Theme Week Taiwan – Taichung

January 23rd, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Night Market © AngMoKio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Night Market © AngMoKio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Taichung, officially known as Taichung City, is a special municipality located in central Taiwan. Taichung has a population of approximately 2.8 million people and is Taiwan’s second most populous city since July 2017. It serves as the core of the Taichung–Changhua metropolitan area, which is the second largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. The current city was formed when Taichung County merged with the original provincial Taichung City to form the special municipality on 25 December 2010. Located in the Taichung Basin, the name of the city was created under Japanese rule, and became a major economic and cultural hub. Originally composed of several scattered hamlets, the city of Taichung was planned and developed by the Japanese. It was called “the Kyoto of Formosa” in Japanese era because of its calm and beauty. The city is home to many cultural sites, including the historic Taichung Park, the Lin Family Gardens, and many temples.   read more…

Theme Week Taiwan – Keelung

January 22nd, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Taiwankengo/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Taiwankengo/cc-by-sa-4.0

Keelung, officially known as Keelung City, is a major port city situated in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It borders New Taipei with which it forms the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area, along with Taipei itself. Nicknamed the Rainy Port for its frequent rain and maritime role, the city is Taiwan’s second largest seaport (after Kaohsiung).   read more…

Theme Week Taiwan

January 21st, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Presidential Office Building in Taipei © Jiang

Presidential Office Building in Taipei © Jiang

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. Its neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. It is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations.   read more…

Bangkok, capital of Thailand

January 21st, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Yaowarat Road, Bangkok's Chinatown at night © flickr.com - Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Yaowarat Road, Bangkok’s Chinatown at night © flickr.com – Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in central Thailand, and has a population of over eight million, or 12.6 percent of the country’s population. Over fourteen million people (22.2 percent) lived within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, making Bangkok the nation’s primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailand’s other urban centres in terms of importance.   read more…

Arts and Crafts Movement

January 18th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Design & Products, General, London

Philip Webb's Red House in Upton, Bexleyheath, Greater London © Ethan Doyle White/cc-by-sa-3.0

Philip Webb’s Red House in Upton, Bexleyheath, Greater London © Ethan Doyle White/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Arts and Crafts movement was an international movement in the decorative and fine arts that began in Britain and flourished in Europe and North America between about 1880 and 1920, emerging in Japan (the Mingei movement) in the 1920s. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, and often used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and was essentially anti-industrial. It had a strong influence on the arts in Europe until it was displaced by Modernism in the 1930s, and its influence continued among craft makers, designers, and town planners long afterwards. The term was first used by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson at a meeting of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1887, although the principles and style on which it was based had been developing in England for at least twenty years. It was inspired by the ideas of architect Augustus Pugin, writer John Ruskin, and designer William Morris. The movement developed earliest and most fully in the British Isles, and spread across the British Empire and to the rest of Europe and North America. It was largely a reaction against the perceived impoverished state of the decorative arts at the time and the conditions in which they were produced.   read more…

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

January 16th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat © flickr.com - sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat © flickr.com – sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire, which also recognized as Yasodharapura and flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. Angkor was a megacity supporting at least 0.1% of the global population during 1010–1220. The city houses the magnificent Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia‘s popular tourist attractions. The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit nagara, meaning “city”. The Angkorian period began in AD 802, when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself a “universal monarch” and “god-king”, and lasted until the late 14th century, first falling under Ayutthayan suzerainty in 1351. A Khmer rebellion against Siamese authority resulted in the 1431 sacking of Angkor by Ayutthaya, causing its population to migrate south to Longvek.   read more…

Bahia Honda State Park in the Lower Florida Keys

January 14th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© flickr.com - KimonBerlin/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – KimonBerlin/cc-by-sa-2.0

Bahia Honda (Spanish deep bay) is an island in the lower Florida Keys. U.S. 1 (the Overseas Highway) crosses the key at approximately mile markers 36-38.5, between Ohio Key and Spanish Harbor Key 12 miles (19 km) west of Marathon, close to the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge. The island is virtually uninhabited, being home to the 524-acre (2.12 km²) Bahia Honda State Park. Founded in 1961, the park occupies most of the island. The channel at the island’s west end is one of the deepest natural channels in the Florida Keys.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon voyage!

January 12th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is scenic, architecturally and culturally very diverse. Cities, lakes, mountains, beaches and national parks offer everything that promises fun, recreation and perfect vacations. The cultural offers are numerous. In addition to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are numerous galleries, museums, theaters and opera houses. Of course, there are plenty of shopping and entertainment possibilities. However, holiday pleasure is not untroubled in all countries. At present, Syria and Libya in general, Mauritania (Sahara and Sahel) and Lebanon (North Lebanon and the border regions to Syria and Israel), Palestine (Gaza Strip) should be partly avoided. In all other countries of the Levant and North Africa, increased caution, vigilance and prudence are recommended. At the end of each country portrait is a link to the U.S. Department of State, in order to be able to find out about the current security situation on the ground.   read more…

West End of London

January 11th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London

Piccadilly Circus © flickr.com - Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piccadilly Circus © flickr.com – Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0

The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End), is an area of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city’s major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated. Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross. The West End covers part of the boroughs of Westminster and Camden.   read more…

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