All posts filed under: World Heritage Site

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Galata Bridge

If you’d like to experience another texture of Istanbul other than its beautiful mosques, the Galata Bridge is just a few blocks away from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Apart from its historical significance, it has now taken a whole new cultural importance in the Istanbul landscape. For instance, foodies that we are, we went to the area for the famous fishing boats and the fish sandwiches. My boyfriend is not a fish person but I am, so this was totally my thing — we had to see the decorated boats under the bridge and I had to taste the much-talked about sandwiches.   The area is great overall if you like experiencing more of the street food scene. There were also a lot of locals, and it was nice to see the fishermen across the bridge. I liked the sandwich, it tasted like a smoked fish I ate growing up, with a vinegar taste. It was just a little more chaotic for my migraine. One warning, if you are to go: do not …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Ephesus

I am learning as I see more of the world how much I don’t know. I have never heard of Ephesus before the second quarter of last year. Ancient Rome, yes. Athens, yes. Ephesus was an alien concept, and it blew my boyfriend and I away as our tour guide started walking us through the ancient ruins, and telling us the story of the site that doesn’t get as much credit as the Acropolis or Rome. Which also proved how much we know about history and the ancient wonders of the world, since we learned that one of them, the Temple of Artemis, is in Ephesus. As we started the tour, what was most interesting is that the excavation isn’t done yet. Only about 15% is done, which means there is so much we have yet to learn about our history. Pottery, Lunch and Rugs. After the tour, our guide asked us if we would like to pass by a place where they make pottery. We had time, so we said yes, and it turned …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Chateau De Versailles

What do you value, work hard for? If you were to become extremely wealthy and powerful, what would you do with the riches and power you’ve suddenly come across? I was thinking about the word “extravagance” as our Contiki tour group was going through Chateau de Versailles, a nearby suburb of Paris.   Historically, the palace was a symbol of absolute political power for the royal family starting in the reign of Louis XIV. It has now become a symbol of status and wealth. It was interesting to see how royals lived and learn how the palace is still being used in modern times for dignitaries. It was also interesting reflecting and asking oneself, would you want something like this as a lifestyle? Or, would you be happier with the simple joys of life — perhaps with sporadic stays at royal palace-like places every now and then — surrounded with fulfillment, or at least with the search for it? But then again maybe daydreaming of a royal lifestyle while at Versailles is inevitable, and the …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has always been on my bucket list, and when we went on our Mediterranean cruise last year, I finally had the opportunity to see the famous destination. We did our research prior to traveling and learned that Pisa is far from the port. This is the reason we decided that this time around instead of taking local modes of transportation on our own like what we did the rest of the stops, we would try one of the tours offered by the cruise line. The tour bus was crowded as expected, but the most unfortunate thing about this is that you don’t own your time. At one point we had to wait for our tour guide for an hour, time that we could have used exploring the area. In addition, not everyone on the tour came back on the time specified which caused a lot of delays. We later found out through experience that if we would have paid for a private tour, it would have cost us less than …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Notre Dame de Paris

“He therefore turned to mankind with only regret. His cathedral was enough for him…The saints were his friends, and blessed him; the monsters were his friends, and guarded him.” – Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame I remember seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame with my best friend from high school. I don’t recall a lot about the movie. At the time, I knew we were curious about the adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. It was not until my Contiki trip years after, looking up at Notre Dame itself, that I remembered the film and the book again, which was written to call attention to the importance of the cathedral as it has, throughout history, undergone a lot of destruction.   Notre Dame’s external facade, although not as elaborate as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, is definitely something to see. Depending on which side you are looking at, you would see something different. Its famous gargoyles and smaller statues, which I learned were added to serve as water sprouts and for support, were very detailed. …

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia: a Testament of Vision

Vision — I don’t think I truly took to heart what this word really meant until I encountered the works of Antoni Gaudi. When we got to Barcelona, we were almost at the end of a two-week trip that has brought us to many breathtaking churches, but Sagrada Familia was different. On our way to our hotel, the taxi driver gave us helpful tips about the area, including going to the basilica early to beat the crowd. What we wished we knew, and a good travel tip, was that you can also pre-order your tickets online and get on a shorter queue (tickets can be ordered online by clicking here). The lines were long but were moving pretty quickly, and the weather was comfortable (we were there in May). Construction of the Sagrada Familia started in 1882, and is still being worked on until now, following the vision of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The basilica (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família) is unique in the use of both religious symbolism and Gaudi’s known …

The Colosseum By Day and Night

I have decided to dedicate Tuesdays* to World Heritage Sites, places listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as those that have special significance, whether physical or cultural in nature. One of the most memorable I have visited so far being the Historic Center of Rome, which of course includes the Colosseum. It was a long train ride from the cruise ship to Rome, and the train was full of tourists. We saved a lot of money for not taking a cab, but if you are claustrophobic, I would not recommend this option. When we got to our stop, we walked to our destination. We had a full day planned in Rome — my loving boyfriend, a.k.a. Mr. Navigator and super planner mapped out all our destinations, including points of interest along our walking path. It was definitely a great way to see a city like Rome if you don’t mind walking, as you would see a lot of old, scenic streets and avoid crowded commuter trains. The Colosseum, which is …