Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Souvenir No. 2 From Holland

Dutch Souvenir 1

What is the second Dutch souvenir after tulips usually brought from Holland? Klomps, of course!
Near Amsterdam there is an ethnographic museum where one can trace the history of klomps development, to see the fully automated production process of this unique wooden shoes.

Giants Struggle For Water Territory

The port of Hamburg serves about half of all exports and imports of Germany. And as the German economy is one of the strongest in the world, its ships must too have gigantic proportions. The port operates year-round, 24 hours a day, non-stop, but some ships, especially the large ones, still try not to sail at night as the maneuvers in the port area are dangerous even in daylight.
To feel the atmosphere of this place here's a short report from the scene. It covers only one morning hour which turned out to be really busy.

Essaouira - When a Small Village Becomes A Tourist Resort

  About 30 years ago, Essaouira was a quite fishing village, but now it's another place for tourists. The streets of the old town look like endless lines of gift shops and cafes overcrowded with tourists.

The town has an ancient history. The place was first occupied by Phoenician merchants and  the Romans. In the 16th century here came the Portuguese but two ages later a local sultan decided to turn the town into a big merchant port. At the beginning of the 20th century the French renamed the Essaouira into Mogador and reduced the trade. And finally, after the re-establishment of Morocco's  independence, it became a quiet place Essaouira again. In the 60's here came hippies and then came mass tourism as well.

Red Canyon of Vietnam

This red canyon is one of the Vietnamese sights, it is located in Mui Ne village.

Top 5 of the Most Romantic Hotels Worldwide

5:  Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

If you’re planning a proposal, you could do worse than pop the question while supping on champagne and canapés surrounded by kangaroos. For animal encounters without foregoing creature comforts, head to luxe Kangaroo Island boutique hotel Southern Ocean Lodge. An exquisite designer haven just off the coast of South Australia, it’s considered to be the Aussie equivalent of the Galapagos Islands. Stretching along the beautiful coastline at Hanson Bay, its 21 contemporary suites, serene spa, bar and restaurant blend seamlessly into the environment, with vast wall-to-wall windows making the most of dramatic ocean panoramas. Spot kangaroos, echidnas, koalas and seals on an organized expedition, or you may well be treated to a show of dolphins or whales flirting in the waves from the steamy bath tub in your room.
4: Palazzo Barbarigo, Venice, Italy

World’s Top 5 Biggest Casinos

5. Tusk Rio Casino Resort, Klerksdorp, South Africa

Square feet: 266,330
Gaming machines: 257
Table and poker games: 12
Restaurants and bars: 2
Hotel rooms:
Web site:
The largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere, the Tusk Rio was inspired by the passion, vibe, and color of the Carnival in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The casino is located a few hours by car from Johannesburg and is among the most popular casinos in South Africa.
4. Casino Ponte 16, Macao, China

World’s Top 5 City Boat Trips

5. New Orleans to Algiers Ferry, Louisiana

The stately Algiers ferry carries passengers (for free!) across the Mississippi River between the old neighborhood of Algiers Point and the rest of New Orleans.
4. San Francisco to Sausalito Ferry, California

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

World’s Top 5 Places to Live for Retirees

5. Thailand

Tropical temperatures, gorgeous beaches, low living costs, gentle people and food that is also incredibly healthy. What’s not to like? Avoid Bangkok like the plague. It is so polluted it will take years off your life. But keep looking and you could well find the retirement home of your dreams. The island of Koh Samui and mountain city of Chiang Mai are equally charming.
4. Australia

Top 5 Largest Deserts in the World

5. Patagonia Desert, Argentina

The Patagonian Desert, also known as the Patagonia Desert or the Patagonian Steppe, is the largest desert in America and is the 7th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 260,000 square miles (673,000 km). It is located primarily in Argentina with small parts in Chile and is bounded by the Andes, to its west, and the Atlantic Ocean to its east, in the region of Patagonia, southern Argentina. The Patagonian Desert is the largest continental landmass of the 40° parallel and is a large cold winter desert, where the temperature rarely exceeds 12°C and averages just 3°C. The region experiences about seven months of winter and five months of summer.
4. Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa

Zion National Park, Utah

Why will you be stunned once you get here? Cause Zion National Park is magic! It is a green river, white trees, quiet red and green colors. And a red asphalt road, of course! Come here to become a fan of the Utah nature once and forever!  These are the photographs from Zion National Park.

Terra-Cotta History Of China

It is quite a popular tourist destination, we know. But each time looking at the terra-cotta warriors you are amazed.

Wonders of Hokkaido Island

Akan Lake is first of all unique due to marimo algae, they don't grow anywhere else. Marimo looks like green balls from some millimeters to a meter in diameter. Until recently each Japanese who has an aquarium wanted to have such a ball. As a result of such striving marimo has begun to disappear, and now the special environmental program works to save the unique algae. However it does not prevent street vendors from selling little green balls at each corner near Akan. The pictures of marimo can be seen below.
In Ainu village there live about 130 ancestors of the Ainu - those people who had lived here when the Japanese only began to settle on these lands. Today it's not much that has remained from them. 36 families in Ainu Kotan - the biggest commune of the Ainu in Hokkaido. Though the village is authentic, it's fully tourism-oriented, all in souvenir shops where really cool wooden carved goods are sold, unfortunately quite expensive though. And the traders look very exotic - with big beards. 
Kushiro is famous for its cranes - tantyo, about 900 of them live here. The Ainu used to call these birds "Gods of the bogs". 

Night Climbing The Volcano of Bali

  Those who professionally shoot sunrises probably know that it's like biathlon - you should run fast and shoot straight, separately it doesn't work. But if you manage to do that, you'll get truly wonderful photos.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Whole Human History In One Museum

  Deutsches Museum is one of the biggest museums of science and technology in the world. Practically all the evolution from ancient times till nowadays is shown here. The museum is located in Munich and contains more than 50 exhibition halls with the total area of 47000 sq.metres. It is really huge, it has 5 floors. A ticket costs 8,5 eu.

This is the central hall with ancient ships and sailers.

The Berlin Wall: Reminder Of Past Times

  The Berlin Wall (Ger.: Berliner Mauer) is a state reinforced barrier between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and West Berlin. It was constructed from 1961 till 1989 and its total length is 155km.

At midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border and, by Sunday morning, 13 August, the border with West Berlin was closed. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences for 156 km around the three western sectors, and the 43 km that divided West and East Berlin. During the construction some underground railway stations were closed. Many soldiers watched by the Wall all day long with orders to shoot anyone who attempted to defect. 

With the closing of the East-West sector boundary in Berlin, the vast majority of East Germans could no longer travel or emigrate to West Germany. Many families were split, while East Berliners employed in the West were cut off from their jobs. West Berlin became an isolated enclave in a hostile land. 

Famous Cemetery for Famous People

Ordinary cemeteries usually cause neither warm feelings nor a desire to visit them. But this Parisian cemetery in no way can be called ordinary. It's a historical place with its own solemnly sad atmosphere which envelops and absorbs you when realizing that the remains of a genius, an idol or a well-known villain lie a meter far from you.

It's such a pleasure to wander among the old monuments and vaults each having a little or a great story of some human life.

But for most of us a cemetery still remains a place of sorrow, sadness and childish horror stories.

Though there are many cemeteries in Paris, you can get a general impression of all of them by visiting just the most popular one - Père Lachaise.

About 2 million tourists visit it annually. And no surprise - many famous figures are buried here, on the hill of Champ-l'Éveque.  

This is a remarkable in terms of architecture place, an excellent museum of sculpture of various styles.

Around the cemetery is quite a common urban environment. Right behind the monument to the soldiers of the Franco-Prussian War there are houses with people and air conditioning.

But let's talk about the "celebrities" of the cemetery. Its pioneers and posthumous founding fathers are La Fontaine and Moliere. You may ask, "What for such strange epithets? The point is that the cemetery was organized far from the city center and in order to enhance its prestige the remains of so popular at that moment people were placed here. Actually, nothing special, just another advertising gimmick.

The hidden meaning of kissing the most famous gay tomb in the world may seem quite unclear to someone. Still Oscar Wilde's tomb is an extremely popular place and there are always crowds of people around it. With all this the monument is not exactly the most beautiful in the whole cemetery...

An Egyptian corner. Jean-François Champollion is considered the founder of egyptology. It is easy to understand by the headstone in the form of an obelisk. A scientist, polyglot and great traveler you may guess what a life he had!

The good-natured uncle clutching a rose in his hands for nearly 200 years is Dominique Vivant Denon. As a young man he romped a little (wrote an erotic novel), visited St. Petersburg as an ambassador, went to Egypt with Napoleon (where made a lot of pictures which afterwards defined the following European fashion), was the first director of the Louvre, and in his old age became interested in lithography (here the old man came back to erotica again).

Jim Morrison. Surprisingly, one of the most visited tombs in the cemetery turned out to be very modest.

Not far from Edith Piaf is her husband, who didn't manage to become a singer no matter how hard he tried, and her hairdresser 

Far from Edith Piaf's tomb is modest Yves Montand. They have once had a passionate love.

The ashes of Isadora Duncan rest in the columbarium.

Balzac, so brilliantly describing the life of French classes during his life, now demands restoration from these classes.

Underneath this monument is a body without a heart. There are quite a few musical talents in Poland and this man is definitely among them. Great Frédéric François Chopin.

The tomb of a child.

Died on December 31.

A very popular founder of the spiritism, Allan Kardec. This tomb serves a meeting place for his followers.

Emerald Buddha Temple In Bangkok

This is a temple complex Vat Prateo in Bangkok. Probably it's main value is Emerald Buddha Temple, it attracts buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. It should be noticed that this temple is a place where prays the current Thai king Rama IX. It's strictly forbidden to photograph inside so the buddha itself may only be described in words: 66 cm tall and 48 cm wide together with a pedestal, portrayed in a traditional pose - sitting his legs crossed. And in fact, he's not emerald, but made of green jade. Probably something like this:

Captive of the Beauty: Ancient Egypt

These exhibits are not from some museum of Egypt, they are a part of the State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
The history of Ancient Egypt, its beauty canons, are preserved here, in Russia.

Lost In the African Mountains

Today we are back in Africa, climbing picturesque mountains in a foggy day.

Ancient Mycenae And Modern Nafplion

This time - visual debris from Peloponnese island, to be more precise, from Argolida. Mycenae according to legend built by Perseus and flourished in the period of Aegian civilization, currently represent ruins beautifully spreading in the mountainous location.
Nafplion, in its turn, is none other than the first capital of independent Greece in the 19th century. It's a very beautiful city and one of the main Greek ports. And in its mood it's very Italian!

Ruins Of Byzantine Towns In Modern Turkey

In the old days Harran was one of the greatest cities in the region, now it looks like a remote old and ruined village. But Harran is still attractive to tourists because of its ancient monuments and unusual architecture. Harran has many legends and stories about it. This town was the center for those who believed in the Moon God.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wonders of Beijing

  Let us make a tour to Beijing and reveal the most interesting places in the capital of China.

Top 5 Places to Fear on Halloween Night

5. Crybaby Bridges of Ohio

Over the years, a strange phenomenon has been recorded in the vicinity of specific rural bridges in the US state of Ohio.  On certain days of the year, after the Sun goes down, the sound of a baby’s presence can be heard.  Most often, a shattering cry is recorded, but in other cases a baby’s laughter or scattered speech is said to plague the area.  These bridges have been given the label Crybaby Bridges.  The eerie locations usually hold a violent history, with stories involving a baby or young child being brutally killed.  One of the most famous Crybaby Bridges is the Rogues’ Hollow Bridge, which is located near Doylestown, Ohio.  In 1840, this area of Ohio experienced a large mining boom when coal was discovered in the deep hollows southeast of the village.  The area became known as Rogues’ Hollow because the miners had a strong reputation for wild goings and violence.  Rogues’ Hollow was congested with saloons, houses of ill repute, disease, dust and Sunday dog fights.
The Rogues’ Hollow Bridge sits deep inside Rogues’ Hollow on an old climbing road.  The bridge is located in a remote area and is approachable from only one direction.  Due to bad weather, it can only be reached during certain months of the year.  The bridge is adjacent to the old Chidester Mill, which is often included in articles describing haunted locations.  Loud voices and celebrations are said to radiate around the Chidester Mill.  If you dare venture near the Rogue Hollow Bridge on a dark evening, be sure to keep an open ear for the sound of a crying baby.  The noise has been reported to come from all directions, often times floating above your head.  People have also reported that as they left the bridge, the intensity and volume of the crying increased.  The Screaming Bridge of Maud Hughes Road is another reportedly haunted bridge located in Liberty Township, Ohio.  The bridge is reputed to have been the site of many terrible accidents and suicides.
A set of old railroad tracks sits 25 feet below the bridge, and at least 36 people are said to have been killed on or around the Maud Hughes Road Bridge.  Many different people have reported seeing and hearing usual things around the structure, including ghostly figures, mists, and lights, as well as black hooded figures and a phantom train.  These aspirations seem to have an evil agenda and people often report a sensation of wanting to run while crossing the Maud Hughes Bridge.  Others have made claims of screaming in their ear, load moans, shrieks, and the sound of a baby crying.  Near the town of Salem, Ohio, citizens have reported strange occurrences around the Egypt Road Bridge.  The area surrounding this bridge is closed off to the public.  The bridge is located at the end of a dead-end and can only be reached from a single direction.  Strange occurrences around the bridge have been reported, including the loud cries of a baby.  However, unlike other Crybaby Bridges, on Egypt Road these sounds seem to occur during the day and night.
4. The Candy Man