Archive for May, 2010
The busiest airport in Austria, Vienna International is a hub for Austrian Airlines. It has been the country’s primary airport since 1954, when it replaced the airport at Aspern. Locally known as Schwechat, the airport has two runways and three terminals. A new terminal, called Skylink, is being built to help handle more passengers and the Airbus A380.
If you do one thing while in Florence, it had better be a day-long trip to the Chianti countryside with The Accidental Tourist! I don't want to gush too much, but I must say my day with them was the best day I had during my two-week solo journey to Italy (Venice, Florence/Tuscany, Cinque Terre, and Milan). Our guides, Steve and his son Allesandro (sp?), picked our group up in a square south of the Arno on a rainy and chilly morning. We all drove to a beautiful estate and toured the winery and olive oil making production. Despite the gloomy, cold weather, the tour was really interesting and Steve did a great job of explaining the whole winemaking and olive oil process. (As an interesting aside, Steve is an ex-pat from North Carolina but his 20-something son was born in Florence. They are both musicians and really lovely people!) The wine tasting was lovely and very fun. Of course I bought both wine and olive oil to bring back to Chicago. (continue reading...)
Australia is a land of contrasts and consists of six main states – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia and two territories – the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The capital of Australia is Canberra situated in the Australian Capital Territory.
Australia is the only nation in the world to occupy an entire continent and with a land mass of about 7,682,300 sq km (2,966,136 sq miles) it’s very big! The coastline stretches for over 26,700 km (16580 miles) with 7000 beaches. Over 80% of Australia’s 20 million people live in the cities around the coast which only covers about 1% of the Australian continent.
The large size of the continent is also matched by the large and varied wildlife within Australia. There are about 40 million kangaroos, 140 million sheep, 24 million cows, 75,000 crocodiles, 500,000 wild camels and 100,000 odd koalas. (continue reading...)
Honolulu International Airport, on the island of Oahu, is Hawaii’s major aviation gateway. The primary hub for domestic overseas and inter-island flights, it also accommodates international flights. Honolulu shares airport facilities with Hickam Air Force Base. Its main terminal houses 19 airlines and its InterIsland Terminal is home to two. There's currently a $2.3 billion plan to modernize the airport over a 12-year period. (continue reading...)
Paris, the fabled city of light – inextricably linked to Toulouse-Lautrec, Victor Hugo, and Edith Piaf – revels in its perception as the cradle of sophistication. Mere mention of it evokes romantic strolls along the Seine, crusty baguettes shared in quaint cafes, plaintive accordion strains, intimate brasseries, and soulful croonings by sultry chanteuses. But this dreamy image only hints at the city's riches. Landmarks run rampant in this haven of culture and of cool: among them, la Tour Eiffel, le Sacrй Coeur, Notre Dame, and la Sorbonne. Refinement also makes a home in Paris, infusing each cafй and square with Continental charm. The specter of high-brow edge, however, is ground down by Montmartre and la Rive Gauche, which temper luxury with bohemian ambience. Moreover, the French reputation for disdain and snobbery reads as greatly exaggerated; residents often prove disarmingly helpful to well-intentioned tourists. In short, Paris virtually sings with a welcome, easy grace, a world capital enticed into urbanity itself. (continue reading...)
Attention all Adventure Junkies! Contrary to popular belief, Morocco is not all just about the markets and the stunningly beautiful cosmopolitan city. There are many things to see for those into alternative, off-beat travel. Here are some tips I received from a Morocco travel agency about exciting things to do on my Morocco holiday:
Morocco is a country of both stunning landscapes and captivating cities, so if your sense of adventure involves the love of heights, you are in for a treat. Imagine setting off on a hot air balloon from Marrakech and peacefully glide over Morocco whilst enjoying the breathtaking scenery. The Morocco travel agency I went through for the hot air ballooning adventure also included a visit into a village to have mint tea and home baked bread whilst mingling with a local Berber family.
For those who are into more action than a slow drift across the air, personal helicopter flights are available. Many routes are available if you choose this option, and these tours can last between an exhilarating twelve minutes to an extensive 4.5 hours.
A more comprehensive and encompassing helicopter tour that I recommend is that Atlas Tour, which takes about one hour to complete. In this excursion, you can view the dramatic scenery of the Atlas Mountains, Lake Takerkoust, Ouirgane, Toubkal, Oukaimeden, the Ourika Valley, and Marrakech.
Fancy racing a quad-bike around town? Bike lovers will love the experience of coasting around Palm Grove where you can zip around, admiring the picturesque 'green region' of Marrakech which is home to some of the most beautiful luxury homes, golf courses, and hotels in the world. You will also get to visit the famous Marrakech Piste oasis, ride some awesome dunes, and visit some Berber hamlets before stopping off to enjoy a tea break with some of the locals.
If you are after a more structured desert experience in the form of a several day tour with a Guide, these are also available at any good Morocco travel agency. These travel agencies may also be able to tailor an itinerary suitable to you that incorporates hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, and quad-bike riding.
I hope you enjoy your exciting adventure Morocco holiday. Once you experience the wild side of this amazing country, you will never want to leave!
Manila is an especially lively and diverse city, with all kinds of different tourist attractions awaiting. Although a large number of the sights are historic, others simply offer a fun day out, suitable for all the family. Particularly popular is the Enchanted Kingdom and its Space Shuttle roller coaster, along with the awesome water slides and pools that make up Splash Island. To experience a little of the life and soul of Manila, spend time exploring the Divisoria Market and haggling over the prices, or alternatively, check out the various exhibits and performances found within both the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and the Nayong Filipino Cultural Park. More information about Manila Tourist Attractions. (continue reading...)
Antiques & Curios
In recent years, it has become a buyer-beware market in Japan, mostly due to fake antiques produced in China infiltrating the Japanese market. You shouldn't have any problems with the reputable dealers listed, but if you're buying an expensive piece, be sure to ask whether there are any papers of authenticity.
In addition to the listings, other places to look for antiques include the Oriental Bazaar and Tokyo's outdoor flea markets.
Arcades & Shopping Malls
Arcades In Hotels -- Shopping arcades are found in several of Tokyo's first-class hotels. Although they don't offer the excitement and challenge of rubbing elbows with the natives, they do offer convenience, English-speaking clerks, and consistently top-quality merchandise. The Imperial Hotel Arcade (station: Hibiya) is one of the best, with shops selling pearls, woodblock prints, porcelain, antiques, and expensive name-brand clothing like Hanae Mori. The Okura and New Otani hotels also have extensive shopping arcades. (continue reading...)
As a first foray into Korean culture, our group leader brought us to Korea House to help us better acclimate to what was in store for us in the coming two weeks.
The setting is priceless. A spectacular group of buildings house the complex, with an ample gift shop and courtyard for drum demonstrations. The garden is tranquil and calming, and wedding ceremonies can be housed there if you're ever interested.
The main building, which was at one time a private home (and a magnificent home it must have been), is used as a small reception area, dining facility, and the performance venue.
The Eternal Love Story Carved In Marble
Renowned the world over for its sheer beauty, magnificent architecture and picturesque location, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love. The very sight of this wonderful structure transports one into the bygone era, reminding one of the world famous love story of Mumtaz Mahal and the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, built in 1631 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The pride of India, Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture. It is a mesmerizing blend of Persian, Turkish, Indian and Islamic architectural styles. Four minarets at the base of Taj Mahal are exquisitely carved and were studded with gems and precious stones at one point of time. These minarets were built with an aim to prevent any kind of damage to Taj Mahal in case of an earthquake. Within the beautiful dome of Taj Mahal lies the jewel-inlaid cenotaph of the queen.
Taj Mahal bagged the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1983 and was called as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world heritage”. The arresting monument has been an inspiration to many poets, painters, artists, sculptors and photographers. Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, in one of his famous quotes described Taj Mahal as "a tear drop that glistened spotlessly bright on the cheeks of time". Taj Mahal carved out of white and yellow marble is located on the banks of River Yamuna looks absolutely extraordinary. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world and visitors from across the globe visit India to see this architectural wonder.
Taj Mahal, the epitome of beauty and elegance was built in 22 years with the help of around 20,000 workers who spent day and night in its construction. Even during that time the emperor spent 32 million rupees in the construction of Taj Mahal. Building material was brought to the site from all over India and central Asia, and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport them. It is surrounded by geometrically shaped lush green gardens, which look very charming. The charm of the Taj Mahal increases manifold on a moonlit night when it looks exceptionally romantic.
Taj Mahal, the saga of love is truly worth a visit!