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Showing posts with the label walks

The Incredible Metro Stations of Moscow

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Usually, city attractions take the form of monuments and squares, museums and palaces, boulevards and shopping plazas; but sometimes, the sights shine most brightly underneath the surface.
Touted as one of the most comprehensive, most efficient (minimal delay rates), and most well-maintained train stations in the world, the Moscow Metro can also add to its list of accolades the title of most beautiful and most nationalistic. And indeed, several of them are tourist attractions in itself!

* The adventure starts at ground level! Built during the Soviet era, the Moscow Metro is the perfect example of the State proudly exhibiting its most positive virtues: nationalism, productive citizens, efficient systems, unification, organization, and coordination. 

Moscow At Night - The Sleeping Beast

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Evenings in Moscow are breathtaking. While generally not as safe to walk around in as compared to other great European cities, there is still much to be explored, gawked at, and admired. 
Here are several shots of this glistening, sleeping beast.

* The Radisson Royal Hotel, once the Hotel Ukraina and tallest hotel in the world, was personally commissioned by Joseph Stalin to look this incredible.

A Walk Around Quirky Copenhagen

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Denmark is considered one of the most developed countries in the world. Economically, while the Danes have INSANE income tax levels which range from 45% to 60%, Danes have access to FREE education, health care, and welfare protection.. which are ALL of excellent quality! 
Income inequality is low; which means that the gap between the wealthy and poor is miniscule. Social mobility is high; which means that a person's status can actually go from poor to rich based simply on merit or how hard that person works. Corruption levels are one of the lowest in the world. Per capita income is one of the highest in the world, I guess, to make up for the high income tax. 
Furthermore, the Danes enjoy and practice a wider range of freedom and civil liberties as compared to other countries in the West. One truly FEELS free here, like you're part of an ideal society.
No wonder the Danes are referred to as the "happiest people on earth"!

* Like most European cities, street performer…

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.

Eccentric Tokyo: Harajuku and Other Peculiarities

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Japan is a country of extreme contrasts! A country where futuristic skyscrapers coexist with ancient feudal parks and temples, where a culture of honor and respect coexists with the craziest TV shows known to man, and where a polite and friendly people can also be eccentric and quirky!
Here are some of my favorite shots of these peculiarities.

* Animals playing musical instruments with no tone, rhythm and tune.. perfectly normal here in Harajuku!

Tokyo: What Happens When Sci-Fi Becomes Reality

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Home to a mind-boggling 13 million people, the metropolitan area of Tokyo is a sensory overload every step of the way. Everything in this mega-city looks, smells, sounds, and feels extraordinary.. like one is in a blockbuster movie, or 15 years in the future.
And my first piece of advice for any first-time traveler to Tokyo, is to just let the city swallow you! Don't even try to make sense of anything, open yourself up to everything.. and don't forget to look up!

* Shibuya is known as Japan's fashion center and is where all the cool kids go to drink and party.

The Awesomely Insane Hotels of Macau

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Completely exploring all of Macau's 5-star hotel casinos is an almost herculean (borderline insane) task. I consider myself lucky to have been able to appreciate two of them: City of Dreams and The Venetian.

* Developers in Macau weren't kidding when they said they would outdo Las Vegas in terms of extravagance and craziness! This futuristic looking walkway is JUST the entrance of City of Dreams!

Macau, One Night in HK, and Back Again

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64km away from the gambling paradise that is Macau, lies its equally world-famous cousin, Hong Kong. Apart from being shining beacons of Eastern-Western coexistence, both cities share a special bond being the final two European colonies (British Hong Kong and Portuguese Macau) in Asia.

* Our adventure begins at the Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal; with this lemon yellow ship and steampunk looking spheres.

When All The Tourists Have Gone Away

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...Venice becomes eerily beautiful!

* People like to joke that Venice is one giant tourist trap!

How To Skillfully Navigate Venice

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Short answer: Don't! 
To anyone but local Venetians themselves, Venice might as well be a labyrinth. Built over an archipelago of 118 islands linked by bridges, the city is a real challenge to accurately navigate that one might as well purposely wander around and trust in the gods to find the way back home. 


* A few random turns and we find the infamous Bridge of Sighs (in the far background). Local legend has it that it was called so as this was the bridge leading to the prison from the Doge's Palace, and convicts were known to "sigh" as they got one more glimpse of the beauty of Venice before being incarcerated.

A Hauntingly Beautiful Night Walk at Prague

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While incredibly awe-inspiring during the day, Prague is hauntingly stunning at night!

* Prague Castle in all its majesty.

Tourist Trap Chronicles - Prague's Museum of Alchemy

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While Prague is nowadays full of tourists, there was a time when the city was full of visitors of a more esoteric nature. 

* How can one NOT get intrigued by this shrouded figure by the Museum's entrance!

Prague the Iconic - A Walk Along Charles Bridge

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Charles Bridge is one of Prague's most incredible and iconic landmarks. Crossing the Vltava River, the bridge serves to connect the Old Town Square with the Lesser Quarter, also known as Mala Strana. * The bridge was constructed in 1357 under orders from King Charles IV, the first King of Bohemia to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

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.

Munich - Center of Germanic Culture

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In the planning stages of the honeymoon, Monicca and I were faced with a dilemma. Since we could only go on leave for three weeks, we had to decide between Berlin and Munich. While Berlin is one of Europe's most vibrant, trendy, and hip countries, full of nationalities and almost New York-like in terms of vibe, we ultimately decided to go with Munich, seeing as how the city was perfectly in line with our theme to visit medieval European kingdoms.

* Size-wise Munich is only a third of Berlin. So while it is a city of over 1.5 million people, locals (who are very warm and friendly) like to brag that it has maintained a charming, medieval-town feel. And we agree!

Vienna Coffee Culture and Night Walks

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Because of the sheer efficiency of the Viennese Subway, the U-Bahn, getting around and exploring Vienna was a very pleasurable experience. And while we may have only spent 3 days in the former imperial capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I felt that we really got to cover a whole lot of ground!

* St. Stephen's Cathedral, known in Austria as the Stephansdom, is Vienna's most important religious building and seat of the Roman Catholic Archiocese.

A Walk Around Imperial Vienna - Legacy of the Habsburgs

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Vienna was the crown jewel and capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Much more than that though, Vienna was the home of the House of Habsburg, one of Europe's most important royal houses.
How important were they? Well the Holy Roman Emperor (ruler of all the Germanic States) from 1438 to 1740 was a member of the Habsburg Dynasty, and the Family ruled pretty much the whole of Continental Europe at one point, save for the territory of the Kingdom of France.
Because of this, Vienna is a city of great cultural, architectural, and historical significance as evidenced by how beautifully well planned everything is.

* Most of Vienna's imperial sights can be found along the Ringstrasse, a circular road which was built to replace the city walls, using money paid by the English for the safe release of King Richard the Lionheart (from the Crusades), who was held hostage by the Austrians.

Cruisin' the Danube River and Walkin' Buda at Night

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The legendary Danube River is Europe's second longest river, and runs across Central and Eastern Europe. Flowing through Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia and Ukraine, the Danube has been a major historical setting throughout European history, as well as a main source of trade and travel between the ancient Kingdoms.

* The dramatic-looking Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, but could easily blend in any Lord of the Rings movie.

Budapest Walking Tour with the Magyar Horde

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The third stop on our honeymoon itinerary was the breathtaking city of Budapest. Often touted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is a feast for all the senses with an overabundance in culture, a great nightlife scene, and warm people.

* Founded in 895AD by the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, Budapest is linguistically and culturally different from the rest of Europe, who can trace their lineage to either the Romance-speaking (Latin), Germanic, or Slavic people. 

* It seems that almost every corner of Budapest has a statue or work of art erected in it. Here's a statue of Andras Hadik, a Hungarian nobleman and Field Marshall of the Habsburg Army, who captured the Prussian capital of Berlin during the Seven Years War.

* Our tour service that day was conducted by Discover Budapest, an awesome service run by a group of young Hungarians full of enthusiasm and zeal for their beautiful city.

* Apart from walking tours, they also offer bicycle and segway tours.

* Our…