PE, Lima: Lima district – Palm Sunday

How to Peru in 2 weeks, Day #2 – Lima district – Palm Sunday

Second morning in Lima found us asking the street vendors for some change near the Ricardo Palma station in Miraflores, where we had to take the Metropolitan bus to Lima district. Taking another public transportation was out of discussion, as we couldn’t manage to deal with the chaotic system of private (mini)buses. Since this was The Palm Sunday, grabbing a cab was also out of discussion because Arequipa Ave is closed as every other Sunday, which left us to the only rapid and easy solution to take the Metro, a rapid bus that runs from Barranco district up to Lima district in North. Purchasing a card for a ride would double the cost of it, but the need of more change was more of an issue, since we had to have the exact amount of money for the vending machine located at the entrance of the platform. Since no street vendor was willing to spare their change, we decided to ask a local to swipe their prepaid card and let us enter one by one. Offering an extra sol, and using the international sign language, we kindly asked a lady with her son to help us enter the gate while showing her the 6 soles for both of us. Glad we could resolve so easy the issue of getting in, we headed to the front of the bus to have a full view of the route. In about half an hour we arrived in Lima district, not before acknowledging the fact that we would never dare to drive a car in Lima, after watching the drivers’ attitude and recklessness on the streets.

Lima - riding Metro bus

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PE – How to “Peru” in two weeks D#1 Lima – Miraflores district

How to Peru in 2 weeks, Day#1: Lima – Miraflores district

Getting over the anxiety I managed to acquire a couple of days before our departure, due to some rumors about kidnappings and pick pocketing in Lima airport, I found myself in the same mentioned airport waiting in the line to obtain my tourist visa beside few other hundred tourists. The fact we landed a little bit more after midnight didn’t take away my excitement, and, while I was standing for a photo session by the airport officer, I remembered a similar situation when we were taken pictures entering to Cuba. Tourists from all over the world, backpackers, bikers, in groups or alone, there was such a variety of people in that enclosed space I haven’t really seen anywhere before. I suddenly felt at ease, one more crumb beside over 4 million tourists that visit Peru annually. Continue reading

CA, Ontario: A visual history, Pembroke Heritage murals

Eager for a getaway, I was very happy when my dear friend O. invited us over, in the city where she’s been living for a while: Pembroke. Five hours from Toronto didn’t seem too long when the landscape we passed by was amazing, especially after we got off the main Highway 401. Nestled on the shores of the highlands of Ottawa River, the little and cozy city of Pembroke was first settled in 1828, due to the developing logging industry, as the first settlers found a rich region of white and red pines.

Pembroke mural - POINTER BOATS
POINTER BOATS painted by Craig Campbell 1990 In 1858 John Cockburn, an immigrant from England, established a boat building business on Pembroke’s waterfront: it was family run for 100 years. The Pointer boat was designed with two high pointed ends, and ranged from 18 feet to 50 feet. A fifty foot Pointer weighed 1/2 ton and could float in one and a half inches of water: known as the ‘boat that could float on heavy dew’. It was stable, tough, easy to handle, had quick response yet graceful in appearance.

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AU, HU – Vienna vs Budapest – Two cities in five days, p1

Once sisters of the one of the greatest powers of the world, Austro-Hungarian Empire, both Austria and Hungary have now been separated for the last 100 years. Years that took each of them on different paths, even though sometimes they were intertwined. Part of European Union and part of UNESCO Heritage, Vienna and Budapest are 2 centerpieces of Europe that justify their fame, no need for an introduction.

Cityscape

Vienna, known as a capital of music welcomed us in a waltz pace, as all the airport hallways resounded with Mozart tunes. A hot August morning was beckoning to us after we picked up our luggage and Vienna Pass, which made us wonder how hot a day can be in the middle of Europe, which we found out later on, after visiting Budapest as well, but this is another story.

A city with so many architectural styles, Vienna’s roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements. Now it is known as one of the most developed cities in Europe, being selected one of the most livable cities in the world. From the abundance of baroque style buildings in city centre (which was designed in 2001 UNESCO World Heritage Site) to some of the most interesting, colourful, or bizarre buildings, Vienna hasn’t faltered to offer us unique views.

In order to protect the cityscape, high-rise projects are totally excluded in certain zones. In Vienna there are about 100 buildings higher than 40 m, reason the city maintains the old historical charm, the panoramic viewpoints, and existing lookouts.

 

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CU, Havana: Best of Old Havana in pictures

 

In my previous post I was telling you about various facets of Havana. Now, I will show you the Old Havana.

El Morro Castle
El Morro Castle – The guarding fortress standing out at the entrance of Havana bay. Built originally to guard the city from pirates, the castle is a witness of history in Havana

Stopping point for Spanish ships, La Habana Vieja has a history of about 500 years. With 2 fortresses to defend the city, one on each side of the Havana Bay, the city became a safe place since 16th century. Continue reading

IT: Pompeii vs Herculaneum – Which one is better?

If you have ever had a dilemma while visiting Italy and pondered what is better to visit, between these 2 sites, then you were not alone: Pompeii or Herculaneum? Herculaneum or Pompeii? And here is my answer, if there is any at all.

Pompeii, located in Campania region, is mainly known for the ruins of the ancient Roman town with the same name. A roman colony for about 160 years before the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius from 79 AD left many traces about the roman life, as well as other inscriptions by previous conquerors in the area. With its great position very close to the Gulf of Naples, Pompeii became a very important and large city, it is estimated Continue reading

IT, Florence: Firenze pass – Santa Maria Novella – Santa Croce- Accademia Gallery – Uffizi Gallery – Ponte Vecchio

“Italy is the garden of Europe

Tuscany is the garden of Italy

Florence is the flower of Tuscany”

Falling in love first time is about charm, attraction, fascination, obsession, purity, innocence. But falling in love a second time for the same city, same places, same sky – or maybe different – or just with different eyes but same heart (or same heart but different eyes?) is much more than I can describe in these few words, I probably will never be able to..

God was the first sculptor. He made the first figure: man.”

David Continue reading

IT, Rome: The Colloseum – Roman Forum – Piazza Navona – Terme di Caracalla – Via Appia Antica – St Sebastian Catacombs

As Virgiliu said “it’s the most beautiful thing”, Aristide named it “the capital of all nations”; Atheneu made a “summary of the world”, Ptolemeu the sofist called it “The city of all cities”, most of the people named it “The Eternal city”.

In a lifetime, the human being is continuously trying to find its own purpose on this Earth. Very few of us can truly say they found their own intent in this life. Our own hobbies, various jobs we go through, the books we read, the places we visit are the real proof we continue to search until the final moment.

This is how I felt when my own fate took my steps through Rome, feeling like I was born again. I could see how the modern life, present at every corner, is blending with the ancient ruins, making me thinking where we came from, and what we’re looking for. I realized that almost 3000 past years means almost nothing, I realized how ephemeral the Continue reading