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.
Koblenz came from the Latin words which mean the convergence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle. Because of its strategic position on a major waterway, it was in a prime location to collect tolls and levy taxes on goods that were on the merchant ships passing by. For this reason only, Koblenz had different occupants throughout its history. With this, of course, came the largest fortress built between 1817 and 1828 and it is the best-preserved fortress in Europe on the Unesco World Heritage List of 2002. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress located on the hilltop east of the Rhine across from Koblenz. It overlooks the old town of Koblenz and at the same time monitor the waterways of Rhine and Moselle.
The grounds of the fortress now houses several museums, exhibition halls, pubs, and a youth hostel.
View from the fort Ehrenbreitstein and the cable car ride.
This Statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I is a reconstruction of the old one which was destroyed during World War II. This is his memorial in honor of his Unification of Germany after three years of war. The original one was erected in 1897 and this replacement was erected in 1993. This has been a part of UNESCO world heritage “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” site since 2002
The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) built-in the 5th century on the highest point in the town of Koblenz on a Roman foundation. Since that time it had been rebuilt and expanded on its original foundation. For a time from late middle age to the French Revolution, it served as the church of Koblenz.
Heildelberg Castle Ruins is the landmark of Heidelberg. It is one of the most important Renaissance structure north of the Alps. It was built as a castle in the twelve hundreds. After several natural and man-made destructions, the rebuilding and expansion resulted in a three castle structure and through several changes of ownership it fell in ruins. Its position on the hillside is one of the reasons why it’s beauty charmed the romantics of the time.
Some scenes from the castle ruins.
Heidelberg Castle Ruin did not become a tourist attraction until the 19th century when the town is connected to the railroad system. The American writer, Mark Twain got his inspiration for Huckleberry Finn here as well as “A Tramp Abroad”.The banks of Neckar River that inspired Mark Twain for his Huckleberry Finn
Heidelberg is a university town. Heidelberg University founded in the 14th century, the oldest institution of higher education in Germany. Students, from the university, make up a quarter of its population. They bring in the vibrant vitality. innovation spirit, and idealistic vision which is unique to this town. Heidelberg’s attraction is this unique blend of the old and the new. Photos below show a variety of the old and the new.
Würzburg, a city in Germany’s Bavaria region. It is the center of Franconian wine country. Therefore is the home of many winery, wine cellars, and bars. The Franconian wine stores in distinctive round flat bottles ( bocksbeutel). Memorable wine tasting at the Staatlicher Hofkeler Würzburg, the former Prince Bishop’s Cellar.
Wine tasting list of wines to be tasted
Each wine tasting settings
Wine tasting room
Würzburg Residence was the palace of Prince Bishops. Its construction was intended to be comparable to the Palace of Versailles or the Schonbrunn Palace. It is one of the masterpieces of Baroque/Rococo style architecture. Although most of it was destroyed or damaged by World War II, the grand staircase, the Imperial Hall, and the chapel still stand. After much restoration and reconstruction work was done from 1945 to 1987 to its present form. The Residence, and its Court Garden and Square are listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Among the busy shopping center is the Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrucke) built 1473-1543. The pedestrian bridge is aligned with statues of saints.
And lastly the landmark of Würzburg, the Marienberg Fortress which stands on the west bank of the Main River. It originally was a fort built in ancient times but became a fortress and home of the Prince-Bishop. It was severally damaged in the Second World War and since rebuild in 1990. Now it houses two museums. From where it stands, one can see the whole city of Würzburg.