Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It is known that Vietnam features three slenderness. They are slender women, slender houses, and slender shape of the country. It occupies the whole east coast of the Indochina Peninsula along the South China Sea.
Ha Long Bay is about a three and a half hour bus ride from Hanoi. This is a UNESCO Heritage Sit due to the extraordinary bay-scape. The Bay covers a 1533 square kilometers but consist of around 2,000 islets of various size and shape. The limestone of the bay shows 500 millions years of evolution. There are many species of plants and animals on the karst that had gone through 20 million years of evolution in the tropical climate typical for this environment.
Colosseum, the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, is on the New Seven Wonders of the World List and one of the popular tourist attractions of Italy.
During the Roman times, the Colosseum provides fights of gladiators and wild animals or executions by wild animals for entertainment. The spectators my yell out whether they like to see the kill or show mercy to the fighters, but the emperor had the right to override the decision. Usually, the gladiator fights were scheduled in the mornings and the animal fights were scheduled in the afternoons with the executions in between. The blood of the dead gladiators and the animals were bottled for the witch doctors to give as health tonics for the sick.
After the 7th century, the arena was converted to a cemetery, and the lower level was converted for housing and workshops. During the 12th century, it was a castle for a while, until 1349 it was destroyed by the great earthquake. Stones and other valuable building materials were carried away for other projects.
Use to be the Temple of Saturn . Built round 497 BC, was the first temple built on the Forum dedicated to the supreme god of Etruscan origin.
Temple of Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina, built in AD 141
Arch of Septimius Severus , 23 meters arch of 203 AD was the symbolic center of ancient Rome.
The Curia, the meeting place of the Roman Senators. The best preserved building on the site.
What’s left of Temple of Castor and Pollux, built to give thanks in victory of battles. Castor and Pollux were of myths of Greek/Etruscan origin.
Ballet: La Belle au good Dormanti at the theater.
A traditional Italian restaurant who makes everything fresh. Yes, including all kinds of pasta.
Quartiere Coppede is the smallest district of Rome. The outstanding whimsical style is by Gino Coppede. This district may be small but it is very exclusive. It is finished in 1924 consist of 26 small apartments and 7 Villas. The Beatles danced in the Fountain of Frogs (Fontana delle Rane) and it appeared in some scenes of the film ” The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” an Italian film released in 1970. The average price of this smallest district is approximately 10,000 Euros per sq. meters.
Rome, the capital city of Italy. It is the oldest continuous inhabited site in Europe even though history can only be traced back to the beginning of Rome around 753 BC. It is the birthplace of western civilization and claims the be the “eternal city”. This historic center is on the UNESCO list as the World Heritage Site. Under the city of Rome has many layers of cities from pre-historic Roman times. The city itself is a big archeology site.
Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. It occupies an area approximately 402 acres. This temple was built by King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Kingdom in the early 12th century dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. Later, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, it was transformed into a Buddhist temple.
Another temple in the area of Angkor is Banteay Srei. This temple was first built in the 10th century by not of the royals but by the king’s counselor a scholar and philanthropist. The temple used to be in the center of a Khmer village. Therefore it is of the same size and height as the other Khmer dwellings. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu God, “Shiva”.
The temple not just suffered from natural erosion but also from looting and pilfering for its beautiful pieces. Attempts were being made to restore with as many of the original pieces as possible and made replicas of many pieces of artworks so that the original may be put in the National Museum for safekeeping.
Note: In Cambodia, one can survive on fruits. They are not just healthy and delicious. They are also pleasing to the eyes.
Siem Reap is a resort city of Cambodia, a gateway to Angkor, an important and largest UNESCO archeological site. Angkor used to be the capital of the Khmer Kingdom during the 9th to 14th century. The 400 sq. kilometers of Angkor area consists of monuments, temples, residence, with features of different ancient urban plans, such as water reservoirs, hydraulic structures as basins, dykes, canals, and communication routes, as well as its architectural and artistic significance, that can attest to an ancient civilization for several centuries unique to Southeast Asia.
Angkor Thom was the last capital of Khmer Kingdom built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century.
Bayon, the state temple of Angkor Thom, situated in the center of Angkor Thom. It was first built by King Jayavarman VII the first Mahayana Buddhism King, in the 12th century and late 13th century. Bayon was first built as a Mahayana Buddhism Temple but later it was modified to accommodate Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism. Most notable are the serene faces on top of all the pointed towers.
Amsterdam was a small fishing village in the 12th century that turned into a major port city in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. Amsterdam has many water canals, not just for easy transport but also because Amsterdam is mostly under sea level. The canals are the result of the dams and dikes that was built to hold off the flood water from the sea. The well-known windmills were energy source used to pump water back into the sea to keep the land dry. Having to constantly balance the level of waters, the Dutch has created the modern water management system of today which is continuously updating as the rising sea level of global warming.
Rijksmuseum is the national museum dedicated to the arts and history of Amsterdam.
Other scenes within the museum.
revealed during recent renovation
where different tour groups meet
wonderful stain-glass window
reveaked during recent renovations
Some interesting paintings on display at the museum. We can see the progression of paintings from still portraits on the simple life and still objects to intricate brushwork, using white to bring out the lace and fabric; and later paintings showing actions and motions.
Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany and the most populated city of the Rhine River. Cologne had been a major trading route between east and west Europe. The city was built by the Romans, occupied by the Holy Roman Empire, by the French during Napoleonic Era, and by the British briefly, after World War I. During World War II, about 61% of the city was destroyed. The cities pre-war Jewish population were either deported or killed. The city’s six synagogues were destroyed.
Today’s Cologne was the result of the 1945 Cologne urban planning and 1947 reconstruction of the city. The constructions of streets and thoroughfares to the city center help to modernize the city. Some old landmarks were chosen to be rebuilt. Cologne is a modern city with reflections of the old.
The Kolner Dom (The Cathedral Church of St Peter) is the tallest building second to the Telecommunication tower of 1981. It is the landmark of Cologne which can be seen all around town. It can hold more than 20,000 people. Because it holds the shrine of the Three Wise Men and has impressive stain-glass windows, it was included in the UNESCO world heritage site.