post from Ivan About Town | Tourist Spots in the Philippines | Philippine Travel Blog
on 05 May 2012 03:22:18 PM. © Ivan About Town | Tourist Spots in the Philippines | Philippine Travel Blog
Budapest, Hungary is one of the most spectacular cities in Europe. No wonder people refer to it as the Heart of Europe and Pearl of the Danube. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the current city of Budapest was created in 1873 by the unification of three older cities namely Buda, Pest and Obuda.
|Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Buda|
From Graz, Austria, we left very early in the morning and drove to Budapest. It was about 3 to 4 hours from Graz and it entailed driving back to a part of Slovenia and into Hungary. The sun was up by the time we arrived in Budapest.
|Szabadság híd or Liberty Bridge|
Without any GPS or city maps to help us, we just tried to find a place to park for us to explore the city on foot. We would later find out that we were on the Pest side, where the Inner City
, including the Hungarian Parliament
, Heroes' Square
and Andrássy Avenue
, can be found.
|Hungarian Parliament Building and Lajos Kossuth Square|
Given our limited time, we went straight to the Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház)
in Lajos Kossuth Square
, home to the Hungarian National Assembly
, and an iconic landmark of Hungary. It was inaugurated in 1896, the 1000th anniversary of Hungary, and was completed in 1904.
Built in the Gothic Revival style, it is the largest and tallest building in Budapest. Both the Országház and St. Stephen's Basilica
are 96 meters high, representing the conquest of the Kingdom of Hungary in 896. In fact, there is a rule in Budapest that no building can be higher than 96 meters, a major reason why the city's historical fabric is well-preserved. Why they share the same height also has a symbolic meaning, that worldly and spiritual concerns are of equal importance.
|Museum of Ethnography|
While it's nice to see the building up close, a better view can be seen from across the river. Too bad we didn't have time to explore the Buda side since we had to rush to Bratislava.
On the way back to the parking garage, we passed through Great Hall Market (Nagycsarnok)
, the biggest food market of Budapest, which sells meats, produce, spices (especially paprika) and souvenir items. It was a very colorful look at Hungarian culture and it's one of those places you must visit and eat at to experience the local flavor.
We also got to pass by a kürt?skalács
shop while walking around Budapest. Also known as chimney cake, it consists of a thin pastry ribbon wound and baked around a wooden cylinder, and heavily sprinkled with sugar. The sugar is caramelized during the baking process and the finished pastry is flavored with cinnamon, walnuts, almonds or chocolate.
|Nagyboldogasszony Church and Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd)|
Our regret was we should have stayed in Budapest for a night since the city was very impressive. At least there's a reason to visit again. More photos of Budapest in the Ivan About Town Facebook page
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post from onlySkiing.com Skiing and Snowboarding Blog
on 05 May 2012 10:20:55 AM. © onlySkiing.com Skiing and Snowboarding Blog
The season is coming to a close, and all of the local resorts are closed or quickly wrapping up. The early spring sunshine and warmer days tend to depress powder lovers, but you can still get some good riding in during the month of May. There are a lot of people who just love that slushy springtime snow, and this is the month when park rats are forced to find alternative places to ride in backcountry spots, so you aren't alone if you still want to ski and snowboard. This is the time of year springtime wax is made for, right? Add to del.icio.us Digg this Post to Furl Add to reddit Add to myYahoo!
First of all, before heading into the backcountry, there are some resorts that are still open this year. If you are willing to head up North, Banff, Alberta is still getting plenty of snow. Sunshine Village has all of its lifts open on all of its mountains -- twelve lifts and more than a hundred runs ready to be ridden. With a snowpack of more than eighty-five inches and several inches falling each day this week, snowboarders and skiers can still get their powder fix in Banff. Blackcomb Mountain, in British Columbia, Canada is open until the end of May, with plenty of snow still falling.
If a trip up to Canada isn't realistic, you can still hit some resort runs in Lake Tahoe, California. Squaw has closed, but nearby Alpine Meadows is still open for a few weeks. They have scaled back operations quite a bit at Alpine Meadows resort, but they are open on weekends until mid-May and still have more than a hundred inches of snow pack. There are more resorts open further up the West Coast.
Mount Bachelor ski resorts in Oregon will remain open until the end of May, with limited hours. The Central Cascade Mountains are known for their spring time slush and the snow is worth a try if you can make it.
In Colorado, a lot of the resorts have closed but the state is still getting snow. Arapahoe Basin (or A-Basin) has a few lifts that are still open and got an inch of fresh snow this week. In Colorado, the backcountry spots are as busy as they've been all season. While the Loveland and Winter Park resorts are closed in Colorado, the mountains nearby and in Berthoud Pass are waiting for spring time backcountry skiing.
If you are willing to head up to Alaska, there are several resorts that are still open for May spring skiing and snowboarding, with limited hours (usually only on weekends), like Alyeska Resort. If you are ready for it, there is still plenty of heli-skiing that can be done in Alaska as well.
If you're in North America and still are not close enough to any of these still-open resorts, you can still catch some backcountry riding. It can prove to be extra dangerous, with the snowpack melting underneath the surface with the increasingly intense sunlight, but as always, you can take special precautions and be aware of the conditions before riding. Spring time riding is different than a big January powder day, but it can be just as fun. So don't give up and put your boots in the garage just yet, there is still time for at least one more good snow day.
onlySkiing.com - your adventure starts here...
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post from Ivan About Town | Tourist Spots in the Philippines | Philippine Travel Blog
on 05 May 2012 09:23:04 AM. © Ivan About Town | Tourist Spots in the Philippines | Philippine Travel Blog
Singapore's Civic District is the heart of colonial Singapore. Walking around the district gives visitors a glimpse of monuments and structures that connect modern Singapore with its rich historical past.
|Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple|
I started my walk at the Bugis Station, going through Waterloo Street where the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple (??????)
and Sri Krishnan Temple
can be found. Kwan Im Temple, also known as the Guan Yin Tong Temple
, is quite popular especially to devotees of its main deity Kuan Yin
(??), the Goddess of Mercy, who they pray to for good luck. The temple has existed since 1884 and survived the Second World War. But the original structure did not survive a fairly recent renovation. And most of what you see today dates back to 1982.
|Sri Krishnan Temple|
Sri Krishnan Temple, dedicated to Sri Krishna
and consort Rukmini
, dates back to 1870 and is the only South Indian Hindu temple in Singapore. Further down Waterloo Street is Southeast Asia's oldest Jewish synagogue, the Maghain Aboth Synagogue
, which dates back to 1878.
Across the road, along Queen Street, is the Church of Saints Peter and Paul
, a Catholic church that was completed in 1870. Further down Queen Street is Singapore's oldest Catholic church and seat of the Archdiocese of Singapore
, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
, completed in 1847.
Beside the Cathedral, along Victoria Street, is CHIJMES
), the former Catholic convent known as the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ)
and its middle education school. The complex has been adaptively reused as a dining, shopping and entertainment center. The chapel is now a multi-purpose hall that caters to musicals, recitals and other performances and weddings of course.
|St. Andrew's Cathedral|
The iconic Raffles Hotel
is near the corner of Beach Road and Bras Basah Road. Further down is the Anglican St. Andrew's Cathedral
. The first was church built in 1836. The current cathedral dates back to 1861.
By this time, after walking quite a lot, you might have gotten an overdose of heritage. But it gets better. If you are not really the type who likes walking a lot, you can actually start your walk at the St. Andrew's Cathedral via the City Hall MRT Station. Beside the sprawling grounds of the cathedral is a vast green field called the Padang
, which in a way is Singapore's central square. Around it are the old government buildings of colonial Singapore which include City Hall
and the Old Supreme Court
, both currently being renovated and converted to house the National Art Gallery
that will open several years from now.
|Asian Civilisations Museum|
You can also see the Singapore Cricket Club
and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
, which is also being restored as we speak and covered with scaffolding. In the area are the Dalhousie Obelisk
, Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Palace Building)
and the Raffles's Landing Site
, where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed in 1819. Across the river, you can see Boat Quay
, old shop houses and warehouses that have been converted into chic and trendy bars and restaurants.
There are two old bridges which bring you to the other side of the Singapore River, the now pedestrian Cavenagh Bridge
and Anderson Bridge
which connects to Fullerton Road and the Fullerton hotel complex, fine examples of adaptive reuse. The Fullerton
was the former Singapore Post Office
while the Fullerton Bay Hotel
's main entrance and lobby is the former Clifford Pier Terminal
Don't forget to pass by Merlion Park
for a photo with another Singapore icon, the Merlion
, and a nice view of Esplanade
and Marina Bay Sands
|Satay at Lau Pa Sat|
I ended my tour near the Raffles Place MRT Station, capping it off with a satay
dinner at La Pau Sat Market
, a preserved colonial market converted to a hawker centre in the heart of Singapore's business district.
Another area of the Civic District I plan to explore when I return to Singapore is Fort Canning Park
. Around it include the National Museum
, Perenakan Museum
and Singapore Philatelic Museum
.How to get to the Civic District
There are several MRT stations that can bring you to the Civic District. Aside from Bugis and Raffles Place Stations at the northern and southern ends respectively, there is City Hall Station, and the Bras Basah and Clarke Quay Stations on opposite ends of Fort Canning.Thank you to the Singapore Tourism Board and Agatep Associates for their valuable assistance during this trip.
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