California USA


The Land
The Golden State, California takes its name from a make-believe island filled with gold in a Spanish novel.California is located on the along the Pacific Coast and is bordered by Nevada on the east, Arizona (southeast), Mexico (south), Pacific Ocean (west), and Oregon (north).
At 158,648 square miles, California is the 3rd largest state. The highest elevation is Mt. Whitney in Inyo-Tulare County at 14,494 feet. The lowest elevation is Death Valley in Inyo County at -282 feet below sea level (lowest elevation in the United States).Entertainment and Tourism. Hollywood has long been the world capital of motion-picture and television film production, in turn drawing numerous tourists. Other popular California tourist attractions include Disneyland, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and other theme parks, San Francisco, Tijuana (just across the Mexican border from San Diego), and California's spectacular national parks and miles of beautiful beaches.With mountains to the east and deserts to the south, California has the best of all worlds. You can Snow Ski in mountains then drive less then two hours and be in soaring high temperatures all in the same day.The highest temperature recorded was 134° while the lowest was -45°.National Parks & Monuments include Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon, Lassen Volcanic, Mojave, Redwood, Sequoia, Yosemite, Cabrillo, Devil's Postpile, Lava Beds, Muir Woods, Pinnacles.
The History
Spain claimed and occupied California in the interest of increasing Spanish and Catholic influence. The Spanish colonization was highly authoritarian and subject to all the inefficiencies of centralized planning. To their credit, the Spanish envisioned the native population as playing an important role as Catholic citizens, but the mission/presidio system failed to adopt the Indians to this role and failed to attract a sufficient number of Spanish settlers. When Mexico fought and obtained independence, California lost virtually all its centralized support. As members of an isolated community, Californians spent three decades in political confusion (at one point, a Californian-based republic was declared). The richest families turned to the one industry guaranteed to earn a comfortable living -- selling hides and tallow generated from the virtually free cattle that roamed vast ranchos. In an attempt to increase the non-Indian population, foreigners of all types were admitted.Soon a sizable minority of Yankees grew, dominating the merchant class and entering into important positions in the political and social structure. The defense of California, completely neglected by Mexico and lacking support from unstable California administrations, led to the unusual condition where any of several world powers could have easily occupied California. In point of fact, the Yankee residents themselves were the first to do it, in the Bear Flag revolt of June 1846. Just one month after, due to the Mexican-American war that in turn stemmed from the Yankee takeover of Texas, the American Navy took control of California without firing a shot.Most Californians were resigned to inevitable Yankee rule, though a revolt at Los Angeles led to a pocket of Californian resistance lasting from September 1846 to January 1847. California was officially made a territory with the end of the Mexican-American war February 2, 1848, nine days before gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill.Through some local PR efforts, and support in late 1848 from President Polk himself, a gold mania swept the States and the world resulting in the remarkable 49er migration. The population soared, quickly (and brutally) overwhelming the Californian and Indians. Political leaders seized the moment to obtain a constitution and voter's ratification by November 1849, with recognition by the U.S. congress in October 1850.Meanwhile, the great influx of miners was redirected to farming, trade, and business. The beauty, richness, and climate of California -- as well as a lack of options for bankrupt miners -- kept the population here long after the gold mania died down. The State of California, a chaotic mix of ethnicity’s and incomes, hopes and cynicism, was born. During World War II, U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were rounded up and confined in internment camps. Though the government claimed it was necessary for security reasons, the effort was driven largely by greed. While the Japanese Americans were locked up, their farms were sold to white farmers. Today, thousands of Mexicans contribute to the seasonal migrant labor hired to gather and pack crops.
The People
Not all Californian's have cement pools or are movie stars but with a State population that just exceeds the entire population of Canada, California has the largest percentage of millionaires in the U.S.More immigrants settle in California than any other state, more than one third of the nation's total in 1994. The most numerous group of immigrants are Asians and Pacific Islanders, though many Mexicans emigrate to California, either legally or by illegally crossing the border between California and Texas. Whites remain the largest ethnic group but, for the first time, no longer constitute the majority. Hispanics make up one third of the population in California, which also saw a boom in Asian immigration.The 2000 census put California's population at 33,871,648. The State Capital is Sacramento, other major cities or towns include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno, Oakland, Santa Ana, Anaheim.

Alaska USA


The Land
The Great Land, The Last Frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun; once called Seward’s Folly and Seward’s Icebox, Alaska takes it name from a Aleut word meaning 'great land' or 'that which the sea breaks against'.Alaska is located in the Northwest of North America; the northernmost and westernmost state and is bordered by the Canada's Yukon Territory and British Columbia (east). The Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean (south), Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea (west), and Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean (north) surround the remaining land mass.
At 656,424 square miles Alaska is the largest state. The highest elevation is Denali (Mt. McKinley) 20,320 feet. The lowest elevation is sea level.Alaskan weather is greatly influenced by extremes in daylight. At Barrow, on the Arctic Coast, the sun is not seen from late November until late January. In summer, when Alaska is 'the land of the midnight sun', Barrow residents enjoy continuous daylight from early May to early August. The state’s highest temperature was recorded north of the Arctic Circle, in Yukon Flats, where standing water slowly cooks during the long summer days. The record lowest temperature, taken at Prospect Creek, is the lowest in the United States but not in North America.The highest temperature recorded was 90° while the lowest temperature on record in the United States, -79.8 degrees was observed at Prospect Creek Camp in the Endicott Mountains of northern Alaska on Jan. 23, 1971.National Parks & Monuments include the Bering Land Bridge, Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Noatak , Wrangell-St. Elias, Yukon-Charley Rivers, Admiralty Island, Aniakchak, Cape Krusenstern, Misty Fjords.
The History
In 1725 Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering to explore the North Pacific and in 1728 his ship sailed through the Bering Strait. By 1741, first the Europeans, Vitus Bering, a Dane working for the Russians, and Alexei Chirikov discovered the Alaskan mainland.Spanish explorer Juan Perez discovers Prince of Wales Island in Dixon Sound in 1774 and between 1776 and 1778 Captain James Cook (Britain) reaches King Island, Norton Sound, Unalaska. From 1784 through 1799, Russia establishes settlements at Three Saints Bay, Kodiak. Catherine II grants a monopoly of fur trade in Alaska to Grigorii Shelikov and a trade post is built at Old Sitka, Three years later, Indians massacre Russians at Old Sitka; only a few survive.By 1804 Russians return to Sitka and attacked the Kiksadi fort on Indian River. Russians lose the battle, but the Natives were forced to flee. A Russian Orthodox diocese was formed in 1840 and Bishop Innokenty Venianminov given permission to use Native languages in the liturgy. By 1847, Fort Yukon was established.In 1853 Russian fur trappers had found oil seeps in the Cook Inlet and Coal mining began in 1857 at Coal Harbor on the Kenai Peninsula. The sale of Alaska to the U.S. by Russia begins in 1859, two years later Gold is discovered on the Stikine River near Telegraph Creek (the Gold rush is still many years away).The Land Purchase to the U.S. Sale ($7,200,000) is finalized in 1867.Gold discovered in 1872 near Sitka and in British Columbia (Cassiar) and again in 1876 south of Juneau at Windham Bay, Gastineau Channel (1880) and Mastadon Creek (1894).Dawson City is founded in 1896 at mouth of Klondike River. Skookum Jim, a Tagish Native, first discovers gold in Rabbit Creek and another major gold discovery is unearthed at Bonanza Creek.The next three year (1897-1900) sees the great Klondike Gold Rush.By 1914, surveying begins for the Alaska Railroad, City of Anchorage is born as a construction campsite. Fort Richardson is established in 1940; construction begins on Elmendorf Air Force Base, two years later Japan bombs Dutch harbor and invades the Aleutians. Oil well drilled in 1953 near Eureka on Glenn Highway marks the beginning of Alaska's modern oil history.Natural and man-made disasters plagued Alaska through most of the 1960's and 70's starting with the devastating Good Friday Earthquake in 1964 then the Fairbanks Flood in 1967. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline completed from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez in 1977, eleven years later (1989) The Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot oil tanker carrying 53 million gallons of North Slope crude, grounds on Bligh Reef spilling 11 million gallons into Prince William Sound.The Alaskan Territory became the 49th State to Unite under America on January 3, 1959.
The People
The first Europeans visited Alaska in search of furs and whales and built few communities. The gold rush of 1898 swelled Alaska’s population by about 30,000, and later gold rushes drew more people. More people arrived during World War II, when military bases were constructed and Alaska was linked to the Lower 48 states by the Alcan Highway. The construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1975-1977 boosted the economy, and the population increased by 37.3% between 1980 and 1990.Today, there are five distinct Native groups in Alaska: The Northwest Coast Indian, Inupiaqs, Yupiks, Aleuts and Athabascan. Native peoples remain strong in Alaska. In 1992, Natives comprised 16 percent of the state’s population. The 1997 census put Alaska's population at 609,311. The State Capital is Juneau. other major cities or towns include Anchorage, Fairbanks, Sitka, Ketchikan, Kenai, Kodiak, Bethel, Wasilla, and Homer.

Japan Holidays

Events and Holidays

Though Japan has often been criticized for throwing itself headlong into the 21st century at the expense of its culture and tradition, one thing is certain—in Japan holidays remain a vital cultural component. Though often obscured by the ubiquitous neon of downtown Tokyo and the proliferation of fast food restaurants, centuries-old festivals and more contemporary Japan holidays are observed and enjoyed throughout the year. To witness and participate in these ancient rituals is an opportunity that makes a trip to Japan all the more worthwhile. A highlight of the calendar of Japan holidays, then, is a helpful tool to any traveler planning a trip to the land of the rising sun.

Japanese festivals, or matsuri, seem to be happening at any given time in Tokyo and Kyoto. The New Year festival begins at the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December when every temple bell throughout the country begins to toll. The bells toll a total of 108 times to represent the 108 evil human passions. The New Year bell ringing ritual is known as Joya no Kane, and the public at large can be seen in their finest kimono, paying respects and actually striking the temple bells.

After the New Year holiday, Golden Week is the next major festival. A celebration of the arrival of spring, Golden Week begins on April 29 and usually stretches until the middle of May. In Kyoto, you can watch as local geisha in traditional costume perform ritual dances at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo theatre in Gion. Kyoto also hosts many lively blossom viewing parties during Golden Week. Indeed, the true attractions of this festival are the myriad cherry, azalea, and rhododendron blossoms that shower both city sidewalks and the countryside.

The festival of Obon punctuates the mid August heat. One of the most ancient of Asian holidays, Obon is the time when spirits of the dead revisit the world of the living to drink some sake, tell a few stories, and generally enjoy the earthly comforts they can’t access in the afterlife. During Obon, Japanese citizens usually return to their hometowns to clean up grave sites and offer prayers to the souls of their departed ancestors. Like many Asian holidays, Obon is a week-long affair lasting from August 13 to 19. For travelers visiting Japan, the highlight of the festival occurs when lamps and fires are lit by families to guide the spirits of their departed ancestors during their earthly sojourn.

Near the Kiyomizu-dera (once an ancient burial site) in Kyoto, thousands of these paper lanterns are strung by gravestones, and the grounds remain open to visitors throughout the night. The festival’s finale occurs on the 16th of August at 8 pm when the dead are sent back to the other world with the light of immense bonfires in the shape of Chinese characters burning from each of Kyoto’s five hills. As far as Japanese festivals go, Obon is an amazing display and one of the most awe inspiring and spiritual of all Asian holidays.

Japanese festivals continue throughout the autumn months in the rural areas when many city dwellers head to the country side to admire the fall multicolored foliage. Also worth seeing in November is the annual Grand Tea Ceremony at the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine in Kyoto. Perhaps the most precise of Japanese festivals, the ceremony is conducted by venerable tea masters in memory of an honored shogun who first conducted such a ceremony at the spot in 1587.

Kansai District

Kansai District

The Kansai district is arguably Japan's most historic region and home to both the Himeji Castle—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and Ise Shima National park, the most prominent ocean park of Japan and a major source of cultured pearls. The Kansai district encompasses seven of Japan's 47 prefectures, and includes the important port cities of Kobe and Osaka. Also within the Kansai District is Japan's former capital, the cultural and architectural wonder, Kyoto. Travel to the Kansai district became easier when the Kansai International Airport outside Osaka was opened in 1994. Today, many tourists visiting the Himeji Castle and Ise Shima National Park bypass Tokyo altogether, and head straight for the cultural heart of Japan.


A city of half a million, Himeji is only an hour's train ride from Osaka and Kyoto. The city is most famous for its magnificent castle. Comprising 83 buildings with ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun Period, the large, fortified Himeji Castle was a response to the advent of modern firearms. Throughout Japan only about a dozen of these large-scale Medieval castles exist, and of these Himeji is the finest example. Not only is the Himeji Castle an impregnable structure, but its white plastered walls and elegantly layered roofs are aesthetically pleasing as well. From a distance the Castle seems to float above the town like a cloud or cap of snow. And despite sustained aerial bombardment of the city in WWII, Himeji remained unscathed and today is a United Nations World Heritage Site. The Castle is a fifteen minute walk from Himeji's central shinkansen (bullet train) station.

Ise Shima National Park

Overlooking the beautiful islands of Toba Bay, the Ise Shima National Park is a perfect place to fly kites on the long stretches of beach, check into a quaint bed and breakfast, or, in the summer months, swim and sail off the coast. For the more cultured tourist, the Ise Shima National Park is also a pearl lover’s paradise. The region is known mostly for its Mikimoto cultured pearl industry. Pearl Island in Toba Harbor is the site where the first cultured pearl was produced in the beginning of the 20th century. Between Toba and the town of Ise—famous for its many Shinto shrines—is Futamigaura beach. Vacationers are drawn to this rocky coastline to see the famous Wedding Rocks. This pair of relatively inconspicuous rocks is named Izanagi and Izanami; and as male and female they symbolize the “first couple” in traditional Japanese history. Along Futamigaura you can find a number of intimate bed and breakfasts to choose from.

So while the Kansai District has many enticing larger cities, it is the smaller town of Himeji, and the windswept coast of the Ise Shima National Park that beckon tourists seeking a more serene, and more personal side of Japan.

Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris

Under the auspices of Bishop de Sully, the construction began in 1160 and was completed around 1345. During the construction many events occured such as in 1297, the King Louis IX was canonized as St. Louis, and in 1304, Philip the Fair celebrated his military victory by riding his horse up and down the aisles in the Notre Dame. By the 17th century, it was very fashionable to loathe the Notre Dame.
In the eighteenth century, alot of the medieval glass was removed simply to make the building lighter, and medieval fittings and furniture were often replaced by those in later styles.However, it was not until the French Revolution in 1793, when the Parisiens took a disliking to anything that was "royal" that they destroyed the statues and stripped all "anti-republican" art from inside as well as outside. And, in the following year, the French revolutionary government outlawed religion and Notre Dame was officially renamed as the Temple of Reason.
For some time, the French revolutionary government held propaganda shows in the building.
Yet, it was in 1802, when Napoleon ruled France that he reintroduced Catholicism with a solemn ceremony in the newly rechristened cathedral. Here is where he crowned himself emperor.
"Historical Landmark"
Notre-Dame is now viewed as one of the key defining examples of the style which was to become known as Ile-de-France Gothic, by the early nineteenth century few Parisians valued their medieval past very highly. Interest in the medieval building was largely rekindled by Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris. For twenty years, Viollet-le-Duc worked at Notre-Dame, adding the spire, consolidating the fabric and replacing missing or defaced sculptures.
The Inside
Interior, the immediately striking feature, if you can ignore the noise and movement, is the dramatic contrast between the darkness of the nave and the light falling on the first clustered pillars of the choir, placing an emphasis on the special nature of the sanctuary. Nearly two-thirds glass, it is the end walls of the transepts that admit all this light as well as the two magnificent rose windows coloured in imperial purple. These, the vaulting, the soaring shafts reaching to the springs of the vaults, are all definite Gothic elements, yet, inside as well as outside, there remains a strong sense of Romanesque in the stout round pillars of the nave and the general sense of four-squareness.
"Not to miss"
Before leaving, do not forget to walk round to the public garden at the east end for a view of the flying buttresses supporting the choir, and then along the riverside under the south transept, where you can sit in springtime under the cherry blossom.
And in front of the cathedral, in the square separating Notre Dame from Haussmann's police Headquarters, is what appears to be and smells like the entrance to an underground toilet. In fact, it is a very well-displayed and interesting museum, the crypte archeologique, in which are revealed the remains of the church which predated the cathedral, as well as streets and houses of the Cite dating as far back as the Roman era.
On the pavement by the west door of Notre-Dame is a spot known as kilometre zero. This is where all of the main road distances in France are calculated. For the Ile de la Cite is the symbolic heart of the country, or at least of the France that in the school books fights wars, undergoes revolutions and launches space rockets.

Osaka Aquarium

Osaka Aquarium

During your stay in the city of Osaka, you should definitely plan at least one day to explore the Osaka Wan (Osaka Bay) area. Among the many Osaka tourist attractions in this district is the world-famous Osaka Aquarium. Also known as the Kaiyukan Aquarium, it is one of the world’s largest, and a model of Japan tourism at its best. Of all the attractions at the Osaka Wan harbor area, the Osaka Aquarium is still the most famous and unique Japan tourism idea during your stay in Osaka. Kaiyukan literally means, “playing in the Sea Pavilion" and is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Here, marine life is contained within 15 tanks, each representing a region of the Pacific Rim on which Japan sits. The aquarium is centered around a single huge tank holding 5,400 tons of water and containing 580 species and 30,000 Pacific Rim marine animals.

The main attraction in the Osaka Aquarium is an 850 kg Whale shark named “Yu-chan”. Whale sharks are the largest fish on earth. Other highlights at the Osaka Aquarium include: sea otters, King penguins, Gentoo penguins, dolphins, jelly fish and sea lions.

If you embark on an Osaka sightseeing tour of the Kaiyukan Aquarium, it is best to begin on the eighth floor, and slowly descend around the central tank (which houses the Whale shark). Many Tanks stretch over several floors, so you can see the animals from different perspectives. The aquarium is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. The cost is 2000 Yen.

But the aquarium isn’t the only Osaka sightseeing option in the Osaka Bay area. This port area is also home to the Tempo-zan Harbor Village and the Suntory Musuem. With a large number of galleries housing impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern art and photography, the Suntory Museum is a one of the best Osaka tourist attractions for lovers of contemporary art in all its forms. And for anxious children, or anxious husbands, the museum also boasts a jaw dropping IMAX theatre, showing all the newest IMAX movies every day of the week.

Just a short distance from the Suntory Museum, vacationers can get a bird’s eye view of Osaka by taking a ride on the 368 ft Ferris wheel, the fifth largest Ferris wheel in the world, and one of the most conspicuous Japan tourism options in Osaka.

The newest of Osaka tourist attractions at the Tempo-zan Harbor area is the Universal Studios Japan theme park. The first Universal Studios outside the United States, this Hollywood-inspired theme park includes Jurassic Park, Terminator, and Jaws rides as well as 20 theme restaurants. Water taxis and shuttles from the train station and airport make this an easy Osaka sightseeing trip.

So if you are heading for Japan’s second largest city, make sure to plan at least a day to visit Japan’s first stop for contemporary art, breathtaking rides, serene aquatic life, and the vicarious adventure of a Universal Studios adventure ride.



It was a sunny morning in Hiroshima on August 6th 1945, when the Atomic bomb dropped out of the sky, obliterated the city, and changed the course of world history forever. The atomic flash and the eventual loss of over 200,000 lives have forever linked the city of Hiroshima with the utter ferocity and ultimate tragedy of nuclear holocaust. Today this beautiful city of nearly 3 million, located in Japan’s southwestern Chugoku region, offers some of the most somber and moving sightseeing in Japan.

Though the event will no doubt be seared on the Japanese consciousness forever, the Heiwa Kinen-koen (Peace Memorial Park) located at ground zero of the Atomic bomb’s explosion is a reminder and moving memorial to those who lost their lives. The Peace Memorial Park is southwest of the Hiroshima Castle between the Motoyasu and Ota rivers. Across from the Peace Memorial Park is the Genbaku Domu (Atomic Dome).

Ironically, this structure once housed the Industrial Promotional Hall. Today its crumbled façade, and the skeletal remains of its main dome, are among the only vertical structures that withstood the bomb’s initial shock wave. The Atomic Dome and Peace Memorial Park combine to form some of the most reflective and moving sightseeing in Japan.

Hiroshima was the target of US aggression in WWII because of its military importance as a munitions depot and industrial center. Long before the 20th century, however, Hiroshima was recognized as a military bastion. A relic of this ancient military history is the Hiroshima-jo (Hiroshima Castle). The original Hiroshima Castle was built in 1589 by the Mori Clan but completely destroyed by the atomic bomb. The present day Hiroshima Castle was rebuilt in 1958 and houses a museum of Hiroshima’s pre-WWII history.

Another stop during a tour of Hiroshima is the Prefectural Art Musuem. The museum is divided into three main themes: Art Works of Hiroshima; Japan and Asian Crafts; and Fine Arts in the 1920’s and ‘30’s. There is also a “People’s Gallery” where local artists showcase their work. The highlights of the 3,400 works of art housed in the Prefectural Art Museum include Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus, and one of Dali’s famous “melting watch” paintings. The Prefectural Art Museum of Hiroshima is constantly hosting new exhibits, so check the museum’s web page for up-to-date shows. The museum is opposite the Shukkeien-mae tram stop, near the Shukkeien Gardens.

As you can see, Hiroshima offers sightseeing in Japan that is historic (e.g. the Hiroshima Castle), as well as the contemporary and local art at the Prefectural Art Museum. But the focal point of any trip to Hiroshima is the documentation of the horrors of Atomic War. Bearing witness to Atomic warfare is as important for the same reasons as visiting a concentration camp: we must witness both the beauty and horror of life and human nature if we are to fully rejoice in the former, and fully renounce the latter. Hiroshima, then, is not a recommended stop on your tour of Japan—it is a mandatory one.

Saint Germain des Prés Paris District, France

Saint Germain des Prés Paris District, France

How to get there

The best way to the St-Germain the neighbourhood is to start by taking the Pont des Arts which is located at the Louvre. You will pass by teh Ile de la Cité, then the Tour St.-Jacques and then the Hotel de Ville. Finally, you will be on the Left Bank. Directly in front of you is the Institut de France (the building with the beautiful Dome). This is the seat of the Académie Française, where a body of writers and scholars meet to preserve the purity of the French language.
However, it is the northern half of the 6th arrondissement (at the place St. Germain des Prés), where tourists like parisians are moslty attracted. The Saint Germain des Près has the money, elegance and sophistication, as well as, a mixter of trend-setters in the arts, philosophy and politics.
What to see
Place St-Germain-des-Prés, with such popular places like the Deux Magot café and Café Flore and Brasserie Lipp not far. Each having its own reputation and style.
And not to forget the Church of Saint Germain des Près, built back in the 6th century, was an enormous Benedictine monastery. The interior, with its Romanesque lines still clear under the deforming paint of nineteenth-century frescoes. In the corner of the churchyard by the rue Bonaparte, a little Picasso head of a woman is dedicated to the memory of the poet Apollinaire.
History and Surroundings
The riverside part of the the neighbourhood is divided lengthways by the rue St-André-des-Arts and the rue Jacob. It is full of bookstores, art galleries, antique stores, cafés and restaurants. Take a look into the courtyards and the side streets. The houses are four to six stories high, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century, and painted in infinite gradations of grey, pearl and off-white.
Historical associations are legion. Molière started his career in rue Mazarine. In the rue Visconti Racine died, Delacroix painted and Balzac's printing business went bust. In parallel rue des Beaux-Arts, Oscar Wilde died, Corot and Ampère, father of amps, lived, and crazy poet Gérard de Nerval walked a lobster on a lead.

Mount Koya Japan

Mount Koya

Located in the mist shrouded mountains of the Wakayama Prefecture, Mount Koya (Koyasan) is one of the country’s holiest mountains and the center of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. Shingon Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi, otherwise known as Kukai. Long off limits to women, Koyasan and its 100 Shingon monasteries are now open to the public at large, and offer a quiet retreat for tourists seeking a bit of meditation during their journey through Japan.

On the way to the top of Koyasan, travelers journey through a cedar valley surrounded by eight mountain peaks. Once on top of the mountain, the highlight is spending a night at a temple. One of the most authentic Japan attractions, tourists can chose from about fifty temples in the area that function as shukubo (converted guesthouses) for overnight stays. A night’s accommodation includes vegetarian cuisine known as shojin ryori, prepared by the resident monks. Guests also have the unique opportunity to participate in the 30-45 minute morning prayer session that starts around 6 am. Among all the Japan attractions it is possible to visit and experience during your trip, a night at a shukubo is both an authentic experience and relatively cheap at approximately 9,500 Yen per person per night including dinner and breakfast.

In contrast to much of the neon glitz and manufactured amusement that characterize modern Japan, Mount Koya provides a place for personal meditation, and a chance to interact with local Japanese villagers, and the Buddhist monks themselves. The ideal time to spend on Mount Koya would be two nights. During the day you can saunter quietly through graveyards filled with historical figures and visit the many temples. It would be a good idea to plan a day trip with a guide who is fluent in Japanese and familiar with Shingon Buddhism.

The highlight of your stay on Mount Koya, is visiting the temples and monasteries. Of these, the Garan Temple is one of the most sacred. The temple complex was designed by Kukai himself on the western side of the town. In the center of the Garan Temple is the particularly beautiful Konpon Daito pagoda, which represents the central point of not only Mt. Koya, but all of Japan.

In addition to the Garan Temple, Koyasan is home to the huge Kongobu-ji Temple. The headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, the Kongobu-ji Temple is the administrative center for over 4,000 Shingon temples in Japan. The largest rock garden in Japan is located here. Among the best of Japan attractions for garden and architecture lovers, the Kongobu-ji Temple rock garden has 140 pieces of granite arranged to resemble a pair of dragons emerging from a sea of clouds in order to protect the temple.

Finally, if you are planning to visit Mount Koya during your stay in Japan, one of the best options to explore is a guided tour. Many tourist outfits offer 10-day tours of Western Japan which include a visit to Mount Koya. If you want to go it alone, however, Koyasan is only a 90-minute express train ride from Osaka.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The Eiffel Tower in Paris


In 1889, when the Tour Eiffel was completed, it was the tallest building in the world at 300m. The Tour Eiffel was originally built as a tempory structure to commemorate the centenary of the Revolution. And since, the Eiffel Tower has become an enduring symbol of the city of Paris. The Tour was originally built for the 1889 Exposition. This steel construction defied all traditional rules in architecture. It is now the television transmitter for the greater Paris region.
The Tour selected by a competition which was won by Gustave Eiffel, an engineer who had experience of constructing high level railway viaducts. In the public eye, the tower had many mixed opinions, celebrated and loathed in equal measure. Throughout its construction, the residents became convinced that it would collapse, and Eiffel had to personally assure them. The author Guy de Maupassant left Paris permanently to avoid looking at its 'metallic carcass' but others who espoused more self-consciously modern views championed the tower: Seurat and Douanier Rousseau were among the first to paint it, in 1889 and 1890 respectively. On a clear day, it is possible to see Chartres Cathedral from the high level viewing platform.

The "Tower"

There are three floors. The first is at 57 m., the second at 115m., and the third at 276 m. The top of the aerial is 320 m. above the ground. And on a nice day, you an see from the top of the platform, the whole of Paris and even the distant suburbs.

The 12,000 steel girders are held together by 2,500,000 rivets to produce a smooth, curving profile. Its functional elegance heralded the dawn of Industrial Art, and has met with much sarcastic comment from more conservative observers ever since it was finished in 1889.

And in 1986 the external night-time floodlighting was replaced by a system of illumination from within the tower's superstructure, so that it now looks at its magical best after dark.

Maui Hawaii

Maui Hawaii

Welcome to Maui, voted the ‘World's Best Island’ year after year by travellers. Praise is nothing new, however, with Maui famed as one of the most romantic and magical places on earth and this reputation having its origins deep in the mists of time.

The island of Maui is made up of 5 key areas, all offering the visitor a slightly different experience.

West Maui

With its abundant sunshine and plentiful water, West Maui was once a major Hawaiian population centre and the favourite playground of royalty. West Maui’s shores are truly blessed: sheltered from trade winds, fringed by calm clear waters and famous for their spectacular sunsets - it's little wonder there are many beautiful resort areas to be enjoyed along the coast. Today, West Maui encompasses the resort areas of Kapalua and Kaanapali, Napili, Kahana, Honokowai and the historic whaling town of Lahaina.

Lahaina Town is the hub of the West Coast and still retains much of the charm of the old whaling days – be sure to take your time and enjoy a self-guided walking tour of the historic sites.
A little further north, Kaanapali extends over an area of 1200 acres, bordered by nearly three miles of white sand beaches – here you’ll find an abundance of condominiums, hotels and two golf courses.

Follow the road and you’ll come across the little villages of Napili, Honokawai, and Kahana where West Maui's best accommodation bargains can be found.

Kapalua - a former pineapple plantation - is a 1,500-acre jewel at the end of the resort chain on the West side. The gently rolling hillside, spreading from the white sand beach of Kapalua Bay to the base of the West Maui Mountains, boasts high-end accommodations, three of the finest golf courses on Maui and beautiful upscale villa communities.

South Maui

South Maui is known for its coastal areas, with mile-after-mile of sandy white beaches, with pristine reef as well as low-level wetlands. Sheltered by Mount Haleakala, this area is sunnier and drier than the rest of the island and is also ideal for diving and snorkelling, with remnants of ancient Hawaiian fishponds also still visible today.

South Maui incorporates the coastal communities of Maalaea and Kihei, as well as the resort communities of Wailea and Maken.

Maalaea is a laid back village made up of smaller condominiums alongside a small boat harbour where many day trips and fishing charters depart from.

Kihei, is beachcombing territory and a great spot for snorkelling and kayaking. It’s a vibrant community with a good mix of accommodation including condo’s and mid priced hotels.
Wailea, is a resort community, made up of luxurious resorts all set in stunning landscape setting. Wailea boasts 54 holes of championship golf and five beautiful crescent shaped beaches.

Makena, located four miles on from Wailea, is home to "Big Beach" - one of Maui's most perfect beaches. As this is the last resort area at the end of the West Coast, it offers a more private and secluded experience. Keen hikers can hike along the King’s Road, a rock paved trail that in earlier Polynesian times, encircled the whole island of Maui.

Central Maui

Central Maui is made up of residential communities, sugar and pineapple plantations as well as some of Maui’s most popular visitor attractions, including the Iao Valley and the Maui Tropical Plantation.

As well as being where Maui’s airport is located, Kahului is also the commercial centre of the island and therefore a great town to shop for all your holiday needs. Wailuku is home to the State and County government offices and its old town provides a glimpse back to the early days of Maui's history.

A great way to learn more about the many exotic plants grown on the Hawaiian Island is to visit Maui Tropical Plantation where you’ll come across papaya trees, banana plants, palms and more.

One of the highlights in this area is surely the Iao Valley, a lush, deep, tropical valley where the Iao Needle - a natural rock pinnacle - presides over the Iao stream.


‘Upcountry Maui’ refers to the towns, ranches, vineyards, farmlands and visitor attractions found on the upper slopes of the island, including the majestic Haleakala ( Ha – lee- aka – la) National Park and Haleakala Crater, the largest dormant volcano on earth and the torso of the entire island. Haleakala means ‘ house of the sun’ and a not to be missed event on Maui is to watch the sun rise from the summit of Mount Haleakala.

The majority of visitors who make the pilgrimage to Haleakala usually then take the 45-minute drive up country. The area is home to many quaint bed and breakfasts and small inns. Many flower farms in the area also add to its charm.

Maui’s Upcountry takes in spectacularly varied landscapes, from alpine terrain and lava-encrusted wasteland to pasturelands blessed with huge jacaranda and eucalyptus trees as well as lovely traditional country houses. It is home to a thriving artist community – pop in to enjoy classes and exhibitions.

This area is also home to one of Hawaii’s few vineyards. At the Tedeschi Winery where you can even sample some pineapple wine!

East Maui

This area of Maui stretches from Kahului Airport out to the community of Hana on the north-eastern tip of the island and is renowned for its great surfing as well as kite-surfing, quaint towns and lush rural scenery.

Known as the windward side, this East Coast is largely undeveloped, but home to one of the worlds most beautiful self drives – The Road to Hana. The route takes you along beautiful coastlines, pasture land and lush tropical rainforest. Be sure to allow an entire day for the trip as there’s plenty to see: you’ll not only have to navigate 54 bridges but also 600 hairpin bends en route. You will also pass valleys brimming with ferns, trees and flowers of all colours along with waterfalls and freshwater pools - perfect for a cooling break along the way.

Similarly, if you set out from Kahului and drive all the way to Hana you’ll come across the old sugar plantation town of Paia - the windsurfing capital of the world and a destination for artists of all mediums. Three miles on from Paia is Hookipa Beach, where the world’s best windsurfers can be seen either competing or polishing up their skills thanks to the great surf and strong trade winds that have made the area synonymous with the sport.

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach has been long hailed as one of the premier tourist destinations in Ontario. For over a century tourists have traveled to the welcoming shores of Nottawasaga Bay, to stroll along 14 kilometers of white sand beach, swim in warm, clean waters and enjoy the panoramic mountain views across the Bay.

The Town offers a good variety of accommodations and restaurant choices. Special events are planned almost every weekend and evening entertainment abounds. For vacation planning information, please browse our website or contact our Chamber of Commerce.

a recreation paradise

Perhaps the best kept secret in Wasaga Beach is the endless recreation trails for hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The trails have easy access routes to commercial centres, yet only a few feet away you are once again lost in the beauty of the sand dune system and abundantly forested landscape. Bring your camera and your sports gear. Our trail system is unforgettable.
For those wanting a change from land-based activities, try casting your rod in the Nottawasaga River for some magnificent game fishing. There are also boat rentals available and great canoe routes to explore.
Come for a holiday and stay for a lifetime.

Hakone Japan


With snow-capped Mount Fuji as a stunning backdrop, the Hakone hot springs have long been a popular place of rest and relaxation for tourists and locals. The Hakone onsen (hot springs) are located in a ravine formed by the Kayakawa and Sukomo rivers near the base of Mount Fuji. Hakone is only one part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. In addition to climbing Mount Fuji, travelers can explore the ice caves and mountain lakes of the nearby Fuji Go-ko (Fuji Five Lakes) before enjoying a relaxing Hakone onsen.

Only 100 kilometers from Tokyo, the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is the most easily accessible of all Japan’s outdoor recreation. Proximity, however, means that during most of the year, the area is crowded with foreign and domestic tourists.

There are roughly 16 natural Hakone onsen available for tourists and travelers. There are two basic ways to enjoy your onsen experience. If you are pressed for time and looking to take a day trip to Hakone you may want to try one of the public baths. The Tenzan public bath is a perfect spot for a quick day onsen. The cost is just a few hundred yen. If, however, you plan to stay overnight, you can book a room at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) that have hot spring facilities for their guests. It is also possible to use a one of the ryokan hot springs just for the day without booking a room at the inn. The day use a ryokan Hakone onsen is only slightly more expensive than the public baths, and a good way to enjoy a relaxing soak before heading back to Tokyo.

With a simple map Hakone onsen are accessible to every traveler. Below is a short summary of the region’s best hot springs.

Yumoto, at the entrance to the Hakone area, is the region’s most famous hot spring. Yumoto has a long history, great waters, and a number of baths and inns to choose from. You may be tempted to stop here, but check your map Hakone hot springs abound further down the valley. The Tenzan onsen are a collection of pools mostly located outdoors. These public baths have a beautiful, Japanese style central bathhouse. Yu No Sato Okada onsen are mainly outdoor pools with nice views of the valley from the main bath house, but not from the pools themselves. Last on you map Hakone No Yu onsen have several pools (some with massage jets) are mainly outdoors but offer no view.

Hakone Gardens Saratoga California

Though a world away in terms of location, the Hakone Gardens Saratoga retain the contemplative and restorative nature of the Japan’s Hakone region. The oldest surviving Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere, the Hakone Gardens Saratoga were built as summer retreat by Oliver and Isabel Stine after Isabel returned home from Japan and decided to name the Gardens after one of her favorite places in Japan, the Fuji-Hakone Park.

So if you don’t have time to walk through the Hakone grass and marvel at the beauty of the real Hakone in Japan, you can wander through the lush gardens, bushy Hakone grass and listen to the waterfalls at the Hakone Gardens Saratoga.

Gero Onsen Japan

Gero Onsen

basic information
In the Edo period, Gero Onsen was referred to as one of Japan's three best onsen by the Confucian poet Hayashi Razan. While the town may now be quite a bit more urbanized than back then, the waters have retained that special quality, which has made them so famous.
Interestingly, the name Gero (lit. "lower bath") is pronounced the same as the slang term for "vomit". This hasn't hurt its popularity among Japanese tourists, however, with more than one million visitors every year who continue to rate it as one of the best hot spring resorts in Japan.
Gero is located between Nagoya and Takayama, about an hour south of Takayama. This makes it a convenient stopover, or an attractive alternative to stay during the Takayama Festival, when lodging is difficult to find in Takayama.

Onsen (hot springs) are what make Gero famous, and there are three public bath houses available in town. Also at the south end of the Gero Bridge is a large rotenburo (open-air bath) you can bath in for free; however, it has no facilities and is exposed to the bridge above.
There are also many baths located in the numerous ryokan in the Gero area, several of which are open to the public during certain times of the day.

A good way to sample some of these is to purchase a Yumeguri Tegata (spa pass), a wooden tablet that can be bought all around Gero, including the tourist office, ryokan, souvenir shops and convenience stores.

The Yumeguri Tegata gets you three visits to the baths of any of about thirty participating ryokan. It costs 1200 yen and is good for six months. It also makes a great souvenir.
Also dotted around the city are free footbaths where one can sit and relax after a hard day of walking.

Onsenji Temple

Onsenji Temple worships Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing, whose image is credited to restoring the flow of hot spring water to the town after it was stopped up by a large earthquake. Climb the stone staircase to the temple gate to get a view of the city and Hida River.

Located just above town is the Gassho Village (Gero Onsen Gassho Mura), an open air museum of gasshozukuri farmhouses, traditional steep roofed houses from the Shirakawago region. Here you can view the houses, see performances, or participate in traditional folk art. Also inside the Gassho Village complex is a komainu (shrine guard dog statue) museum.

Gassho Village Open Air Museum
Any advice or question? Voice them in the forum!

how to get there

By train
The one way journey from Nagoya to Gero takes about 90 minutes and costs around 4500 yen by JR Hida limited express. The Japan Rail Pass covers the entire journey. How to get to Nagoya.
From Takayama, you can reach Gero by limited express trains (45 minutes, approx. 2000 yen) or local trains (1 hour, 950 yen). How to get to Takayama.

By bus
The one way journey from Nagoya to Gero by bus takes 2.5 hours and costs 2000 yen, with a round trip ticket available for only 2800 yen. There are also two round trips per day between Tokyo (Keio Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal) and Gero. The one way trip takes 5.5 hours and costs 5700 yen. A round trip ticket costs 10000 yen.

Food and wine in Melbourne

Food and wine in Melbourne

Melbourne's melting pot of cultures is reflected in its microcosmos of restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. Fashionable, eclectic and eccentric – Melbourne’s dining spots offer a dizzying spread of the world’s great cuisines, serving meals from the substantial and classic to the truly exotic.
In the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea in the genteel surroundings of a nineteenth-century hotel, watch and be watched in buzzing laneway cafés and bars, or handpick a bottle of Yarra Valley chardonnay at the latest über-chic hangout. Head out a little further and explore one of Melbourne’s specialist eating destinations – Richmond for cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dishes, Carlton for Italian classics, Fitzroy for tantalising Spanish tapas.
Take the relaxed approach and stop at a Melbourne café institution for fine coffee and scrumptious snacks

Fine dining
Sometimes there's a need to splurge and Melbourne's selection of fine restaurants let you really go for it

More restaurants
There are more restaurants than days in the year in Melbourne. Find out where else to go when hunger hits

Pub grub
Turn a few drinks with friends into an eating experience with terrific pub grub prepared by chefs with flair

Sweet treats
Indulge sweet teeth in treats of all sorts from hand-crafted chocolates to jewel coloured lollies and drinking chocolate

Assemblee Nationale

Assemblee Nationale


The National Assembly or Congress known as the Bourbon Palace, was built by 4 different architects. Ordered by the Duchess of Bourbon daughter of Louis the XIVth and Madame de Montespan the first work began in 1722, by ,?Giraldini and was completed in 1728 by Lassurance, Gabriel and Aubert. Bought by Louis the XVth to ornate the Place de la Concorde it will later be joined by the Hotel de Lassay next door. Confiscated under the revolution it will be used as the meeting place of theCouncil of the Five Hundreds then to host the brand new Ecole Polytechnique from 1794 to 1804.

The frontage of the French Assembly, built by Poyet in 1804 and completed in 1807, matches the Madeleine church. The frontage of the courtyard opening on the other side is typically 19th century, with its vast colonnade framing high windows.
The National Assembly

Interior: the Royal Drawing room and the Library are decorated in the Romantic style, and hung with paintings by Delacroix. The aristocratic quarter built at the end of the "Ancien Regime" runs into Boulevard St.Germain .

The Surroundings

Do not leave until you have taken a look at some of the buildings, such as the number 78, rue de Lille, the Hotel de Beauharnais, with its Egyptian-style portico added in 1803, has beautiful Empire style interior decoration. Number 64, rue de Lille, the Hotel de Salm (1784), headquarter- of the Legion d'Honneur, shows the return to the Classical style towards the end of the 18th century - in its triumphal archway, and ionic porticoes. At the far end of the courtyard is a semi-circular pavillion with simple window decorations which make you forget the austerity of the neo-classical frontage.

Arch de Triomphe Paris

Arch de Triomphe Paris


From the Place de la Concorde all the way to the top of the Champs-Elysees, you will discover the Place de l'Etoile which is known today as the Place Charles de Gaulle. And, at this busy Place lies the Arc de Triomphe.


It was not until the year 1730, when five streets radiated out from this "Etoile de Chaillot".

And in 1758, after several plans were drawn up, such as a bizarre one in the midst of the square - a gigantic elephant housing ballrooms and a theater. However, the plans appeared a bit too ambitious. And, Napoleon Bonaparte had other ideas, he built a monument for the glorification of his Grande Armée, a triumphal arch in classical style - the Arc de Triomphe. The Arch was finished for the inauguration in 1836, during the reign of Louis Philippe. However, the rest of the "Place de L'Etoile" was not finished until 1854.Haussman, responsible for redesigning Paris (1853-1870), added another seven avenuesto the existing five ones of them stretching up to the boulevard called after him.

The Arc de Triomphe and its massive piers are decorated with bas reliefs depicting scenes trom the revolutionary era (including the First Empire). To the right on the side facing the Champs-Elysees is the Marseillaise by Rude (the departure of the volunteers to the front in 1792); to the left is Napoleon's Triumph of 1810 by Cortot. The resistance of 1814 and the Peace of 1815 are on the other side, modestly facing away from the city.

To get a closer look at the Arc de Triomphe, you can take an underpass on the Champs-Elysees or Avenue de la Grande Armee that leads you to the center of the plaza. Cultural centers, deluxe hotels and other activities that participate in the tradition and prestige of the Champs-Elysees are encouraged to return by the municipality.
Tourism destinations in Mumbai

Having a good time in Mumbai or Bombay is fairly easy simply because Mumbai has a lot to offer. There is also no major hindrance to finding your way around. English is commonly used and even an average man on the street can speak and understand it well enough to guide you. Some areas that are a must to experience include -
Marine Drive
Marine Drive - Eulogized by Bollywood, Marine Drive caresses the seashore from Nariman Point to the foot of the Malabar Hill. Passing Chowpatty Beach, Marine Drive is also famous as the Queen's Necklace. One of the busiest roads in Mumbai, it is also one of the breeziest due to its proximity to the sea.

Chowpatty Beach

Chowpatty Beach - Come August/September, Chowpatty Beach comes alive as the devout Hindu population of Mumbai comes thronging to its sands to immerse their larger than life idols of Ganesha and incur his blessings. On every other ordinary evening Chowpatty is where the common man comes to eat and be entertained. A gastronomic paradise of bhelpuri, a savory snack made from puffed rice with loads of onions, coriander, a medley of spices topped with sweet and sour tamarind sauce, chuski ice balls dipped in syrup, pao bhaji buttered buns served with a spicy potato side dish or pungent chutney sandwiches. Chowpatty is an experience that should not be missed.

Hanging Gardens

Hanging Gardens - Also known as the Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens, they are built over 3 reservoirs, which store billions of gallons of water for cleaning before they are pumped to the thirsty city of Mumbai. Colaba - The hub of tourist activity in Mumbai, Colaba is known for its street stalls, cafes and kitsch ambience. Colaba is also home to the most pocket friendly guesthouses and economy hotels.

Fort Bombay Stock Exchage

Fort - The Fort area in Mumbai is choc-a-bloc with old Victorian, Gothic buildings. An important financial and commercial center this area is always full of activity. The BSE or the Bombay Stock Exchange on Dalal Street is also located in this area. Avoid the Fort between 9.00 - 10.00 a.m. and 6.30 - 8.00 p.m. when the office traffic is at its peak.

Crawford Market

Crawford Market - With a 50 feet high sky lit awning, Crawford Market is the place to shop for a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and meat. It is famous for the frieze just above its main entry point that has been designed by Lockyard Kipling father of the famous author Rudyard Kipling. It depicts the rural Indian farmer amidst the wheat fields. The building is a blend of Flemish and Norman architecture. Named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of Bombay, the building, which was completed in 1869, was donated by Cowasji Jehangir to the city.

Te Urewera National Park

Feel the refreshing embrace of an ancient, mystical forest

New Zealand's fourth largest national park is the ancestral home of the enigmatic Tuhoe people. Legend traces the parentage of the Tuhoe to Hine Pukohurangi (the mist maiden) and Te Maunga (the mountain), which is why the Tuhoe are known as 'children of the mist'.

Looking like a landlocked fiord, Lake Waikaremoana is wilderness at its best
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Beautiful Lake Waikaremoana, the focus for many activities in the park, was formed about 2200 years ago by a colossal landslide that blocked the Waikaretaheke River. The lake is more than 250 metres deep in parts, and many visitors remark that it resembles a fiord. The track around the lake is one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks'.
Key Highlights
The Te Urewera National Park protects the largest area of native forest remaining in the North Island. The high, misty ridges are covered with silver and mountain beech. At lower levels, the forest is dominated by red beech, rimu, rata, tawa and kamahi. Nearly all of New Zealand's native birds live in the forest, including rare species such as the North Island brown kiwi, blue duck (whio), yellow-crowned parakeet (kakariki), bush parrot (kaka), New Zealand falcon (karearea) and the blue-wattled kokako.
For hikers, kayakers and fly-fishing enthusiasts, the park's main attraction is Lake Waikaremoana. From the visitor centre at Aniwaniwa, short and long walks provide access to the lake's spectacular scenery and legendary fishing spots. In a small basin above the big lake is island-dotted Lake Waikareiti, a haven for native aquatic life.
In the park

With any luck, you'll meet kaka in the forest.
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There is a fully serviced motor camp beside Lake Waikaremoana, as well as several more basic camping areas. Around the Waikaremoana Track, the Department of Conservation provides a series of 'Great Walk' hikers' huts. In other parts of the park, there are more than 40 DOC huts - some 'Basic', some 'Standard'.
Around the park
A variety of accommodation can be found in Wairoa, the town closest to the Te Urewera National Park. Between Wairoa and Lake Waikaremoana there are several B & Bs and homestays.
Key Activities
Short and long walks
The park has an extensive track system, including the 3-day Lake Waikaremoana Track which leads around the western lake edge, climbing onto the crest of the Panekiri Range before dropping to the shoreline. Six shorter walks begin close to the Aniwaniwa visitors' centre - they range from a 20 minute stroll to Aniwaniwa Falls to the challenging six hour Ruapani Circuit. A choice of other short walks can be found near the motor camp.
Boating and fly fishing
Brown and rainbow trout are found in Lake Waikaremoana, and fishing licenses can be bought from the motor camp store. Kayaks and canoes are available for hire. At Lake Waikareiti, the Department of Conservation has a number of rowboats for hire.
Guided red deer, wild pig, goat and other types of game shooting can be organised at Lake Waikaremoana. Responsible hunting is encouraged, as a way to control introduced animals.

Honeymoon in Mumbai

Honeymoon in Mumbai

Things to do in and around Mumbai for a honeymoon couple.A honeymoon is the time when two individuals begin their journey of togetherness. It is a time which people say never comes back. Mumbai or Bombay offers plenty of opportunities for togetherness. Though it may not be the typical honeymoon destination, Mumbai is an option that handsomely rewards exploration. Hitch a ferry from Gorai beach and head on over to Essel World, in its famous water park you can have tons of fun and romance your beloved at the same time. Or hold hands tightly and enjoy the roller coaster rides. It's an experience that will get you closer, literally. Make a wish for a prosperous and happy married life at the Siddhi Vinayak Temple or the Haji Ali Mosque. Share a spicy bhelpuri at Chowpatty. Enjoy the view of the majestic Gateway of India from the top floor of the Apollo Bar at the Taj Mahal Hotel or sip coffee and sample the flavoured hookahs at Mocha. If you want some peace and quiet from the hustle and bustle of the city visit Matheran 50 kms east of Mumbai. The views from Matheran are fabulous especially at sunset and you can take a romantic walk hand in hand down the numerous walking tracks. The most enjoyable aspect of Matheran is getting there. The only way is to take a toy train from Neral Junction to the heart of the hill station. The two hour ascent and 90 minute descent is an amazing experience especially as the train passes through the "1 kiss tunnel". Another great day trip is to the Elephanta Islands 10 km northeast of the Gateway of India. Elephanta is easily reached by boats, which run every hour till early afternoon, daily from Apollo Bunder. The beautiful rock cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are best visited on a weekday instead of the weekend. All in all a honeymoon in Mumbai will provide you a lifetime of happy memories.

Holiday in Mumbai

Mumbai or Bombay mostly attracts the business traveler or people in transit either to catch a connecting international or domestic flight or midway to Goa. However for those who give Mumbai a chance, the city does not disappoint. Being very well connected by air, rail and road, getting to Mumbai is easy for more details refer to How to reach Mumbai. Mumbai also provides a variety of accommodation options from 5 star hotels to budget hotels and guesthouses.It is a sensible idea to make reservations in advance as Mumbai, being a financial and commercial hub, receives a large number of visitors every year. Once you reach and are settled in, begin your journey to explore the city that is Mumbai. Check out the Malabar Hills, the Hanging Gardens, the Prince of Wales Museum and the Gateway of India. For the mandatory shopping spree you must try Linking Road for footwear and bags, Colaba Causeway for trinkets and hippie gear, Fashion Street for the latest designs at rock bottom prices and Crawford Market to experience the sheer chaos of a meat, vegetable and fruit market. Don't miss Chor Bazaar or thieves market, where it is jokingly said that what you buy may have once been owned by you! Here you can find all sorts of stuff from electronics to porcelain, thought the authenticity is questionable.Mumbai offers a truly gastronomic experience because cuisines from all over the world may be found here. All the 5 star hotels offer great meals in their fabled restaurants some which have become legends over the years. New ventures like Olive offer world class Mediterranean cuisine and coffee bars like Mocha offer a wide range of coffees to make for a truly international coffee experience. However it is the lounge culture which is the most happening in Mumbai. Chateau Indage and Athena, two well-known lounge bars are a must visit.To digest your dinner take a stroll down Marine Drive. The promenade flanked by the crashing sea makes this one of the cooler and breezier parts of Mumbai, particularly late at night. For the religiously inclined, a visit to the Siddhi Vinayak Temple dedicated to the Elephant God-Ganesha and Haji Ali Mosque are your best bets. Most temples and mosques in India do not permit shoes inside their main premises so please remove them before venturing inside. It is also a good idea for the women to cover their heads merely as a mark of respect for local customs and traditions. Avoid giving money to the beggars around as this usually certifies you as an easy target and hundreds more will hound you.As such Mumbai offers an eclectic mix of the traditional and the modern and offers a unique vacation experience, which you will cherish for a lifetime.

Parks & Beaches Guide

Parks & Beaches Guide

With the hot summer temperatures in Hilton Beach, you're going to have to go swimming sometime. There are three public beaches in the vicinity of Hilton Beach - Forbes Park, which is in the Village; Big Point Park, which is in Hilton Township; and Twin Lakes Park, which is on a warm inland lake in Hilton Township.Other parks and beaches dot the shoreline of St. Joseph Island, including Beech Beach, Stribling Point Park, and the Women's Institute Park in Richards Landing.

A scenic one-mile-long boardwalk runs along the waterfront of Hilton Beach, starting at the marina and ending at Forbes Park. With weeping willow trees and memorial fruit trees following alongside the path, it makes for a pleasant walk any time of the day.

Forbes Community ParkThis sand beach features numerous picnic tables, a buoyed swimming area and a raft from which swimmers can dive off. Public washrooms, changerooms and playground equipment make this a pleasant destination for an afternoon getaway. The Hilton Beach boardwalk runs through the length of this park.Big Point ParkThis sand beach features picnic tables, washrooms and playground equipment. Bring your camera -- majestic cranes like to walk amongst the reeds on shore. Twin Lakes ParkOn the warm inland Twin Lakes, this sand beach features picnic tables, playground equipment, washrooms and changerooms, as well as a pavillion structure for get-togethers with family and friends!

Community Hall Lions' ParkSwings, a slide and a baseball field are in behind the Hilton Beach Community Hall. Marina/Cenotaph ParkWhile the marina shoreline is a virtual park with its boardwalk, flowering trees and many picnic tables, a playground exists near the war memorial cenotaph. A variety of playground equipment is available for children to play on, within view of the deck at the Tilt'n Hilton restaurant.

Hilton Beach Marina

Hilton Beach Marina

Hilton Beach is located on the northeast coast of St. Joseph Island and is the major port of call in the western North Channel.Hilton Beach is about 1.5 miles south of the usual sailing track at the east end of the St. Joseph Channel and the approaches are clear whether coming from northwest, north or northeast. A white obelisk war memorial immediately northwest of the dock is prominent from the channel. The entrance is marked by a flashing red light (List Light 1052) and a port hand black day mark.

The fishing/viewing pier (Aug 05)

The Hilton Beach Marina is one of the largest and most modern ports on the North Channel. A high percentage of the 180 slips are for transient guests, and an 8 foot minimum depth is maintained at all slips.Each boater is provided with a 30 amp or 20 amp electrical hookup, a potable water hookup, and 24-hour access to the modern marina building. This facility provides shower, washroom and laundry facilities, daily weather reports, telephone access and wireless Internet access, all included with dockage.

The Coureurs de Bois await the Madeline's arrival (Aug 05)

Competitively priced gas and diesel are available, as well as the Aqua Genic automatic pump-out service, and a mast-hoist pole. A pressure washer is available to boaters who like to keep their hulls clean.

Marina staff are happy to provide assistance with your arrival and departure, and are prepared to provide tourist information to newcomers. Concierge service is available to assist with local and regional excursions whether it's biking, kayaking, a fishing charter, a relaxing massage or a game of golf at Island Springs. A shuttle can be arranged to the golf resort, which is only 10 minutes away.

The tall ship Madeline visits Hilton Beach (Aug 05)

The marina is a secure, park-like environment with a scenic one-mile-long boardwalk and many picnic tables and fragrant flowering crab apple trees. It is a short walking distance to restaurants, gift shops, a general store, a library, a post office, a tourist park, a sand beach, a computer lab and numerous other shops and services.

The Lone Ranger, America's 5th Largest Mega-yachtanchors in front of Hilton Beach (Jul 03)

Hilton Beach is a destination in itself, with many international visitors every summer coming to experience the many annual cultural events. It is an excellent port from which you can explore the beautiful St. Joseph Channel, which has many high rock walls, secret coves, lighthouses and large waterfront cottages.Next time you're boating the Great Lakes, make a stop by the Hilton Beach Marina and see why they call it the prettiest harbour on the Great Lakes!

Boating Guide

Boating Guide

At the hub of the Great Lakes, the north channel of Lake Huron has been described as one of the best boating regions on the planet.

The body of water Hilton Beach overlooks is known as the St. Joseph Channel. It is wide open water, but still sheltered from the large waves. A good, constant sailing wind is common.
With several islands, bays, high rock walls, hidden coves and large cottages along the shore, the Channel is a very scenic boating destination whether you're powered by wind, motor or paddle.
A number of buoys, lighthouses, marks and signal lights make the channel easily navigable for most types of watercraft. Mega-yachts measuring over 250 feet long have anchored at Hilton Beach in the past.

Hilton Beach is about 1.5 miles south of the usual sailing track at the east end of the St. Joseph Channel and the approaches are clear whether coming from northwest, north or northeast. A white obelisk war memorial immediately northwest of the dock is prominent from the channel. The entrance is marked by a flashing red light (List Light 1052) and a port hand black day mark.

The Hilton Beach Marina is a full-service facility, featuring over 180 slips with at least 70 available to transient boaters. An 8 foot minimum depth is maintained at all docks, and yachts up to 75 feet long can be easily accommodated. Thirty amp and twenty amp electrical service and potable water hookups are available at every slip.

The Marina features a clean, modern service building, with shower, washroom and laundry facilities, competitively priced gas and diesel, and the Aqua Genic automatic pump-out service for boats.

It's a secure, park-like environment with a scenic boardwalk following the shore, scattered with picnic tables and flowering crabapple trees. The eastern breakwall features a foot bridge and a scenic fishing/viewing pier from which you can view the entire marina and waterfront.
Marina staff are helpful and courteous, and can provide tourist information and a concierge service to visiting boaters. Staff can also arrange an on-site repair service for boaters in the event of a breakdown.

Bratang Floral Market Tourism and Fauna in Surabaya

Initially, Flower Market Bratang in a piece of farm form, which is the alternative of choice of five-flower merchant that coming from Kayun/Kayoon Flower Market. They must move because their reason is less the farm broadness. Grow since year 1990-an across every alley with floor paving block as wide as less than 1 meter. The typical aroma of some flower is smell by the friendliness smiling of the flower merchants. It is for 2400 m2 farm precise in west side of Bratang Market, the merchants arrange interest ornamental plant and also leaf elegantly, clean and respected. More than 200 stands that owned by 65 merchants of vary size but generally fairish 3x4 meter.
Usually in the weekend, Saturday and Sunday car parking in Bratang market yard which now change its name become Bratang Floral Market Tourism and Fauna has align.
Now that flower market has been regular, its hygiene is still awake. It is really in pleasure just for who reside there, because as far as we look into it’s only seen the leaf green and variegation of flowers. The service and the friendly is the typical of Bratang Flower Market. The comfortable of buyer is a real main thing that paid attention by the merchants. It is expected that the visitors are feel balmy and happy during they stay there.
Bratang Flower Market opens during 24 hours one day, although some merchants something has been closing. This location is very strategic market place because it resides near to the city transport of Bratang terminal. In the north side there is Nursery and Manyar Megah Indah Shops as commercial area. The goods transportation owner like Mitsubishi L-300 pick-up that rented also had resided in this market.