Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Magnificent Beauty of Nature’s Landscapes


Isn’t it amazing how two or more places on this single Earth can be so incredibly different? Cliffs, deserts, oceans, meadows, mountains, and gently rolling hills — they couldn’t look more different, but each showcases a kind of beauty all its own. If you’re a fan of the handiwork of Mother Nature, and you’d like to get a glimpse of the diversity of the world, check out this photostream featuring gorgeous landscape photography.



Top Ten Places to Live in the World

There are many factors that make the place we live the place we love to call home. Environment, weather, history, politics, economy, infrastructure, social climate, and entertainment all play a part. When choosing a place to live, your decision should be based on what issues are important to you. Finding the right combination of features is the key to loving where you live.

Healthcare and Tolerance – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Meuse River, The Netherlands

Meuse River, The Netherlands
In 2009 the Netherlands was named as having the best healthcare system in Europe by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Six criterion examined were patient rights and information, e-health, waiting times for treatment, outcomes, range and reach of services provided and pharmaceuticals. The Netherlands is additionally praised for its minimal bureaucracy and patient empowerment.
The Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, has become infamous for its tolerance of the taboo. The Dutch believe that people should make moral decisions with little interference from government. Marijuana is legal. Tattoo parlors, sex shops, and the red light district draw tourists. Hostels are packed during the peak summer season.

The Seven Nearly-Wonders Of The World

Angel Falls

For those who have an interest in facts and information, the seven Wonders of the World will be very familiar.  These main seven wonders, however, are only of the ancient world and there are actually many different groups, depending on whether, for example, they are man made, natural or industrial.The seven wonders included here are popular choices in their own categories and are considered by some to make an ideal definitive seven Wonders of the World list themselves.

Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world and is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canaima National Park in Venezeula.
With a drop of 2,647 feet and a total height of 3,212 feet, it stands well over 700 feet taller than Niagra Falls, arguably the most popular water fall in the world.


Located just 25 miles of the modern day Mexico City, Teotihuacán is regarded as one of the largest archaeological sites in the Americas.
From pyramidal buildings to towering a citadel, Teotihuacán is a beautiful area of the world that is steeped in interesting and to an extent unexplained, history.

Kamchatka Showplaces

The Kamchatka Peninsula is a 1,250-kilometre (780 mi) peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi).[1] It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west.[2] Immediately offshore along the Pacific coast of the peninsula runs the 10,500-metre (34,400 ft) deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.

The Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands, and Karaginsky Island constitute the Kamchatka Krai of the Russian Federation. The vast majority of the 322,079 inhabitants are Russians, but there are also about 8,743 Koryaks (2002). More than half of the population lives in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (179,526 people in 2010) and nearby Yelizovo (38,980).

The Kamchatka peninsula contains the volcanoes of Kamchatka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kamchatka receives up to 2,700 mm (110 in) of precipitation per year. The summers are moderately cool, and the winters tend to be rather stormy with rare amounts of lightning.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Touring notes: Guatemala (Videos)

Guatemala (meaning the Land of Many Trees) is a very attractive touring destination. It has about the same area (100,000 km2) and population (11,000,000) as Portugal.
It offers the highest mountains and volcanoes in Central America; the most amazing and numerous archaeogical wonders in Central America; friendly people - the largest population of native Americans outside Perú, many still wearing traditional native costume and speaking native languages;

Colourful markets; an extraordinary variety of scenery - highland pine forests, untouched lowland rain-forests with extensive wildlife and great stands of desert cactus; a spring-like climate in the highlands; hot springs; etc.

In fact it has everything and more than the rest of Central America put together, apart from beaches and coral reefs. Moreover, with the application of a little common sense, the tourist need expose himself to no worse a security risk than many European touring destinations.

Welcome to Guatemala (Video)

Guatemalais a country in the Central America region of North America. It has borders to Mexico in the north/northwest, to Belize in the northeast, to Honduras in the southeast, to El Salvador in the south. It has a Pacific coastline to the southwest, and a tiny piece of Caribbean coastline to the east.

Guatemala has a rich and distinctive culture from the long mix of elements from Spain and the native Maya people. This diverse history and the natural beauty of the land have created a destination rich in interesting and scenic sites.

The first evidence of human settlers in Guatemala goes back to at least 12,000 BC. Sites dating back to 6500 BC have been found in Quiché in the Central Highlands and Sipacate, Escuintla on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide the pre-Columbian history of Mesoamerica into the Pre-Classic period (2000 BC to 250 AD).

El Mirador was by far the most populated city in pre-Columbian America. Both the El Tigre and Monos pyramids encompass a volume greater than 250,000 cubic meters. Mirador was the first politically organized state in America.

The Classic period of Mesoamerican civilization corresponds to the height of the Maya civilization, and is represented by countless sites throughout Guatemala, although the largest concentration is in Petén.
This period is characterized by heavy city-building, the development of independent city-states, and contact with other Mesoamerican cultures. This lasted until around 900 AD, when the Classic Maya civilization collapsed.

The Maya abandoned many of the cities of the central lowlands or were killed off by a drought-induced famine. The Post-Classic period is represented by regional kingdoms such as the Itzá and Ko'woj in the lakes area in Petén, and the Mam, Ki'ch'es, Kack'chiquel, Tz'utuh'il, Pokom'chí, Kek'chi and Chortí in the Highlands. These cities preserved many aspects of Mayan culture, but would never equal the size or power of the Classic cities.

Semuc Champey, Guatemala (Video)

 Semuc Champey is a natural monument in the department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, near the Q'eqchi' Maya town of Lanquín.
It consists of a natural 300 m limestone bridge, under which passes the Cahabòn River.

Atop the bridge is a series of stepped, turquoise pools, a popular swimming attraction.
Although it can be difficult to get to, Semuc is becoming more and more popular with travelers

50 Incredible Pictures (Video)

Lago di Toblino by Giancarlo Giupponi Trentino

Trentino, My Region by Giancarlo Giupponi Trentino (Slideshow)

2012 Thunder Over Utah Air Show (Videos)

 U.S.N. Blue Angels

Kelimutu Lakes, Indonesia

The Kelimutu National Park in Flores island in the NTT province of Indonesia, features a 3 colored crater lake that changes color rather often.

At the time of the nation's independence (1945), the three lakes were white, red, and blue in color. Now, they are black, brown, and green.

The lakes are separated by a very thin and steep cliff of rock that is rich in minerals, and the whole national park is full of exotic biodiversity nestled in a very natural rainforest setting.

Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a perforated stupa.

Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty, the temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects India's influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage.

The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument and ascends to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology: Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). The monument guides pilgrims through an extensive system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the walls and the balustrades.

World’s Largest Aquarium – Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium, located in Atlanta, Georgia at Pemberton Place, is billed as the “world’s largest aquarium” with more than 8.1 million US gallons (31,000 m³) of marine and fresh water housing more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species.

The aquarium’s notable specimens include four young whale sharks, three beluga whales and two manta rays. Funded mostly by a $250 million donation from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, the aquarium was built on a 20 acre (81,000 m²) site north of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Marcus credited his 60th birthday dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1990 as among the inspirations behind his desire to build an aquarium in Atlanta.

In November 2001, Bernard Marcus announced his idea to build an aquarium as a present to Atlanta, Georgia that would encourage both education and economic growth. Marcus and his wife Billi visited 56 aquariums in 13 countries to research and design a structure, and finally donated $250 million toward Georgia Aquarium’s construction. An additional $40 million dollars in financial contributions was donated by major corporations including the Coca-Cola Company, Turner Broadcasting, Home Depot, UPS, AirTran Airways, BellSouth, Georgia Pacific, Time Warner, SunTrust and Southern Company. The corporate donations allowed the aquarium to open debt free.

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