Posts from ‘March, 2011’

The Bergiselschanze

A spectacular landmark in the Austrian city of Innsbruck is the Bergiselschanze ski jump on the Bergisel Hill. The huge concrete and glass structure was built in 2001 and the current form was designed by Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid at a cost of €15 million. The actual Bergiselschanze dates back to the 1930’s. There is a cafe at the top which offers amazing views of Innsbruck and the surrounding villages on a clear day. The jump hosts the annual prestigious Four Hills Tournament’ third leg and the mountain has played host to two Winter Olympic Games, the 1964 games and the 1976 games. The Bergisel can be easily reached by the Stubaitalbahn from Innsbruck.

Munich’s Opera House

The thought of beer and sausages yesterday made me want to do another Munich story today. So thought I would talk about the National Theatre building which is on Max-Joseph Platz 2.  Used as an Opera House it has seating for 2100 people complete with a royal box and circular auditorium. The theatre is home to the Bavarian State Ballet and Bavarian State Opera who hold regular performances at the magnificent venue. It was destroyed in World War II bombing but rebuilt and the current building opened in 1963.  The opera house has had a huge list of world premiers including works by Wagner, Strauss to name just two.  For visitors not able to take in a show the theatre has hour long tours of the venue which happen most days at 2pm. It is a great chance to see one of the finest opera houses in the world so rich in history and tradition.

The Viktualienmarkt

Just a short distance from the Munich’s main square the Marienplaz is a fantastic open air market callde the Viktualienmarkt. This market is basically a food market selling all sorts of fresh foods including fish, meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables. But the market is also a great meeting place to enjoy the sausages and beer. And belive me Munich has the best sausages and beer you will find anywhere in the world. It is imposible to stop at one as the they are just so delicious.  The market has penty of seating so you can enyoy the festivities, food, drink and atmosphere for hours- not a bad way to fill in a sunny afternoon in Munich.  The market opens 6 days a week being closed on Sundays.

The Russian Concorde

A result of the cold war’s technology rivalry when the Soviet Union they copied many things the west made including the some pretty impressive technology including the Space Shuttle. Another of their copies was the Concorde, they produced a pretty similar supersonic get which they called the Tupolev TU-144. But they didn’t really pull it off to good and the plane was never certified to fly passengers. They had a bit of a media disaster at the Paris Airshow in 1973 where a TU144 fell out of the sky, break up and crash. They ended up using the plane for mail runs across Russia, then a second one crashed in 1978 followed by you guessed it a third a bit later and this was out of a fleet of 22 which included a prototype. The US ended up buying a few in the mid 90’s and refit them for testing of a future supersonic project. Today one of the remaining TU-144 is on display in Germany at the Auto & Technikmuseum at Sinsheim. Interestingly the craft is on display right next to a Concorde it is interesting to see how similar the aircraft are. For more information:

J Town SFO

San Francisco is known around the world for its fantastic China Town but not many people are aware of its Japan Town which is just as fascinating and a great place to visit.  The whole precinct makes you feel like you are in Japan, the paving the landscaping and even the architecture is very Japanese.  The precinct centres on a large shopping and exhibition plaza which is full of Japanese stores, from nick knacks, clothing, music and DVD and plenty of eateries.  The food is sensational, whether you want a simple piece of sushi or a full Teppanyaki experience. The area has a huge five tiered pagoda which although made of concrete is pretty impressive.  Like Japan the area is very popular during the cherry blossom season when the whole area comes alive with blossoms.

Seattle’s Spooky Underground

Underneath the streets of Seattle lurks another Seattle, Seattle from the past. Pretty much a whole precinct of Seattle has been built onto of an older precinct and today it lurks underneath full of dust, rats and reported spooks and ghosts. Fire destroyed much of the area in the late 1880’s and it was rebuilt using stone and brick two stories above to avoid flooding. In 1965 a local citizen called Bill Speidel started taking people on tours through this old world Seattle, and 40 odd years later it is one of the city’s more interesting tourist attractions. In the early years of last century the underground was used for a lot of illegal activities in the city with gambling halls, opium dens and sex trade. Today it serves as access to buildings above and home for a few rats and spirits, but a great experience to any visitor.

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Disney’s Monorail

The much loved Disneyland Monorail has been a part of the themepark since its opening in 1959. Over the years it has had several facelifts and model changes but it is still one of the parks biggest attractions.  The monorail is used to transport guests around the park and to the shopping and entertainment area of Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel.  The monorail offers spectacular views of the Disneyland park as it follows its snake like route around Tomorrowland and the Matterhorn and across the Submarine Lagoon of the Nemo ride.

The biggest little city in the world

The Reno Arch is an iconic landmark along Virginia Street in Reno, Nevada and is as iconic as the “Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign of its big brother up the road. The original arch dates back to 1927 when it was built to celebrate the copletion of the Lincon and Victory Highways. The slogan “the Biggest Little City in the World” was actually a slogan from a winning competition and it was put on the arch in 1929. After some complaining the slogan was later removed but more complaining saw it return. There have been quiet a few versions of it over the years and the one standing today dates back to 1987.  The sign has had a few facelifts since then including new LED bulbs and is still one of the most photographed icons in Reno.

The first Jumbo Jet

Back in February on 1969 The city of Everett made history as the first Boeing 747 to fly. This aircraft was the first flying prototype to what would become one of the most successful aircraft in history with over 1400 of them sold over the last 40 odd years in various variants. The aircraft now lives back in Seattle only miles from where she was built in Everett. The plane is part of the wonderful collection that makes up the Museum of Flight at King County Airport just south of Seattle. The old girl is looking a bit tired and weary these days but the future looks bright although it may be a little time off. The Museum of Flight plan to build a new annex where a restored City of Everett will take centre stage regaining her former glory. Currently the Jumbo is parked in a lot open to the public with a 707 US Air force 1 Presidential Plane and Supersonic Concorde close by.

Seattle’s Space Needle

The Space Needle in Seattle is one of the world’s most recognisable towers and was built for the World Fair in 1962. Like the Eiffel Tower which was built for the Paris fair it was only meant to be a temporary structure but the people liked it so much it stayed. Standing at 184 feet the tower isn’t huge on today’s standards but is still a much loved icon of this Washington city.  The trip to the top takes about 43 seconds and when there you will see some spectacular views over Seattle and the bay, it’s a great place to start your trip to Seattle as you get your bearings. On a nice clear day you can see as far as Mt Rainer and the Cascade Mountains.  For a special evening in Seattle why not try revolving restaurant which offers not only tasty food but magnificent night views of Seattle.