Monthly Archives: August 2011

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is an old Baroque fountain at the intersection of three roads marking one of the aqueducts that used to supply water to ancient Rome. The fountain’s scene depicts the finding of a fresh water source in 19 BC by some Roman technicians approximately 8 miles away from the city supposedly with the help of a virgin. Nowadays it is a commonly visited tourist spot. Many believe that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, you are ensured to return back to Rome. This legend collects approximately 3,000 euros a day. The money collected in the fountain is used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy however there are some that try and steal the coins right out of the fountain. Quite a nice revenue for this aqueduct landmark if you ask me.

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The Dancing House

Prague is known for its Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture throughout the city. However, there is one building you shouldn’t miss; purely due to its uniqueness. The Dancing Houses, originally named Fred and Ginger, can be found along the rivers edge at Rašínovo nábřeží 80 (I just put it into the GPS on my GoogleMaps). It was designed by Vlado Milunić in co-operation with Frank Gehry and currently is tenates to some multinational firms and a restaurant on the roof. There isn’t much to it other than the crazy design but I think the design says plenty. Its definitley worth a wander if you find yourself visiting the beautiful city of Prague.

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Some Wild Things

I have to admit, being from San Diego I have been instilled with somewhat of a snobbish attitude when it comes to zoos. I mean, the San Diego Zoo is arguably one of the world’s greatest. However, I was pleasantly surprised during my visit to Lyon, France where they offer a reasonably sized zoo right in the middle of Parc de la Tête d’Or for FREE! I have not encountered a free zoo of this caliber anywhere else in my travels. Exhibits varied from lemurs to giraffes to crocodiles to tigers; all obviously hefty animals to maintain. Unfortunately my French wasn’t up to par to read about each animal, but they were still fun to watch. They were especially active right after a light rainfall. If visiting, you can rent a bike at one of the many terminals around the city (similar to the bike system I mentioned in Bordeaux), pedal yourself over to the park and wander through the different exhibits. If you have time you may stop at the botanical garden along the way.

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Hump Day Humor

Let’s be real, hump day…aka Wednesday can be one of the toughest days of the week to get through. It’s almost weekend but not quite there. Ok, I won’t discuss it anymore, we all know the drill. So to lighten things up a bit I will be starting a new Wednesday post. I’ve been coming across a lot of funny, interesting, bizarre or down right hysterical moments throughout my travels but moments are in the eye of the beholder. So….I want to see your creative juices flowing. I will be posting one photo every week. What’s your take on it? Muster up the funniest, cleverest, downright ridiculous scenario/quote/dialogue etc. for the photo (if anything, it will be entertaining for me). Give it a try. Here we go with Week 1….I hope this is good.

 

(These are all photos taken during my travels, none of this searching on the internet for something hilarious….these are real life moments people! )

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Macaroon Delight

Whenever I think of French delicacies, macaroons always come to mind. Of course I was giddy with excitement to see the tremendous display at the Maison Georges Larnicol shop with such an array of flavors. Pyramids of macaroons lined both windows with a bit of chocolate and other sugary treats further in the store. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any home with me since it was the beginning of my travels and they would certainly be smooched or most likely consumed by the end of the trip. They would sure make a great gift otherwise. Yum!

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Bordeaux Wine Tour

Not taking a tour of a winery seems almost like a faux pas if visiting Bordeaux. Unlike the California wine regions, you cannot just drive up to the wineries and do a tasting and take a tour; you have to make reservations. Even so, only a few of the châteaux provide insight into their production. The tourism office offers variations of tours ranging from half a day to full day as well as various sizes from private to small groups of 8 or less to large groups that can be up to 50 people. The wine tour that we took, which I would recommend, consisted of a total of 8 people to the Graves region just south of the city. Held in both French and English, we toured two wineries Château Haut-Bailly and Châteaux Carbonnieux. They explained the different stages of winemaking, demonstrated the proper way to taste the wine, and answered any and all questions. If you are interested in investing in this region, it costs a pretty penny: approximately one million euros per hectare. Ouch! Nonetheless, you can save those millions for later and take the tour instead.  For more information on some tours in Bordeaux, click here.

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Canyoning

Canyoning has been my favorite activity on this trip so far. If you are unsure of what canyoning involves, don’t worry I hadn’t a clue either before we embarked on our four hour journey. Unfortunately I don’t have that many photos since the water and camera would not have agreed but know it was EPIC! Everyone should try it if you get the chance just understand you have to be somewhat in shape if you would like to partake in this activity; here is why. Once arriving to the canyoning spot, we put on our super cool looking wetsuits, harnesses and helmets to commence our decent by sliding down some rocks on the side of a narrow road. From there we jumped into a chilly pool of water and repelled down the face of a waterfall. That was the beginning. About four hours of hiking through absolutely gorgeous canyons filled with wildlife and surrounded by vertical mountains on either side we followed the river (more like trekked through it) down little holes just big enough for our bodies, jumped off of numerous cliffs and rocks at least 25 feet high into tiny pools of water and slid down natural waterslides made slippery by the green moss and water that covered the rocks. By the time we reached the end, we were fatigued but smiling from the sheer enjoyment and beauty. Of course we realized a bit later that we still had to hike up the side of the mountain that we just spent four hours going down. But we trekked on, just in silence from the exhaustion. It was an absolutely amazing day.

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