Bratislava through my lens

I visited Bratislava for the first time a few years ago, when I was living in Vienna, but for one reason or another I had seen very little and I am only left with lunch time.
A huge mistake!
Bratislava is a really nice city, with the castle that observes everything from above and many interesting ideas for anyone who is passionate about photography and a bit of history.

View of Bratislava

The photo above highlights the difference between the old part of Bratislava with the sloping roofs of the houses and, in the distance, the new part, made of gray and tall buildings of modern conception.
However, one of the photos that have remained in my heart the most, and certainly not for beauty to be clear, is this. The traffic light hangs above the busy road at rush hour. I don’t know. It has something fascinating about it.

traffic lights on a busy street

Since some beautiful photos I took seem to have disappeared forever, I will close (for now with this close-up of some houses that have particularly fascinated me. It is part of the many photos I took from Slavin.

group of houses on the hill

Below, on the other hand, I had some fun with Photoshop on with another photo I had taken from Slavin. The cross, the skyscrapers and the sky that was originally clouded by smog has turned red and covered with a few white clouds.

Holy Week in Cádiz: hidden beauty

In the ten days between the Friday of Sorrows and the Sunday of the Resurrection, a total of 29 brotherhoods and a Section of Penance walk the streets of Cádiz. In total there are 52 steps and more than 10,000 people in procession. Both the images and the passages they pass through are authentic heritage jewels, some of which are more than 5 centuries old. As an Andalusian, Holy Week in Cádiz has a number of characteristics common to those of the rest of the region: color, music, the very passion of Andalusia is clearly reflected in Holy Week itself. But there are also several factors that make Holy Week special and different here.

We must start with the geographical position of Cádiz, a peninsula surrounded by the sea on all four sides with the exception of the isthmus that connects it to San Fernando (another island by the way) and the two bridges that connect it to Puerto Real . It is difficult to walk more than 10 minutes through the streets of downtown Cádiz without bumping into the sea, whether in the form of a beach or a balcony. The Holy Week tours are no exception and there are many brotherhoods and herndadas who have their penance station near the Cathedral by the sea. On many occasions they also coincide with the sunset, which allows you to enjoy unique images that cannot be seen in other cities. The light of Cádiz is different and Benito Rodríguez Gatiu, biographer of the great Ortega Bru, says that the image maker of San Roque spent several days in Cádiz observing how the light fell on objects to create the majestic Christ of forgiveness.

Semana Santa Cadiz
Sanidad-Ramon Sanchez

The city of Cádiz leaves all who visit it enchanted: its shape, its small size, its layout, its mixture of architectural styles resulting from its long existence of over 3,000 years make the city a treasure to be discovered at every step , at every corner, every square, every street has its history and Holy Week accompanies the visitor in all those places.
The vast majority of the temples are located in the historic center, the part of Cádiz of greatest tourist interest, a secluded area easily accessible on foot, practically flat and in which hotels and unique accommodations abound. For this reason, Holy Week is the ideal time to discover the three millennia old city which, when spring arrives, puts away the mask and pito (traditionally used for Carnival) and takes out the hood and the incense (which are used for Holy Week).

La imaginería

In addition to the city itself, Holy Week in Cádiz is characterized by impressive and sometimes unknown images. We must start from the assumption that during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries the city was the main port of Spain with America, which made Cádiz a rich and prosperous city where merchants and artists from all over Europe came to embark for the Americas. . Many have left their mark here with priceless images. Unfortunately, the city has also suffered attacks such as that of the Anglo-Dutch fleet in 1596, the tsunami of Lisbon in 1755, the attacks of the radicals during the Second Republic and the subsequent Civil War who got fat with images, heritage of brotherhoods and temples. of the city. The oldest claim that the Nazarene of Cádiz himself was thrown on a pyre lit by the radicals in the preludes to the Civil War and that some brave inhabitants of the Santa María neighborhood pulled him out of the flames by dragging him by the hair.
His head and his hands were then hidden in a bucket at the bottom of a well on Calle Botica for months until it could be recovered and restored. Every Good Friday morning, el Greñuo, as the Lord is known to him in Cádiz, passes in front of that house on Calle Botica as a sign of gratitude. A great heritage was lost, perhaps the most precious and oldest, but fortunately another part was saved that continues today. The oldest image of Cádiz is the Lord of Sentence, in procession on Holy Wednesday and dated to the end of the 15th century. For antiquity and quality, two works by Jacinto Pimentel should be mentioned: the Christs of the brotherhoods of Humility and Patience and Columna, both of the seventeenth century. You just need to see them to realize their age, value and quality. But if there is a Christ in Cádiz that arouses the interest of all, regardless of their faith, it is that of the Good Death that is venerated in the church of San Agustín and that on Good Friday parades in the dark, with the only light of the its four aces.
Much has been written about this carving: we talk about its perfection, its forms, its posture. Some even indicate the possibility of studying anatomy given the technical perfection achieved by its author. But no one knows for sure who he was. He is one of the mysteries of Holy Week in Cádiz, or perhaps even of the history of the city. The theories are hundreds, even if one of the most commented and famous, even if not confirmed, is that it was the work of the well-known Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Álvarez del Pino justifies this hypothesis with the very high amount that appears on the receipt of the engraving: “In that document it is established that the Crucifix cost 300 gold ducats”, which provides another important key for Álvarez del Pino: ” Martínez Montañés, who we can consider as the Andalusian reference of the time, charged 2,000 reales de vellón for a sculpture; the difference of up to 300 gold ducats is astonishing. ”It is not unreasonable given the constant presence of Genoese, Venetians and Italians generally in the history of Cádiz, attracted by the potential of the city as a seaport with America Another illustrious and famous name linked to Holy Week in Cádiz is that of Joseph Haydn. The famous composer was commissioned to compose his “Siete Palabras” from Cádiz. It is controversial whether it came from the cathedral itself or from the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva in via Rosario. At that time Haydn was already one of the most famous composers in Europe, which shows the economic power and influence of the city in those years. Even today, every Good Friday, this work is performed in the Oratorio de las Siete Palabras, an unsurpassed composition and environment to be enjoyed together. Cádiz is Baroque, its period of splendor indicates it and this style is present in many buildings in the city, including, of course, its temples. Within the baroque in Cádiz, the Rocalla is opulent, a style that is not exclusive to the city but which plays a special role here, especially in the temples of El Carmen, San Francisco, the church of the Pastora de Sagasta and Santa María.

settimana Santa Cadice
el caminito, David Ibanez

The sound of Cádiz at Easter

In Andalusia, Holy Week cannot be understood without music. In Andalusia, music is part of our essence and flamenco, one of the hallmarks of Andalusia, is also very present during Holy Week. Historians place the origin of flamenco in the triangle formed between Seville, Jerez and Cádiz and flamenco in Holy Week has a name: the saeta. They are short and improvised compositions that are sung from the street itself or from the balconies. A saeta is a deep and sincere prayer that is born from within the soul and which expresses devotion and love for a Christ or a Virgin in the form of a song. When a saetera or a saetero sings, everyone is silent. Santa María is the flamenco district of Cádiz par excellence and you can enjoy the return of the Nazarene in its church at dawn on Good Friday, when the sun begins to rise, listening to saetas dedicated to the Regidor Perpetuo and his mother, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores , it is a unique experience.
Carnival, undoubtedly the great festival of the city, also surrenders to the charm of Holy Week in Cádiz and there are not a few who sing carnival songs in February and saetas in April. But music is not just saetas. The Cofrade music bands are themselves a vast world that moves many emotions and draws crowds, and Cádiz is fortunate to have one of the best Trumpet and Drum bands in Spain, Rosario de Cádiz, which bears the name of the city and its Holy Week throughout the national territory. Without detracting from other bands in the city such as Polillas, Salud or Ecce Mater.
In recent weeks a concert of processional processions was held at the Gran Teatro Falla and in less than an hour and a half the capacity was sold out. This can help you get an idea of ​​the attraction this music has.

Semana Santa Cadiz
Buenanuerte-jm reyna

The perfect excuse to “eat” Cádiz

The year 2019 began with an article in the New York Times newspaper that placed the city of Cádiz among one of the must-see destinations of that year. Among the arguments, together with the architecture and beauty of the city, he pointed to a hitherto little known reason beyond the Andalusian borders: its gastronomy. In Cádiz you can eat very well (here our article dedicated to the gastronomy of the Province of Cádiz) and a visit to the city during Holy Week is the perfect excuse to take a look. A good place to start is the food market (it does not open on public holidays such as Holy Thursday and Good Friday). There you can find freshly caught fish, as well as shellfish and other seafood. Right next door you can start the day with some good churros, like the ones from La Guapa or La Marina cafeteria. Afterwards it is difficult to choose a place to eat tapas, there are many and very varied. Of course, the tapa is always accompanied by a good sherry wine or a manzanilla from Sanlúcar.
Holy Week also has its classics, such as the empanadas of Casa Hidalgo in Plaza de la Catedral, an ice cream from the Italian ice cream parlor that opens every year just before Easter. Torrijas are a typical dessert of these dates that are also found in pastry shops and pastry shops in Cádiz, as well as donuts for Holy Week. In the coming weeks, the Holy Week of Cádiz will receive the Declaration of Festival of National Tourist Interest, which will undoubtedly serve to publicize this festival and this cultural expression so deeply rooted in this land, but which is in the shadow of other festivals of the city and other Holy Weeks in the area.

Source: cadiz turismo

The Wienerwald: the Viennese forest, a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Contrary to what you might think, Vienna has a green lung made up of woods, vineyards and meadows to the west of the city. It extends from the outlying districts of the city to the countryside of Lower Austria. We are talking about the Vienna Woods, one of the 727 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the world, but the only one, at least among the European ones, located on the edge of a metropolis. It covers an area of approximately 105,000 hectares and extends over seven of the 23 Viennese municipal districts, and over 51 municipalities in the Lower Austria region.

It is a territory where man and nature coexist and benefit from each other. The intertwining of forests and settlement areas, as well as the contrasts between rural areas and the metropolis, produce special natural conditions and at the same time represent a great challenge. The goal is to protect natural habitats and plant and animal species by creating the conditions for responsible development.
More than 60% of the area is covered by forests, the effect of which on the climate, air and water balance is fundamental for the entire metropolitan area. The Viennese Wood in all seasons is a recreational area much loved by residents, a destination for trips and excursions in all seasons: in spring, when primroses appear and the forest smells of wild garlic; in summer, when it becomes an oasis of coolness, where you can find refuge from the heat of the city; in autumn, when the foliage transforms the green of the leaves into yellow and red. But even in winter, with bare trees, its landscapes have an irresistible charm.

Image by Katharina Jankele from Pixabay

In addition to forests, meadows and vineyards characterize the landscape. There are 33 forest associations and 23 open grasslands, in which very specific animals and plants live. In dry meadows, for example, pulsatilla and yellow hadonide can be found. Siberian iris and marsh gentian grow in wet meadows.
With a variety of 70 plant species and 560 animal species per hectare, lean lawns not only display unexpected richness, but are also particularly beautiful thanks to showy blooms.
Then there are small peat bog meadows, now rarefied, habitat of orchids, amphibians, dragonflies, cicadas and many other insects. In the eyes of hikers and nature lovers, the colorful meadows of the Viennese Wood are the original image of “unspoiled nature”, but all these meadows and pastures exist only thanks to centuries of cultivation by man.
With the disappearance of agricultural use, the meadow would return to the state of forest, through various evolutionary stages.
Finally there are the vineyards: the wine-growing landscapes have motivated the designation of the Wienerwald as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
On the sunny slopes of the Viennese Wood, viticulture draws the landscape, together with fruit trees, hedges, and stone walls, the latter also surprising natural habitats.

Fraser Island: Australia’s dream island

Fraser island is the largest sand island in the world.
Spanning 184,000 hectares, 123 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide at its widest point, Fraser Island is a typical dream island with rainforest, endless beaches and transparent sea where we would all like to be shipwrecked and live forever.

History and legends of the island

The traditional name of the Butchulla people for Fraser island was K’gari wich means paradise.

According to a legend, Fraser Island was named K’gari in honor of the beautiful spirit who helped Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral, to create the earth. As a reward to K’gari for his help, Beeral transformed her into an idyllic island with trees, flowers and lakes. He has put birds, animals and people on the island to keep her company.

It seems that the island had been occupied for at least 5,000 years or more, but only in 1770 did Captain Cook sight the Butchulla people on the east coast, while Matthew Flinders had contact with the people of the island between 1799 and 1802.
In 1991 the island was named a World Heritage Site and today is managed by the Department of the Environment and Heritage through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The shipwrecks of the island

Shipwrecks in Freser Island
Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

It seem that about twenty ships wrecked on Freser island, wich today have become an attraction for tourists.
The most famous is undoubtedly the Maheno, which has been stranded on Fraser’s beaches since 1935.
Built in 1905, the SS Maheno operated a regular route between Sydney and Auckland until it was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during the First World War.
On 3 July 1935, at the end of the service, the Maheno left Sydney pulled by a ferry but, after 4 days it ran into a cyclone and, about fifty miles from the coast, disappeared into the sea with 8 men on board.
On July 10, a plane spotted the Maheno stranded on the shores of Fraser Island, with its crew waiting on the beach for the arrival of the Oonah ferry, which revealed itself a couple of days later.
Today the Maheno remains stranded in a state of corrosion on the beaches of the island and, emptied of everything,  it’s one of the great attractions of the island.

The dunes and the sand

Seventy Five Mile Beach, Frase Island
Seventy Five Mile beach, Image by Adobe Stock

Fraser island and its dunes are costantly canging. Each year the dunes move based on wind, humidity and the behavior of plants living on the Australian island.
Fraser Island’s colorful sands lie north of Eli Creek and comprise 72 different colors, mostly reds and yellows.

Seventy-Five Mile Beach (pictured above) is an amazing beach highway where all road rules apply, The speed limit is 80 kilometers per hour and it is necessary to give way to planes that land and take off!

The rainforest

Fraser Island
Image by Matt McLeod from Pixabay

Among the unique characteristics of Fraser there is also that of having a rainforest that grows on a soil that is not very fertile such as sand.
Plants derive their nutrients solely from rain and sand. The sand is covered with mineral compounds such as iron and aluminum oxides.
Near the shore, the air contains the nutrients from the splashes of sea water that are deposited on the sand.
In a mutual relationship, the fungi in the sand make these nutrients available to the plants.
These in turn provide various organic compounds to the mushrooms which, having no chlorophyll, they could not synthesize on their own.


Fraser island is an environment rich in wild animals wich, in their own way, constitute fundamental but fragile elements in the context of the island.
Every slightest change or contamination can damage this wonderful environment and its inhabitants who contribute in an important way to preserve the natural balance of the Australian island.

In Fraser, more than 350 species of birds have been sighted, which come to nest here and find an optimal context in which to feed and find shelter. There are almost 80 species of reptiles, of which about twenty are represented by snakes. From July to November, you may also spot dolphins, dugongs, turtles and humpback whales. If you were not yet satisfied with all this life, know that in Queensland and Fraser lives the second most important population of Brumbies, a breed of wild horses typical of Australia.

Fraser’s vegetation

Fraser Island
Photo by GAWN AUSTRALIA on Unsplash

The list of plant species fount in Fraser is truly impressive.
Suffice it to say that on the island there are at least a thousand species divided into 150 different families. Acacia, banksia, barony, callitris, dianella and eucalyptus are just some of the many species present that will welcome you to this beautiful island.

How to get

Fraser Island ferry
Fraser Island Ferry, Adobe Stock Photo

By car, it takes at least 3 to 4 hours from Brisbane to get there. You have to reach Maryboroug and then Hervey bay. Fraser ferry schedules are on these links.

Regular bus services are available from Brisbane to Maryborough and Hervey Bay. From the north, services are guaranteed with Greyhound-Pioneer-McCafferty’s, Premier and Suncoast Pacific Coaches. If you prefer the train, you can consult the timetables on the website of the Queenslandrailtravel.

Qantas Link fly from Brisbane to Hervey Bay (Hervey Bay Airport)

What to do and where to stay

Fraser island
Photo by Nick Dunn on Unsplash

If all this beauty ever bores you (I have strong doubts about it), on the island there are many organized activities such as while watching or 4WD tours for example, plus other activities that the two resorts on the island will do their best to make even more your days in this paradise are wonderful. It goes without saying that this is a perfect place for a wedding or honeymoon.

The Hon Khoi salt flats in Vietnam

There are distant places that deserve a visit, not only for the beauty of the landscapes, but also for the warmth of the people and the sensations that the environment you are visiting can convey.
The Hon Khoi salt flats in central Vietnam are one of the must-see attractions near Nha Trang, the Vietnamese coastal city known for its long white beaches, crystal clear sea, luxury resorts and fascinating historical sites in the area.

The Hon Khoi salt flats are part of those rural areas that have remained intact over time, where the locals still work laboriously with the simple techniques of the past.
The Hon Khoi salt flats still produce more than 700,000 tons of salt a year today.
The sea water is pumped into the salt flats where the sun plays an important role.
The higher the lighting and the heat, the faster the water evaporation process and, consequently, the salt extraction process.
It is hard work, but for the inhabitants of the neighboring villages it is a source of income and pride.

Hoi Khoi salt fieds
Image by Quang Nguyen vinh from Pixabay

When to go

The Hoi Khoi salt flats are an attraction for tourists and travelers from all over the world.
Taking a picture here during the hours when the sun rises or sets can be a unique opportunity to take home or share the photo of the century!
It goes without saying that it is a truly instagrammable place.
The salt workers are kind and exquisite people.
Early mornings and evenings are the best times to avoid the heat and find the best colors for taking pictures.
The working hours are from 4.00 in the morning to 8.00 and in the afternoon from 15.30 to 18.00.
Avoid the hours around noon as it could be too hot.
In any case, bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

What to do and see in Nha Trang (in brief)

Image by Vietnampeopleandlandscape from Pixabay

If you have to come visit the Hon Khoi salt flats, it is probably because you have come to Nha Trang, the costal city with withe sand beaches and crystal sea water.
The first impact is to arrive in an ordinary city with many houses and skyscrapers, but white sand beaches among which Tran Phu, the main beach where the life of tourists in the city takes place, Long Beach, just outside the city, where you can enjoy shallow turquoise waters and local restaurants, or Doc Let, 60 km north, will captivate and conquer you.

Po Nagar Cham Towers

If you prefer culture and historical sites to beaches, Nha Trang certainly does not lack opportunities for the more “cultured” on the subject. The Po Nagar Cham Towers were built in the 8th century by the Cham people and are worth seeing.

As soon as you can visit the Nha Trang Cathedral, then go to the Long Song Pagoda, an impressive statue of the Buddha watching over the city from a hill, you will also find a Buddhist center with charming gardens and a relaxing atmosphere. It’s a little out of town, but it’s definitely worth it.

Long Son Pagoda Nha Trang
Image by Masha Koko from Pixabay

The National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam offers interesting exhibits on local marine life, including 20,000 live and preserved marine specimens. It has been open since 1922 and is involved in various research projects, such as captive breeding programs, conservation and regeneration of local coral reefs.

All images from the opening of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour Ireland

Excited visitors to the new Game of Thrones Studio Tour, the new tourist attraction located in Northern Ireland, were greeted by fan favorites Isaac Hempstead Wright (“Bran Stark”), Kristian Nairn (“Hodor”) and Nathalie Emmanuel (“Missandei “).

Located in one of the original filming locations of the acclaimed series at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour brings fans closer than ever to the Seven Kingdoms universe.

And from today, guests can enter the iconic Great Hall of Winterfell where Jon Snow was proclaimed “King of the North”, see Daenerys Targaryen’s towering Dragonstone throne, see the incredible props up close, weapons and visual effects of the series and discover some secrets of the craftsmanship and craftsmanship that helped to “transport” the show from the pages of the script to the screen. The immersive experience brings Westeros to life and evokes the epic map of the show: King’s Landing, Winterfell, Dragonstone, The Barrier and the lands beyond The Barrier.

Costume Gallery
Costume Gallery

Julian Moon, Head of EMEA Warner Bros. Consumer Products, commented, “What an incredible honor to open the doors of the first Game of Thrones Studio Tour today. This is the first time Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment has launched a world-class attraction. in Northern Ireland where fans can explore, up close and in person, a wide range of authentic sets, as well as a full collection of costumes, props, set pieces and more.
We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Linen Mill Studios who helped bring this project to life with the utmost attention to detail, proportions and depth of production, elements that make this experience so special and noteworthy.
We are proud to be part of the legacy of beloved Game of Thrones franchise and we can’t wait for fans around the world to enter and immerse themselves in all corners of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. “

Andrew Webb and David Browne, executive directors of Linen Mill Studios, commented, “February 4th truly represents a new and exciting chapter in Game of Thrones history. Here at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, after many years of planning, design and construction, we are thrilled to finally open our doors to guests and allow them to approach the Seven Kingdoms like never before, through the world’s first and only Game of Thrones Studio Tour.
Housed in one of the original shooting studios, this incredible and unique experience brings the making of Game of Thrones to life through a wide range of authentic sets, props and costumes, along with engaging interactive moments and exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
On behalf of all those who helped create Game of Thrones Studio Tour and the dedicated team of Linen Mill Studios, creator of this experience, I say that we are proud to be part of a legacy as alive as that of Game of Thrones, legacy. that will delight current and future fans of the show, as well as those interested in the craftsmanship that literally brings an iconic production to life. “

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland: “It is wonderful to be present at the opening of Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios.
We are constantly working to revive tourism from abroad: the opening of this world-class tourist attraction is extraordinary news for flows to Northern Ireland and helps give us a significant ‘stand-out’ in a very competitive international market.
It will provide fans of the series and those interested in film and TV making one more reason to book a trip to Ireland Northern Ireland Tourism is delighted to have brought 45 international journalists and influencers from 12 countries to discover the Game of Thrones Studio Tour this week to experience this exceptional new attraction firsthand. We will do everything we can to promote Game of Thrones Studio Tour and Northern Ireland. “

HBO’s Game of Thrones aired in more than 200 countries and territories, culminating in record ratings. Game of Thrones continues to engage passionate fans and ignite public enthusiasm with the next step in the franchise, House of the Dragon, first scheduled for 2022 on HBO and HBO Max.

About Linen Mill Studios

Located in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland, Linen Mill Studios are part of John Hogg & Co, a Northern Irish family business that has been operating successfully since the 1800s. Established in 1800, the Linen Mill headquarters in Banbridge was used exclusively for linen production. Following a significant decline in the local linen industry in 2008, interaction with HBO came to life.
In subsequent years, one-third of 75% of the Game of Thrones series shot in Northern Ireland was filmed at Linen Mill Studios, including filming the final eighth season in 2018. With its doors opening in February 2022, the Linen Mill Studios Game of Thrones Studio Tour is the latest chapter in the history of the Linen Mill and represents an excellent example of the reconversion of a piece of industrial architecture.

Information on COVID-19

The safety of guests and staff is the number one priority of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour. For more information, see

GAME OF THRONES and all related characters and elements © & ™ Home Box Office, Inc. (s22)

Da Lat: the city of flowers

Da Lat is somewhat hidden in the highlands of Vietnam in the south of the country. With its colorful hills, meadows full of flowers, trees full of blooms, it attracts all kinds of tourists, from families through couples to lovers of wellness and nature or, why not, of photography.

From lat it was once a holiday center for the French who have left indelible marks on the architecture of this city.
The nerve center of the Vietnamese city is the lake, but don’t forget to visit the hills, full of colors and natural wonders.

Pongour waterfall, Shutterstock photo

As mentioned above, the focal point of Da Lat is undoubtedly the Xuân Hương lake where you can find the market with stalls full of fresh flowers, hotels and local meats and, also in the area, the charming train station of the city. The natural beauty that you absolutely cannot miss are the waterfalls in the area: Pongour and the Elephant for example are about fifty kilometers from Da Lat and offer incredible scenery, as well as the possibility of practicing sports such as canoeing, hiking and mountain biking.

The city of eternal spring

Lake of Da Lat
Image by Phúc Mã from Pixabay

The temperate climate of Da Lat is the strong point of this area. Do not forget, however, to bring some heavier clothes in the winter months and that between April and November it could rain. The month of May is perhaps the best to visit Da Lat and its natural wonders.

The magic of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year

The vietnamese lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in Vietnam and lasts 4 days.
At midnight, each family whispers prayers.
The bells ring and the drums beat in the temples.
The first morning is reserved for the husband’s family. The second day is to visit the wife’s family and close friends of hers.
The third day is dedicated to the community outside the family with visits to teachers, bosses or an available doctor.
The fourth day sees the opening of banks and shops and business is going on more cheerfully than usual.

Even if every year the Vietnamese Lunar New Year arrives between January and February, already two or three months before we start talking about this very important event.
When around the world we start thinking about Christmas and Christmas decorations, in Vietnam the excitement for this great event begins to grow.

How to prepare for the trip on New Year’s days

If you plan a trip in the days of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebrations, keep in mind that public transport to and from the most important cities could be full or, at least, suffer significant increases due to the overcrowding of the holidays.
Connections like the one between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for example, may have long since sold out, whether by plane or train. Trips to reunite with family members, as in every part of the world, are booked months in advance.
In any case, airlines increase flights on public holidays on the most popular domestic routes to try and get as many people to travel as possible. Plan accordingly…

Vietnamese Lunar New Year
Image by Roland Tanglao from Flickr

Vietnamese Lunar New Year
Image by Dennis Jarvis from Flickr

As for the accommodations, the speech is a bit more difficult to interpret. In theory, we are in the warm season and, for this reason, you will find hotel and accommodation prices higher than in other periods. On the other hand, the Vietnamese are at home with their families these days and should stay less in hotels. Since this is a very important popular festival, it is still better to secure accommodation in time. Apparent calm does not necessarily coincide with empty hotels, on the contrary …

Most of the shops, restaurants and businesses are closed on holidays, so plan all sides of this aspect of the trip in good time.

Visit Hanoi during the Lunar New Year

Sunset at Hanoi
Image by Ha Ha from Pixabay

On holidays, Hanoi stops being a busy and noisy capital, taking on a more relaxed and quiet aspect. It is the best time for those who love to visit the cities calmly to enjoy Hanoi and its most fascinating corners.
You can look for some Vietnamese local open around or admire the locals walking around the city in traditional Vietnamese clothes.
Don’t forget to spend some time at the Temple of Literature and the Street of Scholars, as well as the famous temples of the city.

Abu Dhabi will celebrate culinary excellence with the launch of the 50 Best Week Abu Dhabi

To celebrate the inauguration of the 50 Best Restaurants Awards of the Middle East and North Africa on February 7, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced the launch of the 50 Best Week Abu Dhabi, a culinary festival with experiential dining experiences, cooking masterclasses and unique collaborative dinners.

From February 4-11, 2022, the eight-day culinary festival will feature the city’s vibrant food experiences and some of its best restaurants. Ideal for food lovers looking to explore Abu Dhabi’s diverse culinary scene, the event will be filled with mouth-watering moments, with renowned international chefs coming to the UAE capital to showcase their skills and local Emirati talents who will show their skills.

Culinary leaders will provide insights into their food philosophy by inspiring food lovers of their dishes, ingredients, stories and experiences. The acclaimed restaurant awards and gala dinner will recognize 50 outstanding restaurants from across the region that showcase their culinary excellence and dining experiences.

Fatima Saeed Al Baloushi, Acting Director of DCT’s Abu Dhabi Events Bureau, said, “We are thrilled to celebrate culinary excellence throughout Abu Dhabi, reaching out to residents and visitors alike, seasoned food lovers and diners alike. more casual by offering them a taste of our varied food and to try the excellent dishes of some of the world’s leading chefs who will head to our multicultural capital next month.”

Dish prepared at the Abu Dhabi Food Festival
Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Dish prepared at the Abu Dhabi Food Festival
Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Events include three interactive Masterclasses taking place on Friday 4th February, in which acclaimed chefs from around the world will showcase their skills as they prepare signature dishes in front of a live audience.

The Chefs – Tim Raue of the Tim Raue Restaurant in Berlin; the innovative confectioner Will Goldfarb and Pía León from Central; and Kjolle, the current holder of the title of best female chef in the world, will accompany visitors on a culinary adventure. Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to interact with international chefs.

In the Collaborative Dining Series, visiting chefs will join Abu Dhabi’s most esteemed local talent to create a variety of extraordinary dishes. Raue is bringing his taste to Cantonese restaurant Dai Pai Dong, blending his signature Asian-inspired creations with regional dishes to create a truly memorable menu, while Natsuko Shoji of Eté in Tokyo, winner of the title of best Asian pastry chef, will show his fusion of French and Japanese dishes at the Tori No Su restaurant.

Additionally, Julien Royer of Odette in Singapore, a two-time Best Restaurant in Asia winner, joins forces with LPM to offer a unique collaborative menu that will combine some of the biggest hits from both restaurants for one night only. Budding barbecue masters can light the fire as Dave Pynt, of Burnt Ends in Singapore, showcases his talent in a one-of-a-kind experiential culinary event “Playing with Fire” at Emirates Palace.

Meanwhile, León will host an exclusive “Peruvian Paradise” lunch at Zaya Nurai Island. Showcasing some of the city’s best regional culinary talent continues with Chef’s Table promotions, taking place across the city from February 4th to 11th. On these incredible dining experiences, guests will be treated to bespoke menus created by some of Abu Dhabi’s best chefs.

On February 5th, a live stage event, # 50BestTalks, will also be open to all food lovers, with leading chefs like Goldfarb and Kamal Mouzawak presenting and discussing current topics and trends, as well as personal stories about their travels. culinary. For the grand finale, the first list of MENA’s 50 best restaurants will be unveiled on February 7 at a glamorous awards ceremony.

Over the course of the evening, the emirate’s outstanding restaurants and culinary talent will be honored alongside colleagues from across the MENA region, with a number of special prizes.

The 7 wonders of the ancient world: how they were and how they are today.

Once the Mediterranean basin was the scene of a history that changed the civilization of humanity forever. In a geographical area that was already beautiful for its views, what were for centuries the seven wonders of the ancient world were built. But what happened to these incredible historical sites and what are they like today?

Hanging gardens of Babylon

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon- Image by Carla216 from Flickr


Hanging Gardens of Babylon today
Hanging Gardens of Babylon today- Image by David Stanley from Flickr

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are probably the wonder of the ancient world which, to this day, is still shrouded in total mystery.
The theories about its original position are varied and even doubts about its real existence have arisen in the past about it.
It even seems that it was just a private building with a few terraces.
The fact that the Euphrates already passed at the point where they were placed in the imagination of the first historical reconstructions, even suggests that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were not located in Babylon but in Nineveh.

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes


Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

The history of the Colossus of Rhodes also has many variations and fascinating points. Its real position is not entirely certain, given that, according to some historians, the position of the statue could have been on one side rather than as the gateway to the port.
Its construction took place in 304 BC after Rhodes repulsed an invasion attempt by Demetrius I Poliorcete.
The statue, 32 meters high, was erected in honor of Elio, the patron god of the Rhodians. In 653 Rhodes was conquered by the Arabs and the statue was taken away in pieces.
It is said that it was resold in Syria and never found again. Over the years there have been various attempts at reconstruction, tenders and more, but, to date, the entrance to the port remains as you can see in the photo.

The great pyramid of Giza

The great piramid of Giza
Image by Ramon Perucho from Pixabay

Also known as the Pyramid of Cheops, the pyramid of Giza is the largest of the three pyramids of the homonymous necropolis.
This is undoubtedly the best-preserved wonder of the ancient world and the only one that is not in a state of ruin or lost forever.
The pyramid is made up of almost two and a half million blocks, measured almost 147 meters in height which over the centuries have been reduced to the current 139 meters and seems to have been built over a period of time between 15 and 30 years.

The ancient lighthouse of Alexandria

Ancient Alexandria Lighthouse
Image by Arthur Balitskii from Shutterstock

The ancient lighthouse of Alexandria is the wonder that has endured the longest over the centuries if we exclude the pyramid of Giza.
It was built in 305 BC by the new ruler Ptolemy I, part of an urban restructuring plan of the time and to make the navigation of the seas in the area safer.
The first earthquake in Crete, in 1303 and a subsequent one twenty years later, damaged it irreparably.
In 1968, UNESCO, during some underwater expeditions, found some remains of the lighthouse but subsequently abandoned further research.

The temple of Artemis in Ephesus

Artemis Temple
Image by Arthur Balitskii from Shutterstock


Artemis Temple ruin today
Image by Dennis Jarvis from Flickr

You can see it from the pictures above. Very little remains of the majestic temple of Artemis, if not its history. Located in Turkey, in Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis boasts a very long history. It seems that the area was already frequented by the Bronze Age, but the first two temples were built and rebuilt only between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Between 580 and 560 BC a large temple was built in line with those present and subsequently the construction of a Greek temple in marble. The temple was burned in the July of 356 BC, rebuilt and destroyed by the invasion of the Goths in 263 AD. Its marbles were reused and in 401 AD it definitively fell into disrepair

Zeus statue in Olympia

Zeus statue in Olympia
Image by Ingrid und Stefan Melichar from Pixabay

The statue of Zeus in Olympia measured about twelve meters in height and was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias in 432 BC.
The statue was to complete the temple of Zeus whose construction was completed around 456 BC.
The statue remained in the temple for 800 years then Caligula was the first to do everything possible to bring it to Rome.
Only in the fifth century, however, Lauso, a high Byzantine official managed to include the statue of Zeus in his collection of a palace in Constantinople which was later destroyed in a fire in 475.
…and with it also one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world …

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Image by Multipedia from Shutterstock


Mausoleum of Halicarnassus today
Image by Shadowgate from Flickr

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a tomb that Artemisia had built for her husband and brother Mausolus. It is located in Bodrum, once Halicarnassus and, destroyed by an earthquake, it preserves only a few ruins of what was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was built by Pitide and artists such as Briasside, Leochares, Timoteo and Skopas worked on it.