Corinth Canal in Greece

September 20th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

© Nicholas Hartmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Nicholas Hartmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, arguably making the peninsula an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) in length and only 21.4 metres (70 ft) wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance. The canal was initially proposed in classical times and a failed effort was made to build it in the 1st century CE. Construction started in 1881 but was hampered by geological and financial problems that bankrupted the original builders. It was completed in 1893 but, due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslides from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic expected by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic. more…

Nusa Lembongan in Indonesia

September 18th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Mushroom Beach © - Jean-Marie Hullot/cc-by-sa-3.0

Mushroom Beach © – Jean-Marie Hullot/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nusa Lembongan is an island located southeast of Bali in Indonesia. It is part of a group of three islands that make up the Nusa Penida district, of which it is the most famous. This island group in turn is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Administratively, the island is part of a subdistrict of Klungkung Regency. Nusa Lembongan is one of three small offshore islands which make up a sub-regency of Klungkung, the others being: Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. Nusa Lembongan has the vast majority of the tourist infrastructure within the sub-regency and is a popular side destination for visitors to mainland Bali. more…

Montreal in Quebec

September 15th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage |

Old port of Montreal by night © - Mickael Pollard/cc-by-sa-2.0

Old port of Montreal by night © – Mickael Pollard/cc-by-sa-2.0

Montreal is the most populous municipality in the province of Quebec and the second-most populous in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary”, it is believed to be named after Mount Royal. The city has a distinct four-season continental climate, with warm-to-hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Montreal had a population of 1.7 million. Montreal’s metropolitan area had a population of 4.1 million and a population of 2 million in the urban agglomeration, with all of the municipalities on the Island of Montreal included. Legally a French-speaking city, 60.5% of Montrealers speak French at home, 21.2% speak English and 19.8% speak neither. Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada, with 56% of the population able to speak both official languages. Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world after Paris. more…

The Upper East Side in New York

September 13th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Fifth Avenue © - Alex Proimos/cc-by-2.0

Fifth Avenue © – Alex Proimos/cc-by-2.0

The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between Central Park/Fifth Avenue, 59th Street, the East River, and 96th Street. The area incorporates several smaller neighborhoods, including Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, and Yorkville. Once known as the Silk Stocking District, it is now one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City. In the 19th century the farmland and market garden district of what was to be the Upper East Side was still traversed by the Boston Post Road and, from 1837, the New York and Harlem Railroad, which brought straggling commercial development around its one station in the neighborhood, at 86th Street, which became the heart of German Yorkville. The area was defined by the attractions of the bluff overlooking the East River, which ran without interruption from James William Beekman‘s “Mount Pleasant”, north of the marshy squalor of Turtle Bay, to Gracie Mansion, north of which the land sloped steeply to the wetlands that separated this area from the suburban village of Harlem. Among the series of villas a Schermerhorn country house overlooked the river at the foot of present-day 73rd Street and another, Peter Schermerhorn’s at 66th Street, and the Riker homestead was similarly sited at the foot of 75th Street. By the mid-19th century the farmland had largely been subdivided, with the exception of the 150 acres (61 ha) of Jones’s Wood, stretching from 66th to 76th Streets and from the Old Post Road (Third Avenue) to the river and the farmland inherited by James Lenox, who divided it into blocks of houselots in the 1870s, built his Lenox Library on a Fifth Avenue lot at the farm’s south-west corner, and donated a full square block for the Presbyterian Hospital, between 70th and 71st Streets, and Madison and Park Avenues. At that time, along the Boston Post Road taverns stood at the mile-markers, Five-Mile House at 72nd Street and Six-Mile House at 97th, a New Yorker recalled in 1893. more…

Rab, town and island in Croatia

September 11th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Rab Town © Elekes Andor/cc-by-sa-4.0

Rab Town © Elekes Andor/cc-by-sa-4.0

Rab is an island and a town of the same name located just off the northern Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea. The island is 22 km (14 mi) long, has an area of 93.6 km2 (36 sq mi) and 9,328 inhabitants. The highest peak is Kamenjak at 408 m. The northeastern side of the island is mostly barren, while the southwestern side is covered by one of the last oak forests of the Mediterranean. Ferries connect the island of Rab with the mainland port of Stinica and with the neighbouring islands of Krk and Pag. European Coastal Airlines offers multiple daily connections by seaplane from Rab to Zagreb and to Rijeka via Rijeka Airport in Omišalj on the neighboring island of Krk. more…

Manaus, capital city of Amazonas

September 8th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Teatro Amazonas © Pontanegra/cc-by-sa-2.5

Teatro Amazonas © Pontanegra/cc-by-sa-2.5

Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas in the North Region of Brazil. It is situated near the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers. With a population of more than 2 million, it is the most populous city of both the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the Amazon rainforest. Due to the great economic power and tourism it is the fourth richest city in Brazil, after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. The city was founded in 1693–94 as the Fort of São José do Rio Negro. It was elevated to a town in 1832 with the name of “Manaus”, an altered spelling of the indigenous Manaós peoples, and legally transformed into a city on October 24, 1848, with the name of Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro, Portuguese for “The City of the Margins of the Black River”. On September 4, 1856 it returned to its original name. more…

The Jaffa Gate in East Jerusalem

September 6th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Jaffa Gate plaque © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Jaffa Gate plaque © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Jaffa Gate (Bab al-Khalil, Hebron Gate) is a stone portal in the historic walls of the Arabic East Jerusalem (Old City). It is one of eight gates in Jerusalem’s Old City walls (Damascus Gate, Dung Gate, Golden Gate, Herod’s Gate, Huldah Gates, Jaffa Gate, Lions’ Gate, New Gate, and Zion Gate). The Crusaders calling it “David’s Gate”. Jaffa Gate is the only one of the Old City gates positioned at a right angle to the wall. This could have been done as a defensive measure to slow down oncoming attackers, or to orient it in the direction of Jaffa Road, from which pilgrims arrived at the end of their journey from the port of Jaffa. Inside Jaffa Gate is a small square with entrances to the Christian Quarter (on the left), Muslim Quarter (straight ahead) and the Armenian Quarter (to the right, past the Tower of David). A tourist information office and shops line the square. The entrance to the Muslim Quarter is part of the suq (marketplace). Jaffa Gate was inaugurated in 1538 as part of the rebuilding of the Old City walls by Suleiman the Magnificent. more…

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