The Oriental Pearl Tower is one of the most striking and futuristic sights in China’s business stronghold Shanghai. Overlooking the Huangpu River opposite the historic Bund the tower rises 468 metres above the street and was the tallest building in China until the nearby Shanghai World Financial Centre surpassed it a few years back. The tower opened in 1994 and as well as an important communication tower it is home to a hotel,exhibition space a revolving restaurant and 15 yes 15 observation levels with the highest being 350 metres from ground. The tower features 11 spheres supported by three columns, and was designed using plenty of Chinese symbolism based around a poem dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Over three million visitors visit the tower each year and this year with World Expo being hosted in Shanghai you can bet the numbers will soar. Some visitors to Shanghai consider the admission price expensive and the queues long but many agree the view over the city is quiet spectacular if you are lucky enough to visit this fascinating city on a clear day.
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In the futuristic city of Odaiba across the Rainbow Bridge you will find the Mirakan or Emerging Science Museum. This interesting technology museum features some pretty incredible advances in science including their star exhibit Asimo, Honda’s humanoid robot. Asimo isn’t the only robot on display there are quiet a few including Mesci which can even guide people around the facility. Although most of the exhibits are in Japanese and very little English translations the exhibition Is easily understood by non Japanese speaking people with plenty of easy to understand displays and diagrams. Some of the exhibits include space travel including full size mock up of sections of the International Space Station, nano technology, health and transportation. The bullet train technology features heavily in the transport section with plenty of models and interactive displays for people of all ages to learn about emerging technologies and see what is in future in year to come.
No one does the sausage better than the Germans and to celebrate their skill in making these tasty cylindrical morsels the Deutsches Currywurst Museum has been set up in the Deutsch capital Berlin. Berlin is proud of the sausage and claims to be the place where the Germany’s favourite sausage the Currywurst was invented. The brand new museum traces the history and legend of the sausage, its effects on culture, the ingredients (those that are mentionable) and offers all the smells and sights you would expect to experience in a sausage museum, and like any good museum they have a gift shop at the end of the museum where you can pick up some sausage treats and plenty of novelty items. The Currywurst museum is a fun and interactive look at the sausage and has some pretty fun displays including huge sauce drops and giant sausage and fries props, it is fun for young and old. The cinema is sure to be one of the museums highlights showing some great moments in sausage history with adverts, and a funny documentary called “Best of the Wurst”. The museum is self paced but does offer interactive tours which take about 45 minutes, currently they are only held in German but there are plans for English tours in the new year. Located on Schutzenstrabe the museum is very handy for the Berlin visitor being only 100 metres away from Checkpoint Charlie. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most dominant land marks on the Munich skyline is the two towered Cathedral Church of Our Blessed Lady which is home to the Archbishop of Munich and home to over 500 years of precious artifacts. Located in the heart of the city at the Frauenplatz the church is a very popular tourist attraction in this Bavarian city with many people taking in the spectacular views of the Alps from the 109 metre high towers. The Cathedral can accommodate around 20,000 people under its massive roof and was built in a time when Munich was home to only about 13,000 residents. The Cathedral suffered huge damage during the World War II but 50 years of renovation have brought the building back to its former splendor.
There is nothing more romantic than taking a gondola through the narrow canals of Venice at sunset, taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds of this beautiful Italian city. Back in the 18th century the gondola was the city’s major source of public transport and there were thousands of the vessels floating around the canals. Today the craft is one of the most popular tourist transportations with several hundred of the elegant vessels available for hire. The gondola has tight seating for two people, there are some larger vessels which can carry more people, but that takes the romance out of it.. The ride can get quiet expensive, but you the experience is well worth every Euro. You can expect to pay around 80 Euro for a 30-40 minute ride and even more with a evening or night cruise. It is well worth shopping around and bargaining a bit during quieter times, you never know what deal you might strike. For a few euro extra you will probably even be able to negotiate a serenade by the gondolier. For those a bit frightened of the high cost, a cheaper although not quiet as magical experience is to board one of the public ferries that punt around the canals around twilight. You don’t quiet get the luxury of your own gondola and are usually packed in like sardines, but you can experience the amazing palaces and architecture from the water and soak in some of the charm and atmosphere of one of the world’s most unique cities.
The Rockerfeller Centre in New York City is one of the world’s largest complexes covering around 22 acres and consisting of 19 huge comercial complexes including the 70 floor GE Building and world famouse Radio City Music Hall. The centre was built in the early 1930’s and has some of the most incredible examples of modern art deco artwork and design seen anywhere in the world. 1987 saw the entire complex declared a National Historic Landmark on the USA national register. The Lower Plaza is a famous meeting place and is a place of celebration during many special days during the year, expecially around christmas when the huge Christmas Tree is illuminated and plaza is turned into a giant ice skating ring. The plaza is also an important venue during the US elections, where plaza is used for television vote counting. Many people go to the top of the Empire State Building for the best view of New York, but in our opinion they pick the wrong building. The Rockefeller offers much more spectacular views- sure you are not quiet as high but you get a magnificent view of Central Park and lower Manhattan, expecially of the Empire State Building, twilight is quiet spectacuar.
Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida has just opened its newly updated Hall of Presidents staring all 43 US presidents and taking centre stage for the first time a Barack Obama anamotronic robot. The attraction has been a hit since opening in 1971 and the new updates make this show one of the most technically advanced productions ever seen at Disneyworld. The voice of President Obama is actually him, he recorded a special message for his robot a few months back. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln also speak in the show and all the other presidents look on and move to the speeches with some amazing facial expressions and limb movements. The show has been retiltled for the look and is now known as A celebration of Liberty’s leaders” and focuses on the strong bonds between the people and the president. Patriotically opening on the 4th of July this attraction is sure to be one of the more popular at the Disneyworld resort.
Tokyo’s Odaiba has some pretty interesting futuristic architecture and the Fuji Television building is one of the more out there which its strange grid like structure and huge golden ball lookout. The building is both offices and studios for many of Japan’s favourite television programs, one being the Iron Chef which was filmed there during the 1990’s in their Kitchen Stadium. The building was designed by Kenzo Tange who is responsible for some other interesting architecture including the Tokyo Metropolitan Offices, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the American Medical Association Headquarters Building in Chicago. The Fuji building is open to the public, visitors can go on a Japanese speaking studio tour- which can be quiet fun as some of the Japanese live television is crazy. The big golden ball is a Chinese restaurant which although fairly expensive is very popular, the ball has a viewing platform too, which costs about Y500 which is about 5 bucks for a visit and spectacular view over the Tokyo harbour.
Caesars Palace is probably the best know of the huge theme hotel casino complexes in Las Vegas. Opening in 1966 as a 680 room resort the hotel now has over 3300 rooms and has nearly 15500 square metres of gaming area and has resident performers including Bette Midler, Elton John and Cher.The exterior and interior of the huge complex is themed in classical Roman style with huge statues, marble floors, triumphal arches, mosaics the whole works, its so easy for your mind to escape and think you are in Rome thousands of years ago- it is that authentic- except for the bling bling and ching of thousands of gaming machines. If you are into shopping- Caesars’ offers some of Vegas’s best with the Forum Shops, here over 160 of the most luxury brands offer every luxury product you could ever want. The mall is noted as being America’s most successful shopping malls being the highest grossing in the USA- leaving the glamour of Rodeo Drive back in Los Angeles for dead. Caesars’ has a wealth of great dining, including the Vegas favourite- the buffet and plenty of entertainment other than the big music stars including The Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge, Pure Night Club and plenty of free entertainment like animated character fountains and a free show called Fall of Atlantis.Now owned by the Harrah group, the future looks even more amazing for Caesar’s with yet another billion dollar expansion on the horizon, which will include another 29 storey hotel tower, a new events centre and a pedestrian promenade and some more casino space.
Greenfield Village is in Dearborn, Detroit USA and was the brain child of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. Recognised as a National Historic Landmark and is the largest outdoor museum in the United States. The area covers some 240 acres and is home to nearly 100 historic buildings, many of them once owned by famous Americans and moved brick by brick to the museum. Amongst the highlights are Thomas Edison’s Laboratory, The Wright Brothers bicycle shop, Henry Ford’s birthplace and the Logan County Courthouse where Abraham Lincon practiced law. The land has been turned into magnificent farmlands and park to reflect the USA of yesterday and many volunteers wear period costume and perform tasks of the day. Horse drawn carriages, vintage cars, trains and other machinery ride the streets beautiful tree lined streets. The most amazing part of this museum is there is no commercialism or advertising-even the gift shop is outside the gates. The park is part of the amazing Henry Ford Museum- we will do a feature on the Museum in coming weeks.Read the rest of this entry »