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The Kremlin: Home of Vladimir Putin

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At the very heart of the beast that was the Soviet Union stands the fortified complex known as the Kremlin. Separated from Moscow's iconic Red Square by thick impenetrable walls, the Kremlin was for Centuries the official residence of the Russian Tsars.

* And this fine tradition continues to this day, as the Kremlin is the home of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. He lives in the Kremlin Senate building, which is obviously the most secure part of the fortress.

The Basilica of St. Mark and the Treasures of Constantinople

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Nothing quite prepares you for the spectacle of seeing the interior of the Basilica of St. Mark for the first time. A symbol of Venetian majesty, wealth, and power, the Basilica has also been referred to as the Church of Gold.

* And for good reason! This was probably how the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (then Constantinople) looked like before it was defaced and converted into a mosque.

Rothenburg - A Town Straight Out of a Fairytale

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Looking like every Disney fairy tale village that ever existed, Rothenburg is one of the highlights of Germany's Romantic Road, and is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.

* I mean just look at that! I was half-expecting Pinocchio to walk-by. This is the Plonlein, the town's most iconic (and photographed) view; shockingly and, luckily for us, empty this day.

Hitler's Munich and the Third Reich Tour

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Munich, apart from being historical capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria, is also infamous for being the birthplace of the Nazi Party. It was in these streets, after the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Allies during World War I, that disenfranchised and unemployed young men started meeting regularly to debate and argue about the problems of the German people. Munich at this time was very politically charged, with communists, anarchists, liberals, and fascists arguing incessantly. 
For most of the old photos found on this entry, a HUGE thanks to our friends over at http://www.thirdreichruins.com/munich.htm


* Munich's Town Hall, a beautiful landmark defaced by the disgraceful Nazi Swastika banner.

Visiting the Dodo Bird at Vienna's Naturhistorisches Museum

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One of the most memorable stops in our trip was our afternoon visit to Vienna's Naturhistorisches Museum. As a child, I was a HUGE fan of books containing pages full of photos of the different animal species. A particular interest of mine was this book showcasing all the extinct animals with the various reasons for their extinction. I had no idea that I was gonna see all of my childhood favorites that afternoon.

* Opened in 1889, the Naturhistorisches Museum stands on the grounds of the Maria-Theresien-Platz, across its identical twin building, the Kunsthistorisches, Vienna's Museum of Fine Arts.

A Day in Auschwitz - Shock, Disbelief, and Remembrance

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Now Auschwitz would normally not appear in any honeymoon itinerary, and with good reason. There is absolutely nothing positive to be felt in going to a place were over a million innocent men, women, and children were systematically murdered.
And yet, we were honored to have visited this site and to have heard the shocking tale of evil and depravity that occurred here. We are all witness to this atrocity, and we shall never forget.

* Arbeit Macht Frei - which translates to "work makes you free." Right on the entrance of the camp stands this bold-faced lie, offering hope to all newcomers that they were just to be used as slave labor, far from what really transpired here.

Corregidor Island and the Bravery of the Filipino-American Forces During WWII

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When Deal Grocer announced an all-inclusive tour of Corregidor (including boat ride, island tour and lunch buffet) for just $25 a person, I knew that this was too good a deal to miss!

Not only had I never been to this famous key WWII battleground, but this was also to be an excitingly different weekend excursion with my fiancee, Monicca, and our friends, Aaron and Cole.



* The tour is operated by Sun Cruises Philippines, whose terminal is located near theCultural Center of the Philippines. To get to the island, we took an hour long, comfortable, catamaran ride.

Whiskey Tour - The Glenlivet Distillery

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The second stop on our whiskey tour was theGlenlivet Distillery, producer of the renowned Glenlivet single-malt (duh!). Known as the "single malt that started it all," Glenlivet is currently the biggest selling single malt brand in the USand is personally my favorite single-malt scotch.



* This sign goes to show how all of our beloved scotch whiskey brands are just literally, neighbors.

Oia, Santorini - Jewel of the Cyclades

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Our Santorini adventure continued on as we explored Santorini’s other, more well-known, and visited town, Oia. Taking the bus in the island is the more fun and hassle-free way of getting around as it can get rather expensive to rent a car (especially if you only plan to explore the towns and not the beaches), and taxi cabs are few and far between.


* While Fira is Santorini’s capital and busiest town, Oia is where all the tourists and couples flock to experience Santorini’s picturesque beauty.

The Reclusive Monasteries of Meteora

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Not just known as the title of Linkin Park’s epic second album, Meteora, (translating to “suspended in the air”) is home to one of the most important and beautiful Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. On day two of our travels across Northern Greece, we actually went up a couple of these monasteries to experience this extraordinary early Christian site and get a glimpse of the lives of its inhabitants.



* Made by the same natural forces that shaped the Grand Canyon and Petra, the scenery of Meteora is dominated by six monasteries that are built on top of natural sandstone rock pillars.

10 Amazing Things To See In Athens

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Having already written about the Plaka area of Athens (including Monastiraki Square, Ermou Street, the Ancient Agora and the Metropolitan Cathedral) and wanting to save the Acropolis for its own post, I decided to give you this Top Ten list of other places to see in Athens!!

1. Temple of Olympian Zeus



* The colossal and enormous Temple of Olympian Zeus, dedicated to the King of all Olympian gods, was once the largest temple in all of Greece. While the building of the temple started in the 6th Century BC, it wasn’t finished until 638 years later, in the 2nd Century AD. Talk about procrastination!!  


The Catacombs of Paris

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One place that I had been looking forward to seeing in Paris was the Catacombes de Paris. It has been on my bucket-list of Places to Explore ever since I saw it being featured on the 90’s TV show, Scariest Places on Earth.

Paris, being the historical city that it is, has been home to millions of people throughout the centuries. And like every city, its citizens have needs: food, water, shelter, security, a vibrant economy, culture. However, with all that life, also comes death. Millions of Parisians have died here creating a unique situation when it comes to body disposal. So instead of adding to the already numerous and overflowing cemeteries, the local government long-ago decided to just create a network of tunnels underground and to store everyone there in a first-in, first-out basis.

The result of this is the Catacombes de Paris, aka the final resting place for a whole lot of unnamed Parisians who lived back in the Dark Ages, Renaissance til the 19th Century and who died in all s…

Good Friday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Jerusalem

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A year ago, I was blessed to be able to celebrate Good Friday at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It is thus only fitting that I look back and reflect on what is undoubtedly the holiest place in all of Christianity, and my pick as the most beautiful church in the world (Italy, France and UK included) in terms of ambiance, history and sheer spiritual weight.



* View of the Holy Sepulcher from the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross). The beautiful blue dome definitely complements Islam’s Golden Dome of The Rock and helps give Jerusalem its ethereal vibe.

Hong Kong Toy Hunt

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After the culture and history of Shanghai, we were treated to a few days of shopping, eating and galavanting in Hong Kong.  Truthfully, I did not know what to expect from HK as the last time I was here, I was about 12 and I was with my folks.

We were given two days to wander around this city of lights, sounds and cars driving in the wrong side of the road (or so my Brit buddies disagree) and while some went to Disneyland and that huge Buddha place, and others went shopping in the stores not found in the Philippines (HMV, H&M etc.), I decided to indulge in two of my favorite past times: exploring a city alone AND toy window shopping.

Hong Kong opened my eyes to a whole different level of toy window shopping.  The toy scene is absolutely CRAZY.  (Think a whole building dedicated to small stores specializing in specific toy sets: LEGO, Transformers, GI JOE, Marvel, DC, Anime etc.) This was ten times the awesomeness of Shoppesville and Virra Mall combined!

Thanks to the ultra-relia…