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Showing posts with the label ruins

The Portuguese Palace of Sintra

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Sintra is one of Portugal's most visited (and Instagram featured) tourist destinations! 
A triumph of Romanticist architecture, the town is stocked-full of areas to explore: palaces, ruins, historic estates, villas, gardens, cafes, and Michelin star restaurants.

* And from this view, we can see why Sintra is one of the Iberian peninsula's most sought after real estate markets; home of some of the wealthiest people in the European continent!

Roadtrip: Denmark To Sweden

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I personally love long drives. There is nothing quite like spending a day on the road looking at wonderful scenery armed with a good book or a solid podcast on my iPod (yes an iPod), to get the creative juices flowin' and the life batteries rechargin'. There was plenty of this to be had on our road trip from Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden.  

* Our trip would take us from Copenhagen, up the coast to the Danish city of Helsingor, where we would then board the ferry to take us across the Oresund strait, separating Denmark and Sweden, to arrive at the Swedish city of Helsingborg, continuing on across the Swedish countryside until we arrive at its capital, Stockholm.

Macau: The Final European Colony in Asia

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Apart from being Asia's gambling and entertainment capital, Macau also has the special distinction of being the last colony in Asia to be granted independence from a European power.

* And nothing perfectly shows the coexistence of East and West than Macau's Historic Center, featuring the famous Ruins of St. Paul.

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.

Fort Santiago and the Last Days of Jose Rizal

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Aside from San Agustin Church, no other place in the ancient walled city of Intramuros holds as much historical significance as Fort Santiago. Due to its location at the mouth of the Pasig River, Fort Santiago was the chief fortress, barracks and dungeon of theSpanish Government during its rule of the Philippines. It also became a main fort for the spice trade between Asia-America-Europe via the Galleon Trade to Acapulco.



* Originally used by Rajah Sulaiman, the most powerful chieftain of pre-Hispanic Manila, the Fort in its current form was ordered built by Miguel Lopez de Legazpito protect the newly established city of Manila. And for the price of$1.50, this place can be toured by all!

Exploring the Bishopric of Elgin, Scotland

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In between the company scheduled tours, dinners and activities, I found some time to walk around and explore the area our hotel was located in.

To my surprise, I found out that Elgin was a former cathedral city(town built around a medieval cathedral) created as a Royal Burgh(official royal town) in the 12th centuryby King David I of Scotland. So historically, there are a lot of places here to whet one's appetite.

On a pop culture note, the Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd and The Kinks all performed in a dance hall here back in the 60's; so, add extra points for coolness!!



* The view of the town from my attic-style hotel room's window!

Mythology (Delos) and Partying (Mykonos Beaches) in a Day!

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Much more than just a shopping town, Mykonos also offers something for history junkies, such as myself. A short boat ride away lies the island of Delos; famous for being the birthplace of the twin gods, Apollo and Artemis, and for being one of the most important archaeological sites in all of Greece.

Of course, no trip to Mykonos would be complete without seeing some of its world-famous party beaches, revered the world over by clubholics.



* The fiancee and I posing by Mykonos Port before boarding our ferry to Delos. We were extremely fortunate to have seen the official island mascot, Petros the Pelican, the night before. (See previous entry)

A Day with the Oracle and Leonidas

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After spending much time admiring the hustle and bustle of Athens, and before flying off to enjoy the enchanting beauty of the Cyclades(Greek islands in the Aegean), we set off to tour the Greek countryside to gain a further understanding and appreciation for the link between Greek history and the mythological and legendary stories found within her culture.

On Day 1 of our tour, we visited the renowned Oracle of Delphi and the Battlefield of Thermopylae.



* What’s a tour without tourist traps? Fortunately here in Greece, they come with excellent Greek coffeegelato and Paprika-flavored Pringles. Add the very fresh Greek countryside air to the mix and you have a hell of a great time!

Separated! The Tale of the Acropolis in Athens, and London

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This is a story of two cities: Athens and London. Two cities separated by over 3000 kilometers but united culturally because of their great contributions to our study and understanding of Greek culture.

Wait what, London?! Yes, London. For when the Ottoman Turks had the whole of Greece under their rule, an enterprising Brit with the title of Lord of Elgin fell in love with the Parthenon upon seeing it and decided to use his official title, as British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, to legally purchase almost ALL the sculptures in the Parthenon, of which can now be found in the British Museum of London.

But first things first, let’s take a look at the Acropolis in Athens!

1. The Acropolis in Athens.



* The Propylaea serves as the main entrance to the Acropolis. Meaning monumental gateway, the Propylaea’s design has been copied numerous times; from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to the Propylaea in Munich.

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!!  


13 Things To Do in The Holy Land (Besides Pray)

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One usually thinks of the Holy Land as a place for prayer, reflection and soul-searching.

However, it is also very much an entertainment mecca, historical time-capsule and religious Disney Land all-in-one; where instead of rides, you have places that you have only read about growing up.

Check out these amazing activities:

1. Go boating in the Sea of Galilee.

A charming wooden boat + cool and windy weather + lively Jewish music + dancing = Relaxation




The Ruins of Pompeii

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The final stop on our week-long Mediterranean Cruise was the ancient Roman City of Pompeii. Partially destroyed and buried under 20 feet of ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was rediscovered 1500 years later and is hailed for giving us a detailed glimpse of what life was like during Roman Times.

Having seen Rome with its majestic arcs, temples and forums, I was very excited to see the other side of the coin, that of the quaint, provincial town far away from the capital. Maybe it’s the Cebuano in me talking, but being here made me feel nostalgic for the good ol’ days before Manila, when the pace of life was more steady and chill.



* One of the many courtyards in town. The Romans sure loved their open-areas! You can feel how much they must have appreciated the fresh air and cool breeze.

Rome - In The Footsteps of Gladiator

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Rome was my biggest disappointment this whole trip. Disappointment not because I wasn’t moved or impressed by the place but because we had but one day (8 hours) to explore BOTH Rome AND The Vatican. That would be the equivalent of spending an hour in Disneyworld.

Ideally, I would like to explore the city of Rome for a whole week, and The Vatican for a few more days after. Hopefully one day my cousin Clark, an even bigger History buff than myself, decides to follow his dream of being an archaeologist and actually move to Rome so that I can come and crash in his place when I visit.



* The first view of Constantine’s Arch and The Colosseum. Take note of the line of tourists towards the right going inside the Colosseum with an estimated waiting time of 1 hour and 20min.  Now compare that to the one hour which was the total time we spent here in this part of Rome.

Jerusalem

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"A new world. A better world. A kingdom of conscience…a kingdom of Heaven."

Taken from Kingdom of Heaven, one of my favorite movies of all time, these words never fail to strike a chord within me; for it’s idealism, it’s truth, it’s message of HOPE.


For Holy Week this year, instead of going to the beach as has been the case the past decade, I decided to go on a solo pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Why solo?

I have always believed that faith is a personal journey; one which does not have a destination, but is a continuing process of getting to know the Divine by which we get to know ourselves a bit more.

Definitely, the highlight of this trip would be the old city of Jerusalem.

Being the history geek, architecture admirer and student of religion that I am, I could not help but feel excited weeks before actually stepping foot in the city; where not only Jesus had done so but also countless Hebrews, Christians, Muslims, Romans and Ottomans before me.  Indeed I had always wanted t…

Walls of Jerusalem Old City

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JERUSALEM.

"How can you be in hell, when you’re in my heart."- Balian of Ibelin

Picture of the outer wall of the old city of Jerusalem, taken during my solo pilgrim walk from the hotel last night (sorry Mom & Mon).  Blog entry to follow.