Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

Venice is built on 118 islands, criss-crossed by 160 canals and linked by 400 foot-bridges. There are no roads, only canals; no traffic, only water buses and water taxis and the gondolas. A labyrinth of alleys and stairs and little bridges link the main waterways. Have coffee at Caffe Quadri, or Caffe Avena, or Caffe Florian (the oldest cafe in Venice) in the grandest square in Europe – Piazza San Marco. And you cannot go to Venice without calling in at Harry’s Bar, on the Grand Canal (entrance on Calle Vallaresso), made famous by Ernest Hemingway.

See the Palazzo Ducale, where the Doges lived in princely style; the Rialto bridge; the great Cathedral of St Mark (with Titian’s masterpiece, Last Judgement, in the Vault of Paradise); the Accademia art gallery; the Ca’ d’Oro the School of San Giorgio degli Schiavoni with famous Carpaccios and the School of San Rocco with magnificent Tintoretto paintings. If you climb the 15th century Clock Tower you have a superb view of the whole of Venice. When shopping in Venice things to look for include fine handmade lace, jewelry, leather goods, and above all, glass.

You could go to the island of Murano and see the glass being made, and Torcello, for its cathedral with beautiful mosaics. Luxury hotels in Venice include the Danieli Royal Excelsior, right next door to the Doge’s Palace, the Cipriani on Giudecca island and the Bauer Grünwald. Even if you do not stay there, it is a delightful place to dine and dance on the roof garden. Ernest Hemingway preferred the smaller, quieter, Gritti Palace. Dine at La Taverna Fenice, La Caravella, Harry’s Bar and Florians. For seafood try Al Graspo de Uva and Peoceto Risorto. Places to visit from Venice include: the Lido, just across the lagoon. It has a marvelous beach, with fine hotels like the Excelsior Palace.

Brasil: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Brasil: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km balneario beach or 2.5 miles , which is one of the most famous in the world.

The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the Tupi language, it means “the way of the socós (a kind of bird)”) until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.

Characteristics

Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and the other, right after it: Diabo (“Devil”) Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers go after its perfect waves, comes next, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four “Olympic Zones” during the 2016 Summer Olympics. According to Riotur, the Tourism Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro, there are 63 hotels and 10 hostels in Copacabana.

Brasil: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana beach, located at the Atlantic shore, stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed.[4] Hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dot the promenade facing Avenida Atlantica.

Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revellers during the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations and, in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Amsterdam: A Quick Orientation

Amsterdam: A Quick Orientation

Amsterdam, in its physical aspect, is almost entirely a product of the so-called “Golden Age” of the Netherlands-that period in the 17th century when Holland surged to the near-pinnacle of world power, after its victory over Spain in the brutal Eighty Years War. It was during this period that the merchants of Amsterdam-then the dominant element in the city-laid out a pattern of gently-curving, concentric canals that occupy the central section of Amsterdam and constitute the city’s particular glory today. Amsterdam performs an essentially capital city service function for the rest of the Dutch economy.

The canals run in a fairly regular pattern that makes it quite easy to orient yourself. Starting at the Central Station, the first of the canals is the Singel. Then comes the Herengracht (“Gentlemen’s Canal”), then the Keizersgracht (“Emperor’s Canal”), and finally the Prinsengracht (“Prince’s Canal”). Along these canals the merchants of 17th-century Amsterdam then constructed what seem today like endless lines of gilded, patrician mansions and homes. These have, in recent years, been occupied by business firms, but their façades are absolutely untouched-and it is in this most beautiful centuries-old setting that you’ll want to spend most of your time in Amsterdam.

Crossing through this pattern of parallel, concentric canals, like the spokes of a wheel, are avenues, the most important of which is the Damrak, which starts at the Central Station and heads straight to the Dam Square, site of the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and National Monument. From the Dam Square, this street becomes the Rokin, and veers a bit as it heads to the Mint Square (Muntplein), where the famous old Mint Tower Amsterdam stands, and where the Amstel River begins.

Near the Mint Square is the Rembrandtsplein (Rembrandt’s Square), one of the two major entertainment areas of Amsterdam; a bit further out, and to the west, is the Leidseplein (Leidse Square), the other entertainment section of Amsterdam, and the site of the Stadsschouw-burg (Municipal Theatre). And beyond this central area is a slightly more modern section where you’ll find the two great art museums of Amsterdam-the renowned Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum- as well as the famous home of its much-acclaimed orchestra, the Concertgebouw.

California: Much more than Hollywood

California: Much more than Hollywood

California is located on the Western Coast of the United States, and is home to hundreds of different attractions for tourists who want to experience a diverse period of leisure. There are twelve main regions of California, but California is mainly divided by North and South.

In Northern California, tourists can find winter and nature oriented activities, while in Southern California, are summer activities, shopping, and entertainment based things to do. The twelve main regions of California, from north to south, are the North Coast, Shasta Cascade, the Bay Area, the Central Valley, Gold Country, High Sierra, the Central Coast, the desert region, Orange County, the Los Angeles region, Inland Empire, and San Diego.

When most people think of vacationing in California, their minds usually take them to the busy streets of the L.A. and San Diego region, Hollywood, and Disneyland. Strolling around the busy streets of Los Angeles, shopping and perhaps catching the rare glimpse of a celebrity, or riding the world famous rides in one of the nation’s top theme parks at Disneyland. However, California has much more to offer.

There’s the wide expanse of beautiful desert in eastern California, stretching out for miles of flat, beautiful terrain, famous for the sunsets that take up the entire sky. For those who loves the beach, but prefer not to wade through heavily populated stretches of sand that are usually notorious in L.A. and San Diego, year round, there’s also the central coast, and the beaches of Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica. The Central Valley region boasts wide expanses of plains, and bountiful stretches of green hills; a perfect destination for those who would prefer a quiet, sunny vacation getaway in a country atmosphere.

California: Much more than Hollywood

In Northern California, the possibilities are even more variable for activities. In the Shasta Cascade region, there are majestic mountains, for skiing and snowboarding, or mountain biking. As well as wildlife preserves, and enormous natural parks, where tourists and vacations can see the beauty of nature preserved, and flourishing before their eyes. On the North Coast of California, vacationers can travel through wine country, and sample some of the finest wines made right there on the coast, from the freshest source available; acres of vineyards, and wineries.

As well as touring wine countries, travelers can also view one of the most famous attractions of that region; the Giant Redwoods found in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, or Del Norte State Park, hiking among some of the largest trees on the face of the Earth, as well as the oldest. Just standing beneath the Giant Redwoods, you can feel their ancient testimony of life, bygones past.

Cuisine in California is the probably the most diverse you’ll find in many places. In the urban areas you can find a melting pot of different foods and traditional dishes, such as a variety of Asian foods, sold from street vendors, as well as South American, Mexican, and Western foods. Because of California’s abundance of fresh fruits, and the perfect climate fruits and vegetables from around the world can grow here, whereas, in any other part of America, they wouldn’t be able to survive the climate. Not to mention other cultural foods such as Greek, Italian, German, and much more, available from all over the cities, as well as being prepared by the finest and most culturally diverse chefs. Eating out in California is a world tour for your mouth.

As far as getting around in California goes, traveling by car is the best way to go, either renting a car when you fly in, or driving there from wherever on the North American content you happen to be coming from. In the urban areas, such as San Francisco, San Diego, or Los Angeles, however, there is heavy traffic, and public transportation is cheaper and more reliable than waiting in traffic for hours. Taxis are also popular in urban areas, as well as renting scooters or motorcycles. Another popular choice for those visiting in California, more for the natural activities, and camping, are the RV rentals. Like a moving hotel, tourists can roam freely in Northern California, experiencing the best of both worlds; the hotel and the campfire.

Accommodations in California are numerous and very diverse as well; it all depends on what kind of visit tourists are planning to have. When it comes time to book and reserve a hotel, the choices are endless. Tourists can reserve campsites near the enchanting state parks, so that they’re close to their favourite activities. Those who prefer quiet vacations can book a reservation in a quiet lodge, or in a privately owned bed and breakfast in the Central Valley.

For those vacationing in the city, or planning to spend their time in California’s various theme and amusement parks, there are luxury hotels, teeming with different options to pamper themselves, and have a relaxing spa experience. Also, are resort hotels, provided by the amusement or theme parks, that can be purchased as part of a vacation package, which takes some of the stress off of finding perfect accommodations.

All About The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

All AboutThe  Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid (Danish: Den lille Havfrue) is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark.[a] It is 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) tall and weighs 175 kilograms (385 lb).

Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since 1913. In recent decades it has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists.

Mermaid is among iconic statues that symbolize cities; others include: Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Statue of Liberty in New York and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. In several cases, cities have commissioned statues for such a purpose, such as with Singapore’s Merlion.

The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale in Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre and asked the ballerina, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on August 23, 1913.[5] The statue’s head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor’s wife, Eline Eriksen, was used for the body.

The Copenhagen City Council arranged to move the statue to Shanghai at the Danish Pavilion for the duration of the Expo 2010 (May to October), the first time it had been moved officially from its perch since it was installed almost a century earlier. While the statue was away in Shanghai an authorised copy was displayed on a rock in the lake in Copenhagen’s nearby Tivoli Gardens. Copenhagen officials have considered moving the statue several meters out into the harbour to discourage vandalism and to prevent tourists from climbing onto it, but as of May 2014 the statue remains on dry land at the water side.

New York History – Founding of the New Amsterdam

New York History - Founding of the New Amsterdam

The original name of the island wherein the squadron of Communipaw was thus propitiously thrown, is a matter of some dispute, and has already undergone considerable vitiation — a melancholy proof of the instability of all sublunary things, and the vanity of all our hopes of lasting fame! For who can expect his name will live to posterity, when even the names of mighty islands are thus soon lost in contradiction and uncertainty?

The name most current at the present day, and which is likewise countenanced by the great historian Vander Donck, is MANHATTAN; which is said to have originated in a custom among the squaws, in the early settlement, of wearing men’s hats, as is still done among many tribes. “Hence,” as we are told by an old governor who was somewhat of a wag, and flourished almost a century since, and had paid a visit to the wits of Philadelphia, “hence arose the appellation of man-haton, first given to the Indians, and afterwards to the island” — a stupid joke! — but well enough for a governor.

Among the more venerable sources of information on this subject, is that valuable history or the American possessions, written by Master Richard Blome in 1687, wherein it is called Manhadaes and Manahanent; nor must I forget the excellent little book, full of precious matter, of that authentic historian, John Josselyn, Gent., who expressly calls it Manadaes.

New York History - Founding of the New Amsterdam

Another etymology still more ancient, and sanctioned by the countenance of our ever-to-be-lamented Dutch ancestors, is that found in certain letters still extant; which passed between the early governors and their neighbouring powers, wherein it is called indifferently Monhattoes — Munhatos, and Manhattoes, which are evidently unimportant variations of the same name; for our wise forefathers set little store by those niceties either in orthography or orthoepy which form the sole study and ambition of many learned men and women of this hypercritical.

This last name is said to be derived from the great Indian spirit Manetho, who was supposed to make this island his favourite abode, on account of its uncommon delights. For the Indian traditions affirm that the bay was once a translucid lake, filled with silver and golden fish, in the midst of which lay this beautiful island, covered with every variety of fruits and flowers; but that the sudden irruption of the Hudson laid waste these blissful scenes, and Manetho took his flight beyond the great waters of Ontario.

These, however, are fabulous legends to which very cautious credence must be given; and although I am willing to admit the last quoted orthography of the name, as very suitable for prose, yet is there another one founded on still more ancient and indisputable authority, which I particularly delight in, seeing that it is at once poetical, melodious, and significant — and this is recorded in the before-mentioned voyage of the great Hudson, written by master Juet; who clearly and correctly calls it MANNA-HATA — that is to say, the island of Manna, or in other words — “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

It having been solemnly resolved that the seat of empire should be transferred from the green shores of Pavonia to this delectable island, a vast multitude embarked, and migrated across the mouth of the Hudson, under the guidance of Oloffe the Dreamer, who was appointed protector or patron to the new settlement.

And hear let me bear testimony to the matchless honesty and magnanimity of our worthy forefathers, who purchased the soil of the native Indians before erecting a single roof — a circumstance singular and almost incredible in the annals of discovery and colonization.

The first settlement was made on the south-west point of the island, on the very spot where the good St. Nicholas had appeared in the dream. Here they built a mighty and impregnable fort and trading house, called FORT AMSTERDAM, which stood on that eminence at present occupied by the customhouse, with the open space now called the Bowling-Green in front.

Around this potent fortress was soon seen a numerous progeny of little Dutch houses, with tiled roofs, all which seemed most lovingly to nestle under its walls, like a brood of halffledged chickens sheltered under the wings of the mother hen. The whole was surrounded by an inclosure of strong palisadoes, to guard against any sudden irruption of the savages, who wandered in hordes about the swamps and forests that extended over those tracts of country at present called Broadway, Wall-street, William-street, and Pearl-street.

No sooner was the colony once planted, than it took root and throve amazingly; for it would seem that this thrice-favoured island is like a munificent dunghill, where every foreign weed finds kindly nourishment, and soon shoots up and expands to greatness.

And now the infant settlement having advanced in age and stature, it was thought high time it should receive an honest Christian name, and it was accordingly called NEW- AMSTERDAM. It is true, there were some advocates for the original Indian name, and many of the best writers of the province did long continue to call it by the title of “Manhattoes;” but this was discountenanced by the authorities, as being heathenish and savage.

Besides, it was considered an excellent and praiseworthy measure to name it after a great city of the old world; as by that means it was induced to emulate the greatness and renown of its namesake — in the manner that little snivelling urchins are called after great statesmen, saints, and worthies and renowned generals of yore, upon which they all industriously copy their examples, and come to be very mighty men in their day and generation.

The thriving state of the settlement, and the rapid increase of houses, gradually awakened the good Oloffe from a deep lethargy, into which he had fallen after the building of the fort. He now began to think it was time some plan should be devised on which the increasing town should be built. Summoning, therefore, his counsellors and coadjutors together, they took pipe in mouth, and forthwith sunk into a very sound deliberation on the subject.

At the very outset of the business an unexpected difference of opinion arose, and I mention it with much sorrowing, as being the first altercation on record in the councils of NewAmsterdam. It was a breaking forth of the grudge and heartburning that had existed between those two eminent burghers, Mynheers Tenbroeck and Hardenbroeck, ever since their unhappy altercation on the coast of Bellevue. The great Hardenbroeck had waxed very wealthy and powerful, from his domains, which embraced the whole chain of Apulean mountains that stretched along the gulf of Kip’s Bay, and from part of which his descendants have been expelled in later ages by the powerful clans of the Joneses and the Schermerhornes.

An ingenious plan for the city was offered by Mynheer Tenbroeck, who proposed that it should be cut up and intersected by canals, after the manner of the most admired cities in Holland. To this Mynheer Hardenbroeck was diametrically opposed, suggesting in place thereof, that they should run out docks and wharves, by means of piles driven into the bottom of the river, on which the town should be built. By these means, said he triumphantly, shall we rescue a considerable space of territory from these immense rivers, and build a city that shall rival Amsterdam, Venice, or any amphibious city in Europe.

To this proposition, Ten Broeck (or Ten Breeches) replied, with a look of as much scorn as he could possibly assume. He cast the utmost censure upon the plan of his antago nist, as being preposterous, and against the very order of things, as he would leave to every true Hollander. “For what,” said he, “is a town without canals? — it is a body without veins and arteries, and must perish for want of a free circulation of the vital fluid.”

Tough Breeches, on the contrary, retorted with a sarcasm upon his antagonist, who was somewhat of an arid, dry-boned habit; he remarked, that as to the circulation of the blood being necessary to existence, Mynheer Ten Breeches was a living contradiction to his own assertion; for every body knew there had not a drop of blood circulated through his wind-dried carcass for good ten years, and yet there was not a greater busy-body in the whole colony. Personalities have seldom much effect in making converts in argument — nor have I ever seen a man convinced of error by being convicted of deformity.

At least such was not the case at present. Ten Breeches was very acrimonious in reply, and Tough Breeches, who was a sturdy little man, and never gave up the last word, rejoined with increasing spirit — Ten Breeches had the advantage of the greatest volubility, but Tough Breeches had that invaluable coat of mail in argument called obstinacy — Ten Breeches had, therefore, the most mettle, but Tough Breeches the best bottom — so that though Ten Breeches made a dreadful clattering about his ears, and battered and belaboured him with hard words and sound arguments, yet Tough Breeches hung on most resolutely to the last. They parted, therefore, as is usual in all arguments where both parties are in the right, without coming to any conclusion — but they hated each other most heartily for ever after, and a similar breach with that between the houses of Capulet and Montague did ensue between the families of Ten Breeches and Tough Breeches.

I would not fatigue my reader with these dull matters of fact, but that my duty as a faithful historian requires that I should be particular — and, in truth, as I am now treating of the critical period, when our city, like a young twig, first re. ceived the twists and turns that have since contributed to give it the present picturesque irregularity for which it is celebrated, I cannot be too minute in detailing their first causes.

After the unhappy altercation I have just mentioned. I do not find that any thing farther was said on the subject worthy of being recorded. The council, consisting of the largest and oldest heads in the community, met regularly once a week, to ponder on this momentous subject. But either they were deterred by the war of words they had witnessed, or they were naturally averse to the exercise of the tongue, and the consequent exercise of the brains — certain it is, the most profound silence was maintained — the question as usual lay on the table — the members quietly smoked their pipes, making but few laws, without ever enforcing any, and in the meantime the affairs of the settlement went on-as it pleased God.

As most of the council were but little skilled in the mystery of combining pot-hooks and hangers, they determined most judiciously not to puzzle either themselves or posterity with voluminous records. The secretary, however, kept the minutes of the council with tolerable precision, in a large vellum folio, fastened with massy brass clasps; the journal of each meeting consisted but of two lines, stating in Dutch, that “the council sat this day, and smoked twelve pipes, on the affairs of the colony.”

By which it appears that the first settlers did not regulate their time by hours, but pipes, in the same manner as they measure distances in Holland at this very time; an admirably exact measurement, as a pipe in the mouth of a true-born Dutchman is never liable to those accidents and irregularities that are continually putting our clocks out of order. It is said, moreover, that a regular smoker was appointed as council clock, whose duty was to sit at the elbow of the president and smoke incessantly: every puff marked a division of time as exactly as a second-hand, and the knocking out of the ashes of his pipe was equivalent to striking the hour.

In this manner did the profound council of NEW- AMSTERDAM smoke, and doze, and ponder, from week to week, month to month, and year to year, in what manner they should construct their infant settlement — meanwhile, the town took care of itself, and like a sturdy brat which is suffered to run about wild, unsackled by clouts and bandages, and other abominations by which your notable nurses and sage old women cripple and disfigure the children of men, increased so rapidly in strength and magnitude, that before the honest burgomasters had determined upon a plan, it was too late to put it in execution — whereupon they wisely abandoned the subject altogether.

What was New York like during World War II

What was New York like during World War II

Wartime New York City, was, however, to be a far more carefree place than London or Paris, as commentators from areas closer to the war effort neglected no opportunity to show. To be sure, there was for a time a dim-out, ordered not so much through fear of bombs as because the glow of the city’s lights silhouetted shipping for enemy U-boats lurking out at sea. In this halfway measure, the streets were still lighted, a British visitor of 1942 reported; but the “glaring advertisements” which formerly kept Broadway “in perpetual light” were now extinguished, and “all windows above the 10th floor… screened.”

New Yorkers gained some sense of participation in the struggle as air-raid precautions, inaugurated six months before Pearl Harbor, were “practiced and more or less perfected,” sirens were tested, and wardens and plane spotters began to stand watch on tall buildings and rural hilltops. Women took over tasks formerly performed by men–driving cabs, operating elevators, and serving as telegraph messengers–when Selective Service pulled nearly 900,000 New Yorkers into uniform.

The rationing of food and gasoline prompted the most obvious sacrifices, at least for those to whom the black market was not available. But for New Yorkers without close friends or relatives overseas, the sight of servicemen on leave and of the cargo vessels and tankers, “lined up on the Hudson and East River, with their camouflage and artillery, awaiting the formation of convoys,” constituted the closest contact with the shooting war.

What was New York like during World War II

To the casual observer, New York seemed hardly touched by the conflict. The British novelist James L. Hodson saw no sign of a dimout in the winter and spring of 1943-1944; and the naivete of the airraid instructions he found in his hotel bedroom showed him “how far” New York really was “from the war.” At Christmas time the city was gay with holiday decorations.

Cocktail parties preceded dinners boasting menus “astounding to British eyes.” The season was described as “the craziest Christmas for spending” ever known. “There is no war here,” Carlos Romulo contended, in amazement, when he reached New York shortly after the fall of the Philippines. He was horrified at what appeared to be the “holiday air of the people,” rushing madly about–in a “Coney-Island” dim-out–“spending fabulous sums as if they were in the midst of a carnival.”

Only after he had observed the city more closely did the Philippine statesman realize that New York, too, was fighting the war-giving blood, buying bonds, and, above all, moving men and goods in a degree that contributed significantly to victory. The city’s surface frivolity, he ultimately concluded, was in part, at least, a reflection of the way that New York showed its fighting spirit. It was a consequence, too, as other commentators were aware, of the very nature of New York’s most important wartime contribution–the production and movement of goods essential to the war effort.

As production expanded and shipping throve, wages increased, and New Yorkers had more to spend than ever before. At the same time, fewer necessities were available for purchase as a result of wartime restrictions. Hence an unprecedented portion of the worker’s income was at hand for spending at theatres, movie houses, race tracks, restaurants, and bars. It was this, in the opinion of Pierre de Lanux, which caused the erroneous impression that “what was happening overseas had no repercussion on life in the United States” and gave service personnel returning from combat the generally unjustified feeling that New Yorkers were blind to the realities of the conflict.

De Lanux is the authority, too, for New York’s reaction to the victory when it came in 1945. Despite the scarcity of paper, ticker tape rained on Broadway following news of the German armistice in May; and with the defeat of Japan, in August, the sobering implications of Hiroshima did not prevent New Yorkers from staging a real celebration. “From the dignified flag-bedecked residences, uptown, to the gaudily decorated tenements of the East Side and ‘Little Italy,’ the national colors floated amid clouds of confetti, cheering cries, the honking of horns, and the wail of sirens,” the French chronicler reported.

The churches were filled in the morning; then a general rejoicing took possession of the entire city, which reached a climax by evening. At Times Square, the crowds were so dense that the police had difficulty intervening when soldiers and sailors, sharing their joy with the civilians, “embraced and mussed up some of them” in the bargain. “Statisticians will never say exactly how much alcoholic beverage passed from production to consumption that night,” de Lanux asserted, “but the figure would certainly be expressed in tons rather than liters.”

Like the commentators of earlier days, those of the thirties and forties recognized the role of the port in the city’s economy, especially in connection with the nation’s colossal war operation; but increasingly their attention turned to the magnitude of the city’s industrial output, as well. Referring to New York of the mid-forties as “the greatest manufacturing town on earth,” John Gunther pointed out, in his Inside U. S. A., that Manhattan alone employed “more wage earners than Detroit and Cleveland put together,” Brooklyn more than Boston and Baltimore, and Queens more than Washington and Pittsburgh, combined. More persons were engaged in New York’s garment trades than made automobiles in Detroit or steel in Pittsburgh, according to a similar comment in the New York Times.

The Supremacy of Paris

The Supremacy of Paris

One of the most distinctive features of France is the great importance of Paris in the life of the country as a whole. The location of Paris is almost ideal. Orleans alone among the cities is more central, but it lacks the waterways of Paris and the surrounding fertile soil.

Located originally on an island where it is easy to cross the Seine River, Paris has become not only the capital of France, but also one of the world’s greatest cities. The term “greatest” applies not so much to the number of inhabitants as to cultural influence. In this respect no other city rises to such a level, and no other city attracts so many visitors, temporary as well as permanent, to enjoy that culture.

Paris exerts an almost mystical attraction not only on Europe but on the rest of the world as well. Its architecture may be rather oldfashioned, its general appearance far from clean, and its entertainments not always of the highest, but the visitor forgets all this.

The Supremacy of Paris

The wide tree-bordered boulevards with their sidewalk cafes, the crooked streets of the Montmarte, and the Latin Quarter, where little shops offer all sorts of products from paintings to bad-smelling cheese, the quiet border of the Seine River where open-air bookstalls invite the literary enthusiast, the public gardens and parks where children, guarded by uniformed nurses, sail tiny boats on the grass-bordered ponds, all this is the Paris which one learns to love.

Nevertheless, the educational, social, and political attraction of Paris has been a tremendous drain on the rest of France. No other city has had a chance to become even locally a cultural center. Today, as for many centuries, Paris is the focus of all ambitions, the magnet attracting the country’s brains and energy.

Moscow: Don’t Leave Without Doing These

Moscow: Don't Leave Without Doing These

Must-see attractions are the Pushkin Museum, where the Trojan treasures are exhibited, Tretyakov Gallery, as exhilarating as the Pushkin Museum, the Kremlin Palace, the icon of power and the notable Red Square, just in front of the Palace.

Enjoying caviar and vodka

Named after sturgeon fish, caviar assotrtments are the primary delight of Moscow. Of course, the presentation of caviar is as important as the quality. The very match of caviar, presented on crystal plates filled with ice, is definitely vodka.

How would you prefer your vodka?

The Russian order Vodka as a perfect match of Zakuski, a spicy and salty appetizer. And vodka assortment is huge: the sweetie Stolichna, sparkling Kovskkaya, lemon Limonnaya, red-pepper flavored Pertssovka and Ohotniçya, as a breeze of juniper, ginger and clave.

Berlin: The city that deserves your undivided attention

Berlin: The city that deserves your undivided attention

Berlin is the capital of Germany and one of its 16 states. With a population of approximately 3.5 million people, Berlin is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the banks of Rivers Spree and Havel, it is the centre of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about six million residents from over 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the city’s area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.

First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1417–1701), the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city was divided; East Berlin became the capital of East Germany while West Berlin became a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall (1961–1989) and East Germany territory.[14] Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.

Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media and science. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics.

Berlin: The city that deserves your undivided attention

jh4>Spend a day on Museum Island

At the eastern end of Unter den Linden is Museum Island, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site lying in the middle of the Spree. It’s home to five of Berlin’s most important museums: two not to be missed are the Neues Museum, home to the Egyptian bust of Nefertiti and the spectacular Pergamonmuseum, one of the world’s major archaeological museums.

Within it you walk through a series of astounding structures, from a partial recreation of the Pergamon Altar (170–159 BC) to the two-storey Roman Gate of Miletus (29 metres wide and almost 17 metres high) and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, dating from the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar (605–563 BC). Tucked away upstairs is the Islamic Art collection, a treasure trove. A day ticket is available permitting entrance to each museum.

Ascend to an iconic vantage point

Largely owing to World War II, Berlin’s architecture has a fascinating range, from the historical to high modernism and more controversial postmodern projects. A visit to the Reichstag, the home of the German Parliament, provides the perfect overview. Opened in 1894, its renovation was masterminded by British super-architect Norman Foster and completed in 1999. The roof is an entirely glass structure, allowing for a panoramic view of the city right from the centre of government.

Entrance to the roof is free but you must register in advance; once you’re in make this a totally informative experience by plugging into the audio tour and heading to the open roof for an overview of the sites all around. Alternative views can be found by taking Europe’s fastest elevator to the Panoramapunkt on the 24th and 25th floors of the Kollhoff Tower in Potsdamer Platz.

Over in the east of the city is Fernsehturm, rising over 200 metres above Alexanderplatz. The iconic tower is Europe’s fourth tallest free-standing structure and the stainless steel sphere contains a revolving restaurant and viewing gallery. On clear days visibility can reach 40 kilometres.

Berlin: The city that deserves your undivided attention

Indulge in some DDR ‘Ostalgia’

Soviet occupation of East Berlin ended in 1990, and today the DDR Museum offers a snapshot of life in the old days. The interactive museum allows visitors a truly hands on experience for both children and adults alike: root through drawers of East German memorabilia, mimic a Stasi officer and listen in on a bugged flat. Out on the streets you can take a unique tour of the city by renting a Trabant, the classic car produced in former East Germany, now painted in bright colours by the Trabi Safari company.

Explore Berlin’s Jewish history

The Jüdisches Museum presents the story of Berlin’s Jewish population through the Museum’s own architecture. The newest and most eye-grabbing section of the building was designed by controversial Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind. Its shape is based on an exploding Star of David, with its interior spaces disappearing into angles, so the museum experience is more about the effects of the space than the documents and artifacts.

Across Oranienburger Straße is the Neue Synagogue: built in the late 19th century this building survived World War II, and its golden dome stands out from afar. For more of an emotional way into history, walk night or day through the Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas – also known as the Holocaust Memorial. This memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe takes the form of 2,711 blocks of varying heights arranged across the area of a housing block.

Walk the Berlin Wall

The Wall was mostly demolished between June and November 1990 although a restored stretch remains along the southern border of Wedding and Mitte. Visit Checkpoint Charlie, the famous east-west border control during the Cold War and now a tourist centre, for comprehensive display boards telling the Wall’s story. For more of a visual history, take a walk along the Wall by the Spree, where it runs between the Freidrichshain-Kreuzberg districts.

Whereas graffiti has been removed from the northern section of the Wall, the one-mile stretch known as the East Side Gallery is dedicated to art and preserves the paintings made on the eastern side when the Wall was brought down. Although attempting to preserve the spirit of the time, an argument blew up when the restoration project of recent years was seen to overstep the mark, with original artworks being painted over without the artists’ permission.