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Monday, November 30, 2009

Angel Falls in Venezuela

Angel Falls is one of the top tourist place which is known for world’s highest waterfalls. The height of waterfalls is 979 m / 3,212 ft and a thrust of 807 m / 2,647 ft. It is located in the Canaima National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State in Venezuela.
The altitude of the falls is small that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is atomized by strong winds and changed into mist. The mist can be felt a mile away. The bottom of the falls feeds into the Kerep River which is also called as Rio Gauya which flows into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River.

Angel Falls is called Kerepakupai meru in the native Pemon language meaning "waterfall of the deepest place". The falls are sometimes referred to as Churun-meru, an error which is the name of another waterfall in the Canaima National Park. Churun in the Pemon language means "thunder".

Sir Walter Raleigh described what a tepuy or table top mountain was, and he is discovered Angel Falls, but these claims are considered "far-fetched". They were spotted in 1912 by the Venezuelan explorer Ernesto Sanchez La Cruz, but he did not publicize his discovery. They were not known to the outside world until American aviator Jimmie Angel flew over them on 16 November 1933 on a flight while he was searching for a valuable ore bed.

Returning on October 9, 1937, Angel tried to land his Flamingo monoplane "El Rio Caroni" atop Auyan-tepui, but the plane was got stuck and he wasn't able to take off. Angel and his three companions his wife, Mr. Henry, and Henry's gardener were descend the tepui on foot. It took them 11 days to make their way back to civilization, but news of their adventure spread, and waterfall was named "Angel Falls" in his honor. Angel's plane remained on top of the tepuy for 33 years before being lifted out by helicopter. It was restored at the Aviation Museum in Maracay and now sits outdoors on the front of the airport at Ciudad Bolivar.

A trip to the Angel Falls is not a simple affair. The falls are located in an isolated jungle region of Venezuela, and a flight from Caracas or Ciudad Bolivar is required to reach Canaima camp which is the starting point of river trips to the base of the falls.

It is probable to buy a package that includes an aerial flyby of the falls. The falls cannot be seen on cloudy days, and there is no guarantee visitors will see them. River trips generally take place from June to December, when the rivers are deep enough for the wooden curiaras used by the Pemon Indian guides. During the dry season December to March there is less water seen than in the other months.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Colosseum in the city of Rome

The Colosseum is the famous tourist spot in the center of the city of Rome in Italy visited by millions of visitors annually. It is also called as Roman Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre which is derived from Latin word Amphitheatrum Flavium. It is an elliptical amphitheatre which is the largest ever built in Roman Empire and greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.
The Colosseum a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitians reign on 81–96. The name "Amphitheatrum Flavium" derives from both Vespasians and Titus family name Flavius, from the gens Flavia. The building was remodeled further under Vespasian's younger son, the newly designated Emperor Domitian, who constructed the hypogeum, a series of underground tunnels used to house animals and slaves. He also added a gallery to the top of the Colosseum to increase its seating capacity.

The hypogeum was connected by underground tunnels to a number of points outside the Colosseum. Animals and performers were brought through the tunnel from nearby stables, with the gladiators' barracks at the Ludus Magnus to the east also being connected by tunnels. Separate tunnels were provided for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins to permit them to enter and exit the Colosseum without needing to pass through the crowds.

The Colosseum is an entirely free-standing structure. It derives exterior and interior architecture from two Roman theatres back to back which is elliptical in plan and is 189 meters / 615 ft / 640 Roman feet long and 156 meters / 510 ft / 528 Roman feet wide, with a base area of 6 acres / 24,000 m2. The height of the outer wall is 48 meters / 157 ft / 165 Roman feet. The perimeter originally measured 545 meters / 1,788 ft / 1,835 Roman feet. The central arena is an oval 287 ft long and 180 ft wide, surrounded by a wall 15 ft high, above which rose tiers of seating. The outer wall is estimated to have required over 100,000 cubic meters / 131,000 cu yd of travertine stone which were set without mortar held together by 300 tons of iron clamps.
The Colosseum is Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine. It has been estimated that about 500,000 people and over a million wild animals died in the Colosseum games.

In 21st century it resides partially ruined because of break caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers. The Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and its breakthrough achievements in earthquake engineering. It has close connections with Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts around the Colosseum. The Colosseum is also represented on the Italian version of five-cent euro coin.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Festspielhaus an opera house in Bayreuth

The Bayreuth Festspielhaus is an opera house north of Bayreuth in Germany. It is also called as Bayreuth Festival Theater which is dedicated to the performance of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner. It is the special venue for the annual Bayreuth Festival, for which it was specifically conceived and built.

FestspielhausThe plan was done by Wagner, without the architect's permission, from an unrealised project by Gottfried Semper for an opera house in Munich, and built under Wagner's supervision. Its construction was funded principally by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The foundation stone was laid on 22 May 1872 which is Wagner's birthday. The building was first opened for the premiere of complete four-opera cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen means The Ring of the Nibelung, from August 13, 1876 to August 17, 1876.

Festspielhaus TheaterOnly the entry facade exhibits the typical late-19th-century decoration, while the remainder of the exterior is modest and shows mostly undecorated brick stone. The interior is mainly wood, which contributes to the excellent acoustics. Unlike the traditional opera house design with several tiers of seating in a horse-shoe shaped auditorium. The seats are arranged in a single steeply-shaped wedge, with no galleries or boxes and capacity is 1,925.

The most eminent and important aspect of the Festspielhaus is its extraordinary orchestra pit. It is recessed under the stage and covered by hood so that the orchestra is invisible to audience. This feature was concern for Wagner since it made the audience focus on drama onstage rather than the action of conductor and musicians. The design also corrected the stability of volume between singers and orchestra, making perfect acoustics for Wagner's operas, which are the only operas performed at Festspielhaus. This arrangement has also made it most challenging for the worlds best conductors.

The Festspielhaus also features a dual proscenium, which gives audience the illusion that stage is further away. The dual proscenium and the recessed orchestra pit create, in Wagner's term a "mystic gulf" between audience and stage. This gives a dreamlike character to performances and provides a physical reinforcement of the mythic content of most of Wagners operas.

The Festspielhaus remains the venue of the annual Bayreuth Festival, during which Wagner's operas, such as the Ring cycle and Parsifal, are given on a repertory basis.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Antelope Canyon in Arizona

Antelope Canyon is one of the most-visited and snapped slot canyons in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page in Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or Crack and Lower Antelope Canyon or Corkscrew.

Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, due to flash flooding and other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater runs into extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways are eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic 'flowing' shapes in the rock.

The name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." It is the most frequently visited by tourists, due to two reasons. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, no need to climb. Second direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon is much more common in Upper than in Lower. Sunlight beams occur most often in the summer months.

Lower Antelope Canyon, called Hasdeztwazi, or "spiral rock arches" by the Navajo, is located a few kilometers away. Prior to the fitting of metal stairways, visiting the canyon required climbing along ladders in certain areas. After fitting of stairways, it is more difficult hike than Upper Antelope it is longer, narrower in spots, and even footing is not available in all areas. At the end, the climb out requires several flights of stairs.

Antelope Canyon is a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation. It has been accessible by permit only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park. Photography within the canyons is difficult due to the wide exposure range made by light reflecting off the canyon walls.

Despite these limitations, Lower Antelope Canyon draws a considerable number of photographers, though casual sightseers are much less common there than in Upper. The lower canyon is in the shape of a "V" and shallower than the Upper Antelope. Lighting is better in the early hours and late afternoon.

Antelope Canyon is visited through guided tours, because rains during monsoon season can rapidly flood the canyon. On August 12, 1997, eleven tourists, including seven from France, one from the United Kingdom, one from Sweden and two from the United States, were killed in Lower Antelope Canyon by a flash flood. The lone survivor of the flood was tour guide Francisco "Poncho" Quintana, who had prior swift-water training. At the time, the ladder system consisted of amateur-built wood ladders that were swept away by the flash flood. At the fee booth, a NOAA Weather Radio from the National Weather Service and an alarm horn are stationed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an iconic symbol of London which is close to the Tower of London, which gives the name of the bridge. Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames.

The bridge consists of two towers which are tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways which are designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower.

The bridge is 800 feet/244 m in length with two towers each 213 feet/65 m high, built on docks. The central span of 200 feet/61 m between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 83 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimize the force required and allow rising in five minutes.

The two side-spans are suspension bridges, each 270 feet/82 m long, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways. The pedestrian walkways are 143 feet/44 m above the river at high tide.

Tower Bridge is still a busy and vital crossing of the Thames and it is crossed by over 40,000 motorists and pedestrians every day. The bridge is on the London Inner Ring Road, and is on the eastern boundary of the London congestion charge zone. In order to maintain the integrity of the historic structure, the City of London Corporation has imposed a 20 mph or 32 km/h speed restriction, and an 18-tonne weight limit on vehicles using the bridge.

The bascules are raised around 1000 times a year. River traffic is now much reduced, but it still takes priority over road traffic. Today, 24 hours' notice is required before opening the bridge. A computer system was installed in 2000 to control the raising and lowering of the bascules remotely. Unfortunately it proved less reliable than desired, resulting in the bridge being stuck in the open or closed positions on several occasions during 2005, until its sensors were replaced.

Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is actually the next bridge upstream. The nearest London Underground station is Tower Hill on the Circle and District Lines. The nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the biggest mountain in Japan. The height of the mountain is 3,776 m/12,388 ft. Along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku it is one of Japans "Three Holy Mountains". Mount Fuji is west of Tokyo, and can be seen on a clear day. Mount Fuji is a symmetrical cone well-known symbol of Japan and is frequently depicted in art and photographs, and it is visited by sightseers and climbers.

Mount Fuji is a beautiful volcanic cone and a subject of Japanese art. It is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu, west of Tokyo. It spans the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi region. Three small cities surrounding the mountain is Gotemba on south, Fujiyoshida on north, and Fujinomiya on southwest. It is also surrounded by five lakes Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. These lakes and nearby Lake Ashi, provide excellent views of the mountain. The mountain is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

The climate is very cold due to the altitude, and the cone is covered by snow for several months of the year. The lowest recorded temperature is −38.0 °C while on June 2008 the highest temperature was recorded at 17.8 °C.

The forest at the base of the mountain is named Aokigahara. Folk tales and legends tell of demons, ghosts, and goblins haunting the forest. Aokigahara is world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Approximately 30 suicides have been counted yearly. Due to dense forest and rugged inaccessibility, the forest has also attracted thrill seekers.

An estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, 30% of them are foreigners. The most popular period for people to hike up Mt. Fuji is from 1 July to 27 August, huts and other facilities are operating at that time. Some climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises.

There are four major routes from the fifth station to the summit with an additional four routes from the foot of the mountain. The major routes from the fifth station are Kawaguchiko, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The routes from the foot of the mountain are Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The stations on different routes are at different elevations. The highest fifth station is located at Fujinomiya, followed by Kawaguchi, Subashiri, and Gotemba.

The Kawaguchiko route is the most popular route because of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a hiker can relax. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there. The next popular is the Fujinomiya route which has the highest fifth station, followed by Subashiri and Gotemba. Switchbacks and retaining walls along the trail reduce erosion from the large number of climbers.

Paragliders take off in the vicinity of the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and Hōei-zan peak on the south side from the Mountain, in addition to several other locations depending on wind direction. Several paragliding schools use the wide sandy/grassy slope between Gotenba and Subashiri parking lots as a training hill.

The closest airport with scheduled international service is Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport. It opened in June 2009. It is about 80 kms/50 mi from Mt. Fuji. The major international airports serving Tokyo, Tokyo International Airport/Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Narita International Airport in Chiba, are some hours from Mount Fuji. Buses to the fifth station start running on 1 July.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Singapore River

The Singapore River is the most famous river and one of the 90 rivers in Singapore with historical importance. The Singapore River runs from Central Area, which lie in Central Region in southern part of Singapore and join in ocean. The upper watershed of Singapore River is Singapore River Planning Area, the northernmost part of the watershed becomes River Valley. The Central Area is treated as a central business district, nearly all land surrounding it is commercial. This is the place where Raffles made trading port in Singapore.

The riverside is accessed by MRT Raffles Place which is North-South/East-West Lines and Clarke Quay North-East Line stations. The nearest station to the Marina district is City Hall, attached by lengthy underground shopping mall to Suntec and Esplanade. There is no convenient MRT station for western end of the river. We have to hike on foot for 15 minutes for the bus, or get on a bumboat.

A popular way to see the heart of city is with Singapore River Cruises. Stations are scattered along both banks of river and reservations are not needed. The cost of travel is $3 from one side to another side of river. The Esplanade/Merlion/Boat Quay area has some great views of Singapore and makes for a fine walk or jogging. It is moderately hot on day, evenings are cooler, and the night time skyline is regularly pretty.

The Singapore chronological attraction is packed by river and the best place to start your tour is at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several important government buildings and places of worship dating back to the 19th century still survive, and provide a rare glimpse into the city's colonial past.

The Merlion in Merlion Park is Singapore official symbol which is 8.6 meters tall and weighing 70 tons, spouts water daily on the south bank of the mouth of the Singapore river.The statue is designed by Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964.

Cavenagh Bridge is Singapore oldest bridge and it is constructed in 1869, which is a pedestrian walkway across the mouth of the Singapore River. Raffles Statue is the statue of Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is built on the exact spot where he first landed. The statue is actually a replica and original is found in front of the Victoria Theatre.

Asian Civilisations Museum is one of Singapore's newest, largest and best-presented museums. As the name all Asia is enclosed in extent and there is an emphasis on the cultures near and in Singapore. Mint Museum of Toys is house of 50,000 toy collection of local enthusiast Chang Yang Fa. These five-story buildings covers come from 25 countries and span over a century of "Moments of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys". Peranakan Museum is before a branch of the ACM, now it is a standalone museum dedicated to the exuberantly colorful culture of the Peranakans, the Malay-Chinese and Malay-Indian traders who had a major impact on the Straits Settlements.

Esplanade Theatres is the two-lobed spiky Singaporean version intentionally stands a resemblance to the durian, a tropical fruit related to jackfruit which is notorious for its sharp odour. Opera, dance, classical concerts and similar entertainment are offered daily. Prices for the main entertainment start from $20-30 for poor seats, up to over a $100 for good ones. For the traveler on a budget, there are usually free on the outdoor riverside stage on weekends.

Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is built by British in the 19th century, this was Singapore premier arts centre until the Esplanade came and stole the limelight. Raffles statue in front dates to 1887, and the People's Action Party was founded here in 1954, as commemorated with a plaque showing a very young-looking Lee Kuan Yew.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bend National Park in Texas

Bend National Park is one of the largest and remote, national parks in the continental U.S. state of Texas. With three different ecosystems, continuous views, and great landscapes, Big Bend leaves you feeling like stumble. The landscape is living evidence which is formed over millions of years by volcanism, erosion, and enormous seismic events, it also still holds number of dinosaur fossils and aquatic beings from when the area was surrounded by an prehistoric deep sea.
The name of Big Bend National Park is for huge left U-turn Rio Grande as the river bends its way throughout the Southwest Texas desert making a natural boundary with Mexico and giving the state its distinctive bottom shape. It is covered in 801,163 acres nearly 324,219 hectares. The Rio Grande in Spanish for "Big River", in Mexico it is called Rio Bravo del Norte or just Rio Bravo, meaning "Wild River" flows south and east from its origin in Colorado

The park's geography is categorized into three distinct environments desert, mountain, and river. The greater part of Big Bend National Park includes Chihuahuan Desert, crossed by dry creek beds, washes and the occasional spring. Sprouting from the desert are numerous hills, mountains, and rock formations most of which are limestone others are of volcanic origin.

Big Bend's primary attraction is its hiking and backpacking trails. Particularly notable are the Chimneys Trail, which visits a rock formation in the desert, the Marufo Vega trail, a ring track that passes through scenic canyons on the way to and from the Rio Grande, and the Outer Mountain Loop trail in the Chisos, which begins in the Chisos Basin, climbs into the high mountains, descends into the desert along the Dodson Trail, and then returns to the Chisos Basin, completing a thirty mile loop. Other notable locations are Santa Elena Canyon, Grapevine Hills, and the Mule Ears, two imposing rock towers in the middle of the desert.

Big Bend National Park is sacred with collection of plant and animal life. In the desert grow succulents such as lechuguilla a type of agave, yuccas like the giant dagger species, prickly pear, ocotillo, candellila, and stool. The famous century plant or Havard agave which only blooms once in a lifetime and then dies. The best time of year to see the gorgeous cactus blooms is March and April and the mountains are another great place to see wildflowers.

Big Bend is one of the best bird-watching areas in the country, as many birds pass through here along migratory routes more than 450 species. The Chisos Basin is a great place for bird watching, but the best place is considered next to the river, such as near Rio Grande Village and Cottonwood Campground. Among the countless species, you can see roadrunners, woodpeckers, cardinals, quail, flycatchers, herons, hummingbirds, cliff swallows, owls, hawks, golden eagles, vultures, and peregrine falcons.

A great variety of animals make their home here, such as pig like javelinas which is closely related to hippopotamus, mule deer, jackrabbits, skunks, raccoons, rock squirrels, kangaroo rats, coyote, foxes, and, in the mountains, rare black bears, mountain lions , and white-tailed deer. They are all shy, but you have a good chance of seeing them along roadways or even in the developed areas, especially starting at sunset.

The weather is mostly hot and dry, with low humidity and cooler nights. July through October is the rainy season, where sudden rains and consequently flash floods are possible. The rain usually doesn't last long and the water drains away quickly. Thunderstorms make for an epic spectacle and may lead to rare sights, such as Pine Canyon Falls. The weather here can be significantly different from nearby areas; it might be overcast and rainy in nearby Alpine but clear and sunny in the park, so don't get too discouraged by local condition.

There are five covered roads in Big Bend. Persimmon Gap to Panther Junction is a 28-mile/ 45 km road from the north entrance of the park to park headquarters at Panther Junction. Panther Junction to Rio Grande Village is a 21-mile/4 km road that descends 2,000 feet / 610 m from the park headquarters at Panther Junction to the Rio Grande River. Maverick Entrance Station to Panther Junction is a 23-mile/37 km route from the western entrance of the park to the park headquarters. Chisos Basin Road is 6 miles/10 km long and climbs to 5,679 feet/1,731 m above sea level at Panther Pass before descending into the Chisos Basin. The thirty-mile (48 km) Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive leads to the Castolon Historic District and Santa Elena Canyon.

The busy season is from mid November through the first of week of January and again during Spring Break, when local college students visit which is on mid March to April. Plan on spending at least one full day in the park, there is more than enough here for longer stays.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cappadocia - Region of Rocks

Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia in Turkey, largely in Nevsehir Province. It is best known for its sole moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in rocks. It is an international tourist destination, to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique geological, historical and cultural heritage.

Cappadocia was surrounded in the south by Mount Taurus, to the east by Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lake Tuz, in Central Anatolia. But Strabo, the only ancient author to provide a major account of the area, may have greatly exaggerated its dimensions. It is now believed that Cappadocia realistically was limited to an area stretching 400 km/250 miles east-west and 200 km/120 miles north-south. The region is located southwest of the major city Kayseri, which has airline and railroad service to Ankara and Istanbul.

The Cappadocia region is largely underlain by sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams, and deposits exploded from prehistoric volcanoes approximately 1 to 3 million years ago, during late Miocene to Pliocene epochs. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m in thickness, by issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers, flood water running down the hillsides of valleys and strong winds eroded the geological formations with tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations.

The rocks of Cappadocia near Goreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. The volcanic dumps are soft rocks so that the people of villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. Goreme became a monastic center between 300-1200 AD.


The ancient settlements of the region are Koskhoyuk or Kosk Mound in Nigde, Aksaray Asikli Mound, Nevsehir Civelek cave and in the southeast Kultepe, Kanis and Alisar in the surroundings of Kayseri. The region was regarded as sacred and called, in the Scythian/khatti language "Khepatukha" meaning "the Country of the People of the Chief God Hepat". The tablets called Cappadocia Tablets and the Hittite works of painting in Alisar are vital remains dating from 2000 B.C.

The first period of settlement in Goreme goes back to the Roman period. The Yusuf Koc, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir and Bezirhane churches in Goreme, houses and churches carved into rocks in the Uzundere, Bagildere and Zemi Valleys are all carriers of history that we can see today. The Goreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 rock-carved churches and chapels, some of them have superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries.

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tours are one of the popular in Goreme. Starting at sunrise, these rides last around 45 minutes and go anywhere the wind may blow in the Valley. The balloon carry nearly ten people with the pilot riding air currents like a boat, floating down the valleys, below the ridge line and quite close to the chimney rocks. It's a nice ride and if you ever had the urge to balloon ride, this is the place to do it. Balloon Tours are available to Cappadocia Hot Air, Goreme, Kapadokya and Anatolian.

Kayseri, one of the cities in Turkey, is an hour drive from Goreme. Kayseri Airport welcomes flights from Izmir and Istanbul every day of the week.Kayseri is on a busy railway route. It is possible to find suitable trains to Kayseri from almost all the train stations of Turkey. From Kayseri, you can take bus to go to Goreme. The bus services are available to Nevsehir and Goreme. By bus Istanbul-12 hours, Ankara-5 hours, Bursa-11 hours, Izmir-12 hours, Konya -4 hours.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Courchevel - Ski Resort

Courchevel is a famous ski area situated in the Savoie region of French Alps, part of Les Trois Vallees. It is one of the largest linked ski area in the world. Courchevel has an airport and a highway connecting it with the rest of the world. The resort was planned in 1942 by Vichy regime and a doctorate by the city planner Laurent Chappis. Chappis was a natural option to express the development of resort in the immediate post war years.

The towns in Courchevel are Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, and Courchevel 1850, which are named for their altitudes in metres. Courchevel 1300 is the name of the village Le Praz. Courchevel 1650 is the name of the place Moriond.The highest point in Courchevel 1850 is actually1747 meters, the name were selected for advertising motive to compete with arch competitors Val d'Isere. Courchevel 1850 was significant as it was the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch rather than based around an existing village. It therefore served as an open air laboratory of ideas.

The Courchevel valley includes the town of La Tania, built as competitors accommodation for 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Le Praz started Olympic ski jump in that year. There was a ski Jump in Courchevel 1850 on the snow front however it was removed recently due to safety precautions.

Courchevel airport has assured level of reputation in the aviation industry as it is one of the smallest runways in the world, with a distance of 525 metres and a slope of 18.5% to aid slow landing aircraft. The airport has a risky approach through deep valleys which is achieved only by especially licensed pilots. In airport there is no go-around procedure, as most of the worlds airports have on landing. It is a very sharp hill which has seen few accidents from the time when the airport first opened. Larger propeller aircraft such as the Twin Otter and Dash 7 have been usual customers of the airport which should carry upto 50 people, but have since been phased out of use and smaller Cessnas and helicopters are often seen sitting on the landing strip.

Courchevel's couloirs are renowned as some of the most difficult black runs in the world.Courchevel has one of the largest bases for ski instructors and other seasonals due to the size of the three valleys area.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Black Mountain Tower

Black Mountain Tower is a telecommunication tower that is situated in Canberra an Australian capital city of. It is also known as Telstra Tower and Telecom Tower. The Tower was opened on 15 May 1980 by the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. The height of the tower is 195.2 meters. It is not only a landmark in Canberra but also offers panoramic views of the city.

Black Mountain Tower provides vital communication facilities for Canberra along with both indoor and outdoor observation decks, a cafe and a gift shop as well as the revolving Alto Tower Restaurant. There are three floors of business, sales and radio communication facilities located between the 30.5 meter and 42.7 meter levels providing space for communication dishes, platforms and equipment for mobile services within the tower.

Black Mountain Tower is situated at the summit of Black Mountain in Canberra and it has become one of the most symbolic landmarks in Canberra and a major tourist attraction with a total of over six million visitors.

Visitors can reach the tower by car from the Black Mountain Drive turnoff on Clunies Ross Street, near the Australian National Botanic Gardens entrance. Day Tours coach companies in Canberra also include visits to the tower in their itineraries. ACTION buses also provide a service to and from the City during weekends, public holidays and school holidays. The tower viewing platforms are open from 9 am to 10 pm seven days a week. The entry fee is adults - $7.50, children (4 - 16 years) - $3.00 and infants under 4 years free. A family pass is also available for 2 adults and 2children - $17.