Mar 16, 2009
Labels: Malaysia - Malacca
Mar 15, 2009
Widely known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is one of Asia's most famous islands. Its natural beauty and exotic heritage have been attracting curious visitors for centuries.
Travel guides have referred to it as " . . . a place of mysterious temples and palm-shrouded beaches", while literary giant Somerset Maugham is known to have stayed on the island and spun tales about the romance of the white planter in South-East Asia.
Penang today is very much an amalgam of the old and the new – a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial base. Perhaps it has more to offer per square mile than any other place in the world. For sheer variety of locales, cultures and foods, Penang is hard to beat. In it's capital Georgetown, modern skyscrapers rise from one of Southeast Asia's largest collections of intact prewar buildings. Manufactures of sophisticated electronic goods compete for space with wet markets and old temples. Where else can you find a century-old church, a Chinese temple, an Indian temple, and a Muslim mosque all within a five-minute walk from one another? Likewise, tall urban structures stand beside the red-tiled roofs of Chinatown and "Little India" is just across the road, while the Malay kampungs lie on the outskirts. The seamless melding of the many peoples of Penang is best reflected in the delicious hawker foods (available around the clock) and the adherence to traditions and customs. Festivals abound throughout the year.
Should one wish to get away from the busy city, the idlyllic beaches and soothing hills are but minutes away, while the industrial free trade zone, the "Silicon Valley of the East", and the international airport are equally accessible.
Penang or its Malay name of Pulau Pinang is made up of a turtle-shaped island, a total of 292 square kilometers, and a strip of land called Seberang Prai on Peninsular Malaysia about 48 kilometers wide.
Since 1985, the island has been joined to the mainland by the Penang Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world. Alternatively, travellers arriving from the mainland can hop onto the ferry and take a 20-minute ride across. There are also international flights that connect directly to the international airport on the island.
Labels: Malaysia - Penang
Mar 13, 2009
Lake Mountain is a cross-country ski resort in Victoria 90 km from Melbourne. It is the most popular ski resort in Australia in visitor numbers due to its proximity to the populous city of Melbourne, mainly from casual visitors.
There is no actual lake at Lake Mountain, the area was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain. The Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is situated in a saddle between Lake Mountain and Echo Flat and provides access to a 37km cumulative trail network through the surrounding Yarra Ranges National Park. It is an exclusively cross-country skiing resort, but the majority (80%) of the visitors to the resort throughout the year are a family demographic, with family groups being the main constituents. There are up to seven toboggan runs, though two main runs, which are open to the public. The first and most popular is directly adjacent to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Day Visitor Centre, while the second brachiates off of the first for a longer and somewhat steeper slope. Snowboarding is not permitted.
The centre was opened on the 12th of June, 2004, a public holiday celebrating the Queen's Birthday. It cost $3.7 million along with the refurbishment and restructuring of two other buildings, a toilet block & visitor's locker room area, and the Ski Patroller's Centre, the main area for the coordination and first aid treatments employed by the Ski Patrollers.
It has several other facilities, such as two fully equipped conference centres and a licenced cafe' bar. The Heights Bar and Cafe' remains open all year round, to accommodate bushwalkers and bike riders.
In 2005, the Ski Patroller's Centre was equipped to operate as "Snow Gum Lodge" during the off-season, generally available between November and May, for secluded and private overnight stays. It is the only accommodation on-mountain.
A ski trail at Lake Mountain with recent snowfall
Mar 12, 2009
The first standard public telephone kiosk introduced by the United Kingdom Post Office was produced in concrete in 1920 and was designated K1 (Kiosk No.1). This design was not of the same family as the familiar red telephone boxes.
The red telephone box was the result of a competition in 1924 to design a kiosk that would be acceptable to the London Metropolitan Boroughs which had hitherto resisted the Post Office's effort to erect K1 kiosks on their streets.
The Royal Fine Art Commission was instrumental in the choice of the British standard kiosk. Because of widespread dissatisfaction with the GPO's design, the Metropolitan Boroughs Joint Standing Committee organised a competition for a superior one in 1923, but the results were disappointing. The Birmingham Civic Society then produced a design of its own — in reinforced concrete — but it was informed by the Director of Telephones that the design produced by the Office of the Engineer-in-Chief was preferred; as the Architects’ Journal commented, 'no one with any knowledge of design could feel anything but indignation with the pattern that seems to satisfy the official mind.' The Birmingham Civic Society did not give up and, with additional pressure from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Town Planning Institute and the Royal Academy, the Postmaster General was forced to think again; and the result was that the RFAC organised a limited competition.
The organisers invited entries from three respected architects and, along with the designs from the Post Office and from The Birmingham Civic Society, the Fine Arts Commission judged the competition and selected the design submitted by Giles Gilbert Scott. The invitation had come at the time when Scott had been made a trustee of Sir John Soane's Museum — his design for the competition was in the classical style, but topped with a dome reminiscent of Soane's self-designed mausoleum in St Pancras' Old Churchyard, London. (The original wooden prototypes of the entries were later put into public service at under-cover sites around London. That of Scott's design is the only one known to survive and is still where it was placed all those years ago, in the entrance arch to the Royal Academy.)
The Post Office chose to make Scott's winning design in cast iron (Scott had suggested mild steel) and to paint it red (Scott had suggested silver, with a "greeny-blue" interior) and, with other minor changes of detail, it was brought into service as the Kiosk No.2 or K2. From 1926 K2 was deployed in and aroundLondon and the K1 continued to be erected elsewhere.
K3, introduced in 1929, again by Gilbert Scott was similar to K2 but was constructed from concrete and intended for nationwide use. Cheaper than the K2, it was still significantly more costly than the K1 and so that remained the choice for low-revenue sites. The standard colour scheme for both the K1 and the K3 was cream, with red glazing bars.
K4 (designed by the Post Office Engineering Department in 1927) incorporated a post box and machines for buying postage stamps on the exterior. Only 50 kiosks of this design were built.
K5 was a plywood construction introduced in 1934 and designed to be assembled and dismantled and used at exhibitions.
Labels: United Kingdom
Amsterdam coffee shops are not actually places to go and sip on a cup of coffee or tea. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are places where cannabis is openly sold and smoked and, as many experienced travelers know, Amsterdam coffee shops are one of the major draws to Amsterdam. Coffee shops are legally allowed to store up to 500 grams of marijuana and can legally sell up to 5 grams to any one customer.
Amsterdam coffee shops can be found all over the city and despite the casual feel there are a few spoken and unspoken rules. You must be at least 18 years old to enter coffee shops in Amsterdam, and you should bring along ID, as shops will often check. Rarely will travelers find an Amsterdam coffee shop that sells alcohol. Most shops do not have a liquor license, and it is not acceptable to bring your own. Although you can bring your own bag to smoke from, it is not permissible to sell goods in the shops. If you do bring your own rather than buying from the Amsterdam coffee shop, be sure to buy a snack or something else sold at the store. You should also note that loitering is actually not welcome in an Amsterdam coffee shop, so once you’ve enjoyed your share it is customary to move along.
For tourists new to the world of legal marijuana, coffee shops in Amsterdam can be quite an experience. There are all types of coffee shops in Amsterdam, from shops with a calm, relaxed feel to shops painted in bright psychedelic colors or playing loud music. If you are looking for a certain type of shop or experience, be sure to walk around. There are plenty of shops to choose from and usually you won’t have much trouble finding the right shop to suit your needs.
Many of the most popular Amsterdam coffee shops will be found around the canal districts of the city. Map of the canals are widely available, as are directories showing the various coffee shop options. There are also plenty of Amsterdam coffee shops in the suburbs of Amsterdam, which require only a short drive.
Labels: Netherlands - Amsterdam
The history of the United Kingdom stretches back over many centuries. Once the largest empire in the history of the world, United Kingdom history is still studied by most of the world to this day. Since the time of the Normans, the history of the United Kingdom has added many chapters. The United Kingdom today is a G8 nation and remains a major world power. Anyone planning a trip to the United Kingdom will certainly benefit from becoming familiar with the fascinating history of the United Kingdom.
When William the Conqueror was crowned King in 1066 atWestminster Abbey he began a tradition of monarchy that remains a part of United Kingdom history. Various Anglo-Saxon tribes had inhabited the area for many years, but the arrival of the Normans was a major point of change for United Kingdom history. King William I began taking over and building stone castles and organizing communities around these castles. This system of setting up monarchs to rule over the peasant class created a strict class divide that lasted throughout the ages and, some would argue, still holds sway to this day in the United Kingdom.
Over the years, English monarchs began attempts to stretch their empire to other neighboring territories. England history goes on to reflect the expansion of the British Empire to Scotland, Wales, andIreland. The acquisition of these countries bolstered England history and by the 19th century the United Kingdom was the greatest empire in the world, with more then a third of the world's population.
England history and the history of Scotland both contain intriguing stories of their own. The history of Scotland is wrought with bloody battles and the fierce independence of a people who refused to be conquered easily. Glorified in such movies as, Braveheart, the history of Scotland produced a culture that to this day retains an independent spirit. Many of the most famous Scottish castles were built as enormous towers to protect inhabitants from encroaching British forces.
The government of the United Kingdom developed over the years and many governments throughout the world still imitate its model. Although the monarch is considered to be the head of state and still technically holds full executive powers in the United Kingdom, it is the House of Lords and the House of Parliament under the guidance of the Prime Minister who run the government in practice. The role of the monarch has changed over the years, and more power has shifted to the Prime Minister and the two houses of Parliament as time passes. Many countries throughout the world (such as Canada and Australia), however, still recognize the British monarch as their head of state.
During the zenith of the British Empire in the 19th century the country produced some of the world's best literature and art in the history of English speaking folk. Jane Austen, Virginia Wold, J.K. Rowling, Oscar Wilde and many, many more were born of the great British tradition. Older authors like Shakespeare, and more recent authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and George Orwell also hailed from the United Kingdom.
The 20th century saw the weakening of the United Kingdom as the first and second world wars shook Europe and crippled many economies. Although the United Kingdom has since reorganized itself into a prosperous and economically sound country, it is no longer the largest empire in neither the world nor the richest. The United Kingdom is, however, still a major player in world affairs. As a nuclear power and still retaining some of the most influential threads of an empire in the history of the world, the United Kingdom remains an important country.
Labels: United Kingdom-London
Travelers throughout the world travel to Stone Henge, located in England, each year hoping to catch a glimpse of what many believe to be the work of early Druids. This belief is not substantiated, however, and Stone Henge is surrounded by controversy. It is known that Stone Henge is thousands of years old, and much of the Stone Henge mystery centers on how the gigantic stones were moved. Mainstream archeology continues to be fascinated and baffled by the purpose of Stone Henge, and the site remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
There are conflicting theories on Stone Henge history. Until the late 19th century, it was widely believed that Stone Henges circular arrangement was the work of ancient Druids. Earlier beliefs were usually influenced heavily by myths and legends passed down through the ages. One story in the 12th century detailed Merlin the wizard constructing Stone Henge by magically transporting the enormous rocks, while still other accounts associated Stone Henge mystery with the medieval court of King Arthur.
The first academic study of Stone Henge England took place in 1740. John Aubrey was the first historian to take measurements of the structure, allowing for greater analysis of the form itself. Though Aubrey also declared Stone Henge England to be the work of the Druids, he was able to demonstrate the possible astronomical role suggested by the placement of the stones themselves. Years later, bronze fragments were found near the site, giving creed to the idea that the site was constructed during the Bronze Age.
One other piece of the Stone Henge mystery puzzle is the Bluestones. The Bluestones are incongruously worked stones that seem to have been added the monument after its original construction. Theories as to the arrival of the Bluestones include ideas that there was some kind of alliance between groups signified by the merging of two cultural pieces, or that possibly the arrival of the Bluestones was meant to signify the dominance of one group over another. However, the Bluestones did in fact arrive and there is no doubt that Stone Henge mystery is only enhanced by this curious addition.
If you would like view this ancient site on your vacation to England, Stone Henge tours are reasonably priced and widely available. Tourists will find that a fence meant to keep out vandalizing travelers today surrounds Stone Henge, and ticket for Stone Henge tours will allow you to enter this area. Though the actual structure is roped off, travelers can make a full revolution around the circular structure. It is often noted that Stone Henge tours are best conducted at sunrise or sunset. Due to the structure and placement of the stones, the site is most impressive with the sun peeking out from between the rocks. Tickets for a tour can be purchased online in advance, or in person, and range in price from $5 for children to $30 for a family. Stone Henge England is open for tours daily throughout the year, with shortened hours (closing at sunset) during the winter.
Although pictures of Stone Henge are widely available, nothing compares to experiencing this ancient structure in person. Be sure to add this popular attraction to your United Kingdom itinerary.
Labels: United Kingdom-Stone Henge
Columbus Ohio has a lot going on and visitors might be surprised at the many things to do and see in the city. Winery tours, world-class golf, beautiful national and state parks, charming Amish towns, innovative restaurants, excellent nightlife and fantastic antiquing are just some of the things visitors can engage themselves in when on vacation in Columbus Ohio. Midwestern hospitality and convenience make Columbus Ohio a great choice for a holiday.
There are numerous hidden treasures to discover in the “Buckeye State” and the range of experiences from big, vibrant cities, attractive countryside and quaint small towns ensure an assortment of holiday fun for the whole family. Travel Columbus Ohio for a wealth of family friendly attractions that offer the perfect way to reconnect and enjoy some time away from home.
Restaurants offer visitors an amazing array of cuisine to choose from. Columbus Ohio restaurants in the city include French, German, Greek, Asian, American, Irish, Italian and Mediterranean as well as continental and contemporary dining. There are brewpubs, barbeque joints, delis, bakeries steakhouses and more. For those who love a hearty steak jump on local transportation to downtown to Smith and Wllensky where you will be sure to enjoy a steak any way you like it. The downtown favorite has USDA prime steaks that are dry-aged and butchered in house. Specialties include Bone in Rib-Eye, Filet Au-Poivre and an assortment of delicious shellfish.
If looking for Columbus Ohio restaurants with a more exotic flavor try Lemongrass on High Street. One of the first Pan-Asian restaurants to hit the scene, the menu is ever-changing offering guests no chance to get bored! Lemongrass features sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi as well as “artsy” Asian dishes, some with a European spin. The successful and well managed Columbus Ohio restaurants dishes include steak, salmon, chicken breast and fresh shrimp.
When tourists choose to travel Columbus Ohio they’ll discover some of the world’s best theme parks, indoor and outdoor waterparks, zoos, excellent museums and intriguing galleries. The assortment in terrain is one of the best things about Columbus Ohio and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy. Golfers can tee up and watch their ball soar across brilliant green courses during Ohio golf sessions. Wander amongst historic caves, woods and wetlands and across rugged hills.
Ohio fishing is a favored sport when visitors choose to travel Columbus Ohio as is swimming and boating in the city’s many rivers, lakes and streams. History abounds when choosing to travel Columbus Ohio in the heart of the Midwest which is the birthplace of an astounding eight U.S. presidents! Visit Columbus Ohio and visit historic Roscoe Village, an inviting and carefully re-established 1830's canal town that presents quaint shops, lodging, festivals, boat rides on the canal, museums and more.
Columbus Ohio events happen often giving the locals and visitors plenty of chances for celebrating. There are a number of excellent and fun festivals held throughout the year, many which kickoff in the summer months. The Jazz and Rib Fest toward the end of July is a favorite and what a combination! It doesn’t get much better than eating mouth-watering ribs and listening to fantastic live jazz music and enjoying free admission!
The Dublin Irish Festival is another of the great Columbus Ohio events happening in the beginning of August. This festival offers the best of Irish culture including music, dance, traditional workshops, whiskey tasting and Celtic Sports competitions. Admission is $10.00 and under. India Festival and Oktoberfest in September are more Columbus Ohio events that will add and air of excitement and plenty of fun to your holiday!
Labels: United State Of America-Ohio
Petit Julien (French)
Jerome Duquesnoy, 1388: original version
1619: current version
Bronze, height 61 cm Brussels,
Manneken Pis (Dutch for little pee man), also known in French as the petit Julien, is a very famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.
On many occasions, the statue is dressed in a costume. His wardrobe now consists of several hundred different costumes. The costumes are changed according to a schedule managed by the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis, in ceremonies that are often accompanied by brass band music.
On occasion, the statue is hooked up to a keg of beer. Cups will be filled up with the beer flowing from the statue and given out to people passing by.
The famous statue is located at the junction of Rue de l'Étuve & Eikstraat. One has to take the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall building from the famous Grote Markt and walk up a few hundred meters to arrive at the spot. The statue will be on the left corner.
There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung it in a tree, to encourage them. From there, he urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.
Another legend goes like this: In the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held their ground for quite some time. The attackers had thought of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Juliaanske from Brussels happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city.
There was already a similar statue made of stone in the middle of the 15th century, perhaps as early as 1388. The statue was stolen several times. In 1619 it was replaced by a bronze statue, created by Franco-Flemish Baroque sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy, father of the more famous François.
Another story (told often to tourists) tells of a wealthy merchant who, during a visit to the city with his family, had his beloved young son go missing. The merchant hastily started searching with others all corners of the city, until one member of the search party found the boy happily urinating in a small garden. The merchant, as a gift of gratitude to the locals who helped out during the search, had the fountain built.
Another legend was that a small boy went missing from his mother when shopping in the center of the city. The woman, panic-stricken by the loss of her child, called upon everyone she came across, including the mayor of the city. A city-wide search began to find this small child and when at last he was found, he was peeing on the corner of a small street. The story had passed down over time and the statue erected as tribute to the well known fable.