspoiled and untouched for a very long time.

Kiribati – Creations of PIPA

At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil, in 2006, Kiribati was first declared the creation of PIPA and on January 30, 2008 adopted formal regulation for PIPA which doubled more than the original size making it the largest marine protected area on Earth at that time.

Towards 2010, PIPA was then added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage site and is now the largest and the deepest World Heritage in the world. It now includes the eight atolls together with the low reef islands of the Kiribati area of the Phoenix Island group, namely Rawaki, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, McKean, Manra, Birnie, Kanton and Orona.

Moreover it also includes two submerged reefs, like Carondelet Reef and Winslow Reef, where Carondelet Reef is as little about 3 to 4 metres underwater at low tide and it is presumed that there could be more than thirty seamounts within PIPA but presently only nine have been named.

The larger area of PIPA comprises of ocean floor together with water column ranging more than 4,000 meters deep to a maximum at 6,147 metres.

Home to Various Species, Known and Unknown

The reefs of PIPA include around 120 kinds of coral and dolphins are one of the eighteen marine mammal species that are found in the water there, where once large whales hunted on a regular basis.

The site also has key migration routes that have been used by some aquatic species and turtles and since it is an uninhabitedisland, it could be filled with a variety of seabirds. It is the first protected area which includes large deep water tracts in these area of South Pacific with depth exceeding 16,400 feet and since the deep ocean has not yet been explored and untouched by humans, it is essential to place it under protection in order to save and treasure species which are yet unknown to humans.

They are also precious since they are home to various numbers of species, known and unknown.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Island Formed due to Volcanic Eruptions

Tahiti is the largest island of the 118 islands in the Windward group of French Polynesia and lies in the South Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is in the Society Islands an archipelago including the islands of Raiatea, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea and Huahine. It has a population of around 127,000 inhabitants, 83 percent of which are of Polynesian ancestry. Tahiti legendary name identifies the island and also the group of islands which make up the French Polynesia. It was earlier known as Otaheite and is the cultural, economic and the political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed due to the volcanic eruptions and is high as well as mountainous surrounded by coral reefs.Tahiti comprises of two volcanic mountain ranges, Tahiti Nui which is the larger part, is in the shape of a turtle and Tahiti Iti, the peninsula. These two islands are connected with the isthmus of Taravao and black beaches.

Capital City Papeete

Tahiti
The capital city Papeete and the administrative centre are situated on the northwest coast and has the only international airport, the Faa’a International Airport which is located around 5 km from the town centre. Formerly a quiet town it now has a busy harbour with cargo freighters, luxury liners, copra ships and ocean going yachts.

Besides this, there are also sidewalk cafes, shell jewellery and handicrafts, shops filled with French fashions together with a wide variety of restaurants catering Asian, French and Tahitian cuisine.

Faa’s which has the international airport is built on the lagoon and apart from the airlines check-in counters, they also have an information centre, a restaurant, a snack bar and vehicle rental offices together with shops. In the vicinity they also have a special Tahitian style house, artisans selling leis and shell necklaces.

Colony of France - 1880

Tahiti was formerly settled by the Polynesians during 300 and 800 CE comprising of about 70 percent of the island’s population together with others comprising of the Europeans, Chinese and of mixed heritage and the island was considered as a colony of France in 1880.

It was only in 1946, that the Tahitians were legally authorised to be French citizens, where French being the official language, the Tahitian language – Reo Maohi was widely spoken.

Towards 1880, it became a part of the Kingdom of Tahiti till its annexation by France. Tahiti together with her islands is very amazing in the whole of South Pacific.

The locals of Tahiti are a very generous, kind and respectable lot, always ready with their random greeting on the street to strangers and passer-by’s alike. They are very and welcoming type of people and their philosophy is applied to their term `aita pea pea’ which means `not to worry’, which is the Tahitian way of life.

Most of the Tahitian kids are also well versed in rap and hiphop, practicing as well as performing in the streets or in public squares and entertaining everyone in this region.

Tahiti is an ideal destination and as one sees the restored Tahitian temples and century’s old stone fish traps, it portrays an ancient culture where their descendants still reside in magnificent dwellings.